30 March 2012

Friday Faves: March is the Longest Month Ever

Abbreviated and underdeveloped though it might be, here are some faves from the last two weeks.  

Student admitted to UCLA.  Very proud.
Fun times with my student book club at The Hunger Games premiere.
Earned more than 100 points on Words with Friends.

And lastly, NOT RUNNING.  I'm quite savoring this time off despite my somewhat constant desire to get out there and run.

I do need to get back out there.  I have about six weeks before I head into about six months solid of training with half and full training back to back.  It is going to be exhausting again, but I'm hoping to pull off a PR in the full in December.

I like getting PRs.  I like it a lot.  

25 March 2012

Oakland Running Festival: Half Marathon Race Report

How I Ended Up Here
The Oakland Running Festival offered a 50% off registration with my San Francisco Half Marathon goodie bag.  I normally try to avoid buying things simply because they are on sale.  I jumped at the chance and registered for a half marathon for only $35.  

What I Saw From My Hotel Window on the 18th Floor

An actual view of SOMETHING.  

Since the half marathon didn't start until 9:15 (utterly late for a half-marathon), I was hanging in my hotel room and could see the marathon runners who started at 7:30 make their way down Broadway and then turn around to head back the other direction.  One runner didn't get the memo to make the u-turn.  I think she started late.  She ran off the course and past our hotel INTO TRAFFIC.  I kept watching to see when she would realize that she was off course and come back up Broadway.  She eventually headed back up STILL RUNNING IN THE STREET WITH TRAFFIC.  Holy hell, woman!  Get off of the street.  I saw her ask a volunteer who finally put her on track.  

Good grief.  

What I Learned About Oakland From Running Oakland
1.  People really hate their mayor.  When she was introduced the runners (many of whom were local) booed her.  
2.  Raider Nation is loud.  Very loud. 
3.  There is a place called The Crucible.  And it looks amazing. Fire! 
4.  Lake Merritt is pretty.  I wish I lived near a place with a lake to run around.  
5.  A few residents were mad about street closures.  But the majority of Oakland residents were so kind and encouraging.  

How I Fared
About 3/4 of a mile into the race, the 4,000 runners are still pretty bunched up.  An Oakland Running Festival volunteer froggered his way across the street thick with runners.  I nearly hit him.  I may have turned my head and called him a name.  In fact, I'm sure of it.  This is so unlike me.  He must have really, really, really, really deserved it.  

I hit my pace and went into cruise control mode for the rest of the race.  I'm shocked at how even my splits were.  

For the first time in my running career (odd word, but can't think of a substitute), I didn't listen to music or podcasts while running.  I tuned into all the conversations around me, yet I can't recall a single one that I eavesdropped on.  

Finished in 2:13:10.  Definitely hit my A goal which was to break 2:15.  I'd have to look it up to be sure, but I think that this is a 3:58 PR from Big Sur Half Marathon 2010.  I really need to be better about recording stuff down like that.

Overall Assessment
I'm not a fan of such a late start for a half marathon.  I'm not a fan of the Marriott host hotel who didn't give me a late check out, but then I discovered on Facebook that they granted other runners a late check out.  I'm not a fan of weak corralling and people sardined into the start area.

However, the course itself was nice, and I have to admit that the half marathoners seemed to merge easily with the marathoners.  Of course, I don't know how the marathoners felt about the merge, but it seemed okay.

I'm not sure that I will be back next year for this one.  It depends on my goals and running schedule for next year.  It is definitely not a must run race, but it is also definitely not one to avoid at all costs.  

24 March 2012

Prediction of Rain

Tomorrow I run another half marathon.  The threat of rain is imminent.  In preparation, I've searched my iTunes library for some music about rain.

No judging.
Very excited to encounter "November Rain" while running in March.  I still love it when Axl Rose sings "If you want to love me, then Darling don't refrain."

I also love "Dry the Rain" from The Beta Band.  I haven't heard that one in a while.

And I love, love, love, love Mint Royale's "Singing in the Rain."

I'm starting to look forward to my run tomorrow.  My training went better than expected.  I have tanlines from this most recent iteration of training.  That's how wonderful the weather has been this winter.

A:  Break 2:15
B:  PR
C:  Have fun and finish strong.

16 March 2012

Friday Faves: "I'm not Irish ENOUGH to celebrate" Edition

One of the drawbacks of social media is the fact it has lead to what I like to call conspicuous parenting (slight nod to Thorstein Veblen).  I will not lie.  I know that I have participated and probably will in the future.  It is simply what is done.  St. Patrick's Day is tomorrow.  I lamented to my husband that I felt like a bad mother because I have no plans to do ANYTHING to mark the holiday tomorrow.  Others on Facebook seemed into the spirit for the sake of their kids.  Not me.  There will be no leprechaun footprints.  No gold coins.  No rainbows.  No crafts.  No cabbage.  No beer.  


Maybe I can arrange for beer.  

In sharing this with my husband he says, "We're not even Irish.  We don't celebrate."  I then pointed out that while I am not Irish, his Native blood has been spiked with some rogue Irish grandparents on both sides.  He then said, "I'm not Irish enough to celebrate!" 

I found this exchange delightful.  I love my husband.  He can be very charming.  

In face, earlier in the week he saved a bad day from certain disastrous melancholy by bringing home a bag of old postcards that he purchased at a flea market.  This look into the past stirred some strange longings for a simpler time.  A time when the post office would deliver a post card with only the name of the recipient and a town.  No address.  No street.  Simpler times.  But then after perusing what was written on the cards, I realize that these postcards are the old timey version of Facebook and/or Twitter.  I realized that humans have always had this need to share the minor details of their lives with others.  One hundred years ago it may have been news of the cow having milk fever.  

It is like Tobias F√ľnke's ancestor wrote holiday card copy.

Simply frightening.
Text:  Trimmer, Cal.
This may give you some faint idea of the sort of looking object who
writes to you--and also a hint as to who told me about you.
Excuse scrawl--Have an injured hand.
Kindest regards,
The front of Alan's card:  "No. 2 Yours truly"

But my favorite moment of the week was watching my son read from The Hunger Games and choose with his own free will to ANNOTATE THE TEXT with his thinking. 




Interacting with the text.  heck yeah and stuff.  

15 March 2012

Thursday Accomplishments

1.  Asked a tough question and subsequently angered a the type of person who can't take a bit of constructive criticism.

2.  Registered for California International Marathon.

I'm awesome.

11 March 2012

Hornitos-Indian Gulch 10 Mile Race

Last night I decided to go out and do this run.  I needed to run ten miles anyway.  I thought that I could practice hitting race pace.

Of course the race coincided with Daylight Savings Time going into effect. I woke up at 5 am which is really like 4 am to drink my coffee and do my reading.  But after the 3 am wake up for Big Sur, this doesn't faze me.

In the early morning, I posted this on Facebook: Heading out shortly for a ten mile race in the foothills. I have a FANTASTIC chance of being last since only very serious runners will drive out to Hornitos.

Finally got dressed and did a triple check that I had everything.  I'm on the road when I realized that I hadn't eaten anything.  Fortunately for me, I realized this before I left town and was able to find a Starbucks for a scone.  With scone in hand and with music on the radio, I left the city limits and started my drive to the middle of nowhere.   

It was a beautiful drive.  It seemed like I was the only one traveling those back country roads into the foothills.  I also had to stop when I crossed over the Merced River to take some pictures.  

Merced River

Quiet and beautiful
At this point, I'm glad that I came just because of the peacefulness of the drive.  I realized that I need to take the Vespa out here one day for a getaway.  

Hornitos Road led to the little ghost town.  I got a prime parking spot, registered, and then returned to the warmth of my car to spy on the other runners getting ready.  Lots of the quintessential serious upper middle class runner types.  

The race director, in telling us about the course, prefaced his comments with "I know most of you have run this course."  This concerned me because people who know me know how much I am uncomfortable with NOT knowing something.  Luckily a friend was there and he told me that I couldn't get lost.  

Then the race director presented a plaque to a couple who had run nearly all of the 36 running of this race.  They were quite elderly; the gentleman had a cane.  What warriors!  I hope that I am still active in thirty years!  

Finally we are off.  
  1. We head out onto Hornitos Road.  Lovely road.  Nicely paved.  Wide.  Lots of room.  
  2. At mile 1, the two milers turned around to head back.  The crowed thins.  I see kids and make a note to drag my boy out here next year.  
  3. We turn onto Indian Gulch road.  I'm horrified by the state of this road.  Hilly and woefully potholed and cracked.  I'm likely to injure myself.  I glue my eyes to the ground and find the safest path.  
  4. Around mile 2, I'm regretting my arm warmers because it feels too darn warm.  
  5. Around mile 2.25, I realize my shoe is untied.  Curses.  I have to tie it.  A blonde passes me who is probably in my age group.  She looks late 30s.  
  6. At mile 2.5, the five milers make their turn around and the crowd in ridiculously thinned.  I'm caught up to the blonde.  It is really just the two of us out there.  
  7. Some man runner passes both me and the blonde; I care not.  He is a man.  
  8. The lead runner passed me right about when I hit 3.75 miles.  He ended up winning in like 1:02.  Fast.  
  9. I start counting runners who are ahead of me.  
  10. This counting reveals that there are 8 women ahead of me including the blonde.  
  11. I pass the blonde at the five mile turn around.
  12. I pass the man who passed me earlier at the same turnaround.
  13. I pass no one else for the remainder of the race.  And no one passes me. 
  14. I count people behind me.  I think I counted four of five.  Smallest race ever.  
  15. The entire way back I fight an incredible headwind.  I hate life.  I wish I had stayed in my flat little valley city.  
  16. I finish in 1:44:45 ish.  A little slower than my half-marathon goal pace, but not too much off.  Considering my intense concentration on the bad road and fighting the wind and the hills, I think that I may be able to hit my goal in two weeks at the Oakland Running Festival.  
Running in the middle of NOWHERE!
A little hillier than I expected.  
Breakfasted at the post race shindig.  I hoped that maybe being the 8th woman, I might have eeked out a 3rd place for my age group.  No such luck.  Oh well. 

At least I wasn't last. 
At least I didn't injure myself. 
At least I feel more confident for Oakland. 
At least I had cake waiting for me at home.  

The cake for which I ran

09 March 2012

Friday Faves: Eve of ANOTHER Presentation Edition

Good grief.  I must be hot stuff.  Another presentation gig tomorrow.

In looking back over this past week, in seeking my faves, I see nothing.

Only this.

And my unexpected discovery of a word problem for English:

You interviewed three people for your research papers on pineapple abodes.  First you interviewed Spongebob Squarepants on Leap Day of this year.  Then you interviewed Patrick Starfish the following day.  Just yesterday, you were able to secure an interview with Sandy Cheeks.  Write the works cited page for this.  

07 March 2012

Hey Runner Girl!

No problem, Ryan Gosling. Come on over!
I realize that this blog's title may be a bit of false advertising.  If I were unemployed, I could very feasibly run a workout, come home bake cupcakes, photograph the cupcakes, and finally eat the cupcakes without guilt because of the amazing workout that started the day.

Alas.  I'm employed.  

And alas, there are many more miles in my life than there are cupcakes.  I think if I ate cupcakes to replace all my burned calories from running, I'd grow to hate cupcakes quickly.  

But today I am having cake. Lemon Cake!  Wait!  I think it is Lemon Chiffon.  Whatever that means.  I earned it.  Intervals:  4x1600 after a long day of work that followed two longer, more political, more wretched days at work.  

04 March 2012

Running Away

I like to mentally file away songs into a hypothetical playlist called "Music Mentioning Movement." One day I'll make the actual playlist happen.

What generally happens is the iPod shuffle gods throw me songs during a run, and I listen closely to the lyrics.  I struggle to hear lyrics in music.  When I try to explain this affliction (first world problems™) to others, they think I'm crazy.  I may be.  All I know is that I find it incredibly difficult to focus on what a song is saying.  I sort of hear music like I might view modern art.

Let's allow Steve Martin a chance to show you what I mean.

But sometimes when I run or when I am focusing, I can see the lyrics.

I was listening to Crosby, Stills, & Nash as I am wont to do when the weather turns perfect.  I listened to "Southern Cross" and this little running gem presented itself.

"But on a midnight watch, I realized why twice you ran away."  

I thought about it.

Running away gets a bad rap.  It is occasionally equated with quitting.  To this, I say HOGWASH!

Sometimes I thank god that I had to courage to run away from certain bad elements, be they people, places, or situations.

I'm actually quite good at saying, "This is preposterous.  I'm out!" It never earns me any sort of points for being nice or sweet.  I'm not popular.  I won't win any awards.  But running away from the bad or even the mildly bad is good for everyone.

And I believe that I am much happier than nicer, more tolerant people.

So here's to running away!

02 March 2012

Friday Faves: Motherhood in Full Effect Edition

My general weekday experience:  Wake up.  Get ready.  Rouse child from bed.  Rouse child again from bed.  Rouse child yet again from bed.  Physically remove child from bed.  Return to room and physically remove child from bed.  Drive kid to grandma's.  Converse en route.  Drop off kid.  Commute.  Work.  Work.  Work.  Work.  Try to sneak in a bathroom break.  Work.  Work.  Work.  Work.  Question sanity.  Work.  Realize that I need to drink more water if I am going to run.  Work.  Work.  Try to sneak in a bathroom break.  Drive home.  Change into running clothes.  Realize something isn't charged like iPod or watch.  Run anyway.  Become victimized from random honks.  Run.  Shower.  Observe kid's karate class.  Face palm.  Drive home from karate.  Converse en route.  Homework Battles:  he with third grade assignments; me with grading.  Greet husband upon his return.  Dine.  Read.  Worry.  Worry.  Worry.  Sleep.

Therefore, my weekdays tend to blur together.  Imagine the above paragraph sans spaces and punctuation.  That's my Monday morning through Friday afternoon.

There were a few highlights this week.  Most involved my kid.

Fantastic Car Conversations
One morning car conversation involved my son asking me how he could know if a girl liked him.  I enjoyed those ten minutes immensely.  It was a wonderful little moment that will not likely repeat.  You only get those kinds of questions for the first time once.  For the record, these were the answers that I gave him to that question.  He rejected each.

  1. You can never know if a girl truly likes you. 
  2. Fine.  Send a friend to one of her friends and to ask if she likes you.  
Arts and Crafts:  Boy Version
Picture says it all, I think.

Hunger Games Book Club
Eight daring teens joined the Hunger Games Book Club and we discussed Part I of The Hunger Games after school.  It was a joy to hear these kids discuss books--not for a grade, not because they had to--but because they wanted to.

I had a moment during my reading time one night.  I designed this T-Shirt on Customink.com.  The back says my last name above a large number 12.   Going to wear it to the next book club meeting if it arrives on time. 

Surprising Awards
Sometimes I wonder, usually during training runs, what my boy will grow up to be.  I was listening to the Nerdist podcast featuring the interview with Conan O'Brien, and I had an epiphany.  O'Brien, in talking about the creation of his humor style, mentioned the dinner table as his first sort of place to experiment in making his father and brother laugh.  I saw my son in that comment.  

I'm not claiming that my son will be the next Conan O'Brien, but he definitely is the type of kid who purposely attempts to get a laugh out of people.  

This means that he generally doesn't impress the teachers.  His humor isn't always appreciated come multiplication time.  

He's never been Student of the Month.  He likes to remind us of this fact after every Awards assembly.  Last month, he informed me that he has not earned Student of the Month 35 times.

Today was the Student of the Month assembly and my boy took home the award.  The school failed to tell us, so my husband and I couldn't attend the assembly.  I'm saddened by not being able to see his face once he heard his name called, but in the end, this is about him and not about me.  

Finally.  He is Student of the Month.  It is likely he'll never be again.  His humor is getting more purposeful and blatant.  I'm seeing more detention in his future. But today, he gets to feel like the school system is proud of him.  

Applebee's for dinner.  His choice.  The large bucket of sangria helped me get through.  

Mother-Son Drawing Time
The bargain books section of the local Barnes and Noble had a copy of Illustration School:  Let's Draw Cute Animals.  It sounded like a worthy plan.  I bought the book and the kid and I sat down to learn to draw cute animals.  

I like his platypus best. 

My version of a cute koala! Let's call her Sheila!

I have no grown-up presentations this weekend that require professional clothing.  That was the previous weekend and that will be next weekend.  This weekend I have a long run and a date with a nap.