Monday, June 30, 2008

Behind the Magic Curtain

I joined the School of Public Health student listserv today. Actually, just four hours ago, at 4:00pm. I was expecting details about transit passes or advisor hours, or something equally dull but important to know.

Ho. Lee. Crap.

I've always wondered where the magic jobs were, how people went from being smart and competent to smart and competent and employed in interesting and well-paying jobs. I have found the answer to that question: they join the department listserv of a fancy schmancy uni.

I do not qualify for any of these jobs yet, of course, but the three recruiting emails that have come through since 4:00pm all represent jobs I would fall all over myself to just interview for, not to even think of having.

Perhaps the $14K I just agreed to take in student loans for this year will be worth it.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Two Forward, One Back

I keep trying to get myself into a routine whereby I know which days I'm doing what with regard to running, without thinking. Routines work really well for me in other arenas, they ought to work for running.

While I was doing Higdon's 5K training, it worked pretty well, except that he has two days off per week, which always struck me as pretty wimpy. So I decided I would ramp up to just one day off. I'd have a very slow, short run to replace the previous second day off.

That was supposed to be today. 3.25mi, at maybe 10:30? Hardly a run, really. More of an extended shuffle. Except that as I stood on my front steps and turned on the iPod, a woman ran by. In tech gear. And I swear to you, by all that is holy, she gave me the look. (Other midlife not Joan Benoit runners may know the look.)

Yeah, I had to beat her skinny ass. Warm up, schwarm up. I did the first mile in just over 8, and kept on going. I finally had to stop (I'd long since lost the woman, with a pleasant smile over my shoulder) at 2.5 miles for a short walk, but still ran much too fast for a recovery-style run, and messed up my new system. Now I'm going to have to try again tomorrow, instead of the planned 5 miles.

The good news: I'm beginning to believe the ChiRunning hype, as even at that auspicious speed (for me), my heart rate never got into the high range for me. It was my butt and thighs that felt overworked (although no pain), because of the new form.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Gratitude for Little Things

I opened the windows today for the first time since last Sunday. The sky is still tinged yellow, but not brown, and the campfire smell is either gone or (and this is entirely possible) I am so used to it I cannot smell it anymore.

Send good thoughts to the 15,000+ firefighters who are currently battling fire in California.

In other California news, I got to go to the first several upcoming same-sex nuptials today. It was a lovely, touching ceremony, in which two great people promised to forever love and care for each other and their two beautiful daughters. Makes one wonder what all the fuss is about.

Friday, June 27, 2008

I [heart] LSD

That's Long Slow Distance, Mom! :-)

I've been upping the ante distance-wise this week, but keeping paces extremely slow. Zero hip pain, zero. I'm so happy. If the air would clear up and the feeling of Mordor-style doom with it, I'd be positively giddy on my runs.

So far (all at between 9:45 and 11:00) I've done a 4, 5.2, 4, day off, and 5 today, with a planned 7 tomorrow and 3 Sunday. That will be 28 for the week (hey, a marathon and a warm-up!), and that will finish up the month at 75m. I'm aiming to get up to an average of 30 per week for a bit before I start back in with speedwork.

Exxxxcellent, dude.

Chatty Cathy Won't Stop Talking

As if my day wasn't full enough with impromptu recitals and grad student I.D.s, JMan accidentally got braces put on his teeth today. Well, sort of.

We knew it was coming soon, but there were massive miscommunication issues at the orthodontist's office (thank god the oral surgeon's office was a little better run), and what was supposed to be an xray suddenly turned into braces on his uppers. He looks mega cool, very 7th grade. Although he does not want me to use the word "hot" to describe him even in the abstract, it's OK if his sister does, and she did.

Unfortunately for ME ('cause it is all about me) the orthodontist convinced me that JMan, too, must undergo oral surgery this summer to have one adult tooth removed. And unlike his sister who only had two, he has four big ol' honking wizzies to be removed in about 4 years, so I will have to white knuckle it a few more times before I'm out of the woods.

In Which I Reveal My Shallow and Misanthropic Tendencies

I'm going to admit a couple of things here. I try not to talk about them, because I don't want to offend people, and I don't want people to think I'm shallow. But they're true.

First off, I have a university inferiority complex.

I went to a state college close to home after high school. Deep down, I really wanted to go to UCLA, but I wanted to take care of people I felt needed me more (they didn't really, but it took me decades to figure that out). So I didn't apply anywhere but the local school.

Later I stumbled into a master's in education program at the same state college back in the 90's, without any forethought or plan. It turned out to be a useful degree, but I still felt that ache to be academically competitive.

When I decided to go back to school recently, for the LAST time, I knew I needed to go somewhere not easy to get into. Somewhere people had to work hard to get over the threshold. And the University of California at Berkeley was just a hop skip and jump from me, top-rated in public health, and, let's face it, has some pretty cool university mojo going on.

When I got IN to Cal, I was pleased, but I didn't have the pinch-me moment until today. I needed to go on campus to deal with some administrative stuff. While I was there, I got my student ID (my STUDENT EYE DEE! I'm, like, 107 years old, and I have a student ID!) and wandered around campus while I waited for a friend who needed a ride.

I got to hear the bells in the campanile, have a latte at a very cool grad student cafe, buy a Berkeley t-shirt, scope out the cheap lunch spots near my midday classes this fall. I even got my photo taken by a nice child, er, undergrad - that's me and Pappy Waldorf, famous football coach. I got to see public art and artistic architecture. I got to sit and listen to Strawberry Creek burble.

And it came to me that this is my new life. Mine. Then I got all goose bumpy.

Then I picked up my friend, Rose, and dropped her off at the home of a woman neither of us knew, several miles from campus, where she will wait for another friend. The woman asked us to come in and listen to some music she and a friend were playing, and we did (which, as you'll see, was very unlike both of us), and got to talking.

Rose and I were talking about a favorite theme, how we really don't like people much, even though people seem to think that we are the kind of people who are outgoing and bubbly. This is the second confession: I am not a nice person who loves everyone. I am a curmudgeon with a pleasant smile.

But our hostess said, oh! You should meet my friend Allan. He hates people, too.

Rose and I agreed that we'd probably like Allan. And the hostess said, he's a statistician! and Rose and I laughed and laughed and then explained that I was in Berkeley because I was starting a master's program in biostatistics, which I'd already described to Rose as the most people-hating profession except maybe executioner. Allan turns out to be one of my future professors. And then the kind hostess offered to hook me up with neighbors and friends and all manner of other people-hating nice people who are local and in public health data analysis.

Which struck me as pleasantly ironic.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Fear

I'm not afraid of much. I didn't get what we call the "worry gene" in our family, and I work hard at practicing acceptance and letting go of things I can't control. Given that, there's just not much left to actually walk around being afraid of.

But there have been a couple of times where I've taken my children, on purpose, to something that feels like peril. Twice to a ropes course (SO high off the ground) camp, once getting into the boat to raft the Colorado, and twice to the oral surgeon's office to put the Princess under general to have teeth removed. In all those cases, I was able to keep it in, not let my terror show and affect the kids. But MAN, it's there and it's a struggle.

I brought her in today to have her impacted lower wisdom teeth removed. Last week we got to watch a lovely informed consent video, which goes over in minute detail every horrible thing that can go wrong. Death, facial deformity, nerve damage. And then I sign a form saying that's FINE with me, whatever happens, and then they ask twelve different ways if she has any problems with anesthesia. Well, no, not YET.

She's fine, finally eating, not in too much pain or swelling, and I'm finally able to leave her alone in the room for a little while (yeah, I admit it, I was watching her breathe). Phew.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Check This Out

http://activefiremaps.fs.fed.us/

The whole top half of my state is on fire. Although I realize it's a luxury to complain about air quality given the scope of damage and devastation to other people, complain I will. This is the third time since early May that I've had to make a decision about running based on particulate matter. Today I decided to suck it up (literally) and run 5. I'm thinking that if I take a day off every time this happens, I'm going to fall out of shape fast. But it was ugly out there on the shoreline, a dark orange haze over everything, couldn't see across the bay or even more than a mile down the street, and everyone has burning eyes and throats. No fun.

Speaking of air quality, I finally managed to figure out the public transportation system, after a couple of false starts. It's really not bad, about 35 minutes each way, I've had a seat each time and have even gotten some reading done. So I'm giving up my hard-to-get rented parking space as of Monday.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Pink Sweater: Done


OK, perhaps not the very most flattering pics of me, but I'm quite pleased with the sweater. I blocked a little big around the hips, but that's redo-able. And with the flash it's hard to see the perfectly done cabling pattern on the back that I'm oh so proud of. But, trust me, it's comfy, it fits, I like the color, and I will - really! - wear it.

And whenever I'm wearing it, I will think of my grandmother. I rushed out and grabbed pattern and yarn just a few hours before I got on the plane to go see her after her stroke. She admired the pretty rose color before she passed away, and remind me for the umpteenth time to knit the other way.

I won't ever learn, but it does make me smile every time I see someone knitting "correctly."

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Why I Haven't Sewn Lately

I never made it all the way to "sewing" - this view is what greeted me when I opened the door to my sewing shed in the garden after the game. Egad!

Half of this shed is for me to sew in, the other half is the only storage space for our whole house. So when something doesn't have a spot in the house, it gets put right inside the door of the shed. But I can't blame the family for more than half of this, the rest is my doing.



Four hours later, it looks like this:

And there are five, count 'em, FIVE big trash bags full of fabric waiting to be picked up by a fellow fabric junkie tomorrow night.

The clean up gave me room to put away the tiny treasures I took from my grandmother's sewing collection, and also have a bin dedicated just to UFOs, which is nice. I tossed several, so am down to just two quilts, one skirt and one pillow that needs repair.

Can't wait!

Quarterfinals or Sewing? Hmmmm...

It's a quandary this afternoon. I've missed most of the Eurocup just living life, but I have next to nothing scheduled on this lovely Sunday. The Teen Princess is going back to the fair with friends this afternoon, JMan is at a friend's, Spouse is glued to the telly, shouting at the players. It's the perfect time to go work on a quilt or gifts for several friends marrying this month. And this coming week is chock-a-block full of events and people demanding my attention.

But...here I sit riveted, suspecting it will be a long, scoreless game.

[Addendum: I was correct. And it wasn't even very good soccer (both Spain and Italy played it boringly safe). But, as predicted by Spouse, the very last 5 minutes made the preceding 2 hours worthwhile. The Spaniards are a happy people tonight.

And sometimes instead of doing something useful, you just gotta chill.]

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Coasting

Yep, I've definitely decided to coast for a bit, and run slow. I have been working a LOT on form. Several people have recommended ChiRunning to me, and I'm going to take a workshop next month on it. In the meantime, I've been trying to adopt some of the ideas. Essentially: shorter stride, mid-foot strike (I tend to hit at the heel), slightly tipped pelvis. It is supposed to be easier on the joints, and also require less energy output per stride so that, even though you look like an idiot taking tiny steps, you can increase speed.

We'll see. But with an average pace of 10:30 this week and this new form, I can say I'm in less pain than I have been in a month, so I find it promising.

I've also started lifting tiny weights (but not over my head...never again), and am surprised to find that this time it really does seem to be helping my hurt (for almost a year) shoulder. The running form may be helping me keep the upper body relaxed, too. Either way, I am a HAPPY camper. I'm going to continue along this slowpoke path for a couple of weeks, and then decide if I still want to do a formal training for the 10K, or just get distance up to a point where that's a comfortable run. I am still aiming to run a 10K 8/23.

First Day of Summer

It's a quiz... see if you can figure out where we went on the first day of summer.







Need a hint? It was 102 degrees, I got to see quilts and crocheted booties on display, there were funnel cakes (we didn't eat them), corn dogs (some of us did eat them), and cotton candy, and at least two of us felt like barfing for part of the day.

Photo credits for all but the midway scenes go to JMan, who is developing a real eye for framing and color.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Hippie Hippie Shake

I have discovered that my hip feels oh-so-very-much better when I am walking barefoot. So much better that yesterday and today after work I took my normally reasonably pulled-together sartorially self out around the block in the podiatric all together. And I went around the block a few times, in case I hurt my tender tootsies and had to hobble home.

"Mom...there's a hippie lady who keeps walking in front of our house..."

If I lived two towns over in Berkeley, no one would even think to look twice.

I'm apparently all about the groovy and natural tonight, as I made the most wonderful all vegetable burritos for dinner (and EVERYONE ATE THEM WITH NO COMPLAINTS - those of you with children may recognize that this is something close to the most amazing thing ever, everyone eating all of the healthy dinner you made from scratch). And I have finished the (groovy wool) sweater! Ta DAAAAAA. It needs blocking and weaving and buttons, but it is cute as it was in the promo photos, it *fits* (only the second one I've made that actually does that), and it was truly a fun project. Photos tomorrow, most likely.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Eh

Heavy, heavy fog this morning, Spouse and JMan away on a fishing trip, quiet day at work. I have not run in 48 hours and my hip is pain-free without Advil, or purt near. The chiropractor got me stretching and strengthening, and suggested I take a little down time after the race to finish healing up. I thought that was a wimpy idea when he said it Friday (I was in much less pain after his adjustments than I had been), but not being in any pain at all has some appeal.

So instead of pushing through and setting personal records, I'm going to listen to my inner potato and coast for a few more days. Just some dog walking and light jogs and ab and leg work.

I'm also going to take this time to change gyms, something I've been meaning to do for months. Gas is just mind-blowing expensive here ($4.70 for regular), and even in the Yaris at 32mpg, the trips add up. There is a cheaper, smaller gym much closer, so that's going to happen this week. I just need a treadmill one day a week to work on form and speed, and then some free weights for strength.

In other exercise/gas saving news, several of us at work have decided to try public transportation. Yeah, I know. If you live in a major city, you're all "DUH?" But California local public transportation tends to suck eggs (BART and CalTrain are pretty slick, though). I can drive my car to work in 13 minutes. Riding my bike to BART, catching the train, then catching the shuttle to the hospital will take between 30 and 45 minutes. It's been a no-brainer for 2 years. But my colleagues and I sat down and figured out how much it was costing us (we have to pay for parking at work, in addition to the gas) and realized it was a savings of over $100 a month to BART. I was going to have to take pubtrans starting in August, anyway, because there is currently NO affordable parking available at UC Berkeley whatsoever.

So wish me luck. It appears that I am not alone in this endeavor - ridership is up almost 10% in just the last quarter. No seats.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Blog 2.0

I usually have a love/hate relationship with Blogger. Tonight is hate/hate.

All I wanted was a label cloud. I'm not too old to have the latest technology. I can't afford an iPhone, but a label cloud was supposed to be easy. I see them on all the cool blogs.

How hard could inserting a widget be?

But things started to go horribly awry very quickly. And now I have a new template (which I'm thinking is actually better, less cluttered) in order to address one set of problems, and lots and lots of labels, but no cloud. When I can get the html right for the cloud, the first letters of all the labels are cut off.

Humph.

[10:27pm: figured it out...so, THAT's what "padding" is!

Now my children and spouse can see where they stand next to topics like sewing and running.]

On Setting Priorities

The young person who wrote this list today, checked a few things off, and then crumpled it up and tossed it on the kitchen floor believes herself to have very little in common with this writer. And she's right in some respects - we do seem to have a different way of viewing the world, and certainly have many different interests and drives.

But she doesn't know that I do lists. I tend to do them at work or in my calendar, where she doesn't see them. But in fact I do write silly lists, lists that include things like "eat lime bar" and might have the joie de vivre implied in an exclamation mark after "write a thing". Lists, in short, very much like this list. And I don't know if she will be pleased or distressed upon learning of this similarity to our temperaments.

But I know it makes me smile.

Also: I would never have thought to put the joining mark and add "same time?" to the last two items. I think that's a lovely touch. I'm just sorry it's cut off in the scan, and sorry that she didn't get to combine the pleasures of the lime bar and the book.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Race Report: CRY 5K

I shan't go into detail, but let's just say that I have learned that I really cannot run a race in the week prior to my menstrual cycle start. There's been some research on this issue for midlife women runners, and...yeah. I've got that lesson now. I need to time my races around my cycle until menopause. I really do.

The race was marked at K's rather than miles, which took some quick calculations but in the end was far easier to pace. I was doing SUPER well for the first 2K (5:15 and 5:18), well under what I needed to PR. But then Unfortunate Things began to happen, and I had to slow way way way down or risk major embarrassment. Slow down like, running with the 8yo boys pace. No one passed me walking, which was nice, but...

It wasn't a PW, but final time was nowhere near my goal. Final was 28:15. The good news is that I felt like I was running extremely slowly, it would have been easy to go much faster. And keeping the quick pace for the first 2K was not a push at all. The other good news is that Spouse thinks I may still have placed in my AG, as most of the Speedy Elderly Ladies were running the 10K.

So I'm going to have a do-over. The San Francisco running club Dolphin South End Runners hosts a tiny informal 5K in Golden Gate Park on June 29, and the Oakland running club has a 5K next weekend - I'll pick sometime end of this week. Then I'll start focusing on distance in prep for a late August 10K.

The Princess has definitely decided that she is a sprinter, and did not like the 5K distance. (She did not ask my opinion, but I think if she trained even the tiniest bit, she would be more comfortable with it). But even with a couple of walks during the race, she came in well ahead of me. Spouse thinks she probably placed in her AG, too.

Spouse, by the way, gets huge brownie points for the long drive and support. The promised Indian food, it was announced, would not be served until 9:30 (race start was 8), so we hit Starbucks and decided to go out for Indian for Father's Day dinner tonight, instead.

Lessons learned:
  • Need to pay attention to the calendar when picking races.
  • How to pace with kilometers.
  • Don't run races that run the children's race at the same damn time as the regular race. Getting beat by a 9yo running backwards in Vans is not great for the self-esteem.
  • Driving all the way to Mountain View with gas at almost $5.00 a gallon for a race is stupid. From now on a race more than 15 miles away is going to have some DRAW. I can run the little races locally or in SF via public transit without spending $15 plus tolls to get there and back.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Itchy Feet

I finally found a sports chiropractor yesterday, first time I've seen a man (he's JMan's former soccer coach, nice big strong guy) and he turned me in to a pretzel, pushed down hard and although it was like being in a car accident for a sec, everything - from my shoulder down to my hip and beyond - instantly felt so much better. He gave me some stretches to do, a stern lecture about shoes ('k, I GET IT now, people), and confirmed what I already know about running on pitched roadways (out and back on the same side for balance, traffic be damned). Like my acupuncturist, he gently reminded me that I am a Fairly Old Person, and need to be mindful of my joints in my decisions about running. Although I can make my heart and other muscles hop to pretty quickly with training, cartilage doesn't just fall in line with your training program. Then he sent me on my way.

So I want to use my new pain-free body! My goal since March has been to do a June 5K in 27:30 or less. I'm actually hoping for a little less (if the clock read 26:59, I will die a happy woman), but we'll see. Heat should not be a factor, as the fog arrived just in time to save us from a local heat wave.

Speaking of the weather, for those of you in places where everything is normal, please keep the West and Midwest of the US in your thoughts. The former is dry as dry toast (we've had three huge Northern California fires already, and it's only mid-June - fire season normally doesn't kick into gear until August) and the latter has all of our water at once. Cedar Rapids, the place I think of as my original hometown, is under water. Seriously under water. It's going to take a lot of money and a long time for the city to overcome the damage from this flood.

From where I sit, it feels like the world is collapsing, environmentally. Let's do something.

Friday, June 13, 2008

And Exhale

All that's left is a picnic lunch today, and then I will be the parent of a 7th grader and a junior. After attending the school's graduation last night, the "junior" part is both exciting and daunting. Heck, the "7th grader" part is, too, as most of the young men and women graduating last night reflected with awe on their journeys at the school: going from chubby, giddy middle schoolers to incoming college freshmen with amazing talents and poise.

But in the now, this moment, I just have to let out a big, relieved sigh. No more 7:32am carpool trip, no more lost projects, no more cooking for 200 once a month, no more volunteer jobs, no more meetings meetings meetings, no more Ultimate trips, no more ever-shifting Ultimate practice schedule, no more "pack a LUNCH," no more "get up NOW," no more nothing. Not 'til September 2.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Why God Invented Paid Time Off

I worked until 12:45, then JMan had an orthodontist appt. (braces very soon), and I was supposed to go back to work. I was. I even left my computer on.

But he was hungry after, so we had burritos and then it was 3:30, and what, really is the point of going back to work at 3:30? I ask you. Especially when it's 83 and sunny and just flat out the most gorgeous day since yesterday which was the most gorgeous day since I don't know when.
And some school friends asked me to come help do flowers for the graduation dinner tomorrow, so I wanted to try making lemon bars, from the cover of last month's Better Homes & Gardens since it was a pot lucky sort of thing (long aside: BH&G is so "not me" a magazine, and yet whenever I let the sub lapse, I miss it...plus: cheap.) (Further long aside: why do we associate lemons with summer when they're totally unripe in the summer? I have a huge lemon tree, completely useless for July lemonade. But you want lemon on your cold water fish in January? We're the place to get it.)

And then while the lemon curd was curding the garden sang a lovely tune.












And as soon as I hit send on this post, that chair and I will become one.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

You *Think* You'll Hold Your Abs in All Day...

...but you won't, not really.

And I hadn't even eaten any cake yet. Nice hair, too.
This is why I like being the one taking the photos.

Monday, June 09, 2008

It's Official

Laura very kindly reiterated that I *am* a runner today, and that was timed perfectly for this planned announcement: according to Weight Watchers, and we all know they are the authority on this, much as the postal service is the authority on Edmund Gwenn's Santa, I am no longer a jogger. I am a runner. At least, when I run tempo runs, speedwork, "fast" runs, basically anything but slow runs and dog runs. 'Cause I can run them at 9:00/mile or less.

And although it makes no difference in point values used that I can see (we all know that sad, sad lesson by now, right? Speed doesn't translate to greater caloric expenditure? God hates speedwork, too.), WW On-Line classifies 9:00 and under as "running" and 10:00/mile as "jogging". So I'm in the club.

One of the quotes I found in a couple of spots lately is that the difference between a jogger and a runner is an entry form, and I kinda like that one, too.

And? Can I say? Although it's totally, totally lame to taper for a 5K, and I really get that, I am so happy to follow Mr. Higdon's plan this week. I'm loving sleeping in a bit, my hip is improving rapidly, and I barely break a sweat on these sunny, warm mornings.

Phew!

That's me exhaling after keeping a secret forever, expressing relief that it all went OK, expressing tremendous relief that it's over, and just a general "phew!" at the week that was.

It started with a music recital last Sunday, then a zany schedule at school and work, and then prep. Lots of prep. Secret prep.

We threw a little surprise 16th birthday party yesterday. Not generally given to anxiety, at approximately T minus one hour, I freaked out that no one would come. It's the weekend before graduation, the first real summer weather we'd had, a Sunday night, at the same time as a big dance recital that several friends were in and an awards presentation that several more were in. And teens don't RSVP, they just don't. So had enough food for 40 people, and I was going to have a sobbing teen on my hands when she walked in the door, I just knew it.

Yeah, shoulda gone for the kegger.

But I was silly to worry. Her friends like her, and as she said in a whisper about 10 minutes after she walked in the door, "Mom...there are SENIORS here!" And there were, several of them. And two of them grilled for us, very sweetly, and it was all good. We got some adult company throughout the evening, in good part from Stefaneener and two of her things, and I got to see her sock. And the place was cleaner'n a whistle within a half hour of stop time. All parties should be that easy (it helps to have the weather and guests cooperate).

Then, as if that wasn't enough fun, Spouse turned The Big Five Oh today. This was not the extravaganza it could have been, but I'm treating him and a buddy to a 2 mile stretch of trout river all to themselves for three days later this month, and we did take him out to a lovely dinner and bought him an adorable cake (but someone the previous night had put a big ol' fingerprint on the camera lens, so the photos of the cake have a greasy thumbprint on them).

Spouse has a gift for poetry, and often writes me poems for special occasions. I can't write anything clever, but it turns out he passed his gift on to his eldest. Will post tomorrow.

Still have graduation and school picnic and grad night volunteering and the race on Sunday, and then ohmygodIneedanapsobad.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Late Spring Joy

God, I love endorphins so much. I was exactly half way through a 7 mile run on the most gorgeous morning in months and the bubblegum pop anthem I'm a Believer came on the iPod (yeah, not even The Monkees, but SmashMouth) and I was so filled with supreme happiness that I sang along for the whole song. Passing people walking their dogs and little children in strollers.

I'm an idiot, but idiots are generally happy. So what the hey.

Last night I was stretching on the floor and the part of my spine the acupuncturist had worked on gave a nice loud pop and I'm all but cured. There's some muscle soreness in the back and hamstring, but the screaming pain when I sit is GONE, baby, and that's something to sing about.

We watched Close Enounters of the Third Kind on the wall outside (I was the only one who had ever seen it - wow), and other than not being able to get any sound except the laptop's, it was just the coolest thing EVER. I think we have some new summer fun planned.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Mad, Mad I Tell You

My spouse, who is a tough guy, thinks I'm nuts running through the pain, but geez. I trained for 10 honkin' weeks for a 5K, I've paid for the race, my daughter wants to run it, I'm running it. And I'm finishing the training regimen before I run it, damn it.

Actually, my hip really doesn't hurt at all while I'm running. Today I ran 5.2 miles, count'em, FIVEPOINTTWO, at an 8:56 pace. 6 weeks ago I was delighted to do one mile at that pace. It's after a run that it kills me. The massage was pleasant enough while I was going through it, but had absolutely no impact that I could see. I fared a little better today with an acupuncture treatment (and got some free advice about form from my runner/tennis pro acupuncturist).

So tomorrow is 7 miles slow, then off, then 2m, then off, then 2m, then 2 days off before the race, which sounds pretty recovery-ish to me. And I do have the new shoes, and that should help.

OK, something besides running? Um, I'm two rows from being done, finally, with the charted pattern on Tangled Yoke. Summer is finally here, and we long-term borrowed a computer projector to watch movies in the back yard, against the side of the house, and that's what we're going to do as soon as night falls. In the comfy lounge chairs, with blankies against the inevitable evening fog.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Ouch, and Other Things

I think I have experienced my first shoe-related injury. I've run, according to http://www.mapmyrun.com/, where I track such things, about 210 miles in my current shoes, but I do not record when I use them to walk the dog or wear them grocery shopping, so probably about 400 total. And my hip? In agony after three runs in a row this week (I'm more typically 2 on 1 off). I was whining last night, popping Advils, and Spouse decided to step in.

He has knee problems and is insane about replacing his shoes every three months. I've always thought he was nuts, really. How much difference could it make? But he said he could predict what my heel treads looked like based on my whining. And he did, exactly. My shoes are toast.

So I get new shoes today. And a day off before a 5m fast on Saturday. I also have an appointment for a deep tissue massage tonight. I really really really hate massages (they're just so...touchy), so I'm going way out on a limb here. But I'm in a lot of pain, there are no chiropractors anywhere available on Friday afternoons, apparently, and yelp.com recommended a place right down the street with many rave reviews for just this kind of pain. So I'm going to give it a go.

And since this is a running post, I will mention the great and unexpected honor that was bestowed upon me by Laura yesterday. Go to her blogroll, and scroll all the way down, aaaaaallll the way down, to "Running". See it? It's ME. Under "Running!"

Better'n cheap plastic. Thanks, Laura!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

All Alone

I only get to be alone overnight in my own house once in a blue moon, and tonight's it. The kids are both away at the sixth grade school camping trip (the Princess is a counselor) and Spouse is chaperoning. I went up to the camp for the big family potluck and skit performance, walked Cal for about an hour in a gorgeous setting (saw wild turkey, a number of hawks, and deer), and then zipped home. The Bay Area has more than a few things wrong with it, but it is an urban area with incredible proximity to wild areas, and I went from isolated campfire to my front porch in less than half an hour.

I did forget to take photos...but it was a lovely time. It was mostly 6th grade parents tonight, and I don't know them well, so it was fun meeting new people. I'll be hanging around with them for 6 more years, and it was a nice way to start.

This morning I was so fast on my speed workout that my eyes did a fall out of their socket boing thing. But my running posts are getting old, I know. Blah blah blah tempo blah blah knees blah blah splits. So suffice it to say I'm pleased as I enter my last training week before a slowdown leading up to the race on 6/15. Then I get two weeks of rest before I start 10K training.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Quickie Prom Report

Thumbs up, she can't wait for next year. Dancing, two great meals bookending the event, lots of friends, what's not to like? The biggest complaint was that the coat check room took way too long to get in to and out of, and caused them to have to keep the limo an extra half hour.


All things considered, that's not bad at all.

Back in the Zone

I've been pulling my running act back together in fits and starts over the last three weeks, but this morning was a triumph. I'm sure I'll be OK for a 5K with a decent time on 6/15, and am going to go ahead with plans to run a slow 10K in late August. Maybe it's the endorphins talking, but I feel great.

Following on my 7m yesterday I did a 5m today at, check it out, a minute faster pace than the last time I did this same run 6 weeks ago. And it was a "regular" run, no significant push for speed.

I'm jammin'.

The rest of life: We have not seen the prom queen yet, she spent the night at a girlfriend's. This afternoon both moppets have a recital. Tomorrow the neglected child (the one who didn't have a milestone birthday, relationship troubles and first prom all in the course of three days) and his sixth grade class are off to go camping, with some of the big kids (including his sister) in charge and minimal adult supervision...just enough to keep it from turning in to Lord of the Flies, I hope. I'll be there for dinner both nights (it's only a half hour away, and I'm in charge of the food), so should get some good photos and see some fun stuff.

After that there's the seniors' graduation, which is a community event, and then the last day of school picnic, which is another community event, and then - my GOD what will I do with myself for the summer?