Soggy

I suspect I failed my Real Oregonian test today.  It started out well.  I decided to go for a run instead of to the gym because it was only raining a little and it seemed likely to stop.  And it was 60 degrees out, so running in a little rain would be practically pleasant.  I could pretend I was a serious runner – a little rain won’t hold me back.  Less than a mile in, it started to come down a little steadier.  I ducked under a kiosk for a few minutes, but it didn’t get better.  Runners and walkers and other hardy folk went by me, and I decided to suck it up and keep going.  Then, of course, it turned into real rain.  Still not a driving rain (that’s pretty unusual), but steady and soaking.  I ducked under a bridge to wait it out – surely that wouldn’t last.  Packs of runners went by with disdainful looks at the tourist (that I may have been imagining).  Dog walkers gave me a wide berth – my prissiness might be contagious.

The message was clear: Real Oregonians don’t hide from the rain under bridges.

I was watching the rain hit the canal, and after a few minutes where it actually really did come down hard, I couldn’t see drops in the water anymore, so I hit the path.  Yeah, I was wrong.  It was still raining, but now it was a heavy mist.  Too light to see it hit the ground, but plenty wet enough to soak through my clothes and get in my eyes and make it hard to see.  Sneaky rain.

By the time I got home, dripping water, it was time to turn around and go to yoga, where the studio was so warm ACTUAL STEAM was rising from my damp clothes.

The hot shower I took tonight seemed almost unnecessary.  No.  It was necessary.

The lovers, the dreamers, and me

It started to rain in the middle of my run today, but the sun kept shining, and I looked to my left to see the BEST double rainbow.

I stopped to watch until it started to fade away.  Would have been perfect if the interstate wasn’t rumbling immediately to my left.  I need to find the time to get away from civilization sometimes.

Me and the Flash

Today was a really good day for a run, and I took full advantage.  It was my first run in a week (last week’s concert and travel plans got in the way), and even though I ran the same distance (3.7 miles – I’m slowly getting my distance back up) as last Monday, today I ran it SO much faster.  I can identify four things that were different today:

  1. The weather was PERFECT: mid to upper 50s and overcast.  Last week was pretty cold.  Right about 55 degrees is my favorite temperature for running.  I would have been happy with some sunshine, but it wasn’t necessary.
  2. I had two cups of Yorkshire tea before my run, so I was fully caffeinated.  I usually run in the mid-afternoon, long after any caffeine I’ve had has worn off.
  3. I was wearing my new sports bra.
  4. I was wearing my favorite running pants.

Honestly, I think the bra and pants are what made the difference.  Of course, then I went on a nearly 5-mile walk with John and OH MY GOD I ACHE.  What the hell?  We were walking.  I feel old.

I see dead people

I think I saw ghosts the other day.  I was running along Pre’s Trail (I almost always run along Pre’s Trail, but it’s important to the story today), and I saw a man and a woman running in the grass parallel to the trail who didn’t appear to belong to this decade.  They looked like 70s runners, no question.  The man had long brown hair, down to the middle of his back, loose, and a big mustache.  He was wearing short-ish shorts and those classic socks with the horizontal stripes around the calf.  The woman had long wavy-curly hair, also loose, and she was wearing high-waisted nylon pants with an elastic waste and a loose t-shirt tied in a knot at her waist.  It was eerie.

Of course, I also smelled baking bread in the middle of the park, far from any homes or restaurants, so maybe I had a stroke.

I want a gym that is nearly empty all the time but makes enough money to stay open

8:30 on a Monday morning is not the greatest time to go to the gym.  It was packed.  There are 12 treadmills, and all but two of them were occupied by older ladies walking.  Nearly every weight machine and all of the ellipicals were in use.  I was able to nab one of the remaining treadmills, but I need to keep this in mind next time I try to work out on a rainy Monday morning.

AND it didn’t even rain.  The sky was half-threatening, half-sunny, and the threatening part appeared to be taking over and the forecast said the rain was supposed to start any minute, so I figured it would be smarter to run on a treadmill than get caught out in a downpour.  And then it didn’t rain.  Still threatening, and it probably will, but I could have run outside this morning.  Boo.

Running on a treadmill is BORING.

Oh, wait, it just started to rain.  Still, I would have made it back.

Don’t be stupid!

I ran yesterday, which messed up my schedule, so I needed to run again today to get back on track.  Running every day didn’t used to be a problem, but since I’m slowly working my way back to normal, I’m only running every other day.  For reasons, I switched out my insoles today, and the bottoms of both feet like they were getting pounded.  I warmed up, I stretched, I kept going to see if it would work itself out, I stopped running and rested…and then I realized I was being really really dumb.  The reason I’m in this recovery plan in the first place is because the bottom of my foot felt like it was getting pounded.  So I stopped running, turned around and walked home, and you know what?  It takes a much longer time to walk home than it does to run home.  But it was the smarter thing to do.

Pre’s Trail

The other day, when I ran and freaked myself out while listening to a podcast, I was running on Pre’s Trail.  I don’t think he ever ran there (and certainly not on the trail as it exists now – it was built after he died), but it was built as a tribute to him.  It was his idea, inspired by the soft-surface running trails he had seen in Scandinavia.  The soft surface is why I’m running on it now.  Well, that and it’s Pre’s Trail and it’s close to our house.  I’m still working my way back up to normal running, and I think technically I’m still supposed to be on a treadmill, but I really wanted to get outside, and the wood chip-covered trail is way better for me than the hard paths in the park.  What I didn’t anticipate is how dusty and dirty I’d get.  Until this past week or so, all of my outside running, for years, has been on paved paths.  Unless there are puddles, you just don’t get dirty on paved paths.  On this bark and dirt path, though, every step I take kicks up dust and pieces of wood, and it gets everywhere.  When I get home, I have to take my shoes off outside and shake them out.  My socks are brown with the dirt that sifted into my shoes, and when I take my socks off, my toes are covered with the dirt that somehow sifted through the fabric of my socks.  And my calves!  All dirt up to my knees.  When I take my socks off, I look like I have a really dark tan line right around my ankle.  I assure you, I do not.  It’s straight-up dirt, so it’s pretty much directly into the shower for me when I get back every time.  Do not stop and rest, do not go into the kitchen, DO NOT PASS GO.

Even with the dirt, though, I like it.  My feet don’t hurt, and it’s pretty.  I’m in and out of woods, sometimes next to a pond or a canal.  The paved paths are pretty, too, and since this trail is only 4 miles long, I’ll probably go back to them once I get back to that distance, but I think it’ll be a while.  I’m still following my physical therapist’s instructions and sticking to 30 minutes only.  I think I have one more run at 1 minute walk, 5 minutes running, and then I’ll graduate to 20 minutes of running, no walking.  I’ll do that three times, every other day, then 25 minutes three times, then 30 minutes three times, and then I’m back to normal.  I hope.  Then I can go back to working on distance.  Just in time for winter.  Can’t wait!

Birds and creepy stories did the trick

I was a little blue when I left the house for my run today, but being outside (or running or time or podcasts or ducks) lifted my mood.  My run was chock full of what passes for excitement during the week.  First, I freaked myself out.  I ran on a new part of the path, and just as I entered this very cool tunnel of trees, where it got darker and atmospherically creepy, a character in my podcast started describing the time she saw a little boy at the end of her bed, and you know what?  I’m not going to keep telling that story because I’m in bed now and I’m freaking myself out again.  Trust me – it was scary and I was in a scary part of the trail that I didn’t know existed and now kind of want to avoid.  Except it was cool.

Later, I saw a heron/stork-type bird (skinny legs, long beak) staring intently into the rapids of this little creek.  He looked like he was fishing, like he might dart forward and grab a fish any second, so I stopped to watch.  He gave me a look, went back to staring at the water.  Gave me another look, stared at the water.  After the third look, I left.  I was cramping his style.

On my way home, I saw a family of four feeding dozens of ducks while leaning on the sign that describes the harmful effects of feeding the waterfowl.  The ducks didn’t seem to mind.

That’s it.  That’s my exciting afternoon.  Don’t mock – I felt better.

The right kind of Saturday

Rough outline of today:

  • Slept in all the way until 9!  Of course, it was 2am when we went to bed.
  • Rode our bikes about 4 miles to a good bagel place.
  • Spent 2-3 hours sitting outside said bagel place with bagels and coffee, reading our books.
  • Rode 4 miles back home.
  • John worked on fun computer things, and I ran (outside again!).
  • Heading out to drink and play video games at an arcade and local bars for Will’s birthday.

We’re walking over to meet everyone (it’s about a mile and a half away, and we don’t want to have to drive home), so we have to get moving, but I plan to have time to write tomorrow.  I hope everyone else’s Saturday has been as pleasant as ours!

Watching it “live”

I turned on the TV so I could have the Olympics on in the background while I wrote, and the women’s 5K is just starting.  Good timing for me.  I mean, I’m sure it was hours ago, but the men’s 5K was the race that was so awesome at the trials, so I’m excited.

Ooh, this is like live-blogging.  And by “like live-blogging”, I mean it is live-blogging.  Except that this probably happened hours ago.  But it’s happening right now on my TV!

Okay, the Japanese woman in the lead (right at the beginning) is wearing sunglasses.  No one else is wearing sunglasses.  Maybe her eyes are super sensitive to light?  It looks a little weird.

They’re running in tankinis.  I noticed that for some of the races (running and swimming), the athletes have been more covered up than in the past, but apparently not this one.  I just can’t imagine running in underwear.

Aaaaannnnd I’m back to hating NBC TV coverage. They just cut away from the race for commercials.  It only takes 15 minutes!  I have a 15-minute attention span, NBC, and I WANT TO SEE THIS RACE.  We’re switching to the website.

Wait, they’re back.  Oh, and they cut away to an old race.  COME ON.

Back, and the leader (who is no longer the Japanese woman) is WAY out in front.  Let’s see if she keeps that kind of lead.

Oh, whoops, there goes her lead.  But MAN, she looks relaxed.  That’s my goal.  I don’t need to hit that kind of speed (sub 5-minute miles – like I’ll ever come close), but I need to look that comfortable.

DAMN they’re going fast.

Oh, they look so happy!  I’m avoiding say WHO looks so happy because SOME people like to watch their races without knowing who won.  I know I was complaining about the NBC TV coverage, but at least if you’re watching it on TV, they assume you’re watching it “live” and they don’t tell you who won.  Online, for any events that are over, you can’t avoid knowing the winner when you search for the videos.  Believe me, I tried.  Even the URLs for the videos have the winners in them.  And yeah, I’ll watch them anyway, but most of the excitement is NOT KNOWING HOW IT ENDS.

I’m seriously thinking about moving my massage appointment tomorrow so I can be home to watch the actual livestream of the men’s 5000m final and NOT know who won.  John will be away (gig), but then when he watches it later, I can safely search for the video and start it for him.  Yeah, I might do that.

I won’t be breaking any records soon

This weekend flew by.  We went to Oak Ridge for a gig yesterday (pretty drive, but it was hot as hell out there), and then I dragged Christina shopping with me today.  I’ve had more successful shopping trips.  Christina was really good about putting up with me in store after store, thank goodness.  I owe her for that.

We’re traveling for a wedding soon, and I’m starting to feel stress about taking off work.  Combine that with making sure I have everything I’ll need for nearly two weeks away from home, and I’m not exactly relaxed.

The running events have started, though, and that helps.  I spent a couple hours this afternoon watching the coverage online (because NBC on TV SUCKS).  Saw some great races.  I should go running, even if it’s just the pseudo-running I can do right now.

She said I could

My physical therapist finally said I could start running again!  But not, like, actual running, not yet.  I have to start slow, and I’m only supposed to run on a treadmill (soft, level surface), and I can only go for 30 minutes.  And only twice a week!  So many limitations.

This week, I walked 5 minutes, ran 1 minute, walked 5 minutes, ran 1 minute, and so on for half an hour.  Twice.  The first time I went for 36 minutes because I was focusing so much on 5 then 1 then 5 then 1 then 5 then 1 then 5 then 1…that I lost track of how many cycles I’d done.  No pain, though (yay!), and it feels really good to be running, even if it’s only for 6 minutes.  Lindsay said I’m allowed to move to the next level if I can do the first level twice with no pain, and I did, so next time I try it, I’ll walk 4 minutes, run 2.  PROGRESS is happening, and that’s a relief.

Pictures of athletes, not much of substance. Heh, like I ever say anything of substance.

Ignore the random people in this picture.  I think it’s a cool sign.

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We were THIS close to the track….

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…and it was a beautiful day.

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And look!  The women competing in the heptathlon getting ready for their 200m race.  Butts in the air…

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Pushing off the blocks…

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Burst of energy at the beginning of a short, fast race.

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Check it out!  It’s Maggie Malone, she of the cool name and the world-class javelin-throwing arm.

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And HERE is a picture that shows all three of the men who will be running the 5000m race for the US in Rio.  You can see Lagat (check his bib) and the other two are in Chelimo (in the Army shirt in front) and Mead, in the green shirt behind.  took that picture because I was that close.  Such a cool day.

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Olympians

Yesterday was the coolest day.  We went to the next to last day of the US Track and Field Olympic Trials at Hayward Field (home of Prefontaine and Bill Bowerman), and it was INCREDIBLE.  It’s highly unlikely we’ll ever watch the actual Olympic Games in person, but yesterday, we got to watch the best track and field athletes in the US compete for a spot on the US Olympic team – those were actual Olympians, and it was unbelievable to watch.  I mean, I’m saying this even about sports I don’t care about and know nothing about, like the high jump and the javelin throw.  Those were neat to see (and the woman who won the javelin throw has the best name – Maggie Malone), but we were really there for the running events.  Us and everyone else, really.  The place was packed by the time the men’s 5000m final started.  Watching an Olympic (near-Olympic 5K) is NOTHING like watching a neighborhood 5K.  There were 16 men competing, and since we didn’t know anything about any of them, we decided to cheer for the oldest guy, Bernard Lagat, who is 41 years old and holds the American record at this distance.  I got video of them coming around during the first lap.

I forgot to mention that we had AMAZING SEATS.  We were right in the center of the long straight stretch of the track, on the starting line side (behind them – we could see butts in the air at the start), IN THE FIFTH ROW.  We were on the wrong side for the finish, but we could see plenty.

My plan was to get that video (accomplished), then conserve my battery (I was down to 13%) and get another short video as they came around for the final lap.  That first lap was relatively slow, and I wanted to be able to contrast that to the effort they’d be putting in on the final lap.  On a track, a 5K is 12 and a half laps long, so I had plenty of time to watch a few laps and then get ready to record again.  The race was crazy exciting.  Two guys were out front at first, but they tired out and didn’t end up staying in front.  Then there were another two in front (way out front), and then, right at the end, everyone else started catching up.  The guy we were cheering for, Lagat, was in the middle of the pack the whole time…right up until that last half-lap, when he SURGED AHEAD AND WON.  The 41-year-old won the race.  It was incredible, and I was screaming my head off and then his face crumpled in happy tears and so did I.  I was highly susceptible to those athletes’ emotions yesterday.  So was the lady next to me.

Anyway, I’d have video of that last lap (or at the least the part right in front of us, like in the earlier video – I had every intention of cheering, not recording, as they headed to the finish), but my phone chose the moment I pressed the record button to crap out on me and tell me my camera crashed.  SO ANNOYED.  This is the last disappointment I’ll take from you, phone.

You can watch official video of that last lap (like I just did) here.  If you pause the video at 41 seconds and squint, I think you can see John (grey jacket and his hat) and a blur that might be me, 5th row.  Or I might be imagining it.  But we’re there!

It was so cool.  Honestly, seeing this in person was one of my top five reasons for moving to Eugene.  Tomorrow I’ll post some of the pictures I took.

I’m like a mountain goat

I saw a podiatrist today, and while discussing what is wrong with my foot, he referred to my deformity.  Apparently, I am deformed.  Really.  (Mildly, but really.)  The doctor pointed out (although I will be getting it checked out for real) that my right leg is longer than my left leg by enough (no measuring occurred), and that I have been overcompensating for it when I run (he can see by the callus pattern that I roll outwards on my left foot and inwards on my right), and that overcompensation finally caught up with me.  The pain I’ve been feeling is a spasm.  He taped up my foot to help relieve the spasm, and he says I can go back to running pretty much immediately, as long as I ease into it.  If it still hurts by the end of this week, or if it changes how it hurts, I should come back, but there’s no sign of a stress fracture right now.

YAY!!

He also gave me a lift for my left shoe to help make up the difference, and I should wear supportive shoes (like my running shoes) or get supports to put in my other shoes (like my Chucks, which have ZERO support), and only wear shoes like that for the next 6-8 weeks.  I should stay away from flats, sandals, flip-flops, slippers, and any other shoe without support until the spasm is all better.  Oh, and I shouldn’t even wander the house barefoot, so I’ll be wearing supportive shoes ALL the time for a couple of months.

Blah.  But treatable!  So blah is okay.  But now I’m all concerned about how I’ve never noticed I’m uneven.  I have a regular doctor’s appointment in two and a half weeks, so I will be asking about that FOR SURE.

I never knew I looked this:

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Either of these would be okay, though:

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GOATLING!

Foot Update

By Sunday afternoon, my foot didn’t hurt anymore (I didn’t run on it – that helped), so I bought the shoes I said I wasn’t going to buy.  Then I took Monday off entirely (because my foot hurt while I was testing the shoes at the store) and biked Tuesday – still no running.  Wednesday, my foot didn’t hurt all day, so I figured I’d test it out.  It was not a good test.  I didn’t even make it half a mile before I could feel the discomfort coming back, so I walked back home and called my new doctor (who I haven’t actually met yet – I have an appointment for late May).  They have after-hours appointments with PAs, and they had one for that night at 6:45, so I went.

Inconclusive, of course, but the PA said he didn’t think it was a stress fracture (which was my worst case scenario, according to Google) because it doesn’t hurt ALL the time and I can stand on it without pain (after the pain from running has receded).  Basically, I should use ibuprofen and see if it goes away.  He said I could run if I can handle it, and if it doesn’t go away in another week or two, I should see a podiatrist and maybe get a bone scan.

Eugene is TrackTown, USA.  I must run.

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It’s my birthday!

I am celebrating having survived 37 years, I guess.  I met a runner last time I was buying shoes who says he runs a mile for every year he’s been alive on his birthday.  He’s about my age, and his birthday is in February/March (I don’t remember exactly).  It’s hard enough for me to imagine running 37 miles today.  I’ve never run more than 10 miles in one go.  I might do a half-marathon someday,  but I have very little interest in training for a marathon.  And then to go beyond 26.2?  To be an ultra-marathoner?  That just takes up SO MUCH TIME.  I have other things I want to spend my time doing.

Anyway, if I were following that guy’s model, I’d have to run 37 miles today.  Today.  In February.  Sure, I’m in Oregon right now, and sure, it’s not as cold as it would be if I were in Annapolis, but no.  No, thank you, I’m doing just fine.  I’ll celebrate in another way.

This one guy

There’s this one guy in Annapolis who runs every day – okay, there are plenty of people who run every day.  And for all I know, this guy doesn’t run every day, but he runs every day I do, so I’m making an assumption.

So there’s this one guy who, every time I see him running, is wearing ONLY a speedo.  Well, and shoes.  The cold doesn’t seem to bother him.  Maybe he stays in when it’s in the single digits, but I’ve seen him out running when it’s 18 degrees.  It’s possible he puts clothes on to run when it’s colder, but I wouldn’t recognize him, so I wouldn’t know.

I just don’t understand 1) how it’s comfortable to run only in underwear, basically, and 2) why you’d want to.  Oh, and 3) how is he not freezing his you-know-whats off?

I guess Olympic runners run in what is basically performance underwear, but he is not an Olympic athlete.  Did he lose a bet?  Must run in only a speedo for, what, a year?  Really, I can’t think of any other plausible reason to do it.

SO cold

Today was unbelievably cold.  Sure, it gets colder in LOTS of places, but I think today was the coldest day of this winter here, and that’s enough for me.  When I went for my run (because I’m tough – I’ll run when it’s that cold), the temperature was in the 20s, winds at 18 mph, and the windchill was 8 degrees.  EIGHT.  It was cold.  I warmed up, as you do when you’re working hard, so I wasn’t miserable the whole time.  Just the first mile…and a half.  And then parts of the fourth mile.  And then, well, I guess the rest wasn’t so bad.

The weirdest parts of the whole run were the parts where I had to cross the bridge.  It’s windy up there.  On my way out, the winds were gusting and they were hitting me diagonally from behind, and when they caught me off guard (which was every time), it was like I was being suddenly pushed towards the railing.  Not cool.  I couldn’t get off the bridge fast enough.  On my way back, the wind had shifted a little so it was blowing exactly perpendicular to the bridge, hitting me on my right side.  No kidding, my right nostril was frozen.  The left was…not.  It was unpleasant.  But it’s over, and next time it’s that windy and cold, I’ll avoid the bridge.  At least the sun was out.

I’ll still have to run in the cold, though.  I want to build distance again, and that means I can’t wimp out.  Six miles today!

Big news!

John passed his pilot’s exam this morning! YAYYYYYY!!!!  He’s got a few more lessons to go (some navigation stuff), and as soon as he’s comfortable solo, he does a check ride with a different instructor, and then he gets his license.  This will be the recreational pilot license.  He’ll get the regular private pilot license after we move.  (Here, I googled that for you.)

This takes some of the stress off of John (both having the exam behind him and getting the rec license first) and will give him proof of competency he can take to the next school.

In other news, it’s stupid-cold today.  I was going to get up when John left for his exam this morning and run before work, but the wind chill was in the single digits.  NO THANK YOU.  So instead, I went at lunch time, when the wind chill was in the teens.  I wore a long-sleeve shirt and TWO jackets.  My body was warm, but my face was cold.  It’s creepy to run wearing a ski mask.  I don’t really know how to get around that problem.  Scarf wrapped around my nose and mouth and cheeks? Hat pulled low over my forehead?  I suppose it’s less creepy than a ski mask, but I’ll still look like I’m going to rob someone.  I’ll even be dressed for the getaway.