Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Galloway Is the Only Way (For Now)

I have no business running a half-marathon on Sunday. I am completely unprepared. My entire mileage for this year is 129.38. Uh-huh...for the YEAR. I am certain even my non-running friends can look at that and say "yeah, that's not going to cut it".

Regardless of the mileage and the lackluster effort most of those miles were, I am signed up and therefore will find a way to get through the 13.1 miles come Sunday morning. Desperation forced me to find a different way and I think I figured it out this weekend: I am going to do a Galloway. For those not familiar, Jeff Galloway is a big name in running and has made that name by devising a run/walk program for half and full marathoners. Desperate to find something to get me through a distance I am not ready for, I did a six-miler utilizing a 3:1 run/walk ratio on Saturday. Boy, what a difference the one minute walk breaks make. It is SO much easier. Still challenging but I could have easily kept on going; which is good because that wasn't even half the distance I will be covering on Sunday. There wasn't any of the calf tightness, Morton's Neuroma issues, or blistering that have been plaguing me of late and I felt strong. This is my ticket to doing my best in Eugene while not totally sucking it and being miserable for many long miles.

I was also hoping the run/walk method would help my hip pain but no dice. The pain actually flared up more while running and felt pretty bad for the rest of the evening. Sunday and Monday weren't too bad but today I could feel it all day. I didn't even do anything yesterday but sit which, now that I think about it, makes for tight hip flexors. I hope it is just tight hip flexors because I am really starting to wonder if something else isn't going on in there. I actually broke down and took an Ibuprofen today (which I almost never do) and I will be icing it later tonight. I just want to get through the race with no problems and then back to the physical therapist for another look.

Monday, April 27, 2009

You Had Me at Rabbits on Tricycles

Saturday evening I had the weirdest run. Weirdest run ever, to be specific. If I had taken an energy gel I would have questioned whether or not they included hallucinogens. GU: Now with LSD!

I was running at Greenlake and I had almost completed my first lap when I looked off to my right and noticed something at the end of one of the docks. Something large and white that I quickly realized was a white canopy bed with all white bedding. There also appeared to be some musical stands and some lighting equipment nearby so I surmised this was some sort of wedding that would be taking place later. A wedding involving a large white canopy bed was kind of weird but, eh, no biggie.

As I rounded the next bend I noticed a group of men in black tuxes, tails and top hats standing by some row boats tied up next to the dock. "Oh," I said to myself, "they are going to row to the next dock for the wedding. How quaint". And away I trudged.

Further on around the lake I noticed another man in tux, tails and top hat videotaping something on the outside of the lake. I glanced to my left to see what he was filming. Then I did a double-take. Then a triple-take. Coming down the hill of one of the side streets were five women dressed in long, white dresses wearing what appeared to be large white mouse heads. If this was a wedding it was one I had to see.

Thoughts of what kind of event (wedding or performance art) was about to take place occupied my mind while I ran most of my second lap. While I was deep in thought, imagining how cool a mouse head wedding would be there appeared more tuxed, tailed and top hatted people. This time coming towards me on roller blades carrying silvery-white balloons. They handed me a card and wished me "Happy New Moon". It was a performance vignette later that evening and sadly not a mouse head wedding.

But wait. What is that coming this way in the bike lane? Why it is three large white rabbits in old-fashioned white tuxes riding old-fashioned tricycles. The kind with a huge front wheel of course because what else would you expect rabbits to be riding? I am now totally in at this point. I am coming back to the lake in an hour to see what this was all about.

Right near the end of my run I passed more tuxedoed, tailed and top-hatted people sitting on picnic tables playing beautiful old-timey fiddle-ish music. And the women with the mouse heads? Silly, why that was just your eyes playing tricks on you. It was actually three horse heads, one cat head and one owl all wearing long white Victorian style dresses, white gloves and currently being quietly ferried around the lake in the rowboats with the tuxedoed men at the oars. These weren't some cheesy furry costume character kind of animal heads either. They were all white and looked like porcelain although clearly made from a softer more pliable material. Stunning. The sun was beginning to set, the lake was getting quiet and these beautiful creatures with their stylishly dressed rowers created the most magical image on the lake.

The card I was handed told me that the people responsible for this surreal, magical spectacle are Lucia Neare's Theatrical Wonders. They are doing this "Lullaby Moon" performance around the city of Seattle every new moon for an entire year. It was ethereal and whimsical. Odd and beautiful. If you are in the neighborhood for a future performance do yourself a favor and go. You will be surrounded by weirdness, whimsy and wonder. You won't even need a hallucinogenic GU.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


As some of you know, my schedule this quarter is a little wacky. It goes something like this in an ideal week:

  • Monday: work from 7:30 -9:30; leave work and go to school; leave school and go back to work around 1:00; work until 4:30; leave work and go to school; leave school and come home between 8:00 - 8:30
  • Tuesday: work from 7:30 until 5:30 to make up missed time from the day before
  • Wednesday: repeat Monday
  • Thursday: repeat Tuesday
  • Friday: Work whatever hours are needed to get me to 40 for the week

This shouldn't be that complicated but for some reason I find it really difficult to settle into this schedule. I am constantly feeling like I have to stop and think about where I am supposed to be next and what it is I am supposed to be doing. I also find it hard to drag my carcass into work at 7:30 in the morning so I find myself having to flex the non-school days in weird ways to get my time in. That is why I spent a few hours last sunny Saturday in my windowless dungeon that is my place of employment.

The other issue is I got used to going to bed between midnight and 1:00 last quarter. This left me in a constant state of exhaustion but it was what my body was used to. Turning it around to get to sleep by 11:00 has been challenging. Even that doesn't get me the 8-9 hours I need to be at my best.

Good news is that we are 1/3 of the way through the quarter now. Not that I am counting or anything.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Swans and Snow

Friday night I took Mom to see PNB's "Swan Lake". Kevin joined us as well. It was another stellar production by the company but the ballerina we saw dance the Odette/Odille role two years ago was much better. This woman was good but the other dancer was amazing.

It was Mom's first really big outing since the knee replacement surgery and she did very well. She is eagerly looking forward to her next ballet experience. Next time though we are going on a weekend. To get us both there I had to leave work, rush home to change, rush all the way to Federal Way to get her, drive back to Seattle and then drive her back home afterwards. We almost missed the curtain. It is too much to squeeze into a Friday night.Saturday was filled with long overdue errands, chores, homework and a few hours of actual work. Nothing exciting but I got lots of necessary things done and a little bit of sleep.

Sunday morning Kevin and I went up to the pass to go snow tubing. The weather was glorious! Warm and sunny and fabulous. The problem is prolonged periods of warm and sunny and fabulous makes for some lousy tubing conditions. The tubes would stop about half-way down the lane and then you had to trudge down the rest of the way.

We had a good time even with the cruddy conditions. I also discovered that I lack basic snow tubing skills. What's that you say? You didn't know there were such things as basic snow tubing skills? Well, there aren't but I still managed to be completely incapable this time of going down the hill head first without tumbling off the tube. Kevin was able to snap this pic of a particularly spectacular FAIL I had on my last run of the day.

Yup. Still sliding down the hill. Been sliding for awhile at this point. I am made of awesome.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Nothing Funny About Comic Sans

One of my instructors this quarter made us subscribe to the Wall Street Journal. Now, in addition to being the kind of girl that weekends in Napa, I am apparently also the kind of girl that subscribes to the Wall Street Journal. Please feel free to punch me in the face the next time you see me. I just might do that myself.

Anyway, I am actually pleasantly surprised at the kind of information that is in the WSJ. Hefty paper with tons of interesting, quality writing. It isn't just all boring business stories which is good because it is articles like this one that was on the front page this morning (slow news day) about the worldwide hatred of the Comic Sans font and the movement to stop its use that I find so entertaining.

I hate this font. I have a stereotypical image of the type of person that uses this font and it isn't good. I feel my blood pressure tick up a notch when I see something typed in this font. But it has never occurred to me to start a movement dedicated to the eradication of a typeface. These people really need to get a life. I guess the fact that I have ever given a typeface more than a passing thought also means that I could stand to get a grip a little bit too. Even though I don't want to spend my time being a proponent of typeface genocide I am pleased to know there are others out there who believe as I do.

If you have a life and don't want to read the story I will share with you the best quote and the one that sums up why Comic Sans is all sorts of wrong is this: "[it is] analogous to showing up for a black-tie event in a clown costume".

Now go forth and type in an appropriate font, preferably one that doesn't involve floppy shoes, while I find something important to think about.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I Am Normal

Nope, nothing wrong with me according to the physical therapist. This is good news. I went to see her because I have been having pain in my right hip on and off since January. It used to bother me the day after a run but the last few weeks it was bothering me all the time. I could feel it with every step and it hurt. She doesn't think it is anything more than extremely tight hip flexor muscles and possibly a little bit of tight IT band, which is a body part I didn't even know existed until I started running.

I was concerned about the hip pain because I was convinced the extreme tightness in my calf muscles and the Morton's Neuroma in my left foot were throwing off my gait and causing the pain in the opposite hip. They still might be, but for the next two weeks I am merely to stretch and see where that gets me. The PT thinks she will need to do some strengthening exercises for the calves but first wants to see if the almost burning pain I get on a stretch is because of a nerve or not. It is very odd; I do the stretches but then I am "aware" of my lower leg for a long time afterwards. It isn't calf pain, it isn't numbness, it isn't tingling, it is somewhere in between and it is best described as being aware. I am of the opinion that you shouldn't be aware of any body part that you aren't actively using.

I plan on being a very compliant patient and do my stretches every day. I am even looking at fitting a yoga class into my schedule somewhere (ha!) so I can achieve proper Gumby-ness.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sweet, Sweet Schadenfreude

Watching the player that had been on your fantasy baseball team for the last five years and was ruthlessly stolen from you by your own brother during the draft not only get tagged for the loss against your home team but lose the game because of his throwing error in a league that tracks fielding percentage is indeed a glorious thing. And a run-on sentence.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Ritual bread bunny slaughter. Since this is a stealth operation and my brother couldn't get into the kitchen to get a knife because we were busy cooking, this year he used a pair of scissors.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Learnin' About the Grape Squeezings

One of my Christmas presents to Kevin was enrolling him in the Adopt A Vine program at Chateau Faire le Pont winery. Kevin has an intense curiousity about the world and how things work and loves to learn. Combine this with his interest in wine and you have a present that was custom made for him.

With the Adopt A Vine program you get to take part in four sessions that go through the entire process of wine making; from pruning to blending to crush to bottling. Saturday was the first session so we drove out to Wenatchee to the winery to pick our vine. This first program was all about pruning grape vines. Everyone got to pick a vine from a choice of nine different varietals, put your name on it and prune it up for maximum fruit production. Kevin and I both chose syrah vines and happily and cluelessly clipped away at them.

The vines we were working on are strictly for show. The winery is located in a wonderful old brick building that used to be a train depot but is unfortunately surrounded by office park. The vines that produce the wine they make come from elsewhere in the state.

I decided that my vine needed a name so I have named her Matilda. Since the Australians are known for their syrah (or shiraz) it seemed only fitting.

There was a little trash talking between Kevin and I about whose vine was stronger, who pruned better, and which vine would produce the most fruit. My Matilda will totally kick his nameless vine's ass! Not that we are competitive or anything.

Put Me In Coach

Happy Opening Day everybody!!

You can keep your calendars, flowers and groundhogs. The first true sign that spring has arrived is the first full day of baseball season.

Let's play ball!