Friday, July 30, 2010

And Possibly Beer.

Ha Ha!  Its Friday and I've only had to work 2 and a half days this week.  Can I get a WHOOP WHOOP?

Short work weeks are awesome.

Tonight, we're biking down to the farmer's market for some peaches and cherries and whatever else catches our eyes.  There's a dude there who sells hot tamales and I'll be lobbying hard for a few of those (pork!) plus some fresh fruit to make up an easy dinner.

(Note:  I kind of hate you all who have daily or even weekly farmers markets year round.  You know who you are.  Here, our market is once a week for 4 hours from July-September and honestly there's not a ton of stuff to choose from...whatever farmers in northern Colorado can grow.  The upside to this is that Farmer's Market Day is an Event at which they block off two city blocks downtown and pretty much the entire town shows up to mill around in the sunshine.)

Sunday, then, is the Husband's birthday.  He still hasn't decided what he wants to do.  I have no plans for a cake or anything because I've asked him repeatedly what he would like and he hems and haws and rolls his eyes and basically ignores me.  So!  We very well may be putting candles into scrambled eggs or something. 

As for me, I'm feeling raw and ragged from coming off our vacation and jumping straight back into work.  I just need some catch-up time at home...laundry, cleaning, reading my book, and maybe a long run and some yoga to center myself again.  And possibly beer. 

Oh, and I suppose I'll hang with my son.  That kid is alright.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Birdie Was Here

  Woods Landing, WY.  Population: 94. 

This week, my folks drove out from Missouri and rented a cabin in Woods Landing, by the river.  No cell phone signal, no internet...just us and the quiet beauty of the Snowy Range.  My dad and I went on a couple amazing runs that had my thighs begging for mercy due to extreme mountainous terrain.   We literally ran 2.5 miles UP A MOUNTAIN towards an observatory and then back down again.  At sunrise.  It was awesome and breathtaking and some of the hardest running I've ever done. 

We played in the water and hiked a bit and had a campfire complete with s'mores.   We picnicked out-of-doors and generally made merry. Otto collected rocks and bird feathers and pine cones and drank what might have been his first soda ever: a cold, sweating can of Sprite purchased at the little country store.  He held it gingerly with both hands, sipping at it reverently as though it were some rare, expensive single malt scotch.

And now we're home, with a pile of dirty clothes reeking of sunscreen and bug spray and woodsmoke and sore legs and light sunburns.  Otto had such a wonderful time, playing baseball with my dad, running through the woods in the sunshine, reading books with my mom, and being the center of attention for days on end.   

This morning, in fact, when it was time to say good-bye and go back to our lives, even though we'd talked (a lot) about how this morning we'd have to get up and say bye to Nana and Doodah and go back to school  he was completely inconsolable.  Wailing for his Nana and sobbing in this totally heartbreaking way.  It was fucking brutal.  I felt like a child abuser leaving him at school, he was so upset. 

Now we just gotta get through a partial workweek and piece some normalcy back together.  I love summer and I love vacations, but I also love my daily routine. 

But man, we had a wonderful time.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Let's Begin at the Beginning...a Very Good Place to Start

This last weekend, I ran my first 5K race since high school. 

I had two goals going into it:  Run the Whole Way and Don't Be Last.  I also wanted to be under 30 minutes but the first two goals were the most important.  I was nervous.

So, I showed up for registration at 7:15 or so (start time was 8:00) and immediately regretted riding my bike as that meant I had no place to lock up my wallet or sweats.  Good thing the husband and Otto were scheduled to come down before the start- I would be able to stash stuff in the bike trailer.   I got my bib number and t-shirt (another thing that needed to be stored somewhere) and commenced to pin my number onto my tank top with mildly shaking hands about 47 different times until I was satisfied that it was straight and not going to bug me while I was running.

I also felt like I had to pee every five minutes.  Yeah, nervous.

Fortunately, the running gods smiled on me and I spotted a bookclub friend in the registration line.  I clung to her like a life preserver until the race start, the poor dear.  After she got set up, we ran a few blocks together as a warm up and chatted which was great for keeping my mind off of the "what if's."  We did some stretching and then the husband and the kiddo showed up and provided some more entertainment.  And a place to put my stuff.

Before long, it was time to line up.  The 10K runners left 5 minutes before us 5K-ers and we cheered them on as they thundered past.  They looked fast.  And skinny.

I lined up near the back of the back of the pack, figuring it was better to start slow and pass others than the other way around.  I was so right.  The gun went off and my friend and I stayed together for maybe 20 yards and then I shouted at her to "Have Fun!" and got inside my own head and tried to find my pace.

It was relatively cool and cloudy, so heat wasn't a concern.  The race course was near my neighborhood, on streets I've run many times so finding my footing wasn't an issue.  I was able to just let go and RUN.  And it felt good.  I was passing people.  A LOT of people.  I wasn't near the front, by any means, but I was doing it.  I was DOING IT!  And it felt good!  It was fun!

The husband and Otto biked up to the half-way point aid station and cheered me as I grabbed a paper cup full of water and commenced to get it just about everywhere except in my mouth.  Running is bouncy.

It was about here that the side stitch started.  For some reason, my right side is prone to this and it happens often.  I tried the tricks I've read about- shallow, quick breathing for a couple minutes and then deep, slower breaths for a couple minutes after that.  The only thing that seemed to work, though, was shoving my fingers into my abdomen and cursing under my breath.  That helped.

Since a 5K is only 3.1 miles, however, and I've been running almost double that on my long runs, it went by really fast and pretty much before I knew it, I was nearing the finish line.  I could see the big clock!  And people were lined up on the sides cheering...for me!  I picked up my pace.  This could be addicting.

I crossed the finish line with a time of 26:50:4...well under my 30 minute goal.  People patted me on the back and brought me water and fruit and the husband said how proud he was and Otto reached up to kiss my neck. 

We hung out for a while and then at the awards ceremony, I was surprised and frankly shocked when I heard my name called as 1st place for my age group.   I got 18th overall out of 70 runners.  WTF?  This seemed crazy.  And like it was probably a mistake.  But I looked at the listed times and...yeah.  There I was! 18th overall and 1st for women 30-40 yrs.  Holy shit.

Gold medal!

I've signed up for another 5K in a month and am seriously considering an 8 mile trail race set for two weeks after that. 

I'm just getting started.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My Favorite Things- Let's Go (Window) Shopping

I know its kind of a silly, frivolous pastime, but one of my favorite things to do is window shop (and really shop) online.  (Its still window shopping online- hello...Windows.)  Some of these things, I have actually purchased and some of them are just plain eye-candy-wishful-thinking...

1.  V-neck tee shirts.   I'm finding that with all the strength work I've been doing, I now have some definition in my shoulders and my collar bone.  (Yay!)  However, the boobies are showing the effects of weight loss and pregnancy/breastfeeding.  (Boo.)  These cheap little shirts are flattering in that they highlight the collar-boned-ness while (paired with a nice little padded bra) creating the illusion that I still have boobs.  (Its not a trick, Michael! Its an ILLUSION

They come in lots of colors, but of course all mine tend to be gray, black, or something in between.  I'm so predictable.

2.  This online store.  OMG THE CUTE.  I think that ever since my stint in Denmark, I've had an attraction to Scandinavian design.  In some alternate dream universe in which money is no object, I totally live in a beautiful, spacious home full of light and hardwood floors and pale smooth lines broken up only by whimsical textiles and creative light fixtures. 

I mean, really:

3.  My Asics running shoes.  I know they are pricey.  Oh lordy, are they pricey.   But my dad sprung for them and I've always felt more comfortable spending his money than my own.  Haha.  Anyway, they are cushy and wonderful and pretty much the minute I started running in them, I noticed a significant decrease in my knee pain and overall achy-jointed ness.  They rock.

I went to an actual running store to get fitted for these- they made me run and walk a bit for them and it was determined that I 1) don't pronate at all and 2) have high arches.  These are what's known as a neutral, cushioned shoe and they are heaven to run on.

When this pair is shot, now that I know what I like, I'll fish around online for a good deal.  Although, I recently discovered that if I join our local running club, I get 15% off at the running store.  So when the time comes, I'll weigh my options and do whatever is cheapest.  I do think it was important and worth a slightly higher price in the beginning to have a knowledgeable sales person help me find the right shoe for me.

4.  This shop Etsy and their cute arm warmers.  Here at high altitude, even though the days are warm, the early mornings and late evenings are very cool.  A pair of these with your t-shirt and jeans can feel just right, especially when driving to work at 7am when the steering wheel is coooooold.

  And OMG they're cute. 

5.  And for the same reasons, I'm loving lighter, summer scarves.  They are just right when the chill comes off the mountain but you want to keep sitting outside, watching the citronella candle burn and trading insults with your friends over some PBR's.  Ahem.

(Found here and here )

* Of course, I'm not getting paid for any of this.  Just shoppers love/lust!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Born to Run

You know, I'm honestly and pleasantly surprised at how much I'm getting into running.  And not just because its exercise or something to do or meditation or sanity-saving or adrenaline producing or any of those other things that running is starting to be to me.  I'm also getting into it as a Sport. 

This is weird for me on so many levels, but mainly because I've never really 'gotten into' a sport.  In fact, I've generally been pretty "anti:"  I hate American football more than anything.  I'd rather have a root canal than have to sit through a football game.  Basketball is dumb and I really can't stand watching men play especially because every time they go up for a shot or a rebound all you see is huge pastures of armpit hair.  Baseball is almost as boring as golf which is slightly less exciting than watching grass grow.

That leaves hockey and soccer, which I can tolerate and sometimes even enjoy if its something exciting (like the Stanley or World Cup) or its happening live right in front of me.  But I would never say I was "into" either of them. 

But running.  Its something different all together.  Its tough.  Its about mental and physical endurance and tenacity and individual strength and determination.  I found a pile of back issues of Runner's World at a garage sale a few weeks ago for a quarter a piece and snatched them up.  Once home, I poured over them, reading each of them cover to cover and then flipping back through.  I couldn't stop!  The more I learn, the more I "get into" it, the more Runners inspire me. 

Take Katherine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon as a numbered entry. She entered the famous race in 1967 using her intials of K.V. Switzer, 5 years before women would be officially allowed to compete.    Once she received her number and began running, and it was clear that she was female, a race official forcibly tried to remove her from the race.  She literally ran away from him (with some help from her boyfriend who was running with her) and completed the 26.2 miles in 4 hours and 20 minutes.  She later went on to win the New York City Marathon in 1974 with a time of 3:07:29.

Then there's Deena Kastor, an Olympian Marathoner, U.S. record holder and all around bad ass.   She's 5'4", 104 lbs. and one of the best distance runners in the world.  She's come back after injuries to run her heart out achieve personal bests and set U.S. record times.   She's one tough little cookie. 

I watched this movie the other day, which features these women, and many other runners and realized that I'm hooked.   I got all misty at several points in the film, thinking about all the hard work and determination that each runner must have to finish such a long distance.   Running long distances is hard and its lonely. Its grueling and not especially glamourous.  It takes time and energy and a willpower that I just don't think everyone has.

But its also rewarding.  Running is inspiring, fortifying, spiritual.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

When I was in High School, I ran cross-country.  It was easy for me.  3.2 miles is nothing and as a 16 year old, I had great times.  I won female athlete of the year once.  But then I discovered Boys.  And Indie Rock.  And Tom Robbins.  And smoking and drinking and joy riding and all those other things young people do.  And I left running behind and didn't look back.

My dad, on the other hand, has always been a runner.  Always.  Rain, shine, snow, never mattered to him.  He was out there, running.  When I was running, we would sometimes run together, him pushing me to be stronger, faster. 

Then I Went Away.  Europe, college, marriage, baby...these were in the foreground.  Running was not.

This week, my dad came to visit.  I casually asked him if he'd like to go for a run.  His eyes shone.  We left at 6am, striding together through the early morning fog, discussing shoes and foot placement and proper form and how to build speed.  It felt like I was 16 again, running along side the first man who ever loved me, the first man who saw what I could truly be.

It was good to be back.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Old Glory

Just dragged ourselves back into town after 4 days spent in the absolute WAR ZONE that is Lander, Wyoming on July 4th. Fireworks are encouraged. Open container laws are lifted. In short, it is a huge, drunken free-for-all involving fire and explosions. What's not to like?

Even though our "real" purpose was to be at the party for mom-in-law's 60th birthday  (which was fun), we managed to squeeze in the parade and the husband and I even got out for a bluegrass show and a lawn party during which drunken 20-somethings were shooting off roman eachother.  The mother in me kinda wanted to call their parents.  But instead, I just grabbed another beer and got the hell out of their way.

Also, my dad was in town to run the half-marathon that takes place every year.  He lives in Missouri, so the altitude bothered him a bit.  But as you can see, he finished way strong.  He is my hero and he is awesome.  Maybe next year I'll be there with him...

And really, how cute is that little downtown?  This is the town in which I spent my last years of high school and where I met my husband.  So its always fun to go back and see how it hasn't changed at all.  Well, at least not in the ways that matter.

And now, I'm sitting here trying to get my head around an overflowing inbox. 

Viva la USA!!! And Viva la Vacation!!