Monday, July 31, 2006

Happy Monday

Another Monday - where does the weekend always go? I had a great run yesterday. I went a direction I'd never gone before - to explore the unknown in the depths of the city. It was shocking to wake up to the temperature below 60 fahrenheit (that's be about what 15 or 16 celcius to the rest of the world), there was an ever so slight rain, and because of the cloud cover it was dark. I debated leaving later, but my whole day schedule hinged upon my leaving by 5:00. So out the door I went. This was to be a mystery morning. In order to get where I wanted to go, I needed to run through an industrial area, and get up the hill on the other side. But the two nearest roads that go up this hill are a mile to the north, or a mile and a half to the south - thus adding more than necessary distance to my run. My plan was to run straight up. I'd been told there were stairs. The guy who told me has never seen the said stairs, but said he knew others had. Okay. Imaginary stairs. Under the freeway where all the homeless people sleep. In the dark. Promising. But I found the stairs. I stood at the bottom looking at them. Looking up, it was a criss-cross of freeway interchanges, and it looked like the stairs went up to the freeway. Weird. I ventured up to that land of the unknown, and lo and behold, I was on the freeway. Sort of where the bridge/freeway merge and it flows into a main arterial. The builder's plan here was odd. I ran a little way on this sidewalk on the freeway while I contemplated whether or not other freeways had sidewalks. Then the sidewalk ended, some stairs went down, and back up to where the sidewalk continued. (Apparently so one could avoid being hit by cars traveling freeway speed.) There wasn't too much traffic so I braved the road and continued the rest of the way up the hill when I reached the sidewalk again. I imagined drivers going by wondering where the heck this runner had come from. I frequently drive this freeway portion and have never noticed the stairs.

The next 4 miles were through some neighborhoods I've never run along - a very diverse area - kinda fun. Then 7 or so miles of waterfront along the lake. Part of it was along a park trail on a little peninsula park, (complete with drinking fountain for water at miles 4 and 7.5) and some along a bike path on a major thoroughfare. The lake was opened for sockeye season for three days, which doesn't happen every year. It was phenomenal to witness the amount of boats out on the water. It was as if someone had taken a game board and dumped all the pieces, allowing them to scatter at random. The lake was literally littered with boats.

I added some extra mileage in there somewhere. The map I read showed the two beach parks connected end to end and I could get back out onto the road after running through them. After running through some woods in a park, and out into a neighborhood, I reached a dead end sign. I could see the second park about 100 yards in front of me. But between me and it were a chain link fence, and either a thick thicket of bushes or a swim through the water to the beach I was staring at. C'est lavie. I backtracked and made it around. The drinking fountain wasn't working when I got there. Bummer when you don't pack water. C'est lavie again. I had another park with a water fountain planned in a couple of miles. And it was actually working. The rest of my run was serene and happily uneventful 'til the end. A little hamstring soreness, but great otherwise. I had even been doing some cutdown pacing the last three miles.

I was about half a mile from the park in the city where my husband was to meet me. Before I continue, I must explain something. I live in the United States - a free country. But even so, there are some places that I don't usually enter - namely governmnent property, especially after 9/11. But being that, the only other property that one usually holds sacred in these parts would be Microsoft property or Boeing property - both largely due to security. (It's fun to be in a boat and go past Bill Gates' compound - you can see the security guys with binoculars on the lookout for anyone who dares come too close.) At this point in my run, however, I was in the city of Renton in Boeing territory. I ran right past the huge Detour signs, thinking they didn't apply to runners, and assuming there would be a sidewalk still available. No such hope. Just like my prior beach park deadend, I could see where I needed to get to, not more than 100 yards ahead - on the other side of a mammoth fence. I swore a few times, and turned around. I went around the block, and found only barricades, no fence. I got excited and went right through. I continued down the street and lost all hope. Another chain link fence. I could see some security building nearby and I was already trespassing. The thing was - I'd just run 18 and a half miles from a different city, and the only way I knew how to get from where I was standing to the other side, was the turn by turn directions I had written down and now carried in the small ziplock baggie in my hand. I stood and looked at the detour suggested and had no idea how far away it would take me. The last few miles of pace cutdown had taken it's emotional toil and I started to get upset. I felt myself start to hyperventilate and my tears start to well-up. Not only did my day hinge upon leaving at 5 am, but also on arriving at the park at a certain time so my husband could start and complete his long run, me pick him up in a different city, and arrive to pick up our child who'd been at an overnight - on time. Silly irrational thoughts that really weren't that big of a deal, became a big deal when I was tired. I noticed the end of the high chain link fence was tied to a barricade at the next fence connection. A barricade! I can do that! In fact it was two barricades tied together with about a mile of yellow caution tape. But it was a way through. My adrenaline was rushing at this point. Mentally I dared some security guard to mess with me as I imagined my explanation with my plastic baggie and my garmin that registered my mileage. And tears - that always helps, doesn't it? The poor damsel in distress? Does tired, dirty, sweaty, cranky runner in distress work? I made it over the barricade and no one even noticed. Good thing I'm not one of those dangerous runners.

I finished the run at the park at 19 miles. Felt really good. Had some chocolate soymilk, a lot of ultima, and ate a cliff bar. Life was just fine. Lots of swimmers coming out of the water, and bikes heading in and out of the parking lot. What a great morning for exercise. The sun was even coming out. My husband headed out for his run, and the munchkins and I headed to get a coffee and treat. Now it's Monday and the UPS guy just brought a box containing my new running shoes! Ahhhh . . . . . the little things in life that make me happy!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A Look Into My World

Too many thoughts are on my mind - too many thoughts so intertwined . .

Over 90° fahrenheit for 4 days in a row. It hasn't happened in this city for 25 years - it said so on the news - and the news is always right, right? People here don't have A/C - maybe Bill Gates does - and people who live in fancy neighborhoods. But even most of them likely don't. Why would you in a city that's usually between 45° and 65° F all year round? When it's been 92° outside, it's also 92° inside. You try to open the doors and windows early to let a breeze through and then close up the house to keep it cool. Inevitably, when you have 3 active children, the door opens and closes all day long and it gets hot inside. It's hard to sleep - even with a fan on. And then you still wake up all night long. It's crazy.

I haven't typed a blog in a week and my fingernails have grown so long it's hard to type.

I mentioned in a previous post that my birthday was last week. We drove down the hill to have a picnic at the beach the night before to celebrate. I even made BBQ ribs - yummy. The kids and I picked blackberries the next day and made a pie. It's still a little early for blackberries - they're more plentiful in August. The kids were very diligent, though, and found some berries up behind the house. Blackberries are like weeds here - they grow everywhere. I don't like cake a whole lot so pie was a great birthday dessert. I think the most favorite part of my birthday was coming home from the gym. I took my 8-yr-old with me and we walked up to the gym to run on the indoor track. When we got home, my 5 & 10 yr. olds had decorated the house with ribbons, balloons, and hand-drawn banners. They were so excited - it was really cute. My 10-yr-old even opened up itunes, found a song I had just purchased from itunes, and added it to my playlist (Collide, by Howie Day), and had it playing when we walked in the door.

I've been running at the gym a lot since it's been so hot, and since I haven't been sleeping well, it's hard to get up and outside early when it's not so hot. Last Wednesday I got inspired reading about DGC's treadmill PR. I headed up to the gym and did a 10k workout. I can't really call it that 'cause I took a break in the middle. I did the first 5k @ 7:30 pace. Then I walked for a minute. I did the next 5k starting @ 7:20 pace and evenly cut it down to just below 7 minute pace by the end. I was sooo excited. It helped tremendously that Peter Gabriel's 'Salsbury Hill' came on my ipod right at the end - I was getting pretty tired. I remember telling Joe a week or two ago that the good thing about a treadmill is that you can't cheat on a workout - it forces the pace.

The next day was my birthday when I had my 8-yr-old at the indoor track. I intended to run easy. The track is something like 20 laps to a mile. The laps go by so fast, and the track is banked, so it's kinda fun. But you almost can't help going fast - especially when other people are on the track 'cause it's like roadkill during a race. However, I was sore from the day before, so I was planning on taking it easy. I forgot I brought the rabbit with me. The rabbit's name is 'Sydney' - named after the 2000 Sydney Olympics when they announced the city as the site several years prior to 2000. We should've known then and there that the child would love sports. Anyhow . . . she'd stop @ the drinking fountain on the track - when she'd see me approaching, she'd get a big grin on her face and bolt around the corner, taunting me to chase her. I'd try to catch her 'til she'd tire, take a water break, and repeat the process. It was a great 3 mile fartlek workout. I took Friday off, and ran an early and easy 5 on Saturday. I took the kids to the lake for several hours Thursday, Friday, and Saturday because it was so hot. Sunday I had a 12 mile run scheduled. I headed out just before 5 am. The first 6 miles were great - I even got to see one of the cruise ships come into the bay and run through the sprinklers in the park. At 6 miles I suddenly got tired. I stopped to stretch and walked a bit. I ran a little more, then decided I'd had enough. I walked a half mile home, and ended my run at only 8 miles. I brought in the Sunday paper and went to sleep. I spent the next day and a half with nausea, a BAD headache and sensitivity to light. I'm not sure if it was a minor migraine or just too much heat and sun. It was no fun.

I was able to lift weights and run an easy 4 on the treadmill again last night and then we took the kids to the pool and my husband snuck in a few laps while we played. The 2 mountain bike duathlons he had scheduled this summer were both canceled, so now I think he's training for a triathlon instead. I think I'm jealous. But truly I have more running goals that I need to meet before a tri. I just really want to swim more and I have a hard time with it. I think I need a coach. Maybe after our vacation next month.

After all this time on the treadmill, I've become fascinated by it as a tool for training. I've run on treadmills before - in fact my college degree is in exercise physiology and I'm a certified athletic trainer - just not doing anything with that knowledge to earn money right now. (It sure comes in handy sometimes for training, though.) But other than the fact that the treadmill has umpteen hundred functions and settings for use - I'm noticing other stuff. I never expected to have it help me with pacing - and I do much faster workouts than when I'm on the track or the road. I have the perfect opportunity to practice my chi running when I'm running in one place. (If you ever see the book, it's a great read.) I can stare at myself in the mirror and watch my form. When I set the treadmill on the lap program, I can focus on something different every lap - stride, posture, footstrike, etc - it makes it go by pretty fast. I never think about that stuff when I'm on the road. I don't think I'd survive if I didn't have my ipod, though. It amazes me the amount of multi-tasking that goes on there - running without falling off, listening to my ipod, watching the tv up ahead of me while still not falling off, reading the closed-caption while I'm watching the tv, and then focusing on my form and my pace and gawking at all the other people around me on the other treadmills as I stare into the mirror. It's really fascinating.

More life at my house . . . the Tour is over - great year . . . the Mesa Falls marathon has an updated website - I'm getting excited for it just reading the course description. I've enjoyed looking at the badwater webcast - thanks to Angie's link the other day - another year in the books. The temperature finally cooled off today - to 85°. Trail passes to Mt. St. Helens are a hot commodity. I just finished a challenging read - really made me think about society in a different way. And while I'm doling out trivial details - for dinner tonight . . . chicken breast cooked in minced garlic and olive oil, tilapia - marinated and pan fried in lime juice, garlic, salt, cilantro, and sugar, boiled purple cabbage, and gluten free spinach-rice pasta tossed with finely shredded sheep's milk cheese. Bon appetite!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Running 24/7

I think about this often as I wander through my day so I figure it deserves a random post. I've been running since I was 10. I'll be 36 - on Thursday to be exact, so - quick math - I've been running for 26 years. 26 out of 36 years means I've been a runner for 72% of my life. Dang. That's a lot. I didn't run all the way through three pregnancies, and I've taken bouts of time off for injuries, but more or less, 72% of my life I've been a runner. I've competed at distances from a 200m (4X200 relay in junior college) to the marathon. I've run on teams and I've run alone. What does all this mean? Running is constantly in my head. I find myself living every part of my life as if I'm running or racing.

Driving is the biggest one. Especially since we got our PT Cruiser, and I'm not only driving a minivan full of kids and gear. I drive like I'm running a race - sometimes on a track, sometimes a crowded road race. I find myself making sure I don't get boxed in, and feeling the need to put on surges to pass people. If I'm driving a long distance, I look to the pack of cars ahead, and try to rein them in. When I'm switching freeways, I use the onramps as if I'm beelining from point to point to shorten the distance. When I get tired driving at night, I hang with a group of cars and let them pull me along and break the wind.

I don't know how I'd exist without my stopwatch. I time everything. I time my laundry. I time my cooking. I have a separate timer to time my children's computer usage. I time how long my husband runs so I know when to expect him back. I time when I allow my children to play at a playground. I time how long I read and how long I write. I obviously time my runs. I time my splits even if I'm not doing a pace run.

I'm most comfortably dressed in running clothes. It doesn't make sense to wear much else, because inevitably I have to put them on anyway to go for a run. I wear sport sandals and running shoes. Someone I've known for 15 years told me the other day that she'd never seen my in any girl shoes. I wear shorts most of the year - 'cept for a few months when it gets too cold. Then I wear running pants and polar fleece. My closet is overflowing with race t-shirts, and the reason we do so much laundry is because of running clothes.

Sometimes if I can't sleep at night, I play this game. We have a smoke alarm on the ceiling above the bed. The red light blinks every 30 seconds. As soon as it blinks, I count - trying to maintain an even counting pace between blinks, so I get to the exact same number before it blinks again. Then I close my eyes, count, and try to resist opening them to check if I'm on pace until the last second. It's a pacing game, as if I'm running splits at the track. I do the same thing when I'm running 400's - I don't wanna let myself look at my watch until I'm done with the repeat. I'm convinced that somehow magically, avoiding peeking will make me a more successful pacer.

Everything I consume has to be considered for it's affect on running. I think that's a pretty normal runner thing. I used to have a Nike t-shirt that said, "Eat right, get lots of sleep, drink plenty of fluids" and on the back "and Go Like Hell!". Typical runner mentality.

When I walk anywhere I have to consider the course and the water stops (drinking fountains) along the way.

When I'm grocery shopping, I feel the need to weave between carts and not get passed by the same person down the next aisle.

Whether or not I do yardwork or any other form of exertion that requires lifting or muscle use depends on my training calendar. I don't want to be sore for a run.

I plan vacations with a race in mind or what kind of running routes there might be.

Sometimes I think I must be crazy. But it's so familiar to me, I don't remember any other way to be. I eat, sleep and breathe running. I love to run fast. I was so bummed the other day when I was doing a pace run that I couldn't maintain it for any longer. I love the feeling of flying when I'm running. I talk fast and eat fast too. I have all of my life. I wonder sometimes if I'm an anomaly, or if I'm the norm. It makes no difference. It's who I am. I love running. I do slow down sometimes. Like right now while I'm sitting and typing. What am I writing about? Running, of course.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


So, I could complain all about that hill on mile 5 - 300 ft in a mile, but really, it sorta worked some muscles that would've just been hangin' along for the long haul. And what goes up, must come down. Then my muscles got balanced out. What a beautiful morning. Panoramic views of the mountains and the Puget Sound all pink in the morning. My garmin said it was 16.42 - my Map Point software said about 16 - which do you think would be more fun to put in the running log . . and hey, my pace was pretty close to a 9 minute average - that's lickety split for a long run for me - and the hills n'all. So, another run down, on with my day . . .

The afternoon topped out with a trip to the street fair, a trip to the mediterranean fantasy festival, and a barbecue dinner with overnight company and hopefully a movie. And oh yeah, the triathlon. That was somewhere in the middle. I did realize, 4 hours after my run, and after the tri, that I hadn't eaten. Naughty. I had some good replacement fluids - chocolate soy, some ultima, and some espresso. You just get going with your day . . . but that barbecue dinner made up for it all. And that sushi last night at the japanese restaurant - dang, I've been eatin' good this weekend. I had chinese take-out on Friday too.

Okay, the tri. I didn't do it. I've never done one - not even a duathlon. The Seafair Triathlon was about 1900 this year. There were 300 in the kids tri that our munchkin participated in. A crazy lot of bikes everywhichwhere. We got there when most of the big people were through, and chatted with a veteran triathlon friend who somehow got spooked in the water - too many people in her wave and a little chaotic. All was well, though. Our little one found a friend over in the kids transition area and got set up nearby. Then they sorta hung out and played in the water until close to start time. It was beautiful out at the lake - sun sparkling over the water, mount rainier in the background. When it neared start time, they corralled the kids doing the longer of the two kid versions (100 yd swim, 2 mile bike, .4 mile run), and sent them out in waves.

The water is shallow enough to stand, and many lifeguards stand watch in the water. It all goes by pretty quickly. Grown-ups aren't allowed in the transition area, but volunteers are available to help if needed, and my husband was able to help loosen a tight bike helmet at the exit of the transition area. You get such a kick out of watching all the commotion, it all really does go by fast and your child is continually coming in or out of the transition area. Before you know it, they finish and it's all over.

Friday, July 14, 2006

The little things in life

My mind is whirring with all sorts of little things . . . I feel like I have all of these thoughts, and when I don't write about them, they float up into the air and 'poof' vanish as though they never existed. Writing them down is my way of validating them. Maybe that's why people write journals - to validate the existence of their inner selves. That's too deep for early morning for me.

The sprinklers were a tease this morning on my run. I took a different route and passed several homes with lawns being watered. I'm the type that typically uses the public sprinklers, but you can never be sure if they'll be on when you get there, and this one yard was ever so tempting . . . ah, but alas, the living room windows were too close and I passed by - ever so dry. I was ever so lucky to discover that many city sprinklers were spraying the grass along the beach trail down below. Sometimes I wonder what people think when they see me running through the sprinklers at 6 in the morning. Sorta like I wondered about the guy I saw exiting the tavern at 5:45 this morning. Interesting. To each his own, I suppose . . .

The cairn artist was in the paper this morning - interesting article about the guy. My daughter was in the paper on Wednesday - not in the PI like the artist, but in the Times. Okay, it wasn't all of her, but a photo of her hands holding a rock crab at low tide. No article, just a photo with a caption. Because it isn't an article, it isn't online, or I'd post a link. She was pretty excited. A journalist interviewed us while we were down at the beach. I was teasing the guy about his job. He spent the morning at the beach taking pictures, then was going to sit in a coffee shop and link up to office, send his work, and call it good for the day. He said he didn't even have to go in. My dream job.

I've had a few really nice runs the last couple of days. Wednesday night I ran when my husband came home from work, while he fed the kids dinner. Then we headed up to the gym to lift weights. By the time we headed home and got the kids settled it was 8:00. We stood in the kitchen eating bananas, then pulled out a couple of beers. We laughed at the prospect of simply having beer and bananas for dinner - sounds like something runners would do. It didn't seem like enough so we made some guacamole and had some corn tortilla chips with it. Carbs, fruit, vegetable, grain - I suppose all we missed was the protein. I was reluctant to run last night when he got home - just feeling lazy. He proceeded to take his sweaty running clothes out of his work bag from his run at lunch, and said, "Come on, you know you want this, you want that 'after run' feeling." I had to laugh at the effort and it got me out the door. I was scheduled to run 8 with a tempo in the middle. I skipped the warm up and cool down, and just did the tempo in the middle. Lazy runner. I clicked off four miles between 7:15 and 7:30 pace and came home with dinner made. Life is good. I got up and ran my scheduled 6 this morning. I'm trying to figure out my run for Sunday. It's tricky. I've got to get in about 2 and a half hours, come home, then my husband leaves for a 10 miler point to point to finish at the location of the triathlon our 8-yr-old is doing. In the meantime, I've got to help her get her gear all ready and head out with the munchkins. I guess it'll be an early morning.

Two other blogworthy things on my TV - We watched 'Shopgirl' the other night - great movie if you haven't seen it. Not at all what we thought it'd be, but thought provoking anyway. Interesting role for Steve Martin. I was watching Sesame Street Tuesday - remember Oscar the Grouch? He was inviting some bands down to his garbage cans for practice. Their names were hilarious, and I'm not sure of the spelling: 'N-Stink' & 'Phlegm 'n' M'. In case you haven't had any caffeine or green tea or fresh air and don't get it - 'N-Sync and Eminem'. The band member/muppet for Phlegm 'n' M kept clearing his throat, it was hilarious. Sesame Street never ceases to amaze me with it's ability to keep up with the times.

I suppose it's breakfast time. My youngest - who is 5 - just woke up and asked if she could have one of those fuzzy things that we bought at the produce market on the way home from the dog park yesterday. (That's how she said it.) She's just gone into the kitchen, gotten an apricot (one of those fuzzy things), and taken it back to bed with her. And she's woken up her sister on the top bunk to tell her all about the experience and ask again what that fuzzy thing is called. I can tell it's going to be a great day.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A few more of my favorites


These are the cairns/inukshuks that I saw from my run on Sunday. I took the kids back with me to take a look. The two parks adjoin and are about 3/4 miles long from end to end. There are 268 cairns in total - my children counted. We even got to meet James, the artist, who is included in one of the photos. Some along the park by another artist are mere rock stacks, others are a form of art, and depict actual scenes or character representations. On a bench nearby, a friend of James told me it reminded him of Easter Island and said it was as if these statues were protecting the city from what might come in from the bay.

Lowest tide of the year . . .

Sunday, July 09, 2006


Getnout is the name of my husband's blog, and sort of our family motto. We're never home. I took Friday and Saturday off, but I did run on Thursday - on the treadmill at the gym. I usually don't like to do that when there's such a big world out there to run in, but it always kicks my speed into gear when I feel like I've been running slow. And it's a great place to do speedwork because you can't cheat. And going to the gym, inevitably means I'll end up lifting more.

I did a lot of walking on Friday. The kids and I took the water taxi downtown and spent the day at pike place. We then went up to westlake to listen to a band play at lunch time - Andy O - great Caribbean music. I remember going out to clubs in college when the lead singer used to be in another band called Jumbalassy. The good ol' days. The band was great though. The city puts on an 'out to lunch' concert series at parks throughout the city all summer long. For free - free is always good. And they were giving away some sort of promotional ice-cream bars - free is good with my kids when it comes to ice-cream. After we'd hung out there long enough, we wandered down to the market. I don't mean any market - pike place is big - very very big. We wandered for 4 hours through the market, and you can never really see all of it. Pike Place is a legendary tourist attraction that everyone should see once in their lifetime. Most people come to see the guys throwing fish - it's highly entertaining. Pike place is fun any time of the year, but very busy in the summer. There are several levels and it continues across the street through all sorts of alleys and twists and turns. There is more international food in the market than anywhere I've ever seen. For lunch we had piroshky, egg rolls, and rainier cherries - and sat and people-watched while we ate. The kids are drawn to all sorts of things at the market - especially the street perfomers. There was one guy doing the hoola-hoop while he simultaneously played his guitar and his harmonica. I never got a picture of that guy - but lots of others. The first ever Starbucks is out in front of pike place too. I don't usually venture in there - it's probably the busiest starbucks in a city that is highly saturated with them. You can actually see the heads of two of our children in the photo as they're standing there listening to the guys singing on the sidewalk. These guys sounded like they'd come from the Louisiana.

I was a long day - we had a blast. I'm worn out fighting with blogger, trying to download - upload (whichever) photos, and I haven't even talked about my run. Pike Place is such a blast, that I got sidetracked. Come to the city. Do the market thing - you'll love it.

But my run this morning was absolutely phenomenal!!!!!! I got up at 5:00 and headed out. (I wanted to do that yesterday, but too many margaritas friday night prevented that - but it was well-worth it - I really needed the margaritas. ) Okay, okay, my run. The sky was all pink when I opened the door - off to a good start. And as I headed down the street, still undecided of where I'd go, I saw the cruise ship and got all excited. I know I've said it before, but I love watching these things pull into port.

So, off I headed. I have to go over a waterway to get to the waterfront, if that makes sense - I live on sort of a penisula - not really, just sort of. But I go over this bridge and watch the tugs puttering around, the fishermen heading out, and mount rainier looming in the distance. Beautiful morning. As I got down to the pier, the cruise ship had actually turned out in the bay, and was backing in to the pier. I haven't a clue how they steer those things. It's funny with such a big boat that I didn't see that many people. There was security, not all that many crew milling about, and only a handful of people standing out on deck. I did see a guy that looked like he was out for his morning run or maybe a stroll. I wondered what his impression was of coming in to the port - does he live here? first time? It just seemed odd that there weren't that many curious cruisers out for a glimpse - I know it was early, but wouldn't you wanna wake up and look? So, I continued on my way. The first part of my run had been in a somewhat industrial area, and I always feel bad going by the homeless people. I was on a bike path, and when they pitch their tent for the night, they gotta know that people come by, but still - I always make sure I'm extra quiet so I don't disturb them. My next several miles cover the hub of the waterfront. I passed Coleman dock where a ferry was unloading from somewhere, and people were venturing off to tend to their day. There are always a mix of people around on the sidewalks. It ranges . . from the cab drivers all clustered with their slacks and crisp shirts, chatting away while they wait for passengers . . to people scurrying with a paper cup of coffee in hand, to people who've definitely been there all night . . People who were headed in to work for the day, and freshly watered hanging planters dripped along the sidewalks. Further along people were boarding the clipper boat en route to Victoria, BC. I finally reached the two parks that join end to end at the other side of town. Someone had taken rocks and make 'cairns' or as native alaskans call them 'inukshuks', all along the shore line. It was amazing - there must've been over a hundred of them. I need to go back and take a picture. The Olympic mountains loomed out across the water, and I could actually make out the lower foothills - all grassy like. It reminded me of the Sound of Music - like you could just run through the hills next to the snow-capped mountains. I finally make it to the drinking fountain at just under 7 miles, and turned around to reverse the route back home. Oh, and I ran through ALL o f the sprinklers in the park. I love running in the summer. And I really really love running through the sprinklers. I made it home with a sore hamstring and a couple of blisters - I wore the wrong socks. I was joking with my husband about seeing the chiropractor. The thing is - I wonder why just one hamstring is sore. It's not like I was running on a banked track or a burmed bike trail - I was running on the sidewalk and a paved bike trail. I'm thinking if I went to the chiropractor, he could even me out - you know, do some pushing and pulling on my legs to align things. But then I wondered . . . would I then have two sore hamstrings, or no sore hamstrings?

Reaching home, I grabbed yesterday's and today's newspaper - and yesterday's mail (we were busy yesterday). As I walked up the steps and surfed through the mail, I found something for Ginger Breadman. Hilarious. It's not my real name. That was obvious, wasn't it? Maybe not. But I do run races under that name. It's such a hoot. Especially to run races on Halloween in a gingerbread man costume, and go to pick up my number. I stand at the check-in table and say, "Breadman, Ginger?" They grab your packet, turn back around to hand it to you, and suddenly it all clicks for them. The moment is priceless.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Boomerang Effect

I've been reminded of something lately - you get out of life exactly what you put into it. Sometimes you have to stop and think about what you want to put in, and what you hope to get out. It's sort of like a boomerang - what you throw out there at life seems to come back to you. Sort of like karma. It can be like a transfer of energy. It can be like an interconnectedness of things in the universe. It's related to the phrase "do unto others . . "

It relates to my running. It relates to everything. It's very simple - like math. Almost black and white. When you study for an exam, you perform well. When you buy groceries you can eat. When you work at a job you get a paycheck.

Well, when you train, your body responds. Physiologically your muscles become toned, your heart rate lowers, your metabolism is more efficient, you have more energy. You can run faster and longer if you train to do that. That's a key point - if you train to do that. You have to put in the homework.

I then backtrack - what was my homework? In order to define the work, I need to define the goals. That's still black and white - or can be. But how much you really want to reach the goal becomes the grey area. Or if your goals or your homework aren't well-defined, that becomes another grey area. So what do I want out of my running? my summer? my life? my day to day existence?

I'd love to wake up at 4:30 everyday, go run for an hour, stretch, do yoga, drink herbal tea and read the paper. Have a smoothie or some muesli, then read a book or some blogs, do some writing, shower, and be on to an espresso by the time the kids roll out of bed. I could go on about what I'd love to do with my kids all day - how much we'd learn about the world and life and how hard we'd play. And by evening I'd cook amazing meals and drink wine by sunset with my husband.

So why doesn't it all happen? What happened to the black and white? There's the motivation and the discipline factors. Common sense says that if you have those, it'll all fall into place. I can pull out those attributes when I want, but for some reason I've been choosing not to.

Yesterday I woke up at 10:00, today @ 8:30, only because a friend called. I honestly think I've only run about 3 times in the last 10 days. Really weird. Especially considering that up until that point I was on track for the marathon that I had scheduled July 9th - this Sunday - 3 days away. Part of me wonders if somewhere internally I sabotaged my training becasue I really didn't want to run the marathon. Part of me knows that I lost nothing in 10 days and I'm totally capable of runing the marathon. Truly, I don't want to run the marathon, so I'm not going to . But I'm asking myself why I don't want to. I think somewhere I lost sight of what my goal was, or it wasn't important to me - not in my heart - so the homework didn' t matter. Instead I envied other 'homework' - all the others things I could be doing. I suppose I never realized how much I dream of that 4:30 am wake-up, and I thought I had to run a marathon to fulfill a goal.

Somewhere in all this - running became exactly what I've been calling it: homework. I haven't been enjoying it - it's a chore. The mere idea of having to fit my run in, gets in the way of what I want to do with my time, and spawns all sorts of guilt, lack of accomplishment, and low self-worth when I don't run. wow.

My early wake-up dream is thoughts of the homework - the journey - the process. I long for it. I don't want the goal. I don't want the destination just yet. I need desperately right now to enjoy the process before I can remember why I set the goals. Without remembering it, the goals have become empty and meaningless. I want to exist and just be.

Now I need to do some re-evaluating. I want to feel good. I want to lift weights more often to feel stronger. I want to swim and bike. I want to eat more fruits and vegetables and drink more water and tea. I'm not sure why this rude awakening. I think I'm sick of feeling tired and run down and I know it's going to take all that to perk up my energy.

So . . . marathon Sunday approaches. I told myself I could run the half. But I'm not going to. I could go watch the marathon and be so inspired by watching people struggle to meet their goals. I could go for a trail run with a croup of people I've been too busy to join. Or I could get up @ 4:30 and run from home and enjoy my morning.

I've had time to contemplate all this. We went out on a friend's boat on Friday afternoon into the evening - cruised the lake until sunset. We went camping in the woods and played by the canal. I did go for a run there in some foreign neighborhood and ran from the dog who chased me - "run, run, as fast as you can, you can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man!" We watched the fireworks from a hill nearby our home - 3 shows in one, actually. From our location, we could see the ones out over the bay, and behind it see another show that's listed as one of the top 5 in the country. The real thrill came from the lightning show that was occurring behind and beside them - with the city lights as a backdrop. Truly, truly amazing. I finished two books - Dean Karnazes - Ultramarathon Man, and a book called, The Ha-Ha, by Dave King. Both very enlightening and encouraged my thoughts on life. We were in a small town on the 3rd of July at a holiday festival of sorts. I wandered into a store and had a spiritual experience. Kind of cool. No major event, but something that made me think the store was put there for me that day to help put things in perspective.

Now it's off to my day and my choices. I think the first order of business is a tea party with my little girls. Happy trails!