Friday, November 30, 2007

Feeling Better Now, But...


Obesity in America

On the day of the Portland 26.2 I weighed in at 174 pounds. Not my lightest recent weight (which I am pretty sure was sometime last October and was not part of any diet plan I would recommend to anyone. The Colleague and I lovingly refer to it as the "Life Sucks Diet Plan") and not quite the weight I wanted for the race, but I felt pretty good.

Flash forward to last week, when my trusting bathroom scale flashed a 185 at me, flesh was rolling around on my frame like some sort of tofu mess, and my favorite pants were digging trenches in my waistline. Fucking scale.



Turns out my Eat-and-Drink-All-I-Want Diet Plan doesn't work when I'm not training 40 miles per week. Duh. With "The First Not-Annual Tropical Christmas" coming up, I need to be at fighting weight sooner than later.

So last week I told The Colleague I was sick of being fat and lazy, made myself a new training calendar (which I ceremoniously posted on the fridge so everyone in the Palace will know when I am dogging it), and started hitting the road again.

Back on the Road


Since that day I have managed the following:
Not a bad week, mileage wise. Today was the 10 miler @ 8:01. I left Bothell Landing and headed out toward Woodinville, the land of Red Hook, several Wineries and...well, nothing else, really, except road construction and roads with no shoulders.

The way out on the Samamish River Trail was great. Calm day, nice light, and no traffic at all. I hit mile 3 before I saw another person on the trail, and then it was some Professor Frink looking dude on a bizarre home-built, self-powered tricycle thing. I had a brand new shuffle selection on the iPod ("Soul" by Rocco DeLuca and the Burden...try it), and was actually properly dressed for the temperature. Novel concept.

But as nice as the trail is (good surface, pretty scenery, etc) I just can't stomach out-and-back runs on anything over a 5 mile run. It's torture to know exactly where you are on the way back in. Torture. Give me one-way runs or loops please. So at Red Hook I resisted the obvious impulse and actually ran PAST a brewery and looped back toward Bothell on a road that is built to the exact minimum standards. Two lanes for cars, a fog line for...well, cars, two inches of gravel/mud and then a drainage ditch. Awesome. At least the constant traffic watch I was on kept me entertained. The next 3 miles flew by without me noticing.

Back in Bothell (for a day OR a lifetime...you pick) I cruised past what has to be the largest concentration of retirement and assisted living facilities north of Phoenix and down into Blyth Park, the scene of several of my moments of youthful indiscretion back in the day. I hadn't been paying close attention to my splits, but I was pretty sure I was close to negatives the whole way, and I decided to see what I had left for mile 10. When mile 9 clicked by I sucked down a little water and went for it. Mile 10 = 6:47. NOW, I remember what running feels like when it is going well. Ahhhh.

Moral of the story? I need to run more. And more often.

Upcoming: 12 K's of Christmas on December 16th. Who's in?

Tunes Revisited

I have been reloading my iPods lately and thinking about some of my favorite running tunes. I like a lot of different songs for different reasons. Mostly, I need a song to distract me when I need it. I don't get motivated by music, really. But when I catch myself thinking about distance in the middle of a run, I like a good 4 or 5 minute song to make part of a mile disappear. Here are some great ones for you all to try:
  • "Pictures of You" by The Cure. This is a great mid-distance song. A better pace than you think and long enough to settle in for a mile. The first time this song shuffled onto a running list was over a year ago when I was running on the Centenial Trail and it started at mile 7 and ended right at mile 8. Creepy. It's been a standard on all racing playlists ever since. It also made it's way onto a mix tape of rather historic note...errrr.
  • "Until We Fall" by Audioslave. Not my favorite Audioslave song (that one's a mixtape secret) but a great running song.
  • "Movin' On" by Elliot Yamin. This dude should have won American Idol. Yes, I watch American Idol. Leave it alone. Great song. Hip, rhythmic, and wryly funny (for a breakup song, that is).
  • "I Alone" by Live. Power song. Pure and simple.
  • "Jenny Don't be Hasty" by Paolo Nutini. I doubt I'll see Paolo live again anytime soon, but this is a great song with a perfect pace for a long training day.
  • "E Bow the Letter" by REM. This is cool ass song, but the reason it is on here is because you can spend the latter part of a torturous run just trying to figure out what the fucking song is about. Anyone? Cap'n Ron and I spent the better part of miles 18 and 19 of a long day arguing this one. Weird.
  • "Move by Yourself" by Donavon Frankenreiter. Sure, he's a Jack Johnson spinoff, but this is good song for the early miles when you still think running was a good idea.
  • "You Know I'm No Good" by Amy Winehouse. Get beyond that "Rehab" song and Winehouse's album is great. This story-song has a nice swing to it and is fucking funny if you like borderline domestic abuse/infidelity stories.
  • "Shapeshifter" by Animal Liberation Orchestra. I love ALO. This song is long, over 6 minutes, and swings just the right amount. Warning, you might get caught singing along as you run.
  • "Hard Sun" by Eddie Vedder. Ahh, Eddie Vedder. This is a cool song from the "Into the Wild Soundtrack". Over 5 minutes long and uplifting. It sounds a little too remniscent of some Rusted Root tunes from the late 1990s, but still, it's a good pace song and not too heavy on the instruments.
  • "Till I Collapse" by Eminem. Tired? Power song. Pure and simple. This is a better song than "Lose Yourself" from the 8 Mile soundtrack, but with the same basic premise.
  • "Carolina Blues" by Blues Traveler. I'll admit that this one is on there mostly because it is part of my personal historical soundtrack, but when it shuffled up in mile 7 today, I couldn't have been happier!


Enjoy. As always, please tip your waitress, and be specific in your drink order.

Coming soon: The Learning Factory Term End Reflection Post. This one ought to be good...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Playlist Mania

A friend of a friend who is friends with a writer at ESPN, where my friend works, sent me a link to this story at ESPN.com's "PAGE 2".

In it, runner Jeff Pearlman provides his ultimate training playlist (26 songs in honor of the 26 miles and change he was training for). Here are his songs, in order, you need to read the story for his excellent discussion of each:

1. Lose Yourself - Eminem
2. Jesus Walks - Kanye West
3. King of the Nighttime World - KISS
4. I Try - Talib Kweli with Mary J. Blige
5. Layin' it On the Line - Jefferson Starship
6. Scenario - A Tribe Called Quest
7. Enter Sandman - Metallica
8. Jump Around - House of Pain
9. Highway to Hell - AC/DC
10. Crazy in Love - Beyonce with Jay-Z
11. Harder to Breathe - Maroon 5
12. Too Cold - Vanilla Ice
13. Panama - Van Halen
14. Crazy Train - Ozzy Osbourne
15. Hot in Here - Nelly
16. Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos - Public Enemy
17. All These Things That I've Done - The Killers
18. Praise You - Fatboy Slim
19. Welcome to the Jungle - Guns 'n' Roses
20. It Takes Two - Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock
21. Son's Gonna Rise - Citizen Cope
22. Walk this Way - Run DMC
23. New Sensation - INXS
24. Wanna be Startin' Somethin' - Michael Jackson
25. Spin Around - Kay Hanley
26. War - Edwin Star

Five of these songs are also on my best playlist. Anyone care to venture a guess?

What is your favorite running list? Or are you like Cap'n Ron who just goes on the all Diva shuffle play?

What is the best running song of all time? Best mid-marathon "hittin' the wall" song?

Chime in, audiophiles...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Ink

Got a new tattoo care of Owen at Parlor F in Seattle. Good times had by all.

BEFORE:
AFTER:

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Sick Days Rule

I'm Not Really Sick. Sshhhhh.

I had trouble finding socks to go with the shoes I wanted to wear to work today, so I bagged the whole thing and called in sick.

Actually, I didn't call in. I emailed. And I didn't claim to be sick. "I'm at home today" was the official line. So now I have time to go through my laundry and find my good black socks, not the lame thin ones that won't stay up (easy with the erectile dysfunction jokes there...) but the good heavy ones that have just the right amount of elastic.

Remarkably, The Colleague is home not sick today too. Convenient. And environmental. We're saving the world by NOT driving to work. (Of course, because we are home on a work day we are burning more energy heating and lighting the house when we normally wouldn't be, so the net environmental impact is probably a wash...)

So while I am upstairs in the Palace Office I receive, from the far away locale of the Palace Kitchen, the following email:

REMEMBER WHEN YOU USED TO HAVE A BLOG?
-The Colleague

Nice. Ok. Ok. Sick days are good for many things. Including updating neglected blog spaces. But after this I'm taking a nap.

RUNNING

Good news and bad. The good news is that I have managed to get some miles in recently. I had a nice 30 mile week and was on pace to hit 25 this week. Yesterday I went on a nice little tour of the construction zone they call Kenmore. Nice cool day, no one on the trails or sidewalks, good tunes on the Shuffle...then somewhere in mile 6 the left calf started to show signs of going postal on me. The right calf is finally healed and now the left is kicking in? So, the bad news is that now I am limping around again and afraid to run for fear of really tearing what is right now just a mildly strained calf.

I think my body is telling me to quit running. But I ain't gonna.

Oh, and I have another stress fracture in my left foot. Good times.

SAILING
The 'Lion has been out there doing her thing on the Sunday circuit. Sailing well but getting edged out by those assholes on Mei Lei. Once upon a time the crew of Mei Lei couldn't keep their boat upright long enough to get to the windward mark. Lately they are walking all over us. I'm trying to convince Krumm that we just need to T-Bone them at the next start. The 'Lion outweighs every other boat out there by thousands of pounds. Just hit 'em.

The 'Hood sits at the dock just waiting for some love.

Allegro sits at the dock just waiting for some love.

Blade Runner is apparently soon to be sold, Cap'n Funnybone having had enough of racing, and Cap'n Funnybone's wife having had enough of Cap'n Funnybone on a boat. Sad.

La Banana is on the the blocks and being scrapped for cash after MillerTime crashed it into the only rock in Echo Bay late last summer. MillerTime is boatless for the first time in decades. A moment of silence.



Krumm is the proud owner of a second boat: A Flying Dutchman. Coooool.

BEVERAGES

Take one bottle of decent vodka, add a handful of peeled garlic cloves, store in freezer for 2 weeks. Make dry martini with garlic vodka.

Yum.

THE LEARNING FACTORY
Let's see...our faculty union is less competent than the Bush Administration, there is still at least one member of the Writin' Department that is insane enough that everyone besides said member thinks said member is losing her mind (can you sat "Scary old lady with too many cats?" Meeeeeoowwww), and Sweater Girl has gotten all puffed up and hyper-professional again.


Business as usual.

On the plus side, the students are a little more interesting this year, some of them can actually read and write, and The Colleague is teaching a novel that takes place entirely during the execution of a blowjob. We call that "academic freedom".

Or porn.

OTHER

-The Colleage and I saw "Into the Wild" last week. Cool movie, but not great. We agree that Sean Penn did about as much as one could with the story and made an interesting but not spectacular film. Kraukauer's book that inspired the movie is still one of the best non-fiction titles out there. I wonder if The Colleague will ever read it?

-The Sonics are moving to Oklahoma. Here are the people in this scenario who are complete dicks: Howard Shultz, who bought the Sonics years ago for 200 million and fucked them up for a couple of years before selling them for 350 million to...Clayton Bennet, a dick who got rich by marrying money and bought the Sonics with the unstated intention of moving them to his home town of Hobunk Nowhere....David Stern, the NBA commisioner who is such a patsy for team owners that he won't say no to any rich wonk who wants to move a team....The City of Seattle, this lovely town that can't seem to agree on anything and is apparently stuck in a regressive rhetorical argument about everything....Did I mention Howard Shultz? Dick.

-Kokua Festival 2008 has been announced. April 19th and 20th.

-I Hate Wamu. Don't ask.