November 29, 2014 § 4 Comments
I’ve had these Hincapie socks for seven years and they’ve only now just torn a bit at the heel. The expensive-gear-is-worth-it-because-it-lasts-longer lesson is one that took me a long time to learn, and these socks were a big part of. Warm, quick dry, sturdy… If I had to marry a pair of socks, I’d totally pick you to marry Hincapie socks.
Essentials: Sewing kit, tea, things to sew
Lesson two to buying expensive gear is of course that if you’re kind of a space cadet and lose things like I do, you’re out a bunch of money. I’ve been scouring the internet for an affordable ski coat replacement and finally found one last week … with no thumbholes. Fortunately thumbholes are a lot like buttonholes, and there are British men on the internet that are very good at teaching one how to sew buttonholes. (But like, seriously, this guy is a sewing wizard, right?)
The stitching is kind of shitty but it’s functional.
Just need some ski goggle defogger and I’ll be fully ready for ski season … SO STOKED!
In other unrelated news, I went for a run today and had to poop almost the entire time. How do long distance runners deal with this? Do they just stop and poop? Your body is like “hey, I know it’s 32 degrees out and you just got dressed and amped to go for a run, but uhhh once you started hopping up and down..I realized I kinda need to go back and poop.” This must be what having little kids on long car rides is like.
November 4, 2014 § Leave a comment
Yesterday, I ran by the polls on my run commute to work and voted in person for the second time ever (NJ has such an archaic absentee ballot requesting process) and though I was very disappointed that they had no ‘I Voted’ stickers even though it was 7AM, it was nice to combine outdoor activity with fulfilling my civic duty.
The best part of election day is of course getting drunk and yelling at the TV – I blitzed home blitzed and woke up to find that I’d done it in at 9 min/mile. Go drunk me!
I have dry ear-wax
Thought two of the day – I’ve been run commuting on and off this year and have been reminded of just how properly unsmelly I am as a human being. I haven’t really thought about it since I was 12 when I wondered ‘what is this deodorant thing?’ But co-workers and friends alike have commented on how impossible run commuting would be for them without a shower. “Run commuting on Election Day! How will you GOTV if you smell bad! WAIT you don’t smell bad at all!”
I did some Googling and apparently, a high percentage of East Asians (80-90%) have a recessive ABCC11 allele that (1) makes our earwax both dry and not smelly, and (2) makes our body odor almost non-existent. This is compared to 0-3% of other ancestral groups with this allele.
Genetics is so awesome.
Also, wet ear-wax seems totally gross.
October 30, 2014 § 3 Comments
According to Zombies, Run! and MapMyRun –
In the last two years I’ve run 108.26 miles in a total of 16 hours and 12 minutes at an average pace of 8:58 min/mile.
In the last five weeks I’ve run 39.24 of those miles in a total of 5 hours and 45 minutes at an average pace of 8:49 min/mile.
At some point, I decided that running is the easiest thing ever, and then it was. Just put one foot in front of another until something that isn’t supposed to hurt, hurts. Mindset is one hell of a thing.
March 9, 2014 § Leave a comment
I’ve finally gotten around to reading Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall. The whole premise of this blog became popularized in part through this smash hit of a book, but only after I started this blog did I realize this*.
The book has been praised, criticized, and reviewed to death, so I’ll let Ed Ayres do most of the reviewing for me. In summary – read the book if you’re looking for something that is (1) entertaining, (2) motivating if you can look past the scientific and historical fudges, and (3) has some interesting science (that you’ll probably want to to read more about somewhere else afterwards).
I had been fighting a cold since Thursday and it finally hit me like a cold hard mistress Monday morning. Despite feeling like total crap, saying mushed up half sentences on conference calls, and wondering at whether I could maybe just sleep in the office that night, I went to bed every night hoping that I would feel better enough to run to work the next day.
This was a totally uncharacteristic thought for me to have, it was confusing and I wondered at whether it was the delirium getting to me..
The striking thing about the characters in Born to Run is their insistence on enjoying a thing that the rest of us normal humans would consider insane. Run 100 miles in a row? Yeah okay, put you in the weirdo category of adrenaline junkie people that do 24 hour Red Bull extreme marathons.
The distinction is that these runners seemed to be going the distance for the sheer joy of it. Pushing the limits because it was fun, or in some cases by accident (“One day, I ran to work because running is fun, and then at lunch I ran around some more, and then I ran home..”), not because they wanted to win or be the best, not for recognition or for their health…
It is on one hand, the exact opposite of how most people I know (myself included) approach running, and on the other, the exact approach that I take when it comes to biking.
I ran because I don’t have enough time to go on bike rides and I wanted to make sure my heart would be not explode at 50. I ran because I didn’t want to be the only kid on the block who couldn’t do a 5k. I ran because I wanted a respectable distance to time ratio. I ran because I wanted to beat myself on how fast I could run. It made running a chore to be done. A necessary evil, or at best a necessary neutral activity.
I bike because I want to go places. I bike so I can see all the things along the way – stop and start, revel and wander. I bike because I love to bomb down hills with my tongue sticking out, eyes half closed. I bike to feel alive. When I talk about my experiences biking, people look at me as if I’m a crazy person, the same way I look at long distance runners.
So what the hell is the difference? Perhaps I had constructed the same mindset around running that everyone else does about biking …! Maybe I hated running because I’ve been thinking about it the wrong way my whole life….! So on Friday I ran home. On Saturday, I ran to my meeting at the coffee shop, and then I ran to the office…I didn’t think about speed, I didn’t buckle down in my mind, “okayyy here we go, let’s get it over with” like I usually do, I just looked around, jumped up and down at the songs I liked, stuck my tongue out to catch the falling snow.. and in 12 hours I had run 8.5 miles around town when I hadn’t run in more than 2 months (and then for just 3 miles.)
It’s not a revolutionary idea that an activity will be more awesome if you don’t think it’s going to suck, but there it is, cognitive dissonance in mindset at its best.
(I’m now on a pursuit for more on mindset and in a wormhole of books, articles, and TED talks – leave a comment if you have a recommendation related to the topic!)
** It went down like this – I was dating someone who was running a 5k over Thanksgiving and I was meeting the parents that same Thanksgiving. I hated running (much more of a cyclist and hiker at the time), but didn’t want to be the girlfriend that couldn’t run a 5k. I’d been seeing people with Vibrams all around and wondered what all the hullabaloo was about, so I read all about barefoot running, the running man evolution theory, and yes, chasing down antelope for food. Plus the brown ones made me feel like a bear cub in the woods and that seemed awesome. She ended up deciding not to do the 5k and we eventually broke up, and I’ve been running and blogging ever since. Life is random sometimes.
November 9, 2013 § Leave a comment
I ran a 3.5 miler on the south end of the tow path today (from the 27). It’s a sad stretch of the path with fences lining the water and trash littering the trail. At one point I startled a dozen cats picking over someone’s takeout in the middle of the trail. There is some very cool graffiti lining the walls – some respite to the rest of the rather depressing surroundings.
It was a reminder of how much local city governments can do (or not do) to provide for more functional outdoor spaces (think Cherry Creek Trail in Denver.)
March 28, 2013 § 1 Comment
It’s 6:30AM and Wildcat by Ratatat is buzzing from my phone. A routine call to the morning. I sit strait up into the cold of my room, jump to open the blinds to a nascent sunrise before hustling into my running clothes and Vibrams. Sleep still weighing on my limbs and dragging on my eyelids, I jog out the door as I hit play. It looked like this:
The familiar siren sounds of the gates of Abel Township opening ring in my earbuds – chapter 4 of Zombies, Run! – there’s a lost child in the wilderness of zombies! How appropriate as I set out for the local high school in real life.
There’s a field behind a school that seems to run on forever, a playground, football field, and baseball diamond spotted in the open space. The ground is hard with frozen grass, crunching, I can feel it between my toes. It’s glistening lightly, waking up with me and the sun. The sun! Having decided it might finally be spring, crests the top of the school building, barely grazing the landscape with warmth. The grass smiles up with me, shaking off it’s blanket of frost.
Meanwhile, the story in my earbuds has developed! I’ve found the child and saved it from zombies, met a mechanic on a motorcycle, and we’ve managed to find a rocket launcher (go me!) It’s time to turn back to Abel Township with all the loot. I turn around and start zig zagging towards the sun and my house, around a flock of geese that has staked out the middle of the field, back and forth to a playlist called “Red Solo Cup.”
I’m coming upon my house and I’m not ready to stop – I can feel my Achilles tensing at each step in my barefoot shoes, but otherwise feel great! The sun is beaming down now, I zip past my door twice before slowing to a trot and then a walk.
4.22 miles at 9:34/min a mile before hopping on my bike, singing at the top of my lungs all the way to work.
March 15, 2013 § 1 Comment
I was in three days of ten hour meetings in Boston this week and on the last day as we broke for lunch, half the people in the room scurried into their running clothes and bolted out the door. It’s a testament to the kind of people I work with. .. The awesome kind.
I discovered that (1) the Zombie Run! app is way less scary during the day as you’re zipping past crowds of decidedly not zombies, and that (2) you can pause the missions if you don’t have a full hr/half hour and restart them later.
1.78 miles at 8:06 miles/minute around the Boston commons with piles of snow all around – feet pounding, red faced, and happy.
It was a good run.
(You know it’s a good run when Asian tourists take pictures of you.)