Thursday, September 29, 2005

Long time no blog...

... but I think that's about the way it's going to be for a while. I just started classes today, and between going to grad school full time, working part time, looking for internships, working on the youth leadership program in Fed Way, running, and well, life stuff, I'm just not on the interweb as much these days. We'll see tomorrow, though, as I have a full 9-to-5 day at my part time job, and 8 hours is an awefully long time to focus solely on work. Maybe I'll do Kristen's 7 meme.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Trail Note: less than 3 weeks to go!

I had what I guess is my first marathon stress dream last night. I was late showing up for the marathon, and was getting dressed as the race started. I ended up starting at the 33 minute mark. The race then wound through obstacles and odd loops, like a haunted house, and a frat party where you had to drink shots or answer quiz questions to move forward. I kept trying to remind people that this was a marathon we were running and had to get going, but I was so far back I was with people who were running for fun. "This is known as a fun marathon," they told me; if I'd wanted to run a fast marathon, I should have picked another race. I think this part is directly attributed to a short conversation I had with a coworker who mentioned that Portland is supposed to be a fun marathon to do, referring to all of the bands and cheerleaders, etc. along the course. She asked how my training was going, and I had to stop and think about it, as I haven't run since Friday. Haven't run in 3 whole days!!! That's the longest I've gone without running in months, no wonder I'm freaking out. I think that these last few weeks will be the most stressful as I ramp down the mileage and have extra energy to worry, especially as it's getting too late to really get any faster. If I haven't done it by now, it's probably not going to happen.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Back to the land of grey skies and temperate climate..

I just returned from a trip to the East Coast to visit my parents in Virginia (on Nomini Creek) and my grandmother in New York (on Long Island). It was a really terrific visit, with a fun side trip to NYC before flying home, but it was HOT and HUMID! Not what I expected in mid-September...

New photos are posted on Flickr.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

It's about time for another meme...

Remember that great music from high school? If you graduated in 1990, like I did, then probably not, 'cause popular music sucked! It was when "alternative" music really was alternative and didn't make the charts, obviously, because when I looked up the top hits of 1990, there wasn't a single one that I owned nor would have paid a quarter to select on a juke box.

So, if you want to follow along at home, here's what you do:

A.) Go to
B.) Enter the year you graduated from high school in the search function and get the list of 100 most popular songs of that year (I stopped at 20, because I didn't recognize many at all after that).
C.) Bold the songs you like, strike through the ones you hate and underline your favorite. Do nothing to the ones you don't remember (or don't care about).

Top 20 Hits of 1990:

1. Hold On, Wilson Phillips
2. It Must Have Been Love, Roxette
3. Nothing Compares 2 U, Sinead O'Connor
4. Poison, Bell Biv Devoe
5. Vogue, Madonna (it's fun to dance to)
6. Vision Of Love, Mariah Carey
7. Another Day In Paradise, Phil Collins
8. Hold On, En Vogue
9. Cradle Of Love, Billy Idol
10. Blaze Of Glory, Jon Bon Jovi
11. Do Me!, Bell Biv Devoe
12. How Am I Supposed To Live Without You, Michael Bolton
13. Pump Up The Jam, Technotronic (more fun dance music)
14. Opposites Attract, Paula Abdul
15. Escapade, Janet Jackson
16. All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You, Heart
17. Close To You, Maxi Priest
18. Black Velvet, Alannah Myles
19. Release Me, Wilson Phillips
20. Don't Know Much, Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville (I don't think this one bothered me at first, but after hearing it a gazillion times, I'm not a fan)

meme from Krisalis

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Super Jock 'n Jill Half Trail Note - the long version

This half marathon came at just the right time for me. I had originally planned to run it as a check-in on my training from a pace standpoint. What I didn't expect was the attitude check that it provided.

I had been feeling a little under the weather lately (not sick, but not well to mis-quote Harvey Danger) and have been running under my planned mileage the last week or so. I also wasn't eating well (i.e. too much), and had gained a pound or two around the middle. I actually got dressed to run last Friday, jogged to the bottom of my hill and with 5 minutes of running turned around and walked back home. By Saturday I was starting to think that this whole marathon idea was crazy, I'd never qualify for Boston, and I was doomed to be fat and sedentary. Gotta love the downward slide of negative self-talk. I did get off the couch and went for a run on Saturday afternoon, and felt a little better after a nicely paced 12 miles. I then flooded the laundry room, killing any remaining endorphins, but that's another story.

So, I drove to Woodinville for my race Monday morning not sure of what to expect. Due to the Saturday run (which was supposed to be Friday; Saturday was supposed to be a rest day) and Sunday spent dancing and standing at Bumbershoot, my legs were pretty tired. Parking was a bit of a hassle, but I forked out a little cash for a spot (supposedly the money was going to charity) and headed to the start. It's been a really long time, 5 years? since I've gone to a race alone, and a year and a half since I've done a road race other than the Race for the Cure. I'd forgotten how slim and fit-looking runners at races are. I always feel like such a poser - and not a very good one at that. I got there with plenty of time, however, so was able to stand on the very long porta-potty line, check in and get my race packet, pick up a bunch of cliff shots, drop all my extra stuff back at the car, and stand on the even longer porta potty line and get to the starting line with 5 minutes to spare. I had run this race 3 years ago and was on the porta potty line when the race started - not a good way to start a race. I also didn't pick up any of the goo they were handing out before that race, figuring that if they were handing it out before the race even started, it would be given out along the course - not true. So, I was learning from my past experiences.

I lined up next to the 8 minute per mile pace, hoping that everyone else was looking at the pace markers. We were warned about a loud starting gun, but we couldn't hear it from where we were starting, just noticed that all of a sudden folks started running. I never saw a real start line, either, so started my watch anywhere from 10 - 30 seconds after the real start. This is the first time I've had a firm goal in a half, so was pretty nervous and anxious about my pace so of course started too fast. I ran the first 2 miles in 15 minutes (should have been 16), and I worried that I was going to burn myself out too fast. I looked around for someone who seemed to be running the right pace and saw a tall guy in a red shirt who looked to be moving along at a comfortable pace. I ran along side him and asked his goal (1:45 or better; good!) and we started chatting. We talked for the next 7 miles or so, with another woman joining in (for the same reason: she thought the guy in the red shirt looked like he had the pace thing figured out) for a couple of miles, until our friend sped up at the mile 9 point. At this point, we had finished the uphill portion of the race and were heading back to the trail for the last few flat miles, so I made it past the tough part of the run with some good support.

I'm not a person who strikes up conversations with strangers, but it's so different in running than in normal life. All you need to do is run a similar pace as someone (so that you can both talk and run), and you have so much in common. You talk about past marathons, future marathons, training programs, etc.; all topics that can fill up miles and miles of running. It's amazing how much faster the miles fly by when you're hearing about this or that course or explaining your strategy for eating gels.

Finishing under my goal was such a great feeling. I found a "race predicter" chart at runner's world online that uses runners PR's to help determine what your expected race time could be. Having finished a sub-23 minute 5 K in June and a sub-1:45 half last weekend, this chart indicates that a 3:40 marathon is in reach. It will be close, and doesn't take into account slow starts, cramps, bathroom breaks, etc., but it's possible. I think I was grinning for all of Monday.
Trail Note: Super Jock 'N Jill Half Marathon


Woo hoo! This whole Boston thing could actually happen....

Friday, September 02, 2005

In literary terms, tragedy is when the main character experiences ruin or extreme sorrow as a consequence of a character flaw or inability to deal with difficult circumstances.

It was with sorrow that I first read about the destruction that Katrina was creating as she tore through the south. It is amazing what Mother Nature can do and our impotence in the face of natural disasters. As stories continued to flow from New Orleans, sorrow is now mixed with horror as I read about the conditions that people are in and what desperation is driving people to do. The physical destruction and deaths due to that destruction are tragic; crimes of human against human take that tragedy literally to epic proportions.

My heart goes out to those dealing with the aftermath. It will take years to recover, and scars will likely be permanent. While there are ways to donate money for food and supplies, what can we do to reduce the chance that people will ever be in this situation again? How can this happen in the United States of America in the 21st century?

For now, the only thing I can think to do is to support oranizations like these:

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Everybody Dance!

I love it when someone's cell phone rings at a very inappropriate time, and it's either a recognizable song or some kind of dance beat. I always hope that everyone will break out in song, or start dancing. You know, like in a musical.
Quick, Healthy, and Tasty dinner - veg friendly

Tricia's Tasty Couscous w/ Veggies and Chickpeas, serves 4

Box of couscous, cooked according to box directions (I used chicken broth, but water or veggie broth would work)
2 large zucchini, diced
a few cloves of garlic, minced
Olive oil
1/2 red onion, diced
1 can (1 lb) chickpeas, drained
Lots of cherry and/or grape tomatoes, halved
Lots of fresh basil, torn or chiffinade
~ 4 oz feta (I used the garlic and herb variety), crumbled
Salt and pepper to taste

While cooking the couscous, lightly saute the zucchini and garlic in olive oil. Turn off the heat and add the chickpeas and red onion. Combine veggies, chickpeas, couscous, and cheese, season to taste, and enjoy! Great hot or cold for leftovers.

I think I've been watching too much (or maybe the right amount) of Rachael Ray. This sure was good, though, and oh so easy.