Tuesday, December 21, 2010


It's rained here for 4 days straight. That's 4 days of continuous, every minute, 24/7 rain of varying intensity. If you saw the national news of the rain here in California where they showed someone in one of those fold out row boats, that was a video taken in the little town just 20 miles or so north of my home. 2 nearby towns have had evacuation notices. I am fortunately high and dry with no water in my home but I'm experiencing a serious case of cabin fever. I'm stuck on the treadmill until the rain stops. It's currently not raining but that won't last long enough for me to get in even a short run.

Since I have to use the treadmill (which I hate with the white hot passion of a thousand suns) I decided to run shorter distances, but bump up the intensity. I run hard for 1/4 mile, then recover, then another 1/4 mile sprint for 4 miles. If I'm feeling really frisky, I'll finish up with a quick 1 mile walk with the incline bumped up as high as my treadmill will go-12%. We'll see if this translates to better running out doors when I'm finally able to get in a real run.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Pub Night

I'm not a bar hopping kind of person. I don't feel comfortable in a bar and I think I've figured out why-but that's for another post. This is about a most interesting night in a a local Irish style pub when I did agree to meet some friends for drinks after a local parade. We got to the pub first (which I hate doing-again, another post...) so we hung around a bit and watched the parade participants wander in. The first group there was the belly dancers. A nice enough bunch of ladies, dressed in the usual belly dancing attire, who would occasionally break into a little dancing. Then our friends showed up, who happen to be a bagpipe band, complete with drums. So now we had belly dancers mixing with kilt clad pipers and drummers and the dancing got really interesting. I thought this was about as odd as it would get for the night until the roller derby girls showed up-yes they were in their derby costumes, circa 1950's, and yes they were on skates, with nicknames emblazoned across their rear ends like "Thunderwear" and "Black Bomber". So now we had belly dancers and roller derby queens cheering on the pipers who needed no encouragement whatsoever to play for the crowd. It was a very odd, very entertaining night.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Please Say Yes

I saw the doctor Friday and the only question I had for him was "Can I run?". And he said yes, I can start running again.

I hit the road first thing this morning. I felt awkward and clumsy for the first mile but I didn't care-I was running. I went out without a Garmin or heart rate strap or music; I just wanted to run again. By mile 2 I felt normal and relaxed. I managed an easy, slow 3 miles and I'm ok with that; it's been almost a month since my last run and I'm fine with building up a nice base over the days to come.

I decided that if my goal is to be a lifetime runner, then an occasional set back won't matter-it's only the big picture that counts, and in that big picture I'll be 80 years old and still out there knocking out the miles.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I'm on the "no running" list

I have not posted in some time now because, sadly, I have not been allowed to run since October 21st, 2010. This is because I had surgery on my left ear, and my surgeon is not a runner. I knew I would not be running for at least 2 weeks and I figured that was OK; as all runners know, you can go for 2 weeks of no running and pretty much pick up where you left off with no worries. It is now 3 weeks and I am still not allowed to run because I have a ruptured ear drum ( that's a tympanic membrane for your doctorly types...). I'm taking scads of pills right now-steroids and antibiotics, and I'm trying to walk a lot on my treadmill but it just isn't the same. I long for the wind on my face and the pavement under my feet.

If my surgeon was a runner, I'm convinced that while his admonishment against running would stand, he would at least be more sympathetic when he tells me I still can't run. He would understand what I'm losing. Cross you fingers for me-I see him on Friday and I'm praying for those magic words-
"You can start running again".

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Van:0 Runner:1

Well, we can finally score a point in favor of runners. I was out running my customary 6 miles early yesterday morning, and I had a really scary close encounter with a service van-this was probably the closest I've ever come to being hit by a vehicle.

I was running southbound in the northbound lane on a usually quiet, traffic free street. I noticed a service van across the street backing out and I assumed he would either turn into the lane closest to him and head south, or he might back all the way into the next lane and go north-either way, I figured it was a really wide street and he had lots of room without even coming close to me, so I continued running south.

I realized he had chosen option 2 and was backing in to my lane. OK, I say to myself, there's still plenty of room. What I didn't count on was that the driver would take a third option-he was backing into my lane all the way to the curb. He was well into the bike lane where I was running and kept coming, forcing me to jump the curb and land in knee high weeds. He was right next to me before he ever saw me-then there was a sudden screech of brakes and his tires hit the curb hard so I figured I must have startled him when he saw me in his side mirror. Now I was pissed, so I smacked the side of his van really hard with my hand.

The driver came running around the van to my side with a look of absolute, complete terror on his face and I realized that when I smacked his van he must have thought that he hit me. The look on his face told the story of his thoughts-"Oh crap oh crap oh crap I just hit that runner I'm gonna lose my license and my job and I'll be sued and thrown in jail oh crap oh crap oh crap!"

Seriously-I thought I was going to have to give the guy CPR and I'm trying to remember the BeeGees song that has the correct rhythm for the compressions (is it How Deep is your Love? No, that can't be right, it's too slow, oh yeah, Stayin Alive....) and all the guy could do was tell me over and over that he was really sorry and was I ok and he didn't see me until the last minute and where did I get hit?

I took pity on the guy and told him he didn't hit me, but that he should be a little more careful-there's lots of kids on that street especially in the afternoon when school gets out and they may not be as observant as I was. He agreed, apologized again, and we went our separate ways.

If I had realized sooner that he thought he hit me, I would have laid down in the street and played dead. That REALLY would have given him a heart attack!

Monday, October 11, 2010

My Favorite Quote

"A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even without any hope of doing it well."
Oliver Herford

I love this quote. It pretty much sums up my running addiction as well as everything else I've every tried to master. Fortunately, I've learned over the years that I can gain a pretty hefty sense of accomplishment from my best attempt at something even if that attempt falls short of being exceptional. I can revel in a mediocre outcome so long as I know I gave it everything I had. Running, shooting, playing a musical instrument-I'll continue to work very hard at everything I do even with the knowledge that average is the best I'll ever manage.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Edinburgh-the Good and the Bad

We returned from our vacation this week and overall, it was a really nice trip. We spent 3 weeks in Edinburgh with a couple of excursions to the countryside in a rental car, and the trip has left me with some observations about this venerable city that can only come from hours and hours of walking the streets both major and minor; I'm one of the few people who can go on vacation and lose 5 pounds.

I was organizing notes and maps and stuff to take on the trip and I found the notes a friend had made about places to visit for our previous trip to Edinburgh in 2007. At the last minute I tossed his notes in with mine and and I'm truly glad I did because that's how I discovered Dean Village. My friends notes said "Dean Village-feels like you've stepped back in time. Will seem like you've left the city and entered a tiny ancient village". That's exactly what it felt like. It was quiet and peaceful with no traffic or tourists or shops selling cheap kilts-definitely one of the highlights of the trip.

I found my favorite shop in the city. Royal Mile Antiques sells very nice Victorian jewelry and silver and a nice selection of Scottish pebble jewelry. Hubby and I befriended the owner (making 3 purchases didn't hurt...) and we had some nice conversations about the differences between Great Britain and the states.

There were only 2 aspects of the trip that were not enjoyable. We rented a car on 2 occasions to get out of the city and visit the countryside. A right hand drive car was not an issue for Hubby; he's been driving right hand drive cars for years and was quite comfortable with it. Driving on the left side of the road, however, was another story. He told me that he had to constantly think about every move he made because it just felt so wrong. As the passenger, I must say while just driving straight down the road was OK, every time we made a turn it was terrifying. I'm not even going to tell you, faithful readers, what I think of roundabouts. I only know that if I lead a very bad life and I am consigned to an eternity in hell, it will probably be an eternity in a roundabout somewhere between Edinburgh and Stirling.

The only other complaint I have regarding Edinburgh is how difficult it was for me to cross the streets. In the small town where I live, you could stand in the middle of the main road for at least 15 minutes, maybe longer, before you see a car and have to move to the shoulder. This is not the case in Edinburgh and because the streets are not laid out in a nice, orderly grid, the cars come at you from all different directions. And they drive on the wrong side of the road. I never did figure out what direction I should be watching for oncoming traffic and therefore I stood on the side of the road trying to watch every direction at once. We were in the city with another couple and they, as well as Hubby, caught on very nicely as to how to cross the streets. This meant that time after time they would scurry across the road and I would be left behind. Even at the lighted intersections I didn't feel safe and twice I almost got hit by someone who ran the red light. Honestly-would someone from Edinburgh please explain to me how the locals know to cross a few seconds before the light actually changes?