Sunday, November 29, 2009

In which I'm sucked in by another fad - Review of Vibram Five Fingers Shoes.

You just had to know, that it was only a matter of time before I progressed from this:

to this:

Earlier today Sweet Baboo and I hopped into the car and headed up to Santa Fe to a store called, "On Your Feet" where they had Vibram Five-fingers in stock.

I've been somewhat intrigued by these since I first heard about them.  I grew up in Alabama and rarely wore shoes.  I was constantly admonished by my mother for this, For goodness sake, Misty Jane, put on your shoes.  We are civilized people, not hillbillies but in the south where grass is thick and soft and cool, it behooves you to feel it under your feet and between your toes.  There are streams to run around in, and wet clay earth is pretty nice between the toes, too.  But I digress.  In any case, my mother's voice was later replaced with Sweet Baboo voice who suggested that perhaps it was unseemly for a civilized, educated woman to consantly be picking thorns and briars out of her blackened feet. I relented--to him, and to the thorny, sandy, gravelly terrain, and stopped going barefoot.

What I did instead was to wear socks everywhere.  Not everywhere, I mean. but around the house, for just running out and getting the mail, or into the garden to dump coffee grounds or ask Baboo if he wanted dinner soon.  My poor, poor socks, with their tattered, grey-brown bottoms, no matter their original color.  And, my children picked up my bad habits.

Then Vibram came out with these shoes.  DP and Bones each got a pair, and I was envious, but I figure that if you're unemployed, you don't get to buy expensive toe shoes.  Sweet Baboo had other ideas, especially after reading, "Born to Run".

My reason for wanting to try these on before buying them was because that I fully intend to wear them always with my Injinjis.  I have reasoned, and Baboo has read or heard, that they can get a little smelly otherwise.  The physics of adding an extra layer to ones feet inside shoes would suggest a different size, but how different?  We aimed to find out.

The shoe store ("On Your Feet") for anyone who visits here, is awesome.  It is the best place, in my opinion, to get whatever hippie healthy shoe you want to get.  By "healthy" I mean in terms of what is good for your feet or posture, not for the poor animals that were killed to make most of them.
But anyway.  They carry Clarks, Teva, Merril, and Keen - I could have easily taken out a 2nd mortgage to do some serious shopping in here.    The salespeople know shoes, too.  They didn't just sell them, they knew their product.
I tried on the KSO model (KSO = Keep Stuff Out) and Oh, My, Gosh - they felt great.  I felt like I was barefoot, only better, because I wasn't going to pick thorns out of my feet.  Wow.

We each got a pair of the KOS model, and then drove back to Albuquerque.  Immediately Baboo and I went for about a 2-mile hike up and over some sandy hills containing some gravel, and I could feel that my ankles are going to need some work, because with each step my feet were so firmly planted that everything else rotated and moved over them.  I could feel some of the gravel under my feet, but it wasn't painful.  Nevertheless, I can tell that I'll have to work my way up to wearing these for long distance hikes and/or jogging on trails.  Running up and down short inclines I  felt pretty secure, even the ones covered with slippery sand and gravel.

I've been wearing them all day, including around the house, and they feel great - snug and comfortable, but not in that creepy, sweaty sort of way that some shoes can be.  Vibram also makes the TREK.  I will definitely be looking at these for trail running.  Look at these soles:

I'm under no illusions that my spine and feet will have some adjusting to do.  SOMETHING has to adjust to that lack of stiffness and padding. I was told in the recent past by the guys at Albuquerque Running Shop,  that I have an advantage in the long history of running around barefoot and in the nine years I spend standing and walking around on a slab at work, but even so, it will be an adjustment curve to get to wear these for running trails.

In the meantime, I'm of the opinion that once you hit 40, you get to be as weird as you want, so I consider these completely acceptable for my bluejean world of school and for seeing clients, as well as workouts and yoga.

For more fancy or formal occasions in the world of non-profit, like interviews and meetings, I'll hang onto my Keen Mary Janes.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Thirteen: In no particular order.

1)Purring kitties. 

2) My health. It's true; I'm turning into the pill queen. But it could be much, much worse.

3) My Sweet Baboo.

4) My children. They've all turned out pretty well, and they still like me.

5) My inlaws. Given the lack of family I currently have, my inlaws are the best family I could have. They are nice, normal people. I've heard some inlaw horror stories. I have nothing to contribute.

6) My feet. They've taken me a long way. In all the crazy things I've done, I've gotten a blister on maybe 2 occasions, and it was a tiny blister at the tip of my toe that I didn't know was there until after I was done.

Nary a stress fracture nor problem. 

7) My hair. Very little gray. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

8) My sanity. I've withstood a lot of experiences that I'm grateful only to put behind me.

9) My mind. I'm grateful that at any time I can decide to go to school and find it an easy endeavor.

10) My knees. Fingers crossed, they're hanging in there.

11) My hips. Ditto.

12) Our little house in the hills.

13) Popcorn.

13) Crackling fires of cedar and pinon.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Tuesday Twelve

...because I have something else planned for the Thursday Thirteen.

1) oh, THOSE thoughts. You know the ones. They start out as a whisper...why, she's the same size as me, not much younger, and she just did a _________...then a murmur. I wonder if *I* could do a (fill in the blank here:) _________...then the next thing you know, you're narrowing it down to which crazy-assed race you're going to sign up for. Which is what I did.

I eliminated the Pinhoti hundred-miler, for now, because you should always train like you race, and for my first hundred-miler, I can't train for a southern, semi-tropical pine forest, given that I live in Albuquerque. However, I reserve the right to do this one some day, because it's really close to where my sister lives, and they have fried egg sandwiches on the course. Not that this is all that unique, mind you...most ultras are basically a run from one buffet to the next.

I eliminated the Rocky Racoon hundred-miler, because if you sign up for the hundred, and finish at least 50 miles, they don't give you credit as having finished the 50 mile race which is on the same route, on the same day.

That leaves me with the Javalina Jundred, which as the same course that exists in my back yard (rocky, high-desert) and if you finish at least 4 of the 6-1/2 loops, you get a "whimp out" 100k option, a 100K belt buckle.

DP has kindly offered to be my boss lady for the event.

However, I still have to get down to 160 before I'll sign up (72.5 kg for our international friends).

2) WEIGHT. I'm losing a half pound a week.\At this rate, I'll be sending Javalina my money sometime in January. I would like it to be on record that given that I eat between 1300 and 1800 calories a day (depending on my workout that day) and run a minimum of 25 miles a week, I think 1/2 pound a week is rediculous, but given the alternative (not losing anything), I'll take it.

3) THINGS I SAID I'D NEVER DO. I went to Trader Joes last week. They had the cheapest Tofurkeys in town. I also bought some corn soup. So there.

4) Gaaa! Since I can't eat soy any more, the hot flashes are coming fast and furious. I wake up every two hours, drenched in sweat. Baboo is most sympathetic, but obviously helpless; there's not much to do when your wife suddenly rises, strips off her shirt, and walks out in to the back yard in the middle of a cold, cold night. This is not as attractive as one might think.  Or maybe it is. I don't know. 

5) High.
Baboo, Courtney, and I climbed up to the South Peak of Sandia on Saturday. It was a 14-mile round-trip, and I was pretty sick that afternoon. I think I need to get used to that altitude. I felt great on Sunday, though.

I went for a 30-mile bike ride with friends Sunday. It goes without saying that since I haven't sat on a bike since September, my butt hurts, but not as bad as I thought.  More importantly, my legs didn't burn or hurt. I was expecting a miserable, cold time, and I had a wonderful time on a beautiful day with some of my favorite friends.

7) George's LEGACY: Why an I just hearing about this whole Real ID thing?  Will I be able to travel next year without a passport in my own country?  Who's working on this? WHO?

8)  ONE PERSON at school has noticed that my hair is a completely different color.  What.  The.  Hell.  everyone else is, like, "Oh, your hair is a different color?"
YES!  YES!  It is BROWN now!  Geez!

9) *SPAM ALERT* FREE STUFF!  L@@K!  Last year Tech4o asked me to review their watch with the built-in pedometer.  This year, they've asked me to review their women's watch with a heart-rate monitor strap. The Tech4o company is sending me an extra watch, so that I can do a contest giveaway.

So, this is what I've come up with:
What you have to do is guess what my finishing time will be at Ghost Town 38.5 in January.  The person closest to my actual time without going over will win a Tech4o watch with heartbeat monitor on which I have drawn a smiley face with a sharpie on the back.  Whee!  in the case of a tie, I'll be asking those in the tie a trivia question.
Happy guessing.

10)  JOB.  Still don't have one.  Still working on that.  Given my druthers, I'd still rather do therapy.  I'm headed to some agencies tomorrow with copies of my resume.  If I could get 15 paying clients a week or more, I could make a go of it.  Perhaps I've been at this agency too long.  In two months, they've given me two clients.  TWO.  Time to move on.

11) CHEESE! As I write this I am watching a show about cheese on Modern Marvels.  It's surprisingly interesting.  One time I watched "The History of Cereal" and it was also surprisingly interesting.  No, really.  Oh, also: Americans eat 100 acres of pizza a day.  You're welcome.

12) TRAINING.  I'm back on track.  This week I'll be running 2, 4, 6 (monday, tuesday, wednesday) 14, and 8 (saturday, sunday).  The 14-miler will be a hike. 


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thursday Thirteen

1. Hair. It's as dark and straight as I remember it being about 15 years ago. I was expecting a lot of gray, but the gods who gave me hypothyroidism, asthma, and a host of allergies decided to give me a break on this one. Yay!

I liked being a blond, but my hair grows nearly an inch a month, and there's lots of it. Plus, the 18% humidity here, chemical processing, swimming, and crappy hotel shampoos at race venues are just a bit drying. Less $$ for maintenance = $$ for race entry fees, right?
My hair dresser says my dark hair is really going to make my green eyes, "pop".
I suggested to him that using the word, "pop" isn't so good for describing what eyes might do.

2. Reboot. I had an interview this week, but no call came from HR. :-( I'm hoping for another interview soon.

3. CHEAP!! Since I've been off work I've reverted quickly to the survival mode from when I was a single parent. Last week I dug a cactus needle out of my thumb that had been stuck in there for a week because it just seemed silly to pay someone else to do it when I had Orajel and a knife handy. Soon I'll be splinting injuries with sticks and closing wounds with super glue.

4. Training. I was invited to do a coffee ride this past Sunday (As you know, I love trying desperately to catch my super fast friends on one of their "rides"). I took one look at the forecast for snow and rain and typed back, COUNT ME IN! because I knew we'd never go.
I was right. It was 30 degrees and snowing, the ride was canceled, and I spent the day in with a fire and movies.
But now I have the benefit of having come across as being as a motivated joiner. Unless they read this.

5. Ankle. I'm hiking on trails again. The ankle moves forward and backwards, but not so much side-to-side. I have started gently manipulating it by hand. It still hates me, but now the hate is more like a pout than a scream.

6. UP. I went hiking with Sweet Baboo and Courtney anyway. I took it easy because of the ankle thing, and only climbed up to 9400 feet. Next week, we're headed to the south peak.
7. Future Races. I have been stricken by the "never say never" curse and plan to sign up for a hundred-miler when I reach 160 pounds. I haven't decided which one. I'm looking at Pinhoti (near my sister), the Javelina Jundred (cool buckle, and a 100k "wimp-out" option) or Rocky Racoon (flat, flat, flat but boring, boring, boring). Each of these races is superbly organized and supported.

8. WEEPY. Does getting older mean you cry at every damned thing? Even movies I've seen a million time do this to me. In fact, movies I've seen a million times are worse: I start to get choked up in anticipation of what's about to happen. I'm pathetic.

9. Foot.
A new development: a pain between two of my toes on the bottom of my right foot. Mostly felt going downhill. I hear it's called a neuroma, and is hard to get rid of . Oh, YAY.

10. Training, P.2. I've started over with the 50-mile training plan. I'm a bit behind because of the ankle thing; I've only done 47 miles this month so far.

11. FIRE! Sweet Baboo has gotten really good at making fires! His fires are roaring and burn away any accumulated soot on the glass, so you can see them clearly. This means they burn out accumulations in the chimney, too.
This was Sunday's fire:

12. Cookies. Sunday Sweet Baboo asked if we could have some sort of cookie. Well, hell, the man had made a kick-ass fire, so sure, I started looking for healthy PB cookie recipes.
One recipe said "low fat" but included a cup of butter-flavored crisco "or butter."

Another one required olive oil. Olive oil? in cookies?

Another one required maple syrup, which people like to imagine is safer than sugar, because it's all natural and junk. Of course, snake venom and botulism are also natural, but trying to explain that to certain people is like trying to explain to them that quartz crystals are chemically identical to window glass. It creates a cognitive dissonance that they cannot overcome.
But I digress.
Anyway, I don't like maple syrup. I like Mrs. Butterworths. So there.

Well, after looking at various recipes, I decided to make up my own. How hard could it be?
And, Oh, My, Goodness. They sucked. Apparently, baking is, like, a skill.

Plus, my oven thermostat is broken, and of course, I won't get it fixed because I'm too cheap and I only use the stupid thing twice a year anyway. So, unless I go over to the oven and turn it off for about one minute out of every 5, everything BURNS..

The recipe yielded 5 decently cooked bland cookies and about 15 peanut butter charcoal briquettes.

I will continue to experiment. I'll post a recipe when I have one that works. Meanwhile, just go ahead and skip telling me about PB cookies at Trader Joes. Remember: I will not join your Trade Joe's cult.

13. Motivation. I have a friend that calls me every 4-5 months to tell me how much she really needs to get fit. I'm not naming names. I don't think she reads my blog, anyway.
So. She tells me how badly she needs to work out, and makes a date to go on a trail hike or short run with me, doesn't show up, and then I don't hear from her again until the next quarter. This has been going on for a few years.
She was supposed to come over the same day I agreed to cycle with my very super fast cycling friends. Of course, I was not troubled by the double-booking, as I was relatively certain the weather would cancel the cycling and my friend would not show up.
I was right. I relaxed all day, until i did a late afternoon hike with Baboo. Win-win. Meanwhile, the door's always open for her.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thursday Thirteen.

1) Home Gym. Is awesome.  Mind you, we bought nothing, we'd collected this stuff over the years: a stability ball, bands, dumbbells, weight bench, treadmill, industrial fan, mini fridge, many workout and training DVDs.  But now it's consolidated in the garage with the TV and DVD player from the guest room.  No cable.  (Yet.)  
Ahhhh.  The life of the empty nest couple is a spoiled, wonderful life!!
(You may commence with the hate and envy)

2) Ankle.  much better.  Lunges and certain yoga moves, are are still out.  Lots of soaking in an icy goldfish pond and diclofenac has been working.  I can jog with no pain, but only on the treadmill for now. 
I thought it was all healed up, but then Tuesday when I was pushing my foot down into a shoe--OWWWWWW.  Ankle does not want to be maneuvered in any way.  Swelling is gone, but no trails for me until at least a week AFTER it stops hurting. (And thanks - I've been stretching my archilles every day.)
3) Circuits and Strength training.  I downloaded some workouts from,   On my no running days, I cross-train: walk on the treadmill for 10 minutes, then 2 sets of the 3 resistance/strength-building exercises, walk another 10 minutes, and then do 2 sets of the next 3 exercises, and so on...while a movie is playing.  I like circuits; they break up the time.  So does an old movie.   

4) My running plan.  New training started this week.  I get my run plans generated here. I'm jogging easy for now, on the treadmilll.

5) Shoulders and arms endurance.  Strength training is becoming a big part of my weight loss and training and ankle recovery plan.  On the treadmill, I use 1 pound weights in each arm.  I need to build up my endurance for swinging my arms for 9....10....14....hours.  I alternate 1-minute of punching and doing bicep curls as I go (on the treadmill.). The 1-minute wil increase to 2, and so on. I use low weights, lots of reps.

6) Dreadmill.  Raise the incline to a 3, and it will shorten your stride and take the stress off the front of your legs. Also, you can do walking lunges on a treadmill. 

7)  Thought for the day. 
If you want your life to be a magnificent story, then begin by realizing that you are the author and every day you have the opportunity to write a new page.
Mark Houlahan

8)  Weight.  169 still, probably because I haven't done much in 3 weeks except walk a bit (Recovery from Palo Duro, Ankle twist) Ideally, I'd like to be at 150 when I toe the start line at my first 100-miler, but if I get down to 160, I'll know my body is at least serious about losing weight, and I'll sign up.
(Note how I put all the responsibility anthropomorphically onto my body, not my crappy willpower). 
On the plus side, I just put my size 14 jeans away, and took out my size 12s.

9) Oral Fixation.  Does anyone but me have a weird cat that nurses on clothes?  You'd think after 8 years of living with this cat I'd be used to how weird she is, but--no.

10) New shoes.  Since New Balance betrayed me by redesigning their shoes, I'm trying a new one (Asics). Some day, when my ankle heals, I'll get to wear them again.  (Sigh.)

11) Work.  I've been working for free.  I didn't go to college to work for free.  I've decided I'll probably  return to teaching 'till I'm done with social work school.  The upside to this is more amusing stories.

12)  Teaching. Full time work and full time school doesn't leave a lot of time.  We'll see.  I may have to put off my first hundred-miler, even if I do make my self-imposed weight limit by December 31st.  In fact, I'm not even sure I can pull off Ironman training for St. George on May 1st. 

13)  Bucket list.  Despite all my rantings about how I will never go back to Alabama, there is this one trail run that I simply must do before I die.  Not only is it very close to where my sister lives, but the race website actually claims that the trail is unmolested.  Seriously.  How can I avoid an opportunity to molest a trail?  i ask you.  SRSLY. MO. LEST.  a Trail. 


Saturday, November 07, 2009

SweetFace comes home.

This is kind of a long post but it explains one of my children I haven't written about before.  About 25 years ago, I had my first child, a boy.  He was nearly 9 pounds. The anesthesiologist, later fired, claimed I was too noisy and being a big baby and that, he "just couldn't work with me" before he walked out.  BabyDaddy, meanwhile begged me to stay awake so we could experience our little miracle together and so it was, 20 hours after I arrived at the hospital, he was born--natural childbirth with just some Demerol to take the edge off.

His father, who was into creative anachronism, wanted to name him Darthtania.  yeah, right.  I named him Derek. 

My father (pictured, right) called him "Oily".  Derek = oil, get it? Oh, Dad was a card, he was.
My mother named him Sweetface, and in the tradition of many  grandparents, they immediately fell in love.   

So. anyway.

Swwetfaces' father died when he was 2.  As he grew, it was clear that Sweetface was an odd, sweet boy.  When he was in kindergarten, the school called me to a meeting where they informed me that he was bright.  like, really bright.  I was surprised; I hadn't spent much time around small children and I thought all young children could write letters at age 2, and know the name of many of the presidents at age 5.  As he got older, after I bought my first computer, I taught him DOS, HTML, and how to calculate cubes and squares.   

But he was odd.  Unusual.  Kind of a loner.  He became the natural target of bullies with nobody to stick up for him.  They were merciless, until finally when I accidentally happend upon a certain 12 year old who had been bullying him.  I leaned over and whispered in his ear, there are all sorts of things i could do to you that your parents would never know about, and i will come for you in the night if you ever touch my kid again.  
That seemed to take care of that.

SweetFace once walked over and leaned against me when he was 9, and told me he wished he were like other kids.  He even said that sometimes, he was so tired of being called weird that he thought he might even want to die.
When I was able to breathe again after he said that, I told him that weird people invented things, because they thought in a way that nobody else thought.  I told him weird was good, but yes, wierd people are  sometimes lonely until they found the other, weird people in their lives that were out there waiting for them to meet them.  He seemed satisfied with that answer, and began to embrace his weirdness.  Perhaps a little too much.

I endeavored to teach him the responsibilities that come with intellectual prowess.  He had a paper route.  in South Dakota.  Meanwhile, he bore the responsibility of being the oldest son of a single mother. 

Then the death of his beloved grandmother and a short-lived relationship with an emotionally abusive stepfather took his toll on him, and he became a bright and very angry teenager.

Sweetface skipped Algebra in high school because he seemed to already understand it, and went straight to Advanced Placement maths.  By the time he was 15, he had taught himself 3 programming languages.  He knew a lot about computers.  It was intuitive to him, as it was to me, and as it was to my dad, who was a database programmer beginning in the early 70s.

But.  He used that knowledge freely that to violate computing rules at the high school.  he was on a quest to prove that he could not be kept out of anything.  The kid was sleeping his way through getting a B in advanced mathematics, but failing the entire year of english and history and computer science because, "well gosh, mom, it's just math--anyone can pass math," and, "those other classes are stupid and boring."  He was an angry, angry kid and everyone else in the household bore the brunt of it--us, his brother, everyone. He had no appreciation for the rare gift he had up above his eyes, and his boundary violations escalated.

Baboo, who came into his life at age 14, had not been in his life long enough to be a real influence.  After his third suspension for computer violations, Sweet Baboo and I reluctantly, after taking deep breaths, pulled him out of high school and put him in the military.  It was before we discovered multisport.  Maybe if we'd known it sooner, we might have turned him around, as we did his younger brother.  There's no sense in second-guessing.

He passed his GED in the 93rd percentile.  And then early one morning soon after, the recruiter picked him up at 5 am and drove him away.  At the time, I had no idea we were going to go to war against Iraq.   It has been a long 8 years with no small amount of worry and guilt, I promise you that.

These haven't been easy years for him.  He's had to learn that even brilliant young men sometimes have to be grunts and be yelled at and wade through a mile of crap until they've earned their way in the world.  He's learned that just being brilliant isn't any good without boundaries and a work ethic. He has learned that the process of becoming a man is painful, something that I, his mother, could not have taught him.

They marched and yelled the anger right out of him.  He grew older, and matured.  He seems to be now more like that odd, sweet boy, except now he's an odd, sweet young man.  And still really, really weird.  And proud of it.  He gets out of the Army in May 2010, and has already made contacts with the veteran's liason at the local university to make full use of his GI benefits.  They did a vocational assessment on him, and he chose to be a database programmer.

I'll be glad to have him home and get to know him again, my odd, sweet boy, minus the anger.


Sweet face, in his own weird day, has never shown any interest in having a driver's license.  He rides a bicycle everywhere.   He prefers this.  Hmm. 

Oh, and there's this: an unsolicited comment that SweetFace's pediatrician made once, a long time the time, it was meaningless, and seemed like a strange thing to say to the mother of a 3-year-old, but it's stuck in the back of my mind all these years, and especially the last 4 or 5 years, I think about it a lot:
Your son's knees are built in a way that they can take a lot of stress.  People with knees like this seem to experience fewer injuries - they make good runners. 

Welcome home, Sweet face.   We'll have you doing sprints in no time.



Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Thursday Thirteen.

1) I don't post personal secrets about friends of mine on my blog.  That is not My. Way. 
I leave it to them to put up their own blogs for that stuff.  So if you're currently in the midst of an acrimonious divorce and are reading my blog to try and find out secrets about your soon-to-be-ex, you're wasting your time.

2) If you think I'm talking to you, I might be. Or I might not be.  I know several people going through a divorce right now. 

3)  Anyway.  I was excited Tuesday to hit the trail on the start of my new 50-miler training program Tuesday.  I was having a pretty good run, too!  I only had to do 2 miles that day, and did a quick mile out and back.  I was about 1/4 mile from the house when I went down.  I mean, I turned my ankle hard.  I'm not sure what happened - if I stepped wrong, or stepped on a rock, or what.  All I know is, it HURT.  Since I'm not used to feeling that kind of pain, it really took me by surprise, too.
So, I'm sitting in the middle of the desert, rocking back and forth and crying, MOTH. ER. F&%$. ER!!! over and over again.  ow.  OW. It takes a lot to make me really yell, and I yelled.  And sobbed.  And yelled some more.  Before this, the last time pain made me yell was when I got too much wasabi paste on my sushi roll.  But I digress. 
So anyway, what was I saying?  Oh yeah.  OWWWWWWW.  the pain finally subsided enough to where I was able to limp back to the house where I promptly stuck my whole foot into the unheated goldfish pond.  I think I expected some sort of relief, like I get when I finish a long run and ice my legs down.  Nope.   MOTH. ER. F&%$. ER!!!  OWWWW. 

4) I was an extremely good patient.  I worked my way through the whole R.I.C.E. protocol.  And took some Diclofenac.  It was a bit swollen, just a bit, and by the end of the day, hardly at all.   The next morning, was happy to see that it felt and looked almost normal.  As a precaution, I taped it for support for the day and did the elevation thing some more.  By the end of the day, I wasn't feeling any pain at all.

5) SO imagine my surprise when I took off my shoe last night and found it hugely swollen with a big bruise.  Normally, I have nice sharp little ankle bone sticking out there.
Okay, I guess it doesn't show up in the photo very well. 

Here's my normal foot for contrast:

Not sure what to think about that big giant bruise.  The foot itself doesn't hurt much, and I've kept it taped for stability.  Meanwhile, I have a cankle.
But just one.

Crap.  guess I'm walking for the next week or so.  No running for me.

6) I"m interviewing for first-year internship sites.  We are encouraged to "step outside the box" and pick one that represents an area in which we need growth.  I've decided to target areas related to law and children/family court. 

So far, the front-runner is CASA.   These folks basically go out with a copy of a court order and investigate every aspect of a foster kids life to make sure s/he is being appropriately taken care of and all his/her needs are addressed.  Then they make a report to the court.  As part of my interview, the director had me sit in on a court case. I'm also hoping to interview with CYFD and legal aid. 

7) I would be supervising CASA volunteers and providing training for them.  If I decide on this.  A major advantage of the CASA internship is the supervisory experience.  I have traditionally avoided things like "leadership" and "responsibility" because remember, I. Am. Lazy.  However, sometimes I find myself thrust into that role when I'm working in groups.  So I figure, why not give responsibility a try?  Maybe I'll like it.  Or not.  But at least this way I'll know.   I feel like ultra running and marathoning and triathloning has made me fearless.  Like my friend Holly used to say, "what's the worst that coule happen?  what are they going to do?  take away your birthday?"

8)  But back to the foot thing.  So, tomorrow, I figure I can go to the podiatrist and get a foot brace and spent $300 or I can get and identical one at WalGreens for about $15.  Hmm.  Decisions, decisions. 

9) Two more large papers due within a week.  Oh wait, three.  Crap.

10)  Still thinking on the 100-miler thing.  I have decided, for practical reasons, that it would be very difficult at this weight to be successful AND have a good time. So, I'll decide at the end of the year whether to do one in 2010, and if so, which one.  So far, I'm looking at Javelina Jundred or Rocky Racoon.

11)  I know what you might be thinking: why a 100 miler? Well, it keeps me honest, that's why.  One can fake their way through a small event with no cutoff, or at least I can, and skip their training.  But there's no skipping the training for the ultra running events.  I have to train, or I'll go down in flames.  There's no faking my way out of this.  I can't think my way out of being untrained, or charm my way out.  I have to do the work.  I'm held accountable to myself.  So, that's why.

12)  My oldest son is coming home for Christmas.  He's 25.  I haven't written about him much.  I've been gathering my thoughts for that.  He's been in the Army since I pulled him out of high school and put him in when he was 17. He's getting out in May and going to college here in Albuquerque.  I'll write more on him soon. 

13.)  Baboo is doing very, very well. He's been out walking every morning.  Between my ankle and his (still) stiff legs, we are probably looking like a  cute, doddering old couple hobbling around the block together.  I imagine people looking and say, AWWWWW. There's so cute!  you think we'll be that cute when we're old?  Awwwwwww.  

Monday, November 02, 2009

Javelina 100, in pictures, with commentary, mostly kind.

Note: Sweet Baboo's race report is up.

Seen at the Phoenix airport.

I hope this doesn't offend anyone out there, but every time I find myself in Phoenix there is always a point where I look around and think, "what.  I'm here again?"

You see, ultra runners are not hotel people, for the most part.  They are camping people.  And so are their crew. 

The trophy table.  Where you can finger an actual finisher's buckle.

Buckles are the big thing in ultra running.  Everyone wants a buckle.  you can wear a buckle.  It's serious street cred to have one.  If one encounters another ultra runner, sometimes their eyes dart to see if you're sporting one. 

The Dead Last award.

Seriously awesome. 

One of the few races where you can get your feet taped.  This helps prevent blisters. 


The aftermath...

The Phoenix airport (above).

..and home, the next day, working on his race report


Sunday, November 01, 2009

Chasing the Greater Baboo.

I spent the last 36 hours crewing the Sweet Baboo at the Javalina Jundred.  I'll put up some pictures soon.

The Javalina Jundred is a great, well-run party that has ultra runners doing 100 miles in it.  It's 6 laps of 15.4 miles each, and then a 9-mile loop.  YES, I KNOW THAT ADDS UP TO OVER 100 MILES, WHICH IS BEYOND F***ED UP, but there it is. If you are unable to complete all seven laps, but complete at least four, you get the Javalina Jundred "Whimp-out 100" buckle, for completing 100K (62 miles).  What's great about that option is that it keeps people from hurting themselves for a buckle.

So I ran back and forth a bit fetching for him.  Made him put on sunscreen even though he was cranky.  You know what crew means, don't you?  Cranky Runner, Endless Waiting.  I figured it was a good sign. 
Andy paced his 5t lap, and I paced him for his 6th lap, and between the two of us, we saw Baboo through the night.  

So during the lap I paced, it's dark, and we're power-walking and doing some jogging on miles 75 through 90.  The aid stations are 5 miles apart which seems appallingly far apart, but whatever.  They are super well stocked with friendly, knowledgeable aid-station volunteers.  So we're cruising along in the dark, and then dawn comes - I hand Baboo his sunglasses and as we hit one of the inexplicable warm spots in the desert, he says something I don't quite catch.  Something like, "when the trail gets really nice, I can sprint it." and then he does.

Oh, yes, he did: while I was trying to extricate one arm from my pullover jacket he takes off at a pretty full on run, and I have to follow him, because what kind of loser pacers gets her ass kicked by her runner?  I thought it was going to be a trot, but then he's running full tilt.  I mean, the dude had 80+ miles on his feet, and he is SMOKING me.  What a freak!  I'm hauling ass, trying to catch him, and it's only about 3 miles later that I finally catch him, because he stopped at the next aid station.

I was able to catch my breath after that, but he set off at a trot and I had to keep up.  It was at this point that I suggested that maybe he didn't need me after this loop.  I might even be slowing him down. Don, on the other hand, was happy to pace Baboo for his final 8 or so miles. 

And I"m like this big baby.  I've gone 15 miles at a pretty good clip, and I'm all, "It's hot out here.  My feet hurt" but I never, ever said that.  I said things like, Just think how great it will be when you're finished. 

I watched one pacer, who was jogging backwards facing his sobbing, exhausted runner, You're not going to give up!  You know why?  Because Janet doesn't give up!  Janet is going to get that buckle!! Janet kept running. and crying a little, but I don't think she quit. That's what a pacer does.  Doesn't let that runner quit. The ones that do get recriminations a day or two later when the fog has lifted, Why'd you let me quit?  I wasn't injured.  I was just tired.  You should have kept me going!

So anyway, sweet Baboo finished, wasn't last, my Baboo ran 100 miles.  Again.  I bet your Baboo can't do that. 

PS: Phoenix is just crazy hot sun, even in November.  Ugh.  

Meanwhile.  I have some general comments to make about crewing an ultra runner.  Now, I'm not saying I'm the world's best crewer, I'm still learning.  But I witnessed some pretty shameful "help" from people toward their runners.  I want to address them, who will go to work tomorrow and tell their co-workers/friends that they "crewed" for someone at the Javelina Jundred, when indeed, their runner was pretty much on their own.  I'm not naming any names.  That would be mean. 

  • Showed up five hours after the race started, missing their entire first loop.
  • Spend most of your time kicked back, reading, napping, instead of getting everything ready for your runner.   
  • Sat in a chair, watched your runner come in...and then watched him or her leave, all without getting out of your chair.
  • Watched your runner search for something in their bag without helping them find what they think they need.  
  • Watched your runner run back out into the Arizona sun without putting sunscreen on them.
  • Believed that because they are a grownup, they don't need to be reminded of anything, and they don't need your help.
  • Don't check to see how much they are drinking.
  • Don't find out when the last time they peed was.
  • Left at sundown even though your runner was not finished with their race, when indeed sundown is when they start needing you the most.
  • Weren't around to know that, in the night, they became discouraged and tired and then quit, because nobody was there to talk them through it or tell them to get their butt in gear. 
  • Spent most of your time eating and napping.  Then, when you left, you behind left the foods that runners don't eat (meat and cheese trays), taking with you the foods that ultra runners do eat (potato chips).
  • Haven't bothered to learn about any of these things, because even though your spouse or parent has been doing this for years, you haven't bothered to learn a damned thing about it.  .
NO, if you did those things, you were not crewing.  You were spectating.  When you crew, that's your runner you're waiting for.  You are there for that runner.  It's not about you.  It doesn't matter if you lose some sleep.  It doesn't matter if you're bored.  You're there for them.  They need you most at night, when it's lonely and they feel like nobody else in the course.  This is when you, or another pacer, needs to get your butt in gear and follow them around the course, to assure them that nothing's out there, and the course is that way.

And that's all I'm going to say about that.



 I'm no longer involved in multisport or endurance sports. I've started my own business, a psychotherapist specializing in anxiety d...