Monday, December 31, 2012

Cheap glasses: Zenni optical review

Dear Diary,

A few years back, I asked a pharmacist why I could buy a pair of reading glasses for $10 or $15 over the counter, but I have to pay over $200 for glasses that can only be made by special people in a special place. I can, furthermore, buy corrective swim goggles for my nearsightedness, but not glasses.

I ordered three pairs of glasses from Zenni. My existing glasses had numbers on the arm (see below). When you look on the Zenni website, you can look at numbers that correspond to these. They have to do with the width of the temple, the width of the nose bridge, and width of the lenses.

Mine were single vision. One pair was tinted. One was a pair of frames with spring hinges. I ordered my specs on December 20th, and they were around $47. for all three.

They arrived on the 31st, which is pretty good considering that this occurs over the span over a major holiday.

They arrived in a single bubble padded envelope. Each pair was on a tiny plastic case, inside a ziplock bag, with a nice microfiber cloth.

Here is the result. I don't know why these pictures are so yellow.



I love these prescription sunglasses. Aren't they awesome?

$47. Quite worth it. I plan to order a nice pair of running glasses next. I'm picking out a pair of lightweight frames, with transition lenses, and a mirrored finish. I'm also ordering a pair of yellow-tinted goggles for playing racquetball. I'll try it tomorrow to see if I can use my FSA card. At those prices, I might even get some more pairs to match my wardrobe.
In shirt, fellow cheapskates, I highly recommend Zenni optical. Go getcha some cute glasses.


Saturday, December 29, 2012

New Years Resolutions: be cheap, organized, thin, and others.

Dear Diary,

I've made several New Year's resolutions: to be cheaper, organized, thinner, and faster. Also, I want to get new states, marathon-wise. Because nobody has ever, ever in the history of the world made those resolutions before. Especially me.

Cheaper. I'm well on my way.

For one thing, being as wearing contact lenses for all night ultra trail runs were causing scarring on my corneas--I shit you not, scarring, although the OD said, casually, "well, it's a small scar, and it's not going to affect your vision over there," while I was thinking, EEEK!!!

So, I have switched back to glasses. They make me look all smart and shit anyway, and the nerd look is in. My first foray into this will be via Zenni Optical, which as gotten good reviews from strangers. Last year, when I first heard about it, I mentioned it casually to my oldest offspring, you should try this, it will save you money and then sat back and watched to see the results DON'TLOOKATMELIKETHAT; HE'SYOUNGANDCANGETALLSORTSOFTRANSPLANTS and he was quite pleased. I ordered a pair of specs, experimentally. If I like them I'll be ordering some lightweight specks with transition lenses for all day and all night running, as well as various colors to match outfits.

Second, I'm using a fantastic app on my ipad, How To Cook Everything by Bittner. I use this to pick out seven meals and populate a shopping list. I've found that planning seven meals, and buying the ingredients I need for those meals, results in two weeks worth of food, including leftovers for Sweet Baboo's lunches. I don't know how. I spend less money, and less food goes bad.


Organized.I'm still purging.

Last year I filled up the garage from the house, and then got rid of all of it. I had, oh, I had high aspirations of having the world's greatest garage sale, but that never happened. I wound up donating it and giving it away, mostly to group homes for people in recovery and Goodwill. Now, the new rule is that ever week I have to go to each room and get rid of five items. Not trash, but items, no matter how small. Once a room is considered done, then I can do ten from another one, and so on. On my way to work there are these collection bins and I drop stuff off.

Meanwhile, I've put much of my library on, and I sell a book, oh, every other week or so.

As part of my organization, I'm also going to track my workouts, my eating, and blog more frequently. I'm going to go back to venting on my blog, and using it as my brain toilet.


Thinner. I'm still fifteen pounds over where I was a year or so ago. I'm doing daily workouts, starting today. Five days a week, on the treadmill for at least forty-five minutes, and a long run on the weekend. The other two days I do yoga or some sort of fun thing, like raquetball. Sweet Baboo bought me a raquetball and other stuff. We went to the gym, and I ran around like a spaz while he stood mostly in one place and smiled a lot. But I have to say that as terrible as I am, it had a blast.

Also, I have the world's best salads for lunch. I'm not making this shit up. They are fantastic. The other therapists said I should take pictures of my salads. They usually involve mixed greens, brined artichoke hearts, calamata olives, chopped tomato, hard-boiled egg, a good balsamic vinegar. Occasionally, I treat myself to a good hard cheese, grated, but just a tablespoon or so. Sometimes, a single slice of applewood bacon, crumbled.

Of coure, it would HELP if my coworkers wood stop hitting Krispy Kreme on the way to work. That tray of do us...I'm not made of iron!

Faster. Of course it goes without saying that if I work my ass off and lose some of it, I'll get faster. But also, Tuesday is intervals day. I run like hell for 90 seconds or so, and then walk for thirty seconds, rinse repeat.


Marathons. So far I have planned: Oregon/Washington State in April, Nebraska in May, and Iowa/South Dakota in June. That's five new states. I'm thinking of Marine Corps marathon in Virginia too.

So that's it. I don't know if I'll do thirteens on Thursdays. I'm going to probably link my blog posts to my resolutions. Or not. I have a short attention span. We'll see.



Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Not thirteen. Just stuff.

Dear Diary,

I've found a middle ground for eating that seems to be working for me. It's kind of low carb but not quite. I'm removing simple carbohydrates, including flours and sugars, and keaving in whole grains. Each morning when I work out I have a small bowl of steel cut oats with fruit and then almonds or walnuts. The rest of the day, when I'm mot working out, I have lots of vegetables and protein. It's kind of Mediterranian, but not quite. It's not extreme, and I have enough energy. My task has been to bring my fat level down a bit, but it too much, while getting enough protein. In the graphs on the right, the red is fat. These are my graphs for Sunday through Wednesday.

The turning point seemed to be when mini Baboo moved out. Since then, I sleep easily, like a rock. Suddenly, I no longer crave food. I feel full. I'm eating small meals all day long, food I love that's healthy, and not running to the store for kettle-fried chips.

The shin splint on the front of my leg, or irritated tendon, or whatever it was, is finally faded. I've been working out 2-3 mornings a week, 30 minutes power walking with the incline set to 10, and 20-30 minutes running with the incine set to 2. I use my heart monitor since nobody seems to know how to calibrate the speed on this thing and When it says 15 minute pace I am about to have a heart attack. On weekends, I do a short run, like a 10k, and a hike into the mountains.

I feel like I am starting over from scratch. I ran a 5k on Thanksgiving day at a 11:30 pace, which included stopping once or twice and walking. My cardiovascular fitness is there, but my endurance isn't.



Last week on the way home I was inspired afresh to decorate with dead things from my yard. Not animals. I mean twigs and sticks. I have decided that the only thing that differentiates me from Martha Stewart in the area of creativity is the willingness to tie together bundles of twigs and sticks and call it art and stare down anyone who disagrees.


So, I headed for Hobby Lobby, which is in my way home. The fact that I got out of this bastion of Godliness without being chased by the mobs with pitchforks trying to see if I sink or swim, is testament to my ability to "pass".


As I, a recovering Southern Baptist (not that there's anything wrong with that) now teetering on the brink of Buddhism tiptoed warily through the store looking for spray pain (red, green silver, gold, go figure) I was struck with how our cultural norm is to embrace all cultures--but only the parts we like. Not the weird parts. So, there were lamps and such that were clearly Moorish in influence, but I'm sure that if you explained that to anyone they would just fix you with a blank stare. But anyway. So I went home with spraypaint and a bunch of red raffia, and wrestled some dead plants out of the yard and stuck them in jars.

Et, voila:

See, the difference between me and Martha, other than she's stinking rich and hard-working, is that I'm lazier, but way nicer.


The first picture is the stalk from a Century Plant (google it), spray painted, with red raffia bows tied around the stems, lights, all stuck in a bucket of rocks.


The rest are dead plants from my yard stuck in various vases, and then some silks stuck in with those so that I wouldn't have to find a place to store the silks.

Some of them I painted. Some I didn't.




I've heard about tumbleweed trees. Maybe next year.





Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thursday 13, the Saturday, er, Sunday edition.

Dear Diary,

A week in the life of an aspiring fitness freak. Most of which has nothing to do with fitness, or with freaks. During which, I realise that my iPad is set to British spelling autocorrect, not American spelling. I won't bother changing this, because I am lazy.

13. Glasses. This past week, I made an appointment to be evaluated for LASIK. As part of that process, I was asked not to wear my contacts for three days beforehand. At first I was like, groan, but I dutifully hauled out my favourite dark-rimmed, nerdy square glasses that I had before nerdy square glasses were cool, and unexpectedly realised that I had forgotten that I like how I look in glasses.

I always felt like my face is a bit asymmetrical and I feel like the glasses make it seem more symmetrical.

And I think I look all smart and shit.

So, I canceled the LASIK eval and decided to get some glasses at Zenni optical. I read about them in Howard Clark's book. My son fell on that sword for me, and reports that not only are they high quality, but far cheaper than he would have paid elsewhere. I might buy different colors for outfits.

12. Recovery, and training. I have discovered that training isn't just for the race. It's for the recovery as well. Case and point: I just did a five-ish mile, fairly strenuous hike/trail run for the first time since the 100k I did three weeks ago. It was not easy. It was slow, a bit painful, and I felt heavy. I'm certain that this is as much due to the lack of training I had going into the 100k as it is the 15-20 lbs I've gained. Neither helps. But I've done as long a run before and recovered much faster. So, it's not just about the race. The training I mean. It affects recovery, too.

11. glasses. As a test, I did that hike/run in my glasses. It was no big deal. I barely noticed them. The last time I wore glasses regularly, I was running 5ks as my longest run. I thnk I'll get some tinted ones from Zennioptical for sunglasses.

10. Diet. I fell off the diet wagon just a bit this week, I'm not sure how much because I didn't log my food. But, I'm proud of how I did today, because weekends are usually my diet Waterloos.

9. Reading. When I was younger, I read voraciously. I plowed through Shogun in a couple of weeks in the fifth grade, and read almost constantly after that. I can remember sitting in the back of Algebra class in high school and reading Flowers in the Attic while Mr. Ayers taught. Or rather, worked problems and expected us to intuit them. Luckily, for me, that actually happened. It's a knack, I guess, and how I wound up as an algebra teacher later on.

So. Thirty years and three master's degrees later, I hated reading. I just couldn't sit still long enough to enjoy a good read. After looking forward to being able to read for pleasure, I have lost the ability to do that. The only way I can figure out how to overcome this is to start reading things I'm truly interested in at the moment. I subscribed to Cooks Illustrated and started reading the articles, and then bought a used copy of American Classics by the Editors of CI. Now I'm working my way to a genre of books called "Cooking Memoires". I've already seen Julie and Julia, so I'm looking forward to reading the book, and the same for toast, by Nigel Slater. I've order used copies of these, and some others. I think I might re-read Fried Green Tomatoes, too.

8. Empty nest, part Deux. Mini-Baboo is moving out this weekend. I won't lie. I have had two grown children living with me, in turn, for the past 20 months. I am looking forward to having my house back. I feel very strongly, and Sweet Baboo agrees, that the stress of having moochers, however beloved they may be, has at least treated contributed to our weight gain. We've each gained between 15 and 20 lbs. It's easier to cook for two and have nothing left over. It's easier to buy just what we need for a week or two. I can select quality ingredients again with a eye in organic, sustainable practice, instead of trying to feed a moose. I predict success. I am already less hungry.

7. Oh and did I meantion my kid is moving out? I have plans. I will be turning my guest bedroom back into, well, a guest bedroom. I will be turning my spare bath back into the spa-like oasis that I have dreamed of. Scented candles maybe. or oils. Off-white cushy linens. Shit in pretty baskets. Oh yeah, y'all. I may even hang dried bunches of flower and herb in there, too. No more man-child means I can make it dainty. I may even do some more Martha Stewart shit, like here. Or here.

6. Diet food. I want to share this recipe with you: (above) honey basalmic chicken. It's awesome. Tasty and has six ingredients. And just look at the calorie count! I used thighs, by the way. And agave nectar. Not because I'm falling for that glycemic index bullshit. Because I had some on hand.

5. Also, this iPad app: Basil. I love this app. It lets me import recipes from ANY web page and store them. Love, love, love. I only put in the ones I really like, like the one above. AND EDIT THEM.

4. cooking day. I made a whole mess of Seitan for the week. I have about 15 lbs of gluten flour, so it's easy. I use recipes from vegan epicurean. Why eat seitan? Well, because it's almost a perfect food. It's cheap, easy to make, nearly completely protein. It's a great diet food.

3. Food makeovers. I figured out that when I took the cheese and bacon off my salads, why, they are now low calorie! Go figure.

2. Workouts. A little behind, already. I make a firm commitment not to miss any workouts this week. I love, love, love watching John Steward and Steven Colbert each morning on the treadmill. It's all the news I want to digest this time of day. First, I eat my steal-cut oats, and then depending on the day, I either run on the treadmill or do power 90. There are just two tiny problems.

First, there is a pain in the front of my left leg that hurts. Feels like shin splints. It's keeping me from running. This is very frustrating.

Second, the music on the Power 90 DVD--mind you, this is a great workout--is totally pornagraphic. It's all, bow chicka BOW bow and I feel self conscious working out. I keep expecting a blonde in a UPS uniform with hot pants on to show up on the set, looking all surprised at the oiled, sweaty bodies. Oh, well, she says, as long as I'm here...

1. I need a mantra. Some that come to mind include,

one hour of workout is better than a whole day of being cut in half by the work clothes I squeezed my fat ass into today. Or,

that whole "more to love" is just something good husbands say to their fat wives so they don't sit on them.

Ideally, though, mantras are short and catchy. Better sweaty and fit than sweaty and fat. No, wait. They are supposed to be empowering, right? Put that scone down, fatty. No, that's not it.

I'll keep working on it.



Thursday, November 08, 2012

Accountability Diary, week 1

Dear Diary,

I've been asked a few questions repeatedly so I thought that it behooves me to maybe address them in a post.

What do you eat for long workouts and races?

For long workouts I usually use gels and start off with oatmeal. For races, I take pbj on white bread, which is usually offered on the course, and whatever sport drink they have. I always carry a hydration pack full of water. Every 20 miles or so, I eat two Larabars and drink an Ensure Clear. On race days, breakfast is two giant Nyong shim noodle bowls.

Why do you change your shoes?

I change my shoes because if I wear the same shoes I tend to develope hot sports that develope into blisters if the aren't addressed. I don't just change shoes, I change style and brand. That way, any oddities in the shoe or my gait vary, changing the stress and pressure sports. That helps avoid blisters or strains in various parts of my feet.

Any advise for first time ultra runners?

Yes. Figure out your nutrition. Figure it out, and stay on top of it. Once you fall behind you can't catch up. Make sure your training plan includes opportunities to run when you're tired. And get yourself a tube of sportslick and make it your best friend.


New training, to get rid of weight and train for Bandera. The first month is going to be hard, and after that I'll be stepping up running mileage and backing off on the strength workouts intil after Bandera.

Workout/diet diary for the week. I have steel-cut oats every morning with some dates, apples, and walnuts. I add Splenda and a teaspoon or two of lemon juice to the recipe for two days' worth.

Sunday, Power 90 sculpt 1-2 and abs 100. I tried to do a jog up a gentle slope, but my right hamstring is really pissed from the 100k, I think. I'll try again on Tuesday. I Ate this kale recipe, the first recipe with kale that I've liked, and a big salad. The kale recipe will be post workout eating for the next several days. It was pretty satisfying and took care of the afternoon cravings. Eggs do that for me. So does a bit of cheese. At least part of the 170 must have been post race bloat because, mysteriously, I was 165 after breakfast.

Monday, I got up too late because my alarm clock (iPad) cord wasn't connected and my iPad went dead. I power walked on the treadmill for about 25 minutes and then stretched for 10 minutes. I think I broke my ass yesterday doing all those squats and lunges. I was busy as shit all day at work, with three patients discharging in Monday and four anticipated to go on Tuesday. I didn't eve get my salad until 3. I'm not proud of what happened after that...

Tuesday, I picked a new snack to replace my Brie with truffles on wheat crackers: popcorn with truffle oil drizzled over it. And, then, I found out that there's truffle salt. Unlike most truffle oils, truffle salt actually has truffles in it. I was much more disciplined today, but was in such a hurry I forgot to eat breakfast. But for election night, I had popcorn with alder smoked salt, rosemary, and truffle oil. OMG it was fantastic.

I walk/jogged briefly in the morning and then again in the evening, on the treadmill. My left leg hurts like hell. Ugh. Then I did some stretching. There's an AWESOME video on YouTube, yoga for runners with Fiji, injury prevention. We can watch these and the Yogatic videos on our net streaming boxes and Apple TV.

Wednesday didn't run this morning. I was up too late celebrating with coconut gelato.


Thursday I forgot to eat breakfast, and immediately my body began demanding, inexplicably at about 9 am, fried chicken with mayonnaise. Luckily, I keep instant oatmeal and protein shakes at work for just such an occasion. I chose the shake, as I have become an oatmeal snob. Seriously, once I'd had steel cut, I can't go back.

The good news is that an RAN this morning! I started with a long slow warmup, and then jog, and the hurty food hurt but did so less and less. Then I was running, continuously. Yay! I stretched after for about five moments then got ready for work.

Oh, yes I can.

Onward and upward.




Sunday, November 04, 2012

Back to square 1

Dear Diary,

I hit 170 again this week.

That's right, a solid 18 extra pounds over where I was about a year ago. Clothes don't fit again.

I know, I know, it seems insane that after running 62 miles I would have put on weight, but then again my workouts have been pretty sporadic. I told Sweet Baboo about the 170. he immediately channeled Columbo, and asked in a kind, but questioning manner, "I wonder if it has anything to do with all the Brie you've been eating?" This by the way, is a therapeutic technique that we both employ with clients, and the irony was not lost on me.

"No," I said automatically. Desperately. And then, "well, I'll experiment. No Brie for a month. See what happens."

There is no faster way for my body to gain weight weight than my favorite indulgence: Brie with truffles, frm Trader Joes, on triscuits. And as I told Dread Pirate, "low fat Brie sucks. It's like low fat butter. What's the point?” Of course, if one peruses my posts, one immediately notices that they are increasingly about food. I have been eating. A LOT. The day before Javalina, for instance. I ate a whole pizza. It's hard to not slip into this mentality, I'm going to burn 6000 calories tomorrow. So I can eat this pizza. But for me, that's never worked. It's not the big-assed workouts, sporadically done. It's not even always about the food. It's the regular exercise.

So. I tried the low carb diet; that was a disaster. The truth is, for me, I have to run, run, run. I hate this weight. This is not a good weight for me. I'm happiest under 160, preferably 150. I feel like a Blimp. My clothes hurt. My panties roll up into thong-like garments repeatedly thoughout the day, and they're not thongs. Several pairs of pants simply can't be worn. I have a brand new leather skirt I bought last summer when at 150, and it's never been worn.

I can start exercising regularly again. I still have the Bandera 100k looming on the horizon, January 12. It will be the hardest 100k I've done, and i have 24 hours to do it. I need, no MUST lost 15 lbs by then as well as increase my leg strength.

How I'll do it:

  • One long climbing hike every weekend. By long I mean at least 3 hours
  • One long slow run every weekend. By long I mean at least 15. If not 20, miles.
  • Short runs on the treadmill or around the hills during the week. Most likely Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
  • Strength training, 2x week. I like the workouts in the Power 90 series. Most likely Monday and Friday mornings.
  • Core workouts, including yoga, 2x week. I like yoga and Power 90. Yoga on Tuesday or Thursday evenings and power 90 ab 100 on the weekend.
  • Calories, under 1500 per day. Low fat, high protein, high fiber.

No Brie for a month. Boo.

Private comminique to my beloved: Brie, It's not you. it's me. we need a break. i will see you after thanksgiving, but only as a small weekly reward for sticking to the workout plan each week.


Good thing the holidays are coming, right? That always helps.




Sunday, October 28, 2012

Javalina jundred: a race report

First off, my goal was to do this faster, enjoy myself, and NO CRYING. I wanted to do this without a crew, but as it happens, the same two crewed for all of us--Mo, an experienced ultrarunner, and Mr. Black, who is Dreadpirate Rackham-Black's husband.

The biggest danger of this race is that it's so very runnable. It can be hard to pace yourself appropriately, and you maybe tempted to go out too fast. It's also easy to underestimate it. In terms of difficulty there's no big elevation gains, no high altitude running. It happens all on the Pemberton trail outside of Fountain Hills, AZ.

The host hotel is nice...Dread Pirate liked her room. However, we walked through a smoke laden casino, which stunk to high heaven. A valet parking thug named "Dave" refused to allow us to cross through a parking lot to get to our car, sending us around and out of our way instead.

We chose instead to stay in the comfort Inn off Shea that gives a free breakfast and every room has a microwave and fridge.

The pre-race "banquet" is one of those uninspiring pasta meals--we chose instead to eat at Jimmy's Krazy Greek restaurant, where I had a Greek pizza, and Sweet Baboo had pistichio, and hummus, for the same price as the "banquet".

The race. Loops one, three, and if you do it: five... are clockwise. Each loop is 15.4 miles. It starts with a five or so mile climb over rocky trails covered with small, loose boulders. It heads west toward the mountains, some short rollers for three or four miles in a generally north direction, and then a long, gradual seven mile downhill back the headquarters. I ran the first loop part of the way with Jo-Ja Jogger, but eventually had to stop and go to the bathroom and didn't catch her after that, although we passed each other repeatedly throughout the day.

Loops two, four, and if you do it, six reverse, heading up a long, shallow climb again. That long climb is soul-sucking. It ends with a downhill that you take somewhat gingerly because of those loose angular cobbled and boulders.

  • What I did right: Hiked up, jogged easy down. Changed shoes at the end of loops 2 and 4. The last pair I put on we're Hokas, to provide some cushioning for my feet, especially the second run down that rocky climb. I made up five drop bags for myself, which I labeled, and so when I cam in, I just said, I need my loop 3 bag, please.
  • What I did wrong: somehow, I did not wear enough lube. I have a band of angry red chafe under the band of my bra, front and back, and around my lady parts. Ouch.
The heat starts toward the end of the first loop (or middle of the second, if you're fast). It climbs throughout the day and doesn't end until (if you're me) the middle of loop three. I came in faster than I'd planned on loop one, but much slower than I'd planned on loop 2 and beyond. The problem is that there are few places to stop and rest--no trees to hang onto, because the trees are saguaro cacti and some other type of tree, maybe mesquite, with long thorns on the flimsy branches.





There a lots of cholla cacti and teddy bear cholla. The ground, if you try to sit on it, is littered with sharp pebbles and cactus needles and tiny baby cacti. Only on the first half of the odd loops and back half of the even loops might you occasionally find a flat rock wide enough for your ass. Even fewer if it's my ass.

  • What I did right: as always, I wore a loose, white wicking shirt and lots of sunscreen, and a wide-brimmed REI sun hat. Eventually, I wrapped an ice in a bandanna and wrapped it around my neck.
  • What I did wrong: I didn't train for moving in the heat. It slowed me down pretty dramatically, and sapped my strength. I couldn't come back from it.
Still the race starts out in a party atmosphere. At Javalina Jeadquarters, there is a party running full time, and when you come in there's an energy. There's also a guy constantly screaming over and over again, THAT'S what I'm talking about! Until you want to stick something sharp in your ears. Luckily, his shift seems to end at sundown.

There's a costume arty going on, so you'll see some clever running outfits. The one that puzzled me for a while was a woman in a cow-spotted costume with wings and a halo.

Give up?

Holy cow!

So because of the way it's set up, you're rarely alone on the trail. There are three full aid stations and a water stop. The full aid stations each have a porta-John and cots and chairs, and I used them.

Eventually as the night stretches on, the party atmosphere disappears out on the trail. A few people run along, chattering with their pacers. The rest are silent except for the muttered

Good job.

To which you mutter back:

You too.

But nobody notices.

Every aid station is fully stocked and at night, the food really comes out. I had a couple if slices from a submarine sandwich at two different aid stations. I think I might have gotten a little behind in calories but overall, I did we'll.

  • What I did right: after every lop (15.4 miles) I drank an ensure clear and ate a larabar, giving me 400 or so carries almost completely carbs. I carried a 60 ounce pack and drank it empty on every loop.
  • What I did wrong: I didn't take enough calories at aid stations throughout the day. On loop three I tried to make up for it with the sub sandwiches before running downhill. They made my stomach a little queasy. I don't think that salami and American cheese are good running food.

Eventually I started sitting down at aid stations, which would buy me enough recovery time to get to the next one. i sat down at the last aid station, pretty desperate to get off my feet, and pulled them up onto a cot, and wham--I fell asleep. I don't think for very long, maybe ten minutes. I woke up when I heard a cowbell, but it was just the boost I needed to get into the finish line, where I was too exhausted to say, "I'm done," so I drew my finger across my throat. They wrote down my number and handed me the Javalina Wimp-out option: a 100k buckle.

We snagged a primo spot along the course about 20 yards from the start/finish/turnaround.

If you go: this is a runner's course. That's what you do, you run. There isn't much for scenery; it's kind of an ugly course. But, it has its own challenges and it's a fun race to do as a group, particularly with the wimp-out option.

It's an easy race to crew, because the crew stays in one place, and the runner comes to the crew. You have to rent a spot through the race, and then show up early to get a good spot (we showed up at noon the day before the race.)

I recommend this race for the reasons above, and also because it's good to have on your running resume. Most ultrarunners in the west have done this, or know someone who has.

So, this was my second A race for the year. Let's take inventory for 2012:

  • 5 marathons:Bataan memorial at White Sands Missile Range; Shiprock Marathon in Shiprock, New Mexico; Memorial Day in Massachusetts; Seghahunda Trail in New York, and Taos.
  • 4 ultras: 100k in Vermont, this one, and 50k runs at Mt. Taylor and Angelfire Resort
I have another marathon scheduled for 2012, in Tucson. For 2013 I am signed up for the Bandura 100k in January, but after that, I'm going to work on my short game. My new boss requires a morning treatment team meeting no later than 8:30 sharp, so morning runs are out most of the time. Afternoons I"m usually pretty tired. I'm still trying to work all that out.

I'm hoping to gain five new states in 2013, states that Baboo has and I don't, to bring us even. Baboo wants a break from 100s, unless he gets into Hardrock. If he gets in I'll crew for him.

We like marathons. They're like little sight-seeing trips. The states I need are: Washington State, Wyoming, Nebraska, South Dakota, and a fifth I can't remember. We also want to do the Marine Corps marathon.

My plan is to incorporate more speedwork into my training. Oh, and to do some training!



Friday, October 26, 2012

Here I go again, on my own.

Dear Diary,

here's a little Whitesnake mood music


In 2010 I attempted to do the 100k at Javalina. After training to finish 100k, I got caught up in the whole 100 mile thing. I never intended to do 100 miles when I started training. I intended to finish 62, and get that buckle.

It wasn't the best of experiences. I felt a little bitter, for reasons I won't go into. At the very least, it scared me off any run over 50 miles for a while. Not because of the distance, either. It was the first, and last time, that I attempted to make a race all my own by depending on other people instead of going with my instinct. It just didn't work out. But even then, I knew I'd be back. My plan was to come back in 2012, after I was done with school, and do--what?

Well, exactly this: do it a little faster. More comfortably. Maybe go a little further. Enjoy myself a little more.

So here I am, except that all day long, people keep introducing Sweet Baboo, and then gesturing towards me and Misty is doing her first hundred.

No, I am not. I am doing my third hundred K, and if I can, I'll go a little further.

Misty is doing her first hundred. (No pressure now)

I will go four loops. It's going to be hot as shit tomorrow, and then it will cool down. My goal is to finish 100k in less than my 2010 time, 18:40, and to have fun, the kind of fun I had at the Vermont 100.

Sweet Baboo asked me about pacers, and I made a halfhearted attempt to get one, but honestly, I'm fine without.

No crew this time. I'll put my drop bags down where my friends are hanging out, but other than that, no crew. I need to do this on my own. And I'm going to have a great time watching my friends go further than they ever have. It will be an all night party, and when I'm done, I'll have a shiny new buckle.

No pacer.

No thanks.

I'm good.



I feel angrier, older, and whiter already.

Dear Diary

13. Knock tapas off my bucket list. Herself Dreadpirate Cudney-Black, Mr. Black, and I went to a Tapas bar, had tapas, and listened to really good salsa jazz. The tapas ranged from artichoke with orange goat cheese, to calimari (not deep-fried and rubberly, but braised and buttery soft), grilled beef-wrapped asparagus, and some others, to a finishing touch of tres leches cake which--if you have never tried it, is worth a southwestern plane ticket to Albuquerque.

12. The night before, I ate out with mom-in-law and had dungeness crab on a bed of hand-cut truffle fries. We ate this delight at Desert Fish, the best place to get fresh seafood here in the desert.

11. Besides knocking on the door of my bucket list, these places we listed in a book that an ultra runner I know just got published. Her book was published not too long after she finished Western States. I'm planning to use her book as a guide to working on my bucket list.

My badass travel outfit.
10. The day after the tapas experience, me and four other New Mexico Outlaws that I know ran the Duke City relay. I ran the first leg, and ran 4.4 miles leg in a 10:28 pace. While this is nowhere near as fast as I have run, or would have liked to run, it was a hopeful experience. I trotted back to start, somewhat slower, and waited for Dreadpirate to run the anchor. Our team finished in about 3:48.

9. After I handed off the batan, and stood on the Bosque path, among the blazing orange cottonwoods. The sky was a brilliant turquoise, and it was about 60 degrees out. Hot-air balloons had lifted off and hung in the brilliant sky, like a fantastic mobile. And I thought, life is good.

8. This Saturday I'll toe the start line with several other Outlaws at the Javalina Jundred. I did this race back in 2010, and finished the first 100k, getting my 100k buckle. I told everyone I'd be back in 2012, and well shit, it's here. It sounds really far away back then. Now it's here. It will be tracked here.

7. So, ultrasignup has posted projected times for finishers based on previous finisher times using some mathematical heuristic that I'm no longer in the business of knowing. It projects, that should I actually be able to stay on my feet that long (doubtful) that I will finish 101 miles in less than 30 hours.

6. I was having some seriously painful shoulder and neck stuff. I though it was from my iPad, and I tried yoga, stretching, muscle relaxers, massage, but nothing worked. I finally figured out that it was from the awkward setup of my desk at work. I took some ergonomic advise and moved stuff and waddaya know? It worked. The pain, ever present for six months, is fading. Rapidly.

5. Mini gear review. If you were paying attention two weeks ago you would have seen the Groupon Goods special of three pairs of Injinji performance max socks for $20. I grabbed this, and they arrived yesterday.

Two of the pairs reminded me of "micro crew" socks that Injinji made in the past. These were socks that made me hate my life. They would, within 50 yards, creek down, down, down into my shoe until they wadded up Under my heel. Fuckers. So it was with no small amount of trepidation that I went out for a short run in these. And you know what? Injinji's new design is great. The socks no only see, to last longer now, but they don't creep down in my shoes. So, they are a success.

4. This weekend, I'm packing six drop bags, just in case. Each drop bag will have an Ensure Clear and two Larabars (580 calories), Change of socks, and mile 30 and 60 will have new shoes. Each one will have a card full of platitudes and affirmations and instructions. These instructions come from my pace chart, on which I predict, for instance, that the sun will likely go down during the fourth loop. So, the card will say, MISTY! YOU'RE AWESOME! DON'T FORGET YOUR HEADLAMP AND SPARE BATTERIES!

3. It's supposed to be in the eighties on the trail Saturday afternoon. Suck, suck, suck. I'll be wearing a loose white, wicking shirt; sunscreen, and big-assed wide-brimmed hiking hat, and my cool-off bandana.

I have five bags, for loops 2, 3, 4, 5, and "6 and beyond". Truth be told, I'm expecting to get at least as far as loop 4, which is 100k. Everything I do after that will be further than I've ever gone.

2. As I finish writing this, I'm on Route 66, headed west to Fountain Hills. I'm not crazy about Arizona apart from the good uktrarunning. i always feel like I'm surrounded by super angry old white people. Meanwhile, I'm eating a diet red bull and white chocolate Reese's. Because life is all about balance.

. I'm sending you a picture since my new iPad has cellular data capability:

1.i've just entered Arizona. I feel whiter and angrier already.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Thursday 13.

Dear Diary,

It's been an interesting week, full of surprises. And by interesting, I mean exhausting, and by surprises, I mean beaurocratic asshats.

13. Managed care. At this point, I have roped off the hours of 2 to 4:30 for one thing, talking to insurance companies, this usually consists of me talking to one guy who asks inane questions, such as when I tell him I'm seeking transfer to a residential treatment center for a teenager who is autistic, mentally retarded, and head buts is grandfather, knocking him to the ground, "but did you try Multisystemic Therapy first?" Which, according to state guidelines and the developer of the therapy, does not work for individuals who have autism OR mental retardation. He challenges me on every single treatment decision, which they aren't supposed to do.

I should mention: we're non profit. We're not trying to make money. It's not a spa. If the doctor feels he needs to be here another day, why second guess him? Why second guess me?

"Are you sure?"

Am I sure that he has autism and mental retardation?

"No. Are you sure it doesn't work?"

Pretty sure.

I"m going to go look that up."

You do that. Let me know if I'm remembering that wrong.

And Ellen looks at me, and says, "that's very diplomatic of you."

That two.5 hours, by the way, on the phone with insurance companies, includes time spent on hold.

12. Reality. There are people out there who go on vacation while their kids are in locked psych units. Seriously. And cannot be reached. There are people who refuse to pick up their kids when they're discharged. There was one mother who moved, across the country. She left the rest of the family to 'deal with it'. I'm not saying I would have ever done that. But I didn't even know it was an option.

11. Generally speaking, I work roughly an hour per client each day. Right now I have 9 of them. Earlier this week I had ten. It's been a long week, but unlike my old job, I get paid overtime. I see blonde hair in my near future...and gel nails. And tapas, which is #34 on my food bucket list.

10. This weekend, Sweet Baboo is going to run the Army Ten-Miler. He made the team, and is now convinced he will be dead last in a humiliating show of slowness. It's somewhat reminiscent of when he was recently out of grad school, studying for the EPPP. This is the test that decides whether you become a clinical psychologist or not. At one point, he was sitting on the bed, staring blankly ahead. "Maybe I can become a gardener," he said. And I, not long on his life, was worried.

He passed, obviously. The first try. There have been many, many times since then Like this, when he predicts certain doom. i have added the handling of these moments to my Baboo-handling skills. Which I will not divulge. Because himself reads my blog. Anyway. He will do awesome. It will be wonderful. He'll see.

9. Ulp. One week from Saturday I toe the start line at the Javalina Jundred. GAAAAA!!!!!!

8. Last big workout before Javalina. Sunday, myself, DreadPirate Rackham-Black, and several New Mexico Outlaws will run the Duke City Marathon as a relay. I have never run a marathon as a relay before. Every single person on my relay team is faster than I am, most of them considerably so. But, I imagine it will be fun. It will be beautiful, this morning run on the Bosque, through blazing gold cottonwoods, with breakfast and/or coffee after.

7. No carbs. The Atkins diet was, hands down, an unmistakeable disaster. Yes, in case you wondered how it went: I threw myself on that sword for you, and you're welcome. After ten days of low carb, I couldn't run 50 feet. I'm still trying to recover. I need carbs if I'm going to run. But from here on out, they will be whole grain.

It really sucks, too, because I liked this diet. I could give a shit about carbs. I don't get cravings for cookies, or bread. I get cravings for meat and cheese. And bacon. I have compromised by precooking some good, quality bacon and refrigerating it, and putting one or two pieces on my salads throughout the week. Mmm.

6. Yes carbs. So, taking about carbs reminds me of oatmeal. Which reminds me of Cooks Illustrated magazine. I love this magazine. Every one of the recipe articles is a long, nerdy treatise of one particular dish. For instance, properly cooked steel-cut oatmeal:

This week, I made the steel-cut oats, with oats from Trader Joes. I have started shopping there, but that's another topic. They turned out fabulous, and I put in some walnuts and apples from the last of the apples off our tree. I also made French Apple Cake, from the same issue. And I don't even bake. But after reading about all the thought and science that goes into developing a recipe, it seems less mysterious, and I'm curious about, especially since I live at 6000 feet and want to know what I might need to do to cook it for us.

5. Hippie. I read an article about a link between pesticides and drop in IQ, and I've decided that I need my brain cells, so I'm going to go organic when I can. It's easier on the earth, too. All the apples from my tree are organic (as the worms and bird-pecked spots can attest) and I feel good about that, since apples are at the top of the dirty dozen list for pesticide contamination. My grapes are, too. Costco has a goodly selection of organics now.

4. Drinking the coolaid. And so it is, after years of declaring I will not join your Trader Joes cult I find myself working about five minutes away from one. So, I popped over there to pick up a few things such as--ohhhhhh, pumpkin pecan instant oatmeal for work. And salad greens, and eggs. Most of their stuff is pretty reasonably priced. And I just like being there, as I wrote earlier this week. And their stuff is not just tasty, but imaginative. Don't know how they do it.

3. Flower child. My house has dried flowers and herbs and shit hanging all over. I have rosemary-infused everything, including cleaning spray, vinegar, and olive oil. It's seriously Martha-Stewart-meets-hippie-flower child decor and I don't care. I will be sweeping up seeds and dried petals and leaves all winter and I don't care. It makes me happy. I feel domestic and useful and all that crap.

Doing all this herbal and dried plant stuff makes me feel like this:

But to my neighbors, I probably seem more like this:


2. No news is no news. Sweet Baboo and I have been on a self-imposed news hiatus for a couple of months now. I highly recommend it. The world seems like a nicer place when you are not reminded, daily, by fear mongerers that it's not. There world is not as scary as they would have you believe.


1. I promised myself I wouldn't post anything political but I could stop myself. Ahh. What the hell.



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