Friday, January 28, 2011

Ice skating on the Tonsina Trail

Wanted to run a medium fast 4-5 miler today so I hit the Tonsina Trail. I expected it to be slick; parts of it run through the middle of a stream bed (yeah, through the middle--that's how trails are up here). But once through that, it usually evens out.

Today it didn't. I had on my spikes and was doing pretty well, couldn't go fast but I was keeping a steady pace.

When I met Cedar (winner of the Mt. Marathon Race like seven times in a row) and she and buddy weren't running but walking with ski poles, I thought: Uh-oh, maybe I'm being stupid. Because Cedar is one of the toughest women I know, and if she's walking with ski poles, why in the hell am I running?

But did I take that as a warning? Oh, no. I stopped and chatted, and they mentioned slick parts on the downhill with glacier ice and freeze-up. I wasn't sure what glacier ice was, exactly, but since it sounded deliciously threatening, I ran on.

About a half mile up the trail I hit the glacier ice, a long stretch of glinting bluish ice, wet and slick and slanted toward the edge of the cliff so that if you fell, guess which way you were gonna go?

I stopped. I looked around. I thought: Do I want to go on? Then I noticed that the cliff was over the side of a very large hill, not a mountain, and if I toppled down I might get hurt but probably wouldn't die.

It got bad in places, and was so slick that even with my spikes that I had to go down hills on my butt, using my spikes to steer as I madly bounced off rocks and torn my hands of frozen tree roots.

(The poor dog became quite upset each time I lowered my ass to the ground, barking and yelping as if to say: Get up and act degnified, woman.)

Part of the trail goes down the cliff in a series of sharp switchbacks, and those were the worst. The only thing that cheered me up was the thought that heading back uphill would be easier.

That was so not the case. I soon understood that attempting to run/walk/crawl up pure ice at the edge of a cliff demands fierce concentration, and many swear words.

When the dog slipped, her toenails scraping across the ice as she tumbled toward the edge, I reached out, grabbed her collar, dug in with my spikes and caught her, right before the edge.

After that the poor dog, who had barely recovered from the dog attack a few weeks ago, practically trembled each time we came upon yet another expanse of ice.

Once we got past the worst of it, I was able to run again, and I was happy because it was twilight, my favorite time of day. The trailhead is by the beach and after the run, I walked down to the shore and it was perfect: Everything blue and silver and grey, the water and the sky and the mountains. The tide coming in, the waves hitting the shore, the dog playing happily in the surf and I thought: What a wild, unforgiving, glorious, obstinate, harsh and wondeful place.

Then I drove home and cooked the dog chicken, even though I'm a vegetarian, because sometimes a good dog deserves a good meal.

Run: 4 miles

Reading"Dalva," Jim Harrison

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Short run along the bay

Took a short 4-mile run along the bay today, right at twilight. Oh, those blues! I can't get enough of the blue shadows. I swear, it really does something to me.

Sometimes when I'm holed up in the house writing, which I've been doing too much of lately, I become a little depressed, a little hard on myself. It's tough writing all day, just me and my mind locked in combat. I mutter, I yell at the cats. I wonder what in the hell am I doing in Seward, Alaska?

Then I go out for a run. And the views and the colors soothe and energize me.

The Beebs no longer limps and should be ready for her visit with Uncle D Monday when I leave for Hedgebrook. She's staying with my friend and his wife and their two dogs, Pearl and Rocky. Beebs LOVES Rocky. Last time they snuggled up and Rocky licked her nose, over and over again, dog love, dog kisses.

Have to get back to writing, sigh, sigh. Someday I shall have a life (she says, fist punched out to the sky like Scarlett in Gone With the Wind: "As God is my witness, I shall some day have a life again." )

Running: 4 miles outside, 3 on the treadmill

Reading: Poetry in various literary magazines

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mount Marathon Race registration

Yeah, you know you wanna do it, right?

Great photo, huh? I didn't take it. It's by Ron Niebrugge.

It’s time to register for one of the most grueling and glorious races in Alaska. Mount Marathon racers and wannabes must apply for a lottery spot before midnight March 31. Cost is $25 for junior racers and $45 for adults .

That's the good news. The bad news is that if you're a newbie, it's really hard to get in. This is because previous racers have priority, and once you've raced, you're in for life as long as you continue racing each year.

I was lucky: I got in one my first try. That was three years ago, when the odds were much higher. Last year, 7% of men got in through the lottery and 16% of women. When I first applied, almost half of all women made it in.

(Right now I'm sitting comfy on the sofa and I can see Mt. Marathon right out my window. It's covered with snow, but no matter. I truly believe that because I shed blood on the mountain, that late at night when I sit by the window and write, the mountain feeds me energy. Call me crazy but I truly and totally believe this sometimes.)

Off to run. Lost my second pair of Yaktraxs on the trails yesteray. Just cannot get those babies to stay on my shoes. The sad part is that the last 100 feet of the trail was pure ice and I thought, "No problem, I've got my Yaktraxs."

A moment later I hit the ground, hard.

Turns out that I didn't have my Yaktraxs, sigh, sigh. Must have lost them somewhere on the trail. Now I have a nice bruise on my elbow and butt.

What is it about falling, though? There's something almost enticing in that moment when you lose your balance and know you're going down, something scary yet exciting in a horrible yet exhilarating heart-pounding, fist-clenching way. It's similar to that feeling of standing at the end of a cliff or top of a mountain and imagining hurling yourself over the edge, not because you want to die, which you don't, but because you long to know how it would feel to let lose and allow yourself to fly for a few seconds or minutes or however long it would take before your body crashed against the side on the way down.

Thankfully I'm running on fairly flat ground today.

Hope everyone is falling fast through the day, and landing softly.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Ah, go jump in the bay

Okay, sometimes I do bitch about my job, but being a small town Alaska journalist has it perks. Such as when I get to sightsee in a flight plane or take boat rides to see sea lions or snag free kayaking lessons.
Today was one of those "perk" days when I got to shoot and interview some of the crazy jumpers who hurl themselves into Ressurrection Bay as part of the Polar Bear Jump-Off Festival.
The event raises money for the American Cancer Society, and the jumpers wear wacky and wild costumes. My pics aren't the best because since I was shooting for work, I couldn't use the shots I took on my work camera and had to settle, sigh, sigh, for my pocket-sized digital. Still, I think you'll get the picture (pun intended, hee, hee).

The water temp was about 35 degrees. The air temp about 32. There was a thin sheet of ice over the water when the jumpers started (brrrrr!).

Looks like they're wearing jammies but so what, they're braver than I am.

Hula dancers take the leap.

This dude makes a fine lookin' lady. This is as he stands in line waiting to jump.

Same dude after the jump. Gotta love waterproof makeup.

These two were dressed as bride and groom and were still on their honeymoon--they got married last month.

Can you believe it? Bikinis in January! Love the white socks.

A little afterjump eye candy: Yum, yum.

As far as my "other" life, I ran 5.5 tempo miles yesterday and two very slow trail miles with the dog. Loved the tempo run, it hurt in the most delicious of ways.

Here's the shot I took of the city from the cliff by the trails I ran.

And the Demon Dog is back! Love how Beebs' eyes glow red and fierce in my headlamp.

Gotta go take a nap and then cover the Oyster Eating Contest and Lip Snyc Contest tonight.

Here's a fact many of you probably don't know: Two years ago I placed second in the women's division Polar Bear Jump-Off Oyster Eating Contest. I had never eaten an oyster before in my life. We had to hold our hands behind our backs and slurp with our mouths. It was great fun. I threw up later that night, sigh, sigh.

Writing: Up until 6 a.m. last night (this morning?) writing; I was on a glorious roll

Reading: Stories and essays in "The Missouri Review"

Running: Two slow miles, 5.5 miles tempo, warm-up, 8:34 mile, 8 mile, 7:34 mile, warm-down

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Writing + more writing = not very much running (sigh, sigh)

Oh man, it's Thursday night and I'm just getting around to blogging for the week (bad, bad, blogger, Cinthia!). It's been a bit hectic around here.

That's a lie. It's been very calm. I've been writing like mad, writing for hours and hours, barely sleeping, eating too much one day and hardly anything the next.

Oh, glorious!

I haven't been running much, maybe 2-3 miles a day (pathetic!), just enough to keep my joints from totally locking up.

I am going to lose a lot of my training benefits, but I had to seriously slack on something. Writing takes up so much emotional energy, this is something that very few people tell you:That it's exhausting and consuming. That sooner or later it will knock you flat on your ass.

I'm almost to that point, but not yet.

But, good news: The Beebs ran two miles today. Hooray for the old girl! Because her hip was injured in last week's dog attack, she has the most peculiar gait. But she wanted to run so run we did, very slowly and not very far. Afterwards, we were both a bit ashamed of ourselves for having taken it so easy.

The Beebs, feeling the shame of a short, slow run

More good news: In less than two weeks I'll be here:

Doesn't this look like a fairy tale cottage?

Yep, I'll be staying in a cozy cottage in the woods on Whidbey Island, Washington state, as part of the Hedgebrook Residency program for women writers.

I was previously awarded a residency there about five years ago and it changed my life. It was when I really started to think of myself not as someone who writes but as a writer.

The cool thing is that you get a cute little cottage all to yourself, and all you have to do is write. They cook your meals for you; you even get a lunch packed for you every day (!). No Internet or TVs in the room, no distractions. It's wonderful and a bit terrifying to be handed a space and time for writing (like,what if I don't write? What if I finally run out of things to say and I sit in the cabin for 10 days staring at my awful and useless hands?).

I'm taking my running clothes, of course. The temps are in the 40s right now, with rain. That's practically our summer weather, hee, hee. I can't wait to run on bare pavement and trails.

Anyway, I'm honored to have been chosen and hope I do the program, and myself, proud.

And I hope that all of your out there are chasing your dreams, a little bit at a time.

Running: Embarrassingly short distances

Reading: Not much

Writing: Too damned much, and loving every agonizing minute

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Running skirt sale

Not sure if anyone else has blogged about this yet, I've been a bit out of the loop today. But my sister sent me an email that there was a sale on running skirts (I'm totally buying matching skirts for the next time we race together) and had to share

Check it out on at everyone's favorite running store. All the clearance skirts are $11 or $20. Wow, what a way to put a kick in my Sunday.

W-w-weather report (that's my teeth chattering)

Am I a wimp or is it just too cold to run outside today? Hate the idea of the treadmill but I swear, just walked the dog (she's well enough to take short walks--yay!) and man, that wind.

It's -3 right now at my house.

Here's the forecast:

Sunny. Highs zero to 10 below except 5 to 10 above along the coast. Near seward...North wind 20 to 30 mph with gusts to 40 mph. Elsewhere...Northwest wind to 10 mph.

Supposed to go own to -18 to -25 tonight. That's COLD!

Lovin' the sunshine

We have had sun for almost two weeks straight, which must be a record for anywhere in Alaska. I am totally loving it. From inside the house, it feels as if I'm back in Arizona. Until I step outside and it's 4 degrees, as it was this morning.

But one can always dream. And the running and the views are, as always, amazing.

I'm keeping my runs at a conservative six miles, since I'm at the very end of my novel final edits and don't have time for anything longer. Have been supplementing with work outs at the gym in the evening, when I need to take a break from writing.

I'm also loving the spin bikes. Ohhhhh, the pain! Those standing-up-and-pushing-until-you-wanna-die segments remind me of running mountains.

Last night, as I struggled through a 45 minute session, sweat all over the bike, the floor, I'm grunting and almost praying --you get the picture, eh?--I suddenly wondered: Why do I love this? I thought about this gal's post a couple of days ago, when she also pondered the same thing during a spin class.

It must be something about the cycling, eh?

But I also wondered the same thing as I did hill repeats the night before, my legs aching, my thighs trembling everything in my body screaming for me to STOP!

Yet I don't stop. And I don't know why I don't. No one would care if I did. Most of the time I work out alone and no one would even know. Yet I struggle and sweat, grit my teeth and curse and pray.

It's an odd thing, isn't it, pushing oneself like that. I think that there is an type of joy to it all, and I'm not just talking endorphins. There's something else there, something in that scary but glorious moment when you don't give up, when you break through the pain barrier and a small part of your limitations expand.

At times, it feels almost holy.

I'm hooked on that feeling and really, when you think about it, it's a much, much healthier obssession/addiction than, say, smoking or drinking or overeating.

Back to writing. Hope everyone is running, reading, enjoying life and pushing through whatever small limitations stand in your paths.

Yesterday's run, c-c-col but clear and beautiful

Running: Thursday, 6 miles and weights; Friday, 6 miles, hills; Saturday, 6 miles and spin bike

Reading: "Harvesting the Heart," by Jodi Picoult (sometimes I like Picoult's stuff and sometimes I read it and then, a few days later, can barely remember what happened)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wednesday, 8:24 p.m.

Oh, yes I did. The whole damned thing.

The Beebs, groovin' out on pain medication

The girl is seriously grooving. Wish the vet would have given me a shot in the butt, too. I could use a little medicated high right now.

Guess what I had to do? As the editor of town's only newspaper, I write up the police report each week. Usually I enjoy doing this, because some of them are so bizarre: The man who reported that his Bible had been swiped while he was at church. The guy seen running naked along the beach with a fishing pole. The drunk woman who called 911 because she couldn't get her shoes tied.

Today, however, I had the dubious honor of writing in my own police report. Which wasn't accurate.

It stated I had been walking with my dog. Walking? Duh, I was running. It also said that the dogs "tousled."
Hello! My dog has deep tissue damage and may never run mountain trails again. That isn't a "tousle."

But as a reporter I know how things get misinterpreted, so I thought I'd go with the flow, not make a scene and write it as reported by the police.

Then I got to the part of the report from the intervew with the owner of the dogs that attacked me. And he lied. He lied on an official police document and I have to write it up and print it in the paper because that's my job and people lie and it sucks but there's not a damn thing I can do about it.

I was so furious that I cried.

But as Richard Fish would say in "Ally McBeal"--bygones.

The good news is that the sun was shining, shining, shining today and the sky still clear when I hit the trails late afternoon right before dusk, for a lonely run without my dog, sigh, sigh.

Even the pictures look a bit gloomy and sad, don't they? It was so odd to run trails without The Beebs. Just having her presence with me as I run is such a comfort. Sometimes I swear that as the miles go by and we each become lost in the motion of our bodies, we communicate in a wordless and ancient way, in the language of people and animals before the intrusion of the spoken word.

Good news: My son made the Dean's List at Lewis & Clark College again, woot-woot. He had a 3.933 GPA for the semester. Way to go, C!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Dog attack while running

Prays and good energy to this girl:

I'm almost sick with worry over The Beebs tonight.

Four chow dogs attacked her while we ran trails Tuesday afternoon.

It happened so fast, so unexpectedly. One minute we ran through the Mt. Marathon Bowl, the next two dogs charged my dog.

Beebs tried to run and slipped in a hole. Her hip jammed between two rocks and the dogs attacked.

It was awful. The dogs were in a frenzy. By the time Beebs got loose, the other two dogs had gotten away from the owners and all four dogs were on my dog.

They were wild, like wolves in a nature film. I've never seen anything like it. They had my dog down flat on the ground and bit her, over and over.

Beebs screamed and screamed. I had never heard a dog scream before. I never want to again.

I kicked and punched, while the owner hit them with sticks, but they wouldn't let go.

The attack lasted about five minutes. It was horrible. Beebs shook and bled by the time the owners finally managed to pull their dogs off.

I grabbed Beebs' collar and rushed her away. Two of the dogs followed and attacked her again.

It was awful. I have NO idea why the dogs weren't on leashes or why the owners didn't put them on leashes as soon as they pulled them away from my dog.

I asked for their names and phone number, so I could send the vet bill.

The guy, whose face was bleeding by then, immediately became aggressive (like dog, like owner) and screamed back at me that my dog had bit him and he wasn't paying any fffffing vet bill, that he neeed to go to the hospital.

Yeah, right. My dog is flat on her back locked down by four chow jaws and she bites this dude? She couldn't even lift her head.

I reported the dog and owners to the police.

And I'm angry. I'm furious. BeeBee has a gash on her hip, her shoulder and a small hole out of her belly. She can't walk without assistance, she's in pain and she's panting and restless.

I want those dogs either put down or enrolled in serious obedience training. I don't want to EVER see them on the trails unleashed again.

Because think of it: If my dog had been smaller, she'd be dead. Worse yet, what if the dogs charged a child or even a person next time? There's no way I could have defended myself against those jaws.

Probably, though, nothing will happen. Probably the owner will get a slap on the hand and that will be that.

I'm carrying bear spray from now on, even in winter.

Everyone: Please be safe out there on the trails and the roads.

 Running: 2.5 miles (was gonna run more at the gym but didn't want to leave Beebs home alone, sigh, sigh)

Reading: "Isabel's Daughter," by Judith Hendricks

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mount Marathon Bowl and avalanche

Yesteray was my running rest day so I took the dog for a walk on the trail that winds through the Mount Marathon Bowl. I had never taken it before, since I'm usually too busy climbing up the mountain to think about going around it.

The footing was icy but not too bad, and as we walked in deeper and the mountains closed around us, it felt almost magical.

It was almost dusk, that wonderful and heavy twilight hour before dark, and the ice gave my footfall a nice little snap that echoed with each step until it fell into a rhythm in my head: Step, snap, step, snap

The Beebs and Mt. Marathon valley

The sun went down and the sky turn pink and lavender, and I knew I should turn around, since I didn't have my headlamp with me, but I kept walking. It felt so peaceful back there, so empty and barren and quiet, nothing else around.

And then, uh-oh, my mood was ruined a bit when we came upon this blocking the trail:

That might look like a harmless pile of snow bunched up by, say, a snowplow. Except we were in a mountain valley, miles from a road, and those boulder-sized hunks of snow were actually caused by an avalanche.

I could see the trail of the avalanche running down the mountain, flowing as straight and smooth as water. It was beautiful, in a primitive sort of way, and it also made me think of chances and risks and what might have happened had I been walking down the trail when the avalanche hit.

On the walk back the sky began to darken and I became lost in my head in that wonderful way that usually happens only when I run.

After I ate dinner and took a bath, I sat at my desk and wrote like crazy, wrote like I hadn't written in a long time, wrote a scene so amazing and true that I wept, and even then, in the back of my mind, I was thinking: How soon before I can be back in the mountains?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Why I run

Years ago, I ran track and cross country. When I hurt my knee my second year of college competition, I decided to become a writer. I wore long flowing skirts, stopped brushing my hair and wrote embarrassingly bad poems.

I hitchhiked out West. I said things like, "The epiphany equals the mass." I lived in really bad apartments, I slummed around.

Finally, I settled down in Alaska. My poems improved, and I slowly began to be published. I had, unexpectedly but with great joy, a son.

I worked my way up from really bad waitressing jobs to a really good journalism job.

And I stopped running.  Oh, I kept in shape swimming, biking and hiking. But I lost connection with the running part of myself.

I was so busy trying to make a living that I forgot what it felt like to experience fierce and wild abandon.

Then one of my older sisters died of complications from an eating disorder.

Suddenly, nothing made sense. I kept going, of course. I moved up in my job, I published poems and essays, my son grew older and more beautiful.

But there was a hole inside me. I had no idea how to heal it.

Three years ago I was assigned to cover the Mount Marathon Race for the newspaper. I hadn't wanted to; I thought running up a mountain was, well, kind of pointless.

Yet as I photographed women running down that mountain, many of them bloody and bruised, I suddenly remembered back to my childhood on the farm and running with my sister through the fields, both of us barefoot and heedless of danger. We ran because we loved to run, because of how it felt to move our arms and legs in unison.

We ran because it made us feel free.

I'm still not sure if I really heard or only imagined my sister's voice whispering "Dirty, wild girls," in my ear, those words we used to scream as we ran hand in hand through the creek and jumped over cow pies. But I knew I had to run the race the following year, as a tribute not only to my sister but also to myself.

Running soothed my soul, slowed down my sorrow, nourished my spirit. It gave me the confidence and fierceness to examine my life, to reach out and make the changes I needed to mend the hole in my heart.

And sometimes now, when I'm standing at the top of a mountain, wet with sweat and surrounded by all of that beauty, I swear I can hear the wind speak.

I swear I hear pieces of my sister's voice.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Lovin' Lost Lake

And so the sunshine continues. I swear, the difference between looking out the window and seeing sunshine and seeing rain/clouds is enormous in terms of mood, outlook and even energy levels. I have been disgustingly perky lately.

Yesterday, after a morning and early afternoon of work (and things are heating up in our Anchorage office--ouch!, glad I'm safely in Seward, hee, hee), I ate two pieces of raisin bread and got ready for my run.

I swear, is anyone else addicted to this stuff?

I drove a few miles out to the Lost Lake Trail, tucked nicely away on dirt roads. Because the roads were slipperey I assumed the trails would be too and wore my spikes.

These babies get the job one but they're HEAVY. They must add a good 1/2 pound to each foot.
Aren't they terribly sexy, hee, hee:

Within the past couple of weeks, Lost Lake Trail has opened to snowmachiners. This is both good and bad. Good in that it grooms a nice, firm trail through the snow for runners. Bad in that the noise is deafening, and if you're running with a dog you've basically got to grab its collar and drag that shaking beast off the trail before the snowmachiners swoop down to claim both of your lives. (Actually, because the trail is so hilly and curve, the SMers are moving slow enough that except for the noise and intrusion, they are little bother.)

The Beebs is terrified of the snowmachines but thankfully we ran late afternoon, when most of them were heading off the trail, so that after the first 1/4 mile, we only encountered one on that long, long trudge up the mountain.

Each time I run this trail I wonder what the hell I'm doing: The constant uphill running, the icy footing, and the way my breath gasps in my pathetic chest as I wheeze and pant and struggle my way higher and higher and higher.

But then the trees open up and I look across at the mountains or down at the town I've recently left and I'll feel that sense of being somewhere both bigger and more magnificent than I'll ever be.

I love that feeling.

This one is for my mom, thanks to the good-lookin' snowmachiners who snapped the shot (as I stood wet with sweat and trying to keep my teeth from chattering--too funny!):

Then it was time to run down, down, down the mountain: Wheeeee! The footing was perfect, packed but with enough loose snow on top to add more leverage on steep areas. I couldn't stop smiling, I was so happy, and weaving down through forests of spruce trees, I thought: This is what it means to be free. This is how it feels to be completely and totally ALIVE.

It was SO awesome.

Hope everyone else found small slices of awesomeness in their lives.

Running: 5.5 miles

Reading: "Interpreter of Maladies," by Jhumpa Lahiri

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Gray day

The clouds lifted and it finally, finally, finally stopped raining today--hooray! But it's still grayish outside, and misty.

Kind of have the blahs today. It's that time of year. The holidays are over and the light is coming back, but it's creeping so slowly! (Come back, light, please???)

By mid-February the light will be back to a decent level. But the glory is that it will keep lengthening and expanding until summer, when I'll be out hiking and running past midnight. Nothing is more beautiful than the standing on the top of a mountain in the Alaska twilight.

Until then, there is chocolate. And popcorn. And what the heck, maybe even chocolate melted over popcorn.

Hope everyone is having a brighter day.

Running: 12 miles

Reading: "A Mother's Love," Mary Morris

DVD: Watched "The Ultra Marathon Man." It was okay, though not half as inspiring as "Spirit of the Marathon." But Dean's legs made it worthwhile. Watching his tanned calf muscles flex made me so hungry that I had to gnaw on pretzels to calm myself down.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Rain, rain, go away

Another day of rain. And rain. And even more rain. The dog and I sat inside, waiting for it to let up so that we could run the trails.

It got dark instead.

So I decided to eat dinner. Then, of course, it stopped raining. By the time my meal had digested, it was 9 p.m., so I put on my headlamp and took the dog out for a long hike on the beach and then up over the trails. It was very dark, since most of the snow has melted, and super slick in places, even with my Yaktraxs.

The tide was coming in and the beach was pitch black, and in the background the mountains rose up, covered in snow so that they looked white and fierce and magnificent.

The quiet beauty of it all took my breath away. I wanted to walk forever, keep on going through the slick trails and to the top of the mountain, but I had a work deadline so I had to return home, sigh, sigh.

Yet, glory of glory, guess what was in my mailbox when I stopped to check at the post office? We don't have home mail delivery here, since the town is too small, so going to the post office is a delicious treat, so much more enjoyable than simply walking out to a box. It's kind of like a small ceremony, and I try to enjoy it even when I just get bills.

But today, oh today, this was waiting for me:

Yes! The documentary on Dean Karnazes, who ran 50 marathons in 50 different states in 50 days.

So the BIG question right now is do I:
A. Finish my work deadline
B. Work on my final novel corrections
C. Watch the DVD

Guess which one I"ll probably end up doing, hee, hee.

I'm also reading the most marvelous book. Anyone who likes to read MUST read this. It's "Girl With Glasses: My Optic History," by Marissa Walsh, and it's a memoir in little snippets about growing up wearing glasses. It's hilarious and heartwarming and true and I swear, I just want to hug dear Marissa. Here is the pic on the jacket cover, don't you just love her to pieces in her horrible glasse?

I love the book because I am also GWG, a girl who wear glasses, though in most of the pics I post on this blog I'm wearing contacts, since that's what I wear when I run and hike. But I love my glasses, I do! I feel that they are a small shield between myself and the outside world. I have about five pairs and am ready to order another few pairs.

I get my glasses online at a variety of sites recommended by Ian over at Glassy Eyes. It's a really cool blog that promotes reasonably priced eye glasses. Believe it or not, you can get a quality pair, complete, for under $30. My last pair was $4.99, complete, and I totally love them. They make me look like a stern librarian with an impish side. Too much fun!

Anyone out there have a chance to run with Dean when he did his marathon tour? He finished his last in 3 hours, after running 49 days of marathons. And then, instead of heading home, he ran from New York to St. Louis, just 'cause he could.

Wow, that's dedication.

Speaking of dedication, Age Groups Rock is having a sock giveaway. And not just any socks but super colorful Cabot socks. Check 'em out, and imagine how cool you'd look wearing these with your running tights. Or better yet, how cool I'd look.

Happy running and reading, everyone

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Help! Send chocolate

A bad day of proofing my novel. One of those days when I'm sure that it's shit, when every word feels awkward, when reading over what I've written makes me feel unsure and self-conscious, the way I used to feel walking the hallways in high school.

One of those days when that voice shouts in my head: Who do you think you are?

Who do I think I am?

I'm not sure, so I did what countless other writers have done when faced with the same struggle. I got out the chocolate.

I'm halfway finished with this baby and my head is flying from the sugar buzz. A few more squares and I'll discover the meaning of the life, and then I won't have to write. I can sit back and play with my toes.

To make matters worse, I have to mail in my novel to my agent Monday and my printer cartridge ran out. I'm the kind of writer that needs to read hard copy to spot errors, so I'm in a bit of a bind. No stores for 125 miles, and it's rainy and slick outside, not good conditions for driving through two mountain passes.

I'm wondering what in the hell I'm doing in Seward, Alaska. I'm wondering if I made a mistake moving here.

I'm wondering where I can get more of this very finnnneee chocolate.

The weather is as gray as my mood:

One good spot of the day. I finished reading this, and I sat in the bathroom and cried. Oh, is there anything better than reading a book so beautiful and true that you weep at the end?

I shall have to email Peter C. Brown a message and tell him how much I love, love, loved his book.

Another good note: I discovered the most wonderful and grueling treadmill hill work out, since it's too mushy to run here. This pic looks harmless but it's actually ankle-deep slush, with ice hiding beneath:

My grueling treadmill hill work out:
1/4 mile 7% incline
1/4 mile recovery 0 incline
1/2 mile 10% incline
1/4 mile recovery
1/4 mile 8% incline
1/4 mile recovery
1/2 mile 11% incline
1/4 mile recovery
1/4 mile 7% incline
1/4 mile recovery
1/2 mile 10% incline

It is delicously angonizing. I actually moaned at one point, it's that intense.

Back to the proofing, sigh, sigh.

Reading: Not sure, will have to check my bookshelves

Running: Yesterday, 5 mile tempo. Today, grueling hillwork