Friday, April 26, 2013

Running after the Boston bombing, and brownies (!!)

My running after the Boston Marathon bombing piece published in the Anchorage Press today. You can check it out here:


The challenge of 26.25 miles isn’t what it does to your body so much as what it does to your mind, how it subtly and cleverly wears down defenses, displays weaknesses, uncovers limitations and forces you to see yourself as the person you really are, not the person you want to be or pretend to be. You can’t lie during a marathon, can’t pretend to be in better shape than you are, can’t run a faster pace than what your body can handle. As they say in running circles, the marathon is the great equalizer. It cares nothing about sex or income level, skin color or country of origin. Basically, the marathon is about truth: the truth of your body and your mind, of the weather conditions and race course. Of how much you’re willing to give and how much pain you’re willing to face.  

And thanks to my lovely friend Ela, who spent the night last night and brought us these: Carob, arrowroot flour brownies. Oh. My. God. They were to die for. I ate too many and was on a sugar high all night.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Running, hiking and reading (oh, my!)

I've been away for a bit. First I wanted to stay silent out of respect for everything that happened at Boston. Then I wanted to write about Boston and ended up doing so, but I sent that piece to an alternative newspaper instead of posting on this blog. It's easier to reveal one's more private thoughts when writing to a larger audience. Why is that, I wonder? Maybe because it's less insular, less intimate, and therefore the writing feels less of a risk. Whatever the case, I'll post the link when it prints later this week.

I've also been writing like mad and have pretty much run out of words. So I'm posting pics instead. Please notice how much snow we still have up here in Alaska, sigh, sigh.

Coastal Trail in the middle of a 16-miler
 Coastal Trial during last weekend's 16-miler

Spring beach, Alaska style

Ice blocks on the beach

And last but not least, our sunny hike up Powerline Pass with The Beebs.

Me and the Beebs at Powerline Pass Trail

And after all of that happiness, a package came in the mail today containing this:

Advance review copies from my publisher. So much fun! Titles include The End of Night by Paul Bogard; Thinking in Numbers by Daniel Tammet; Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson; Beautiful Day by Elin Hilderbrand; Shorecliff by Ursula DeYoung; and The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Cafe by Mary Simses.

Cannot wait to curl up and begin reading later tonight.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Moose, more snow and Brooks Ghost 5 review

Well, it finally (finally!) stopped snowing up here in Anchorage. But it's nowhere near spring. Last night it was eight degrees at our house. Eight. Degrees.

The trails are a mess so I spent the evening at the gym doing intervals on the treadmill. It's to the point that the guy at the front desk (his name is Miracle, isn't that a beautiful name?) knows both of our membership numbers by heart, MM and I have been going so often. We don't even have to flash our badges.

The below photo is to remind all of you out there running in shorts (shorts!) that some of us pathetic fools are still plugging away in tights and windbreakers, hats and mittens.

I dunno. I think this view alone is worth the mittens.

Today my favorite moose came for an afternoon visit. Note the amount of snow still in the yard.

So, so cute! Well, cute as long as I keep my distance (used a zoom lens, hee, hee).

The other news is that (drumroll please), I bought new running shoes!

I fretted for weeks about giving up my beloved Asics and was going to buy the Brooks Glycerin 10. But then, right before MM and I left for the store, I checked my blog and Karen (thanks so much, honey), suggest I buy the Ghost 5.

And I did. And I love (love!) them. I swear, running is like a dream. The shoe seems to better fit my natural gait, and my stride flows more easily. And while I only ran eight miles, I did six sets of half mile intervals and my feet felt light the whole time. I didn't even realize that I was wearing shoes.

What I like most about the Ghost 5 is the wider toe box. (When did running shoe companies begin fashioning such narrow toe boxes?) It also better supports midsole landing; I didn't have to fight against a heavily-cushioned heel to land in the center of my foot.

One thing that troubles me, however, is the higher arch in the insole. Since I have a very low arch, I can feel it settled against my foot. I didn't notice it while running but do while walking. I may have to do away with the insoles and buy others, but that's no big deal.

I do hope that my Brooks shoes last as long as my Asics, which had racked up almost 800 miles before I finally tucked them away in retirement.

Other news: My son graduates from college in May (yes, I am that old). He's graduating with honors, so I'm sure I'll embarrass him an sob like a baby through the whole ceremony.

Cheers and happy running, everybody.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Had to share ....

I read this last night in Caleb Daniloff's Running Ransom Road and had to share it with everyone. It is so wise and wonderful, and true.

"But a marathon regulated things, taught me humility. For these four-some hours, I was confined to my body,to who I was, not who I wanted to be, or pretended to be. There was no bullshitting 26.2 miles."

Isn't that just so true that it almost makes you shiver? I think I'm going to print it out and hang it on my wall.

And later, Daniloff wrote this:

"Every time I run, I'm having a conversation with my purest self, my moral inventory on full display. Running is a state of being more than a sport, a way of life."

Yes, yes, yes! This is totally why I run, not for sport or time or competition as much as for the state of being I find myself in while running, and after running.

P.S. I think I love you a little bit, Caleb Daniloff.

My moral inventory on full display, on the Lost Lake Trail in Seward.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Oh, oh, the friggin' snow

Did you notice that my blog title rhymes today? I'll bet that you're really impressed, eh? (I'm actually a published poet and no, my poems don't usually rhyme. Or at least I hope that they don't.)

But poems aside, the snow is getting me down. We got dumped with about eight inches of the wet and dreadful stuff. It snowed most of the day and then (sneakily!) slowed down mid-afternoon, only to lash out again.

This is how it looked out the backyard.

I know, I know--it's pretty. But after looking at this for five months I kind of wanted to see a little bit of green. Or bare pavement! Or the god-honest ground.

This is the dog digging for moose poop in the backyard. She loves moose poop, can't keep her away from the stuff. She also loves horse poop, though that's only a problem during the summer on the Campbell Creek trails.

Go, Beebs!

What depressed me so about the snow (another rhyme, sorry) was that the trails and roads were just becoming almost, kinda, sorta runnable. I was becoming excited! I have my new road shoes all picked out! And then this. I spent the early afternoon slumped on the couch eating pretzels, it was that bad.

Then I pulled myself together and got myself to the gym, where I ran 12 miles on the treadmill. Sadly, I'm starting to like running on the treadmill, or at least I don't mind it as much as I once did. There's a zen to it. You can zone out and daydream (or at least I can. MM fell off the treadmill last week, hee, hee. Don't worry, he wasn't hurt, though he did end up with a teeny scrape on his finger which he of course had to show me. I think he wanted me to kiss it but I was making dinner at the time). Usually, I write in my head. It write such wonderful and pithy passages while running on the treadmill! Unfortunately, I rarely remember these by the time I get back home.

What I enjoy most about the treadmill, however, is that you can't slow down. You have to maintain the same pace. You have to relax and hurt and then run beyond the hurt, and I love that phase, love when the hurt hits and I have to run through it. So in one sense, I don't mind the treadmill that much. It's starting to feel like a friend.

My new BFF: The treadmill at Planet Fitness. .

I'm also in love. Yes, and MM is jealous but he'll get over it. I'm in love (love!) with the Brooks Glycerin 10 shoes. I don't actually have a pair yet so I'm in the pining away stage, that heavy infatuation stage, when I can't stop thinking of these shoes and wanting these shoes and knowing that I must, must possess these shoes as soon as possible.

I've never run in Brooks, isn't that something? And I love my Asics oh-so-much. Yet I'm ready to make the change. (I also run in cheapo Adidas trail shoes with little cushion or support on the trails and love them as well, but on pavement these old legs of mine demand a bit of cushion.)

I love the wide toe box. I don't love the price--$140. Ouch!

I'm also reading this book. It's about running, of course, and it's quite good. Daniloff, a recovered alcoholic, runs marathons in all the cities where he once messed up his life. It's a way of making amends and reclaiming his spirit. Maybe we should all return to the places where life dealt us harsh blows or where we betrayed someone or had our heart stomped, and run marathons. I love the idea, don't you?

Thanks for the book, Caleb. I am reading it slowly. I am savoring.


Tuesday: 12 miles
Thursday: 6 miles, lots of hills
Saturday: 12 miles