November 30, 2010

my morning commute

foreign sight

morning commute


fellow commuter #1
(fellow commuter)



pizza face!
(favorite graffiti: PIZZA FACE!)


last week we had a couple of unseasonably cold days, where the daily highs were in the upper 20s. this is, unfortunately, one way to find out that your car battery is ill and infirm. I went to start my car tuesday morning and it went sputter sputter wheeze hack, turned over very feebly, and refused to do anything else. awesome! a certain someone graciously acted as my taxi service.

the next morning I was disappointed to discover that magical car-repair elves won't visit you in your sleep, no matter how hard you wish for them. the car still wouldn't start, so I cleaned off n appalling amount of corrosion from the battery contacts, tried in vain to remove the cables so I could clean the actual contacts themselves, gave up, put on a bunch of layers, and walked to work. (let it be said that my nice downstairs neighbor, byron, offered to jump start my car but having just poured hot water on the contacts I thought it best that both of us avoid electrocution for the morning).

so, I had a brisk alternative morning commute. I live about three miles from the office. it was nice, although I don't have the kind of free time necessary to do it every day. the walk took me just under an hour. I cursed myself for not riding my bike. on the way home, I strapped my bag to my body with tie lines (shoelace-type ties we use on the stage) and ran the 3 miles home. way faster.

I have a new battery now. that thing is fantastic.


November 29, 2010

hello, my name is young turkey.

brine bath

nobody said this was gonna be pretty

les bruxelles

the host of the evening

serious gravy time

the spread & classic muppet face

blood marys



take that, turkey

thank you, my fate

great humility fills me,
great purity fills me,
I make love with my dear
as if I made love dying
as if I made love praying,
tears pour
over my arms and his arms.
I don't know whether this is joy
or sadness, I don't understand
what I feel, I'm crying,
I'm crying, it's humility
as if I were dead,
gratitude, I thank you, my fate,
I'm unworthy, how beautiful
my life

-- anna swir
(trans. Czeslaw milosz)

November 24, 2010

the long haul


well, it's official: I'm registered for the eugene marathon. now I have until may 1 to convince my body that we're gonna do this again. at the very least, unless I DNF, I should do wildly better than my last marathon. so that's something. I mean, shaving 90 minutes or more off your PR is nothing to sneeze at, right?

training for a marathon seemed like an obvious choice for transitioning out of the streak. when I begin formally training, I'll have 14 weeks of running under my belt, not to mention 14 weeks of discipline. I've run streak runs in the morning, at lunch, at night, in twenty degree weather, in the pouring rain, in hail, and in non-running clothes. now I begin the process of transitioning mentally from "I have to go on some kind of run today, distance TBD" to "I have to run four miles at race pace today." I can't decide if this will be easy or hard. likewise, I haven't decided when I'm ending the streak. if I'm ending the streak. I won't make that decision until marathon training begins. I'm still afraid to let it go.

I'm nervous about this marathon, because I'm still not convinced I'll ever be an enthusiastic long distance runner. also, I have enormous hopes for it. I have a secret finish time goal that I'm keeping from everyone, including a certain someone, who is already trying to guess it. I'm nervous that my training plan is too conservative, mileage-wise, but have chosen it because I know myself and my schedule and I don't want to physically or mentally burn out. also, my current training is still on the low end -- just 18 or so miles a week -- and I am trying to be very cautious about adding miles. I continue to have problems with my left hip. I'm beginning to think it's just going to hurt for the long haul.

but: I am excited. I couldn't wait to get that registration confirmation email (it came yesterday). I don't run many races because I can't afford them. I realized yesterday that my race record doesn't reflect the kind of runner I feel I am, particularly pace-wise. then again, I've just reread a few running-related entries from this here bloggy blog and I guess I have gotten significantly faster over the course of this year, since in march I was stoked to have run an 8:41/mile average in the 15K. these days that seems relaxed.

in conclusion: we'll see how it goes.

in other long haul news, a certain someone and I just celebrated six months together earlier this week. tomorrow is our first thanksgiving. (we're hosting). say it with me: awww.

November 17, 2010

let's see. we closed hansel & gretel this weekend. many of us are very tired. I forgot I even had a blog. (ok, not really). at the opera it's time to clean up and move on. turandot chorus began rehearsal on monday. I can't even believe it.

things on my mind:

grow or cut:

I'm terribly conflicted about my hair. sometimes it looks like this:


cute, right? other times, it looks like this.

quelle horreur

I really love short hair -- it requires almost no maintenance, and I happen to have a good head for it. but sometimes I miss having hair. a certain someone didn't even know that my hair is curly until I showed him a photo.

now is the time to make this decision, because I'm reaching awkward phase, round two. (round one wasn't so bad but two promises to be a doozy). I either cut, or suffer through. ugh. in lieu of a decision, I let it grow.

day 63
I've been running every day for nine weeks. I'm on the streak upswing. the things that hurt in the 50s (days 50-59) are getting better. I decided to tell my body to SUCK IT UP and I started running the mileage I actually wanted to run. it turns out, nothing's really gotten worse. I've been stretching the crap out of everything, particularly my hips, and it seems to be working. the tweaky places are still tweaky, but less so.

let me just take a moment to say that all those studies that say stretching doesn't prevent injury? I'm sorry, but they are crazy. I have always had a good stretching routine -- I developed all my running habits back in high school, and to this day I follow the same order of stretches as we did then -- but now I have taken my stretching to the next level. and it's clearly made everything feel better. knots = bad. flexibility = good. whatever, science.

anyway. I continue to have revelations about running, and I continue to oscillate between a strong desire to continue the streak, and a resolution to stop after day 101. as with my hair, I suspect that in lieu of a decision, I'll just keep pumping out miles.

oh, but let me tell you one of the revelations:
even though I've been running, on average, only 13 miles a week, and even though many of those miles are quite a bit slower than even my average run pace (not to mention my race pace), I feel as though I'm a significantly better runner now than I was 63 days ago. I guess that sounds obvious -- of course, after nine weeks, you'd improve! -- but it's a real surprise to me. thirteen miles is practically nothing, spread out over the seven days of a week, and yet today, one mile into my 4 mile loop, I felt pretty relaxed and thought, "I wonder how fast I'm going? I bet it's 8:45 or so," only to look down and discover that I was running 7:45s instead. The last time I surprised myself by being faster than I thought, I was running 8:15s. thirty seconds better. not too shabby.

scott and I are hosting. and I am SO! EXCITED! I have a hundred million ideas for things to make. I can't tell you what those things are because they are a SURPRISE.

unrelated to anything
I've been knitting a lot. so much that I injured my wrist. I am a delicate little flower.

holidays (misc)
I am working on convincing my sister to come home for christmas, so we can go carousing around town, completing secret missions and eating cupcakes. I have secret dreams of smuggling my teenage sister from my dad's house in virginia so the three of us can do something fabulous, like maybe drink cokes and paint our nails.

I've been totally consumed by the overwhelming desire to bake gingerbread houses, knit scarves, sit by a fire, drink cocoa, watch snow fall, and all the other things that come with the holidays. This can also be filed under "I want a vacation." As in previous years, I am really looking forward to being home with my family. I'm only there for six days this year, and I'm sure it'll be a whirlwind, but I am really excited. I haven't been home in nearly a year. as usual, I have a bunch of friends to drink beers with, and I require at least one full day in my pajamas.

lastly, I am on track to kiss a certain someone at midnight on new years. this year's list is SO going down.

November 4, 2010

50 days

I've run at least one mile every day for the last fifty days, halfway towards my goal of streaking for 100 days.

first off, I told you on day eleven that I was never going to talk about the streak again, not until I finished it. at the time I felt, as I sometimes do, that talking about it was somehow going to jinx it, and preferred to keep it to myself. except actually I talk about the streak all the time. I'm comfortably far enough into it that there's no chance I'm going to break it out of laziness, so I no longer feel touchy about it.

I started this streak after several weeks off. I ran hood to coast in late august with almost no training, and then didn't run again for three weeks. when I finally started back, I happened to run two days in a row, and I thought, maybe I should just keep going. in that first week, which began on a thursday, I was full of enthusiasm and ran sixteen miles.

those first two or three weeks were kind of exhilarating -- every day came the thought, "I'm going to do it again!" and I kept a careful tally of my streak total. but they were also hard as hell. I felt nearly every day like I was towing a barge. in the spring, after several months of running consistently, I felt fast. now, I felt heavy and slow and clumsy. I had to force myself to overcome the most basic of runner problems: overtraining. I had to run shorter distances or risk injuring myself and ruining the streak. I learned the basic mileages around my neighborhood: a mile and a quarter loop from my house to bybee and back; two miles to the duck pond; 3.7 miles through the wildlife preserve.

In the beginning, when every run felt awful, I knew I just had to keep running and let my body catch up. I finally began to feel better in the third and fourth weeks. On day 28, I ran the first of my two miles that night at a 6:46 pace, maybe my fastest ever.

my weekly mileage continues to average very low, at about a half-marathon a week. the breakdown:

week 1 (days 1-4): 16.41
week 2: 16.05
week 3: 12.4
week 4: 11.5
week 5: 15.2
week 6: 16.77
week 7: 11.7

my total accumulated streak distance, since september 16: about 106 miles.

I have a complicated relationship to the streak. I often hate it. week four, when I ran only 11 miles? it was because I was working 12-hour days at the office, frantically finishing up the hansel & gretel music before rehearsals began. I ran the 1.25 mile loop nearly every day that week, covering just the bare minimum to keep me going. I hated the streak on those days. but the streak is tremendously freeing, too. it completely eliminates the question, "am I going to run today?" after 50 days, there's not a question of whether or not I'll do it. I don't have to summon motivation in the same way. the question shifts: "how far am I going to run today?" "when am I going to fit it in today?" "am I going to take it easy today?"

I've run several times in the dark, having missed all daylight opportunities. the other night I realized I hadn't run while I was at the barn working; I changed into running clothes there and when I got home, I got out of the car and immediately went on my run without even going inside, afraid to wait any longer. I've run several quick one-milers in between work and other events. several weeks ago, I was nearly late to my friend kelly's wedding (herself a streaker; she just broke day 300) because I had to run beforehand.

the streak has been hard on my body. I have recently seen a chiropractor for the first time in my life. in the mornings, getting out of bed, I am nearly always sore somewhere. I'm desperately longing to up my mileage, but right now I don't trust my body to comply. too many things hurt: IT bands, left calf, psoas, low back, feet, left hamstring. I have to tell myself what a good base I'm building, but it's true that a mile and a quarter barely makes me break a sweat anymore, and no longer feels satisfying except in the "another day down" sense. funny how running every single day makes me feel as though I miss running. will I get back there?

by chance, the hundredth day is christmas eve. I have thought nearly since the beginning that I would likely continue past day 100, but these days I'm unsure. the complicated relationship: I love the streak. I am afraid if I stop streaking, I might not have the motivation to keep running like this. and after all, it's just a mile a day! just one mile. this is how people go on streaking for 10, 20, 30 years. I can't imagine the day I decide, today is the day I'm not running. it's already a huge decision, after only 50 days. and it's just one mile.

November 2, 2010

more miscellany

things you don't often hear fron conductors
"I don't know what that instrument is, but could you play it louder?"

what all that kale looked like
(click through for notes)

for reference, those are full-size bell peppers; I had to stand on a chair to get the full shot.

more things the cats have destroyed
makeup brushes, which were somehow extracted from my zipped makeup bag and thereupon drooled all over
about 30 q-tips, pulled from a not-quite-closed bathroom drawer, drooled upon, and scattered throughout the bathroom and hallway
cotton balls, likewise
bathroom rug, repeatedly
bathroom towels, not destroyed but climbed upon and coated in cat hair
my sanity, increasingly

what I'm yearning for lately
another thanksgiving furlough

how I only partially missed halloween

I didn't dress up this year -- until the last minute, I thought I'd be working all three nights of halloween weekend -- but a certain someone and I did at least pick and carve pumpkins. I think I like his better. it's sly. plus, the face of mine (on the left) is very obviously rotting at the bottom. we can't all be beautiful all the time, I suppose.