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Archive for Running

Friday musings

Just a lot of miscellaneous thoughts that are junking up my brain today.

You know you’re a runner when .. it’s Boston Marathon weekend and three days before the race you start thinking about how exciting it would be to be in Boston right now. Even just as spectator or a volunteer. But you are glad, for once, that you’re not a truly competitive elite runner, because going into a race that big and important has to be one of the most anxiety-inducing experiences ever.

Marketing slogan that made me insane this week .. “Because places of profound beauty can’t stay hidden forever.” How about making it a little simpler: “Let’s take something beautiful and ruin it with a maddening crowd!” Sigh.

Want to laugh really hard? Watch this:

My favorite part is when he says “Listen ladies. Romance is deception.” Mr. President, you are a very smart man.

-Finished reading Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl.” I did not like that book. And I especially hated the ending. Oh, the depravity!

Have a great weekend, everyone.

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20 years running

“When I’m running I don’t have to talk to anybody and don’t have to listen to anybody. This is a part of my day I can’t do without.”
Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

Yesterday while I was running in Hope Ranch with my friends after work, I was doing some mental mathematics and realized that I have now been running consistently for 20 years.

I started running when I was in junior high school. I had never played a sport ever in my life, was never picked for teams until next to last in Phys. Ed. Running came about because it seemed like it was the only thing I could do that was athletic that didn’t involve jumping, catching, throwing, or bats, balls, water or racquets. Of course, I could have been a swimmer, but that would have involved being in a bathing suit around other kids, and therefore it was simply NOT an option. I can’t tell you how frightened I was to have to go swimming in high school PE. There have been few things in this life that traumatized me more.

My parents were runners, simply for the health benefits of a short run (2 miles max) a few times a week. We lived in a pretty place and they were young and athletic, so why not? They’d both run a couple of miles maybe three days a week. I remember being very impressed with my parents about this. I didn’t know many other kids, but I had a feeling that not too many peoples’ parents were out running.

Of course, I didn’t start to train consistently until my freshman year of high school, when I joined the track team. I would have just turned 15 that March. I remember feeling like such an imposter when I went to that first track team meeting. All these kids had done sports before, and I literally did not know how to act or what to say. That probably meant I didn’t say much. I remember being traumatized by the whole experience, because they wanted the freshmen to try different track and field events to see what we might be good at and want to compete in. I remember my dad picking me up, and telling him that I just wanted to run and maybe I should quit, because these field events were stupid and I wasn’t going to be any good at them. He encouraged me to go back the next day. And it must have gotten better after that, because I never wanted to quit ever again. So thanks Dad. That was good parenting.

It’s a very conservative estimate to say that over my running lifetime I have averaged around 30 miles a week. It’s probably closer to 35. But for the sake of the leaner early years, before I discovered long runs and half-marathons, we’ll say 30 miles a week for 52 weeks a year for 20 years. So that means I have run upwards of 31,000 miles to date. That’s a lot. I figure I can double that before I turn 60. 60,000 miles by 60. Seems like a pretty good goal. Only 40 more years of running to go.

Well, shoot, chicken suit

Just found out I won my age group in last weekend’s Race for Preservation 10K in Savannah, Georgia, which started at Forsyth Park in the center of the city and took us over train tracks and through historic homes. Guess I should have checked those race results before I left the state!

I ran slow, and got beat by a guy in a chicken suit. Here’s a picture of him.

chickensuit

Being beat by a guy wearing a chicken suit is demoralizing. There’s just no way around it. It was raining before and during the race, and the chicken suit must have been heavy and soggy. Good job, Chicken Suit Guy! You have earned my respect and admiration. I will take people in poultry themed attire far more seriously from now on.

They had some pretty cool awards for this race, made out of old pieces of wood. Check them out:

raceforpreservation

Raceforpreservation2

I was getting pretty bummed out that I was not hauling one of these truly unique awards home through the Charlotte and Phoenix airports, so I called the Trust for Historic Preservation to see if they could ship my award to me. They informed me that my Running USA colleague Peter Maksimow, the overall winner of the 10K, had already picked it up for me! Cool surprise times two. Thanks Peter! Our colleague Nancy Hobbs was second overall in the women’s 5K.

Some of our Running USA attendees ran in inch-an-hour downpour (with tornado sirens, too) on Tuesday morning. Say what you will about runners – we’re all a little bit crazy, whether we are wearing chicken suits or not.

Why are these running shoes so ugly?

Here’s an incongruity. I’ve been running for the last 18 years on a near-daily basis. It’s only the last 18 months that I’ve given a damn about what color my shoes are.

Maybe it’s a peculiarity of aging, to be more picky about such things. It could be directly related to my full time job, in which I work on a team that includes some exceptionally talented and color-savvy graphic designers. On this team, I have acquired some mild notoriety for wearing cool shoes.

So when I made my last few decisions about what running trainers to buy, I cringed. The shoes I was ordering by rote were ASICS Gel Kayanos, which I have been wearing since their very first edition. Version 19 was just released this year, so my allegiance to the model and brand is exactly aligned with my running history. They fit, they feel great, and I enjoy running in them. These are all important things.

But for the last few editions, the colors are WRONG. And the 19th release of the shoe takes this to a whole new level. I think these metallic-accented monstrosities look like something that my Jazzercise Barbie would have worn with her leg warmers and belted unitard back in 1984.

Here’s the photographic proof:

Gel-Kayano 19 - Black/white/flash pink

In other words, YUCK. I know a lot of runners. I can’t think of a single one who would be excited about the look of these shoes. Meanwhile, designers for Skechers and Nike have been coming out with really great looking, monotone minimalist shoes that look adorable – but are unwearable for runners like me who log just a tad over 15 miles a week. (That’s running sarcasm, for the uninitiated.)

Sometimes I wear men’s Kayanos, simply because the toe box is wider which is good for my feet. But the guys’ Kayano 19 is no better. It’s blue and black and red and yellow and equally shiny. It looks like a toddler designed it by randomly scribbling with colored crayons on a piece of paper.

After doing a little more research, I learned that these crazy metallic shoes are limited editions, and there are other more mainstream editions of Kayano 19. But they aren’t much better looking than their flamboyant siblings. The women’s are black with pink accents or pink with white accents. And I hate pink. Hate it with a passion. Gave it up around the time I put away Jazzercise Barbie, and never looked back. I know I can’t be the only woman who feels this way.

Here’s the rub, ASICs designers. I need your top-of-the-line shoes because they keep me running healthy and happy. But I can’t justify spending $140 on shoes that look this ridiculous. You’ve taken a decision that’s been easy for me to make for nearly 20 years, and made it complicated and messy and upsetting. Take a nod from your counterparts at Skechers and Nike and please see what you can do for me. Anything simple and cool looking will be fine. Just no pink. Pretty please.

Something I am looking forward to in 2013

SBWCHM

Running the Santa Barbara Wine Country Half-Marathon for the first time on May 11. Starts in Santa Ynez, finishes on Copenhagen Drive. They’ve given me “VIP” status due to my work for Running USA, so it should be a lot of fun!