Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Resolutions


I normally only make one resolution: DRINK MOAR BEER. I'm definitely re-upping that resolution, but by registering for the Madison Marathon today (Dec. 31st), I've effectively joined the League of People Who Resolve to Run a Marathon This Next Year.

Blast. I should have registered yesterday, like Runs With Butter.

Anyway. Yes. We're both officially signed up! Yay!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Motivation and Invalid Arguments

So after I ran a 10-mile race in October, I informed my husband (let's call him Mr. Angle) that because I ran a 10-mile race, his arguments were all invalid for the rest of the week. (Alas, I stopped calling him on them after a couple days.)

You know, like, "Hey, I think we should watch, you know, anything else, instead of this episode of TNG* that we've seen twenty times."

"No. I ran a 10-mile race yesterday. Your argument is invalid."

To be fair, after the race, I was pretty well convinced that I could do anything. It wasn't necessarily the 'runner's high' so much as the 'hey, in four weeks I went from running 5.5 miles for my longest distance to running 10 miles, more than once, without dying! I am awesome!' Pointing that out probably would have made him agree with just about anything I wanted.

That night, though, half-asleep and apparently not thinking real hard about what he was saying, Mr. Angle said, "One of these days you're going to run an ultramarathon or something and then my arguments will always be invalid."


Is it wrong to want to run an ultra so I can pre-emptively win all arguments ever?

I'm not sure if he knows that ultramarathons come in many different lengths and difficulty levels or not, but I'm not going to tell him because then he'll hold me to running, oh, Badwater or something, instead of doing a nice, relatively-sane 50K. I mean, whoops, he knows now, because I sent him the address to the blog a few days ago, but nonetheless. Ultramarathon. Pre-emptive winning. Yessssssssss.

Someday. After I run a half. And then a full.

... someday.

(Dear Mr. Angle, if you read this, I love you; I'm still holding you to the ultra promise; and no, I am never, ever going to run Badwater. Even if it would mean I would win all arguments for the next two or three lifetimes.)

*Star Trek: The Next Generation. You know, like the picture at the top. We're all Trekkies here. Fair warning.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The 12athon 13/12/11 10-Mile Warmup Report (AA)

Yay, the 12athon! It’s started! It’s why we started this blog!

Anyway. So. I ran 10 miles this afternoon. I did it in my Halloween costume. I get points for doing both. I ran laps around my neighborhood, due to lack of owning a hand-held or otherwise portable-type water bottle. I’ve got a 1.28-mi route that I know pretty well, so I ran it 8 times. Which, yes, for the mathy-types out there, means I actually ran 10.24 miles. I’m okay with that. (My feet, on the other hand . . .) It took me about 2 hours and 10 minutes, which I totally can’t prove because I didn’t have anywhere to put my phone and I don’t own a Garmin, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

Here are some pictures to prove that I did what I did:

Here’s me afterward. The cranky look is because I just ran 10 miles and I really wanted to get out of that clothing and into the shower. And yes, since you’re wondering, my house did come with a ballet studio. Short sales for the win!

Now, before you inform me that a tutu does not a Halloween costume make, let me inform you that most of the black on the tutu isn’t actually plain black tulle; it’s this stuff.

Yeah. Spiderwebs and spiders. See? Halloween!

Also, I’m wearing my Monster Dash jacket, from the 10-mile race (it’s also a half marathon) I did Halloween weekend this year. Monsters! Halloween!

So, as I hear Steve Chiotakis say every morning, let’s do the numbers:

Miles: 10.24
Time: 2:10:xx
Pace: 12:41 (considering how slow I was going on laps 7 and 8, this is pretty good)
Elevation gain: 472 ft (59 ft/lap x 8 laps)
Items of clothing worn: 13 (yes, I’ll be doing the Dirty Dozen challenge soon)
Blisters: 0. YAY!
Ounces of drink consumed: 20-ish
WTF-faces given to me: 1
Polite waves or ‘hi’s: 6
“Hey how you doing nice weather we’re having!”s: 1 (said by a tween boy as if it were one sentence)
Other runners: 2, but I ran by one lady about four times
Other runners in costumes: 0. Alas.

13/12/11 10-Mile Warm-Up: Runs With Butter Edition

So my original plan for this run was to do the Rosie Ruiz Challenge since I'm still more than two months away from my first half marathon and according to my schedule I'm supposed to be doing 7 miles for my long run this week, but I saw the comment on the 12athon FB page saying it probably wasn't really kosher for this month's run right before I left. I opted to run my 7 miles and then walk the remaining 3 so that my feet won't kill me tonight in my sleep.

In the interest of laziness, I just walked the first mile and a half
of the same route and then turned around and went home again.

This freed me up to do other Challenges, so I poked around in the closet for something suitable for the Holiday Attire Bonus. Medusa costume from 2008? Bring it on. Originally the costume had a dark blue tank top, but at some point in the last three years it went to Goodwill. I decided that my shirt from last month's Vulcan Run was an acceptable substitute despite being bright orange because it's also mythology-related.

Well, okay, Vulcan is Roman, not Greek. If you
find a Hephaestus Run somewhere, let me know.

Snake on a Ponytail.

The floppy gold sandals from the original costume didn't look up to the task of a seven-mile run, so I took off the laces and attached them to my VFFs instead. Work with me here, people.


The weirdest thing about running around with gold-painted rubber snakes on your head is how many people either legitimately don't notice them or just pretend that they don't. I fully expected the cars that slowed as they drove by (smiling and waving at them mostly caused the drivers to freak out about having been caught and then speed up again, which was kind of amusing) and the walkers who were suddenly extremely interested in something on the ground in the other direction, but at least a dozen people (I lost count) just smiled and said hello as if there was nothing at all out of the ordinary going on. Not one person asked why I was wearing a Medusa costume! The closest I got was one guy who said, "Nice hat." It wasn't even sarcastic - he seemed to think it was genuinely cool that, for reasons entirely unknown to him, I was running around a park with a bunch of fake snakes on my head. A lot of people looked fairly intently at my feet, although that happens enough just because of the VFFs that I wasn't sure if I got any extra funny looks for the gold lacing or not. A random probably-homeless guy said, "Hey, I need to run with you," as I passed, although that's also fairly normal when running downtown.

Anyway, the run was slower than I'd planned because running the farthest you've ever run at lunchtime without eating first, especially when the previous day involved a rather light dinner, is a stupid idea. (I did have to stop several times to sort out costume issues, but I stopped the clock for those. Mortimer the Arm Snake kept slithering down toward my wrist; I gave up and let him stay there after repositioning him three times in the first mile. The laces started falling down around my ankles about two miles in. I redid them once, but the second time I just went ahead and wrapped them more snugly around my ankles because I don't like tripping and falling to my doom. The hat probably would've come off on its own at some point, but I was already futzing with it pretty frequently since wearing a knit hat when it's in the 60s makes for a sweaty run. I don't know what happened to the hair!snake, but all that was left at the end of the run was the tongue.)

Post-run! I look tired.

Slightly less exciting shoelace configuration

Mortimer lost an eye somewhere between miles 4 and 5,
but the Cyclops thing ties in nicely with my costume theme.

In non-run-related news, I went to pick up my CSA box after the run. Preliminary research indicates that approximately 100% of people will look at you strangely if you walk a couple of blocks to your car while holding a giant cabbage, even though less than half of them will do so if you have fake snakes on your head.

My cat is hissing at the cabbage in this picture.

Some numbers, if you like that sort of thing:
Miles run: 7
Miles walked: 3
Run pace: 10:17 (was going for 9:50, but the last 2.5 miles were crazy-slow since I was overdue for lunch)
Run time: 1:11:58
(No idea how long the walking part took; I didn't restart the watch, but it was definitely a leisurely pace.)
Elevation gain (run): 558ft
Elevation gain (walk): 292ft

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Hi! I’m Runs With Butter. I did not go for a run in the snow yesterday, at least in part because it wasn’t snowing in my corner of the globe. It was, however, 38 with a wind chill of 29 and sort of raining, with winds gusting to a little over 20 mph. After a somewhat miserable bike ride to run a couple of errands, I decided that I’d postpone my scheduled speedwork until today because it’s 52 and sunny with just a hint of a breeze. Sometimes it’s good to be a Southerner.

Since I wasn’t going for a run, I decided I’d use the time to do something with the enormous napa cabbage I got in my CSA box this week. I tried to weigh it, but my kitchen scale only goes up to five pounds.

The box to Zoolander looks like it really ought to be at least three times bigger.

I’m a big fan both of spicy foods and of making sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables, so I decided to make kimchi. I consulted recipes in a couple of different books and came to the conclusion that as long as I included enough salt to inhibit mold and undesirable bacteria, I could put in whatever other vegetables I liked. I had a bunch of daikon radishes and some carrots leftover from the previous week’s CSA box and some green onions growing in my window box, so those all went in. The resulting recipe, should you find yourself in possession of an overly large cruciferous vegetable:

Kimchi (makes 3 quarts)
1 very large napa cabbage (probably 5-6 lbs), coarsely chopped
4-5 carrots, grated (about 2c)
1 bunch daikon radishes, grated (about 3/4c)
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 small onion, thinly sliced
4-5T sea salt
1 bulb garlic, skins removed
12 fresh red bird’s eye chilies, stemmed
3T fresh ginger, chopped

Combine all but the last 3 ingredients in a large bowl or pot (I used an 8-quart stockpot and that was about the right size) and toss to coat the vegetables in salt. One of my books said to pound the vegetables with a wooden mallet for a bit to make them release their juices, but salting them and letting them sit for a little bit draws out the moisture without the bother of hitting your food with a hammer. If, however, you’re having the sort of day that would be improved by whacking a cabbage with a mallet, then by all means do so.

While the salt is doing its work, toss the garlic, chilies, and ginger in a blender and blend into a paste. I added a couple tablespoons of water to speed things along. I would not recommend sticking your nose in the blender to take a whiff after it’s done unless you enjoy coughing fits.

Add the spice paste to the vegetables and mix everything together. Spoon the kimchi into canning jars and press everything down with either a smaller jar or a large spoon until the liquid in the jars is completely covering the vegetables. Cover loosely (either the lids set on top but without the bands screwed on or with cheesecloth and a rubber band) and let sit at room temperature for about 3-7 days. Air bubbles will form during the fermentation process so check the jars periodically and if necessary press down the contents of the jar to keep everything submerged. Once it’s fermented enough for your taste, store in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Running in the Snow

Okay, so I live a bit closer to Frostbite Falls than I’d like some days, and I’ve done two cold-weather runs so far, so clearly I’m an expert and I thought I should write a blog post about it.

(Well, okay, it’s mostly that our blog has a whopping 1 post on it so far. But I digress.)

First, let’s define ‘cold.’ Normally, apparently, anything under 40 degrees F is considered cold. Yeah, um . . . two of the three races I did this year had starting temperatures below 40--in April and October. It was 25 degrees Fahrenheit when I left on my run on Sunday morning, and 12 degrees Fahrenheit on Tuesday.

(Runs With Butter complains when it’s under 60, but I digress. Again.)

So for both the 25-degree run and the 12-degree run, I wore cold-weather tights (from Sport Hill; they were cheap at, a long-sleeved wicking shirt, a soft-shell-type jacket with a hood, regular socks, trail shoes, and gloves. It . . . was almost enough. I probably needed another pair of pants, because I ended up finishing my run due to being cold in places I’d rather not name.

(Well, okay. My butt was cold. This is a running blog, after all. I can talk about my butt. In this context, at least.)

Anyway, here’s how it went down:

  • I almost turned an ankle about four or five times because snow, even an inch or two of it, isn’t pavement. Trail runners will probably be okay with that, but I apparently don’t do enough trail running, even though I do all my running in trail shoes. (Yes, it wears down the lugs. No, I don’t care, because I have a second pair just in case I need to run on an actual trail.)
  • My lungs, which are sort of a train wreck in general (ask me about The Bronchitis That Wouldn’t Quit of Winter 2008-9), actually did wonderfully well. No coughing! Well, no more than usual.
  • My face warmed up after about half a mile, or five or so minutes. Apparently a half hour isn’t long enough to make it cold again. I’ll have to experiment to see how long it takes.
  • Speaking of, I was running significantly faster than expected. I can’t tell you my exact time, but I left at 4:33, dithered a bit and walked to the end of the block (50 or so feet), ran 2.56 miles, came back, checked the mail, and went inside, where it was 5:01. I’m estimating that I managed to waste about 2 minutes doing things that weren’t running, so 2.56 miles in 26 minutes, or a 10:09 pace. Just to put this in perspective, my last 5K was at a 10:34 pace. As I put in my dailymile log, Cold-weather speedwork?
  • I either need to suck it up and buy longer socks (i.e., not the quarter-cut) or buy or knit a pair of legwarmers. There’s a point of weakness between the bottom of my tights and the top of my socks, even though they kind of overlap.

Anyway, the end result of this is that I’m not really afraid of running in cold weather anymore. So, assuming that there’s anyone reading this (hello-o-o-o-o? guess not.) who is dithering about whether to run outside this winter or not, I’m highly recommending at least trying it. Even if you don’t think you have enough gear, just throw on everything you have and go out for a mile or so. Have fun! Experiment! Try science!

(Um, if you get frostbite, though, don’t blame me. Be sensible. Also check with your physician, etc.)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

First post! Dun dun DUN

This probably could be a post with better content or something but hey, we'll get more interesting later. At least there is an 'About Us' button up top somewhere.

Hi. I'm the Avenging Angle. She's RunsWithButter. We decided we needed a joint running blog because neither of us is interesting enough to warrant our own blog. We've almost decided to pony up and commit to the Madison Marathon, but not quite. Soon, though.

I can't say that this blog will contain any deep truths about running, but it will contain things we thought were funny at one point.

So, if you're one of the poor souls reading this very first post . . . hi! And welcome!