Thursday, April 12, 2012

12athon: Month 4 (AA)

Last Sunday I ran 14 miles, which I thought was pretty awesome and impressive. (For me.) This week I'm supposed to run 16 miles, according to the chart I'm pretty much making up as I go along, and since I'm supposed to do 12 today anyway, I thought, HEY! MIGHT AS WELL DO 16 AS 12, AMIRITE?

So I suited up, got my hand-held water bottle full of electrolyte drink, got my fruit-snacky-things, etc. It was great. For about two miles, and then my right hamstring, which has been a little cranky lately, said, "No."

I said, "Um, yes."

It said, "No. No, you are not doing sixteen miles, and at this point, twelve is laughable."

I said, "%^&*." (Well, not really, but you can translate.) So I finished out my 4-mile loop (I was planning on running it 4 times anyway) and considered what else I could do. I mean, according to the chart, I'm supposed to do six or seven miles today anyway, so . . . OH! Right! Tri This.

So I ran two more miles--and by 'ran' I mean 'kinda jog-walked'--and then grabbed my rollerblades, since they were right there in the garage.

Um. Okay. I suppose here I should explain a little bit of my history with rollerblading. Back in April of 2001, which, yes, was eleven years ago (I was eighteen and stupid) I went rollerblading, went down a hill I shouldn't have, skinned the hell out of both knees and my hands and elbows and probably parts I'm not remembering, and smacked my back into a wooden guard rail, necessitating a trip to the emergency room. Fortunately, everything was fine, for varying degrees of fine, but I've got a giant scar on my left knee because of it, and slightly-messed-up hips. (No, there's no picture of the scar on my knee. It's pretty gross, though.)

Anyway, and I live in a place where I have a driveway that looks like this:

So rollerblading for me involved a significant amount of 'walking' on the grass and, you know, prayer. I didn't fall, though! Yay! Four miles of that.

Then I had to dig my bike out of the basement, which was just annoying. I'm on the short side, so getting a bike up the stairs is a matter of leverage that I just don't have. Got it up, eventually, though, and of course both my tires were flat. And of course the bike pump had the wrong attachment on the end, and I couldn't find the box with all the bits in it. (Mr. Angle's bike has the other kind of valves.) But hey! The mini-emergency bike pump had my kind of valve attachments, so I got my arm workout for the day in by doing that. *sigh*

Anyway, two quick miles on the bike--after a half hour of prep work, feh--and I was done!

Also I wore the same shoes as last time--Kinvara 2s, 4 mm drop:

And I did all of my running/blading/riding on a trail:

And, last but not least, I managed to get some excellent work in on my farmer's tan:

It's about time to switch to tank tops, methinks.

Anyway, numbers!

Miles jogged: 6 (in about 1:30, but I can't prove it)
Miles rollerbladed: 4 (in about an hour; stupid walking)
Miles biked: 2 (in about 14 minutes)
Total mileage: 12 (of course!)
Challenges: Tri This (9) and Naturalist (4) and Woodsy Owl (4)
Injuries from various activities: 3 (2 rub marks from rollerblades, 1 pair of pants that finally gave up the ghost in an indelicate spot--that's an injury, right?)
Songs listened to: About 20, but about twice each
Weirdest song to run to: "Holocaust of Giants," Rasputina (musical number--geddit? eh?)
Calories consumed at dinner: I don't think I can count that high

April 12athon: Sleepy Edition (RWB)

So I was going to do a Nighthawk this month. I thought about going out right at midnight but then decided I was tired and I’d get up and do it in the morning. I figured I’d be a bit tired and so I planned to allow for 12-minute miles. For some reason I determined that this meant starting at 4am would work because I could do 6 miles per hour and still have 20 minutes to spare before sunrise at 6:20. This is what happens when your job only requires the ability to count to four; I mean, I used to be Captain of the Math Team.

Still too early.

It occurred to me after about an hour that I’d made a slight miscalculation and was not going to finish before 6:20 at my current pace, so I napped for an hour or so and then went back out in time to catch the sunrise.

It took another half an hour for the sun to actually be visible over the trees, so I took another picture just for fun. Then I almost ran into a lady walking her dog because I’d been looking right at the sun to take a picture of it. Oops.

I also actually did bump into a (parked, bright red) car. It’s possible this had something to do with drinking two glasses of wine starting at 4am, but I’m also just sort of generally challenged in the spatial awareness department.

I've determined that really early in the morning is a great time for Sisyphus. You know when you drive somewhere when you're tired and at some point realize that you have no recollection whatsoever of getting from your starting point to your present location? There were several times that I thought to myself, 'Gee, I thought I just ran past this house; I don't remember that last lap at all' -- and then looked at my watch and realized I'd just done THREE laps since I last actually remembered passing that spot.

Although I did run past this one lady for three consecutive laps: on the first she was setting out a squirrel trap, on the second she was walking her dog and asked me to go around because he's blind, and on the third she said I was making everyone look bad, especially since I 'wasn't even wearing running shoes'. I guess she thought the toe-shoes were just a fashion statement?

Distance Run: 12 miles
Active Running Time: 2:52:46
Pace: 14:23 -- I am hoping that perhaps if I keep running I can qualify for Boston when I'm about 90. It wasn't so much that I was physically tired because of the early hour as that it took slightly longer than usual for my brain to remember that I had to pick up my feet again after putting them down.
Temperature: 42 (woot!) I know this because there's a house with a big window on the other side of the block and they were watching The Weather Channel.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Welcome to the South! Please enjoy your stay.

You know, I like Birmingham. It’s pretty nice. There are, however, days here and there where it’s a little too obvious that it’s in Alabama. Today was one of those days.

I met K. for lunch at our favorite Indian restaurant before rehearsal. It’s in a little shopping plaza with next to no parking, and the lot is always a complete madhouse at lunchtime. I was in my car waiting for someone behind me to move so that I could back out of the space. It occurred to me after a minute or so that it was taking slightly longer than usual for enough space to clear so that I could leave. It also occurred to me that there were people shouting.

I didn’t see the beginning of the altercation, but I did see an old woman in orange pants and a fedora run after a guy in skater attire while attempting to hit him over the head with her four-footed cane and telling him that she would kill him. I’m pretty sure she meant it. She chased him in a full circle around his van, at which point his friend in the passenger seat got out and attempted to call her off. She then chased him in a circle around the van while the first guy cowered behind the open door.

(The first car behind me still hadn’t moved, and a second one had by this point stopped right next to it to watch.)

An older man came from somewhere (not sure if he was her husband or something or merely a random man who wasn’t afraid of canes) and grabbed her by the non-cane-holding wrist. For at least a good 30 seconds, she was frozen in mid-stride, cane raised over her head and one foot lifted, ready to hit the ground running. The two guys got back in their van, but they couldn’t go anywhere since there was a crazy lady with a cane directly behind them. The woman finally realized that she was no longer moving because there was a guy holding her wrist. She took the obvious course of action: swinging the cane in large circles all around her. The old guy ducked for cover beside the van while the lady ran across the parking lot a few times, still swinging the cane wildly.

(Now there were THREE cars side-by-side behind me. I honestly didn’t realize the parking lot was big enough to accommodate that.)

The cashiers from the corner market, the guys working the food truck parked off to the side of the building, and the valet guy from the nice restaurant across the street were all now standing in the middle of the parking lot as well, watching the spectacle. A guy who appeared to be completely oblivious to the shenanigans going on around him walked across the lot and got in the car next to me. Meanwhile, the valet guy and two of the food truck guys were attempting to wrestle the cane away from the lady. For a moment all three of them were holding on to it but still just barely managing to keep her from hitting them in the face with it. A younger woman came from somewhere and pulled the woman away from her cane. She was still issuing death threats to the two guys in the van.

The guy next to me caught a bit of this when he looked over his shoulder to back up. The three cars were also blocking him in, which appeared to concern him far more than any of the other goings-on. He looked at me and rolled down his window. He asked if I was trying to get out of the parking space and I said yes, at which point he said, “I’m from Boston. I’ll take care of this.” He got out of his car and yelled, “Hey, all you people who are waiting for parking spaces? The reason you can’t get one is that you’re blocking us all in just sitting there!”

Although I was sort of worried this might make the woman with the fedora come after us next, it actually worked. The younger woman led the old woman into the market, the cashiers went back inside, the three guys handed the cane to the old guy and went back to their respective posts, and the cars all moved out of our way.

The end…?