Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Allie and I spent the weekend at the Mayor's cabin in the Ozarks. Wonderful place.

One the drive home, we bought nectarines, sweet corn, watermelon, muskmelon, zucchini and big fat sweet blackberries.

When we got home, we had a dozen or so ripe tomatoes waiting for us on the vine. Today, I picked four cucumbers. My cucumber plant has so far survived. This is a first for my garden. Every year the cucumbers and zucchinis die. This year, only the zucchini did. So now we have delicious cucs.

Tonight was my speed work out. We did four 800s, then four 400s, then another 800. Midway through, it started pouring rain. I'm the only man in my speed group. Tonight, all but one of the women beat me on just about every interval.

On Saturday, I ran in the Ozarks. Seven miles on a very hilly dirt road. It was absolutely beautiful, but hard.

As part of my current fascination with Iceland, I bought a couple of albums by Icelandic bands. Some of you might find Amiina and Apparat Organ Quartet.

It's raining like crazy outside, with great big thunder.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Saturday was great. I ran 16 miles in the morning. It was a hot day and a hilly course. But all weekend I felt like a total stud.

That afternoon, Allie and I took a drive into the country to pick blueberries and buy corn and peaches and buffalo meat. I didn't want to pick the berries, but I wound up loving it. It was a peaceful and beautiful activity. We came home with four pounds.

We bought the corn from three kids in a pick-up truck. There were two girls and a boy, ans the girls were quick to point out that they'd been there all day, but the boy hadn't. I said that boys are lazy, and the girl nodded emphatically. "Especially this one," she said.

At the buffalo farm we met a jack russell terrier. He was a little chubby, but he came right up to us and demanded a belly rub. As we exited the little store they had on the farm, he went running over to a couple of bison and started barking at them like he was boss. He was showing off for us.

Last night I did my third speed workout. I'm in the 4 group, which means I'm right in the middle. We did hill sprints and then quarter repeats. I was worried about the workout, but I hung right in there, knocking off three quarters at about 1:41 each. Afterward, and all day today, I've felt strength and healthiness. My leg muscles feel more powerful, my posture a little straighter, and each breath I take feels thick and sweet. It's such a cool thing to do, I think.

Being in the group is interesting. It's like being in high school cross country or track again, except we're all grown-ups with jobs. Everybody's got a different goal they're working toward, but we're all real serious about it.

While I'm running I feel like I'm an elite athlete. I know I'm not running as fast as one, and that I certainly don't look like I'm world-class, but it's kind of like playing air guitar to Jimi Hendrix -- I'm going through roughly the same motions Ryan Hall does when he's up with the front pack, so it's easy to slip a little into Walter Mitty mode.

But then... I'm doing quarters at 1:41. And I'm sucking wind at the end of each one. When I was 15, I ran a 10k at a faster pace. A much faster pace. So, it's easy to slip into the other direction, and beat up on myself for not sticking with track and cross country in high school and college. For not pushing my body to its limit when it was in its prime to see just how good of an athlete I could have been.

Oh well. Can't do nothing about that.

In other news, Allie and I have decided to go to Iceland next summer. I've wanted to go there ever since I saw something on PBS about the incredible music scene they have there.

So, for the past week or so I've been doing a lot of research on the weird little island and becoming more and more fascinated. On our trip, we are definitely going to go here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

That's right. How could we possibly pass up a chance to visit the Icelandic Phallological Museum?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A little late on the update this week...

Allie's birthday was yesterday. She got treated right this year. On Saturday, the day was all hers. We went shopping at Anthropologie and Barnes and Noble. We had dinner at her favorite restaurant. And we saw Hellboy at the drive-in.

On her actual birthday, she got three months of yoga and we went to the water park.

My sense is she's pretty ding-dang happy.

Last night I did a two-mile time trial. I finished in 14:55. I feel pretty good about it. I didn't really know what to expect. It was about 90 degrees, and I'd already been in the sun all day at the water park. It was very hard. By the end, I was completely winded and I thought I was going to puke. But I didn't.

According to various race prediction formulas, I should be able to run a marathon in the 3:45 to 4:10 range. That seems a little high to me. But given a full six months of solid, injury-free training, maybe it's possible.

Something tells me I won't be breaking four hours in Chicago, though, But we'll see.

In the garden, my zucchini plant died once again. It fell victim to those damned bugs that get it at the base of the stem. I thought I might have had it licked this year. Gloria told me to spread aluminum foil on the ground. Didn't work. I'm going to thoroughly research the issue this winter and give it one last try next year.

Work is going pretty good. If we can get this regional transit deal on the November ballot it'll be quite a coup. If you're following the issue in the paper, it doesn't look to promising. But from my vantage point there's still a reasonably good shot. At any rate, it'll be on the ballot next year, which is still a huge win for Mark's administration.

Allie and I are going to Iceland next year. We're already starting to plan. I got a good guide book with lots of pretty pictures. I don't know what's more fun -- travel or thinking about traveling.

Just a little more than three weeks until the Olympics. Here's a good article about why you should be a track and field fan. It has a great quote from Anthony Anthony Famiglietti.
After his win in Eugene, he said his goal was Olympic bronze. Not gold? "There's going to be people out there who cheat," he said. "I live in reality. But maybe I can sneak in and steal it from one of those dirty jerks and get the bronze."

My favorite!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

office supply

I need one of these:

Monday, July 07, 2008


I'm starting to get really stoked about the Olympics. The last time I was into the games was 1996. I didn't watch them at all in 2000 and 2004. This year I've actually got favorites that I'm pulling for.

One of my idols right now is Anthony Famiglietti, who'll be representing the U.S. in the steeplechase. He's just completely bad ass and totally cool.

Check out his website. Be sure to click on the "RUN LIKE HELL" link and watch the trailers for his movie.

If that doesn't get you fired up for your afternoon run, I don't know what will.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

running and biking and clean livin'

Another week rolls by.

It was pretty slow at work, what with the holiday and all. Have to say I prefer it when it's hectic.

Allie and I took it pretty easy on the fourth. We barbecued and hung around the house.

We both made a pact this morning to improve our diets.

The lure of crappy foods has a fairly strong hold on both of us, so we're going to tag team it and eat more fruits and vegetables and the like. Which is convenient because we'll soon have a steady supply coming in from the backyard.

For me, diet is one of the missing pieces in my quest for a Boston Qualifier. I've been consistent with the training, joined a running club, been doing strength training, stretching before and after every run, been working real hard on my form, I'm going to be starting speed training this Tuesday.

I even got a stability ball chair for work so I can have better posture.

But I still basically eat whatever I feel like eating. That means several trips to Quiznos each week for lunch -- large tuna sandwich with cheese, bag of chips and large cookie. When I go to restaurants, I tend to go for the fatty meats. When I grill, I tend to do the same.

So now the plan is to eat more "real foods," as my new running coach calls it. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, lean meats, whole grains. That kind of stuff.

Hopefully it'll make me more energetic during the day, better fueled for runs and, above all, help me to lose the love handles I've acquired (which really freak me out, after a life of unearned skinniness.)

Speaking of Boston, I had a dream this week that I qualified. It was amazing. I was there at the beginning of the race and as the crowd took off I felt overwhelmed with joy. I was crying I was so happy.

It was a great dream. But it kind of spooked me out, too.

I've been watching the Olympic trials for track and field. I was happy to see Kara Goucher qualify in both the 10,000 and 5,000, because she went to CU.

The other cool thing was watching a 16-year-old set a national high school record for the 1500 and qualify for the finals.

Tonight's big deal event will be the men's 1500. I'm really hoping Gabe Jennings makes it.

I've started watching the Tour de France, too.

I wasn't going to, because I've become disenchanted by the recent doping scandals, but I got sucked in by the beautiful shots of the bikes rolling through the French countryside.

I was happy to see that the sport is trying to reinvent itself. Versus, which is broadcasting the event, has a promo ad that shows the scandals in reverse -- Floyd the Doping Mennonite has his yellow jersey removed, Jan the German doper rides backward and to a stop, and so on, while some song goes on about starting over again.

And there's a new American-based team that was originally called Team High Road that subjects itself to extra drug testing and is committed to ethics and all that. They're now called Team Columbia. So I'll pull for them. And if they get caught in a scandal, I'm going to swear off the sport forever. (I'm still a little bitter about that Mennonite guy.)

I guess that's it for now...