Scatter my ashes here...

Scatter my ashes here...
scatter my ashes in the desert...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Running Hot and Radon Lady Sighting

Tonight, tempo run with Shannon, AKA Wheaties Boy, since he's now sponsored by Wheaties. It was 96 degrees when we started and 88 when we finished. We did a loop down through Fossil Creek park, total of 11.8 miles.

I ran an average 8:42 pace, which isn't too bad considering the conditions. I did throw a sub-8 minute mile in there but quickly made up for it on Hail Mary hill, where my legs refused to push anymore. Eventually the sub-8s will come, with the cooler temperatures.

We talked about Shannon's taper, his upcoming Wasatch strategy, my 5K, and my upcoming 12 hour race in OKC. But we also talked about how nice it will be to run when it's 45 degrees. Maybe even 5 degrees. Even I'm looking forward to it. This summer has been way too long and way too hot.

I just ate a big bowl of cantaloupe because that's all that looked appealing when I got home from my run, and I go back to work the next couple of days. This weekend I can get my life back in order. I was worthless today until after my long nap.

I almost forgot, I had a Radon Lady sighting when I was in California. I haven't seen the original Radon Lady in years, but this one was a dead ringer. She kept riding her bike up and down the bike path and I knew eventually I would catch her on the camera.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

There's No Place Like Home

Except Manhattan Beach...

Last weekend Dennis and I went out to LA to hang out with my dad and stepmom at the place they are staying for the month of August. Right on the beach, known as, "The Strand"...

We were listening to the waves crash on the sand all night because the beach and ocean were literally in our front yard. Not a bad way to spend a long weekend.

When I knew we were going, I decided to find a 5K to run while we were there. I figured there had to be a 5K somewhere close by in a city the size of LA. I was right, the Jet to Jetty 5K/10K was happening just north of where we were staying, within warmup running distance.

Dennis being freshly out of his boot from his toe fracture, he was unable to run but rode the bike up there to watch. He could have slept in that morning, but he was a good sport about it. We went up the Strand and the bike path, about 4 miles, until we came to Dockweiler State Beach, which is west of LAX. All the jets fly right overhead.

I was my usual self, a total dork before the race, in my Walmart tank top, greasing up my armpits with Aquaphor so I wouldn't chafe.

Dennis was wearing his Badwater t-shirt and this guy in a yellow turban went up to him and asked him if he ran the race. He pointed at me, "No, but SHE did." Turned out the guy in the turban was Gabriel Flores, who won the Badwater race in 1998 and was featured in the documentary Running on the Sun. That made my day! Gabriel was running the 5K with his son. We talked Badwater for a little while as we were lining up at the start.

Running a 5K in LA is really different. First, there are A LOT of people, second, they actually have certified courses, third, they have hardware in 5 year age groups, and fourth, they have signs at the starting area that tell you to line up according to your pace: 6, 7, 8, 9, or whatever minute miles you run, fifth, they have chip timing...not to mention the nice gray cloudy sky that keeps the sun from being intense first thing in the morning, and the humidity and ocean breezes.

I lined up about where I thought would be right, a few fit-looking men around my age, not many kids, and probably a dozen or so women visible ahead of me. I was right there in front of the 7 minute per mile pace sign. I had no idea how I'd feel at sea level and I didn't want to risk going out too fast but I knew I should be able to better my 7 and a half minute pace I've been doing lately.

The gun went off and within a half mile I realized I felt good and wasn't having trouble with my starting pace. Before we hit the one mile mark we turned around in a U-turn and it freaked me out to see less than 10 women ahead of me. Then I got scared. Oh shit, what if I went out in a 6 minute mile? Fortunately when we hit the one mile mark I was at 6:42. I knew that was fast but it didn't feel bad.

I purposely backed off the pace a little bit in that middle mile, hoping I'd be able to run the last mile hard. I hit the two mile mark in 13:50, which was better than I expected but still feeling comfortable. Then it was time to pick it up. The last mile was straight on the road and a slight downhill grade for about a quarter mile of it. I passed several women in the last mile.

I actually had enough leg turnover that I was able to hold one of them off and gain on her, then pass her going into the finish area. When I hit the finish line I was at 21:38, which sort of blew me away. I really didn't expect to run that fast even at sea level. That's about a 6:57 per mile average pace, whch surprised me.

But I know I can run much faster than that if I do speedwork. So I'm really not overly surprised. Just happy. I ended up with hardware, was 4th overall woman, won my age group, but the kicker was, there was a woman who beat me by 13 seconds, and she was 56 years old! I got SHARPEI'D!!! But that's a good thing, there's hope for aging chicks.

I got about 21 miles of running in that day between the 5K and some extra running I did afterwards. The rest of the weekend we spent on the beach, drinking margaritas, eating, and just hanging out. It was relaxing, and perfect, and I hope that next year we can go back again and spend even longer. And if we're there for that 5K again, I'm training for it!

On the way back I was reminded of Tank Girl, anyone remember that movie from the mid-90s where she takes on the evil Water and Power and tries to save the world? I was feeling very tank girl-like after my 5K and long run with all that oxygen!

When we came home Iris and Isabelle wouldn't let me out of their sight, not even to take a shower. Manhattan Beach was awesome, but what was missing were the Buffaloes, and it's so great to be home when someone is so happy to see you!

Last week I got over 60 miles of running in, including a tempo run and a 5K, with two 20ish mile days. That feels more like what I should be doing at this point in my training for Across the Years. Only 2 months until Oklahoma City, and I have plans for at least another 5K, a 10K, and a half marathon before then.

This is fun!

So then the other thing that happened is that I worked today and it was a zoo in town, a good day to be locked away in the hospital. We had a visit from President Obama and traffic was a nightmare due to security. A lot of our patients ended up being late for their appointments because they couldn't get around town!

Fort Collins is not used to Presidential visits, this was our first one. That was pretty obvious from the way the traffic was routed. I think we need more practice. Obama came here before the election in 2008 and he was a rock star then, but he wasn't President yet, so the whole security thing was nowhere near as intense.

So, I hope I won't have a work hangover tomorrow, having only worked one day since we got back. Tomorrow is tempo day again, already. It's supposed to be in the mid 90s again. September is just around the corner. Maybe one of these days it won't be summer anymore.

Or maybe I could win the lottery and buy some prime real estate on The Strand in Manhattan Beach become one of the beautiful people (plastic surgery is the only thing that would do that for me), and run away with Dennis and the Buffaloes. Then summer would be perfect, ocean breezes, surfing, swimming, running 5Ks...and monkeys might fly out of my butt!

I guess I'll stay in Fort Collins. There's no place like home...

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Beach Babes and Bacon

I'm still here at the beach soaking up the sun, salt and sand. It's been a perfect day, met a Badwater champion, ran a 5k in 21:38 and actually placed...more about that later. After the 5k I finished up 20-22 miles along the Strand, now I'm watching the waves crash and thinking of margaritas.

It's been an entertaining weekend too, from Dennis fighting off the beach babes, to seeing the sights, which consists of a lot of exposed skin.

Some of which is not bad, but some of it belongs at Walmart...we've seen a bit too much crack and some has resembled the San Andreas fault!


This morning at the race I saw a guy with a t-shirt that was very appropriate for him. It was a picture of elements from a periodic table that spelled "Ba Co N"

Even the beautiful people of Manhattan Beach haven't escaped obesification.

It's been an awesome weekend! More details when I get home!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Go, Granny, Go!

I almost hit 20 miles today in two runs. According to my calculations, I got 19.56 miles in. No I don't have a Garmin. I'm not that technologically advanced and I hate carrying those big clunky things on my wrists. I map my runs with aerial photos on google maps on Map My Run. And no, I'm not obsessive enough to go back out and do another 0.44 miles to make it an even 20. Food was calling my name.

I did a shorter, slower than usual tempo run with Shannon tonight, we did about 8.7 miles together at a little under 8:40 pace. He is tired, he's recovering from pacing his friend Chris in his first 100 miler at Leadville last weekend, which turned out to be one of those runs where you get your money's worth out of the entry fee. As Shannon was describing the pacing experience at Leadville it was taking me back to my own first 100 mile experience at Leadville 20 years ago.

Chris finished in 29 hours and change, and I can relate to his pain and the feeling that it will never end. All four of my Leadville finishes were between 29:20 and 29:40 no matter what I did. Finally I retired from high altitude, moved on to lower elevation 100s. But congratulations to Chris because Leadville is tough first time 100 to do. And he stuck it out despite all his troubles and sleep deprivation.

So tomorrow we're headed to Manhattan Beach and I'm running a 5K on Saturday, the Jet to Jetty 5K at Vista Del Mar. The 5K training for 48 hours continues. I did have a decent workout of 800s earlier this week where I was consistent at 6:30-6:40 pace. I need to keep working on it. I'll have to see what sea level feels like this weekend and if it helps me run a little faster than my 23 minute 5Ks of late.

I do have some animal print stuff to wear, including an old animal print swimsuit that I looked much better in at age 35. Sorry to disappoint everyone but I won't be a Bo Derek at the beach.

Giving myself as much credit as possible, I might be a 6.5 on a good day when I'm not bloated from something I ate. And I don't think Bo Derek had a menopausal belly, sagging boobs, wrinkly thighs, or gray hair. And I don't have gray corn rows either.

I'll be more like the little old lady from Pasadena, taking my old body out for an occasional spin in an attempt to terrorize, sharpei, and chick the guys. (I included this video and then realized that there is a stupid baseless political ad at the beginning. Sorry. It offended me, so I put it on mute until the ad was over.)

The Little Old Lady From Pasadena by sirnarnian

Monday, August 20, 2012

Miracle Monday

It's a miracle because it's work hangover day after my work weekend, and other than needing a bit more sleep and having some brain fog, I don't feel too bad.

I had a great 10 1/2 mile run this morning, felt good, threw some strides in, maybe I'm so out of it that I really didn't use my brain, which made the run seem so much easier. Or maybe I don't have a brain anymore, lost it over the weekend, and as a result I'm running a few pounds lighter.

It is about 20 degrees cooler than it has been for most of the summer. The seasons are finally changing. That feels miraculous too.

I haven't been blogging simply because there isn't a lot of exciting stuff to report, I've been hiding out from the world. Actually I've been putting more time into work-related things lately, studying at home and doing a few extra shifts at work is all. Some more exciting stuff will be happening soon that I can blog about, but for now, I'm keeping it to a minimum.

I do have quite a few rants building, given the onslaught of the U.S. election season B.S. I don't have a TV, thankfully, so I'm not subjected to the insults to my intelligence in my own home unless I search for them on the Internet.

Topics include health care, labor, nursing-related topics, firing every member of Congress, and more obesification-related topics, so as I get fired up on my long runs I'll be pounding away at the keyboard during my recovery.

My fatigue has been letting up, I'm throwing some short bursts of speed into my workouts and achieving some consistency, though I'm not doing much for mileage. That part of my training will pick up soon, as of September.

For now I'm enjoying the laid-back life of a 5K runner.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Death in Death Valley

I'm very sorry to say that I am reluctantly blogging about the death of a runner, again. I've already been asked about it, people always want to know what I think, with a blog about ultras, Badwater, and heat running, so I decided to post, carefully.

I don't mean for this to sound judgmental. It's not intended that way. The grief of his family and friends is too painful and too great, there hasn't been enough time for them to process all that has happened, and right now, we don't even have all the details or the results of an autopsy.

There have been comments and articles on the Internet and in Outside magazine and various blogs, and discussion on ultralists. I've steered clear of it, but I've had too many e-mails yesterday and today asking me if I know about this, if I knew him, if I know what happened, what do I think, etc. I got tired of writing back to people saying, I really can't comment on this right now. So here's what I know:

Most unfortunately, it was in Death Valley. It was not connected with the Badwater race, not connected with any multiple crossing of the valley, not connected with any organized event. It wasn't even intended as an ultra run.

I don't know all the details beyond that. I didn't know Michael Popov, I ran in one race with him 4 years ago but we never exchanged more than a few words and well-wishes as we ran laps at Across the Years. He was young, a fit and accomplished runner.

It sounds like he was trying to cross the bottom of the valley from the West Side Road to Badwater, a distance that, as the crow flies, is only about 10 kilometers. He underestimated what it would take to cross that way, it appears he didn't have enough fluids to keep him going in the event something went wrong, which it did.

I wish someone had told him that Ben Jones had done an autopsy before on a guy who tried to cross the valley like that, looking across and thinking, it's not that far, but died doing it. I don't know if anyone told him. I don't know if they did and he decided to do it anyway. It's not the first time that someone has attempted to go across that way and died.

Crossing the valley that way isn't what it appears. There are obstacles, wet, muddy, marshy salt flats, variations in terrain and footing that make it a lot longer crossing than a few hours. It's not pancake flat as it appears from the eye or even the topo maps. There's no shade, and no drinkable water. There's also no access to a road without going a long way out of the way...

It doesn't matter who you are, how well-conditioned you are, how experienced or accomplished you are. Whenever you set out on an adventure run of any distance, but especially in an extreme environment like Death Valley, you need to do your homework, and you need to plan for the worst with a workable backup plan.

It was 123 degrees. He died of heat stroke. I don't know if he had a backup plan. It doesn't sound like there was one. It doesn't take long between the time someone gets in trouble in the heat and death from heat stroke, without intervening quickly. It sounds like he didn't have a chance by the time someone discovered him. Even though he was conscious when found, it didn't take long before there was no way to revive him.

There is nothing anyone can do to ease the grief of his family, his friends, and the people who were closest to him as they go through this loss. It is unfortunately one of the most difficult lessons to accept for people who love adventuring and extreme sports. We are not infallible.

We CAN do everything in our power to keep the worst from happening, and having a safety plan, a backup plan, and doing your homework before you go might not save every life in every instance, but it might save yours.

My own feeling is that it didn't have to happen, and unfortunately, it did. Do your homework. Don't think you're invincible, because you're not, no matter who you are.

Please be mindful of this as you go on your journeys.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

There's Hope For This Old Fart...

I am happy tonight, I am smiling. Why?

Because I finally had a decent workout today!!!


The hamstring and hip pain and all the tweaks on the left side have resolved, I did 6 miles easy this morning and then 11.5 miles tempo tonight with Shannon, 8:13 pace average.

Finally it appears that I'm making improvement. First I need to get to sub-8 minute average pace, then I can see where it goes from there.

I know that somewhere deep in these huge hypertrophied thighs and calves are some fast-twitch fibers screaming to be released from exile.

Only another week and a half until my next 5K. I work this weekend so I'll have to figure out some kind of fast short workout to do on Friday. Maybe I'll actually drag my butt over to the track.

First, I need to get through the next two days of work without too bad of a work hangover on Friday. Then I'll see if I'm up for a track workout. One thing at a time...

Monday, August 13, 2012

Hedgehog: Putting Things In Perspective

We went to Como this past weekend.

It usually helps to go up there and get away from the routine and the rat race, to put things in perspective. I am very much over this hot weather. It's been hot for too long. The cooler temperatures felt so good.

Dennis is out of the boot, his foot is healed enough to go for some short hikes, so we took the girls on a short one and then just hung out at the cabin. Como rocks.

Still, I feel so unmotivated. I'm putting things into place, trying to fill the calendar with things that will help me get the lead out of my butt.

I picked out my next 5K, and it will be at sea level in LA. I got this crazy idea today when I couldn't motivate myself to run for the second day in a row, maybe I should do a week of walking. Sure, that will help the 5K time.

Signed up for my test date to take my oncology certification exam, so now I am committed. I have to study.

I have no reason to whine or snivel. I happen to know two healthy active people around my age who right now are recovering from pneumonia! One of them, a runner, was talking about how he has realized through these difficult times who his real friends are, the ones who have stuck with him despite his down time. Our conversation got me thinking about Hedgehogs.

Sometimes finding an old friend makes all the difference in the world. We lost the Hedgehog last year, it went missing despite an exhaustive search of the entire yard around the cabin last fall. But the Hedgehog turned up easily this weekend, even though he was nowhere to be found when we were here in June.

Sometimes we have to find ways to put things in perspective. When we're down and out, or just in a slump, it's important to find a silver lining. It can be an opportunity to sort through the baggage or trash from old relationships or friendships that aren't so great.

Not all old friends are as good as a long-lost Hedgehog, stinky and soggy from being left out in the rain for months or even a year. Hedgehogs just need a pass through the washing machine and they are as good as ever. Sometimes they still squeak after all they've been through.

On the other hand, or paw, there are times when we have to get rid of the toxic people from our lives, the ones who would drop you and forget about you, the ones who talk out both sides of their mouth, the ones who are so insecure with their own issues that they aren't worth the energy. Every time you're with them, it takes twice as much energy away from you just to interact with them and you leave their company wondering why you ever made the effort to get together with them in the first place?

Hedgehogs squeak, but they also listen. They don't jabber on and on and say mindless, trite things when you talk about something that's important to you. They don't claim to know how you feel, and they don't have to reply to every point you make with their own version of what they think is a similar experience.

Hedgehogs don't have codependency issues. They are content to listen and not try to fix things. They only squeak when they have something constructive to contribute, and they have a lot of empathy.

It's a good, healthy thing to do, every so often, to clean house when you realize there are things or people who drag you down. Keep the Hedgehogs, but let the energy suckers stay out in the rain.
There are times when you have to find new friends and at the same time nurture the most valuable old Hedgehogs instead of taking them for granted.

But sometimes all they need is a bath...

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Not So Fast...

So I got a humbling lesson at the Rat Race 5K. I'm not so fast. I should have already known that. I ran 11 seconds slower than last week. Not that I was expecting anything big, just a few seconds faster would have been nice...

Wah, wah, wah. I sound like one of thsoe whiny nerdy road racers talking about all the excuses why they didn't hit a PR during their race. And they give a play by play breakdown of their 5K race that takes as long to spit out as the race took to run.

So I'll spit it all out, I can come up with some whiny nerdy excuses: I think this course might have been a little slower given the half mile or more of washboard dirt road during the second mile.

I think the milemarkers were off. At least I hope they were, or it means I have no concept of pace. 7:14, 14:34, and 23:21 at the finish line??? Weird. I know I wasn't going 8 minute pace that last mile. I actually felt pretty good the whole way and I know I didn't slow down.

Ault smells like sheep. I think it should be renamed The Sheep Race. The race was a fragrant mix of the smells of sheep, cows, water treatment plants, irrigation ditches, and cornfields.

No matter what excuse, the kicker is, even though I won my age group (40-49), I got sharpei'd. Bad! Someone in her 50s beat me by over a minute.

This is humbling, but it's very good for me. It will teach me not to expect to improve unless I do the speedwork, so I guess it's time to get going on that.

The good news? The hamstring didn't bother me at all. Maybe the massage worked. The hip is still sore, but I don't feel that on the run, only afterwards.

And it was a pretty sunrise.

I have to find the next 5K. Next weekend I work, so it will have to be after that. And I have those two weeks to fit in some real speedwork. Now I just need someone to kick my butt into doing it.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Joining the Rat Race

Australian Shepherds need to be under your feet at all times, including when you're getting a massage.

I've been dealing with this soreness on my left side, mostly in my hip and hamstring after I run. I finally convinced Dennis to give me a massage. He went to massage school, he has a table, he knows how to do it, right? But this princess needed to do more convincing and begging. So I made one of his favorite meals for dinner, and I bought him some good beer, and I guess that was enough.

He set up his table in the man cave, the basement, and went to work on me. He's such a good Australian Shepherd dad, stepping around the girls, who like to look up at me when I put my face down the hole in the headrest.

I'm hoping I can shake loose whatever is stuck and is causing all these annoying tweaks. And run a decent 5K at the Rat Race in Ault tomorrow. Decent is relative. Let's just say I want to run faster than I did last week. I know I haven't been doing any speedwork. But I want to run faster. Maybe it's too much to ask, but tomorrow I'll find out. It's supposed to be an accurate course.

Here goes the second week of my 5K training for 48 Hours plan. At the brutally early time of 7:30 am I will run the Rat Race 5K in Ault. I have to leave the house by 6 to get there with enough time to warm up and sign up. Not even enough time to make coffee. It will be a Starbucks Via morning.

Ault was a little town on Highway 14 going east toward Nebraska. But it's growing and is a bedroom community for some of the rat race. I haven't been there in a while, haven't ridden my bike over to that side of I-25 and gone north of Timnath lately.

Another 5K-induced moment of truth. The faster I run, the less I suffer, right?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Obesified States of America

This just in...

Good ol' American nutrition. I guess you need a vegetable with your meat. This is GREAT news! I'm very happy to know that I've been so nationalistic in my ultrarunning food choices. Rah, rah.

Sorry, I'll have to cut this rant short while I go puke.

End of rant.


So it's a day later and I have to look at the bright side of things, I've done 22 miles since my last blogpost despite my frequent but judicious use of the F bomb over the past 24 hours.

This morning I felt okay for the first 7 miles or so of my 12 mile run, but the last 5 were slow torture again, and I can't even count how many times I was dragging the soles of my shoes on the pavement. I'm surprised I didn't do a face plant.

Last night Shannon and I went out for our tempo run, we usually do 10 miles or so together, but we only did about 9 and a half this time. I cut it short, my whole body has been hurting on the left side for over a week now. My left hip, left hamstring, left IT band, left ankle, I can feel everything.

I'm sure it's due to my spill on the bike the week before last. I was riding and came to a concrete barrier across the path and was stopped, turned around briefly to say something to Troy who was right behind me, and I tipped over on the bike before I could pull my cleats off the pedals. I wasn't moving when I crashed, and nothing hurt at the time, but now I'm feeling a lot of stuff on the side I crashed on, and it all makes sense. The bruises are gone but I think I'm all out of alignment.

When Shannon and I ran, we both were feeling like crap. He's at the tail end of his Wasatch training, I know he's ready to taper now, and he's tired. I felt like crap even though I took a nap in the afternoon. It was 93 degrees when we left on our run, not exactly ideal conditions for a hard effort. Lots of F-bomb dropping on our run. We both were in the same place. The brain wants to go, but the legs won't respond.

So we took it easy and stayed around 9 minute pace and that was challenging enough. Plus we almost got smacked with a golf ball running by the Southridge golf course down there off the Power Trail. We heard it whiz by and over our heads by maybe a foot. It hit hard in the bushes off the bike path.


We were lucky. That was one of the closest calls I've had with a golf ball, and I run near a lot of golf courses. It would have been bad if one of us got hit. I told Shannon those guys better lay off the bloody marys before they go out golfing, they better get moving or they'll have to contend with this RPB.

As we ran by, they apologized, but I put my thumb and finger up to show them how close it was. No, not that finger. I wanted to, but I held myself back.

So I've put in 22 miles over the past 24 hours and I feel a bit tired. I guess that's okay. I just need to figure out how to re-align myself so everything won't hurt. I still feel cranky. Time for a rant or two.

Reading the local paper this morning was cause for another WTF. The ongoing local controversy over the building of a new on-campus football stadium for Colorado State University. (We already have a stadium 3 miles off campus.)

I love how these administrators talk so nonchalantly over taking on several hundred million more dollars in debt, since the interest rates are so low and they're only already $616 million in the hole. When the football program hasn't even proven itself, we have a new coach Jim McElwain from Alabama, a new athletic director Jack Graham, and University President Tony Frank hasn't even been in his position all that long.

The thing is, these guys are already all overcompensated compared to most people and have their comfortable salary contracts which will sustain them even if they fail. And any debt they leave behind will be on the shoulders of future generations of students, parents, taxpayers, and the community long after they have all retired and croaked. Somebody will have to pay for it. The estimated cost of the stadium is 246 million dollars.

Oh, is that all?

And I just about puked when they quoted Jack Graham as saying he doesn't want to have anything to do with debt incurred by the athletic department falling back onto the university. "I will do everything in my power to ensure that doesn't happen", he says.

And monkeys might fly out of my butt! Maybe you should try a career in politics, Jack. I heard there's a job opening in the White House in 2016.

They have $700,000 raised so far and they say that is enough to start what they call Phase I, or the feasibility part of the work- just preliminary design. Excuse me, but according to my calculations that is only 1/351 or 0.0028 of the amount it will cost to build this stadium. And that's only the building part. They really think that people are going to buy into this to the tune of a quarter billion dollars? They must have a reason to believe that.

They also have excuses for everything, we've heard it all, from big football programs attracting alumni dollars and research dollars and students, whining that the alumni who don't pay into the alumni funds shouldn't have a say in the decision to build a stadium, that student tuition and costs won't be affected by the cost of the stadium, to whining that lack of a stadium keeps them forever mediocre?

Mediocre in what? Athletics? Academics? Research? Costs? Debt? You're admitting to some sort of mediocrity. What defines mediocrity? And you need $246 million dollars to buy your way out of it?


Is football worth it? Do we really need to perpetuate the culture of overspending and overvaluing sports at this level? Don't we have things that are a bit more important on which to spend that kind of money? (Yeah, like election campaigns!) Do we always have to incur more debt?

Meanwhile faculty members don't get raises, more and more adjunct faculty are hired to teach courses because they are cheap labor, and the costs of school keep going up and up and students have to take on more debt.

I don't buy any of their bullshit. I've long since been fed and digested it. Don't even get me started on the whole athletics and academics discussion, we'll be here for a long time.

Furthermore, a new on-campus stadium is certainly not going to influence my spending practices with regards to my CSU alumni status. It took me bloody forever to pay off my student loans from that institution, I think I've contributed enough of my hide.

And I get the feeling that a lot of future alumni will feel the same way once they graduate and those monthly student loan statements start arriving. Unless they get nice jobs like Tony Frank and Jack Graham have. But Jack, how long do you think Jim McElwain will stay in his job?

University Presidents and head coaches don't usually stick around in their positions too long. I don't know about athletic director tenure. I do know that $300,000 or so a year as an athletic director is a bit more than the average CSU grad makes. Assuming I'm just average. Mediocre, that is.

Not everyone has the privilege of having a job like that, which of course gives them the right to be this arrogant in their decisions that will affect everyone else in the community for years after they have moved on...


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Work Hangover Wednesday: Where I Eat Snakeheads for Breakfast

It's that day again. Back off, bucko. Get outta my way. Grrrrrrrrr!!!!

It was really slow at work for some reason in the afternoons this week and I ended up getting off early both Monday and Tuesday. Which is okay, I've been working a lot of extra shifts lately and it's been super busy, so this was a nice break. But I'm as tired after my two shortened work days as I am normally.

I feel extremely irritable today, and I am craving weird foods like green chile, which is non-existent here in Fort Collins in it's purest form. I am sure the brain fog and exhaustion and food cravings are just the random perimenopausal bitch coming out of hiding. Surprisingly enough I don't crave chocolate. That would be too easy to fix.

Unfortunately a road trip to New Mexico to solve the green chile crisis is out of the question today.

I tried studying a little and I am way too brainfogged to concentrate. I don't even feel like running. I took the girls for a walk and then I lost motivation. I hate losing whole days to fatigue, it annoys the crap out of me. I just feel like whining and bitching, okay?

We are coming up on green chile season though. Soon we are going to make a trip to get our bushels of green chile stash. Might have to stock up on wine for the winter, too.

I haven't had much to say lately on this blog, or anywhere. Don't know why my tongue is tied, there isn't a hell of a lot going on that's exciting enough to report. Starting up training again has been slow and humbling. I'm out of things to say at the moment.

The hot weather is back, and Shannon and I have the tempo run tonight. It's supposed to be 95 degrees, so that will be interesting. Eventually the weather will cool off and I'll be able to see how fit I really am. Which is another moment of truth that I'm sort of dreading. I'm still planning to run the Rat Race 5K this Saturday to see if I can actually move faster than I did last weekend.

I need a nap, badly. Don't knock on my front door or you'll likely be greeted by this:

Maybe I'll crawl out of my cave later, but for now I'm going to sit here and pout.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Running Appreciation Week

In my mind, this week should have been called Running Appreciation Week.

I got the best of everything this week, and I finally started feeling better, sort of like I'm running, instead of slogging. It's been nice to run distances that normal people run, and not feel like I have to do anything long, yet. I'll build up over the next month or two, but for now I'm really enjoying running 10 miles or less most days.

I don't talk race strategy much on this blog, mostly because I don't race much. But this year I've been prepping for some faster running. I think at some point it hits you, when you're nearing 50, that the speed you were gifted with might not be around too much longer, so better get out there and do something with it while you still can.

Not that you can't run fast when you're older, but realistically, the PRs get harder to come by, and I see some opportunities to improve on some distances that I never put my efforts into. Now or never. Let's just say I'm getting a head start on age 50, which is only one year and 7 months away.

I ran a 10 mile tempo run with Shannon on Wednesday, did some short, easy runs with strides this week, never went over 9 miles on my easy days, and ran a 5K today, and tomorrow I will be running a total of 16.3 miles, or 26.2 K, as part of a challenge that Shannon started, to run that distance on the day of one of the Olympic marathons.

The distance coincides perfectly with the timing to do my first long run. The phrases "16 miles" and "long run" don't normally go together in my world, but this fall, they will.

In the tempo run we were lucky to not have blazing heat. I ran okay, 8:40s, which are decent for me for a start. I'd like to get those well under 8 minute pace this fall, but I'll get there.

The 5K was the Run for Hope, a fundraiser for Carcinoid Cancer awareness. I've run it in the past but not hard. This time I wanted to push myself and get an idea of where my fitness is, so I can see my progress throughout this fall as I attempt to get faster.

I ended up running a very well-paced 23:10, a time which is adequate for a start. First mile split 7:26, mile 2 was 15:04. Not bad. What was interesting was that I placed 10th overall among women. Probably because the Wild West Relay is going on this weekend and there weren't as many fast people around town. But I was 7th in my age group, which means 7 out of the 10 fastest women including me, were ages 40-49. And I was the oldest of all of them, most of them were 40 or 42, with one 45 year old.

The thing is, this year I have run 4 5Ks, all between 22:43 and 23:20. That time is getting old. I haven't trained specifically to get faster at any distance except 100 miles, so it's hard to judge 5K times against that type of training. So, next weekend I am going to run another local 5K and see if I can get just a little faster. The Rat Race, in Ault. It's across I-25 from Fort Collins. Exciting stuff.

I do have a plan to run several more 5Ks, maybe a 10K (ouch- my least favorite distance these days), and a half-marathon or two over the next few months.

Where I hope all this is going, is a big 48 hour PR at Across the Years in December. The endurance thing is not the issue, it's my speed. I don't have to be fast to run for 2 days, but if I work on my speed, I can sustain a faster pace more easily when I'm just running easy. And that should, in theory, make me less fatigued after hours of running.

So that means part of my strategy this fall will be doing faster paced runs, but shorter distances. Fewer long long runs, and a lot of 20ish mile runs at a good pace.

I plan to take the old body for a test drive in Oklahoma in October at the 12 hour race at 24 The Hard Way, to see how it's all coming together. That race will also serve as one of two long long training runs, and everything else will be of the shorter, faster variety.

The only thing that I wish had been different this weekend was something that fell short, but only due to my own lack of foresight and planning. My husband went up to Gunnison to his old coach's 75th birthday celebration, and then I found out that a lot of the athletes I worked with when I was an assistant coach there in the late 80s were there too.

I just didn't make the connection, for some reason my brain pictured it as Dennis and a bunch of his old college buddies getting together and didn't connect myself with it. Maybe that's a hormonal brain thing too. Now I do regret missing it. But I did get to talk to a few of them on the phone and am now connected again so it will be easier to see some of them in the future.

We were all so fortunate to have lived and run up in Gunnison and Crested Butte back then. The places we went to do our runs, up Gold Creek, the West Elk area, Kebler Pass, Tincup, Taylor Park, Gothic, Alpine Tunnel, the quarries, Hartman's Rocks, I can't even remember all the names of the places but they were all so beautiful. And we got to see them like that before a lot of the big development came to the area around Crested Butte.

Not the least of which is that if I hadn't been living in Crested Butte in 1986 when Dennis was in Gunnison, we never would have met, almost 26 years ago to the day (August 6, 1986) when I won my first 5K ever and also met Dennis for the first time.

Anyway I feel very fortunate to have had those experiences. It was awesome to see the pictures Dennis sent me of everyone, I am so thrilled that these women all look so fit and have stayed so healthy in their 40s! They really look fantastic and it's nice to see that despite the intensity of competitive running they did when they were younger, they all managed to incorporate fitness into their lives since college.

Some of them now have children who are entering college, which is a little mind-blowing. But it has been 25 years since those days when they were on the team and I was an assistant coach. Unbelievable.

Back to running appreciation week, I love it when I have these moments, even after running for 30 years, that I can look back and see where I've been, and all the amazing people I've known, and realize more than ever that running has been the best thing, ever.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Work Hangover Wednesday: The Sky is Falling!


I went out to do a couple of errands late this morning, and at the intersection of Horsetooth and College, traffic was jammed up in every direction. What the hell is going on, on a Wednesday summer morning in Fort Collins at 11 am?

I saw a huge line of cars backed up into the shopping center on the southwest corner of the intersection by Albertsons, and then it occurred to me, they are all going to Chick Fil A. I heard some vague reference to this on Facebook this morning but didn't really pay attention. So I whipped out my iPhone, since I was stuck in traffic that wasn't going anywhere, and shot a few pictures.

I got home and started reading about it. Wow. Does Mike Huckabee own stock in Chick Fil A?

Well, the President of Chick Fil A is entitled to his personal opinion and beliefs. As far as the company goes, as long as they adhere to antidiscrimination laws regarding employment and operating a business, the HMFIC is entitled to say whatever he wants.

He must be aware that whatever he says could influence his business. And I feel the same way about any other corporate leader who speaks out on their own opinion. And if Chick Fil A wants to support organizations that promote hate and bigotry, that's their choice. People do vote with their dollars.

When I saw the car with the "Obama is a Marxist" sign in the back window, that was what prompted me to whip out the camera. Go right ahead, be my guest, whatever blows your skirt up, dude, bare your hemorrhoids to the world, a little fried chicken will just make 'em bigger. This is Amurrica. Stuff yer face for freedom!

I saw a lot of American Flag decals and other red white and blue God Bless America stickers and ribbons in the parking lot and the line to the drive-thru. What irritates me is when the flagwavers come out around these little tiffs that center around religious beliefs. Just don't get your panties in a wad if a Muslim CEO wants to speak their mind in the same way.

I would like to see the reaction of many of these Chick Fil A-ers if that happened,"Chick Fil A-ism is under attack!"

Don't confuse your religion with your nationality, bucko. It's my flag too, as much as it is yours, and I'm not a Christian, or any religion, in fact. You can be as religious in any way as you want to be, but don't expect me or anybody else to march in lockstep with you.

Regardless of your religion, don't tell me your religious beliefs are legal grounds for discrimination.

I didn't eat Chick Fil A before, and I'm not about to start now. Just doesn't sound very appealing. As far as I'm concerned, it's just another fast food restaurant contributing to the Obesification of America. And I think we can solve the problems of this country in a lot more productive and healthy way than by eating fried chicken.

You might want to buy stock in Pfizer, the company that makes Preparation H. But, just like Chicken Little, the moral of the story is, don't believe everything you're told, check it out for yourself.

For now, it appears that the only outcome of this fiasco is that the status quo of freedom to promote homophobia and discriminate against gay people is alive and well in Amurrica, and it's mascot is a fried chicken sandwich.