training

training for running races sucks no matter what, but there is a marked difference between training for a regular half marathon and ragnar. each has their advantages and disadvantages!

  1. distance: a half marathon is 13 miles all at one go. a normal person finishes in about 2 hours or so, , with a slower than average person (me) finishing between 2.5-3 hrs. either way, training for a half is all about making sure you get your distance in. you can work on stamina, but really, your pace can be pretty static, hills can be pretty minimal, and you can go on auto pilot. for me, the distance was ok up until about 9 miles; body parts just started to hurt a lot at that point. i kept pushing through, though, and if you can run through the pain (and remember to take ibuprofin beforehand), just going can be ok. 

    the ragnar, on the other hand, is broken into three loops: 7, 4, and 3 miles. each of those distances is more than achievable on their own for me. but they are all within a short time period, so while your leg muscles are recovering from the 7 mile, you need to get going on the 4. i’ve been training for ragnar so far in loose clothing, and today i ran a 7 mile trail run in my loose shorts then the 4 mile in my compression pants. there was a pretty big difference between the two, so i think wearing compression pants the entire ragnar is going to make a huge difference for me as long as i keep training in loose clothes. 

  2. hills: generally i stay away from hills. hills suck. but ragnar trail is all hills, so i’ve been training out in the st. john’s woods on trails. that way i get a taste of running on uneven terrain as well as up and down hills. you’d think running down hills would be the easy part, but it takes a lot of leg work to make sure you don’t go all out on some of them. i’ve been running mostly trails for about three weeks now, and ragnar is in two. i hope my consistent trail and hill running will overcome my lack of stamina and speed. cuz interval training sucks!
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  3. the view: depending on where you run your half, it can be pretty boring. city running, amid buildings. i’ve run through parks in a half, but it’s pretty urban. the ragnar is all woods, which is pretty exciting. being out in the trees while you’re running is pretty perfect for me. unfortunately, i’m so intent on watching the ground so i don’t trip over a rock, root, or divot, that a lot times i miss out on the scenery. weirdly enough, while i’m out at st. john’s, i get pretty close to the freeway, so i’m out running in the trees and nature with the whine of I-94 as soundtrack. 
  4. your knees: concrete ruins my knees. we ran on on concrete for the firecracker four mile in la crosse, and my knees hurt for a week afterward. asphalt is decent enough to run on for my knees as long as i don’t go crazy fast (9-min mile) down hills. trails? bring it on. up hills, down hills, slow, fast: my knees are like LALALALLALA this is awesome! dirt is great for my knees.
  5. shoes: buy road shoes for road running. buy trail shoes for trail running. that’s all. 
  6. the best part: both training options leave a lot of opportunities to eat a lot of food. 

so today i ran 6.75 miles in the early afternoon and 5 miles around 7:30. tomorrow i’m going to try to do 3 miles at some point. my legs are already rubber.

melancholy august

august was cool this year. and wet. 

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my garden is 15 steps off my back patio, and i’ve been neglecting it this year. tomato plants sprawl across the dirt and weeds; green beans that are much to large to eat hang from the spindly plants still, rather than being picked weeks ago to go in the freezer. 

the four hills of gourds – two pie pumpkin and two squash – have taken over the space, their creeping vines crawling up the broccoli plants and hiding in the cucumbers. it’s been so wet that the vines are still producing blossoms and new gourds at the same time its leaves are dying, revealing the orange and yellow foodstuffs. 

at the beginning of august, a barely perceptible change in the light caused me to panic – summer was coming to a close. the leaves were still green, the grass still growing (and me still mowing), and the sun still shining, but we there was a change in the season. more canada geese started flying overhead, their calls heading southward. instead of lazily sifting through pliant, green leaves, the wind started rattling through stiffer, more brittle leaves. i have heard no loons lately. 

august moved much too quickly, and already we’re into early september. this morning i took my small cup of coffee in my favorite summertime mug out onto my patio with a book. the sun, which would have lit up my entire patio two months ago, was still working to light up a quarter of the patio.

when i opened my patio door, a small flock of birds flitted out of the tomatoes in my garden, rising to the sky. a monarch fluttered around the browning squash leaves. i took the few steps out to pick the ripe tomatoes, peppers, and some dill. i checked the cucumbers, which are still putting out blossoms while the leaves are browning, getting ready to be done for the season. i will have pickles for years.

and while the leaves are still green, the grass still green and growing, cucumbers still mass producing, the light doesn’t lie. the earth is slowly tilting its north end away from the sun, seasons changing, time progressing. autumn is coming: the colors, the leaves, the smells, the harvests. 

i love fall, but i don’t like the season that follows it, and i don’t like the change in daylight. winter seems twice as long as all other seasons, but springtime will come again; it always does. 

home reno!

almost a year ago, nate and i bought our house. one of the perks of buying a house built in 1997 is that you got a sweet corner desk for the family computer.

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and while it’s been working for the past year to hold some random stuff and the microwave, it was time to say goodbye to the desk. it jsut wasn’t functional for nate and me (or anyone this time and age, frankly). 

i went to menards and bought a couple wall cabinets, sanded them down, and painted them. also found a cabinet on facebook marketplace that was about 5 inches shorter than the wall width, which was ok since i wasn’t going to move my outlets. sanded that bad boy was well and painted it. i’m not sure i’m sold on cabinet paint, but it is what it is.

took out the corner cabinet, sanded down some of the wall, and painted it to match the rest of the kitchen.

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then charlie came up this weekend to help hang the cabinets.

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got everything squared away (literally), and it looks SO much better. much more functional, too. the only thing that i would like is a better way to deal with the outlets, but that requires either paying someone to move some electrical or learning electrical myself.*

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tomorrow i’m replacing the light fixture so it’s not so dark over there and just have to patch up a few paint nicks and figure out if i need some trim along the shelves. not entirely worried about it though.

next up is to paint the rest of my kitchen cabinets. and replace the floor. yuck!

*actually, i should take intro to electrical at work. and intro to plumbing. i get free credits!

just an update

oh hi there! i’ve been busy making pickles and haven’t had a chance to blog. (that’s not true. i think i’m just lazy.)

  1. garden is almost at the ready. lots of tomatoes but only a few have turned red so far, but my cukes have come in. like i said, i’ve made a couple batches so far and one is coming tomorrow. i got a new bell sauce maker from the craigslist killer for 1/3 the price, so i’m pretty stoked about that. no more blanching tomatoes and peeling them! hallelujah! that was such a time suck. it’s also good for applesauce, so if i actually get any apples off my trees this year, that’ll be great for apple butter.
  2. ragnar is slowly approaching. i like trail running now that i have appropriate shoes! they make SUCH a huge difference. even the hills are a little ok when i’m out there and have the right shoes. tomorrow night i think i’m going to shoot for 5 miles on the trail and see what happens. 
  3. movements to buy a cabin are underway! my sisters and i have opened a savings account and are ready to start dumping some money in it. maybe in a couple years we’ll have a down payment!
  4. and ARIZONA tickets and reservations have been made!!!! #soexcited. we fly out on the 14th at night (it was cheaper to get that flight and hotel than to fly out the 15th) and get back on the 22nd. it should be fun!

well, i’m not going to promise to blog better, readers, but i promise that while i’m in AZ, i’ll be blogging every day. ok, i’m out! i’m tired of the political atmosphere, but it’s possible a politiblog may crop up soon. sigh.

this stinks

i’ve had a sniffing/clearing of the throat problem for many years, which i attributed to allergies (being slightly allergic to cats is my guess). and then this past april i had this nasty cold, during which i lost my sense of smell. i can only guess that the cold, along with seasonal allergy season kicking in, kind of did my sinuses in, because i never 100% got back my sniffer. lilac season? i had to stick my nose way in those blossoms to get a whiff. everything i ate tasted not quite as good because it just didn’t have the smell to go with it.

so i went to the doctor at the beginning of july to see what was going on. she looked in my face holes and said everything looked good except my nose looked a little “boggy”. she prescribed me flonase and sent me off. 

i think i was a little enthusiastic on the flonase. you’re not supposed to sniff it way up there, like a normal person does when she has a runny nose. nope nope nope. and one night, i involuntarily sniffed the heck out of the flonase because it was like having a running nose. ugh! well, right after that, i decided to put on this lotion that i loved the smell of, and it smelled AWFUL. like wash off my hands because i couldn’t stand it awful. then all night, all i did was smell this awful lotion smell because it was imprinted on my steroid-laden brain or something. that was about 2-3 weeks ago. i stopped using flonase.

slowly it sort of went away, but this past week it came back with a vengeance. everything i eat that has some semblance of sugar or carb smells like the awful burnt varation of grapefruit brulee lotion i used to love. now i’m wondering if there’s something else going on. i’m going to give it another couple weeks to see if it clears up. in the meantime, i’m using a netipot to hopefully clear out my sinuses and breathing through my mouth a lot more.

the internet tells me i have a brain tumor, of course. 

getting ready

i guess i’m doing RAGNAR! ok! and NOT the van version! we’re doing the northwoods trail ragnar race in wisconsin, so we’ll camp in one spot and then run three loops each, a 7, 4, and 3 mile loop. it’s actually 15.2 miles total.

i got my trail running shoes, and this weekend i’m going to start getting out to the st john’s trails (if my stomach cooperates). i’m not entirely sure i’ll be good at this. i wonder if i can bring some trail stick things? i need to buy some anyway for my lake superior trail hike eventually.

ugh! check out that elevation change on the red loop! ack! 

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take it back

have you heard about randy bryce? (aka @ironstache) he’s a wisconsin ironworker taking on paul ryan in the 2018 midterms, and i think he’s onto something. 

his background and platforms hearken back to old-school democrat – think actual democratic-farmer-labor party. he’s a veteran, iron worker, and a unionmember, not a millionaire or someone with grand business interests. his kid goes to public school. his brother is a police officer and his sister a teacher. if there were any way to unify the democratic party and get back to its roots and really capture the base they’ve lost – the salt of the earth – i feel this is the perfect opportunity. 

another thing i think the party could do to ruffle feathers: take back the flag. the US flag has been co-opted by the republican party. if you wear a flag, wave a flag in your yard, or have a flag sticker on your vehicle, i automatically think “republican.” now, i am the first person to say that a flag does not define a country. (it’s the people who define a country.) one of the more profound things i’ve read was on fark (remember fark?): “if america’s so great, we shouldn’t even need a flag.” but if the democratic party started waving the flag at all the protests and other events, in their yards, on their bumpers, maybe, just maybe, those wavering people on the fence might say, hm, i guess democrats are patriotic after all. 

so, there’s my plan for an america that doesn’t include a nuclear-weapons-wielding egomaniac at its helm: go back to our roots and take back the flag.

get your iron!

let me tell you about iron supplements. 

now, i don’t know if it’s the iron itself or a placebo effect, but i started taking iron pills a couple weeks ago and my running time has gotten better and the time running has gotten better, too. i have a lot less fatigue while running; for the past few months my muscles have just been blah while running. 

so i did some research on fatigue while running, and the first thing that came up was iron deficiency. women runners are susceptible for a variety of reasons, including heel strikes while running! who knew. i tried out the iron supplements, and off i went. 

anyway, that’s a running update for you!

dc – day 4 and 5

welp i’m back on my couch. it’s 65ΒΊ outside, breezy, the sun’s heading down the horizon. birds are chirping, wind in the leaves, and i just heard a couple loons overhead. 

i <3 traveling, but it’s really something to come home. 

day four of the work trip to dc was a half day of conference, and then we took in some sights before heading home. we went back to a small cafe for lunch where i almost had a bloody mary and am now regretting not getting it. then headed to the library of congress on the metro. the library closes at 4:30, so we went there first.

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the architecture was great, and i wanted to buy every book in the gift shop. but i resisted and instead bought myself a hermione granger shirt that i’ve been wanting for some time now. 

after that, we headed out into the sweltering heat (i would bet the heat index was 100+) and took the metro to the monuments instead of walking the mile.

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walked past the US forest service! so far they haven’t been completely defunded and decommissioned. 

headed to the washington monument first, which was actually taller than i thought it was going to be.

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we sat in the shade for a while so i could let the sweat evaporate. i was actually starting to get worried about heat exhaustion. 

the reflecting pool was drained due to some parasites that were killing the duckling, but we headed down past the WWI or WWII fountain memorial, then to the lincoln memorial. i didn’t think it would be so powerful, but it was. reading the gettysburg address kind of choked me up.

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after that, we luckily just hopped into a cab back to our hotel. half the crew had lousiana seafood again, and another and i went to a pizza place. familiarity was kind of nice. we headed back to our hotel rooms and packed/chilled. around 9 a.m. i went down to the outdoor pool and stuck my feet in the water. should’ve put on the suit and jumped in. 

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you can see how swanky our hotel was by this long corridor of chandeliers. 

this morning was early – our flight left at 8:50, so we were at the airport by 8, and i somehow got TSA pre-check, so i sailed through security. that was ok – i stood in line at starbucks for the entire time the others were in the TSA line. 

plane ride was uneventful and we got in a little before 11 a.m. i was home by 1:30!

then i took a 2-hour nap, and it was a HARD nap. like i didn’t want to get up. i forced myself to, and tonight i will sleep well. 

i’m glad to be home though πŸ™‚

dc day 3 – a day late

today was a full day of conference, with at least one helpful session (it’s so difficult choosing a session). i did take the afternoon off sessions so i could get a run in. the fitness center here is HOOOOT and there were NO FANS on the treadmills. i slogged through 4 miles and was soaked by the time i got through, but i did it!

after the sessions and my hot run, we headed to king street/old town for some sightseeing and thai food. we got off the metro and headed down toward the potomac. king street has a lot of little shops that vary all over the spectrum with goods. there were bookstores, paper stores, furniture stores, kitchen stores, adult stores, cigar stores, etc. etc., and it was cobblestone and very east coast feeling. we stopped at a bar for a pitcher of beer, then headed to the thai place. mmm the curry was good! i’ll have to see if i can find a place in st. cloud (or make my own i guess). 

one thing i don’t necessarily like about the east coast is the humidity. oy! i was sweating just standing around, and it was mid 80s. i choose the wrong clothes to bring – should’ve brought nothing but polyester. the thai place had no AC, but i did sit right in front of the fan. 

after thai, we headed back up king street and stopped at a cupcake store, where i got a red velvet and a chocolate chocolate. if they’d’ve had the pb chocolate, i would’ve gotten that one. 

headed back to our hotel by way of sherry’s liquor and stayed up for a bit. fun day!