kablpomo

we are closing in on kablpomo. here’s my idea: day of the week corresponds to a theme, and right now i have two figured out.

foodie friday 

caturday

any other ideas from my readers?

so productive!

this weekend was SO PRODUCTIVE i could just puke rainbows and glitter*.

i took down the crappy 90s medicine cabinet in my bathroom, sanded up the weird spots, painted the walls “olive” (it’s more like light moss green), and put up new towel racks and a mirror that i spray-painted off white. now it’s like a new bathroom, and i don’t hate the maple cabinetry in there. i might leave it. 

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pulled out my fall decor and finally set it out. i think the leaves outside finally prompted me to get moving on that; it’s been pretty green here lately until just a couple days ago. sure, the maples turned two weeks ago or so, but everything else held onto their chlorophyll pretty good. then suddenly, it was like every deciduous tree decided to just turn a little yellow overnight, and suddenly it’s fall. and suddenly, i’m ok with it being fall. i’m not looking forward to 92 months of winter, but i will enjoy the 2-3 weeks of fall we get before heading down that route. 

the weather was great this weekend. both days were upper 60s and sunny, so yesterday i spent some quality time in the hammock while my paint was drying, then today i picked a lot of stuff out of my garden and then went for a fantastic run this evening. i’ve got a ton of pie pumpkins to cook up and some squash, a few tomatoes, and a ton of basil to do something with. in other news, we’re expecting a frost tonight, so it was time to clear out everything that isn’t winter hardy (the brussels sprouts will be ready soon! they’re always better after a couple frosts). 

in other news, i need to mow my lawn.

i went to pier 1 this afternoon and FINALLY bought a new set of plates. i’ve been waffling over new plateware for three years. i found a great-looking set on amazon for cheapo, but it came with those dumb flat soup bowls (who uses those?) and got horrible reviews (apparently they are prone to chipping). so i headed over to pier 1 and found a set on clearance. picked up all the dinner plates, salad plates, and two bowls. i’m going to check online to see if i can find at least two more bowls. 

now it’s time for some t-bone steak and mashed cauliflower (that’s nate’s choice). 

the only thing that would have made this weekend super duper awesome is if the sun were out another hour and a half and i could go spend some time on the SUP at st. john’s. it might be time to deflate it.  D;

*herpes of the craft world

OMG kablpomo is fast approaching. ideas welcome!

how to go to a ragnar!

“run the ragnar,” liz said. “it’ll be fun,” liz said. 

well, she was right. it was fun, despite my complaining and the ankle issue and the heat. 

the 9-mile forest is four hours from my house, so i left after work on thursday to head over into the cheese state of wisconsin. i chose to go the slightly longer route because of rush hour, and in doing so, wondered if everyone in the state of wisconsin drives 50 in a 55. 

i got to the campground just as dusk was settling in, and the line of cars to get in was not too long (not as long as when liz had come earlier that day). 

the logistics of driving in and out was a little odd, but i made it to my drop off point, where i dropped all my gear and liz and lindsay picked it up. then i drove a windy road two miles east and parked in a giant field. (and somehow got away with not paying for parking!)

there was a shuttle back to the campground, then i hopped out. 

  1. portapotties everywhere. there were lines of them in various places all over the event, and they got cleaned out regularly. they ran out of TP more than once, so a couple times i went i had to BYOTP. but generally, i was impressed with the toilet situation
  2. the runners’ village was packed and hot. this is where the runners’ station was, where the teams relayed in and out, and there was a coffee/hot chocolate station as well. you could buy beer, pizza, sandwiches, gear, and visit the medic tent (which i did). 
  3. the tenting was like none i’d seen before! each team had a 20’x20′ space to put all their tents and gear. liz scored a spot that was a little farther out from the noise, so it was a little bit of hike, but well worth it. the tenting situation was a good way to figure out what sort of tent a person should buy, that’s for sure! and to see the different setups was really cool. one team brought a rug, others brought comfy chairs, some brought hammocks, one team had one of those projection lights that threw fairy lights into the trees. 
  4. the tattoos were awesome. i loved seeing all the leg tattoos. 
  5. shirts were also awesome (including my “running sucks” and “but did you die though” shirts). i liked this one:
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  6. the trees, the trees. i just like hanging out in the trees. 
  7. the energy. there’s something about hanging out with 2000 people who are there for the same reason you are. we are all commiserating with each other over the heat and the lack of TP, then telling each other to make sure to try the pizza and to carb up. 

and then like that – – it’s done. you’ve beaten dehydration and lived through a mild injury, and it’s time to go home.

the leaving process was much more frantic and weird than coming in. maybe it’s because we’re all tired and ready to be done. but we hauled all our stuff down to the drop off site, then a few of our people started walking toward the parking lot instead of waiting in the 100 people+ line for the shuttle. they got picked up by some people heading that way and drove back to pack it all up and head home. 

and then it was a four-hour drive home after getting 10 hours of sleep in the last 48 hours and sitting in my own stinky sweat for just as long. but there’s a sense of satisfaction for having done what others call crazy: for training for the run and then getting another race under my belt. 

and so i washed off the sweat as soon as i got home, standing under my hot shower for as long as i could stand. then lying down on my bed was the highlight of my month. and now i’m sitting here a week later, waiting for my ankle to move past the pain point so i can get out on the trail again while the temperatures hold and the light maintains. 

until next year.

how (not) to run a ragnar*

i trained diligently for the ragnar northwood trail run i ran last weekend.

i bought trail shoes after hours of research. i ran on the trails at st. john’s for a month and a half before the race, dodging rocks, fallen logs, and rivets, and running up hills that i didn’t want to run up.

the two weekends before the run, i tried a couple variations of the distances so i’d know which order to run in. the first try, i did the seven mile-loop first, and the following loops were horrible because my legs were no good. the second, i kept my 7-mile for last and it was good.

i ran at night on the trails, my headlamp bobbing along. nighttime 4-mile was my jam: i regularly ran a 12:30-minute or less mile. 

i thought i was ready.

i thought wrong. 

before the storm. it looks so peaceful.

before the storm. it looks so peaceful.

the first indication that this was going to be rough was the 10-day forecast: 80s and humid with a heat index in the mid 90s. sure, we’d be in the forest, but that doesn’t make the humidity go away. 

second was my first loop, the 4-mile. it should’ve been fantastic. instead, it was so hot that i got mildly dehydrated even though i was drinking water nonstop. second, my stomach was upset because of my water sloshing around. and third: no running on the st. john’s trails could have prepared me for the trails that were in the 9-mile forest. 

the st. john’s trails are old logging roads scattered with rocks, gravel, tree branches, the occasional rain rut, and regular inclines and declines. 

the 9-mile forest trails are bike trails full of rocks, tree roots everywhere you look, and switchbacks instead of a steady upward climb. and bike trails? there’s no way your foot is landing solidly. a bike trail is carved into the ground like a U.

when i ran at st. john’s, i’d have to pay attention most of the time, but i could take a break now and then to take in the scenery. at 9-mile, there is NO taking your eyes off the road. ever. it is 100% vigilance. 

so my 4-mile sucked. (actually, it was closer to 5 miles.) i fell once during the run, scraping up my hand a little bit and possibly ruining liz’s water bottle. i was so disappointed in it.

but i was slightly vindicated with my 3-mile run, which i headed out on around 9 p.m. it was cooler, the sun was down, and i ran in a group with two other women: an ultramarathoner and an iron man finisher. for their history in running, they were running a pretty slow pace; it was a little bit slower than i would have run if i’d been alone. but slow was good at this point. i didn’t fall once – only a couple wobbly moments, and i finished the 3 mile in 50 minutes. a normal 3-mile for me is about 36 minutes, but we stopped to let runners go past, and i helped the ultra get some kleenex out of her pack to clean up her hand. so my pace was probably 13.5-minute mile when i think about it. 

then i went back to the tent and tried my darnedest to get some sleep because the 7 mile (really 8) started in the wee hours of the morning and i needed to carb/caffeine up before heading out on that one.

liz rolled in from her 4-mile a little after 6 a.m., when the sun was just starting to grey up the sky. i clipped on the bib belt, turned on my headlamp and knuckle lights, and headed out.

the first quarter mile of all loops is the same: they ease you into it with a wide, easy grass path. SO IT WOULD SEEM. not even close to the red trail veer off, my ankle, which had been a little wobbly to begin with on this run, gave out, and i rolled it massively on the right side. down i went. 

got up, tested it out. i thought about turning around right there and finding someone else to finish my loop, but i felt like that was a giant cop out. so i started running. and it was reasonably ok. 

until i got to the technical part.

here’s the thing about running on a newly rolled ankle: it wants to keep rolling. and rolling. and rolling. every time i tried to run on the technical part of the trails, which was rocks, rocks, rocks everywhere, my right ankle would turn out and cause more pain. i was so irritated with my stupid, weak ankles (still am, actually). 

finally, i gave up and decided to walk during the technical part of the trails, and when it evened out to flat areas, i would run. ok.

meanwhile, the sun came up and lightened up the landscape. the leaves looked great among tall pine trees. the temperature was probably the best of the entire time we were there. i had trained weeks for this. and i had a bum ankle. 

i stopped for everyone who needed to get past me so they could get past. at the water station, i stopped to fill my water bottle and eat a gel pack. i asked the volunteer what would happen if i needed a ride. then i took a couple more drinks and filled my bottle again. procrastinated, pretty much. then headed out. 

the last mile or so of the red trail was pretty even, flat, and wide, which was such a relief. i walked up all the hills, but ran as best i could on the rest of the trail. as i pulled in to the last quarter mile, it was such a great feeling to know the end was near. i’m REALLY glad i finished it, even though it ruined my ankle. 

quinn was cheering for me as i pulled in to the runners’ station, and i handed off the bib belt, ready to head back to camp to pass out. quinn took off like a bullet (really, she was the fastest of the team. good thing, too!)

i checked the time as i left the runners’ station – 8:20. i had finished nearly 8 miles, walking technical parts, running on a bum ankle, stopping for every tom, dick, and harry who had to pass me, and taking a prolonged water break, in 2 hours and 10 minutes. that’s about a 16:30-minute pace. i can’t walk that pace. i ran that almost-8 mile at a faster pace than my 4 mile.

i knew that if i had gone slower, my teammates would have had to run in hot weather, and i think that pressure made me book it as best i could. this is why i don’t play team sports.

i got back to camp and unwrapped my ankle. (i had taken precautions, even! i had taped up my foot along my heel, then tape around my ankle, then an ace bandage over that. and STILL.) the ankle looked like a golf ball and progressively got worse through the day. i had a giant goose-egg on my shin, which i don’t remember getting. it must’ve happened one of the times i rolled my ankle and the pain in the foot was too much to register the shin pain. elevation and ice were the name of the rest of the day. 

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this is actually not that bad. the next day i looked like i had elephant foot.

today, the swelling’s gone down, and i have bruises all over my legs and feet. the past couple days, my other leg’s muscles were killing me due to overcompensating for the bum leg.

but i’m getting antsy to get out running again. the weather is perfect for running, and the light is leaving us quickly; time is getting short for outdoor runs. and now that i know what a trail could be like, i am not complaining one iota about the st. john’s trails. i have the shoes. i have the ambition. i just need to get that ankle moving again. 

*next post i will talk about what the ragnar event is like.

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!
    trees
  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. 

tomatoes-879441_1920

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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