Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Speaking Of Carrots...

Sadly I did not save a piece of the purple carrot for myself to try. I know! I didn't even think about it until after Mario had rubbed his furry butt all over the thing. So we can only assume it tastes just like an orange one. I asked Mario about it and he wasn't talking.

Perhaps Mario is not chatting about carrots because he is a little miffed about a new development over here. Turns out he has to share his carrot stash with what I consider to be a giant bunny. And when I say "giant" I mean "GIANT!"

Introducing my new friend, Wings!

I believe I have mentioned it before, but I used to ride horses when I was younger. I took riding lessons from the age of 10-21. When I was a kid I lived for horses. My entire room was filled with horse posters, books, models, etc. Towards the end of undergrad and certainly in the years after I had less time and $ for horses and the whole things sort of teetered off.

Then when I got really serious about running I was afraid to return to the sport for fear of falling off and not being able to run. And if I am being truthful, this is really still a big concern for me. But I've gotten to the point where I realize this running thing is not a phase and if I keep that frame of thought I might never spend time with horses again.

I used to jump when I was younger. I thought about it and probably 80% of the times I have fallen off a horse were associated with jumping. So I'm sticking to flatwork now. Also, in 10+ years of riding I think I hurt myself once in such a way that I wouldn't have been able to run (thought I broke a toe once). Those are pretty good odds, I think.

I looked into taking lessons again but they are uber expensive. I have never been into horse showing so don't really care what I look like when I ride a horse. I really just wanted to do some pleasure riding. So I looked into leasing a horse. I pay a flat rate every month and get to ride Wings 2-3x/week. When I was younger I begged my parents for a horse of my own. This is the closest I've gotten to having my own horse (and honestly in a financial sense it is much better than having my own horse) and has been lots of fun.

I started this lease during my taper for Santa Rosa. From then until about the end of October I have not and will not be doing serious during-the-week mileage. I am not sure how riding will fit into the schedule once my training ramps up again in the late fall/winter. For example, one of the days I ride is also my long run day. The longest I've run before riding so far is 10-12 miles. I am not sure if I will be able to go riding after a 20 mile long run. So it is unclear whether this is going to be something I can enjoyably balance in my life, but we'll see.

But Mario lovers, do not fret. Mario gets two baby carrots a day and I typically take four out for Wings. So really, pound for pound Mario is still the Carrot King.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Monday Mario

A month or so ago, someone gave Boyfriend a purple carrot. Yeah, I didn't know such a thing existed, either.

Of course, I got really excited thinking about the strange and exotic Culinary Makeup this purple carrot would paint on Mario.

We gave Mario the purple carrot which he promptly treated as if it was of the mundane orange variety.

He even took a short break and tried to incubate the thing.

And at the end of all that. This is all that was left of the purple carrot:

I know. I was highly disappointed, too.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday Mario

I have not dropped off the face of the earth, though it may seem that way. My blog reader is bursting at the seams and I owe all of you two race reports (soon to be three), a big announcement (which has now come and gone), and an exciting bit of news (which has by now become mundane). But I will get to all of that in the next two weeks, hopefully.

I refuse to owe you one grumpy bunny so am getting "Monday Mario" up as scheduled.

Mario and his various cardboard accoutrements

Sadly, that long tube is too long to leave down on the ground all the time (it basically goes up to the ceiling) and Mario is too fat to be able to run through that smaller one. And even with all that tasty cardboard lying around, his favorite chew items are still the dining room chairs (the extra one making a cameo appearance in the background there).

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday Mario

The other day I was sitting at the computer and heard a "tap, tap, tap" sound. It was Mario chewing on a piece of hay (as the hay goes up and down in his mouth, the other end taps on whatever is around). I turned to look at him and witnessed this awesome display of slothery:

You can't hear the taps since the microphone in my camera is not the greatest since it is a waterproof camera. But the laziness translates just fine.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Monday Mario

Please no, "I'm going to throw your bunny in a pot" jokes.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Post Race Thoughts

The Golden Gate Bridge on the drive back to San Francisco from Santa Rosa last Sunday. Oh, Fog. Where were you when I needed you up north?

The Race
  • Overall, I think Santa Rosa put on a very good event. I don't think they can support a much larger group, though, as the pathway is not that wide and there are a few areas with out-and-back action. As long as they don't plan to add thousands of runners more I would recommend the event. It has small race charm and I hope it stays that way.
  • I personally liked the double loop aspect of the course. I knew what was coming up and could gear myself mentally up for it. I think if I hadn't been out to PR it would have been a little boring, though, to do the second loop. It is no Big Sur, but there are nice things to look at like horses, geese, vineyards, etc.
  • The pathways are open to the public. The first loop I didn't notice many people out, but the second time around there were lots of bikers, neighborhood walkers, and dogs. Potentially an issue if they beef up participant numbers.
  • Decent swag. Two thumbs up for gender-specific shirts. They also ran slightly small so the small fits me great. Sadly, there was some strange thing going on with the seaming by the shoulders. They poke upwards like strange, slanty shoulder pads. I noticed this happening on a lot of people who ran the race in the shirt. So I'll probably never wear the shirt.
Hard to appreciate in the photo, but there is an upwards slant to the shoulder and the shirt never sits down nicely.
  • I've talked in detail about my disdain for the trail footing. I am not sure if they are planning to pave the entire pathway or not. Some people may like the trail area, though, to give your joints a break from asphalt.

My Performance
  • I am so happy with the way I ran. A part of me always felt that I ran a PR at CIM because I stayed with a pace group and it was 28 degrees out. To get a new PR by myself on a warm day is a really big deal to me.
  • In retrospect, I felt really good during Santa Rosa. During CIM I felt like I was pushing and didn't have much extraneous energy for talking or sight seeing. During Santa Rosa I had extra oxygen to cheer other people on and even looked around at the scenery a bit. I didn't really ever enter that zone where it is all you can do to just keep the pace and run. This makes me feel like I am capable of going a little faster.
  • I set a PR during the Year of the Marathon. A PR was on my wish list this year even with the high number of marathons I've been doing. It came a little early, but I'll take it! I guess I've answered the question for myself about whether or not multiple marathon running makes you stronger.

The Future
  • My original goal for Texas in January was a sub-4:10 marathon. I think that goal will likely not change with the Santa Rosa performance. Gone are the days I can run 30 or 15 minute PR's. I'll be whittling away a couple of minutes at a time from here on out, I think.
  • Right now, my stretch-goal, the I'll-die-a-happy-runner-if-goal, is to run a sub-4:00 marathon. I don't really consider this a realistic goal for me but it is something to strive for. A year and a half ago this goal was actually to run a 9:59 pace marathon, so I guess you never know what can happen. I once felt like running a 9:59 pace marathon would be really tough for me. To see that I've broken into the 9:30's amazes me.
  • I am pumped to train hard for Texas. Texas is a four loop course which I think will be awesome for a PR attempt as far as being prepared for what is coming up.

Other Asides
  • The night of Santa Rosa I actually got a little sad for a bit. How many PR's do I have left in me? I might possibly never PR again. I've had 5 marathon PR's (Disney 2005--first so default, NYC 2005, Napa 2008, CIM 2009, Santa Rosa 2010). I can't keep PR'ing forever. There is a finite number left. Optimistically I might have 4 or 5 more, maybe? That made me really sad. Am I the only person who thinks about it in these terms?
  • While running marathons I think about what I might accomplish and get really emotional. A few times I imagined finishing with a PR or thought about how strong I was running and got sort of choked up. But I have never actually cried at a finish line. I cross the line and feel sort of like, "That was neat. Now where's the water?"
  • I have atrocious running form. My arms stick out like chicken wings and my torso twists all over the place. I really have to fix that.
Thank you, everyone for all of the nice words!

I'm headed down south to run the Disneyland Half Marathon on Sunday. As I promised myself last week I plan to stop and take photos with all of the characters and walk whenever the fancy hits me. I was planning to run a 3 miler at some point this week, but ended up taking the whole week off. I figured I still have lots of running left to do this year and one week off can only help.

I also have a really exciting announcement next week!