Sunday, May 31, 2009

Real Time

After a week off of work, which sounds awesome, and on one hand was ('cause you know, I didn't have to go to work), but really was kind of stressful and depressing for a variety of reasons. MM and I wasted a few days fighting over my general laziness and bad attitude about various crap; we spent one entire day driving out to a far suburb to attend a wake (I did not know this person); and sadly, we ended up at an animal hospital late at night where a family member-to-be put down their very sick cat. It was just... life... stuff. Not the most funnest vacation ever. And you know what life and stuff and general bad attitude-ness leads to... poor eating habits.

But it is a new week. New attitude. Clean slate. Let's make dinner! But, let's make it quickly.

Lately, I have been searching through the Cooking Light Superfast recipes because--from my research--these meals live up to the promise. I don't even think this took me 20 minutes to make, and if you have a decently stocked pantry, you'll probably only need to buy the chicken. And, take it from someone who doesn't like chicken (me) and someone who considers himself a connoisseur of... well... food (MM), this recipe is AH-mazing. Simple, easy, quick, and awesome. It's a keeper.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Things You Must Do

Holy hell. Are you into this? This hot mess (literally) known fondly as endurance running?

It's only been a week and yet, I do not remember how we got here. MM said something to me about an interview on NPR or something about running, some book, Mexican ultramarathons, something...

That's sounds nice dear.

I'm kidding, I don't actually talk to him like that.

Then like a day later, we're walking around the Square and pop into a book store, and there it is, this book, "Born to Run."

So we bought it. More specifically, I (the one who reads for pleasure) bought it. I've never actually seen MM read anything that isn't for school, a newsy-style magazine, or related to his job function in some way. But he immediately took it and finished it in about two and a half hours.

It took me a little longer. Mostly because I slept and ate every so often. But holy hell, you have to read this book. This book... well gosh... it's written by one of those totally dude journalist-types in a magazine feature article style. There's story line, with some facts and science woven in, and some slang peppering the narrative just for good measure. It jumps between a tribe in Mexico known for their endurance running ability to scholars and academics and American ultrarunners and WOW.

It boils down to this... all of those people who say marathoning takes too much of a toll on the human body and we humans aren't really supposed to be beating up our bodies through race courses 26.2 miles long (or 32 miles, 50 miles, 100 miles) are wrong. Dead wrong. We are not only built to do this--and not just "run" but long distance running--but it's against our very nature NOT to run.


And you know all how all of us runners are always getting hurt all the time? Doesn't make sense if we're *supposed* to do this, right? Wrong. Do you know that since all these fancy shoes with cushioning and support and crap came along, injury rates among runners have actually risen?

No shit.

Now, I'm sure there is another side to this argument, possibly something about the increase in sheer number of runners out there? Who knows, but this book presents some pretty interesting ideas about distance running and does not lack in the inspirational nuggets department. And if there's something we runners love as much if not more than running, it's a good one liner about running.

Go on. Get it. Buy it at the bookstore or on Amazon or get it from the library... whatever it is that you hippie runners do these days to obtain reading materials.

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Slice of Americana

Oh look, here we are at the start of another race, the… which one is it? The Indy Mini Marathon, 13.1 miles of pavement, including the race’s claim to fame--a 2 mile stretch around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Here’s what I love. I love running a spring half marathon. I love traveling to a different city (even if it is Indianapolis) to race. I love lounging around a hotel room catching up with my running buddies. And (AND!) I love that my sister and her boyfriend Lars made the trip. Overall, it was a super fantastic time with friends, and I will do it again, just maybe not in Indy…

Here’s why:

Now you know me. I’m all about inclusiveness. I want people who have an interest in endurance sports or distance running, etc.--regardless of their level of fitness--to be accepted and, perhaps if I’m feeling particularly touchy feely that day, embraced. After all, slower runners have been known get a lot of shit from the hot shots who run sub 6-minute miles, and I’d like to think that I understand the plight of those who need a little more time to get through a race course.

Oh yes… best I can tell, from where I’m sitting, there’s a lot of love. But here’s what I did not love, much less tolerate, about the Mini. This race was “walker friendly.” Now I’m not “walker unfriendly” per say, but I have never participated in a distance race that targeted walkers. I’m pro this in theory. In practice… not so much.

I’m not exactly sure what was supposed to happen, but the runners (and the walkers?) were corralled based on expected finish time. The slower your predicted time, the further back you were in the start corral. Runners, at least the ones who have done a race or two, are pretty used to this, and I for one, have realized that it sucks big time to be corralled with a faster group only to be passed by a million and a half people as soon as you cross the start line. The walkers apparently, just lined up wherever they felt like it. And then I spent the entire race passing walkers.

I know, I know. I’m such a complainer, “Wahhhhhh… Lou had to pass a walker every now again…” Oh no. Passing a lone walker here and there would have one thing. But these were actual moving walls made entirely of people… who were walking. They often blocked up to 70 percent (rough estimate) of the path, making it annoying, not to mention dangerous, to navigate the course. I actually saw one runner bite the dust trying to break on through to the other side.

Despite the walkers, I had a pretty decent race miles 1-10. Miles 11-13… less so. At mile 12 point something, I even STOPPED TO WALK. I know, tragic. I made it through 12 point something miles of a race only to stop and walk less than a mile from the finish. My legs just could not take it anymore. I was hurting. Now, I blame this on two things. First, the walkers. How can I possibly blame everything on the walker? Well, because I was constantly moving around the walkers, the lateral movement took a toll on my hips and quads (I think?). Second, I blame my shoes. I recently was refitted with new running shoes, New Balances, and after a few long runs (like two), the shoe seemed to lose all its support. With each step, I could feel shock wave start in the bottom of my foot and make its way up to my hips.

It’s a theory.

I should get new shoes.

Oh and my time was 2:37:15, which isn't my best, but it's solid.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Over Dressed

I've received some requests lately, and by "some" I mean exactly two. One was for an Indy race report and the other was for some "non-running" related blogging. Ah the love. I feel it.

Let's see. I'm going to give a quick wedding update because I actually did start and almost finish an Indy race report, but it's unfortunately saved on a different computer, so I'm not going to start from scratch. I'll have to post it later this week.

Meanwhile at Wedding Planning Central... For the last three months I have been struggling to come to terms with the dress I bought at the Filene's Basement sale. It's not that it isn't a great dress. It is. It's very flattering on me, and it's beautiful, etc. But it's just... not me.

Actually it's a lot of things. If you know me, and some/most/all(?) of you do, you know that on most days I don't bother with modern necessities like makeup or hairspray or curling irons. I'll be honest... it's part ego/part lazy. Frankly I don't think I need it (not that it doesn't make me look "better," I just don't think I look bad to begin with), and my motto Monday through Friday is something along the lines of "I just don't have it in me." I lack the desire to get out of bed much less the patience to take any longer than is necessary to get out the door. I have theories about this... but those will be saved for another day. Soon my people.

But I digress...

What was I talking about?

Oh right. The wedding dress. So anyway, poor simple makeup-less Lou bought a huge freaking dress that after awhile began to feel cumbersome, perhaps even daunting. And the more the ceremony began to take shape -- outdoors, on the grounds of a bed and breakfast in Michigan -- the dress seemed downright silly. I mean, why drag an 8 foot train through the grass?

I tried and tried to talk myself into the dress. But I broke. And when my sister came to visit I dragged her to David's Bridal to find an affordable and simple gown.

Mission accomplished:

So there you have it. The only thing I haven't changed my mind about is the groom.