30 September 2008

Runners, Yeah We're Different

I was running with this guy, and we were talking about Crista's swelling fingers (more salt, baby!) and he said, "Well, make sure you're peeing enough. Have you peed yet?" No, I told him, but I would at the next aid station (mile 25). "Make sure you do," he told me. Then he said,

"You know, it's weird, but normally, you don't talk to people of the opposite sex about these sort of things."

I know exactly what he means! I was telling runners, "Yeah, my stomach has been totally wrecked, and I keep running behind a tree," and they would reply, "Oh, that sucks. Have you tried Ginger Ale?" So, all you non-runners reading this blog, runners are different. Poop and pee and whatever else, it's all part of the long run, especially for ultra-runners.

Runners. Yeah, we're different.

29 September 2008

full report: VT50 miler!

VT 50 mile overall result: 11 hours 06 minutes 33 seconds!

i was super excited for this race--my friend mason told me it was an amazing race, and reading postings on sherpa john's blog really excited me. so i decided to do it, and my fabulous friend crista decided to do it with me. yay!

i got up at ten of five, ate a bagel with pb&j, and got ready in our hotel room that was literally, right next door to the race start. we headed out the door in time for the 5:45a.m. race meeting. we all focused on success in the port-a-potties (which we all had, yay!), stretching, and getting nervous. i finally met sherpa john, and wished our good lucks to each other.

the race started at 6:45, and we started slowly and easily. crista and i started the race chatting, asking each for advice and admiring the beauty of the course. the first few miles were relatively easy, and we walked or ran slowly the hills and inclines.

we skipped the first aid station, filled up on water and ate very little at the second. at the third aid station, we saw our good friend shawn, who was there with cookies, cheer, and our drop bags. i replaced two gels that i had already eaten, and shawn told us how strong and great we looked.

we left shawn and proceeded down the road. crista was not feeling so great -- her fingers were swelling a TON and her wrist started swelling and she felt dizzy. i was asking fellow runners, and we thought it had to do with salt. i asked at the next aid station -- they had no clue. i encouraged her to eat more salt, and she tried to ignore the discomfort.

i was slightly ahead of crista at the aid station around mile 25. i ate some cake (coffee cake, yum!) and other random foods, and was taking my endurolytes every hour, at a minimum. i also peed, which was good, showing that i was drinking enough. i lost crista behind me a little.

there were a LOT of downhills between 25 and 30.2 i really hammered those hills, running fast, feeling strong. the other runners were super encouraging: "wow, you got it! you are looking strong!" i felt great.

at 30.2, i saw shawn again. i pulled some gels and gummy bears and pretzels from my drop bag, replenishing what i ate. shawn gave me some m&ms, and i ate a big handful. and i was off. shawn said i looked strong, and i felt great.

several miles later, my stomach felt a wreck. "maybe too many m&ms?" i wondered. i persevered...until i had to stop to go to the bathroom behind a bush. and again. and again. and again.

runners i had passed a while back passed me, and i struggled to keep up with them. a friendly runner saw me coming from behind a tree, and i asked her if she had anything. she sympathized, and checked but didn't have anything. i made it to the next aid station, where the volunteers didn't have anything. (note to self: always carry immodium on long runs!!!) but drank ginger ale. i never drank ginger ale in my life, but slowly sipped a can while running slowly with this other woman. "my stomach is a wreck, i can't eat anything. i'm only drinking coke!" she was awesome. i let her go ahead as i had to head behind a tree again. ugh.

i mostly ran, though found myself reduced to walking on some uphills i normally would have been able to run on without any problems. at the next aid station, i drank more ginger-ale, and took a bunch of peppermints, which slightly helped. my stomach issues continued, and i was so upset at how i felt, but knew there was nothing i could do. duck behind a tree, go, and head back out and persevere.

i saw shawn again at mile 40. despite earlier threats, crista did not drop out, and he said she wasn't so far behind me at mile 30. i was relieved, and drank more ginger ale and grabbed another large fistful of peppermints. i ran on to the next aid station -- that's how i ran this race, thinking in terms of the next aid station (especially the next ginger ale). it felt like forever. lots of ups and downs and switchbacks, and i ran alone much of the time. my stomach sent me off the trail once more, but i felt very weak. i tried to eat some pretzels and continued to take endurolytes, but felt like hell.

when i finally arrived at the final aid station, i was so drained. i drank more ginger ale and ate two large fistfuls of animal crackers, which were great. i'm going to run with them at all the ultras i do!

it began raining as i started my final section, and certain parts were incredibly muddy and so slippery. since the path was at the edge of a drop-off, i worried i'd fall off, and ran when i could, but ended up walking, as most others were doing.

seeing the 1 mile sign got me extremely emotional, and i had tears in my eyes. i tried to run as hard as i could, but felt delusional and weak. i finished strong, running down the hill, with my arms in the air. i was SO happy!

the course was absolutely beautiful. i wish i had ran with a camera. the trees were absolutely beautiful, changing. because it was a misty day, the view was gorgeous and peaks were covered with this lovely mist at the top. the weather was mid 50s-high 60s -- perfect, although it was a tad humid at times (and overwhelming almost).

i'm sore today, but okay. i think i would be worse if i had run hard during those tummy trouble miles. i also think i probably could have run 30 minutes faster if i didn't have those problems, but either way, i'm really pleased with my time of 11 hours.

the verdict? i'm an addict. i definitely want to do this race again next year. it was extremely well-organized, i had SO much fun, the bikers were super nice and added an interesting element, and i really like running for LONG periods of time.

next up: i want to find a good 100k, run some more 50 miler races. and i think a 100 miler may be in my future. i'm not sure which one, but sometime in the next year or two, i'll be looking towards a 100 miler!

*note: pictures to come! once shawn sends me photos, i'll post them*

i did it!

i finished the vermont 50 miler!!!!!

26 September 2008

what i did at burning man...amongst other things

i can't embed this video anymore b/c apparently it plays automatically. so if you want to see my 5 minutes of burning man fame, check this out.

25 September 2008

why i love my friends: because they say things on my voicemail like this:

"i don't know if the teased hair and the horns would work."

something that just popped into my head...

life would be easier if i didn't ask any questions. if i just glided along, accepting what i'm supposed to accept (job, relationship, marriage, children, retirement, house in the suburbs, american dream), it would be so much smoother and easier. would i be happy? no. maybe content. i would be okay. just okay. should i have done that?

asking questions is my style. complicating things is my style. it's more interesting. it helps me grow, live, explore, reach out, and be.

24 September 2008

next steps

stop trying to figure stuff out. sometimes, when you hit a downhill, you just have to go with it. slide into that downhill. move those legs faster.

you can cry. it's okay. you can shout, you can dance. you eat a hot fudge sundae. dance in your living room like a maniac. kiss your best friend and say, "that was nice." sleep with a stuffed animal. do whatever it is you aren't supposed to do. don't question. just go with it.

i'm going to buy a plane ticket. talk to boss first, make sure time off is okay. then buy a plane ticket. someplace warm with a beach, surfing, jungles, hiking, and fun. probably ecuador. or maybe panama. no, argentina. or chile.

just go with it. do what feels right. stop questioning. stop stressing. stop these "you didn't take the garbage out" stresses.

lift your hands to the sky. wear all white, or nothing at all. enjoy each and every moment.

send a chocolate bar to someone you love in the mail -- a really good, fair-trade organic bar. tell your mother you love her. take your grandmother some home-baked cookies. masturbate with the lights on. tell someone on the subway they look beautiful.

smile. live. be.

follow my own advice.

Gloria Steinem Quote

"If men could menstruate ... clearly, menstruation would become an enviable, boast-worthy, masculine event: Men would brag about how long and how much.... Sanitary supplies would be federally funded and free. Of course, some men would still pay for the prestige of such commercial brands as Paul Newman Tampons, Muhammed Ali’s Rope-a-Dope Pads, John Wayne Maxi Pads, and Joe Namath Jock Shields—”For Those Light Bachelor Days.”"

superchunk "throwing things"

I'm blowing up the street like a leaf
I skin my back a few times you'll see
Head over heels, my hands on my heart
I'm making a promise, and that's a start

You're leaving a trail for me
I see you up in the tallest tree
(You're) throwing things down at me
I'm starting to climb, well I'm starting on my knees

Somewhere along the way
Dusk it turns back into day
The sky is orange
The trees lie down against it


23 September 2008

where to go next?

i want to go someplace fun. i'd like to speak spanish, hike, be in nature, be on the beach, go surf, dance, meet some rad people. i've already been to brazil and costa rica, and loved both, but want to try someplace new in latin america. i'm really leaning towards ecuador, if i can afford the flight/use my parents' frequent flyer miles (what a great holiday gift!) i'm always thinking of Nicaragua and Panama. shawn recommended Guyana, but I want to utilize my Spanish skills....

Any ideas? I want to go solo around the holidays.

my pj shirt says...

boys are stupid. throw rocks at them.

22 September 2008

fiction/not fiction

She waited until she heard his car turn down the drive before making any rash decisions. Once the sound of the car faded away, she set to work doing the things she had always wanted to do, always for the past eighteen years. She opened the blinds, wide, to let the sunlight in. (“And the heat,” he would say.) She cut a slice of apple pie she made for last night’s desert, plopped a large hunk of rice pudding on top, and ate it for breakfast. (“Dear, that is not even an acceptable dinner.”) And then she stretched out completely nude, on the sofa (“Dear, please! Dress yourself!”) and slept.

When she awoke, she knew what must be done, and decided to finally do it, with her entire heart, with her entire being, with herself for once.

6 days...

until i run the vt 50 miler!

when i'm single, i clean more

i was thinking about how i need to clean my bathtub this morning...maybe it's b/c i'm feeling the need for a little romance????

i always hate the way cleaning products are marketed towards women. it makes me ill. why is it assumed that men and children are so stupid that they are pigs and unable to clean? i don't like cleaning that much -- though i do it. but people, please use natural cleaning products b/c they're better for your health (unless, of course, you decide to use them as part of your std-prevention programs...jk, that part in the video is mad funny!)

still carrying that white privilege knapsack?

more to think about white privilege, in relation to the u.s. presidential 2008 elections. this is a must read.

21 September 2008

you know how it goes

i've been dealing with a lot of emotions flying all over the place, and it's been pretty crazy. my throat is starting to hurt and i'm worried i'm getting sick. i can't get sick; i have a 50 mile race next weekend.

this weekend, i took it easy. rosa came on friday after work, and it was fantastic to see her. i prepped an appie plate for her, followed by my homemade apple crisp. we walked to manhattan, all over the lower east side, stopping by babeland, then heading over to benny's burrito's in greenwich village, followed by cupcakes at magnolia's. get a vanilla and then your mouth will have an orgasm. it's that good. we couldn't shut up, talking nonstop. the next morning, rosa rode mabel (my purple bike) while i ran 10 miles. we made french toast, went to the farmer's market, ate more apple crisp, went to prospect park to pedal boat, then smelled the roses in the brooklyn botanic gardens, and then took a nap. we made vegetable ratatouille, and went to a party in dumbo. today i ran 7 miles, then met my mom to buy a comforter (i wanted purple but chose light blue...i know others are not so keen on purple). i want to paint my room. then we worked on my halloween costume, after brunch of course. still working on the costume, after dealing with sewing machine drama. baking bread, and the smell is making my mouth water.

so why do i blather on here? i'm feeling relaxed and normal, but also overwhelmingly sad. i either have to work things out (which hasn't seemed likely) or start going through stuff, sorting things out, "that's mine!" "i want those plates." and etcetera.

i'm lucky to have people to listen to me, and glad to have running to sustain me. 50 miles in vt next weekend...i can't wait!

18 September 2008

reach the beach

12 runners. 209 miles. 3 legs each. 28 hours. new hampshire. too much fun. too many pyramids.

last weekend, i ran with 11 friends on a 209 mile relay across the lovely, surprisingly hilly state of new hampshire. with two fabulously decorated vans (big headshots of all the runners superimposed onto elite athlete's bodies and lots of car marker) we got a fairly late start time -- 2:20 (you could start as early as 7 a.m. or as late s 4 p.m.).
kevin started, running fast! i ran the 2nd leg, which was 8.9 miles, mostly uphill. it was pretty crazy, and i'm not used to running so fast, but i pushed myself as much as i could. midway through my run, van #2 raced by me, taking photos out of the side of the van, screaming. they stopped to cheer for me. van #1 shortly followed, cheering as well. it really felt great and was motivating and pushed me along. when i finished, i passed the baton to dan, our fastest runner. he ran amazingly fast, and then emily was next. she conquered those hills, and shawn followed, then crista. crista wore the headlamp and vest, though the sun was still out. we drove ahead, being silly, eating random food in the van (cold pasta, tofu, meat, quiche -- the quiche was the best idea!). no one could really sleep -- it was too early. we mostly talked, relaxed, used the stick. we stopped at a transition zone that had food, and ate some soup. i also ate a brownie, which i'm pretty sure is superfood. during this time, van #2 -- mark, cara, mecca, michael p., mike o., and brenda -- were running. we had walkie talkies, but they didn't work much of the time, and cell phones were often dead or out of range. it was a little sad to not bond with them as much. we started up again a little after 11pm, with kevin running fast, and passing to me. i began running at midnight, and ran 7.7 miles on fairly hilly terrain in pitch black. my headlamp helped, but there were tons of potholes and i was cautious. it was super spooky (i'm a city girl!) and i ended up saying random words to freak the bears that might be lurking in the nearby woods away. "dark." "fast." "run." i finished, passing to dan, who passed to emily, and then shawn. i waited with crista for shawn to come in...hmmm, he was taking a little longer. it got to the point where we were on the verge of sending the van out to look for him when he came in. a poorly marked turn led shawn to run four extra miles. he was so pissed! crista took it to the streets, and then we drove to the next major transistion zone where kevin would run hours later.

i dozed a little and then tried to sleep on the van floor when we got to the transition zone. i woke up and tried to sleep. i got cranky and yelled at everyone, and slept for about 20 or 30 minutes. good times. at one point, we were all cranky, and i whipped out the video camera to record us bitching. i'm sure that will be funny to watch later.

we ended up getting up, trying to eat a little, and stretching. we met the other van around 10:15 a.m., and cheered mike o. into the finish as kevin passed off. and then off to our final legs.

i ran 4.1 miles, mostly uphill, and was very proud. "i passed four runners." good job, cherie, but dangerous dan (fueled by rock star energy drink!) passed 22 runners in his 9.1 mile leg. go dan! emily, shawn, crista, and kevin all rocked it as well.

we went and got some amazing ice cream, and then went to the beach to wait for our teammates. when mike o. came in, we crossed the line, cheering -- like the true team we were.

s.s.o.r.e. = secret society of running endlessly

and having way too much fun!

i heart new york

lately, i've been pondering living other places. it might be nice to run for hours on trails that are mere minutes to run to, or to have a variety of farmer's markets, or to bike everywhere sans pollution, or to take post-dinner strolls along the dream. pipe dreams, perhaps. everyone who knows me knows i'm a new york city girl. still, i can dream....and one day, i will escape the city!

here are some reasons why i love new york:
  • i skip up wall street, listening to paul van dyk, feeling great, and i'm sure someone other than me is smiling
  • the man walking past me skipping on wall street who is in the middle of the street, waving his boxing gloves around
  • whatever you want -- english sweets, obscure running snacks, dog food bakeries -- nyc has it
  • amazing food -- cupcakes, indian food, any kind of cuisine, and often for cheap
  • walk on a new street and discover a new life
  • the attitudes. i love the ego sometimes -- i saw a man last week wearing a shirt that had an arrow pointing up to his face, saying, "THE MAN." an arrow pointing down said, "THE LEGEND." i love it.
  • my running friends. they sustain me.
  • close proximity to my fam.
  • brunch! my favorite meal of the week keeps getting better and better, esp when served with (unlimited!) mimosas!
  • not too far from the beach; not too far from the country; not too far from the suburbs
  • fantastic shopping
  • great fun free events
  • amazing djs and musicians are constantly in nyc
  • nothing like xmas in nyc!
  • the diversity of people, thought and ideas. i hated the whiteout of boulder.
one day i'll be gone, running on lovely trails and enjoying the beach daily, but until then, i'm a new york city girl.


i smell you everywhere

08 September 2008

in response to an email from a close, amazing friend, asking me, "am i still a traveler if i'm not traveling?"

I have a sticky note on my igoogle page that I've had up there for a while: "Never forget the things that make you alive." That's my reminder to myself to not stray far from who I am or what I love or what I do. That's why I insist upon traveling as often as I can; it reminds me of who I am and what I love.

Burning Man really re-instilled a lot of that. It woke me up. It reminded me that I'm running around too much, not doing things I place priority on (I haven't been surfing in months, which also is due to the fact that the waves have sucked or I haven't had access to a car with room for a board a lot of the times...), losing track of the important things. When I get away, I remember who I am.

I think you are still a traveler if you can keep a fresh perspective on things, and if you never stop dreaming. Right now, I'm thinking abt Dec. I have off work for two weeks, and can take additional time. I looked at plane fares to Argentina, and then gasped. 2k! I am hoping to play around with the dates and go anyway. Surf, chill, meet rad people. Tango.

Do you travel with your vacation? I do, though I lack the money. (I like my job, but nonprofits lack profit...sigh...esp for me!)

If you want to keep traveling, if you don't want to stop, you are. You are what you want to be...and more. I think you need to take that annual leave and put it to good use. Go someplace you've always dreamed of going. Meet new people. Drool after those who tell you, "I'm traveling for a year or two...until my money runs out." Re-examine your life. Put things in perspective. Keep going.

I have rent. I have bills. I have a cat, a rent-stabilized one bedroom apartment with a job and sick leave and responsibilities at work that make me a "go-to" person. I'm proud of the things I have...but I'm more proud of what I've accomplished -- my races, my stories, who I am.

If you can't go, gaze at the map. Think about the Northern Lights. Think about the South Pole. Worry about getting eating by penguins or grizzly bears. Don't stop dreaming.

Plan that next step of the journey, even if it's two years from now. Too scary and too close? How about ten years from now?

Keep going. Keep traveling. Keep moving. Keep being. Keep dreaming. Keep living your life.

07 September 2008

burning man

burning man was the best week of my life.

"it's like summer camp for adults," my little sister told me, as i shopped for practical shoes at DSW the other day. yes, indeed it is.

i went out with my friend bill, not sure what to expect, but knowing that i'd have fun. it was even better than i expected.

i can't give a play-by-play because i'd be writing for 12 hours and STILL not get all of it. i'll just give you some highlights of this amazing week that i encourage all to attend (but be prepared for harsh conditions -- just remember what doesn't kill you makes you stronger).

  • winning the black rock city 5k (and setting the record!) -- beating a naked guy! woooh!
  • going out deep into the playa, looking at amazing art, underneath SO many stars
  • tassel twirling class
  • dancing with mojitos at dementhe, an awesome camp
  • meeting tons of amazing people
  • a camp set up like a zagat-rated hotel
  • dancing at a huge club-like place, deep end
  • biking on a flame-spitting bike
  • dancing to "my adidas" during a dust storm, complete with goggles and face mask
  • running 5 miles during a dust storm
  • meeting all sorts of random people
  • big hugs from total strangers
  • hula hooping
  • making necklaces and making friends
  • librarian cocktail party
  • the "triathlon" involving swimming through dirt
  • watching the man burn
  • hitching a ride on art cars
  • yoga
  • sharing a piece of myself with so many others -- and them sharing themselves with stories, hugs, jewelry, whatever we had to offer
an amazing week. i met so many wonderful people. this week also forced me to re-think a lot of things in my life, how they are progressing...i am trying to figure things out, but it's slow-going. i feel like i'm treading water -- i want to be swimming.

42 baby!!!!

i ran 42 miles yesterday. it was not easy....towards the start, i was having a lot of difficulty with my asthma and had to stop at a mile to rest my lungs. i did not think that was a very good sign, and persevered, slowly. i continued, and ran over the 59th st bridge into central park, where a race was to begin shortly. i passed the runners warming up, and exited the park at good old 110th st. i ran through morningside park, and then cut over to riverside park, running along the park and streets until i got to the george washington bridge. on the bridge, i saw a guy with fantastic abs, feet stuck under the railing, doing stomach crunches...yes, only in new york.

in jersey, i headed to the pallisades park, and enjoyed running on some pretty trails along the hudson. i was completely alone, passing only one other runner, and almost felt scared at times. i had my mobile phone in the front pocket of my fuel vest in case i needed to call 911, and the pallisades was RIGHT there, so i'm sure it wasn't too dangerous.

hanna stayed away for most of my run, but the last hour, the rain came down strong. i was over by bloomies, crossing madison avenue, and a guy saw me and i just laughed and held up my hands. and he did the same.

i arrived home, completely soaked. i immediately stripped (ooooh!) my stinky clothes (ugh!) and showered. i made a protein smoothie (yum) and headed on the train to my mom's. i was so rushed after i didn't get a chance to pat myself on the back -- lately, it seems like no one supports my running. people are annoyed at how much time i spend running or worry about me, but i'm so proud of myself. even back in april, the thought of doing 42 miles was daunting. now, i know i can handle it.

i can't wait for the VT 50 miler!

04 September 2008

End of Paul Theroux's "Ghost Train to the Eastern Star"

"Is there hope? Yes. Most people I'd met, in chance encounters, were strangers who helped me on my way. And we lucky ghosts can travel wherever we want. The going is still good, because arrivals are still departures."

03 September 2008

the times i feel free....

when i am dancing
in the middle of nowhere
with my arms out

when i am hugging
or my eyes are closed
and spinning,
i don't know where i'll end next

or when i'm laughing, falling off the williamsburg bridge ramp,
to be mistaken for a yuppie by a hipster,
glad to have friends who make me laugh, who run, who help me feel free

Paul Theroux Travel Quote

"Travel is at its most rewarding when it ceases to be about your reaching a destination and becomes indistinguishable from living your life."

--Paul Theroux