24 September 2009

Excerpt from GIRL by Blake Nelson

What I didn't understand that first couple days was if sex was so fun why didn't people spend, you know, like six or eight hours a day doing it? I felt like I could have. And I looked at all the grownups and older kids and the counselors and I thought how everyone on earth complains they can't get sex but why can't they? Just go meet someone and do it. Everyone wants to, how hard can it be? And even if you don't like that person much you'll be having sex with them and sex is so fun of course you'll start to like them.

--Blake Nelson's GIRL

Packing list for a 50 miler

I began a list of what I'll need for my upcoming Dick Collins Firetrails 50 Miler, and my suitcase is almost already full! I still have to cram in a costume for Decompression, clothes for a few days, and my toiletries.

Here's what I'll need or pack for a typical 50 miler:
  • Fuel belt with 1 bottle
  • 11 gels (I won't eat them all, but I like the security in having them)
  • 4 sports jelly beans
  • peanut M&Ms (2 small bags or 1 big bag; I switched from Snickers to M&Ms)
  • pretzels
  • 1 5-hour energy shot
  • 2 pairs of socks
  • 2 sports bras
  • 2 tops
  • 2 running skirts
  • Body Glide
  • visor
  • shades
  • Imodium (After what happened at the VT50, I won't do a long race without it!)
  • Ginger candies
  • Inhaler
  • Watch
  • Tissues
  • Trail sneakers
  • Endurolytes
  • Gloves
  • Long sleeved shirt
While I obviously won't use all of it, this is what I like to have for security. If a race is closer, I'll pack more, but since I'll be in SF for 5 days, I need to cram as much as I can into my suitcase and am limiting myself.

21 September 2009

Iroquois Trail 50 Miler

The Iroquois Trail 50 Miler on Saturday was full of ups and downs, and a little bit in between - I'm talking more about my state than the hills, though it was pretty much the same for the terrain.

The morning started off chilly - I wore a long sleeved shirt, gloves, and running skirt at the start. I immediately began having challenges with my fuel belt -- apparently, I had lost weight since the VT100 and the stupid belt wouldn't tighten enough so it jostled for the next 50 miles, which was rather annoying. I started the race out full of energy and excited to spend the day running 50 miles. My goal was to PR in a 50, to run sub 11:00, ideally 10:30, but I wasn't sure how difficult the course would be.

Overall, I liked the course. Ups, downs, outs, backs. Nothing too crazy, nothing too insane. My major problem with the course is that it was not always well-marked; I had to stop several times to try to figure out where to go next, and even lost about 10 minutes when I ran in the wrong direction after a poorly-marked switchback.

Around mile 10, I had some "female trouble" and ended up wasting 5 minutes in a stupid portapotty. I took off quickly, only to encounter the shoelaces from hell. (Why were my shoelaces fine on various trail runs, including a 10 hour training run, but I run a race and they can't seem to stay in a knot?) After retying them ten times (I counted), I asked an aid station for help and they duct taped them shut. The volunteers were fabulous (as they often are).

Due to my shoelace issues, I ended up losing the group I was running with so I was alone, which wasn't so bad. Plenty of time to enjoy the scenery, chat with new people, think. I'm going through some pretty strong changes and rethinking, and this was a great to do so. I found I zoned out a bunch of times, moving my feet while passing the trees, up and down, really enjoying the day.

A while back, my friend Brad said the reason he liked ultrarunning was "because you get the highest of highs and lowest of lows." I truly felt that; I had insanely high runner's high, and completely bottomed out at other points. Ultrarunning is SO intense.

I was feeling hopeful about the race as I plugged along, and at mile 41, I ended up going the wrong way around a switchback, and running back in the direction I came. (Where to go after the switchback was not marked well and I went in a circle before going back on the same trail - I was not aware of it.) When a fellow runner informed me of this, I told him it was impossible, then sat on the ground about to cry. I got up and was really angry and he kept laughing.

"Don't laugh, it's not funny!"

"I'm not laughing at you, I'm laughing with you."

"I'm not laughing at all! I'm crying!"

"What do you need? Food? Water? Have you been eating and drinking enough?"

This is what I love about ultrarunning; I bite someone's head off and they offer to help. Later, I thoroughly apologized but part of why I was so desperate to get to the aid station was that I inadvertently didn't take all of my endurolytes and was severely electrolyte-deficient (and felt it). When Leo heard of my predicament, he immediately gave me three from his stash, which helped perk me up. We ran together the next five miles or so, and he really helped me. Not only that, but he was fascinating; we talked about Beat writers, fiction writers, love, life, philosophy, and more. He was a really amazing individual.

I started crashing a bit, and let Leo go ahead of me. To sustain myself, I ate more peanut M&Ms and pretzels, and sang Madonna songs in my head.

From mile 47-49.7 (or something like that), it's all insanely downhill. Insanely. I pushed it hard, and was pleased (though my quads are still hating me).

I finished with a huge smile on my face, but almost about to cry. I knew how hard I had persevered, struggled -- with shoelaces untying and portapotties and getting lost and not enough electrolytes and falling straight on my butt -- but I still did it. Sustained by strawberry banana gu, pretzels and peanut M&Ms, I pushed myself - and felt rewarded. (I also rewarded myself later with an amazing meal at nearby Moosewood Restaurant!)

Next up is the Dick Collins 50 Miler! I can't wait!

17 September 2009

"Learned to Surf" - Superchunk

If I seem out of it
I've just gone to find you, Ill be back in a bit
Circles close up but circles are wide
We'll be wearing wigs and costumes, won't need any hole to hide

When I learned to walk, you know humans roamed the earth
I can't hold my breath anymore, I stopped sinking and learned to surf
When I learned to talk, I found words that weren't worth dirt
I can't hold my breath anymore, I stopped swimming and learned to surf

If I drift out in channels way too deep
Its cause I can't stand the shifting sand and shells under our feet
Put your suitcase down, and leave your shoes
Gently by the door, in a puddle with your blues

When I learned to walk, you know humans roamed the earth
I can't hold my breath anymore, I stopped sinking and learned to surf
When I learned to talk, I found words that weren't worth dirt
I can't hold my breath anymore, I stopped swimming and learned to surf

When I learned to walk you know humans roamed the earth
I can't hold my breath anymore, I stopped swimming and learned to surf
When I learned to talk, I found words that weren't worth dirt
Heavy like the rocks we carry, I stopped sinking and learned to surf

I stopped swimming and learned to surf
Stopped swimming, learned to surf
I learned to surf
I learned to surf.

my love affair with healthy toes

It has been said before that runners talk about three things: running, food, and poop. I think we can also add "our ugly feet" into that as well.

I used to have beautiful feet (I've been told!), but with the obsession of ultrarunning in my life, my feet are far from the lovely petals they once were. I've lost toenails, had blisters, and even was starting to form bunions.

Enter Healthy Toes. These fabulous toe stretchers work to stretch your toes and straighten them. I've only been using them about two weeks, but already, I feel stronger in my toes, they look straighter, the bump seems smaller, and yes, they look LESS UGLY! I wouldn't say they're beautiful, but they are looking better!

15 September 2009

Thank you to my beautiful friends

I have been going through some pretty intense changes lately, and as I prepare to paint my walls, paint my heart, paint my career, I am glad there are so many wise individuals that listen to me and hold me when I crumple and fall.

Special thanks to Nelson for reminding me:

There is a whole world out there... It is available for everyone!

beautiful video of reasons of why i went to burning man

13 September 2009

greener grass

my mother and her friends have taken to romanticizing my life. "we wish we did what you did...graduate school, live on our own in the city, travel, go out, do whatever we pleased." it's really not that great - but i still think it's the best option for me.

i don't always want to be like this. sometimes, i hate struggling, living in nyc on a nonprofit salary, not having the means to save up for a house, in relationship turmoil...i think of my little sister, who had her long island fairytale wedding and is living in a house with her two cats and her doctor husband and feel a twinge of jealousy of how stable and easy and how american dream her life must be...but things aren't always as they appear, especially below the surface.

coming back from burning man, a week of absolute freedom ("can you believe it? no one knows freedom. all those people in russia and london and all across the states and everywhere in the entire world - none of them knows freedom," said a guy from santa rosa to me whose camp i stopped by at burning man.), of being able to be who i completely am without any restrictions - i suddenly am in my smushed apt, trying to figure out what's next. i'm thinking clearing some of the crap out of my apartment, out of my life, repainting, maybe some races...but is all of that immediate and should i be thinking more of my future? but i don't know what my future is, what it holds. i could fall in love with a stranger on the subway tomorrow. i could discover deep sea diving. i could learn how to fly on fairy wings. literally, in nyc, anything can happen. i love running through the streets, seeing the fashion, the diversity of people, of lifestyles, of being.

i'm enjoying all of this. i'm enjoying my not-so-stable life. there are more tears than i'd like, and more confusion and struggle, but i'll take these as learning lessons. what doesn't kill me makes me stronger. i have to start figuring out next steps, where i'm going. will i stay in nyc? does my job really want to support my growth? should i travel soon, and most importantly, where? is a RTW in my future? all these things are quite murky and cloudy, but i have confidence that i'll figure them out, even if it's in a fumbling manner. i know eventually, probably at the last minute, i'll have the answers, but i think that's what life is all about: finding the answers, living in search of those answers.

12 September 2009

side effect of burning man

you'll lose weight. i lost 5 pounds this year (and i'm pretty thin to begin with) by having zero appetite, biking hours each day in difficult conditions across the playa, running, dancing, eating snow cones, having a blast. i ate whenever food was offered or something looked appealing, and hydrated well (including mojitos).

Generation A

Generation A Generation A by Douglas Coupland

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A+ Another stellar work of Coupland's. Although it's not out in the U.S. for another two months, I paid $40 for a copy to be shipped to me from Canada - and SO worth it. A brilliant story full of shorter stories and poignant one-liners. Reminds me of Generation X in a way (the story-telling element). The time is sometime in the near-future, and bees don't exist anymore...but suddenly, five people in five different countries are all stung by bees. This is their story as they create stories, try to make sense of their situation, and the world. I am going to immediately read it again.

View all my reviews >>

10 September 2009

burning man 2009 full recap

so burning man was amazing. it blew me away. there was a lot of time spent thinking, meditating, coming to realizations about my life. i loved being cut off from phone and email without the stress of work, family, cleaning cat vomit, whatever. sure, i had time to play and drink and dance, but i also got the taste of ultimate, absolute freedom...the kind where you stretch your arms out with an amazingly huge smile, knowing that you can do whatever it is you want...

everyone has been asking me how it was. in a word: AMAZING. ASTONISHING. BRILLIANT. EVERYTHING I WANTED AND MORE. there were so lows, but mostly highs, and i can't even begin to tell you how much it changed my life.

here's a very, very high-level overview of just some of the things i did:
  • rode on pegs of some boy's bmx bike (have never done that before)
  • started liking tequila (in margaritas and also in the "jet fuel" served at one of my fave dancing and hooping spots, PleasAir)
  • spanky's wine bar
  • looked at the stars and planets with a boy with this powerful astronomy pen
  • chilled with old and new friends
  • lots and lots of hula hooping
  • lots and lots of trampoline jumping
  • diy workshop
  • did a labyrinth of lights
  • got counseling by two guys tripping on acid on relationship issues
  • ran the perimeter
  • ran the black rock city 5k (and placed second!)
  • let strangers take care of me
  • took care of strangers
  • female workshop
  • sangria slut social
  • librarian cocktail party
  • playa art
  • playa dust & duststorms
  • art cars
  • rode an incredibly steep enormous slide
  • got massage, gave massages
  • connected with friends
  • naughty colouring
  • more trampolines
  • dementha, mojitos, dancing, mint
  • buddha bunny
  • pink mammoth
  • wrote in temple
  • kostume kult's kostume dome
  • watermelon (so tasty in the hot dessert)
  • rock bottom
  • biked lots
  • had bike pedals fall off, bike troubles
  • had strangers help me fix my bike
  • biked around/wandered around in duststorm
  • pickle martinis
  • madonnathon
  • bad advice, lots of it
  • hot pink fake fur bikini w/ matching legwarmers
  • fall in love each and every moment
  • temple burn
  • packing, unpacking, traffic
  • nothing is awful, everything is wonderful, burning man makes life amazing

09 September 2009

burning man 2009

how do i even begin to start describing burning man? it's like going to your fantasy world where you can do whatever you want.

i still am overwhelmed with returning...with showers and normal food and work and email and cell phones and subway doors closing and being clean and not being judged or scolded or yelled at...it was amazing, brilliant, absolute freedom.

i'm still cleaning up, trying to figure out how to take the next steps of my life. they're going to be different -- that's a definite, but how to do them, that's another story.

i'll update more with lots of photos and the full story soon.