On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Part one of two.

You know how these things work. My friend Mary has asked me 11 questions. And then I have to say 11 random things about myself. The random things will have to wait until tomorrow or maybe next week (crazy meetings keeping me crazy busy), but in the meantime, I've answered her questions. This post is completely self-indulgent - more so than usual, even.

1. Other sports you’ve played in your life, whether in high school, middle school, or college.
Hockey, for two brief seasons in an adult league. First I was in a women's D-league, then I moved up to a coed C/D-league (because the town I was in at that point didn't have a D-league). My career was completely unmemorable/unpromising and no one cried any tears when it was cut short.

2. Best race ever.
Mount Washington, I guess? Someday I'd like to do Pikes Peak.

3. How many times have you been in love?
Three and one half times. I think. But then I doubt myself. Twice? Once? Three times? What is love, anyway? I'm ruled by logic and reason. (And sometimes hormones.)

4. Pen or pencil. And why?
Smencils and a Namiki Vanishing Point. (It's a retractable fountain pen.) And occasionally a nice Lamy Studio fountain pen. But mostly this one. That's some hot pen action right there, right?

5. Dream job.
Something in a museum. Preferably a museum basement. Me and old stuff. Like this:

6. Complete this sentence: “I feel most comfortable while…”

Answering internet memes Hm... Being sarcastic Hmm...
This is a hard question, Mary. According to google, comfortable means "providing physical ease and relaxation." Is it kind of perversely counter-intuitive to call running comfortable? I like reading. I like it a lot. Wherever, whenever - reading makes me comfortable. Final answer.

7. Fav food. If I know you well enough, I may or may not make it for you, because I’m a decent cook/baker.
Whatever Mary wants to cook for me. Seriously. I've had her apple cobbler. I want more.

Alternately, I mean, duh: Dairy Queen. And red meat.

The worst food I've ever had. Mystery meat on an Egyptian train.
8. Guilty pleasure.
Life is too short for guilty pleasures. Things that commonly come up on these lists I do without shame. I subscribe to US Weekly, I eat ice cream on the regular, and I've seen Britney Spears in concert twice. As an adult. Going with other adults.

9. Biggest pet peeve. Or you can have multiple. Pet peeves. 

10. If you could change ONE thing about yourself or your life, what would it be and why?
Oh, gosh. I'm not comfortable with this question. There are a million things I'd change, but then at the same time I'm happy with myself, so nothing.

11. Pre-race ritual.
Should I have one? I don't. Like, not at all. No special foods, no laying out the clothes, no cup of coffee. Sometimes I pin my bib on in advance, sometimes I pin it on while walking to the start. This could possibly have to do with my tendency to not race very hard - races aren't that nerve wracking for me because I'm not as worried about my performance.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I hate myself

Last night, I sent my last text message from bed at 3:58am.

This morning, my alarm went off at 5:38 per usual.

About 5:55, I emailed my running partner to ask her if I could cancel. When she didn't answer, I dragged my tired self out of bed, threw on my running clothes, and ran to the subway.

She wasn't there.

I waited, exhausted.

About 6:30, I suddenly realized: she had told me earlier this week that she was running after work on Wednesday. Today was Wednesday.

Replace "Yvette" with myself and pretend that I'm Mrs. White, talking about myself here:

Flames. From the side of my face. Today is not off to a good start. (And no, I didn't just run on my own. 1.75 hours of sleep? I'm writing this from bed. Catch you in another couple of hours.)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Walking mileage and EXTREME FATIGUE

My blog is appearing later this morning than usual because I just woke up. And this is a good thing.

I've alluded to trouble sleeping lately, and it just keeps going. Lately I have trouble going to bed before 1:30 or 2 (and often later) in the morning. I force myself to bed in the wee small hours of the morning, don't sleep, and wake up, often before 6. I don't need a terrifically large amount of sleep (6-7 hours suits me perfectly), but I can't skate by on 4 hours for more than a few days without a breakdown... like the one I've been experiencing lately. It's to the point where I'm seriously contemplating a sleeping pill. (A single one. One refreshing night of sleep in the hopes of being recharged.)

What's the most frustrating about it is that I'm not doing anything productive, unless you count reading the entirety of Craiglist or revisiting my myspace page productive. And this insomnia is then hurting my productivity, badly, at work. Not even to mention that it's hurting my running. I slept straight through my run this morning, and it's a gorgeous day out.

Highlights from my myspace page, which I evidently last updated after I went to Peru in 2006:


I have a question, though: do you count walking mileage as part of your weekly total? I'm not talking about .5m to/from the subway, or 2m while doing shopping. I'm talking about going for a walk: putting on tech gear and running shoes and walking 3+ miles at a stretch. What do you think?

And one last myspace photo because I'm feeling vain:

Monday, February 20, 2012

PPTC Cherry Tree 10 miler

Tracy's tried and true method for PRing a race: Evidently, drinking the night before works for me. I PR'd a 15k in December after a night of drinking, and I PR'd a 10m race on Saturday after drinking. Drinking kind of a lot, in fact. I'm not proud. Okay, maybe sort of a little proud.

I don't often drink to excess, but I did Saturday night. I finally fell asleep around 3:30am, and when my alarm woke me at 7, I was beat. I brought a magazine with me to the race. I figured, I could always bail and sleep in the back of the zipcar while my friends ran the race, right?

Of course not. Once we got there, I was already awake and alert and not about to waste my registration fee. Good company and a beautiful day? Why not? Emilie and Tara and I agreed to take it as an easy run and not race it. Great decision.

I'd done this race once before, in 2010, and enjoyed it then, too. The course is three loops of Prospect Park (including three times up the notorious hill). There's also a 3-person relay that happens at the same time. Even though the small size and the accompanying relay make for a fast race, it's also a very supportive one. There are spectators on the course yelling encouragement, and never once did we feel like we were alone on the course (or anywhere near it).

We ran, we gossiped, we unexpectedly saw Kim (who was in town from Chicago and who provided the awesome photos). We finished comfortably in about 1:39. Around 8.5 miles in, Emilie and I both confessed that 1:40 was our "super secret goal" - we'd claimed to go into it with no goals, just wanting to take it easy as a long run. Yeah. Haha.

We would have been much closer to 1:40, too, had it not been for the inspiration of a fellow runner. Is there a word to convey "negative inspiration"? This one particular woman had been neck and neck with the three of us the entire race. That doesn't bother me. What did bother me was that she was doing a run-walk, and she was quite obviously using us to pace off of. Walk for a while... Run and pass us. Run fast for a short bit, then walk for a while... Repeat. When she passed us about a half mile shy of the finish, Emilie got a look of determination and said, "NO. This is NOT happening," before taking off. I'm pleased to say that Tara and I also finished ahead of the woman. (But seriously: run your own race!)

Two small criticisms:
One, my recorded time was the gun time, not my chip time (do we say "bib time" now that b-tags are a Thing?). Crossing the start line was fast, so I'm sure the difference was less than a minute, but... Given that NYCRuns (who was putting on the race) has had issues with timing in the past, I was hoping for accuracy.

Two, the water was served in tiny dixie cups. There were only a couple of water stations on the course (which was fine), but the small glasses didn't provide much water. They even had the tiny glasses at the end of the race - I could have drunk 10 of them, no joke. Except I couldn't have, because the volunteers were having trouble keeping up with the demand for water.

I wonder if I could have done better had I gotten enough sleep or had I raced it. When I went back into my blog archives to find my 2010 race report, I noticed that shortly after the race there was an entry about how much sleep I was getting (in Feb, 2010). Those were the days...

When I got home post-race, I smelled like the most nauseating combination of sweat and stale alcohol. I'd like to say, "never again," but at the same time, I think I found a pre-race strategy that works for me.

Oh, and btw: this marked a 6 minute PR for me for 10m.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

More running-related products of a questionable nature

When I saw the SWIH, I knew I had to try one. When I saw these next two products, I didn't feel the same compulsion.

First up, the... I'm having trouble even typing this name... the "Squattie Pottie." (Now, don't get confused and go for the "Squatty Potty" instead - very different.)

Squattie Pottie

Squatty Potty - got it?
My sister told me about the Squattie Pottie. Evidently she got some branded wet wipes in a race kit and, curious, checked out the website. Which you should do, too, now. Essentially, if I understand correctly, the product is sort of a self-catheterization. You never have to use a dirty restroom again! Because, I mean, that's gross. Peeing into a small bag that's attached to you and then later changing that bag at your convenience while meanwhile carrying around a pouch of urine - finally, we have a viable alternative to having to actually get up and go to the bathroom while we're working, for instance. As you can read in the testimonials, you can even use it to pee into a Nalgene bottle.

Gentle mocking aside, I can see how this product would appeal to people as an alternative to an adult diaper. But for camping? Or hiking? Or running? Ladies, just man up and squat it out. Yes, not peeing on your leg is an art, but it's one you can practice. Believe me. I lived in a tent for over a month in the desert. Do you see any bathrooms in this photo? NO. Because I had to open-air it.

Next up. Zaggora Hot Pants. My friend Tamara sent me this link, and I think she actually was hoping I'd try them. I'm not going to: 1) $70 before shipping? and 2) didn't we learn anything from Martin Lawrence slipping into a coma while running at noon in LA during the summer in a sweatsuit as an attempt to lose weight?

Hot Pants = bad

Everything about this = bad
Basically, these pants make you sweat a lot. Because of that, you lose more weight. But don't take my word for it - read the testimonials:

Megan: I have used my Hot Pants several times... They definitely make you sweat A LOT. You'll feel cool and comfortable the whole time, just do not forget to bring an extra pair of panties. I've had to walk home from the gym commando a time or two.
Callie: OK I notice the difference the first Day. Yes they are a bit noisy but who cares !!!!! Certainly not me.
Samantha: They only down falls for me are they are loud. They make a swishing sound. But I can live with that. It is just hard to wear them under clothes cause they make a noise like you are wearing a diaper.
Unknown: I lost 50 pounds in just 2 months!! I just walked around and had sex with my husband with was also a workout hehe. Best pants ever

But these are just a few of the opinions. What do you think?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Happy Wednesday

What I want to talk about...

My giant crush on Sage Canaday. Can you blame me? Don't answer that.

What I will talk about...

The New York Rogue Runners. Get it? Like Road Runners, but not? They host a series of low-key (and free!) events that are designed to keep running fun. If you have an idea for a race, they'll put it on. It's that simple.

A week and a half ago, as part of my (most recent) never-ending running rut, I helped time one of their events in lieu of actually running. My friend Joe, a home brewer, wanted a prediction race, and so the CardiacCrusher Brewery Presents: 4m Prediction Race in Central Park was born.

The top three who finished closest to their predicted times took home beer! (The timer, me, also took home a beer. And it was delicious.) Then this past weekend, while I was hiking in New Jersey, they hosted a run to City Bakery for hot chocolate.

Their next event is coming up this next weekend, and it's like it was made for me - and sadly, I have to miss it as I'll be out of town. They're having a hot dog run. Four miles through Manhattan along a specific course, and each time you see a hot dog stand, you must stop and eat a hot dog. I was born to win this race.

Monday, February 6, 2012

This is how I roll

I'm classy as anything, what can I say? If you needed further proof, here it is: a cell phone self-portrait, taken in a public bathroom, beer in hand. Yes, I look like a pirate.

Where did I get the beer? Well, on Saturday, I ran a race.

Sort of.

I mean, I kind of DNF'd, sort of.

But let's back up to Friday night, when I tweeted this (NB: I don't technically remember tweeting this):

When Saturday morning came around, I wasn't exactly in peak shape. It was a trail half in New Jersey with my friend Renee - she has a goal of doing a half each month, and she'd recruited me to do this one.

As we later said, it was a pleasant hike, but a crummy run. Yeah. Due to a bathroom incident (as in: there weren't bathrooms), we even started several minutes late. I knew early on that both loops of the course weren't happening, but I tried to hold off. When it was seeming like a half marathon that was closer to 4 hours than it was to 2 (by a fair bit) was in the cards, I knew I had to put myself out of my misery. There was a 10k option to the race, so we dropped out at 8m. I mean, um, we switched from the half to the 10k.

The good news? They were giving beer! Even for losers like me.

The better news? We went to Dairy Queen after! Yes, I double fisted. Banana Cream pie and Choco Cherry Love. (As my little brother says, proving yet again that Blizzard names and B-list porn star names are indistinguishable.)

I kind of hate myself for not finishing the race. But I would have hated myself more for walking the whole freaking second loop. It is what it is.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Did you know... and also: should I?

I have to travel next month, for three nights, for a conference. Nothing exciting, but at least work is paying for it, heh. When I went to book a hotel room, I was given the standard choice between king and queen beds and also... what's that?

Yes. A hotel room with a treadmill inside of it. Upon googling, I was able to find some photos of this rare, mythological creature:

I'll be near an airport in an area where (theoretically) I could run outside, but my experience with these conferences is that I won't really have the time or the energy to do that. With a treadmill in the room, though! At least I could hang my suits on it?

It's $20 more per night. Worth it, or no?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Today was a very unusual day

Something auspicious happened today.

Was it... the fact that I slept a record 5 hours last night? No, but that was good. (Seriously: what's up with my sleep problems lately?)

Was it... the fact that it was 50 degrees out at 6am when I left my house? No, but that was sort of good and sort of bad. (Seriously: what's up with global warming?)

Was it... the fact that I wore SHORTS today? YES!

For the first time in probably five years, I wore shorts to run and didn't hate it! I'll always have a place in my heart for my running skirts, but I'm happy to have found a pair of shorts that (tentatively) work. A new day dawns?