Archive for October 2007

Injuries bite

Wednesday, 24th October 2007. Filed in Running2 Comments »

The little evil troll residing inside the back of my heel is beginning to gnaw harder on my tautened flesh. He announced his presence with a few nips a couple weeks ago. I said hello, now go away and went about my business. Being needy for attention, he persisted. I acknowledged him with a bit of slacking and ibuprofen. Drugs, that ought to satiate the beast. But, he wasn’t happy when I cut off his supply. Nor when I woke him from his slumber with a 5 mile run. And now he’s become more vocal.

There is nothing excruciating about this pain. Yet. It’s just kind of an annoyance. At the moment. I know the ball is in my court. Be good and evict the troll. Or keep pounding and really piss him off. I totally know what I’d do if I weren’t scheduled for a half marathon in two weeks. Set up camp on the couch, make Crunchy husband make dinners, and mix in a few sessions at the pool.

But, I’m really excited about the Monterey race. I’m not willing to chuck it in. I am slowly coming to terms that, having my training cut quite a bit, I’m not going to break any personal records. But, I still really want to do it. I’ve discussed my priorities with the troll and we’ve agreed to a compromise.

We’ll see if he can be trusted.

5 miles. 55 minutes. Too much trash.

Monday, 15th October 2007. Filed in Eco-running3 Comments »

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day


Litter sucks.

I expect a call from my mom at any moment

Monday, 15th October 2007. Filed in Random foliage5 Comments »

There are certain things you just don’t tell your mom you are going to do until after you do them. Sky-diving, bungee jumping, leaping from roof to roof of skyscrapers, fire-eating while wrestling alligators. Those kinds of things.

I didn’t get THAT adventurous this weekend, but considering my mom’s slightly heightened state of anxiety about now having one more person to worry about (did I mention I’m very excited to be an aunt now?!), I decided not to mention that I was going abseiling over the cliffs at Botany Bay this weekend.

I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to go on a cliff rescue simulation with the coastguard this weekend. It’s one of the perks of being a coastal warden with the Thanet Coast Project. It was very fun and very informative. Those guys are way cool!



Spinning along

Friday, 12th October 2007. Filed in Photography4 Comments »


The spiders have got my attention. As I poured my cereal yesterday, I glanced sleepily through the kitchen window. The sunlight was dimmed by fog but still strong enough to illuminate the dew on the many spider webs that have recently decorated our deck and fence. I ran back upstairs to get the camera and spent the next few minutes (thank goodness I hadn’t poured my milk) walking around my garden in my jammies. (I’m fairly sure there’s nothing I could do that would surprise the neighbors!) I think the spiders have been working hard so that I don’t have to worry about decorating for Halloween. (Not that that’s been a pressing thought lately.)


Then, while having a fascinating discussion down at Pegwell Bay on under-recognized ostracods, I caught sight of more webs and spiders spinning busily along.


This shot of the busiest spider actually came out relatively in focus. [No pictures of ostracods. They’re too tiny for my lens. Much smaller than their relatives I played with earlier this year. (Even smaller than my tiny day-old niece. I’m such a proud aunt!)]


Princess Little Bigfoot

Thursday, 11th October 2007. Filed in Random foliage1 Comment »

Hey, little one! I’ve got some old running shoes that might fit. I’ll bring ‘em home when I come to meet you! I can’t wait! (Isn’t my niece a cutie??)

Baby Audrey

Hello new shoes, bye bye blues

Tuesday, 9th October 2007. Filed in Running4 Comments »

What do the Duke of Wellington and Harry Potter have in common? Probably not much. But stick with me on this one.

I’ve stuck a fork in my Mizunos. They are done. They served me well, but the time’s come to say good bye and move on. I’ve been emotionally transitioning myself since May when, after calculating mileage, I knew we’d have to part ways soon. I’ve kept my eyes open for the replacement pair. (I was pretty annoyed when I tried on the newest edition of the Wave Rider and found out that Mizuno has made them wider. Ugh! Here we go again!) Over the past months and trips to various shoe stores, the clear winner has stood out to be the Asics Gel-Nimbus, but you don’t drop £100 without thinking it over.

But it was time. We made our way to the Sweatshop so I could try on shoes. Again. In case you’re just tuning in, I’ve got the world’s most difficult feet to shop for. They are a bit high maintenance and most shoes are not very accommodating. They are long and narrow, yet I like to have room in my toe box because of my lovely hammer toes (thanks mom!). But, not too much room because then my feet slide around and I get blisters. It’s a very tricky balance to achieve. After trying three or four other candidates, the Gel-Nimbus pair still seemed like the shoes for me. I finally committed. (And an hour later found the £15 coupon for Sweatshop in the latest Runner’s World. Sometimes you just can’t win.)

So far, my new Harry Potter shoes seem to be all right. (Yes, I know Asics meant it to be a cloud reference, but I don’t care.) I took them for a quick spin around the block today, and they were pretty comfy. They didn’t launch me 50 feet into the air and zoom me around the village after a golden snitch, but maybe I didn’t say the magic words right. They did, however, make me feel bouncy, which I am sure has more to do with my mental state and less to do with the shoes on my feet, but I am okay with that.

And just wait! My new tenny-runners weren’t the only shoes to walk their way home this weekend.

While in Paris last week, we ventured into Aigle. I spotted the hottest wellies I’ve ever seen. There was a pair covered with daisies. And some red stripey ones. And ones with stones all over them. But, they were mucho money. (Duh, Aigle.) I passed on a purchase. It was hard though. Usually the ones I see over here are of the drab black-green variety and in the gray, gloomy winter, I need color.

But then, with a stroke of luck, Crunchy husband alerted me to the (much, much cheaper) stock at B&Q. I bet the ol’ duke didn’t have any boots as slick as this:

Brilliant wellies


So there’s your connection: shoes. Or, more specifically, my new shoes. I like them. They make me want to run and play in the mud.

Now playing: Paolo Nutini – New Shoes
via FoxyTunes

Paris-Versailles 10 miler: I have NEVER had THAT happen!

Tuesday, 2nd October 2007. Filed in Race reports10 Comments »

100_4679If you’ve run in a popular road race, you know the usual drill. You stand, packed in anticipation, waiting for the start gun. You hear the “go!” and then, depending on where you’re situated in the crowd, it takes you five, ten, twenty minutes to edge your way up to the start line to begin your personal race. When you cross the start line, you are probably still elbow to elbow with other runners and it usually takes a few minutes for things to spread out.

But, spread it does and you are usually running freely by the middle to last quarter of the race. By the end, you may be challenging another fellow runner to the finish, but you can run unimpeded across that line, grab your medal or t-shirt, and do your celebratory “touchdown” dance without too many congestion problems. (Or, collapse on the ground thanking god that’s all over, and wondering why in the world you committed yourself to that in the first place. Whichever takes your fancy on the day.)

That is how I anticipated Sunday’s Paris-Versailles 10 mile run to go. With around 20,000 entrants, I knew it would be crowded at the start. We deliberately hung to the back. Since it was chipped, it didn’t matter when we actually crossed the start line. But, I expected the flow of runners would spread out eventually and everyone would be happy.

Au contraire, mon frere!

The first strike against my expectations came at the beginning, but in a positive way. They funneled us through start chutes at the beginning so crossing the start line was uncrowded and easy. Way cool! That was very refreshing. But even so, the race never really spread out. Because it was a free-for-all line up, everyone was pretty much leap frogging and being passed the entire 10 miles. That was kind of hard, but hey! It was Paris and I was on my way to Versailles, so whatever!

The hill out of Paris was killer. I studied this map beforehand and I knew it would be a challenge. And yeah, it was TOUGH. But really you just kind of had to climb on the “horse” and go. (And go. And go.) So that’s what I did. When I got to the food station, I knew the worst of it was over. I have never been so happy to see an orange in my life. That sucker tasted go-OD! I grabbed a couple wedges and kept the wheels turning.

100_4716The last half of the race wound through woodland and villages, with lots of “waves” and “allez! allez!”s . I loved it! It was awesome. Even though it’s hard to run in a crowd and I had expected it to have thinned out, it was so fun to be immersed in the good vibes. You just get carried away with the motion of the group and keep moving forward. I was amazed when I saw the Versailles sign. I couldn’t really believe I was there already. The Avenue de Paris (leading to the Chateau de Versailles) was probably one of the widest parts of the course, and at 15k I was so ready for the finish. I love running races because of the feelings at the end: the accomplishment, the happiness, the knowledge that you’ve done something good with yourself. Something almost magical happens inside you when you cross that line. You feel great.

I was robbed of my magic.

Trotting along, I saw the finish line ahead. I was like, “yeah baby, I am almost there! Wee-hoooo!” Fire up the jets, I’m sprinting in. It was still a bit crowded, so I couldn’t see what was coming until it was staring me in the unbelieving face: a crowd of people standing on the WRONG SIDE of the finish, WAITING to cross the finish line.

Wait, what?!

100_4726I was stopped short by about, I don’t know, twenty strides by a wall of other runners waiting to edge their way across the line. I don’t think many people could believe what was happening. It was so bizarre, unreal. I seriously considered removing the shoe with the chip tied to it and throwing it over the line. But, that’s kind of dumb. How was I going to get my shoe back and how could I do it without hitting someone in the head? It was a childish thought. All you could do was stand there and move with the herd and accept what was. There was no way out except to wait and shuffle along with the crowd. Thank god, I don’t get claustrophobic. It was pretty stifling. I could feel my muscles crying for a cool down and stretch; yet, all I could do was dance in place and will the crowd forward. Once I crossed the line, it took me about 30 minutes to get through the medal and chip queues and out. I was really bummed I wasn’t able to cheer Crunchy husband on to the finish. It was disappointing in so many ways.

In all my years of running races, I have never had that happen before. Has anyone? Apparently it screwed up about 5,000 runners’ official chip times. I’m not exactly sure what they’re saying the problem was. (I’ll have to work hard to translate the bit we found in yesterday’s newspaper.) But, I got through. And so did Crunchy husband, his first race at this type of distance, hooray!! (He’s feeling a bit disappointed because he walked a few kilometers, but I think he did A-OK!) And we even managed to find each other without too much problem at the end.


Race stats:

Distance: 10 miles (16 km)

Time: 1:36:15 (based on watch time, everything else is wildly inaccurate!)
Pace: 9:37 min/mile

Crunchy husband
Time: 1:53:14
Pace: 11:19 min/mile

[Stayed tuned for video footage of the race, if I can get the clips pieced together the way I want them.]

Paris-Versailles warm up

Tuesday, 2nd October 2007. Filed in I am a goofball, Race reports3 Comments »