Archive for December 2007

What’s worse than coal?

Saturday, 29th December 2007. Filed in Running1 Comment »

Bring on the milk and cookies- Santa’s coming!

Tuesday, 25th December 2007. Filed in Random foliage1 Comment »

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Ho. Ho. Ho. Happy holidays everyone!

What did I really expect?

Friday, 14th December 2007. Filed in Random foliage1 Comment »

I’ve never been less proud to have been a Junior Ranger than I am today.

On the radio this morning, they were briefly criticizing Tony Blair’s bit in this year’s White House Christmas video, so I had to take a look. I kind of just don’t know what to say. I don’t go in for cutsie, anyway. So the dogs? Not cool. But, this just disturbs me on so many levels.

I have to go un-decorate for Christmas now, so I won’t go into it. Plus, I’d like to be jolly on my last day in England before Christmas. Lucky for me, I’ve been promised Mark Ramprakash on Breakfast TV.

Hip with the kids

Wednesday, 12th December 2007. Filed in Random foliage2 Comments »

We were driving last week, and the BBC Radio 1 dj was rambling about this and that, and then he caught my attention. He started talking about National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. An ultimate Christmas classic, in my opinion. So he’s just chit-chatting away describing the movie, and then he starts describing Chevy Chase. “He’s kind of like Will Ferrell…” I was incredulous. I couldn’t believe it. Not about the comparison, because I think it’s a pretty good one, but who doesn’t know who Chevy Chase is? I turned slightly to Crunchy husband: “WHO doesn’t know who Chevy Chase is?”"Um, well, you know. Kids.”

Oh my god, I’m old now. (Is it possible to feel old AND look forward to your 30s at the same time? Because I do. And I do. My 30s man, they are going to rock. I’m sure of it!)

Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay 2007

Tuesday, 11th December 2007. Filed in Race reports3 Comments »

Once upon a time, there was a half-marathon in Monterey. It feels like ages ago, but it’s only been four weeks. However, that means I am four weeks deficient on the promised race report. Time to get cracking!

In a word, the race was awesome. But, I think you might be looking for more words, so I’ll continue from where I left off.

We drove down to Monterey Saturday afternoon to collect our numbers and chips and to get ourselves settled. After dropping the gear off in the motel, we headed to the aquarium to see the young white shark and the otters. The jellyfish, however, stole the show for me. Their fluidity and diversity in color and form mesmerize me. They have such grace.

Lights out, as anticipated, was around 9 am, after the girls had their fill of TV time. (They don’t have one.) I fell right to sleep. As I do when I am really, really scared the 3 alarms I have set will not go off, I woke up several times during the night. The last time was 4:54, five minutes before the alarms were due to go off, so out I tumbled, bright-eyed and ready to go. I had slept better than I thought because I didn’t even realize it had been raining all night.

The rain didn’t last past dawn and we had a beautiful day at the coast. I started the race with CaliSeaStar because it’s important to me to start with my friends. Neither of us really warmed up before-hand (bad, I know), so we took the first bit pretty chill.

The race course wound its way out and then back through a bit of Monterey before sending us into the tunnel and out onto Cannery Row. If you’ve never been cheered on by the bark of a sea lion, let me tell you, you’re missing out. It’s great!

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We headed down Cannery Row and then out along the coast toward Pacific Grove. Of the two half marathons I did this year, the coastal views on this one come in tops. For sure. Sorry Bournemouth, you’ve got nothing on Monterey. The sky was clear, the ocean was vividly blue, and the atmosphere was energizing.

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Can I just say thank you to all the lovely folks with cow bells and warm spirits cheering us on? You make all the difference. It would be a lonely road without people like this:

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(I only wish I had taken a better picture. Can you tell I never actually stop when I take these shots from the course?)

It also totally jazzed me to hear the taiko drummers at the turn around point. That was awesome!

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At about mile 11, I could totally feel the non-training kicking in. I was so ready to be done. But, thanks to our #1 support crew, I had apples to see me through the last couple miles. I could have had more if I’d stopped– bananas, mangoes, gummy bears, but I get pretty focused when I run and just want to keep pushing on. Or maybe my mind turns to mush. I didn’t even remember the gummy bears.

I heard the sirens just as I came back onto Cannery Row, and saw a man collapsed just after Mile 12. I get a little emotional during long races anyway, especially towards the end, because hey, it’s something to be proud of, right? But, this struck right in. My thoughts were with him, and I hope that he is now all right.

The race ended along the rec trail just before Fisherman’s Wharf. I finished in 2:05.09, which was faster than I thought I would do considering my training issues in the month leading up. My heel did not hurt the entire run. It was a success!

Where am I? Here I am!

Monday, 10th December 2007. Filed in Random foliage2 Comments »

“Billy Pilgrim says that the Universe does not look like a lot of bright little dots to the creatures from Tralfamadore. The creatures can see where each star has been and where it is going, so that the heavens are filled with rarefied, luminous spaghetti.”
–Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Slaughterhouse Five

I am coming back into focus. Don’t ask where I’ve been because, seriously, I couldn’t tell you. But, I’m coming back. I’m nearly here. Only be warned, I’ll be starting it all over again on Friday.

Ever since I returned from California, I’ve been in a strange haze. I can’t really say I’ve come “unstuck in time”. I’m not shell-shocked or dealing with any kind of tragedy. And yet, I can’t find words to describe exactly how I’ve felt. I mean, we got our Christmas tree and it took me FIVE nights to decorate the thing. It’s felt a bit surreal.

For a while, I attributed it to the evil jet-lag kicking my ass. And kick it did. I fought back, but night sleep was elusive, even though I didn’t let myself nap during non-sleeping hours. I am now sleeping (most) of the hours between midnight and 7 am, but I’d love to get completely back to normal sometime soon.

After about a week of the ‘lag, I started feeling under the weather. I was sick, maybe but not quite. During this time, everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, from taco salad to candy bars, tasted like fish. I’m not a big fan of fish. My head and sense of time was really fuzzy throughout this. I finally re-gained my appetite and started eating normally, so now I have more energy and more control over my thoughts and senses.

That said, all wasn’t completely lost during this period. The tree is big and tall and beautiful. It glows and makes me feel happy. We had a turbo session at Bluewater and did all of our England Christmas shopping in one go. The Christmas cards are (nearly) written. We had a big winter feast, and so far have received no accounts of poisoning anyone with my cooking. I made it into London to volunteer at Kew for an afternoon, and to take in bits of the Henry Moore installation. And somehow, I had it together enough to speak briefly about Seashore Safaris in front of a room full of people. I think it was coherent, anyway. Who knows?

So, I think I’ve made it back to the planet and out of my time warp. Only time will tell.

Or, will it?