Archive for October 2008

Trick or Treat?

Friday, 31st October 2008. Filed in Random foliageNo Comments »

Trick, right? Not to belabor the topic or anything, but how about this weather? Holy socks, Batman! Is it January? Did I miss Christmas? I fell asleep to a lightning storm, had my dreamworld invaded by the crack-crack-crack of hail smacking my window all night long, and woke to find little stones accumulating a fifth of the way up our bedroom windows (they’re in the roof – they slant).

I bet I am not the only person wishing I was going to be wearing a few more items of clothing tonight. What I would do for a Santa costume right now.

Ho! Ho! Ho! Happy Halloween!

Miles traveled for October’s 30-mile Challenge: 30+ miles down – complete!

Put on your socks and mittens, it’s getting colder tonight

Tuesday, 28th October 2008. Filed in Crunchy grooves, Running1 Comment »

I am certain I am lizard trapped inside a human’s body. When it’s cold, I wake with the intense desire to find a warm rock in the sunshine. Except, it’s too cold for that, even if there were nice basking boulders around.  British summertime officially ended with the time change on Sunday, and like clockwork, one season has catapulted me into the next, characterized by teeth chatter, numb extremities and well, doing as the Brits do (yep, I drank tea today, Earl Grey, in fact!).

But one thing I’ve found is that running warms me up, at least for an hour or so, and I’m not picky, I’ll take that hour of warmth when I can get it. I’ve been feeling a bit unwell for the past month or so, but this morning I fought the urge to slack on a run with the best arsenal going during the chilly season: warmth.

So with the dangling carrot of heat to encourage me, I pulled on the mittens and the really yellow warm hat and hit the road. The sun was bright which helped, as did my new discovery. I love running to music, but I hate using headphones when I’m in the road. I once came up with a compromise – one headphone, the hedge-side ear. But, this morning I figured out something even better. My new phone has speakers, yo! No headphones required. I felt a bit strange at first, I’d never do it at the gym obviously, but then I realized there was no one around and it’s not like I hoisted a boombox up on my shoulder for the run, so I let David Byrne sing freely from my breast pocket.

“Strange overtones in the music you are playing…it is strong and you are tough, but a heart is not enough…”

Tra la la, all down the lane. I liked that. I liked that a lot.

Miles traveled for October’s 30-mile Challenge: 27.5 miles down, 2.5 to go

Now playing: Strange Overtones – David Byrne & Brian Eno

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass – 4th October 2008

Saturday, 25th October 2008. Filed in Crunchy grooves, Photography1 Comment »

Trying hard not to think about the fact that I am not in California for tonight’s Bridge School Benefit (Sarah McLachlan and Jack Johnson – sob!), I’m taking a trip back in time to the beginning of October when I was lucky enough to get to spend a day with my family and the world’s favorite moose in the sunshine in Golden Gate Park listening to fun music. For free. Yay! (Only I hadn’t yet acquired my super telephoto lens, so the pics are kind of far back and there are a lot of the backs of tall guys’ heads.)

Three Girls & Their Buddy
Three Girls & Their Buddy @ Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, 04/10/08

Jerry Jeff Walker
Jerry Jeff Walker @ Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, 04/10/08

Asleep at the Wheel
Asleep at the Wheel @ Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, 04/10/08

Crunchy Moose
Crunchy Moose

Miles traveled for October’s 30-mile Challenge: 24 miles down, 6 to go

Not into the DOJL

Wednesday, 22nd October 2008. Filed in Random foliage1 Comment »

Some people get the odd DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). A day or so after they work out is when they discover just how painful normal walking can really be. It’s becoming increasingly clear with each return trip from California that I get the DOJL – delayed onset jet lag.

Holy cow. Just when I dare to believe I might be safe, it hits. It does not matter how tired I make myself during the day: I can be so exhausted at 10 pm when I adamantly declare I want to watch the news over football results, only to realize the next thing that I’ve missed the whole national and world news bits and it’s onto the BBC South East because I’ve fallen asleep on the couch. We were at an energetically enthused performance of Orchestra Baobab Monday night and at one point, I felt my head nod and then jerk back and I was like, “dude, for real? How can I be falling asleep to this?” But then, I wake at 3 am feeling so awake it feels like I must have over slept.

Last night I crawled downstairs at 4 am for a little past-crunchy banana nurture. I am sad to say it didn’t help much. I am looking forward to getting my circadian rhythms back on local time and sleeping the full 10 (or 11 or 12!) hours that keep me peppy and raring to go.

Miles traveled for October’s 30-mile Challenge: 21 miles down, 9 to go

Once again, it’s time to bust out the bird book

Monday, 20th October 2008. Filed in Cross-training, Nature, Photography2 Comments »


The only good thing about being in England during the cold fall and winter months is the birdlife here around the Thanet Coast. Well, okay I am sure there are other merits as well that I don’t properly appreciate, like dark mornings and gray, dreary afternoons, but the abundant waders are what we turn our attention to the most when this time of the year rolls around.

On Saturday, we set out across the fields and marshes to get to the River Stour in a completely new way. We ended up tromping through ditches and walking the perimeter of fields with no evident exits and well, never quite made it to the river. But hey, it was an adventure in our own backyard and exercise. However, contrary to what you might expect from the introduction to this post, we saw no birds. Psyche.

However, yesterday we hiked up the beach at Sandwich Bay, and boy, did we see birds! I got excited by my one spot of a curlew on the way up to the estuary, but I wasn’t really prepared for the magnitude of birds we would see around the bend. Ladies and gentlemen, the birds are back in town!

We saw curlew, grey herons, various plovers and oystercatchers in the hundreds. I even got some shots, though not very many good ones, with our new telephoto lens.

I believe it is time to investigate the new hide over at Pegwell Bay. Bring on winter, I’m armed and ready!

Miles traveled for October’s 30-mile Challenge: 18 miles down, 12 to go

Run for water in October

Wednesday, 15th October 2008. Filed in Running1 Comment »

This trip to California, I’ve been trying to balance playing with my niece and seeing family and friends with getting some things on the to-do list done. Crossing things off, I came to item “check out running for water”.

Now, I grew up in drought territory, so from an early age I had some semblance of the idea that clean, usable water is not an unlimited resource—despite having it piped straight into my house. If it’s yellow let it mellow…turn off the flow when you’re soaping or shaving in the shower…don’t let the tap run while you’re brushing your teeth or washing dishes…

But, I’ve always been lucky enough to have it, literally, at my fingertips. I’ve never had to trek it from miles or worry that it was clean, which is not the case for millions of people around the world.

A few weeks ago, someone left a comment on a CRN new members post about the Blue Planet Run Foundation’s 30-mile Challenge. On my end, the challenge is simple: run, walk, or cycle 30 miles in October and pledge $1 a mile to help fund a safe water project at a school in Tanzania.

In some ways it’s too bad my to-do list didn’t say “check out running for water starting October 1st” because at this point, I am a little behind, but I figure it’s better late than never and easy to make up the mileage. Please join me!

Audrey turns 1

Monday, 13th October 2008. Filed in Family and friends3 Comments »

Shots from my niece’s 1st birthday party:

What is going on?

Not really into the tiara

Yum, cake

Thank you, Uncle Barry for this cool shirt

I dig placebo runner’s high

Monday, 6th October 2008. Filed in Race reports3 Comments »

Is it possible to get runner’s high when you haven’t even run?

I’m sitting here trying to remember if I’ve ever watched a running race I could have participated in, and I believe today was the first time I cheered from the sidelines.

I made my plans to come to California for my niece’s birthday and my friend’s baby shower too late to register (at a reasonable price) and train for San Jose’s Rock n’ Roll half marathon, so after brief delusions of a 5 week training plan and an inappropriate use of cash, I decided cheering on my friends would be the best course of action. I thought assigning myself the role of “team photographer” would help, but I also thought I’d feel a bit sad, a bit envious.

Nope. It is really strange how I don’t even have to be running to have that “oh my god, I love fun races” feeling.  It shouldn’t surprise me though because I love being the cheerleader – go team! It was a beautiful day in downtown San Jose and it was just positive energy all over.

Erika's glory shot This is Erika. She began running 4 months ago. I could tell before the race when I gave her a good race hug and told her I was proud of her she was very excited but very nervous.

The woman kicked butt. I mean, we all knew she would but really she did! And the old pro CaliSeaStar kicked some booty too, despite not having a gold star run. The only thing that didn’t go exactly to plan was the photography. I took loads of pictures of people I don’t know, but well, I didn’t get very good pictures of my friends because every time I saw them I was too concerned with jumping up and down and cheering them on to allow the camera to stay in focus.

I know I don’t really have runner’s high since I don’t even get it when I run, but wow, I’m proud of these girls and everyone I saw out there!