Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Walkathon! - Tuesday Tune, vol 92

Today's Tuesday Tunes (on Wednesday because I'm the CEO of this operation and I can do this from time-to-time) are brought to you by your friendly, neighborhood Public School.  I've decided that the only thing wrong with Public School is the Public.  (Don't ask 'cause it'll get me started.  TRUST ME.)*

*I love these types of comments.  They always scream "ask me! ask me! ask me! ask me!" don't they?  Sure do.  Then you'll ask, and I'll GO OFF and I'll say all sorts of horrible stuff.  Then it'll be your fault because you're the one that asked and you were warned.   This little trick is learned in manipulation 101 (or kindergarten) of your local public school.

The Yahoo's Public School is doing the Walkathon** in a couple of weeks.  Isn't that exciting?  Sure is.  Even more exciting is that it's in September instead of April or May like usual.  In previous years, we've had weather to contend to during these April and May months so having the Walkathon during Spectacular September is a welcome change.

**I sure hope the definition of Walkathon was correct.  The Public via Wikipedia entered this definition and I didn't even read it! Hah!  That'll show the Public.

Another welcome change is the mom in charge of the playlist.  It's me this year!  Yay!  Let's hear for Rabid Playlists!  At Public School!  Being as I have some issues with appropriateness – specifically, what kind of tunes are appropriate for grade school – I'm asking for some assistance and/or guidance and/or recommendations.  Here's what I have so far:

Work It Out - Jurassic 5 Feat. Dave Matthews Band
The Edge of Glory -  Lady GaGa
I Gotta Go - Robert Earl Keen
Forever Young - Bob Dylan
I Like to Move It -
Crocodile Rock - Elton John
Say Hey (I Love You) - Michael Franti & Spearhead Feat. Cherine Anderson
Magnificent -  U2
I Run To You - Lady Antebellum
A Hard Day's Night -  The Beatles
Aal Izz Well (Remix) -  Shantanu Moitra, Shaan, Swanand Kirkire & Sonu Nigam
Footloose - Kenny Loggins
Drivin' My Life Away - Eddie Rabbitt
Give Love (Giving4Living Mix) - MC Yogi
Ready to Run - Dixie Chicks
I've Been Everywhere - Johnny Cash
Viva La Vida - Coldplay
One Day - Matisyahu featuring Nameless
Push It (Remix) - Salt-N-Pepa

For giggles, the final tune is so that the the Public can blame their education hardships on whoever made the Walkathon playlist. (That would be me.  Blame me.  I'm the Public too!)

Don't Blame the World, It's the DJ's Fault - Cobra Starship

I figured that a tune from each genre would be necessary, so I added some country and some pop, and some oldies and a few from the hip-hop(ish.)  And because I feel no playlist is complete without a Bollywood hit, I added one of those as well (bet you can find it if you concentrate real hard.)  The rock genre has not been represented.  I need some help with this.  All of the ones I'd pick have racy lyrics or angry jams.  Anyone?

Incidentally, this makes me think that next week should be tunes about the inappropriate.  Like Stacy's Mom by Fountains of Wayne.  Ouch!  So inappropriate. Tune in next week for the inappropriate.  Now that'll be exciting.  I won't take the easy route by adding tunes with swears.  These tunes will be inappropriate for other reasons.  Still not that difficult, I know, but humor me.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Drive To Five - Tuesday Tune, vol 91

Last November, I (from American Fork, Utah) met my friends Tina (St George, Utah) and Megan (Sparks, Nevada) in New York City.  Tina and I were there to run the marathon, and I begged Megan to join us for some kicks and many giggles.  Tina brought her son Tyson (Scottsdale, Arizona), because, as was obvious, Tyson is Tina's biggest fan.  Tyson brought his friend Branson (Salt Lake City, Utah) and Branson and Tyson had a rendezvous with their Connecticut friend Tony.

We were quite a bunch, us.  And while we were spread amongst the country with our ages and careers and hobbies, we had one thing in common:  The Internet.  We had all met, and befriended one another with the help of our high-on-tcp/ip brother: The Internet

Megan and I met through our prospective blogs, and became friendly enough to vacation together multiple times.  Tina and I met at a race in Hurricane, Utah, and thanks to Facebook, we became friendly enough to vacation together multiple times.  Tyson, Branson, and Tony, however, befriended one another because of this internet – enough to vacation together multiple times – but the internet wasn't the only thing that brought the three stooges together.  They were brought together because of a particular type of car, the Acura Legend.

Tyson, Branson, and Tony are Acura Legend connoisseurs, aficionados, etc. who are members of some Acura Legend on-line club for Acura Legend collectors.  They're hot stuff.  Legendary, in fact.

When I first met Tyson, I knew there was something special about him.  I'm sure one could know this Tyson for many years without uncovering all of his specialness.  I quite like the kid, and not just because he's Tina's.

As many of you already know – uh-hem – uncovering the specialness of a person is quite easy if they have a blog.  (I mean, look at all the specialness you've learned about me.)  When Tina was here last, she told me that our dearest, specialist Tyson has a blog.   I was tickled pink to discover that Tyson, and all of his many specials, can be read about on a blog.

Tyson's blog is called Drive To Five.  Check it out, you're gonna wanna, because it's an unfolding drama.  Tyson has an Acura Legend with (just over) 490,000 miles.  This reference to "Drive to Five" is a specific one.  The reference being Drive To Five HUNDRED THOUSAND.  That's 500,000 miles.  On the same car, with the same engine, the same clutch, and same other stuff – even the tranny (I love that word, tranny.  Say it.  Go on.  Say it out loud.  It's fun.  Tranny!)



Can you believe that?  490,000 miles.  Makes you want an Acura, doesn't it?  Does me.  However, it has also renewed some gusto for my current vehicle and it's 158,000 miles.  I'm going to take it all the way to 250,000.  Watch me.

But before you watch me take my little vehicle to 250k, watch Tyson take his to 500. Should be happening any day now (not really, might be a month or two.)  That's why today's Tuesday Tunes are all about driving and miles and cars and whatnot.

Ride The Lightning - Metallica
Journey To Oasis - Metisse
Dubbing In The Back Seat - The Upsetters
Shut Up and Drive - Rihanna
Middle Of The Road - The Pretenders
Cars And Guitars - Tori Amos
Good Times Roll - The Cars
I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) - Proclaimers
Jerry Was A Race Car Driver - Primus
Joy Ride  - The Killers
Rockin' Down The Highway - The Doobie Brothers
Spinning the Wheel - George Michael
Get Miles - Gomez
I Like to Move It -
The Dreaming Road - Mary Chapin Carpenter
Mint Car - The Cure
How Many Miles Must We March - Ben Harper (covered by WET)
Ten Miles Back - The Crystal Method
Rough Rider - The English Beat
Ghost Towns Along The Highway - John Mellencamp
When The Road Runs Out - Blonde Redhead + Devastations
Freedom's Road - John Mellencamp
King of the Road - Roger Miller
Roadhouse Blues - The Doors
40 Miles To Vegas - Southern Culture On The Skids
Road To Nowhere - Ozzy Osbourne
The High Road - Broken Bells
I Am The Highway - Audioslave
Slow Ride [Single Version] - Foghat
Rental Car - Beck
Drive You Home - Garbage
Elvis' Wild Ride - String Cheese Incident
Love Is A Long Road - Tom Petty
Ride Of The Valkyries - Richard Wagner
Highway - Ingrid Michaelson
On the Road Again - Canned Heat
Take Me Home, Country Roads - John Denver
Car Wash - Rose Royce
Car Lights - Papermoons
Under My Wheels - Alice Cooper
Asleep At The Wheel - The Bloodhound Gang
Highway 51 Blues - Bob Dylan
Key To The Highway - Derek & The Dominos
Gypsy Road - Cinderella
Ride - The Dandy Warhols
Passenger Seat - Death Cab For Cutie
The Long And Winding Road - The Beatles
Wide Open Road - Johnny Cash
Walk Or Ride - The Ditty Bops
Enjoy The Ride - Morcheeba Feat. Judie Tzuke
Slow Ride - Sublime
Oil 1 - Moby
Journey Within - Paul Cardall
Same Road, Same Reason - Acoustic Alchemy
Gasoline - Audioslave
Road Man - Smash Mouth
Side Of The Road - Beck
Why Don't We Do It In The Road? - The Beatles
Coming Down The Road - John Mellencamp
Silver Wheels - Heart
Car Song - Elastica
Moonlight Drive - The Doors
Carry On Wayward Son - Kansas
Miles Away - The Verve Pipe
Every Day is a Winding Road - Sheryl Crow
Riders On The Storm - The Doors
Race Car Ya-Yas - CAKE
Freedom Of The Road - Martin Sexton
The Road - Patty Larkin
Highway Unicorn (Road to Love) - Lady GaGa
Road To Joy - Bright Eyes
Roads - Portishead
'Round The Wheel - String Cheese Incident
Drive  - The Cars
In the Backseat - Arcade Fire
Ticket To Ride - The Beatles
Queen Of The Highway - The Doors
Winding Road - Bonnie Somerville
King's Highway - Kenny Wayne Shepherd
Heavy Fuel -  Dire Straits
Stickshifts And Safetybelts - Cake

... And this just in, a few, fine additions from Jenn:

Hell on Wheels - The Clarks
Texas Ride Song - The BoDeans
All My Roads - Colin Raye
Lost My Driving Wheel - Cowboy Junkies
Drivin' My Life Away - Eddie Rabbit
Just a Ride - Jem
The Truck Song - Lyle Lovett

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Verdict Is...

We are IN!

Yahoo #2 asked if Josh would kindly "play the Mario Bros song."  
Josh obliged, and it's better in person.

Not sure what I'm talking about?  Go here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
by J.K. Rowling


Hey kids!  Check it out.  I finally finished the final installment of the Harry Potter phantasm.  Took me long enough. What the heck took me so long?   I'll tell you what took me so long.  Right around book five, I got bored with it and needed a break. Like a four-year break.  I got tired of the J.K. Rowling Recipe.  Which, you know, included Harry and friends finding something evil, then fighting the evil, then getting in trouble for fighting the evil.  Round and round it went.

The Deathly Hallows finale, however, did not follow the recipe.  It was intensely satisfying and unpredictable.  I quite enjoyed myself through all of it's many pages.  Interestingly enough, I cheated a bit and watched both Deathly Hallows flicks before starting the book.  Even then, the book did not disappoint.  Even then, I found it intensely satisfying and unpredictable.

For the record, I found both Deathly Hallows flicks to be fantastic.  A fantastic phantasm!  Also for the record, I'm rather fond of Ms. Rowling's alliterations.  She uses them everywhere.  She and I should have tea some time.

Up next: Outliers by Malcom Gladwell

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Theme from Mario Bros – Tuesday Tune, vol 90

As was mentioned earlier, we are losing our beloved piano teacher to the city of St. George (insert obnoxious sadness here.)  We've looked hither and yawn for the perfect fit.  Sadly, we haven't had much luck.  My sister mentioned a young prodigy with whom she is acquainted – they're both getting the Masters in Music Mark at a University called Utah – and sent me some youtube video.  He's fabulously talented and perhaps waaaaay out of our league.  Forget the perhaps part; this guy is waaaaay out of our league.

His name is Josh Wright.

After some careful research, I still felt that he was waaaay out of our league.  But then I stumbled upon a little ditty he does with the Super Mario Bros theme.  

One viewing of Mr. Wright and his Mario Bros Masterpiece, and I was hooked.  "I want this boy to teach my boys," said I, and decided then and there that it was worth a shot.  I mean, the worst thing he could say is no, right?  Right!  It's totally worth a shot.

We have an audition with Josh today.  Note that he is auditioning us, and not the other way around.

Wish us luck in the Mushroom Kingdom.  And may we save Princess Toadstool, gather the right amount of coins, reveal the correct question-marked bricks, and defeat all the Goombas and Koopa Troopas.  While we're at it, let's home the Yahoos don't pick up any Fire Flowers, for we want this Mr. Wright seeing the Yahoos in their true colors.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Taking It Out Back

Spouse and me, we have this saying.  When we love something, we say that we're going to take it out back and get it pregnant.  This new camera lens?  I love it so much that I'm going to take it out back and get it pregnant.  Spouse's Tall Boy?  He's gotten that thing pregnant multiple times.  We love lots of things around here, so you'd think that the house would be full of impregnated articles of this 'n that.

Being as we have young Yahoos, we cannot rightly say the pregnant part.  Mostly, it's because they're young, but it's also crude, and parents aren't supposed to be crude.  So, when the Yahoos are around, and we love something so very much, we drop the pregnant part, and say, "I love this so much, I'm going to take it out back."

We cannot take credit for this get-it-pregnant genius.  The idea was stolen from 30 Rock's Tracy Jordan. During one episode, Tracy declared his love for cornbread and said he was going to "take it behind the middle school and get it pregnant."  We dropped the middle school part, because we don't have middle schools around here.  But if we did, it would be at least a block or two away, and that would be too far.  No matter where you are, "out back" is just a IUDs-throw away, so naturally, taking something out back is much more convenient than taking it behind the middle school.  (When it comes to pregnancy, we like to keep it convenient.)


Well, just as you'd expect, the Yahoos are catching on.  A few days ago, Spouse said something about my cooking being so awesome that he was going to take it out back (we'll just ignore the fact that he wanted to take the cooking out back, and not me.)   Yahoo #1, tired of the "out back" mystery, closed one eye half way, and barked "What is with you two taking stuff out back?!"

Then, just two days ago, Yahoo #2 and I were preparing dinner.  When I wasn't looking, the Pound Hound jumped up and grabbed some food, hung his head low, and disappeared.  Yahoo #2 covered his mouth with both hands, and sheepishly – even impishly – hollered, "Mooooom.  Max just took it out back!"

Saturday, August 13, 2011

It's Leadville Day!

Today is Leadville Day and I LOVE Leadville Day.  Specifically, it's the Leadville 100 MTB day.  (That's 100 miles on a mountain bike.)  There are several types of Leadville events, so one must be specific these days.   I love Leadville Day because it's the day I sit at my desk not suffering while I watch the stats of those suffering.  This year, I'm watching around six people, and sending info on to their various support teams.  My at-the-desk-not-suffering is important this year.  I feel special.

Hillene just checked into Columbine Mine, which is the half-way mark.  YOU'RE ALMOST THERE BABE!  (Just kidding, she's not almost there, she has 50 miles to go.)


There's also the RadRacer who has also checked into Columbine Mine.


I'm also watching the Hammer, which if you'll recall, was on my Wasatch Back team.


And, because I like the Hammer, I decided to check the stats of her racing Spouse. Note that I'm checking his stats because he's is betrothed to the Hammer and not because he's Fat Cyclist. (But seriously, check Fatty out... he's killing it!)


For giggles, here's the map for Leadville.  Doesn't that look fun!


Now, if you'll excuse me... I have important work to do.  They might have all checked into the next check-in, and if they have checked into the next check-in, then I'll need to send some text messages.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Relaxed or Bored? – Tuesday Tune, vol 89

This week, I learned that there's a super fine line between relaxed and bored.  Seriously it's a very fine line. Like the fineness of fishing line or laser beam trip wires that they use in the high-tech thievery movies. That's why today's Tuesday Tunes are about relaxing and being bored.

Relax – Frankie Goes to Hollywood
Relax, Take It Easy – Mika
I Never Can Relax – Hellogoodbye
Bored – Deftones
I'm So Bored of the U.S.A. – The Clash
I'm Bored – Iggy Pop
Bored With Sorcery – Monster Magnet
Are We That Bored – The Great Fiction
So Bored – Sia

(It's a Fine Line Between) Pleasure and Pain – Divinyls

Monday, August 08, 2011

Jupiter Peak Inner Commentary

Saturday's Jupiter Peak left me with some inner commentary.  This inner commentary has been mulling about for many hours.  I figured that if it's mulling about, there must be a reason.   That's why today's post is about making my mullings public.

The E Word
Here's the trouble with recreating on single track around here – each and every person on it believes the trail belongs to them, and only them. The Park City folks claim the trail because they live in town, pay the taxes, and it's their back yard.  Racers demand dominion, because they paid good, hard-earned cash to be there, and each has a numbered bib to prove it. Other racers, prolly 90%, postulate privilege because their podium positioning depends upon it.  Outta my way!  There's only 300 in front of me, but I'm gonna pass 'em all on a single track, just watch!

There's also the hikers, who, in their vested virtue, are using the trails the way The Grand Creator intended, on foot; not running, and certainly not cycling.  Finally, we have the cyclist.  Most are generous about crowds, but a few elitist egotists demand full reign because, well, just look at how awesome they are.  Their awesomeness alone should have the city council waving a submissive white flag in their honor.  Look at you climb!  No one else is worthy!  The trail is all yours!  Follow me to the court house pronto!  And we'll turn it all over to you, and only you!

The E word.  Entitled.  That's what they are.  My Jupiter Peak adventure was full of the Entitled.  About a mile and a half into the race, a group of us racers were trotting along when we came upon a hiker.  A gentleman ahead of me said, "Can we get by you please?" and she replied with a "Sure thing asshole."  That was the first run-in.

The second one came on the way down.  I came upon another runner, one sporting the head phones.  So I said, "Can I get by you?"  He said nothing, and I figured he couldn't hear me, so I said it again.  "CAN I GET BY YOU SIR?"  Still nothing, so when the trail opened a bit, I darted past him.  He wasn't pleased.  But here's the deal with headphones on a a crowded single track – if you cannot hear the twigs breaking, or the stomping behind you, then your tunes are too loud.  Maybe I should have tapped him on the shoulder, or pinched his tight little toosh?  Next time.

The rest were cyclists coming up.  Pretty much every cyclist I came upon was a near crash, and most were ticked that there was a race that day.  When I could see them coming, I jumped off the the trail.  Some of the corners were blind, however, and neither of us could see much.  One girl coming around the corner looked at me and yelled "BIKE!" so I jumped off.  She said thanks, and I said, "Sure thing, babe." Cause that's the kind of gal I am – the kind that will jump off so as to avoid a crash.

Shortly after the BIKE! babe, I heard some guy crash, then yell "There are bikes on this trail!  Watch the eff out."  And when I finished, a received word that a girl I know actually had a collision with an uphill cyclist.

Saturday was extremely crowded.  And everyone felt they were there first.  So what's the protocol? Trail rules say that the uphillers should yield to the downlhillers.  This meant all racers had the right-of-way.  But when speed is involved, there isn't time for a decent yielding; there's only time for a panicked reaction.

Next year, I would suggest that the Mountain Trails folks post a sign at the bottom of various trailheads to warn travelers that a race is happening and to expect a crowd.  Might not hurt to remind them that the race is a fundraiser for said trails.  Then we could all slow down a touch and be considerate.  I realize that our beloved workouts might suffer because of this, but we'll all be alive and unharmed, yes?

After I've coerced the trail community to slow down and be considerate, I'll get right to work on the drivers of Utah.  The whole lot of them.  Wish me luck.

Attention Race Directors!
Wanna make more money at your race?  It's super easy.  All you have to do is provide an ugly shirt with the race, then present the option to buy a super cool shirt.  That's what the Mountain Trails people did.  They gave us all this ugly shirt, but had a "limited edition" La Sportiva on display that we could take home for just $15 more.  Did I buy the super cool shirt?  No, but Spouse did!  I heart Spouse.  He knows a super cool t-shirt when he sees one.

Exhibit A, ugly race shirt:


Exhibit B, Super Cool Race Shirt:

See?  No comparison.  Wouldn't you pay more for the super cool shirt?  
Or at least get your Spouse to pay more for the super cool shirt?

Let's Hear it for Humans
Did you know that I'm human?  Sure am.  But did you know that among us humans there are non-humans?  It's true.  These non-humans can do super human things.  Like run up 3000 vertical feet, then back down, a total of 15 miles, and do so in 1:51. That's one hour, 51 minutes.

How do they do that?  Forget the fitness.  I'm talking about the footing.  How do you run 6:00 minute miles on a trail and not trip?  Blows my mind.  I'm human.  Those freaks are not.  And it's high time I stop comparing myself to those non-human freaks.

And Humans Take Pictures
While I was climbing this mountain as a human, I decided that humans take pictures. Non-humans don't take pictures because they're always going too fast.  If they were to take photos, the photos would end up blurry (that fast thing, you know.)   When I succeeded to a race that would most definitely blow chunks, I stopped for photos.  Glad I did.  I mean, it'd be tragic if I never made it up there again, and didn't have any photos.  You never know when your last trip will actually be your last...

See that mountain in the background?  That's The Peak.   I'm almost there, and I'm trying to hide the grimace.  Doesn't look like I'm any good at hiding the grimace, though. It's a grimace that says, "holy crap, I gotta climb that thing." Notice the anti-embelism socks, that, contrary to Skibikejunkie belief, do wonders for the calves.

Aid station with gummy bears, pretzels, Swedish fish, Powerade, water, and digested cat food mixed with raisins and formed into a bar of some sort.  Stuck with my pomegranate Honey Stingers. 



In the Which I Reveal that I'm a Hypocrite
After the race on Saturday, I had posted some thoughts on my rough day.  Jenn commented about my attitude; something about my attitude being "awesomely epic." In full disclosure, I must confess that the finish brought with it a complete I-suck-at-this-I'm-going-to-quit-running meltdown.  The kids were not impressed.  "Mom!  You're swearing!  Quit swearing!" they said.

This is their "Mom, quit swearing face."  
Either that or they aren't pleased with me positioning a photo in front of a pink bike.

To add further insult to my already melting meltdown, the race people were selling those super cool shirts, would only take cash, and we didn't have enough cash on our person.  Spouse, being the super cool spouse that he is, said, "Let's go to a store for a drink or something and get some cash."

So that's what we did.  We went to the store for cash, and while we were there I grabbed a bottle of pickles.  On the way back, I swallowed eight baby dills whole and guzzled a few tablespoons of the juice.  Pickles and juice are where it's at!  Partaking the pickles pushed-out miss pissy-pants and replaced her with the positivity princess.*

*Why does the letter "P" produce the most promise for alliterating?  It's true.  Do more words start with "P" than other letters or what?

Do it in Gore (TM)
And finally, we get to the highlight of the day.  The part where we bedecked ourselves head-to-ankle in everything Gore (TM) and jumped in the Gore (TM) hurricane booth.  Super cool, this Gore (TM) hurricane booth.  There was wind and rain.  And during the wind and the rain, we jumped around and wailed the "aaaa-aahh-ah" from Immigrant Song. Then we jumped some more and hollered – had to holler, it was noisy in there – "We come from the land of the ice and snow, from the midnight sun where the hot springs flow!" 

We walked out of Gore's (TM) hurricane booth dry.  Gore (TM) really works!  Check it out:




Saturday, August 06, 2011

Personal Worsts are More Work than Personal Bests

Why is it, that a personal worst seems like more work than a personal best?  I asked Spouse this same question an hour go.  His reply was epic.  (I feel like dropping that epic word today, so I'll prolly drop that epic word multiple times, and I might even pull a fast one and call something amazing and epic.)

In reply to my personal-worsts-seem-like-more-work-than-personal-bests question, Spouse's epic reply was, "The joy of victory erases all pain."  See?  That was amazingly epic.

I pulled some fast Faulkner foreshadowing on you today.  Did you catch that?  That first paragraph was a hint that today's Jupiter Peak Steeplechase didn't turn out so great.  Holy crap, it was awful. Awfully fun, but awful none-the-less.

My subconscious pulled some fast Faulkner foreshadowing on me as well.  Spouse drove me to the race this morning.  On the way, I looked up at the great beyond, way up high with the airplanes, to that epic peak in the sky, that peak known as Jupiter, looming above like one of those two towers with Gollum on it, and said, "Do I really have to do this?"  I don't remember what he said, but like I'm ever going to plop down cash to run the most epic (and usually my favorite) race of the year, then bail 400 meters from the parking lot. (Seriously though, I could see 'n hear Gollum up there growling for his precious.)

Well, I showed up, and I ran/hiked all the way up, and ran like hell all the way down.  In years' past, (specifically, last year) I've been able run all the way to a ridge called Pioneer, which is pretty close to the mad scramble at the top.  This year, however, was not so good for running.  Great for hiking?  Yes.  But running?  Nada.  I've told everyone that I wobbled in 30 minutes slower than last year.  But after careful research, I can conclude that I was only 12 minutes slower.

Here's the official map from the web site:


And here's the proof from the watch that I actually did it:

Isn't that so cute how the Garmin map people call it "Jupiter Hill?"  
That ain't no hill.  That Jupiter is a mountain!


So what happened?  Besides the 3,490 feet of vertical?  Not sure.  And I'm not sure I care either.  Today was a great reminder.  A reminder that when participating in endurance activities, there will always be a rough day here and there.  I will not, however, call these rough days "bad."  For any day that the body will move is never a bad day.  And any day you can spend in the mountains of Utah is an amazingly epic day for sure.

I'll do it again next year.  It wasn't that rough.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Focus on Fun

I've been super duper burned out on all sorts of things lately.  Running included.  Running especially.  I've been unable to see the point in my day-to-day happenings, and also see no reason to shake up the day-to-day happenings so as to produce a point.  Heck, I'm so unable to see points, that I've removed point-producing items, like the pencil sharpener, all the ballet shoes, and the bra to my Madonna costume.

I am burnt.  And you know you're in trouble when your one tool for preventing the burn-out is causing the burn-out (running in my case.)

To be honest, I wasn't looking forward to the actual running of the Timpanogos Half Marathon last weekend.  I was excited to see friends and whatnot, but the prospect of racing gave me dread, and it's all because I want to be (and run) fast.

When summer rolls around, I have an undulating desire for speed and focus on fast.  All I think about is getting faster.  I read this 'n that from various circulars and publications, all in the hopes that I will finally find the thing, the plan, the mileage, the supplement, the shoes – the whatever – that will make me run faster.

All this focus on fast can make a runner forget about the fun, and how the fun of running is the reason you do it in the first place.

Last Saturday morning, I was not in the mood to run.  Goes without saying that I was not in the mood to race either.  I was all sorts of blah.  On the bus ride, I decided that I'd just run the first mile and see what happens.  That's it.  Run the first mile and try to have fun doing it.  So that's what I did, I ran the first mile and discovered that I was enjoying myself.  Decided that I could prolly push it and still have fun.  I finished the race decently, had a great time, and earned a new PR.*

*Well kind of a PR.  I'm calling this race my new half marathon PR.  I've run a half marathon in 1:29:07, but that half marathon was the Hobble Creek and it always measures around 12.8 instead of 13.1. At a 7 minute mile average, that's about 1 minute 45 seconds of cheating.  With this same logic, one might infer that Saturday's 1:30:22 would be a 1:28:37 at Hobble Creek. 

Something magical happened this weekend.  I discovered that I run because it's fun, and not because I'm fast.  I also discovered that if you focus on fun, the fast will come.

I think there's a life metaphor in there somewhere, don't you?  Whatever you're doing, whatever your responsibilities, find the fun in it first, and the rest will work itself out.  Not having fun?  Make it fun or do something else.  Not able to do something else?  Wear that Madonna bra and sharpen pencils 'til you decide that anything is better than sharpening pencils in a Madonna bra.  Especially running.


Wednesday, August 03, 2011

The Timpanogos Half Marathon

This is a Race Report!  Race Report! Race Report! Race Report!

I feel like Steve Martin and his phone books.  This means you should picture me all spazzy and such.  I have a race report!  Race report!  I have a race report because I ran a race!  And my name ended up in the results!  In print!  Number 15 in women!  Number 2 in women aged 35-39!*  This is the kind of spontaneous publicity that makes people!  Things are going to start happening to me now!

*For the record, they handed me the Number 2 award in female 35-39 at the official award ceremony, but when I looked at the results on the web site, they say I'm number 3.  This has happened to me a few times.  They say one thing at the end of the race, but the "official" whatever on the site says something different.  This generally means that somebody, somewhere, got a bad shaft, and we'll never know who!  Note that I have the official Number 2 award in my possession, so I'm going with Number 2.  Hu hu hu hu hu.  Why do I feel like either Beavis or Butthead every time I type something about a "Number 2 Award?"  Hu hu hu hu. Number 2.  Hu hu hu hu.


Now that I've cooled significantly, let's back it up and start at the beginning.  On this last Saturday, July the 30th, I ran the Timpanogos Half Marathon.  Now, here's the fun part about this race: It was strangely familiar (like 8 miles familiar) to the AF Canyon Half Marathon that I ran just a month ago.  Why is this the fun part?  Because I could compare 'n contrast, that's why.

Rather than present you with a flowery description of the course, I'll just upload the Garmins for each.  First, I present to you, the map for the AF Canyon Half Marathon, which I completed in 1:32:25, a 6:59/mile average, but who's counting:


Next, I present you with the map for the Timpanogos Half Marathon, completed in 1:30:22, a 6:52/mile average, but who's counting:


See the difference?  The first 8 miles are the same, the rest is different except for the spot that it finishes.  In my professional opinion, I'd have to say that the AF Canyon Half is faster.  However, due to that silly Wasatch Back Relay, I was unable to run at par, and ran it two minutes slower.  (Catch that?  Might need to read that sentence a few times to get my drift.)  Here it is again, just another way.  Even though the AF Canyon Half is a faster course, I ran it slower.

Both the AF Canyon and the Timpanogos Half Marathons were spectacular races.  Spectacular.  If I were a picking person (which I am, but I'd say I'm more along the lines of a "picky" person as opposed to a "picking" person) I have to say that hands and feet down, the AF Canyon Half marathon is a better race.

The AF Canyon is better because it's faster, better organized, $20 less, benefited a charity, and provided the top finishers with some cool prizes.  The top three at the Timpanogos Half received little stuffed animals.  Cute, right?  Run yer guts out for an hour and change for a stuffed moose.  Also, the AF Canyon Half started on time.  Bonus for starting on time!  We runners like the business of starting on time.

Will I do the AF Half again next year?  You betcha.  Will I do the Timpanogos Half next year?  You betcha.  Loved them both.  One awesome thing about the Timpanogos Half, is that it also has a full marathon.  I'm thinking about doing that one next year for the finishing medal alone.  The finishing medal is a sparkly dinner-plate sized medallion thing. If I earn one, rest assured that it will be converted into a dinner-plate-sized belt buckle.  Gonna wear it with my Wranglers and snake-skin sh** kickers.

(I don't have Wranglers or snake-skin sh** kickers.  But maybe if I earn one of them dinner-plate medallion things, and if I convert said dinner-plate medallion thing into a belt buckle, I might just need to fetch me some of them Wranglers and snake-skin sh** kickers.)

Now that we have covered the race itself, I must tell you all about my favorite part of this race.  It was Tina!  Tina came all the way from Logan to stay with me and run.  She and I haven't spent any time together since our New York Marathon jaunt, so it was good to spend the evening together catching up.  That Tina is a keeper.

Prerace Picture Off

Post-race Tom Foolery

My little brother with his blister.
 (He's not really my little brother but I wish he was my little brother.)

This friend I like to call "The Most Beautiful Girl in all the Land" because it's true. 
 She's the most beautiful girl in all the land.


Some girl with a funny shirt.


Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Piano Man - Tuesday Tunes vol, 87

There's been some sadness 'round our parts.  We've had some bad news, and this bad news has been so tragic that I cannot bring myself to discuss it.  Whenever the topic comes up, I look the other way and sing a happy song.  I think about flowers and fruits and pastries.  I think about clouds and ferries to Vancouver Island.  I do not want to look this situation square in the face.

In the interest of history, however, and how I feel during certain parts of history, and how I generally keep track of how I feel during certain parts of history on this here blog, and how I should prolly start dealing with this tragic news instead of avoiding this tragic news, I had better do some recording about this bad news.

Ready?  The Yahoo's piano teacher is moving.

This is so bad.  Bad, bad.  Megan understood my grief – somewhat.  She said something about how losing the Yahoo's piano teacher was just like dropping her MacBook Pro, and ruining it beyond repair.  I told her that was close.  But actually, it is just like the Macbook Pro WERE NEVER INVENTED.

Do you see how bad this is?  Bad.

Imagine life without your Macbook Pro, then imagine how I feel about losing our beloved piano teacher, Rachel.  I asked the Spouse if we could move.  He said no, but we could buy an airplane to take the Yahoos to lessons each week.  Trouble is, we don't have cash laying around for a plane.  If we did have cash laying around for our very own plane, I would have surely gone to Portland for donuts yesterday.

Oh Rachel, dearest Rachel.  How we will miss you so.  How I wish we could get you to stay.  You can all expect a full tributary, complete with photos and videos and bonding rituals and whatnot.  Look for it soon.

Since we are now in the market for a new teacher, today's songs are inspired by:

Piano Man – Billy Joel

But here's some more:

Wrapped In Piano Strings – Radical Face
Unplayed Piano (Chris Lord-Alge Mix) – Damien Rice & Lisa Hannigan
The Piano Knows Something I Don't Know – Panic! At the Disco
A Love Note from Your Piano  – Alaska In Winter
Piano Picker – Carpenters

And here are some of my classical favorites:

Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. #3, performed by Arther Rubenstein
Franz Liszt's La Campanella, performed by Josh Wright
Mozart's Rondo alla Turca, performed by me!  Just kidding.  Performed by someone else.
Chopin's Nocturne #2 in E Flat, an E is never flat.  Trust me, I've been an E.
Faure's Sicilienne, performed by someone on a Yamaha.  Evidently.

p.s. You there in St George, Utah?  You have no idea what kind of talent hurricane is coming your way!  No idea!  

Monday, August 01, 2011

If I Were A Rich Man


If I were a rich man, I'd grab a plane ride to Portland, grab three dozen Voodoo donuts, then fly right home.  If I were a rich man, I do stuff like that every day.  EVERY.  DAY.  It's not that they are great donuts (which they are) it's the spontaneous novelty.

Lately, I've been lacking this spontaneous novelty, and it appears as though I'm blaming the funding of this spontaneous novelty.

p.s. I started this on the facebook, then realized it was too deep for the facebook.  Also, I rewrote that last sentence, like, five times.  Holy crap, I'm a mess.  Anyone got any ideas for some spontaneous novelty?  Do share.