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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Admiral Barky

My last trip to the library I brought a list of books that were on my "to-read" list; unfortunately the library only had one of about 10 of them, so I wandered up and down the aisles and picked out about 5 random books.

"Shadow Divers" was one of my random finds. The dust cover started out by saying: "In the tradition of Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air..." and I was hooked. I loved "Into Thin Air".

"Shadow Divers" was a very interesting book that did keep me interested the whole time. I know NOTHING about deep sea diving, or wreak diving, or any sort of diving. I have no interest in EVER diving. None. Zero. The thought of doing it scares me (whereas the idea of climbing Mt. Everest enthralls me). Both are actually quite dangerous, but diving is a sport I don't ever want to do.

That being said, this was a really good book. I learned a lot about diving. I learned a lot about U-boats (well, not a lot. Nothing specific. In fact, it'd be more accurate to say I learned a lot about all there would be to learn about U boats). I really like submarine movies, especially depth charges. And the "ah-OOG-a, ah-OOG-a" siren that goes off right before the captain yells, "Dive! Dive! Dive!" And how about that American Express card commercial that takes place on the sub, highlighting how you can have any picture you want on your card, even "Admiral Barky" the dog of the sub captain. That's great.

Really good book I'd definitely recommend. I want to watch the Nova special about this true story (did I mention it's a true story?).

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I told you so! Treadmill day 91

I ended up with a surprise day off due to the plumbing emergency my doctor had at her house, causing her to cancel clinic. I wanted to go golfing, but the pounding rain says no.

Yesterday I was talking to a co-worker about the upcoming Whistlestop Marathon less than 3 weeks away, which I'm 90% likely to do. I mentioned to him that I really had not been training for it. "Are you going to?" he asked, to which I replied, essentially, when you're 3 weeks out, what you see is what you get. Not totally true, but good enough of a response for a lay person. Then he asked if I was in shape enough to just go out and run a marathon without training at all. Yup, I replied.

I'm guessing I'll finish Whistlestop in 4:30 or less, which isn't too shabby for not training. I'll probably go out and aim to break 4:00 and fail, coming in around 4:15-20.

Back in the fall of 2006 into 2007 I liked to tell people that I wanted to be fit enough that with a day's notice I could run a marathon in under 4h. And at that point I could. I ran Boston without training in 3:54 in April of 2007.

Anyway, today with my expanse of free time I decided to see what I could do. I was aiming to run a marathon on my treadmill in under 4:30.

I came close, finishing in 4:43. I would have made my goal had I eaten any breakfast (had not) or if I had fueled along the way (did not). This lack of fuel also became part of my personal challenge today--to see how well I could do running a marathon I didn't train for on no food.

How did that go? Well, got to about mile 18 before I really started to not like it. Kept up my 10min/mi pace through 21.36 miles, when I stopped the treadmill. You think running a looped course is tough, that it can be hard to pass your car every mile, or 2 miles, or 10 miles and decide to keep going? Yeah, well it's that much more mentally tough on a treadmill, where all you have to do is push "STOP" and you can be in the shower 3 minutes later and asleep on your couch in 10. I restarted the treadmill and did a tough last 4.84, keeping my running pace going for 0.30 of a mile at a time followed by a 0.20 mile 4mph walk. But I finished. And I finished almost 6 episodes of "The Shield".

Recap: Total of 150 treadmill miles. What a nice round number. Good thing I didn't give up at mile 21.36.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Feel the Burn

We had a great weekend in the BWCA (hiking, not canoeing).

We left Friday early afternoon and headed up through Two Harbors to Bear Head State Park. We got there rather late (7:30p), set up camp, and relaxed by the fire.

On Saturday morning before the rest of the group was up, I explored some of the park's trails. I walked a 5k loop with the NorthStar Trail Travelers Volksport group because they were there. The gentleman I walked with told me if I had enough energy I could walk the 2nd 5k loops they had, but alas, I had to get back to camp.

We hiked the Angleworm Trail that started 1/2 hour north of Ely. The weather was perfect: 65-70 degrees during the day and down to about 35-40 overnight. The leaves were just beginning to change.

The trail around the lake was advertised as 12, but we're guessing it to be closer to 16. We hiked 4.5 hours in on Saturday and 4.5 hours out on Sunday, all with 40lb packs (or so) on our backs. (Anyone want a way to feel like the Superior hiking trail races are EASY...? Wear a pack for a few hours of hiking before the race starts and your feet will fly over the trails!).

My legs have that pleasant sore feeling they get when I really push myself, and it feels good.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Treadmill Day 81-87

My goal this week was to finish Season 6 of "The Shield". Ha!

Saturday, Sept. 13: I started the 1st episode and got about 10 minutes into it before I realized that I really didn't feel like running. So I stopped.

Sunday, Sept. 14: I had PLENTY of time to kill on this rainy afternoon that wouldn't allow me to golf. But I realized I still didn't feel like running, so I got stuff done around the house and watched 3 episodes of medical mysteries on TLC.

Monday, Sept. 15-18:Do you really want to hear the excuses why I didn't hit the treadmill at all? They involve a new renter moving in and me not wanting to keep her awake, going to a play that my co-worker is in, making a screen window, applying for part time jobs, packing for the boundary waters, and reading.

Friday, Sept. 19: Leaving for the Boundary Waters tomorrow morning for a hiking/backpacking trip. I think we're going to hike Angleworm trail.

Recap: Total of 123.8 treadmill miles. 0 miles for the week.

Whistlestop Marathon is still my intention for October 11th, although I'm woefully untrained.

My goal next week will be (again) to finish Season 6 of "The Shield". That's about 8.3 hours of running.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Looking for a renter/a.k.a. the saga of Lyin' Lynn

I'm looking for a renter for my house in Anoka, and I'd appreciate it if any of you all readers keep it in mind if you hear of anyone looking for a place. You can pull up pictures and updates of the house here and here and here.

The house is gorgeous! A person can share the house with just one other adult for $650 + utilities (they'd have 3 private bedrooms) or could have just one bedroom for $400 + utilities and maybe have to share the house with 2 other adults.

Enough time has gone by that I'm going to vent and tell the story of Lyin' Lynn. I'm hoping that she does not regularly check my blog (as she and I had previously exchanged emails and she could conceivably have my blog address). But even if she does read this, I'm going to speak only the truth. It might be interesting to get a comment from her.

Lynn signed a 12 month lease that began the beginning of July + pro-rated rent for the last half of June. She and her daughter moved in knowing that Randy still had 2 complete weeks of work on the house including installing the AC, dishwasher, microwave, finishing some woodwork inside, and finishing some repair outside. Lynn assured us that that would be fine, as she worked long hours at her job.

Well... she moved in and was always home! Always! And not only that, each morning she'd have a couple of kids over at the house with her. It became very clear to me, RR, and Eforce that she didn't really have a full-time job, that what she REALLY was was a babysitter. RR was forced to do all the outdoor work first (which he was fine with) because the inside stuff is much more difficult with people walking back and forth (especially kids). Can you imagine varnishing stair railings with kids running around?!

I didn't say anything to her before Wyoming because I didn't want to deal with it right before a long trip and I wanted to make sure she paid me for July before I left. Once we got back and Randy was over there finishing up the last few days of the patio door/deck project, it was clear that we were correct: she still had the kids over every day!

I called her and basically told her that we had to stick with her lease agreement that states that the house is for residential use only and that she could not run a daycare or a babysitting business out of the house. She said a bunch of stupid stuff, like:

--"I didn't have the kids over for the last two weeks!" (yeah, right... you want me to believe that every day that RR, Eforce, or I are around you have the kids, but when we are in Wyoming you conveniently don't have them at all?).

--"So you're saying that K (her daughter) can't have a friend sleep over?!" (umm... no. I'm saying you can't run a daycare out of the house).

Ultimately she said she'd watch the kids someplace else. Fine.

And then there was the air conditioner. Because that was an "indoor" project for RR, and Lynn and the kids were always around the house, the installation of the AC was put off until the end of the 2 weeks. Lynn was VERY hyper about the AC because she said the heat was bad for her asthma, and I guess the ceiling fans in every single room of the house wasn't good enough for her. The AC went in the last day before we left for Wyoming and works great.

We get back from Wyoming, and probably a week later RR and I notice while over there that the AC is set to 68 degrees! And it is on FULL blast, roaring day and night regardless of whether anyone is home. Eforce never really was observant and noticed this, but we pointed it out to him and told him that he would end up paying an arm and a leg if he didn't set it higher. So he talked to Lynn about compromising: setting it at 74 degrees when someone was home and 78 when nobody was around. She said that was fine.

Well, obviously it wasn't. I called her on the evening of August 1st, reminding her that rent had been due by 5pm that day and I hadn't received it. We left for my cabin the next day. Sunday night as we were packing up the trailer I get a text message from her (yes, she's that mature of a 37 yo) stating that she had packed her things up and was moving out because she won't rent from someone who tells her who she can have over and that she needs the house to be colder. She said she'd leave me August rent on the 5th when she'd come by to pick up the last of the stuff from the garage. She had this idea that rent was due on the 5th because she can't comprehend that the lease says that rent is due the 1st and she won't receive a late fee until the 5th.

Did I mention she'd signed a 12 month lease?

We get back, and sure enough, she's gone. I post a new ad on Craigs list that night to try to replace her, stating that the space is available immediately. She emails me the next morning saying she saw my ad and that if I'm advertising it to be available immediately, then she's not going to pay me for August. I think her exact words were something to the effect of "I was trying to be respectful and responsible..."

Anyway, here we are 6 weeks later and still no one to replace her (hence why I started advertising the space available as "immediately". If she'd have had a conversation with me I could have told her that if I found anyone for a portion of August I might be willing to pro-rate some of the rent back to her.

My utility bill for the month of crazy AC was $350! And of course she's not paying any of that.

Crazy, huh?

Anyways, money has been tight and unfortunately this played into why I couldn't afford to take off time from work to go do Superior Trail runs this year. I don't have a sponsor yet.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Qualifying for Boston

I qualified for the Boston marathon at Fargo in 2006. Here are some pics, and yes, I ran the race in a supergirl costume, and no, it was not Halloween.

The Fargo-ians really got a kick out of the costume. I was interviewed for the paper (as I stood outside the Fargodome after the race, waiting for a locksmith to come and unlock my keys from the car). I also had a reporter and her video guy running along side of me with a microphone interviewing me at mile 11. I believe she told me I was half-way there...

This was the first marathon I really trained for with a specific goal in mind and without getting injured. My first marathon was, well, my first. I was injured and had to take 6-8 of the 10 weeks before my 2nd and 3rd marathons off of running. So Fargo, my 4th, was my first real serious attempt to qualify. I needed a 3:40 to qualify (being a 27 year old F at the time), and my race bib was 340. I finished in 3:38 and some change.

I slept in my car in the parking lot of the Fargodome the night before (not going to pay for a hotel) and I ran the race in Pearl Izumi shoes that I bought at the expo the day before (yes, brand spankin' new shoes).

I left my keys in my car unlocked, and this was the day that I learned that my car had a "safety" feature of automatically locking if the keys were out of the ignition and the doors locked. So after the run, instead of celebrating, I stood around sweaty and salty for an hour waiting for a locksmith to show up. This was after having to beg a passerby to use their cell phone.

And I was STILL dressed in the supergirl costume.

If I were to seriously train for another marathon I'd like to break 3:30, and I think I have the ability to do that (assuming that I train for it). If and when I do Whistlestop in, oh, just under 4 weeks, I'll be happy to break 4h. Realistically I'll probably be 4:10.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

My former alter-ego

Have I mentioned to anyone lately that I was part of the MN Rollergirls a few years ago?

Here's me, during my brief stint as Dr. D. Bauchery.

The pictures are from fall 2005. The profile is almost completely made up except for: RR has told me that my childhood was like Laura Ingalls (I think he made that comparison as recently as today). I also did use to enjoy White Russians (especially made with Vanilla Vodka).

I joined the summer of 2005 and played through the '05-06 season and began the '06 season, dropping out in the fall of 2006. Why? Because I just didn't care that much. I really enjoyed practicing and skating. I loved the speed drills and endurance drills. I had a great time throwing myself down on my knees (knee pads) and sliding. I just really did not care about the bouts at all. Or strategy. I REALLY didn't care, and that did not jive very well with most of the people on the league who were very passionate about rollerderby.

Fun while it lasted, though.

"Stumbling on Happiness"

I have no clue where this book title came from to end up on my "to-read" list. But on it it was, and at my library it also was.

Very good book that discusses what makes people happy, what people think will make them happy (and why it doesn't), how the brain works in relation to a person's memory and how the predict they will feel in the future.

The author, Daniel Gilbert, is a funny guy and the reading is interesting, entertaining, and funny. I laughed out loud a few times.

There were numerous quotes and tidbits that made me think I should flag them with a colored post-it tag. I don't have any, however, so flagged nothing. I'm not going to re-read it for the purpose of this blog; go out and read this book.

Notice this is the first book review I have done that was of any sort of length.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Treadmill Day 74-80

My goal this week is to finish Season 5 of "The Shield". That's about 9.1 hours of running.

Saturday, Sept. 6: 8 miles ((10min/mi + 2 min walking) x 8 ). Watched the first two episodes (out of 11 for the week) and for the first time in awhile I had a couple of miles of running in there where I didn't feel like my legs had bricks on them.

Sunday, Sept. 7: 1st NSGR (North Suburban Garage Runners) 1/2 marathon. I blazed in at a killer 2:11 (10min/mi). Watched 3 episodes which was conveniently the exact amount of time I needed to finish.

Monday, Sept. 8: Vikings lost, and I don't really care. Watched the game over at Party Central.

Tuesday, Sept. 9: 9 miles (10min/mi). I'm 7/11 done with my television based running goal.

Wednesday, Sept. 10: 2.35 miles. 1 episode's worth of running and walking between 1% and 15% incline at speeds between 3.5 and 6mph.

Thursday, Sept. 11: Had dinner with Nora and was too full to feel like running.

Friday, Sept. 12: 2nd NSGR (North Suburban Garage Runners) 1/2 marathon. I finished in a new treadmill garage PR of 2:10 (10min/mi x 12 miles, 9min/mi x 1.1 mile). Watched the last 3 episode of season 5, just in time to pass them off to my dad and move myself on to season 6. Actually, that's not quite true. I have to run out and sit in my garage and watch the last 10 minutes of the episode. The last episode is a DOOZY of an episode--a major cliffhanger. Both my dad and I were fooled in our first watching of it, as we thought that the 4th DVD in the set was more of the season (it wasn't... only "extras"). Due to Sony selling the show's rights to Fox (or vice versa, or something like that) the release of Season 6 on DVD is long overdue.

Recap: Total of 123.8 treadmill miles. 45.55 miles for the week.

Still thinking about doing Whistlestop Marathon in October and am trying to get a co-worker to join me.

My goal next week is to finish Season 6 of "The Shield". That's about 8.3 hours of running.

Running felt good this week.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Northwoods Camping

Here are a couple pictures from the first weekend in August and our maiden voyage with the camper up at the cabin.

Left to Right: Eforce (contemplating another fire he was able to start), V (cooking up the healthiest of beef wieners a person can find at Cub), Nightman (a.k.a "The Cleanser" after using half of our water to shower... and then getting into the lake to swim!), and RR (always capable, fixing a bike). Yes, this photo was posed, but the posing pretty accurately reflects the truth.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

High Exposure

My latest book that I finished was "High Exposure" by David Breashears. After reading "Into Thin Air" back in July, I went to the library and the mountain climbing section (796.xx in the Dewey Decimal System, for all you DDS fans) and checked out about 8 different books. It has been interesting because after reading a handful of these books I'm really starting to know the names and the stories of some of the top "players". It makes some of the reading easier and some of the reading more repetitive/boring. Anyways, David Breashears is the IMAX guy, who made the IMAX Everest movie. He was a climber before a film maker, however. Also of note was he worked on "Cliffhanger" (minimally) which was based on a true story of a plane that crashed in the 1970's. We had "Cliffhanger" on constant loop last Memorial Day. Good book.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Treadmill Day 67-73

My goal? Hard to have a goal when I hardly run. This weekend are the Fall Superior races, and it will be the first time since 2004 that I haven't been up there. Kinda too bad.

Thursday, Sept. 4: 5 miles (10 min/mi, 2 min walking x 5). Watched two episodes of "Curb..."

Friday, Sept. 5: 5 miles (10 min/mi, 2 min walking x 5). Watched the last two episodes of "Curb..." Season 2. This means I'm moving on to re-watch Season 5 of "The Shield" because I just bought Season 6. These need to be passed on to my dad next, who is waiting in the wings.

Recap: Total of 78.25 treadmill miles. 10 for the week.

My legs felt very heavy, and I'm not sure why. Because I haven't been running much lately? Could be, but honestly, even when I first started running I could pound out 5-6 miles at 10min/mi without too much trouble. And I've remained active, even when not running.

I'm still thinking I'll do Whistlestop Marathon in October. It's relatively cheap and I can register up until the last minute. Down to 5 weeks available to prep.

My goal next week is to finish Season 5 of "The Shield". That's about 9.1 hours of running.

Labor Day Weekend

Last weekend we went back up to my cabin. We cleared existing trails there with chainsaw and machete--I got to wield the machete. The lakefront path is now passable on foot and mountain bike. All in all we have a complete 1+ mile loop through the woods.

It was a hot weekend. We spent a good amount of time in the lake, although we had no boat. We brought our golf clubs, but it was so dang hot that we never went out.

I finished the book "True Summit" by David Roberts, chronicling the first ascent of an 8000m peak back in 1950. It was a good read. In recent reading I'd seen much reference to the original book by Maurice Herzog and how influential it was on a generation of mountain and rock climbers. Well, the David Roberts book takes into account a lot more information that has come to light since the original book came out to tell the true story, which means now I don't feel the need to read the original any time soon.