Wednesday, November 20, 2013

hi other sarah

west seattle on a split personality weather day

When I'm in a rut, a little melancholy, I find it can be helpful to find ways to turn my focus away from my slumpy self. And so in my laissez faire running (aka continued battle against burnout) I signed up to be a Girls on the Run running buddy. I've been a running buddy a couple times before and really love the experience. The girls are at this great age between being a kid and being a tween. Emotionally they are like teeny puppies with huge paws.   

The practice 5k was this last Monday at Alki Elementary where I was assigned. And I had two running buddies because of a shortage of volunteers. Taylor was a Seahawks fan, dressed in leggings a hoodie and new running kicks. Margot wore floral Doc Martens and jean jacket, new braces on her teeth. They both excitedly talked at once, jumping in place, when the leaders would say, "Tell your running buddy your favorite color!" "Tell your running buddy your favorite fruit!" (Blue and ALL of them). 

After getting to know each other's favorite things and warming up in the gym, we were out into the cold rain to run the 5k. My little cotton dressed running buddies were sopping wet by lap 2, or as Margot yelled "I'M SOPPED!!!" We ran the same little loop 6 times. Every 12 strides or so they'd stop and blurt out random announcements like, "My bangs are longer than my face!" or "Look at the tiny grill, do you think they have to cook tiny food on it?" "That house looks like a Mexican restaurant."

We jumped over every puddle as they grew larger and larger in the rain, and extra points were given for  style. Spin around kick jumps were very popular with the judges. After clearing the big puddle on the back side of the loop we realized our voices echoed over the field. On three we yelled, ECHO!!!! And then Margot yelled "Hi OTHER MARGOT!" and when we got to the other side of the field a few minute later yelled back to her past self, "HI OTHER MARGOT!!" 

When we approached the end of the last lap they both took off, elated to complete an entire 5k!! Then they went back to cheer on the last couple girls behind us. When got back to the classroom where we'd met they gave me hugs and were on their way. 

I headed out in the wind and rain to run my old 6 mile loop. I could breathed in the oceany smell of West Seattle. The spray of the Puget Sound whipped up by the wind. I love the open window to the water there, on the "island" where I used to live. This corner of the world that feels like my home.

I haunted all the sidewalks I used to run. I flew past lit windows, TVs glowing blue. I ran past the places we used to eat, the little shops I love. Things were already different, changed in my absence. I felt hollow sadness, like the time I visited the house we moved away from in 6th grade. When I saw my old room and it was and it wasn't mine at the same time. Like seeing a ghost of myself.

As I ran through the dark streets of my old neighborhood it felt like whispering, "Hi other Sarah."

Sunday, November 17, 2013

driftwood wallhanging diy

I've been feeling a little landlocked over in Green Lake. After living less than a mile from views like the one above it was a surprising transition. Of course it doesn't help that I'm not running as much and winter is hanging heavy. Either way I needed to bring some fresh air to our little house. A piece of the beach that Owen and I love so much.

After trolling Pinterest and blogs for inspiration, I set out to make a driftwood and feather wall hanging.

feather and stick hanging, dream catcher and floating flowers
The feather wall hanging looked small, but I wanted to make it BIG and leave it unpainted except for neon pink and gold accents. I found a piece of driftwood nearly as tall as me and went from there.

Once I gathered a good selection of driftwood on Alki I was off to JoAnn's Fabrics for paint, feathers and hemp twine. Meghan was my ride on this leg of the adventure and of course we both both 'snot gloves' as an impulse in line. You know those $1 gloves that double as Kleenex? ;) Thank you, MM!

I didn't plan out where my stripes would be. But it came together as I went. I taped off segments and altered neon pink and gold.

I used a needle and thread to create the clusters of feathers. I grabbed lots of different feathers at JoAnn's, all of the varieties that looked "natural". And combined them as I went.

I let the driftwood dry overnight and went in for a second coat in the morning. Then I laid out the rough outline and began to wrap the hemp twine around to create the hanging. This was more difficult than I'd envisioned especially since the first piece of driftwood was nearly 6 feet long. I ended up hanging it first from a nail and adding the subsequent driftwood while it hung. Just easier to envision.

I love the finished product! I made another wall hanging for above our bed with the leftover driftwood. And a little welcome sign for the entry way that I'm not in love with, but meh.

check out owen's stainglass artwork from high school ;)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

ranting about running rants!

This week Chad Stafko wrote an essay in the Wall Street Journel, "OK, You're a Runner. Get Over it."  And, meh, as a runner I've been dealing with misdirected anger for years. This essay is essentially the written version of getting trash thrown at me while running in the small New England town I grew up in. Which happened 4 more times than I wish it had. I can only imagine the driver being like, "Look at that asshat doing something that I don't understand, in front of me! I'm going to throw my McDonalds leftovers at their head. They're asking for it."

What is confusing to me is how did this directionless, angry verbal dump get published as a WSJ essay? This is just some dude's angry rant about nothing. Bumperstickers? And reflective gear? A rant about how much he hates that people are running in public… because obviously they are just screaming for attention? 

It's like some weird rant you'd hear from your bitter, drunk uncle at Christmas after you accidently said you started running. "I bet you're running to get more likes on Facebook… blah, blah, blah!!"

And let's be honest you could replace "runner" with anything…."painter", "rock climber", "math teacher". If you show too much flair for anything you're bound to find a Bitter Betty who hates you for it. Because some people's passion is hating other people's passion. 

If you haven't read it by some Christmas miracle, save the click and just read Mark Remy's translation. It's so much better. 

Me? I'm going to blow off steam running down the middle of the street in my neon reflective tutu! 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

mount si won…

I needed a city escape so badly that on Thursday night I was dead set on camping in Maryhill solo for the weekend. But when I woke up on Friday morning my rational side thought better of it. Instead of staring out over the Columbia River, I spent my Saturday finally decorating our new house. Being an adult is hard sometimes.

As a consulation to irrational Animal Sarah I planned to run to the top of Mount Si after the cross country race on Sunday.  raced my arse off at 10:45am, did a quick shake out with the team, and then I was off to meet my friends, Josh and Dave, downtown and we headed to the mountains.

My friend Josh is one of those ultra trail runner types. I think he owns minimal shoes. He's done a 50k that involved running up and down a ski mountain. Dave is chronically fit without trying. And I realized as the ascent started that I'd grossly underestimated this adventure.

taking pictures to catch my breath
Mount Si is 4 miles and 4,167 feet up. Steep switch backs with very little break. We'd change places to lead. After the first 1.75 we started taking walking intervals at random. By the time we reached the top, and found snow, I was a couple switch backs behind. My back was spasming and walking was hard enough, thank you. We made it to the top in 1:05, me more like 1:08.

first snow sighting of my year!
At the top we watched the fog and clouds roll across the sky showing us pieces of the view. When we were too cold to sit any longer, we hobbled back down. Or I hobbled…they seemed fine.
views, always worth the journey
awkward self timed photographic proof we were all there… 
This was a perfect fast escape to breath fresh air and have a very real check in on my fitness level. A run like that keeps you honest. I said I wouldn't do it again, but even now I'm plotting my revenge on Mount Si.

Monday, November 4, 2013

what to do after the A race is over?

It's been three weeks since Chicago and here's my rigorous off season schedule:

Week One 
party (sweat)pants time
No running
Yes to eating all the foods, most absent were veggies, most present were french fries, Merlot, cheese, Pad Thai...
Boozy, lazy Owen-birthday trip to Portland

let amtrak be your driver, ahhh.

beignets are part of a balanced breakfast

Week Two
run to fight post race depression - get sick instead
Sunday - off
Monday - ran :40 minutes
Tuesday - off
Wednesday - anger run (therapeutic music-fueled too fast 5 miler)
Thursday - short jog and crazy TRX class with JJ after work.
Friday through most of week three - sick. Not surprisingly.

You want me to do what?!

Laaaast pushup. Nevermind.

Week Three
directionless jogging followed by a 6k race + mountain run
Tuesday - 30 minutes
Wednesday - 40 minutes
Thursday - 30 minutes
Friday - off
Saturday - off
Sunday - Race Cross Country and run up Mount Si

In short I went from a year of regimented training to complete laisse faire living, punctuated by attempts to get myself back together.

This post-race was a completely different feeling from after Vermont City Marathon. Because VCM wasn't my A race. It was "a" race. Chicago was the big one, it was IT. I put it all in. I started training for it in a rage 2 weeks after VCM. And didn't think about what to do after Chicago. There was no after.

But there is of course an after. But instead of wanting to find my next race, or even lace up my shoes…I found myself drifting. More than drifting, I was/am burned out. I buried my head in the sand for a week, and then resurfaced to deal with the emotions of not hitting my goal. Got down on myself for being disappointed and bitter. Meh, you know the drill. First world middle pack runner problems. 

So when Kristin mentioned that we were one girl short of a scoring team of 5 for the PNTF open association championships this Sunday I jumped on it. This falls under the part of my running plan called 'fake it til you make it back'. And under my life plan of 'say yes before you think it through'. And I knew it would be the jolt I needed to get my head out of my arse. 

After a few weeks of plodding around it took one XC meet to I remind me of something I could do that was a lot better than Merlot fueled TV marathons: running for fun. I had a run free card! Now that my legs were sort of recovered, I can run, or not run, or race. I can sign up for a Barre class, finally. Run up a mountain for the hell of it and refuel with Burger King! I can be the laisse faire runner extrodinaire! 

Oiselle was 3rd place at PNTF open association championships. yesss! 

Racing with our scrappy little team on Sunday was so much fun. I forgot the free feeling of XC. Who cares about time? Just focus on not tripping, making a move before a tight corner, putting a target on a back and suddenly 6k of hills are over and you're gunning for the finish! And when you think about quitting ever, all you have to remember is the other 4 girls out there running as fast as they can. Ahh best! 

I don't have a next marathon and I'm still a little burned out for sure. So I'm putting the emphasis on funning, not running. I'll get in shape for XC Club Nationals in Bend along the way, and I'm going to have a lot of fun doing it.