Saturday, March 20, 2010


It's time to come clean: I've been hiding something from you. It's a dirty little secret that, well, I frankly can't hold in any longer.

We've known each other for quite awhile, haven't we? We've seen the ups, the downs, the gray in between. So withholding this from you has been difficult, and now, I deem it unnecessary to keep you uninformed...

This summer, I am recording and editing a piece to submit to the public radio show This American Life.

I've been prepping this since November of last year, slowly but surely putting the jigsaw puzzle pieces into place, and the first week of April, I'm beginning principal recording.

The piece will be on the Western States 100, the granddaddy of 100 mile racing. I'll be following the journey of two runners: Hal Koerner, 1st place finisher, going for his third win, and my dear friend Dr. Kate Merrill, running her first Western States, going for her third 100 mile finish.

I'll record with Hal at his home in Ashland, OR next month, hit the Oregon coast in Astoria to record with Kate later that month, then, in June, with press passes in hand, Gary and I will traverse the entirety of the race course, first following Hal from aid station to aid station to his (hopeful) win, then doubling back to follow Kate's journey.

There. I feel better now that I've admitted my secret. Whew. Don't you feel better? There, there. Don't cry...wait! Where are you going?!? Is it something I said???

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sure, I can run 50 miles just for fun...

...but working at the pub on St. Patrick's Day will undoubtedly leave me in a quivering, exhausted heap. Last year, it was wall to wall patrons for 8 hours straight, and the unending din of the 4 back-to-back Irish bands left the "deedle-dee-deeing" of a bagpipe in my head for days. I seriously went into the walk in cooler to escape it. One of the cooks joined me and asked, "You can still hear it, right? It's not just in my head, RIGHT?"

Happy St. Pat's to you all! I hope to come out of it alive. And without DEEDLE-DEE-DEE DA DEEDLE DA DEE running through my brain for the coming week.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Here we go again

During our 20 mile, hilly run yesterday, Gary and I were expounding on the virtues of hill-training for this September's Pine to Palm 100 miler (Oh, I didn't mention I'm running another 100 on my 40th birthday? Errr, I am.) as we huffed and puffed, climbing and descending. I mean, ya gotta train for what you're gonna run, right? Lookit this profile:

Yup, that's THREE mountains we'll climb up and drop down. Anyhoo, as I blathered on and on (and on), the following words leaped from my drooling, dry, gasping mouth:

"If you aren't hurting during your long run, you aren't training right."

We both guffawed and cackled, and then we stopped. It's SO true! You need to get into that discomfort during your long runs to prepare yourself for the discomfort of the race, because it WILL come - no denying it.

And so I now dive back into my 100 mile training for the fall: The back to back long runs, the you-can't-wake-me-with-a-baseball-bat sleeping, eating like a rabid bear, the wondering where my time has gone (and knowing full well it's been on trails).


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Tunes, jams, and other lame monickers for "music"

If you're a runner of any distance, you probably get faced with this question from time to time:

"Do you listen to music when you run?"

My incredibly simple answer to this simple inquiry:

Yes. And no. But sometimes.

Okay, maybe a not so simple answer.

Yesterday I hit some climbing, winding trails for a nice 7 miler, and I opted to toss on the headphones, as I haven't for quite some time. It completely changes the way I run. And this ancient article raises the question, "Does music give runners an unfair advantage?"

I have to admit, in my case, it does.

If an adrenaline-pumping song pops on, I find my pace quickening. If a more light-hearted song clicks on, my mood lightens. I find I'm more out-of-my-head (as opposed to my usual "out-of-my-mind" state) and pay less attention to mental distractions ("Is this climb EVER gonna top off?!?" and "Dammit, my ass if chafing!"), therefore focusing more on my running. It's kind of an opposite state than you'd think - music doesn't distract me; it merely distracts me from my distractions.

On the flip side, I can only take music for an hour at a time. I can set a watch to it. By the end of my 7 miler, I HAD to remove my precisely the one hour mark.

The secondary question regarding music is, "What do you listen to?" So here, categorized, are a few samples.


Hot For Teacher - Van Halen

Baba O'Reilly - The Who

Fire - Jimi Hendrix

Silly/Makes me smile

I Want A New Drug - Huey Lewis and the News

Heat of the Moment - Asia

M-79 - Vampire Weekend

Plain embarassing

Steppin' Out - Joe Jackson

You Better Love Somebody - Rick Springfield

Roll With the Changes - REO Speedwagon

Luckily, I've already deleted the Brittany Spears from ym playlist, so I don't have to admit that.