aithne: (boone nine months)
Tried to go for a run this morning; I'm getting back into my routines at last, and getting out on a regular basis. Unfortunately, Spotty Dog was fully awake by the time I started putting my clothes on, and he started making eyes at me when he saw me get out my running shoes. "Pleeeeeaase, lady, can I go with you? Please? Please? I want a walk!" I relented and decided to take him out for a run with me. One of Red Dog's superpowers is to be able to tell whenever anyone takes a leash out of the cupboard, and she appeared just as I was finishing putting on Boone's harness.

Okay, okay, obviously it's going to be a dog workout this morning.

I was going to do a short run anyway, and when we got out to the trail Spotty Dog said that he was a bit sore this morning and he'd like to walk instead of run, thank you. So we went for a mile, and then I turned the dogs loose in the dog park so Red Dog could run and Spotty Dog could stick close to me and occasionally worry a bit about the other dogs in the park. Came back, did some work with them on weave poles and the booja board while Laura dealt with the city inspector for our new furnace installation, went and got coffee for Laura.

I'm getting ready for a wedding shoot this weekend and working on another edit pass on Shadows and Silk (aka "magic ninjas"). I've dealt with one major problem (it needed a new beginning scene) and I have a couple more major problems to deal with. One is a bunch of little cultural details that add up to one large problem, and the other one is that the fantasy element still doesn't come in until the middle of the third chapter, and I really need to find a way to introduce it in the first few pages. It's kind of rough because of how the plot is structured, but I think I can work in some background information that will clue the reader in that there is stuff going on that my protagonist doesn't necessarily know about yet.

Oh, yes, and I have [livejournal.com profile] catrambo's Eyes Like Sky and Coal and Midnight on the desk next to me and I am putting off some reading that ought to be done in favor of this book, which is what I really want to read right now. Take that, responsibility! *sticks out tongue*

Bah.

May. 16th, 2008 09:35 am
aithne: (Default)
My run this morning was terrible.   I was lacking in muscle strength and mental toughness, and I couldn't manage to keep running long enough to even get my heart rate up.  I threw in the towel at a mile and walked back with brief spurts of running.  Now, I did a 1.75/.25/1 split on Wednesday, and my legs were feeling fine, just...completely without endurance.

I get this sometimes, right around my period.  All I can console myself with is that I was up and out there this morning, and that next week should be better. 

Also, Vancouver this weekend!  I'll be at the Trout Lake Farmer's Market at about 10--hope to see some of you there!
aithne: (salmonberry)
Some days, my runs are like Wednesday's, when I stretch my legs and go farther than I think I can, and there's a whole half-mile at the end where I'm feeling good and strong and my breathing's steady.

Others are like today's, where I start out in semi-abject misery and continue in such pretty much the whole time.  I forgot to take my meds this morning before I went out for a run, and as such my nose was running and my muscles were protesting much more than normal.  (T3, one of the thyroid hormones I'm on, has an important role in muscle metabolism.)  However, I did do 1.5 miles out, walk .25, and then 1.25 back, which is impressive considering the amount of ow ow ow that hurts I was doing.

I'm glad I got out, though, and the last quarter-mile I sped up a bit (mostly out of desire to get the run over with) and got to marvel yet again at what a fantastic invention my body is, that it will do what I ask it to do.  I need to time myself on a couple of runs again; I have a feeling that at the moment I'm doing an 11-minute mile, which isn't exactly where I want to be quite yet.  When I'm running on a regular basis, I pretty much rock a 10-minute mile; more ideal would be a 9-minute mile, but that takes work.  I am not built for speed but endurance. 

Next week, I get to start working towards lengthening that 1.5 mile portion to 2 miles.  Starting Sunday, I think.

I have a busy weekend planned--portrait shoot, dog meetup, dog training, cleaning, gardening, editing, gaming.  Hoping to have a solid first chapter of Shadows and Silk done by Sunday night; I'm very, very pleased with the rewrite so far, and I'm to the bit where I'm massaging old stuff instead of writing new stuff at last.

It's spring, all right.
aithne: (salmonberry)
I love running in the morning, because nothing I could possibly do for the rest of the day can be as hard as yanking myself out of bed, pulling on clothing, and going and running for three miles.  If I can do that, everything else is cake.

This morning I managed 1.5 miles, walked for .25, and then ran 1.25 back.  Getting better; my limitation right now is not my wind but my muscles.

I've been doing a lot of stuff on the front of trying to get my financial act together.  (Dealing with money is one of my bugaboos; I hate numbers when they're associated with money, would prefer to never think about money.  Not exactly the most mature attitude in the world, I fear.)  I am trying to finish with my debts and start saving lots of money.  So I've been trying to cut down where it's practical--finishing paying off my car, paying off my credit cards (unfortunately, this upcoming business trip means that I have a balance hanging out there for longer than I originally planned), canceling the gym I never use.

And, of course, trying to buy less stuff.

Right now, I'm trying with every purchase to ask, "do I really need this?"  The answer is generally no.  I have many many unread books, I do not need any more.  I have many boxes to put things in, I do not need any more.  I have a lot of DVDs I haven't watched yet, same thing.  I do not need more jewelry, art prints, most computer-y bits, any more camera lenses. 

It's unexpectedly painful.  I went through a period where I was pretty poor, and I learned then how to live so I didn't need much money.  Those skills have rusted quite a bit, and it's taking a bit to get them back. 

It's all an adventure.  And here's a piece in Salon that caught my eye this morning: http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/2008/04/18/recession/index.html

aithne: (Default)
Woke up this morning and said, "You know, they can do without me at work for an hour this morning...I need to get outside."   So I pottied the dogs, put on my running clothes and shoes, and grabbed my iPod, and away I went to the trail.

Fortunately, I don't seem to have lost much condition after slacking all winter (I love you, cardiovascular system...keep up the good work!) and it was really good to be out there, legs burning, toes going numb, cold stinging my arms...and my body doing what it's supposed to, what it needs to.  Listened to my music, thought about things, trying to sort the big overwhelming pile of things to do into something manageable.  I've let the administrivia pile up a bit, it seems, and I need to spend a few solid days sorting that out. 

Everything does fall into place when I can run.  Spring is here, or at least a facsimile thereof, and  that means I can get out into the sunshine and the rain again.  I feel sore, and happy.

swarm day

Jun. 21st, 2007 09:52 am
aithne: (Default)
It's the solstice, and the weather was just right this morning for ants to swarm and do mating flights, as I saw no less than four swarms this morning on the trail. Cool-ish, overcast, it might be the longest day of the year but it's probably not going to be the hottest.

My run on Tuesday was sheer awesome, as I managed to hit that sweet spot between "well rested" and "losing condition", and the miles flew past. This morning, not so much, but it still beat lying in bed thinking I should get up but not actually doing so.

I got a code from Dogster the other day for a free photo book from Shutterfly, and decided to bite and make one, a puppy book for Boone. I got it yesterday and I was very impressed--the whole thing looks very professional, the print quality is decent, and the pre-packaged layouts surprisingly attractive. I think I'm probably going to have to make a few more, maybe one for the cats as well.Mundanities, really, and happy for them. I have a little work left to do on the last Black Angel Crossroads story, which I will probably end up doing tonight, and then I have a quick recap for Sleepless Streets to get to before Sunday, when gaming happens again. Heh.

I have about ten books about various Native American Plains tribes coming to me via the library, which may tell you a bit about the serial Storm and I have just started. The beginning is feeling a bit Canterbury Tales-ish. (This is by no means a bad thing, the Canterbury Tales are one of my favorie pieces of literature.)

Happy Solstice, to those who celebrate!

go me!

Dec. 12th, 2006 09:23 am
aithne: (Default)
Managed to drag myself out of bed and to the gym this morning. I didn't do a really heavy workout--some walking, a little running, a trip around the weight circuit--because today the victory was just getting there. And while I was there, I discovered that they have yoga at 10 AM on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

New! Different! Guaranteed to make me sore!

Yeah, I think I'm going to go and see if I like the instructor(s). Mixing it up a bit will help me not be completely bored with the fact that it is winter and I can't exercise outside.

(And wow, it doesn't even start getting light until 7:30. I don't know why this comes as a surprise, since we're a week out from the solstice, but it does, every year.)

Also, I think I need to go see this movie: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/movies/2003466553_movieshorts08.html

*zoom*

Sep. 23rd, 2006 06:35 pm
aithne: (salmonberry)
When I wake up in the morning, roll over, and think, oh my goodness, it's not raining, and it's light outside, time to go hit the trail! you had better believe I roust myself out of bed and go hit the trail. Outside runs are going to be few and far between for a while, and I must get while the getting is good.

The fog was thick this morning; I couldn't see the tops of the trees. But the fog's burned off and it's turned into a lovely day.

The rest of the day has been a blur of activity. I purchased and put in ornamental kales in the front yard, along with doing some other errands. I put in some iris rhizomes (Superstition, to be exact, as black as irises get, which will be a nice contrast with the whites ones I've also planted), got what little was left in my office done, picked up my bedroom, framed some of the pictures I got from Shutterfly (I ordered pictures from there and from Flickr; I'll be comparing quality between the two and deciding which one I want to make my print provider), putting up art that's been neglected since I moved, and generally have been doing Stuff. I think I've fallen over, however.

Tomorrow is a Costco and Trader Joe's run, a bike ride, dropping my bike off to have a bike computer installed, and then flopping down and resting some. Speaking of, I think it's time to do that right now.
aithne: (salmonberry)
Some mornings, there are Army guys on the trail I run on.

Evidently, Wednesday morning PT is a group run on the trail; I usually run into them between 6:40 and 7. I'm usually coming in from my three miles as they're heading out. They're a little funny-looking in their black shorts and grey t-shirts that say ARMY on them, but they run along and do cadences, which I am amused as hell by. (Somehow, it never occurred to me that military folks actually do cadences; I thought it was just a movie thing. Goes to show you how much I know.)

They run in two lines down the trail, and every so often the two in the back will run fast and take their place at the front of the line. Interval training, Army-style. I've seen them four or five times now, and I have to admit that there are some fine-looking males among them. I'm not usually one for the beefy guys, but a couple of them have really exquisite bone structure that even looks good in a PT uniform and dripping sweat. They're followed by a group of older guys in the same uniform who are run/walking; I assume these are the higher-ranking guys who don't have to run in a group with the others. There's been only one woman among them, and she was following behind, not with the main group. I've only seen her once.

One morning, I passed them before they'd kicked off the cadences. I heard one guy, in the middle of the line, go, "Are we there yet?"

Maybe it was the morning, maybe it was oxygen deprivation, but that was the funniest thing I'd witnessed on my whole run.

I'm not entirely sure what a bunch of army guys are doing in Renton, but hey, they're a change from the little old men that I see all the time. There's the guy with the little black dog, and the friendly guy with the round face who always waves and says hello, and who is sometimes walking with his friend, who is taller and angular and always has gloves on. I don't see the guy on the tricycle very often, but when I do he's usually picking blackberries.

All of them have an exact and unwavering routine. I always encounter them at the same places on the trail when I'm following my own routine, which is a little weird. Rain or shine they're out there, at least five days a week.

Good for them, keeping up with the exercise. I like the one guy's little dog, who isn't at all interested in anything but following his master and sniffing things at the side of the trail. It's very cute.
aithne: (timeheart)
At 4:45 AM, the monks start singing.

I reliably need about half an hour of half-awakeness before I can manage to face the prospect of being vertical, so I hit the snooze bar and roll over. The clock says it's 5:30, and for the moment, I believe it.

Half an hour later, the clock says 6 but it's really 5:15. Setting the clock later makes it easier to get out of bed; somehow, it's easier to face the world when the clock says 6 instead of 5. I get out of bed, stumble to the bathroom to the accompaniment of sleepy mrrrrts from Juniper, who's slept the night on my bed, and Selena, who came in when my alarm went off for snuggles and pets. This morning, about 4:15, Greebo caroled as the sun began to rise, wondering loudly why none of us were up yet. I've been half-awake ever since.

Pat down my hair, take my meds; I'm back in my bedroom now pulling on my running clothes. Downstairs, I pull Juniper and give Greebo and him treats. I'm still groggy, a bit cranky; I'm still adjusting to waking up earlier, and I'm currently running in a bit of sleep deprivation. But I go anyway.

Gather things--water bottle, iPod, waist pouch, keys. Out the door and into the car, where I see that it's 5:50. By 6, I'm parked and getting myself arranged for a run.

I'm going to go easy on myself today. My muscles ache, my eyes are bleary. Not a good morning to push myself, I decide. The point, right now, is that I'm out here doing this, not necessarily how far or fast I run. I didn't get a run in yesterday, because I had to go have fasting bloodwork done, and there is nothing more unpleasant than doing a run and coming back and not being able to have breakfast. I get very, very cranky when my blood sugar's low.

So I start out walking, hit the first mile marker, run a quarter mile. Walk the next quarter mile. Run again. The fog's beginning to clear. It's a brilliant Pacific Northwest summer morning, the day after the solstice, the light pouring through the trees like water. My favorite time of year here, and my favorite time of day during my favorite time of year. Everything is so, so green, and as I head into the wooded section of the trail, I am surrounded and swallowed by green.

Ahead, where sunlight puddles beneath a break in the trees, I see movement, and my head comes up. Thump-thump. A deer, wandered out on the trail, walking along the asphalt and nibbling at the foliage. A buck, I see, probably a young one from the horns. It stops, looks at me, flicks its ears.

A passing cyclist spooks it into the trees, and by the time I get to where it was, it's long gone. I run again. Another quarter mile down. My legs hurt, my knees hurt, but the thing that does not hurt is my upper back, and that in itself is a minor miracle after the past couple of weeks. There's still a knot between my shoulders, but that's an old friend and does not trouble me in the slightest.

Run, walk, run; I cross the bridge, reach the mile marker, turn around and cross it again. Familiar deep breaths, familiar pain in my legs, familiar sense of fatigue to push through. I can't stop just because I'm tired. For one thing, my car's a mile away now and I really want a shower before I go to work. For another thing, this gets better. Next week, I will be able to run more. The week after that, more. The reward for running is more running. The reward of running is my heart beating strongly, my lungs opening to their fullest capacity, the tumult of sunrise birdsong in the summer, the deep dreamless sleep I fall into at night.

I run a half mile, walk a shy quarter back to my car; pull out water from the car, sit down, listen to music as I drink the liter I've brought with me. I drive home, greet the cats, hop into the shower that feels so good as the salt is washed from my skin. Dress in a pretty dress, have tea and breakfast, pack lunches for B and I, and then sit and read and wait for the rest to get up and be ready to go.

At work, Bryan parks at his building and I take off walking for my own. I'm wearing flip-flops, and after a couple of minutes of trying to walk in them I kick them off and proceed barefoot. It's faster going, and my feet tell me all about the fascinating things they're walking on; cold prickly asphalt, sun-warmed smooth concrete, a dirt bit that's surprisingly soft. Unaccustomed nerves fire, my feet waking.

It's the beginning of summer, and it was a fine way to spend the morning.
aithne: (salmonberry)
I woke up on Saturday morning and decided to go run intervals. Intervals is something I love doing, but I can only do it outside--the intervals I really like to do aren't safe for me to do on the treadmill.

I have a four-mile course that I run, on the Cedar River trail. I rapidly walk the first partial quarter-mile, to the first mile marker. Then I run for a mile, to make sure I'm good and warmed up, then walk a quarter-mile. And then I start doing intervals.

Basically, at each quarter-mile marker, I tuck my head, reach out my arms, and go. The idea is to run as fast as I possibly can for the space of about a minute or so. Just flat-out speed without any regard for energy conservation. During an interval, I'm not thinking about the fact that I have two more miles left to go on my workout. I'm thinking about pushing myself as hard as I possibly can.

It feels amazing to run like that, especially in the first thirty seconds before my cardiovascular system figures out what's up and starts telling me I'm going too fast. I just let go and fly. I stretch myself out along the track and there's a moment of peace in there where I am perfectly centered in my body.

Then my cardio system goes, "Hey hey whoa!" and I push on just a little farther, then slow to a walk. I walk the rest of the quarter-mile, then do it again at the beginning of the next quarter. Maybe I'll run a whole quarter-mile somewhere in there, at a slower pace, and then it's back to intervals all the way home.

The amount of time I can run flat-out decreases pretty rapidly after the first four intervals or so. Sometimes I make it to only about thirty seconds before I just can't go any more. The last interval I probably only went fifteen seconds or so. I cooled down, drank my water, and then came home and fell over for a bit before I was able to take a shower and get on with my day.

I was sore yesterday, and today I'm still feeling it a bit, so tonight I'll do long and slow, just trying to get the rest of the lactic acid out of my leg muscles. It reminds me of the personal trainer I had an appointment with a few weeks back. After listening to me talk, she said, "You're sort of an extreme personality, aren't you?"

Yep, I am. I always want to push my body to the limits. If I'm going to make a change, it needs to be a short, sharp shock; I need a clear delineation between before and after. I find solace at the outer edges of my endurance.

Now, I understand why this isn't a good thing sometimes. Supposedly, moderate changes are a lot easier to sustain than extreme ones. Unfortunately, I suck at moderation. Moderation takes up a lot of brain power; it's a constant negotiation with the bad genius who lives inside my head and says things like, "just one wouldn't hurt" and "slacking off isn't that bad". I hate arguing with myself constantly.

If I seem rigid sometimes, sometimes locked into routines and patterns that I am reluctant to change, this is part of the reason why. Because otherwise I get exhausted from all of the negotiation with myself and give up. And it's not a clean exhaustion either, it's a guilty and frustrated exhaustion. I prefer the clear exhaustion that comes at the extremes. At least I know, when I hit that wall, that it's going to come and it's going to hurt and that's all right, because it's only pain. And pain is something I'm very good at handling.

It's the price of not having to argue with the bad genius, of being able to say "No" and mean it.

Keep going until you fall; and the moment you can move again, get up and keep going some more. It doesn't work for everyone, and in fact it doesn't work for most people. But it works for me.


*****


I was working on the recap last night, and got derailed in my accounting by a conversation between my two characters that they absolutely insisted on having. So I'll finish that and move on; I may cut it out later, but at least they'll have gotten to have their argument.

It's been interesting to write the interactions between these two. They're still in the process of growing up, which means that even after twelve years together they have conversations about things that either haven't come up or when they did come up they were academic, but now they're not. One tends to talk around things, taking an indirect approach, and the other bulls into things head-on once she sees an opening. They're used to each other, and how the other gets to the heart of a discussion, and they depend on that with each other.

And after twelve years of living in each others' heads, they can still surprise each other.


*****


It's the equinox, which means I can start running in the mornings again! And it's spring, my favorite time of year! Yaaay!
aithne: (salmonberry)
I ran this morning. Instead of doing my usual four miles at a comfortable pace, I'm doing something a bit different--I warm up for three-quarters of a mile, walk a quarter of a mile, and then run as fast as I can sustain for a mile. Then I walk another quarter of a mile, and do another mile of running quickly. Then another quarter-mile walk and the next half-mile brings me back to my car.

I know I never improve if I don't push myself. Without running fast enough that my breathing is harsh in my throat and my legs are going what are you doing to us aiugh I want to diiiiiiiiiie, i'll never break an eight-minute mile. Endurance is one thing, and it's great. But to actually improve my aerobic capacity, I have to push the machine of my body past its current limits.

That doesn't mean that I appreciate that last half mile, though. It's like running with cement shoes, into a stiff breeze.

It gets better. By the end of the week, that last half mile shouldn't feel so awful. By the end of next week, I'll reduce the amount I'm walking. And then i'll start timing myself. I really do want to break an eight-minute mile. It's a doable goal, and one that's going to require some hard work.

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