Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Full stop

No running since having a bad cold/bug in early February, and then increasing symptoms of plantar fasciitis. I still haven't gotten a real diagnosis, but I'm hoping with an insurance-covered doctor's visit, some expensive orthodics and physical therapy, the pain will go away, but currently, it hurts pretty immediately and gets worse and worse as I try to run.  I was even limping after a day of walking around Legoland, wearing fairly supportive shoes.

Since I stopped running, I discovered I'm not much of a non-participating fan, and without being a fan, nothing ultra related is appealing.  At the 30,000 foot view, the sport is pretty self-absorbed and meaningless. I've got other things I want to accomplish, and will maybe expand content here just to have somewhere to put thoughts down.

The short term plan is to get a real diagnosis and hopefully a fix, and then hopefully start with light mileage during the crazy hot summer here. I've been strength training fairly consistently and might work in cycling.

Sunday, March 2, 2014


Headed into the hotel w her toys

Neat buildings, I think this was the post office

at the High Desert market

Some of the famous stairs

back of Cafe Roka, the town's destination restaurant

Important ice cream stop

Old Pueblo

I took photos, but they don't even come close to doing justice in showing how rotten the weather was.  We left Phoenix mid-morning, dry and warm, and made it to Sonoita in 3 hours.  From Tucson south, the rain was coming down steadily and the car showed temps low 50's.  They dropped me off at the mile 40 aid station, and I started volunteering after about a dozen racers had come through.

The AS, like the runners, was marginally prepared for the weather.  I think the lack of ideal weatherization was a combination of not a ton of heads-up on the weather, desert dwellers not used to winter rainstorms in March, and reality not fulling setting in for anyone, even with the weather forecasts for the weekend.  I don't think I saw a single runner that was adequately dressed.  The majority of the runners coming in to the AS were fully soaked, and half were wearing shorts and/or short sleeve shirts.  Some were shaking hard and not quite lucid.

It was interesting to see the various mental states of racers coming through.  Most of the ones coming in solo had clearly been in the "pain cave" for the hour+ since the last aid station, and were either very withdrawn or in distress. But there were racers grouped together that were in better spirits, although that level of spirit didn't seem to correlate to whether they continued on or not.  And then there were  3 to 4 single racers that came through, clearly suffering the cold/wet as much as others, that had a strong internal fire burning.  They were wet, cold, tired, distressed, worried a bit about safety, but optimistically determined, as if they already knew they were going to finish.  That type of spirit did seem to correlate with their success in continuing, like Pam Reed, who I'm guessing did finish just based on seeing her attitude.  Mental attitude and running are always an interesting art.

I barely managed to hitch a ride out of the AS because the road was almost impassable from a swollen creek and those guys couldn't get up to me.  My husband mentioned afterwards that he would've called the race before dark, had he been on the race staff.  For sure, we sent racers out of the AS in a situation that seems ridiculous in retrospect: into hard rain in 40 degree temps, wearing soaked nylon shorts, a t-shirt, a Nathan vest, and a garbage bag...after they had run 40 miles and were an hour+ until the next AS.

This brings up the larger question of responsibility for safety, and where on the spectrum the individual racer's responsibility for their own safety shifts towards race management.  It's worrisome to me that there is a grey area, a lack of common understanding, on the delineation of this spectrum.  Even on a closed, marked course, ultrarunners are regularly heading out into wilderness under-equipped for emergencies.  luckily, after a night of helicopter searches and even crappier weather, everyone made it out safely at OP50 this year.

Postscript: Out of 149 starters, 61 finished

Friday, February 21, 2014

Update and another Toshiko

I had never heard of this JA runner until reading her obit:


She had a lot in common with my grandmother besides first name. They were roughly the same age and both experienced hard life in postwar Tokyo. They both escaped Japan in ways related to education (well, my grandmother's was due mostly thru marriage, but I think her law degree helped?), both ended their first marriage (in my grandmother's case, actually left him and two kids), both went on to get master's degree in the US, and ended up with what sounds like well-to-do second husbands.  And they both certainly marched to the beat of their own drummer.  I liked the end quote of the obit, "That was her day, until the day she couldn't".

After not running for a good 1-2 weeks because of the crud going around, and still feeling the left heel/ankle pain, I took up the Old Pueblo RD's offer to volunteer at this year's race and roll my registration fee to 2015.  I still want some type of running adventure in March or April, so maybe Monument Valley or Cedro Peak.

Monday, February 10, 2014


"Ann's back": http://www.irunfar.com/2014/02/ann-trason-the-pioneer-returns.html#idc-container

This is a good article. She's a great runner and person. There's something, however, that I can't put my finger on, maybe a series of somethings, equalling not quite...ok.  I just looked this up and it fits: there's a disquietude about her I've seen in person, and as touched on in this article, albeit maybe unknowingly. And it doesn't help that the article ends with "long may you run".  That phrase was written as an elegy.

Since the beginning of the month, I've had some sort of preschool crud that Emi passed on, so barely any mileage. NOT GOOD.  MAF training had given me a nice confidence going into the month, even though my mileage hasn't been what it should have been. Now, I have three weeks until Old Pueblo, to either a) make up the mileage lost over the last week and a half, or b) start right up what I should be running, or c) make up some sort of emergency training schedule.

Postscript: relevant IRunFar article http://www.irunfar.com/2014/02/down-with-the-sickness-guidelines-for-running-during-and-after-the-flu.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+irunfar%2FwAAy+%28iRunFar%29

Monday, January 6, 2014

"The negative issues did not stop hear."


I wish ultrarunning wasn't such a fringe sport, because this is pure comedy gold. It's sad to make fun of the guy (because who can take this seriously?) because he's an international running legend and 70+ years old or something and (now) obviously a nutcase, but I'm going to have a hard time not thinking of phrases like "mistake in the dosology" and "he realized it was bumpy" at the next race.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Prove It

Strava email from this week

This email is so interesting, and brings up so many questions.  There's a poem/lyrics at the beginning of the email that isn't captured in the screenshot, including the lines "It's who we are" and "It's how we measure ourselves" and "It proves a great story. Prove it".

Align the product with deeply held customer values: "It's who we are".  Who's "we"? This is a targeted email marketing campaign, so I'm guessing the target demo is existing users of Strava: white males, mostly cyclists, ages 25-35 or so.  Why target an already existing customer base? Maybe to reinforce the brand at the New Year, or more importantly, maybe to announce what looks like a new social media identifier for Strava, #StravaProveIt.  There's even a Prove It video. (why do social media products create separate hashtags from their own company/product name?  is the intent to mark separate campaigns or is it just smart to disassociate user tagged information from the company/product for some reason?)

So "Prove It" is a thing for Strava.

"Prove" means in part to "demonstrate the truth".  The guys and I have to prove it, "it" being our accomplishments? Is my word somehow unbelievable (and if so, why?) or are my accomplishments to unreal to be believed? "...proves a great story", so interesting that the word "story" was used....it sounds like we're pretty special people, given the great stories and unbelievable accomplishments.

Or maybe more to the point, we're to prove our identity: athletic, tough, fit, active, fast. We think we're these things, so now we should use Strava to exhibit the actual behavior behind the labels telegraphed by fancy gear and clothes and the communities to which we're associated.

Who are we supposed to prove it to? The office cleaning lady or the old guy that just perpendicular parked in a diagonal parking spot? No, people whose opinion of us we care about.  "Prove to Yourself" (because we doubt our identity?) and "...prove your endeavors via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram...".  So social media outlets made up of, for the most part, our self-selected audiences.  So, not unusual for a social media product to be marketed using an action verb with some...psychological baggage associated with it, since the product is naturally ingrained in our identity.  Instead of a simple "Do It", just buy those shoes and lace them up, Strava users get told to "Prove it", and they're to hashtag the phrase and tell their cohorts to "Prove It".

The call to action of "Prove It" isn't very aspirational. I don't want to some day, some how, just like Kami Semick, "Prove It".  But maybe Strava wasn't looking for aspirational with this campaign?  Maybe they didn't intend to inspire users or give them an unattainable image to aspire to, maybe they wanted to connect to users in a way that's a reaction against those usual marketing motivators?  Maybe the suggestion is "everyone else is living a lie, and you're the one person that's going to "Prove It" and deliver the goods and quit living a life of propped up, possibly untrue identity labels."

If "Prove It" is the answer, what's the question?  Who knows.  I do believe though, that if I'm reading it, "it's for me" (http://thelastpsychiatrist.com/2011/04/j_crew_ad_promotes_something_t.html#more )