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Leave it all on the field.

I ran the Skirt Chaser 5K on Saturday. As I crossed the finish line, I thought to myself, "I should have run harder." Don’t get me wrong, my leg muscles were in anaerobic land and my lungs were struggling to efficiently exchange gasses, but I had something left in me that I should have used up. I should have run harder. My second though was, "My whole week has been like this."

Many times last week I thought to myself, "Why didn’t I get more done yesterday?" Yeah, I know, I got a lot done last week, but I could have done more. I should have run harder. Why didn’t I?

There’s the fear excuse: If I run hard or get this crazy amount done, it will be expected of me all the time (by me, by others, but mostly by me) and I don’t think I can or I don’t want to do this amount all the time.

There’s the marker excuse: I didn’t see the mile marker or didn’t know all that was going to be expected of me, so I didn’t pace myself properly.

Both are bad excuses. Both keep me from being a stronger runner, having a stronger writing career.  Every-so-often, there’s a controversy in ultimate frisbee when one team doesn’t hear the time cap horn. "We didn’t hear the horn; we would have played differently." And the right counter argument is, "You should have been playing your hardest no matter what the score or how much game is left. You should be leaving it all on the field."

That’s how I should be working. It’s not a comfortable mindset, but I won’t die if I run my hardest, and I won’t run out of work, ever.

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Not very Flashy and also Slow

I’ve come to the conclusion that for me balance in life is not obtainable. Oh, overall everything probably evens out, but on any given day/week/month the scale might be weighted toward writing or socializing or VOTS stuff to the exclusion of most other things.

For example, my good intentions of writing flash fiction every week and posting it for #FridayFlash or on Fictionaut weren’t worth very much. But, hey, failure in the past doesn’t guarantee failure (or success) in the future. Therefore, here is my semi-regular "where am I on the web today" roundup:

  • Finished posting part I of Pas de Chat on Sunday. Part II is much shorter.
  • Posted "Orange Box" at Fictionaut. It’s a piece that didn’t make the cut for 52|250. I also have an EtherPad version if you’re interested in seeing all my typos as I write. The piece is a little autobiographical based on many Saturday afternoon excursions to Sutherlands with my grandpa.

Need to do a ton of writing to avoid bologna sandwiches. I didn’t get much done yesterday because I’m a putz (who probably deserves bologna sandwiches) and I seem to have it in my head that I can’t write while the sun is up. Or something like that. League took up my "prime" writing hours of 8-10pm. We lost. My play was pretty decent and involved some smooth H-stack play.

Tomorrow, I run the Skirt Chaser 5K again. I doubt that I’ll beat last year’s time since I’m not even beating last year’s non-race times. I’ve set up a 31 minute playlist that should get me through it in a semi-respectable manner.

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When I put together my 101 Things in 1001 Days list back in 2007, I included doing a "fun run" as the sort of end point to a series of running goals. At the time I was running a couple of miles fairly regularly, but not taxing myself. Other running goals on my list were Couch to 5K (which I could never quite get the hang of…too much structure), run 10 miles a week for 5 weeks (which wasn’t too hard after I managed to run 3-4 miles in a row), and interval training 3x a week for 5 weeks (pushing my pace seems to result in a unhappy joints, especially doing it for five weeks in a row). I was interested in testing my limits as much as simply providing things to do that would burn calories. Doing a fun run  would be a gut-check. Could become a confident enough runner to do a public run? (Granted, what I lack in confidence I make up in obliviousness. I am certain I would not want to see a video of myself playing ultimate during 2001-2007.)

Yesterday, I ran the Skirt Chaser 5K. I didn’t do it last year mostly due to fitness considerations. I hadn’t run at all in January 2009 according to RunLogger. From journal entries, it doesn’t sound like I was doing much else either. In the interim, I’d seen Skirt Chaser shirts and skirts and been a little envious. Considering that people I knew were doing it this time, I took the opportunity even if I hadn’t been running much this year either.

Per my advisement, Casey and Reif parked by my apartment and we’d took the light rail to quite-near Tempe Beach Park. Once there, we met with Laura, Josh, and Jeff (our cheering section/holder-of-stuff (And stuff there was. I didn’t remember that the fare kiosks gave change in the form of dollar coins and therefore didn’t warn Reif before he received $13 in non-runner-friendly currency.)). Much to my relief, this plan worked well. I was also very happy to have Laura there, considering the women’s start time was 3 minutes before the men. As a race veteran, Laura dragged me with her to near to front of the pack and was generally a reassuring presence.

As for the race itself, the experience wasn’t as I expected it to be. I’m used to saying, "I’m going for a run" and going. No waiting in line for a tracking chip or for the race to start amid other antsy people. As soon as the race did start, I was thirsty, needed to use a restroom, and most annoyingly, my shoes felt too loose. Running with people wasn’t as energizing for me, mainly because I was concerned that I was going to overpace myself. The course was nice, though again I was distracted by how I was doing that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I might have if I were running on my own. I slowed to a walk a couple of times to change my music and after the substantial hill about a mile in. I didn’t think I did very well and was tired enough to not think of looking at my time at the finish line. I was hoping for better than 30 minutes and figured I did about 29. (The results were posted this morning and I managed better than I thought: 27:39. Not the best 5K I’ve ever done, but decent for me. I crossed the finish line 241st (or with the 354th best time, if you subtract out the men’s 3min. penalty) (or 15th among women age 35-39).)

Post-run festivities included music and free beer which were loud and not that tasty. After Josh, Laura and Jeff took their leave, Casey, Reif and I adjourned to Rula Bula, a downtown Tempe establishment that I had heard about but never been to. Much better beer and atmosphere more conducive to conversations about television, movies, ultimate drama and lack of drug usage.

In all, a good experience, but made so by the people involved. Due to that, I’m really glad I didn’t do it last year.

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Running, Movies, Tumblr

I realized Friday, with a slight shock, that the Skirt Chaser 5K is Saturday. I knew intellectually that it was the 13th, the Saturday before Valentine’s Day. I had registered for it on Tuesday, so it’s been on my mind, but logging it on my calendar and seeing it a mere week away was disconcerting. Until yesterday, the last time I ran was January 22nd. That was the week of storms here in the Valley. Causation or no, my joints felt like crap. Last weekend was NYF and I was sort of saving my efforts for that and didn’t run the week before. And the past week has been NYF recovery. I had counted on there being two weeks between NYF and Skirt Chaser, but somehow translated that into two weeks between NYF *recovery* and Skirt Chaser. Anyway, I ran yesterday, felt like crap, but ended up with a respectable (for me) 3.4 miles in 30min. I’ll probably try to get another run in on Thursday, because Monday is league. I’m excited. I’m always excited for league. I have the perfect socks to wear tomorrow night.

Double Christian Bale movie weekend. Watched Terminator: Salvation on Friday night. It wasn’t very good. For a movie reliant on time-travel, it was quite predictable. The details were a bit shoddy too. As was the writing. Tonight, we watched Public Enemies, which was strangely tension-less and somewhat unfocused. There’s an interesting paradigm shift in law enforcement that occurred in the 30s and the movie postulates that John Dillinger is somewhat the cause of it, but does a very bad job of illustrating that shift, which seems to me to be where the tension lays in the story.

I watched The Right Stuff the other day on Netflix streaming (a favorite movie of mine that I haven’t watched in probably  fifteen years) and noticed something very interesting about the storytelling. For a movie about heading into space, the audience isn’t given the experience of space (spoiler?) until John Glen (the 3rd man in space). It’s a great look at delaying detail until you can pay it off properly. (I also found the female characters more interesting during this watching. Women-behind-very-focused-men is a role I can somewhat identify with. Like I said, it’s probably been a decade and a half since I’ve seen this movie. While Eric is not involved in death-defying work, there are aspects of Glennis Yaeger and Trudy Cooper in particular that are of interest to me now where before they were incredibly minor characters to me.)

Since my Firefox update now precludes Deepest Sender, I’ve move Read-on-the-Web to Tumblr. Better than lists of random links here. I suppose.

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12.5K for a 5K?

Thinking about running the Skirt Chaser 5K. Running a 5K, or the like, was on my now defunct 101 things list and I’d still like to do it. I’ve been running again and 3 miles isn’t a hardship. Anyway, I had looked at the Skirt Chaser last year, and this year Casey (the social instigator) is gathering up the usual suspects to do it. And it occurs to me that this is a good carrot opportunity.

Back when I wrote Pas de Chat, the plan was to write at least 10K a month with a goal of 75K in 6 months (basically 12.5K a month). That’s not a huge number, but considering that Eric and I talked every day about Pas de Chat, like we’re doing with Zeta Iota, it might be a semi-reasonable number. I’m probably doing more intra-draft rewriting with this book than with that book. So, I ‘m thinking this: 12.5K by the end of the month. Then I sign up for the Skirt Chaser. I basically started this book on the 8th and have around 5K done.  That 7500 and clean-up in the next week and few days.

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This journal is eight years old. I always think that I started it on Aug. 31,2000  and didn’t post until Sept. 1st, but according to the stats LiveJournal keeps, I started this journal on Aug. 28th and didn’t get around to posting until the 1st. It took me a while to warm up to the idea of an online journal, and I am known for my ability to make snap decisions and rashly jump into things.

Two years ago, I noted that I ran 3.7 miles in 55 mins. Yeah, that’s nearly a 15 min/mile. At least, I’ve gotten a little better at the running thing. Today, I posted 3.1 in 27:01. Still not fast, but faster, relatively. I was hoping that the intervals would make me faster, but my hammie was pretty stiff and it took me a mile to figure out how to pace myself again. I must say, intervals were really wearing me out. I’d come in pretty much wiped out from them. But that is part of the point of them: tax your muscles and force them to be more efficient. Jogging is more energizing. I feel pretty good right now.

Might go out to disc this afternoon. It depends on when Eric wakes up and what sort of mood he’s in.

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And now I shall drink the world…

Just came in from my first 4 mile run of the year.  I’m actually surprised that I hadn’t gone beyond 3.5 until today, but I *was* in pretty crappy running shape at the beginning of the year and then got sick in February.  Logged about an 8.5 min/mi too.  Not shabby for one as slow as me.  But it again strikes me as disheartening to contemplate how many calories are burned versus how much effort is put forth.  I mean 332 calories for 33 minutes of sweating, burning muscles and maximum lung intake?  Yeesh.  Which is why it is better to take the long view.

 According to my FitDay records, since the beginning of the year, I have spent:
14 hours running, nearly 88.5 miles, burning 7500 calories.
But that ain’t nothing compare to:
48 hours playing ultimate frisbee, burning slightly over 19,000 calories.
Now that makes me feel better.

(Yeah, I know.  Running burns more calories per amount of time, but ultimate is a hell of a lot more fun.)
(And yes, I know.  These approximations are that…approximations.  How many calories burned will vary with what tool is used and many other factors.  When I ran on the treadmill last week, it gave me some huge number for calories burned but it’s calibrated for someone who is not me.  And when I go running in Omaha in a month or so, I’ll burn more calories because I’ll be running up freakin’ hills, except I won’t because I’ll die after the second one…)

On the plus side, knees feel okay today.  New shoes are probably helping, despite my being an under-pronator and buying light motion control shoes (because I do have flat feet).