26 May 2014

in case you were wondering...

on 27 april, during a soccer game, my arm was broken.

i don't say, "i broke my arm." because, although my actions led to its being in harm's way, i didn't break my own arm, per se. i've heard enough 'you aren't supposed to play soccer with your hands' comments, so haha you can just skip those. i know i should have headed the ball instead of flinging my arm up to protect my face, but in my defense, i'm quite header-challenged. i'm just notoriously poor at it. pluswise, knowing now that that ball was delivered with bone-breaking power, i am glad i didn't try to head it because i probably would have ended up unconscious.

so, instead of successfully heading the ball, or the more likely, receiving a concussion, i sacrificed my arm to what's known in orthopaedic circles as the 'nightstick fracture' due to its proclivity for being acquired by rioters protecting their faces from the blows of a billy-club.

of course, i went immediately to the doctor... in a world where immediately means 2 road trips, 1 marathon, and 12 days later. in my defense, i could not imagine the bone was broken. it was slowly but surely healing - pain, swelling, bruises all subsiding. but, i just didn't think it was 'right' and i didn't want to be one of those people who never regains full range of motion because they never had the sense to have it checked out.

so i went and it was indeed fractured, but in a way you could barely see on the xray. i'd been lucky, really, that the bone hadn't been displaced and that healing had begun. the suited me up with a hard splint - as opposed to a cast - so that i could remove it as needed.

when i went back this week for a two-week checkup, the xray looked tons worse and the doc actually seemed a bit surprised. he asked if i'd hit it, which i had not. he said the displacement is well within tolerance, that he could see lots of new bone growth, and he wasn't concerned, but that i'll probably have a bump when it heals. i don't mind bumps, so i don't care about that, but i blame the splint for being malformed, so i'm probably gonna sue for malpractice.

haha! no, i'm not.

or... am i??

~~~this post brought to you by the one-handed typist.~~~

07 May 2014

the racketeer

a long solo car trip can be boring. to help make my latest more palatable, i decided to purchase a book on CD. i'm thinking having someone tell me a story while i drive will make the time just melt away.

the selection came down to a crime thriller by an unfamiliar author -- used CD, $6 -- a john grisham and maeve binchy -- both $14.99 -- and harry potter & the sorcerer's stone -- $50. okay, i cannot seriously contemplate a $50 option, so HP&SS is out. the crime thriller has some compelling back cover copy and a very compelling $6 pricetag, but i just can't pull the trigger on an author i don't know. so, we're down to grisham v binchy -- the former promising a bit of legal suspense and the latter a not-too-intense family saga. in the end, i selected grisham.

although mr grisham's pattern is predictable, i thought i'd get some of his patented sharp insight into the legal system, and a bit of suspense, all through the eyes of a sympathetic character. he's generally brilliant at revealing plausible connections between plot twists, settings, characters - where none would have seemed possible.

unfortunately, the only thing that came through was the predictability.

suspense = lacking

mr grisham doesn't deliver a mystery that we solve together with the main character. he metes out details that gradually shed light on what's not a mystery at all to the main character. he's not mystery. he's suspense.

whether it was the actual book or the abridgment for audio, 'the racketeer' didn't offer much suspense. the details were either highly predictable or completely deus-ex-machina.

character development = absent

the protagonist wasn't especially sympathetic -- probably because we never had a good grasp on his motive, or perhaps his motive was simply shallow greed. the plot was rote. the supporting cast was flat. nobody changed, grew, or learned. no hidden talents or traits came to light. noone's path diverged in a yellow wood.

insight = shallow

there were no intriguing insights into the legal system. sure, maybe it was the abridgment, but why leave out such juicy details? i usually feel like i've learned some legal trade secret from grisham. in this case, the legal system was mentioned myriad times, but the actual surface was barely scratched.

connections = tenuous

yes. okay. this could have been due to the abridgment. but the connections were so tenuous as to seem manufactured. grisham usually offers these "ah-ha!" moments where you can see how the pieces fit together in a way you'd never imagined they could. they fit, you believe they fit, and you understand how they fit. in this book, it was all punchline and no setup. the pat solution was simply handed over. fait accompli.

conclusion = painful

the conclusion of 'the racketeer' was a terrible combination of predictable and drawn out. there were many places where it would have been fine for the story to have ended -- and a couple where it would have been quite good. instead, the conclusion drew out and out... and out... and out... and in the end, all wrapped up nicely just as you'd have guessed.


without reading the book, i can't know how much to blame on a now-performing-by-rote grisham and how much is the fault of a sloppy abridger. all things considered, it was nice to have a storyteller along for the ride, and i will try it again, but may take a different route. perhaps i'll borrow an unabridged story from the library, or perhaps i'll sign up for audio.com.

What are your thoughts?

04 May 2014

all effort. no payoff.

well. that didn't go quite as i'd planned.

up at 5am, glass of water, cuppa joe, pb sandwich. all goes well #ifyouknowwhatimean. i settle on long sleeve shirt under team singlet with shorts. (this turned out to be a good choice.) we get there in plenty of time to park and use the restroom at the convention center. when we line up, it's slightly cool for shorts, but by the time we've gone a couple miles, i'm warming up and the sun is coming out. i am enjoying having the long sleeves pulled over my hands.

on top of it all this good, we lay down a few miles at even 10's.

all signs point to YES.

but then...

descartes is running the half, so we think we'll have 13 miles together. however, at mile 5 he needs a break, and i don't want to slow down, so this is it. splitsville at mile 5. i feel the beginnings of chest pressure, so i ask him after he finishes to get my inhaler and meet me somewhere with it. i am thinking that a puff will be nice anytime. not desperate, mind you, but nice.

off i go, on my own. (by "my own" i mean with the group descartes and i had been with.) the wind, which had been threatening all morning, picks up around mile 8, growing more and more insistent. by mile 11, i realise the puffer has become a necessity rather than an option, but i remain confident that descartes will find me at some point.

in case you don't know, this is how needing the puffer plays out: more effort translates to less payoff. like i said, we'd been laying down perfect 10's. i carry on with the 10's miles 5-11, and while these are challenging, they are not outrageous. 12 and 13... uh-oh. i am pretty much barely hanging on. #notgood at 13.1 (the half-full split), i am done. i mean, done like toast, not done like i quit the race. haha. be serious. i am halfway finished, right? what would be the point in quitting?? although i am no longer with descartes, i am fairly certain he'll find me with the puffer at or before 18. so, i turn the corner away from the finish and dig in.

and... start laying down 12's. and, 13's. and, other miles i don't even want to contemplate. by now, the wind is fully in play -- a couple times rounding corners, i literally feel my feet pushed out from under me. (no, i don't fall.) when going into the wind, i imagine i look like a cartoon character running, running, and watching my destination shrink away from me.

like i said: all effort, no payoff.

amazingly, miles are still melting away well enough. sure, i am partially delirious, but it's an interesting enough course through lots of different types of neighborhoods and the riverwalk and a park. the most disconcerting occurrence during this episode is the number of people who pass me, going not fast at all, only to disappear over the horizon. ugh.

mile 14, 15, 16... no descartes. 17, 18, 19... by now the pace is getting ridiculous, and still, no descartes. at mile 22, i using the part of my mind that is still awake to consider slowing to a walk when a teensy bit of my mind that - against all odds and despite oxygen debt is focused on something other than myself - tries to distract me with concerns about descartes and why he hasn't met me yet.

so, i ponder descartes's fate and resist walking, but somewhere in the 22, 23 zone i get a little wonky-legged and feel like my left calf is going to cramp, so i give in and walk a bit. from there on in, i give in and walk a bit then dig in and jog a bit. it's actually going okay, for what it is. i am thinking at least i can finish at a respectable jog.

i figure descartes is either fine or someone will pick him up to carry him home. not my worry. at the same time, if descartes wants to show up with the magic puffer that will be fine. even at mile 24, that will be fine. alas, no descartes.

around mile 25, i manage to pass two guys. feels a little cruel since clearly we are all struggling here, but damn, it's a race, #amirite?

between mile 25.5-26 poses a specific challenge - a bricked roadway. i'd been down it once (before the half split off) so i know it's tricky, but i feel like i've got it under control. i probably would have except -- i am thinking the turn to the finish is at (say) avenue "a", but it unfolds that the turn is one more block, avenue "b". i am so discouraged about going another block that i stop to walk. of all the walks i took, this is probably the most disappointing.

i overcome this disappointment by picking up the damn pace (back to, like, my currently stellar 15's or whatever i'm pulling) and i make it to the turn then around the turn then i see the finish banner THEN the freaking WIND literally BLOWS the bloody banner quite literally parallel to the damn road, effectively hiding the finish. typical of today's wind, which has taken my breath and my effort, now it has taken my solace.

i buckle down and put everything into the finish. i am rocking probably a 12 at least. woo. hoo.

suddenly, there are descartes* AND his queen AND beavis grenouille AND regina. beavis grenouille and regina start to run into the road to finish with me (or, before me, because at this point i cannot beat a 4 and 6 yr old) when descartes holds them back because there are some other finishers too close and those two might get in the way. too close?! what?? who knew? clearly, this is some sort of photo finish! and i win!

i mean, i win over those two other pitiful runners who can't even manage to beat pitiful me. probably those same two guys i passed a while back. no, it's not much... BUT I'LL TAKE IT! I AM NOT LAST! (actually, there are quite a few behind us.)

over the mat. stop the watch. down the chute. accept my medal. spot a folding chair. sit. notice the medal and OH MY GOD. this is the cheapest damn medal i have ever seen! last year's was solid, heavy, medal. this... i think it might be plastic. what the hell?! i paid $100 for this god forsaken race, and pluswise - i slaved for HOURS for this award, and IT'S PLASTIC??


all effort. no payoff.

*descartes had had rather a battle of it himself and although he finished long before i, he had not finished in time to meet me at any of the crossings near the start-finish. although i am certain, had he known i'd have delighted in seeing him at 25, he'd have taken himself and the puffer right on down there. in short, forgiven is he.

predawn jitters

6am. i got up at 5 because we're heading to the start at 7 and that's what i do -- get up 2 hrs before, get the engine running #ifyouknowwhatimean. i've had a glass of water and a cup of coffee and a peanut butter sandwich and i've caught up on words with friends and played thru my candy crush lives and at this point alls i really want to do is sit here and drink more coffee. firstly, it's freaking cold as hell in this house and the coffee's hot. but secondly and slightly more weighty... i don't want to face another 5hr marathon. i realise going into it with an attitude of failure doesn't bode well for success, but after so many failures, it's difficult to find my optimism. so i'm back to who cares and fck it and you burn the same calories either way but truth is i care. i care and i don't know why i keep breaking my heart like this.  

03 May 2014

how things look on this side of sunrise.

12 hours from now, i am set to begin my 13th marathon.

of all the ones i have run, this one is simultaneously the most real and least real. i faithfully followed the training plan for this one well -- with just the one injury very near the end. following the training so faithfully lent a gravity to the proceedings and i felt like i was investing in something real. but, at the same time, the training didn't go exactly as i'd have wished, so i felt like i was investing poorly.

a couple days ago, i felt ready, but then i made this long drive and i'm hundreds of miles from home (but, you know, hundreds closer to the event) and so i am hundreds away from all the places i trained and all the people who were with me during training and supported me through training. so it's like THIS is real now and THIS is not training because training was THERE. this new reality isn't about a marathon, so i can't really be running a marathon tomorrow. it doesn't seem real.

on top of this mounting surreality, i am having a wardrobe crisis. the temps tomorrow are forecast to be in the high forties, low fifties. last week when i was finalizing my wardrobe, the forecast was also for sunshine and calm winds. i'd planned to wear shorts and a short sleeve shirt with a team singlet over. as of today, the temps are holding but the skies are to be partly cloudy and the winds up to 15+mph. a partly cloudy and windy 50 degrees is much different than a sunny and calm 50. so, today, i got a pair of compression capris to wear tomorrow. but who gets something new for race day?? so now i am back to the shorts, but maybe throw in a long sleeved shirt - a bonus there being i can pull the sleeves over my hands as needed.

all this mulling and angst is of course just a cover up. my real concern is pace. i think i need to hold something close to a 10mins pace to meet my goal and that a 10mins pace will allow me space to stop for a sip of gatorade or a visit to a portapotty. so, fine, i want a 10mins pace. however, through all this training, i never have gotten a handle for the 10mins pace. i have gone faster and i have gone slower, but the only time i could do 10 was on a treadmill when the machine is doing the work.

so, i guess my mind doesn't want it to be real because my mind doesn't think it's going to work out well, and my mind is concerned that my heart will be broken, so my mind is protecting my heart.

that's all i know from this side of sunrise.

02 May 2014

road trippin'

8 hours is a long time to be driving. BUT YOU GOTTA DO WHAT YOU GOTTA DO. day after tomorrow i am running a marathon #yikes and the marathon takes place 8 hours from my home so i drove 8 hours and here i am.

taking a solo road trip means i can control the radio. that's good. BUT, i can't shazam the songs because i'm driving. that's bad. it's also difficult to have a snack or open a drink or find my sunglasses or, you know, take a break and let someone else drive for a little while.

i saw a lot of cool things but i couldn't take pictures because of the whole DRIVING thing. like, there was this Wide Load that looked like a coffin for a giant vampire. and, at the nestle factory there is a huge bunny statue. those were both cool. there were a couple interesting things at the rest area... and yeah, i could have snapped those shots, but c'mon. the entire "document the trip" thing was mussed. i mean, pics of the rest area do not a documentary make.

anyway, i am here and i am on vacation and i will try to keep you filled in, but you know, i am easily distracted.