The Handsome Man with Athletic Thighs
Running In Circles
Thursday, January 31st

I just participated in an online test as part of a contestant search for Jeopardy. Boy, did it make me feel stupid. There were a couple of questions that totally stumped me. (How could I not know the capital of West Virginia? How? What's wrong with me?!) The correct answer for one question popped into my head just as time ran out to type it. And I realized I know only a little bit about opera and even less about musicals. So, don't expect to see me on Jeopardy anytime soon. I'll study up on my Gilbert and Sullivan and try again next year when I'm eligible again.
Wednesday, January 30th

The last few days have been rough on my running program. I decided to take Saturday off and move my run to Sunday, mostly because the weather was bad, but also because I had a lot of soreness in my legs—especially in my left ankle.

Sunday rolled around, and I had to spend the daylight hours watching the Little Dude while Angie waited (and waited) to see a doctor at the urgent care clinic. (Turns out she has tonsillitis.) I didn't want to go out in the dark, so that made two days without running.

I took Monday off from work to look after the Little Dude while Angie convalesced. I probably could have squeezed in a run if I'd put my mind to it, but it snowed nearly all day, and I didn't care to deal with the bad weather. That made three days without running.

Tuesday I found myself trapped in the house until enough snow melted off the driveway that I could get out and go to work. Since I arrived late to work, I stayed late to make up the time. That didn't leave me any time to go for a run.

Today, I woke up to find the driveway covered with a new layer of fresh, slippery snow. I cleaned myself up and dressed for work, knowing that I'd arrive late for the second day in a row. I realized, however, that I felt terrible—sore throat, sinus headache, nausea. I decided to take the day off entirely. I took a nice long nap, and now I'm feeling a little better.

So, I've now gone four days without running. I really should get out there and log some miles today, but my morale is low and it hardly seems worth the time. Looks like it's going to be five days without running.
Friday, January 25th

My schedule was awfully tight this evening, and I almost took the day off from working out. But then I thought, I can't skip going for a run on Pre's birthday! So, I whipped on my running clothes, laced up my shoes, and hit the trail for an easy three miles. It was all I had time for, but at least I did something.
Wednesday, January 23rd

I managed to finish a four-mile jog this afternoon without bleeding copiously from the nostrils. I did, however, limp through the last half mile with a searing pain in my ass. Seriously, it felt like someone was stabbing me in the left butt cheek every time I took a step. I think the problem is I let myself get too far out of shape. Now I'm basically starting over from square one, including sore muscles and soft feet. It's disappointing really. My two-week break turned into a 12-week break, and I have no one to blame but me.
Tuesday, January 22nd

I intended to run four miles this afternoon, but I turned back early when my nose started bleeding. Later, I played Guitar Hero for the first time. It was a lot of fun, but I suck at pretend guitar almost as much as I suck at real guitar.
Saturday, January 19th
Priest Point Orienteering

Jake and I met at the Kent-Des Moines Park and Ride and carpooled down to Olympia for an orienteering meet at Priest Point Park. The weather was looking all right—cold but dry—until we were just outside of Olympia. At that point, the clouds opened up and the rain poured down. Luckily, by the time we made our way to the park and registered, the rain had turned from a downpour to a sprinkle.

As far as my race went, things started out well. I was blasting through the controls, helped by the fact that most of them were very close to the trail. I suffer when things get too far off-trail, as was evidenced by my leg from Control 7 to Control 8. I was only trying to go maybe 50 meters through vegetation to find a trail. For some reason, I ended up paralleling the trail for about a quarter-mile. I managed to bust out of the ferns and salal, but only after I encountered a fence blocking off some private property that allowed me to figure out just exactly where I was.

I had lost a lot of time, and I knew it. I moved quickly from Control 8, once I'd gotten there, to Control 9, but I was rushing myself, and I made a few mistakes getting to number 10. I exited Control 9 to the north when I should have headed south. But that wasn't as costly as running to Control 11 instead of Control 10. Oops.

Once I'd gone back to 10, I got my head together and finished pretty well. Number 11 was easy to find, given I'd already been there. I didn't miss the trail to number 12, even though I couldn't see it until I was right on top of it. I realized that I would have to go out to the beach to find control 13, rather than clambering around on the cliffs above it, like some others that I saw. I took the beach from 13 to 14, rather than struggling through a maze of trails on the slopes above it—it seemed like the obvious choice to me, but not everyone made it.

I had a little trouble getting from Control 14 to the finish. I thought I was on a trail that aimed straight for it, but I ended up climbing over a downed tree only to find myself in a clearing of ankle-deep ivy, no trail in sight. I just bullied my way ahead until I could see the tent at the finish line and sprinted in. If I hadn't screwed up number 8 so badly, I think I would have done quite well. Maybe next time.

After finishing, I wandered around looking for Jake, who happened to be wandering around looking for me. I finally spotted him and was able to change out of my soaking wet clothes and head home.
Saturday, January 12th
Bridle Trails Twilight Run

I almost skipped this race. When I signed up for it, I didn't know it would happen during the Seahawk's play-off game against Green Bay. Since I was sorely out of shape AND I wanted to see the game, running the race seemed like a bad idea. I went anyway, for two basic reasons: the weather was decent, and I would have kicked myself if I stayed home only to watch the Seahawks get blown out. I set my DVR and headed to Kirkland.

There were a variety of races to be run, including a 50k and a 10-miler. I was signed up for the 5-miler. The race started late in the day—three o'clock—so runners on the longer courses would be finishing in the dark. Barring disaster, I would finish while it was still light.

I warmed up and made my way to the start. I saw a couple of runners I knew would beat me, but I lined up on the front row. We started and I charged to the front, trailing four other runners, including the two guys who beat me at every race at which I see them. I followed them for quite some distance, until I realized I was keeping up with them, which meant I was running too fast. I decided I would slow down while it was still my choice to go slower.

I found myself running alone. The trails were twisty enough that the runners ahead of me were soon out of sight, and I couldn't hear any runners behind me. Luckily, the course was very well marked, so I had no trouble finding my way.

After some time, I heard runners approaching me from behind. Two guys passed me on a long uphill stretch, and they were really moving. I realized they were the lead runners from the 10-mile race that had started five minutes after my race. (The race course is 5.2-mile loops. My race was one loop, their race was two loops, and so on.) I checked my watch. Judging my pace against theirs, I determined they were running about a 6-minute mile pace. Not bad on the trail.

I ran another half-mile or so solo, then I heard another runner coming up behind me. He wasn't moving quite as quickly, so I assumed (correctly) that he was another runner in my race. He passed me, made a comment about all the horse shit on the trail, and then slowly pulled away. I tried to pick up my pace and close down the gap, but I didn't have enough left to go faster.

Then the other runner was out of sight, and I was by myself again. I didn't have far left to go, though. Soon enough, I came across the finish line. Somehow, I managed to finish sixth overall, with a time of 36:52. For 5.2 miles that makes 7:05 per mile. Not bad for two months without training.

Oh yeah, the Seahawks got blown out.
Sometimes I feel like I'm breathing underwater.