The Handsome Man with Athletic Thighs
Running In Circles
Friday, February 22nd

Originally, I had grandiose plans for this weekend. I was going to go to an orienteering meet, rush home and clean up, and then catch an afternoon flight down to LA. On Sunday morning I was going to head to the Rose Bowl to watch the final stage of the Tour of California. I would then zoom back home to Seattle so I wouldn't miss any work.

Well, first the flight loads started backing up, so I had to push my return trip to Monday morning. Then the Little Dude got really sick. Then he gave it to me. Angie still hasn't fully recovered from her bout of tonsillitis and bronchitis. So, the idea of piling three sick people onto an airplane for a whirlwind trip to see a couple of hours of biking racing started to seem like a bad idea. To top it off, the flight loads started filling up for Monday too, meaning it was unlikely the three of us would manage to get seats together on the return trip. I decided to cancel the trip.

I'm a little disappointed. I was really looking forward to seeing George Hincapie racing for his new team. The great Mario Cipollini is back and contesting sprints. Former World Champ "Tornado" Tom Boonen is in town and winning stages. And I'm a fan of just about everybody on the Slipstream squad, funny mustaches aside. (Okay, the funny mustaches actually make me like them more.)

I realized while I was thinking about all the cycle racing that I would be missing, I never posted any pictures from last year's race. Well, here's one I snapped of Levi Leipheimer defending his Yellow Jersey during the last day.

Levi Leipheimer - 2007 Tour of California
Sunday, February 10th

I failed to make my goal of 20 miles of running for this week. Things fell apart on Saturday when I had a ton of plans and, therefore, only a narrow window of time in which to run. The problem: that window was in the morning. I just can't get out of bed and hit the road. By the time I was conscious enough to contemplate putting one foot in front of the other without falling down, I needed to leave for my other commitments. A 20-mile week should be a snap, but I haven't managed one yet in 2008.

The disappointing part is that this failure happened the day after a date was finally announced for this year's WARR. No location has been announced, but at least I finally know how to outline my training. Since the race could have taken place anytime between the first week of September and the last week of October, I had no idea how to time my peak. Now I know. Alas, they picked the absolute worst day in that span to hold the race, but that's another story.

I didn't run today, either, but I hadn't planned too. Instead, Angie and I flew down to Portland, cruised Powell's Books, had a fancy-pants lunch, and then turned around and flew home, all sans the Little Dude. It was quite refreshing, and I even managed to show great restraint with my purchases at the world's best bookstore.
Friday, February 8th

Today, bearing in mind the sage advice that "there is no such thing as bad weather, just soft people," I went for a five-mile slog in miserable conditions—39 degrees and raining. It just figures that yesterday—my planned rest day—would have nicest weather of the whole week.
Tuesday, February 5th

I managed to get out and jog four miles again today. That makes two days in row—somebody stop me! But seriously, when I'm in a good groove of running, I tend to get in a good groove with the rest of my life too. It seems kind of counter-intuitive. You would think that cutting a big chunk of time out of my day to specifically make myself tired would, well, make me tired. Instead, it energizes me. I can't explain it, but that's how it works.
Monday, February 4th

Since I seem to be on the tail end of a pretty nasty cold, I decided I was finally feeling good enough to start up my training. Again. I'm seriously far behind, but I won't catch up if I don't jump in.

I jogged an easy four miles, and I felt, surprisingly, decent. After my hard effort at Saturday's orienteering meet, I assumed I would be sore. Somehow, I wasn't.

My jog turned in a few good bird sightings. I saw a pair of Red-tailed Hawks contesting dominance of a telephone pole. A Great Blue Heron stood statue still 10 feet off the jogging path and watched me shuffle past. A dozen Black-capped Chickadees flitted about as if taunting my slow, earth-bound lumber.

All this and it didn't rain until after I'd finished running. It was a good day.
Saturday, February 2nd
Fire Mountain Orienteering

Jake and I met at a Park-and-Ride in Kirkland and carpooled up to Mount Vernon for today's orienteering event at Fire Mountain Scout Camp. I've had some trouble at this venue in the past, and I was a little nervous when I read on the listserv that there were some newly-mapped areas on the northern section of the map.

Well, my fears proved unfounded; I actually did quite well. Except for one moment of confusion going from Control 1 to Control 2, I didn't really make any mistakes. The newly-mapped section proved to be the undoing of many of the more advanced orienteers. That is because they went off-trail to find Control 7, when following the trail was the best way to go. You see, the trail wasn't accurately represented on the map, and I think the feature, a large cliff, wasn't in the right place, either. So, anyone trying to go the short way got lost, while mediocre orienteers who stuck to the trail, like me, went right to it.

The only true trouble I had was with my conditioning. I was really sucking air getting through the last five controls. The leg from the final control to the finish was somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 meters, and I started out in a sprint. I almost decided to walk when I was halfway there. I sucked it up and finished at jog. The experience only furthers my conviction that I navigate better when I'm out of shape.

On the way home, Jake and I stopped at Skagit River Brewery for lunch and a beer. And we weren't the only ones—we saw six other orienteers who had the same idea.
Sometimes I feel like I'm breathing underwater.