30 June 2010

100 Milers as a Sedative? Love It!

“I thought if you could run one hundred miles, you’d be in this Zen state. You’d be the fucking Buddha, bringing peace and a smile to the world. It didn’t work in my case – I’m the same old punk-ass as before, but there’s always that hope that it will turn you into the person you want to be, a better, more peaceful person."

~Jenn Shelton from the book Born to Run

20 June 2010

Mermaid Parade Photos

As usual, the Mermaid Parade was a mixture of superfun, crowds, mermaids, sea creatures, and LOTS of glitter. Rachelle and I spent the day down at Coney Island, and I went to a fantastic warehouse party in the evening. It's times like these that I'm ecstatic I live in NYC.

19 June 2010

Run at the Gunks

I was trying to rearrange all these photos and put captions but Blogger was being stupid. These are photos of a terrific trail run I had last Sunday. Ray and I drove up and met Jeff (who provided the maps and wonderful directions) and Crista (who ran with us the first 4 miles before she smartly backed off - the girl needs to take it easy right now!). I was so bummed that it was so misty and foggy (I kept telling Ray, "This is a spot with the most amazing view." And he was like, "Yeah yeah, I hear that again.") and it rained on  and off but we still got a solid 34 miles in. The trails were beautiful, muddy and even wet (notice a few photos of Jeff and I standing in the water). There's something so special about trail running - most of the times, it was just running and the trails, step, step, step, breathe, view, dirt, chipmunk, trail, gorgeousness. Ray and I discovered an early-blooming blueberry patch and snacked on them (yum!) and it was great to bond with a friend in a new way. Ray got to serve as my advice columnist, listening to love problems and he gave great advice. Of course! I always find the older (well, Ray's only 9 years older) ultrarunning men have great advice. Like Ray K. And random strangers. It's funny how if we were at a party, I doubt I ever would have told him all these things...but when you're ultrarunning, all the rules go out the door.

Standing in water

13 June 2010

Why I Do What I Do, Who I Am

I've been stumbling, but feel like I'm happily in the right direction. Right now I'm looking forward to an 8 hour run in beautiful New Paltz, am tired from surfing and being buried in the sand. I could go to the CHERYL parties tonight and dance - but I think I'll head to bed. I could go to The Habitat and chat with my favourite bartenders and have some delicious drinks. I could call up Rachelle and take Polaroid kissing photos with her. I could write, I could dance, I could take my cat on a walk. But I'm headed to sleep.

Remembering who I am is so important. Sometimes, you forget. Like every time I travel, I remember, "Wait. Life is not about cube walls and deadlines for things don't matter and washing your floor until it shines and bitching at people in the laundromat. It's about self-discovery and helping people and learning and sharing." And that's why I love traveling.

Next up, I hope to do a jaunt around Central America at the end of the year. Sometimes I question why I do what I do - and wonder do I need to be doing something else? Is this not fulfilling? I mean, where's my condo and Disneyland vacations? That's not what I want, though. I want Burning Man and hot pink fake fur bikinis and being buried in sand on the beach and drinking too-strong delicious margaritas and closing my eyes but knowing I'm going after what I want.

Traveling in Berlin, I met an incredible Englishman who is always full of insight. Chris emailed me this recently after reading my blog, 

Oh, and I read a couple of your posts ruminating on the greener grass of your sister's picket fence life and the challenges of the fluid parade of your freer city life, the non profit salary et al...and I say that reading your blog, I'm reading about someone who is living a life unencumbered by the old nonsense of conventional expectation. You spend, it would seem, an inordinate proportion of your time doing something that you love dearly; composing the orchestra of your thoughts with eyes on that unwavering horizon, measured by the unimpeachable rhythm of your feet hitting the ground. I am handsomely paid for my prolonged days of misery, writing muscles atrophied, harnessed inextricably to the moribund conveyor belt of the life that pays for picket fences.

So it reaffirms my belief I'm doing the right thing. Chris, thanks, and remember, it's not too late. Come to the U.S., I'll take you to a baseball game and we'll dance until the skyline is blurred. Chase your dreams, whatever they are, always. 

07 June 2010

Birthday Ultramarathon!

What better way to celebrate my birthday than to run 56miles? I guess technically I should have done the 50k (31 miles) to celebrate my 31st birthday, but why bother with a 50k when there's a much more fun 56miler!

I headed up to the Peaks Ultra race, which was advertised as 50, 54, 53 miles, but I was told by someone it's actually 56. Who cares? It was fun, however many miles. There were really steep hills and giant mudpits and bugs eating my scalp and more mud and some bushwacking and more shoe-sucking mud pits and 14,000 feet of elevation gain/loss and mud. The course is mostly runnable, with some sections requiring walking, and it was absolutely beautiful. And yes, it was fun.

I ran with Phil nearly the entire time. I picked his brain about his run across America in 2008, about Badwater, about his 38 100 milers, and some of the other insane ultras he's done. We talked about hill running (his tip: lean slightly forward, short, light steps on the front of my feet), about chafing, about getting lost in races. Phil struggled with his breathing a lot in the beginning. I felt great most of the race, but after mile 48, I started getting dizzy and getting a little delirious - just slightly. It was kind of fun, actually.

The mud wasn't as bad as it was in years past at Jay, but it was pretty gross. Our shoes got heavy and stupid me forgot my gaiters so I had to remove my shoes and socks to dump and scrape mud out a few times. When I changed my socks at mile 38 to clean, dry socks, I felt wonderful.

The organizer, Andy, was super friendly and the aid station volunteers were great. At one aid station, Iliana had told them it was my birthday, and I came in running to hearing them sing "Happy Birthday." It really was a lovely birthday. I didn't think about wrinkles or my future or getting old, but instead thought about, "Can't wait to get to the next aid station for some good food," or, "I'm almost out of water. Should I fill up in this creek and risk giardia?" (I didn't, but Phil did.) 

It was very humid and poured the first two hours. The weather cleared up the rest of the day, though the puddles and occasional rumbling of thunder reminded us of what else was out there.

There were a lot of switchback sections, including "The Labyrinth" which was almost completely dark - full of trees and crazy switchbacks.

After we finished, showered, and ate, we sat under the stars by the campfire, waiting for the final runner. Everyone sang "Happy Birthday" to me again and Iliana and Phil got me a pink cake. Yay!

The final runner had a weak headlamp and got extremely lost. He decided to go to sleep on the trail, and after a very thorough search, he was eventually found, around 2am. Finally, relief.

Today - little pain. My shins ache a tad, and the blister under a callous on my pink toe hurts - but I'm fine. I can't wait to do it again! 

Miguel Hernandez Poem

Vientos del pueblo me llevan
Vientos del pueblo me arrastran 
Me esparcen mi corazon
Y me aventan la garganta 

People's breaths, like wind, sweep me along
They scatter my heart, 
They fill my throat with voices

--Miguel Hernandez