13 May 2012

Pigeon Update

The pigeon is gone, as is the egg.

The nest remains.

Part of me is glad that nature took its way. I think if Wayne had forced the bird out of the way and smushed the egg, I would have cried. I do hate pigeons and I don't want them nesting in my very small outdoor space, but I don't want to kill them either. I guess it's the vegetarian in me.

But despite not wanting them there, I don't want to kill them.

I'm not sure what happened. Wayne peered out the window to water the plants, when he noticed both were missing. My guess is Mama Pigeon left the nest for food when Mr. Squirrel came along and grabbed a snack. (Do squirrels even eat pigeon eggs? I don't know but I prefer to think that than a rat was on my fire escape, yuck.) And Mama Pigeon came back and was devastated and flew away. And she'll probably not come back to nest again, knowing it's a bad place.

More space for my tomatoes, but still, honestly, I feel a little sad.

12 May 2012

Greenbelt 50k Race Report!


I have had the first good race in say, a year and a half. Well, I had other good races, but this was the first race I'm supremely happy with!

I've run the Greenbelt Trail a bunch of times, but usually the southern (easier) part, mainly b/c it's easier to get to via trains and it's right by my aunt's. I wasn't trying to erase that horrible race that was the Bear Mountain 50 Miler last week, but was trying to run my own race - run however fast I wanted, take it easy if my asthma was acting up without anyone getting annoyed at me, just run my heart out. And I did.

My legs still were a tad tired from last week's race but were fresh enough to get my 3rd woman overall.

You start out on this annoying road out-and-back. But then you're on the trails, which are primarily single track with lots of rolling little hills. The hills aren't so putrid that you'd want to walk all of them, but you might walk some, especially the second loop. There's some rocks, sand, all sorts of fun stuff, even poison ivy if you're (un)lucky. I ran out pretty hard, to Mary yelling, "You're running too fast." The idea wasn't to race this race hardcore, but to see how much I could push myself on my tired legs. And I did a good job.

I found myself passing people, smiling, and feeling good. My hamstring felt a little sore, but my hammie behaved, so I ended up running fairly well. I dodged hikers and a boy scout troupe.

The weather was hot - it got to the upper 70s today. I ran in just a sports bra and running skirt and only had a handheld, which was fine, since the aid stations were so close. I didn't have enough food - only four gels, not even three of my chewy chompers, as I like to call any kind of chewy running snack. But I made it.

The course is two out and backs for the 50k, and one out and back for the 25kers. I got to see Mary, who unfortunately hurt her ankle, and Donald, and several awesome people from my running club were doing the 25k - Anna, who of course won it b/c she's just that awesome, Ken, Karen, and Tennessee. But besides seeing their beautiful smiles (and bloody knees), I saw everyone - multiple times, which was great for the spirits. Most everyone said, "Good job," or would tell me I was the third woman, that I was in the top twenty, etc. And of course, I would give them a wonderful response right back, "You look great" (though one guy told me, "I look anything but great." Poor soul.)

It was a lot of fun. Ups and downs and the heat. The road crossings suck (especially since it is a fact that Long Island drivers suck (I grew up there so I speak from experience) and most of them were driving way too fast) and sometimes it was incredibly difficult to cross a street. But overall, an absolute blast of a race. Besides the Burning Man 50k, which is really just dessert, this 5:55:08 is my fastest 50k time - and on MUCH harder trails. YAY!

08 May 2012

Idiots Across the U.S. (This Time, In Utah)

As a woman, I have been sadly witnessing as my reproductive rights are being stripped away, as fast as republicans and anti-choicers are able to. Utah just installed a 72 HOUR waiting period.   

In case you're not so up on waiting periods, this basically means you for a first visit and then have to return to get your procedure 72 hours later. Why does this suck? A plethora reasons including:
  • More time off work. This penalizes poor and rural and young women, and those who can't take time off work.
  • Difficult to access. If it's far, and someone doesn't own a car, doesn't have the time to travel, can't get there easily - this just makes it harder.
  • An abortion is not an easy decision. By insisting that women think about it, you know, because, as complete a-hole Representative Steve Eliason says, " "The focus of this bill is women having time to consider all of the information that is given to them when facing a life-altering decision that somebody else is making money off of." I don't think that my health food store is making money off me when I buy milk, that my physical therapist is making money off me when I get my treatment. Crass jerk, that Steve Eliason is.

07 May 2012

The Truth

We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable.

--Alexander Sozhenitsyn

A Race Report Not Easy to Write: Bear Mountain 50 Miler

I've done the Bear Mountain 50 Miler twice, so it should be cake. I know the course. I run here way too much. But that wasn't to be. Horrible personal problems that I won't go into prevented me from doing anything in the first 25 miles but moving forward, slowly. I was overwhelmed with sadness, and found my race ruined like never before. How could I run when -- how? I ran but I found my motivation slagging as my mind wandered into sad, dangerous territories.

But at mile 25, I ran into the amazing John Budge. I met John when he signed up to do the Burning Man Ultra, and we haven't really hung out tons. But here, we were able to hang out - for 25 miles. We talked about love, our first kisses, how he proposed to his wife, crazy times at Burning Man, what motivates us, that sort of thing. If it hadn't been for him, I probably would have gone crazy. I probably would still be sitting on a rock, bawling my eyes out, muddy knees to my chest, dirt-tear-streaked face seeing nothing but my own thoughts. But John - he saved me. I told John, "I need to stay out of my head. You are saving my race." I think he really enjoyed the times too. We both agreed we made each other's day. I pushed both of us, and when I was weak, he pushed us. We worked together, and it was really a beautiful example of teamwork - and friendship. In ultras, the barriers fall down and people become close so quickly. When I finished, I was so happy - because I struggled past something that could have really held me back. Yes, there were plenty of tears, plenty, a sleepless night, crying on rooftops - but first, there was a strong hug for John.

A friend remarked after I reported on my turnaround, "X0 Cherie. You're one tough chicita bonita. You inspire me for so many reasons, especially your ability to "smile" through a sh*tstorm and turn things around to be positive no matter what." I thank Deanna for that, though sometimes, I wish there wasn't a sh*tstorm for me to be positive through - can't I just be positive on a sunny day and persevere? Like this woman told me about her first 50 miler (with a very generous cut-off) -- "I just got in my car in the middle and cried for two hours. I was so cold. But it made me stronger." I thought through my tears, "But I don't want to suffer so it makes me stronger - I want to enjoy and yes, suffer a little, but why can't I get stronger without getting my ass kicked again and again? Can I have a good race for once?"

Even though the day began and ended with tears, the middle part was full of friendship, cookies, and Burning Man tales.

Thank you, John. And thank you to all the beautiful strangers who pushed me with their love and help and kind words. You are true beautiful ultrarunners and I love that you are in my sport.

04 May 2012

Bear Mountain 50 Miler, Third Time Around

I've done the Bear Mountain 50 Miler three times. I kinda hate it, since it's super technical and technical is not my strong suit. But it's close to the city, I have made it my race. Also, it challenges me like nothing else, and I do love a good challenge.

I ran it in 2009 and 2011, only skipping in 2010 to have surgery on my uterus.

But I'll be there tomorrow, running again in one of my favourite places in the world. Some of my best friends will be there (but sadly, most of them are running other races so I'll miss them, esp Iliana's hilarity and Mary's purpleness and Erin's wit during the race). Before, during, and after will be a giant party.

Can't wait to run another 50! My toenails are painted so let's hope I don't lose any!

Pigeon Nesting

I have a small fire escape and it serves as my garden. This year, I'm expanding and planting tomatoes, peppers, cukes, basil (LOTS), sage, parsley, cilantro, flowers, and some other things I forgot.

Wayne was pulling in pots for me to dig in when he said, "Oh...oh...tail feathers!" I immediately thought there was a dead bird on the fire escape and said, "Get rid of it! Just get rid of it!"

"No..." he said, a bit of awe in his voice. "It's a mother. A mother bird and her nest. A pigeon."

Like any good New Yorker, I know what pigeons really are. They are rats with wings. Rats in the air or on the ground, both gross.



"Wayne, I don't want it in our teeny garden. I'm afraid it's going to fly in, and it's also going to crap on everyone's heads as they enter and leave the building."

Wayne shook his head. "You're right."

I didn't want to kill the egg; I just wanted it someplace else. Wayne went out with a broom to try to scare the bird away. The pigeon tried to attack the broom.

We have a stupid pigeon nesting on our fire escape.

Sometimes, urban wildlife sucks.