Thursday, October 29, 2009


I'll probably post in a few days about the sheer, utter craziness of last night, but in the meantime I present to you my snowboots.

Just a word or three before the pictures: wtf?!

(I'm not complaining... I'm just confused!)

Tent stake to show the extent of the damage



The Boots: Columbia Bugazips, obtained for a mere $3 at a yard sale last year in near-unused condition

The Conditions: High of 32F, Nighttime low of 26F, steady snow throughout while camping out:
- in Fort Collins
- in a decent snowstorm
- in a Chikfila parking lot
- for ~13.5 hours
- for free food!

The Crazy: The boots stayed outside of the tent, but out of the weather, for about 6 hours last night. They were awesome and toasty with no apparent structural compromise until I got back to Englewood and went in and out of several stores. At some point, I realized that my heel was bothering me & so I looked down at my shoes to discover that the left heel had cracked completely around. Keep walking around, finish my errand, walk out of the store, hear some crackling, look down... right toebox full of spiderweb cracks! Was I supposed to pretreat these things or were they just defective?

Jer looked at reviews of similar Columbia boots & found that several people had posted the same problem. Apparently the boots only have a 1 year warranty anyway, so it's probably not worth even asking since I got them secondhand more than a year ago.

No complaints from me... I definitely got $3 of wear out of them. It will just be a cold month or two for my toes if this weather keeps up. I'm eying some sweet boots for Christmas though... :-)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Just sayin'...

I am having a really really hard time understanding how it's already the end of October.

Some things I have loved about this autumn so far:
- crisp, cool weather
- pumpkin chocolate chip muffins & caramel apple cider
- visible snow behind the front range of the Rockies
- french press coffee more mornings than not
- itchy fingers: as in, i want to knit A LOT (where's more yarn?!)
- a smaller, possibly deeper vein for Fishes as we meet inside the church
- the Denver Half-Marathon
- 3 (maybe more!) snows before Halloween
- lots of sweet lunch dates with new & old friends
- leading my first group, and not being utterly terrified
- meeting and doing some good work of my own with a counselor

Some things I have not loved about this autumn so far:
- 2 major colds in less than a month!
- major bucks toward long-needed car repairs
- 3 (maybe more! snows before Halloween, with the awareness that I know far too many people who either do, or may have to, sleep out in it

Autumn is not over, but October nearly is... and I'm going to see how many more hours of sleep I can fit into it. :-) I've already missed a few too many!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

toot toot.

So... one Amy Sawyer has demanded a "randish" blog post about the half, and she shall get it, unfortunately sans photos.

This past Sunday morning, Jeromie & I downright conquered the Denver Half-Marathon. I say conquered because we both had a pretty bum few weeks leading up to it. I got sick. Jer got busy. We both felt beat AND we made the (possible) mistake of eating PIZZA as race-fuel. Not even delicious BlackJack's BBQ Chicken! Not even McKinner's many delicious awesomes! Dominoes, I tell you! We ate Dominoes!

With good friends, of course.

But that still does not make up for the fact that pizza is not always runner-friendly the night before a race/run/event/whatever.

That said, we were both planning to just settle for finishing.

So. The Half. I will definitely be doing another one, and hopefully another after that.

Looking back on the morning, the Denver course was an excellent place to attempt my first actual half-marathon. I'd run the distance many times in high school, just to get away from life, but I hadn't ever done a formal half-marathon, and I hadn't run that far in YEARS (like 10 of them). The course was fairly flat (except for fun little hill early on, and another one between miles 9 & 10 in the Cheeseman Park area), the race was not huge participant-wise, and the weather turned out to be amazing.

We took the light rail into downtown so we wouldn't have to worry about parking, and managed to get to the Civic Center Park (starting line area) by about 6:30am. As is almost always the case before a race, we ended up spending most of our time before the start waiting in the lines for the restrooms. Bah. Anyway... we managed to get through the lines, check our gear bags, and make it to somewhere near our pace-marker by a few minutes before the start. Of course, at that point I realized I'd forgotten my little snack-gel thingies, but oh well. I think it took about 4-5 minutes to get to the actual starting line after the race began, and that time basically served as my warm-up. Next time... I'll get there earlier.

We'd agreed the night before to just run our own paces, so we parted ways within the first quarter mile. I spent the first mile or two weeding my way through the crowd and trying to feel out how my calves would behave for the day. I wasn't paying much attention at all to time or pace and thus missed hitting my watch until the 3 mile marker. After that, I hit my watch joyfully at every mile because I was that much closer to being done AND I was kind of interested to see what pace I had settled into.

I don't remember much about the running part itself except the silly, quirky thoughts & lovely "runner's high" that strike me on good days. I remember being utterly blown away as I approached City Park (somewhere in mile 5?) and saw the front-runners fly past in the opposite direction... they were several miles ahead of me and booking it. I remember cheering for the first & second women I noticed in that pack. I also remember getting passed at about that same time by a boy running a leg of the relay who looked like he was maybe not even ten. Oh yeah... and I remember loving the fact that I was running down the big fat middle of the road, with no worries about drastic camber or much of anything else!

Somewhere around mile 7, there was a station for grabbing GU, and I gladly grabbed one. My last experience with chocolate-flavored GU (about 10 years ago?) was NOT a good one, but I figured I'd shot my own self in the foot by forgetting my stuff and I was not about to risk crashing later. Surprisingly, whatever I grabbed was actually palatable... almost like chocolate frosting. So... I hung onto that for about 2 miles & ate it whenever I could see water up ahead.

Mile 11 was probably the hardest mile of the run... my knees were aching and my ears were doing this weird popping deal from the cold I had a few weeks back. At this point, I just decided that there was no quitting and no complaining and off I went.

Somewhere around Mile 12, the marathon and half-marathon courses parted ways. I knew that my internship site was just a block past the split, so I was maybe-just-a-little tempted to add a block to my run, but when it came down to it I was just glad to head for the finish.

The end was unremarkable, but at the same time SUCH a relief. My official time was 2:01:59, which works out to an average of 9:19 per mile. All I can say is that I was (and am still) pleasantly surprised.

Since Sunday morning, I have taken A LOT of ibuprofen. I've also cursed at the two flights of stairs that I must go down to leave the apartment. Today, I commuted in to campus on my bike (+ a few extra miles for good measure), and that was a HUGE help in taking the edge off the soreness in my quads and calves.

So... that was the half. I'm already plotting and scheming for running a whole in May - the Denver Colfax Marathon. I may even have a training partner! :-D

(P.S. The post title is because I wasn't planning on writing about this... it just felt a bit like tooting my own horn. I was going to let Jer do the posting, but he told me to write my own...)

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Lost for words...*

In the past year or so, I've become accustomed to relative silence. I say relative because the rest of the world is usually bumping around & full of ceaseless sound.

For me, this silence has taken a few different forms, such as choosing not to accompany most of my actions with portable music. (Relatively) silent car trip, bike ride, run, study-time, cleaning sessions, etc. Nano has gone dusty for extended periods of time, and laptop has spent most of its time on mute. (At least with that last one I can ignore the fact that my computer has pretty awful speakers.)

Since the beginning of this year, I've been trying to be attentive to how I listen: as a friend, as a wife, as a family member, as a follower of Christ & journeying soul, as a counselor, as an artist,** as a being-in-the-world-at-large.

It's been an interesting time (to say the least!) and I am still learning.

One area that has remained painfully silent for a while is the time I've spent in Scripture... and I've responded poorly by spending less time in it. And intermittently connecting with the sadness behind it all, then honestly wrestling with my responses to Truth. So much more going on around this... ask if you want to know.

So imagine my surprise when I'm driving home today, listening to Snow Patrol (which we just recently got an album of because we just recently found out they were awesome because we've been hiding under our grad-school-seminary rocks (boulders? mountains?) for the past year (and other rocks before that) and haven't added to our music library out of laziness or lack of funds or just being fine with what we had. did i mention the fact that i don't usually listen to much of anything in the car anyway?! Strange afternoon.).

Where was I? Ah, yes... Listening to Snow Patrol & more specifically, "Run."

I wasn't listening closely to the lyrics (that's the next step in my music-processing processy-type, well... process) and was blown away when, clear as a friend in the passenger seat a snippet of the words from the chorus stood out to me:

"Even if you cannot hear my voice, I'll be right beside you dear." (Run - Snow Patrol)

Yeah. I broke down in tears. (Which, thanks to a sweet & wise friend, I now know I should listen to.)

The rest of the song doesn't really seem to fit as the voice of God, but those words blew me away and are consistent with what I know to be true.

Snow Patrol is not a substitute for encountering my Savior in the pages of His story, but those perfectly-timed words are an encouragement to me as I open the pages again & listen anew.

- - - - - - -
* What I was this afternoon, obviously not anymore as I just spit out a whole bunch of them.
** I'm still wrestling with applying that label to myself...