Monday, September 14, 2009

Running update: Stinky

Right after I took this photo, a huge bolt of lightning came down in the center of that hillside. Wowza.
Also, I took this photo with my phone, so shuddup.

Friday night we had the first audible thunderstorm (with lightning - super excellent) I can recall having in the last four years. Now, that may be because I was awake, actively dreading my long run and contemplating my last minute decision to change venues, or because it was just really a big 'un.

According to Friends of Facebook, it was because it was just really a big 'un.

I mean, that's what all that "HOLY THUNDER!" is referring to in everyone's statuses, I assume, and not someone's outing to the Thunder Down Under show in Vegas.

I'm assuming, but I don't know for sure, and you know who you are, Ms Holy Thunder, Batman.

And while I was tempted to use the thunder and lightning and brief rain (OH SWEET RAIN, I HAVE SURPRISINGLY MISSED YOU) as an excuse to bow out of my new adventurous and get-me-the-hell-away-from-my-boring-street-route training schedule, I forged ahead and got up at 6am on Saturday to drive my ass back up the highway so that I could run in the stinkiest place on earth.

Friends, let me tell you where you don't want to be when a recent thunderstorm has rendered the surroundings humid, steamy, warm-ish and damp: the baylands.

Because do you know what lives in baylands? Geese. And ducks. And other birds and creatures that drop stinky dumps via air and water. Because the mix of steamy marshes, stagnant water and freshly dumped goose crap is not a pleasant or run-improving combo.

No, I would have preferred my minivan dodging route on the streets of San Jose to the Hey! Is that a freshly-coiled dump under my nose? experience of running all those miles through the bayland nature preserve.

Even though it looked way prettier than suburban San Jose. And even though San Jose can smell equally stinky thanks to people who cultivate cesspools in their front yards or don't pick up after their dogs.


Whatever, I'll stop talking about the stink of the baylands now and instead tell you that, while I had planned to run 12 miles this Saturday, per my Supah Technical Training Schedule, I did not.

Nope. I ran 8.

Because my plan was to go out into the preserve until my handy-dandy GPS told me I'd run six miles and then turn around and head back, thus accumulating 12 solid miles.

Well, what with the stinkiness and the sketch weather and the surprise humidity, I found myself giving in at mile four and turning back, thus dooming myself to irretrievable failure at this year's Rock N Roll.

I mean, OBVIOUSLY, now that I have diverged slightly from the Supah Technical Guaranteed To Make Me Supah Fast training schedule which I devised in my own pea brain with no technical running know-how whatsoever, I'm doomed to destroy my half marathon goals so certainly that I almost shouldn't run the race at all. Because it's going to be a hot terrible mess anyway.


I did go home and double check that I was, indeed, registered for this race, since I had a fleeting moment of terror when I couldn't recall seeing a confirmation email and then Oh lord what am I doing running in a cloud of bird shit if I'm not even signed up for the fucking race, but it turned out that I am all confirmed and set to run in a few weeks.

Oh phew.

Oh, and if you were hoping for a Garmin update and a look at those fancy ass graphs and charts I talked all big about last week - continue holding your breath because LO I could not convince my PC and my watch and the USB stick and the Garmin website to communicate effectively and so all my data stays locked up in the watch where I will pretend it's not taunting me.

Garmin - if you're listening - I'm not impressed. I'll keep trying to make this work - because I'm smarter than this watch, here - but you've got some serious work to do in the cloud computing department. And the wireless department. And the developing of low-disk-space-requiring software department.

In all though, the run wasn't a total waste of time. I did get in eight miles. And I did take a little detour off-road which was enjoyable in a maybe I'll try trail running after this infernal half marathon way and I did get to watch lightning strike the mountains beyond the baylands and birds take flight off the water and the sun rise in breaks between the storm clouds when I was taking off my Camelbak at the car at the end of my run I realized a duck had pooped on me.


I mean, maybe that's why it was so stinky - the poop was ON ME rather than near me and so it somehow super-amplified the stench.

Why am I still talking about shit?



The rest of my training is pretty simple now. I will do my 3 mile tempo runs this week and next, 12 miles on Saturday on my normal goose-shit-free route where I will hopefully not get creamed by a minivan and then next week I'll begin The Taper beginning with a Saturday run of no more than 6 miles and pace runs of no more than 2 miles during the week. And then, of course, I will not run Saturday, 10/3 because yay the race is on Sunday, 10/4.

After which I will slip gloriously into Post-Race Break week when I will inevitably sign myself up for another race even though the thought of it right now makes me nauseous.

I'm super positive today!

Sorry. I'll work on that for next time when I tell you all about the sweater I'm knitting myself. I think I can work up some positive thoughts there since so far it doesn't look at all like shit.


  1. And now you see why I am resisting getting ducks again, despite their awesome slug-eating abilities. We used to have ducks. And a goose. They shit everywhere, and the goose honking (ALL THE TIME) sounded like a VERY LOUD rusty hinge.

    I'll take the slugs, thanks.

    At least the half marathon won't be so smelly. Free and easy breathing has got to improve your time, right?

  2. Oy. Well I've discovered/remembered that in the fall here- the oil refinery here smells even worse. I've *heard* that it's because the winds off the lake/land switched or something- so when I do my walk/run in the evening, I feel as if I'm huffing. Huffing burning oil and gasoline. The refinery is only maybe a half mile from my house, and I know when the flame on one of the tall things is super high (resembles an Olympic torch which you THINK would be motivating), that I can't be out for very long. That means they are burning a ton more, so within 30 minutes I'm super dizzy and lightheaded. I don't think the neighbors would appreciate me passed out in the yard.

  3. First of all, you don't have audible thunderstorms?! That is just too strange.

    And second of all, I've heard that if a bird poops on you it's good luck. So yay!


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

Anyway, to remedy this, I usually come back to my posts and post replies in the comment field with you.

But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.