Saturday, March 31, 2012

Born to Run

Alternate titles for this post include: Not Born to Run; We're Number 82.

You heard the sign.

We ran a race today! I ran a 5k and Leland ran a 10k (show off). It was the first road race for each of us. And it was on a trail, not on a road. Anyway.

When I told Leland that I was going to write a post about the race, he said, "wouldn't that be like one sentence? 'We ran, and then ran some more, then continued running, and finally stopped.'" This is why Leland doesn't write blog posts. Among other reasons.

I should warn you before we get too far into this thing that I hate to run. Ever since 5th grade, when we first had to run the mile, I always dreaded running. Why? The explanation's pretty simple. Running is boring and painful. And although throughout the experience of training for and then running the 5k I was wondering if maybe a bolt of understanding would suddenly strike me from the blue and convert me into a running aficionado, that did not happen. So this post is not really going to be a whole triumph of the human spirit thing.

Compared to most other animals, humans really are born to run. We're evolved to run long distances, much longer distances than any other species would care to go. In fact, some Native American groups in the Southwest would literally hunt deer by chasing the animal until it was exhausted. There are plenty of species that are faster than us, but not many that can outpace us over a long distance.

This isn't a lot of consolation when you're puffing along, sucking in air and tasting blood in the back of your throat. And this leads me to my first conclusion: humans are weird. I come to this conclusion a lot, pretty much every time I'm at the gym, surrounded by folks all doing their best to make themselves miserable. Ever watch a group of 5k runners go by? Do they look like they're having a good time?


And don't get me started about marathons. People, the first person ever to run a marathon died. Literally. That is how the story ends. He ran 26.2 miles and then died. Why would you then be all, "I've got this, guys. Sounds awesome!"

Leland, weirdly enough, likes to run. Or maybe he doesn't like it, I don't know, but he cares a lot more about things like pace and line and beating your personal best. I mostly just wanted to finish and not be last. In which I succeeded! I came in 82nd! Plus, the race we "competed" in was to raise money for sea turtles. Which is good, right? Who doesn't like sea turtles? They're a real crowd pleaser.

Sadly, my opinion of running hasn't changed. And that really wasn't helped out by my fellow competitors. When you're running where I was (in the very back), you end up surrounded by hordes of walk/runners. These are people who are actually unable to figure out how to pace themselves so that they can run the entire distance, so instead they will put on random bursts of speed and then subside into a walk, a process that they repeat for the entirety of the race. Since I ran the whole race, I would like those people to know that I am better than them. It's just a fact.

Anna running the race (artist's conception)

At one point I acquired a kid who was determined to use me as his own personal pacer. There was a whole horde of kids ages maybe 9-14 that arrived in a bus, from the Boys and Girls Club or something like that. (As an aside, I couldn't remember if it was Boys and Girls or Girls and Boys, but then decided that there was very little chance that Girls would be listed first. And I was right. Sigh.) Every single one of the kids employed the walk/run strategy. I ended up near this particular kid by passing him while he was walking. Having been passed by a fat, old chick, he then put on a burst of speed so he could get ten feet ahead, then walked again until I caught up with him, and then he sprinted ahead, then walked again...

This went on for probably half a mile, at which point I was ready to murder a sea turtle or two. Finally, as I was pulling alongside him, I grunted out, "kid, that is really annoying. Knock it off." He gave me a gratifying look of surprise and then actually knocked it off! I mean, did he think I didn't notice? And am I really so unathletic looking that I would inspire a renewed burst of energy?

Oh yeah, I beat him too. As well as dozens of other people who passed me at the very beginning, or insisted on trying to leap-frog me eighty million times. It's called pacing, people.

AND THEN I FINISHED RUNNING. It was GLORIOUS. The being done with running part, I mean.

Yeah, Number 46. Lookin' good.

Running makes me grumpy. But I am looking forward to the tasty steak dinner we have planned for tonight! The idea is to consume more calories than I expended during the race itself. Wouldn't want to throw my system out of whack.

And now that this race I've been "training" for is over with (once I realized I was physically capable of running 3.2 miles, I kind of lost interest in the whole thing), I'm very excited to get back to activities that are less boring and painful. Though Leland seemed to have a good time. In fact, he's planning on signing up for more races. I think that in the future I'll just cheer him on from the sidelines.

"Honey, smile."
"Don't you want it to look like I just finished the race?"
"No. Smile."
"Ok, give me something to smile about."
"Ummm.... I love you?"

Saturday, March 17, 2012

We are not Irish and this is not about St Patrick's Day

To celebrate St Patrick's Day, we shared a single potato for breakfast and then emigrated to a house with more food.

Too soon?

Actually, this is mostly one of those posts where I've accumulated a lot of unrelated pictures and realized that I haven't posted for awhile, so whee!

Our house continues to function as the Geletka Home for Stray People and Animals. We've had a roommate, Stephen, since January and it has been a very pleasant experience, which is not something one can always say about roommates.

Just one of the family...

For a while Stephen's cockapoos, Hurley and Joey, were staying with us, but now they are living with their mommy Jen in the DC area (Stephen is living with us while he finishes his MA and then he will move up to join his wife and 'poos.)

A particularly unflattering picture of Joey

Hurley, hidden away somewhere behind his old man eyebrows

We're also dog sitting at the moment, our current charge, Diego, always kind of looks like this:

Can't sleep, people will eat me

It's a good thing that Nova loves us with the kind of enduring love that can only be produced by a very tiny brain.

It's finally spring here. Though it's been warm for a while, we've now tilted into the Season When Leland is Sweaty All the Time, which down here lasts from March through October. This coincides with the beginning of pollen season, when everything is coated with a weird green-yellow powdery pollen that looks like toxic waste and gets all over the cat.


Fletcher rocks the punk look with green streaks on his jaw and ears

And since two of Leland's project bicycles were stolen out of our carport (in retrospect, they probably shouldn't have been locked to eachother), I decided to throw him a bone and buy a new project bicycle off of Craigslist. Actually, that's not true, except for the Craigslist part. And the stolen bikes part. And the buying a bike part. So really the only thing that wasn't entirely true was the motivation for getting the bike. I watched a documentary about urban sprawl and started feeling guilty about driving everywhere, so I mentioned to Leland that I thought I might want a bike and the next thing you know we're giving some dude $20 in the Big Lots parking lot.

Leland is ridiculously excited that I might actually ride a bike somewhere with him. And I'm pretty pleased to be one of those idiots who managed to buy a ridiculously cheap and awesome old bike off Craiglist for $20. And I LOVE that this bike will be a forever souvenir of my time in North Carolina, since it's a Raleigh! To be exact, a Raleigh 3 speed from 1972, classic steel frame with wide handlebars, a flat leather seat, and bitchin' fenders. The parts it needs to become mobile were really cheap as well, so boom! New bike.

The rusted chain soaking in vinegar to revitalize it

Our conversations about the bike go somewhere like this:

"Now, this part of the wheel is called the rim, these are the spokes, and this is the hub," Leland says.

"Can I put a big basket on the front?" I say.

"This is the tire, and inside there's a tube - are you paying attention?"

"I want one of those neat round bells. And maybe streamers for the handlebars."

"Honey, you might need to know this. This is how you take the tire off the wheel. Use these special tools to -"

"I'm going to ride around with a big loaf of french bread in the basket."


And now for a great segue into my next topic. Aaaannndd... segue!

So it's National Quilting Month, apparently. I know. Why does there have to be a month for everything ever? Is this really serving some kind of purpose? And today is National Quilting Day! No I did not plan this! I am not that smooth! Since I have become kind of addicted to quilting, especially the buying fabric part of it (I think going into fabric stores makes me high), here's some of my latest accomplishments.

This is my first full size quilt, made for our friends Adam and Sarah. It's kind of a 'congratulations on getting married and having a kid and graduating from grad school and getting a grown-up job and being all-around awesome' kind of gift. I did not make up this pattern, I got the instructions here. (Warning, though - if you're a crafter, you may become addicted to this site. Also, I hate the word crafter.)

I think it came out pretty nice, if I do say so myself.

When Leland saw these pictures, he said, "whose bed is that? Oh, it's ours? It's so neat looking."

I'm also working on a series of four wall hangings. These are also a gift, which I usually wouldn't post while in the process, but I'm pretty confident that no one will guess what they're actually for/from (and if you already know, don't comment and blow it). These have been an opportunity for me to experiment with color and texture in a way I don't usually get to do. I feel all artsy and stuff. Maybe I'll open an Etsy shop and sell things I find in the yard.

And finally, I'm re-binding an old quilt that has been around at least since I was a baby. It's become Leland's quilt. It's clearly homemade, though I don't know by whom. I had to chop off about five inches all the way around to take off the parts that were frayed and coming apart.

It'll be much more sturdy when it's finished and usable for hopefully another quarter century!