10 Jan 2015, 7:09pm
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moving. this blog can now be found over here.

12 Aug 2014, 10:38am
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then & now

bridge pedal 2007
bike commuter for one month


bridge pedal 2014
bike commuter for seven years

15 Jun 2014, 12:43pm
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wildwood trail one-day solo thru-hike


some notes

* took me 13 hours. i started at 6am and finished at 7pm.

* my mom as you can see very kindly met me a mile before the end.

* it was really, really hard. i am pretty sure deciding to do this was like someone goin’, “well, i’m a pretty good kayaker, and i just ran this awesome 10k, so i bet i can run a marathon next weekend.” i went on a couple 7-ish mile hikes that were awesome and fun, so clearly i’d rock 30. hubris!!

* i carried way too much food (i ate maybe half of what i brought) and about the right amount of water (approx 4 liters) for how long it took me. if i were faster, i wouldn’t need to carry as much. there were lots of little stream crossings, though — next time i’d maybe just bring a water filter and take a few little breaks to pump some water. i’m imagining doing this hike again with just my running pack and a fanny pack or something instead of my backpacking pack (i don’t own a comfortable in-between daypack, really) and that sounds awesome. but, well, pct training? (when i was riding my bike across the country i used to say that when i had to push my bike up a really steep hill — “pct training!” someday i’ll have to actually hike the pct so i can put all this “training” to good use!)

* yesterday was the day of the 50k trail race i registered for pre-injury. instead of running it, i hiked just short of 50k. alternatively: a mile for every year since my birth + one to grow on (my birthday is in a few weeks). actually i got to thinking it’d be an interesting way to train for an ultra — instead of starting with speed and increasing miles, just hike/run wildwood trail every weekend until i can do it fast? hah! i don’t think i’ll actually do that. did i mention it was really, really hard? in that sense, it was great ultra training, i think. it got harder and harder, and i hurt a lot, and i kept going anyway.

* re: hurting, i’m just sore. nothing acute. phew. i have one wee blister on my right pinky toe.

* i feel bad about the hubris that led me to think this hike’d be a piece of cake (or at least, more doable than it turned out to be), but i feel good that i kept going even after it got really, really hard. i went for a little 20-minute trail run on thursday evening, and it felt great at the time, but my foot hurt later — even after just 20 minutes of continuous running. running in shorter bursts during hikes hasn’t caused pain. so, if i (STILL!!!) can’t do the running i’d like to be doing, bring on the tough hikes (in a more reasonable progression than 7.5 miles straight to 30 miles, perhaps). and the long bike rides — more on that later.

8 Apr 2014, 1:09pm

checking in again

with those goals of mine.

1. run enough to run healthy

i have been in physical therapy for several months now, and I AM RUNNING AGAIN… sort of. a few times a week, i get to spend twenty minutes or so alternating two minutes of walking with two minutes of easy jogging on a soft surface — so far, the 1/3-mile track about ten minutes by bike from my apartment (spoiler alert — i got an apartment!). i have done this a few times so far. the second and third times, i was completely pain-free.

i’m gonna say that again. PAIN-FREE!

the fourth time, my foot started hurting halfway through my planned intervals, so i stopped and went home and stuck it in a bowl full of ice water and sighed.

i’m doing my best to listen to my physical therapist and not push too fast or get too ambitious or impatient — which, it’s worth noting, has been a little difficult. um, before that first PT-approved jog around the track, there was a spur-of-the-moment nighttime half-mile run through my neighborhood that i definitely regretted the next morning, when i was not-so-pain-free.

it turns out that “running healthy” is, for me, not just about running enough to not be undertrained for events (which was my working hypothesis). i have been injured twice now in roughly the same way (soft tissue damage on the tops of my feet near my toes a.k.a. extensor tendonitis), and i am trying my damnedest to understand and modify my running mechanics to hopefully prevent any further injuries.

the other week, my PT videotaped (how’s that for an anachronistic expression? ipadded?) my running gait on the treadmill and showed me how i push off with the sides of my feet, which is putting extra stress on the tendons over there. she told me to focus on pushing off with my big toe, to balance out my body’s tendency to do the opposite. my right big toe — that’s my currently-injured foot — is chronically stiff, to the extent that my PT is theorizing that i’ve got some arthritis in there. at a certain point it’s a chicken-or-egg problem, but my body’s compensation for that problem would go at least partway to explaining my problematic mechanics and my injury. i am stretching it regularly and keeping an eye on it. and i’m considering buying a pair of more cushioned, less flexible shoes, at least for hard surfaces (whenever i’m able to run on those again — sure miss being able to run right outside my door).

i am also working on my strength and balance and all that good stuff. planks 4eva.

2. complete a 50km trail race

i emailed the race director for the smith rock ascent a while ago and dropped down to the 15-mile distance. i’m not sure whether or not i’ll be able to run it. my PT didn’t write off the possibility entirely when i asked her about it, so hey.

i’m not going after this goal too hard. i want to step back and make sure i’m progressing at a healthy, sustainable pace. so maybe my new goal is: train smartly. here are some guidelines i’d like to follow once i’m running regularly again. or, well, now. i am running regularly now. three or four miles a week, two minutes at a time. anyway:

– increase weekly mileage by no more than 10% each week.
– longest run of the week should be no more than 50% of total weekly mileage.
– at least two rest days per week.
– at least every fourth week should be an easier week.
– no shame in maintaining or even decreasing mileage from week to week, according to the feedback i receive from my body.
– no registering for races until i’m running long runs that are at least 80% the length of the race. yup, this might mean missing out on some cool events, and that’s okay. if i’m smart, i’ve got years and years of running ahead of me. i’ll have other opportunities.

i don’t think i can follow those guidelines and run a 50k before the end of the year (not quite). so be it.

i’m not sure i can run that 15-mile race in june if i follow those guidelines, either. i’m bummed.

i ran a marathon a year ago yesterday. the extra six miles from there to 50k are taking longer than i thought they would. but um. it’s a marathon, not a sprint, as they say?

(from buzzfeed)

3. invest time and money in my photography business and make it awesome

re: time — damn is it ever hard to find time while working full-time at another job. re: money — i just don’t have it right now. see below (move-in costs!), and also above (physical therapy costs money). that said, i’ve spent a couple days recently experiencing what it would be like to be doing photo stuff full time, and it would be pretty fucking great. i have been doing a lot of important but as-yet inconclusive thinking about my career and the direction in which i’d like to move in my working life.

here’s a photo i took this past week of a production of julius caesar at reed:

4. move out of my parents’ place

CHECK! i moved into a studio apartment in mid-february. signed the lease and got the keys on valentine’s day. i love living alone. i love my neighborhood. i love my big ol’ south-facing windows. it’s pretty much everything i dreamed of. i’m still working on making the place what i want it to be — hanging pictures and so on. but it’s getting there. my bathroom is all pink (pink towels, pink bathmat, pink shower curtain, a pink print on the wall). no one has to like it but me.

5. do an unassisted pull-up

working on it. i’ve been climbing at the bouldering gym on a pretty regular basis since december-ish. last weekend i sent my first v3, which felt awesome. a while back i got really frustrated with my foot injury and thought to myself, “damn it, if i can’t run, i’m just gonna climb ALL THE TIME and get really good at that instead.” i guess i tend towards extremes sometimes. i climbed three nights in a row and my arms hurt for days. not in a good way.

i’ve been trying to listen to my body. i have not been super disciplined about doing pull-up practice NO MATTER WHAT because my body has told me that isn’t cool. my elbows were doing this funky pain thing for a while. it might have had something to do with how carelessly i was sitting at my desk at work. not exactly ergonomically, i mean. it’s all related. getting sun and sleep and good eats — all these things will help my body heal and get stronger and let me do the things i want to do with it.

so anyway, i haven’t really checked in on my progress towards this goal in a measurable way in a little while. but i can do negatives/eccentric pull-ups hella slowly. and if i start at the bottom, hanging from my pull-up bar (i put up a pull-up bar in the kitchen doorway of my apartment, of course!), i can noticeably bend my arms a little bit.

6. ride bikes on dirt

the weather is getting nicer and i’m getting psyched for summer. my boss says i can borrow his wife’s old mountain bike sometime.

7. practice vulnerability and intimacy

it’s hard to measure progress on this. i sort of feel like i’m throwing stuff at the walls around me so i can see them. like they’re force fields — the spark when something hits lets me know where they are. i’m trying to be brave, vulnerable, and compassionate with the people in my life, and with MYSELF, which is possibly even harder.

i’m really into brené brown’s book daring greatly, by the way. can’t recommend it enough. here’s a sneak preview of sorts.

7 Apr 2014, 12:10pm
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some blogs i love

Three Rule Ride
i stumbled across mike’s blog-before-this-one at least a few years ago, i think by googling for blog entries about vipassana courses after i attended one in 2009. at the time he was living in korea, teaching english, and thinking about a lot of things i was thinking about at the time (meditation, environmentalism, veg*nism, how to live an authentic and integral life, etc). eventually he set off on his amazing long-term bike tour all over asia, his three rule ride — his three rules being “no gas, no meat, and no trash.” his blog is thoughtful, exciting, and full of awesome photos (including regular food posts full of amazing-looking vegetarian eats).

Bike Snob NYC
ahh, bike snob! humorously skewering the bike industry and bike culture since whenever-he-started-writing. the snob is rightfully popular thanks to his awesome personal blend of snark, righteousness, surrealism, self reference, and hilarity.

i have been reading this site for a few months now. it features a weekly theme — this week’s is “desperately seeking something”; some other previous themes include “so funny it hurts,” about the dark side of comedy, “muslim in america,” “unsolved mysteries,” and more. each week they publish several personal or investigative essays related to the theme. the essays are fascinating and well-written, and almost always show me, teach me, or explain to me something i wouldn’t have gotten to see or understand otherwise.

Carrot Quinn
carrot is a talented and dedicated writer, real and readable. her archives include riveting adventure tales of traveling by freight train and quiet essays about living in the woods, and more recently she thru-hiked the pacific crest trail last summer and will be doing it again this year. i’m psyched to follow along.

Grimy God
for lent, my friend ben and his friend chase are “looking for god in the grossest places,” taking turns challenging each other to find metaphors for god in the unseemliest, weirdest, and most revolting parts of life. recently they’ve invited other ministers and religious figures to participate. i love this project. check out this early prayer from ben, addressed to god the blobfish.

Flourish’s bible study
in a related vein, my friend flourish has been reading the bible, one chapter at a time, and sharing her thoughts and feelings as she goes. well worth a look if you’re into that sort of thing (i am).

Never Stop Reading
my friend julie is a voracious and enthusiastic reader, and on her blog she shares her thoughts about her reading. more than just dispassionate reviews, her entries reflect the way her life affects her reading and her reading her life. they’re a window into who she is, and they are a privilege to read.

Fit and Feminist
one of my most recent discoveries. an awesome, well-written, thoughtful, and, yep, feminist blog by a kick-ass triathlete and ultrarunner. i dig it.

14 Feb 2014, 2:24pm
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happy valentine’s day!

in honor of the day and of the note i received from the multnomah county circuit court two days ago confirming the dissolution of my marriage, here are a few things i learned about love by getting divorced:

* certainty is not the same thing as security, and neither can be manufactured.

* happiness with one’s own life circumstances, or at least a sense of agency in changing or improving them, is a necessary condition for commitment to another person.

* mistakes are rarely disasters and are often opportunities for growth and discovery.

* the world you imagine when you feel ashamed is not the real world; the people who love you are forgiving and understanding.

* avoiding vulnerability is antithetical to intimacy, just like avoiding things that scare you is antithetical to growth. take courage.

* “icarus was not failing as he fell, but just coming to the end of his triumph.” (see below.)

hope your day is full of love of all kinds: self-, familial, platonic, romantic. i am grateful to have so much of it in mine.


Failing and Flying
by Jack Gilbert

Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew.
It’s the same when love comes to an end,
or the marriage fails and people say
they knew it was a mistake, that everybody
said it would never work. That she was
old enough to know better. But anything
worth doing is worth doing badly.
Like being there by that summer ocean
on the other side of the island while
love was fading out of her, the stars
burning so extravagantly those nights that
anyone could tell you they would never last.
Every morning she was asleep in my bed
like a visitation, the gentleness in her
like antelope standing in the dawn mist.
Each afternoon I watched her coming back
through the hot stony field after swimming,
the sea light behind her and the huge sky
on the other side of that. Listened to her
while we ate lunch. How can they say
the marriage failed? Like the people who
came back from Provence (when it was Provence)
and said it was pretty but the food was greasy.
I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell,
but just coming to the end of his triumph.

5 Feb 2014, 9:22pm
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checking in

hiya, blog. it’s been a while. in december, i set some goals for 2014. somehow, it’s already february, and i wanted to check in about how i’m doing with them. here they are.

1. run enough to run healthy (i.e., stop getting injured when i push hard at road races, which happened several times in 2013)

i haven’t run since december 1st, when i totally rocked the seattle half marathon, finishing in less than two hours and blowing my previous PR out of the water. an hour or so later, my foot was killing me. my injury is similar to the injury i sustained at my marathon in april, except on the other foot. i’m not sure what is causing these injuries, exactly (my shoes? my stride? running on concrete and asphalt? undertraining? probably not overtraining), but i have been seeing a physical therapist, working on my strength, and cross-training by bouldering, lifting, swimming from time to time, and using the elliptical. at this point, my foot doesn’t hurt most of the time, but it’s still stiff and sore when i wake up in the morning, and i’m not ready to run again. i want to do recovery right, i.e. slowly — i think i said that last time, and then i got excited to be running again, and running fast, too.

here’s a way to think about this: months and months ago, when i had more free time and was spending a lot of it consuming all the media related to ultrarunning that i could get my hands on, i read this blog post, the gist of which is: training for an ultra? everything is ultra training! and then today i read this interview with ultrarunning legend ann trason, in which the interviewer says of trason’s recent decade-long break from ultrarunning:

“Sometimes, in a really long ultra, we’ve got to take a long break. We’re talking a nap on a cot, an hour in the chair, four pukes in the woods, some period of time where we sit things out and let our bodies and minds undergo a system re-set. After that, we get up and go again.”

good metaphor, right? apply it literally to running a race. apply it figuratively to training for the race. to running in general. to the pursuit of just about any goal. so, i’m still training. still pursuing these goals. one way, if not another.

2. complete a 50km trail race

see above. i registered for june’s smith rock ascent 50k before getting injured, but i’m pretty sure that particular race is not realistically in reach. in december, thinking my injury would heal quickly, i wrote out a long training plan and copied each run into my 2014 planner. every day or two i cross another one out. with any luck, i’ll be able to run the 15-mile race instead.

when i’m back to running, i’ll recalibrate my goals. some possibilities: the mckenzie river trail run (september), the oregon coast 50k (october), the silver falls 50k (november), or the frozen trail runfest (december).

3. invest time and money in my photography business and make it awesome

i wish i had more time for this, but that’s not a good excuse. i am working with a graphic designer friend on polishing my branding, and hope to get a proper portfolio website together soon. i just set up my first google adwords campaign. i photographed an elopement last week. it was great. want to do more.

4. move out of my parents’ place (heeeeey)

i think i’m less than a month away from this. i’ve never lived alone before — i lived in dorms in high school, and dorms and shared apartments and houses in college and afterwards. i’ve been staying with my folks since i left california this past summer. soon i will have my own small studio apartment. my own kitchen. i mean, shared with ravi & anoushka, of course. i’m sure they will make themselves at home.

5. do an unassisted pull-up

now this i have been really plugging away at. practicing negatives (jumping up to the bar and lowering myself as slowly as possible), practicing with the assisted pull-up machine at the gym (i can do three pull-ups with 40lbs of assist weight), bouldering at the climbing gym, working on my strength. wanna see my guns? here’s where i’m at, today –

yup, i just put a picture of myself flexing my not-very-impressive(-yet) biceps on the internet.

6. ride bikes on dirt (xc and/or cx!!)

this is something i intend to do this summer.

7. practice vulnerability and intimacy

this is #&%!ing hard, but i’m trying.