Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Cheer up sweethearts!

This is hard stuff.  It is especially hard because with modern social media, reports of terrorizing events are instantaneously and constantly front and center in our mind, as are the streaming emotions of other people.  Within minutes or hours we all knew what had happened.  And then as the days passed, the public emotions continued to roll in, reigniting a wave of sadness every time you turned on your television or computer.

Hard as it is to fathom or believe that anything this unimaginable could happen, and tempting as it is to believe that the world has finally reached the pinnacle of evil, be assured, there have been unimaginable horrors for all of mankind.   The holocaust.  That happened.  Millions of people.  MILLIONS of people killed in a genocide.  Millions of children.  MILLIONS.  What in the world would you blog about then??? MILLIONS I said.  Of children.  

My mind keeps flickering to images of my first grade class.  I can see all the students so vividly, exactly where they sat.  I already had a lot of fears by then—of the clowns under my bed, the boogie man in my closet.  What will this do to those children's minds?

My grandparents were 14 years old when they watched everyone they knew and loved get killed in a mass execution.  How did they cope? They lost their faith.  They started over.  They made a new family together since they no longer had their old ones.  I think they were mostly okay, but I really have no idea.  It seems impossible for those memories not to weigh heavy on your mind every single day....

I thought I realized some good news today.  That out of the thousands of millions of citizens of the United States of America who have ever existed, only one of them was terrible enough to take the lives of children in this way.  Most people are good.   And most of the bad people live in Oakland.  Just kidding Oakland, but I have not forgotten the kids (toddlers even) who have been murdered in this city but haven’t made national news since it wasn’t in mass…and since it was Oakland…I think we're over 120 homicides so far in 2012.  Perfectly average year.  Children included.  

There is no point to these observations, other than maybe to wonder why some tragedies hurt louder than others.  If it didn't happen in the United States, it's a barely noticeable blip in the news.  If it's not a white person, it is forgotten.  I think I get it.  It hurts more when the victims look and sound like they could be our own family. 

But unimaginable things have always happened.  They always will. 

Anyway.  Just musings.  I am no longer interested in what anyone has to say about guns, country, mental illness, religion.  If I were you I'd cruise right on past this post....just another persons musings...


Running has been happening, but I kind of forgot about the blog for about a week there and haven't kept great track of the details.  In a somewhat accurate account, here is Last Weeks Miles in Summary:

12/10 Monday: swim approx. 2 miles.  I'm accidentally getting kind of good at swimming.
12/11 Tuesday: 12 
12/12 Wednesday: 12
12/13 Thursday: 13  (at which point I briefly consider running the number of miles that there are in the day of the month, since I hit it on the head two days in a row.  Then I thought about how that would require running 30 miles on my 12/30 birthday.  Yet, on the 14th I couldn’t crawl out of bed early enough to run 14 miles.  We'll call it a two day streak.)
12/14 Friday: 12
12/15 Saturday: 15 (streak back on!?)
12/16 Sunday: 17.5
Total: 81.5

It turns out that not doing speed work makes 81 miles feel like a cake walk.  My legs only felt tired near the end of Sunday’s run, but other than that, I was regularly hitting 7:45 miles as my “easy” pace which wasn’t happening at all earlier this Fall.  I guess when there’s nothing to “recover” from, easy runs are easy even when faster.

My buttcrease issue has been a whisper.  I don’t feel that tug much at all.  The issue that remains is the leg-lock, which pipes up near the double digits of runs, and only if I’m running hard (faster than 7:45 min mile).  I can’t feel it at all when I’m walking around or lying down at night, which is something like a good sign, since I know right before CIM I could feel that dull achiness at night.

I’m going to try a new approach in the 10 weeks remaining between now and the Napa marathon (yup, I’m signed up.)  The approach goes something like this: screw off, speed work.

Believe it or not, I don’t think the track has done much for me—besides make me faster at the track.  It hasn’t translated to faster runs or races.  It’s true that my track work never had a chance to prove what it was worth, because I usually ended up having to take a one-month break from the track right before a race due to some niggle-naggle. 

Either way, I think I’m going to not do anything too intense between now and the Napa Marathon, besides maybe some steady miles between 6:30-7:00 pace just to get as comfortable as I can around there.

Oh! The other change in my “approach” goes like this: yo, hills, whachu doin tonight? You up? You out?

I used to be a hill fiend.  Just hills, alllllll day long.  Then I discovered the flat 4-mile route around my neighborhood lake, and started chugging along there because I could run faster, which I figured helped me get faster.  But I think I’ve lost some of my natural running strength that I found just from running hilly routes for fun.  Last week, I started throwing in more hilly neighborhoods and less flat lake runs.  It makes for less miles, since I can run 14 flat miles in the time it takes to run 12 hilly miles, but DO I CARE? no. 

More hills, more fun, less speed, get faster.  Or get less injured.  That’s the plan.

Oh yeah, and my weekend was sublime. I got to hang out with my Montana butterfly, and….I got to reap the rewards of running the 2nd annual Jingle Bell Hell, with 5 participants!!! (two of which did not participate, technically, due to not feeling well and going home.  Read XLMIC's recap in the link for details).

(Almost) winning the race while running in zig zags

I totally killed that race and probably set a remarkable course record.  Somehow I got duped out of the grand prize trophy, BUT I did get some seriously valuable goodies (all edible, some eaten mid-run, including half a donut, which actually sat fairly well while I ran).

we swept the top three placings!

I’ll be back next year so that the trophy will be mine.  You can come too as long as I get your portion of donuts.  


  1. Hills pay the bills, my friend. Wanna do some stair workouts at the Cleveland Cascade with me?

    So sad that I missed you at JBH, but I guess my stomach did not want us to finally be running in the same direction. One day!

    BTW, I had eerily similar thoughts re: CT shootings. That's all I'll say about it here.

  2. You're on fire with these posts of late, quite honestly. They are all thought provoking.

    Definitely true that some tragedies get more attention than others, and yes, I think it is often because it feels like it could happen to you or your family. I definitely wondered if the same attention would be paid if this had occurred in a black neighborhood. I'm not sure what the answer to that is.

    The same thing applies to the theatre shooting. We all go to the movies. Schools, movies...these are all things we can relate to. And yet the Sikh temple shooting got so much less attention. Still, this mass shooting stuff needs to stop, so I'm glad it's getting this much attention so that more steps and analysis can be done to put preventative measures in place...

  3. love what you said about conn. shootings. never said better. you are amazing. i'll keep my fingers crossed that the napa marathon will be dry and mild and pain-free(which would be the first)

  4. Did our brain waves talk before you wrote this?

    I think it's about time to resurrect some Moesering. Are you game?

    I guess we won't be able to play that same trick on you next year regarding the trophy, but... I'm thinking it might need to become a donut run next year...slam a donut every mile. Might level the playing field. Of course, what fun is a level playing field?

  5. Thank you for your musings about the shootings. That's all I really have to say about that.

    As far as the track, I thought I was the only one that never felt some serious benefits from the speed work there. I benefit more from doing them on road or grass (when I pretended to run cross country).

  6. So glad you're around to tell me that I don't get sad when black children are shot. All hail RoseRunner, she who sheds a tear every time a child dies anywhere in the world, champion of the children of Oakland!

    Seriously, just stop. Everyone knows there are tragedies every day. But if I let every single sad thing bog me down, I wouldn't even be able to get out of bed in the morning. This shooting was just so horrific that it's impossible to ignore. And no, it's not because they were white. It's because they were six years old, shot to death in what is supposed to be a safe place. Race has nothing to do with it and to suggest it does insults the vast majority of the population grieving for these kids.

    1. So you read Rose Runner's paragraph below and took it as a person affront? Um, interesting.

      "There is no point to these observations, other than maybe to wonder why some tragedies hurt louder than others. If it didn't happen in the United States, it's a barely noticeable blip in the news. If it's not a white person, it is forgotten. I think I get it. It hurts more when the victims look and sound like they could be our own family."

    2. Emily, don't hail me.

      my musings aren't that different from what you're saying. To spell it out, I do NOT shed a tear when someone is killed in Oakland, even when it is a child. It's just another small tagline in our local newspaper. And so I wondered, here and out loud, why it was that this recent shooting was impossible to ignore and weighed heavy on my mind and everyones mind and continues to do so. Whereas many other horrific homicides don't affect me or others.

      If anything, the point was, its okay to try and cheer up and move on because terrible things happen ALL THE TIME. Our hearts are only so big to hold on to the weight of tragedies that happen everywhere. all the time. And like you said, it would be too much to get out of bed.

    3. All right, fair enough. I'm sorry for the misunderstanding. All of this has made me into a very angry person lately and it's often misdirected at people who don't deserve it.

    4. I completely understand. It's emotional. Thank you for the bringing it up so I could clarify my incoherent reflections...

  7. The thing that bothers me the most is that now, only after the senseless massacre of kids can we "start to have a conversation" about gun control. Really? We had to wait for this to happen? We couldn't have predicted that handing out assault rifles like candy and letting any 18 year old be able to buy 10,000 rounds of ammo with a mouse click might lead to this? Thanks politicians. I've been watching in amusement this week as conservatives who have (naturally) bought in to the NRA's bullshit about guns making American society safer for years are now being confronted with clear evidence that it doesn't actually work. Stupid, paranoid people.

  8. Love hearing that your running is going well - and that you are still swimming :) I tell ya, that swimming works injury free magic. The only time I like the track is to do a FEW intervals before a tempo run so that the tempo pace feels 'easy.'

  9. I get what you're saying about the shootings, and I agree with you. At least 20 child soldiers get shot every day in other parts of the world. No one gives a shit. And I find the concept of collective national grieving...mawkish. It happened over here in the UK when Princess Diana died, and I will never understand the need to make a public show of grief so elaborate that to an extent I feel it detracts from the true gried of the families involved. The media descending on the town is pretty sick in my opinion...interviewing kids about to have some kind of nervous breakdown. Let them deal with the tragedy in peace.

    I think it's bloody brave of you to post about this too - you're bound to get some outraged feedback from people who haven't read what you've said properly.

    I don't know why it took so long for the gun laws in the US to be debated - people didn't make anywhere near this much noise after Columbine (they were too busy blaming Marilyn Manson for it...) or the Dark Knight Rises shootings (it's the violence in the media!) and that irritates me. I'm sorry, but do teenagers and adults dying not matter? To me it's just as bad whether the people involved are 6 or 60. But I'm British so I probably have no right to an opinion :P

    I was faster when I did no speedwork at all as well - to an extent it just makes me exhausted, injured and even more likely to break down. I have the option of less miles or slower miles, and I took the latter. I often feel crap about my paces compared to some running bloggers but then I remember some of them are in areas like Florida, whereas I can't even go for a mile without encountering steep hills. Hills are the only places I ever pass people in races!

    It seems like brilliant runners also tend to be good swimmers...which may be why I sink like a rock in the pool :P Glad to hear your buttcrease issue isn't too bothersome at the moment.


  10. Good paragraph about the shootings. The CT shootings probably affected me more than anything since 9/11. The Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 is probably the only other event that comes close. Chris above is right, why does it take an event like this to spur talk about gun control? And if this event doesn't spur serious change in our gun laws, then nothing will. My extreme solution is to basically make guns illegal going forward for everyone except for police and military - and attempt to buyback every gun in the US. It would cost maybe $60 billion, but I'd rather spend money that way than spend $1 trillion in Iraq. The US needs to be more like Japan, UK and Australia that have very strict gun control laws, and have very little gun related crime. And the US should make gun possession a huge offense - 5 to 10 year prison term. That would deter people from having a gun.

    To me the next 2 months will be key in the US - will new gun control legislation be passed? Or will the NRA gun lobby win like it always does? Because until the gun laws change in this country, tragedies like the CT shooting will happen again, only question is when. So what will people say the next time a massive shooting happens again? Makes me sad to think about what kind of a nation this country is. Because by not changing the gun laws, we are basically allowing something like this to happen again.


  11. I was driving to work the other day and heard about 10 Afghan (I think?) schoolgirls, between the ages of 9 and 11, who were killed in some roadside explosion while they were out collecting firewood. Or something.

    That doesn't minimize the grief and anger I feel about CT. But godDAMN does it lend some perspective to the horror other countries experience every day.

  12. My mind keeps flickering to *my son's* first grade class... And it's been hard for me to go to sleep imagining him being one of the kiddos who tried to make a break for it only to get gunned down. GAH! Makes my sick to my stomach.

    But yeah, you're right about it happening all the time. Google Bath School disaster. Who knew?

  13. Yea, I think you are right - that likely very little will change in our gun control laws. The politicians will try to spin it over the next few months with a bunch of garbage. I hope they shut up and don't say anything until they actually accomplish something meaningful. And if they fail to accomplish anything, I hope they are forced to meet with the families of the 27 victims and tell them that straight up.

  14. I don't know...I know what you're saying and it's occurred to me as well that we don't shed the tears over the children who die every day in Africa...but you sound heartless. I'm sure you're not, but I'm uncomfortable with your choice of words.

    I've been trying to work out why I'm so heartbroken about CT - I think it's because my son is close to school-age so it's a personal thing and because the shootings occurred in what seems like a little bubble of safety, which shakes our perceptions of our own security and that of our children. I also agree with the commenter above that we literally can't be heartbroken about every heartbreak because the weight would be too much - sometimes something just touches us more than other heartbreaks.

    And maybe it's because it's Christmas. Goodwill, love, peace, joy, carolling etc...and then mass murder. The contrast is just too painful.

    1. I made the same response above. To be clear, these were disjointed reflections in which I wondered why it was that I don't care that people are killed regularly in my own city. I care, but it's fleeting. Whereas the recent shootings has been heavy on my mind and everyone's. I'm sure the answer is simple. It is a school, it is kids, our reaction is different.

      Sorry to hear my choice of words made you uncomfortable.

  15. I'm with ya on the speed work...it has done nothing for me other than get me injured. I just don't see how doing half mile sprints translates into running 26.2 miles faster. Is there some piece of logic I'm missing that everyone else in the running world seems to get? Now, while I don't do "speed' workouts (i.e. consecutive <1 mile sprints), I do think tempo runs are extremely beneficial.

    1. I feel so out of place with my comment...everyone's posting these long, thoughtful responses about the Connecticut shooting and then there's my deep comment on speed work (I say that with sarcasm). Ha.

  16. In response to your musings, I thought you might appreciate this youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziRMehYY7TE

    The relevant quote from this guy's "rap" song:

    "Every time I turn the television on
    I see another thing reminding me that everything is wrong
    I see news people interviewing 5 year old children
    not even 30 minutes after witnessing a killing
    i know its cliche, but do you remember the Middle East?
    do you even care, do you wonder, do you feel at least
    worried about how our troops are pulling through it?
    do you ever get to thinking about these bullied students?
    do you... do you ever consider
    the homeless man that's sleeping under bridges every December
    its freezing cold and all he wants is just a sweater or dinner
    but not a single one of us can seem to ever remember
    too busy caught up in the media frenzy, when a problem
    child, gets a gun and goes Gangnam Style"

  17. I saw this article about gun control written by Arianna Huffington, which pretty much perfectly sums up the USAs crazy addiction to guns:


  18. I enjoyed reading your musings. This is a really tough topic to take on and you make some good points. Definitely giving me something to think about this morning.

  19. I saw this post the other day, and had to skip it.

    I wondered the same - I don't know exactly why this situation rendered me completely floored all day Friday, unable to do anything but listen to coverage, when terrible things happen, daily, everywhere.

    My grandparents lived through the a similar story as yours - they lived in Indonesia when the Japanese invaded. Saw their homes destroyed, their families killed, and by the grace of something, found each other, and made it through the other side. I can't fathom what that was like. Things like that happen daily, other places. I suppose we should be grateful that something like Conn. can still be so shocking, because it means WE DON'T LIVE THAT DAILY.

    I don't know if it's that I have a kindergartener right now, or that I came so so so close to losing her, that I've kind of peeked over the edge of what that could be like, but this story still has me in shock.

    And sometimes, all you can do, is just put it out of your head. It is what it is.

  20. Right now EMZ appears to be at 3945 miles, let me know if you think you'll beat that in 2012 and I'll change that paragraph of the post lol. You should totally do a guess the yearly mileage post haha. And all the nor cal love in my post is probably intentional, I've gradually started following mostly bay area people on purpose.

    1. Looks like I'm in the 3700s. No need to make any changes!


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