02 March 2014

2014 Q1 Race Recap and Life Review

Oh, the pressure of writing a post when you hardly write posts anymore! Fuck it, here goes.

My running plan for 2014 is to run one 5k a month. Yesterday I ran my third one, so it seems like an appropriate moment to do some recapping. I have some other goals related to this one: first, run every 5k faster than the last, and second, break 24:00 this year.

Getting to 23:xx will be tough, but I think running each race faster than the last might be tougher. For example, April's 5k is much hillier than the first three, which were all around Green Lake and flat as a pancake. So I'll really have to Bring It if I want to break my time from yesterdays' effort (24:45).

My January race was a very small race called the Inclement Sprint. Before the race they took a group picture of all the runners - I think there were about 50 of us. There was some confusion about the course. The Race Director, a very sweet guy, announced before the race, "Since a 5k race is actually 3.2 miles, you'll have to run this short out and back section." I figured he misspoke and that the course was actually 3.1 as expected, but when I got to the finish, my Garmin read 3.2 on the dot. My time was 25:37, which I supposed was a good January sandbagger of sorts.

My February race was the Love 'Em or Leave 'Em 5k. This was a fun one because a whole slew of Oiselle ladies were there. The race was huge and legit, with tons of speedy runners. I came in dead last among our team at 25:01, but since I'd registered as a "couple" with our fastest lady Stacy who ran a zippy 17:41, I had the distinct pleasure of coming in first in our division of "couples with summed ages from 60-79."

For my third race of the year, I decided to run March Forth, which was oddly on March first, at the urging of my teammate Lauren. I'm so glad I did! It was a smallish race and very relaxed. There was no specific lineup procedure for the start, but for some reason I didn't mind dodging the strollers and dogs. It was also mostly on the gravel path on the outside of Green Lake, and I typically hate gravel, but this didn't bother me either. I ran the race with Lauren and Andrea, and we also saw Sarah and Jen afterwards. It's pretty amazing to be part of this group of gals on the Oiselle Team. I love seeing familiar faces at all the local races. It's starting to feel like I have sisters! As someone who has no actual sisters, I can't tell you how awesome this is.

For 2014 I had some non-running-related goals too. The big one? Be less negative. Maybe I should start with rephrasing this one: Be more positive. This is going very well, with a few annoying exceptions. Most of my indulgence in "nagativity" was directed to (or at least witnessed by) my husband, who has been sweetly cajoling me for years to look on the bright side. Apparently this is my year, because despite the fact that life isn't that much different than it was last year, I'm loving it all. Initially I used the "fake it till you make it" strategy and just acted more positive than I actually felt, and guess what? That shit works.

I also wanted to spend less time on the internet and more time with paper. That's going well too. I've been doing a fair bit of writing offline; a lot in January, less in February, so I need to pick it back up. As for less internet, I'm focusing mostly on Instagram these days, and catching up on Twitter and blogs only when I'm on the toilet. That's a great rule, you should try it. Although it may increase your time spent in the bathroom.

I even reactivated my Facebook account recently for work, because I needed to keep up with my company's FB posts. It was fun for five minutes to see what people were up to, but I mostly I fucking hate FB. Although now that it's become a place for old people to hang out, it seems a little cooler to me. Old people, Unite! I am one of you now!

So what else is going on in my life? In late January, I visited some old friends who were in San Diego for a work trip, and it was nice to take a solo trip in a new place. I even got to run with my favorite running partner Lynne, who now lives 3000 miles away in snow-encrusted New England. We're cooking up a plan to run a half marathon on the same day this summer, and virtually train together. In February my mom came for a visit during Maple's winter break. We had a great time eating and museuming and downtowning. She also helped us with some much needed furniture shopping. I'm grateful to her for coming out for an extended stay, and also to my dad for holding down the fort (and walking the crazy dog seven times a day) while she was gone.

In two weeks, Sean is running the Chuckanut 50k in Fairhaven, WA. This was one of the first ultras I knew about, and I'm beyond excited to spectate this race and to cheer for Sean. He took some time off after being injured during last year's Zion 100, fully embracing his rehab and doing a shitload of cross-training. Even though he hasn't had a lot of time on his feet this winter because they were all kinds of broken last fall, he has a better mental game for racing than anyone I know. Dude is a survivor, with almost 10 years clean and sober, and that mental toughness gets him through anything he puts his mind to. I believe he will finish this race smart and healthy and be ready to run longer ultras later this year.

Maple is enjoying school, reading voraciously, and is all about her Rainbow Loom. We have so many tiny rubber bands around the house, and although this used to drive me insane, now I smile when I see those errant little rubber bands because I know she is focused on her craft. I love to see her focused, as she has a bit of an attention deficit. Not enough to be disorderly, just enough to worry me.

On February 2, I "celebrated" ten years with multiple sclerosis. Maybe it's weird to celebrate such a wrenching diagnosis, but I can definitely celebrate the fact that I'm still living life on my terms. Here's to another ten years of that!

31 December 2013

I forgot to say thank you

In my last post I talked about my need to be less "internety" in 2014. What I forgot to do is to thank you, my dear readers, for your support over the last two years of this sensational blog-stravanganza. Ask anyone, I'm wicked self-centered.

Here are some of my favorite comments from you guys. Imagine the theme from Chariots of Fire playing in the background...

Hi Portia,You are an inspiration- not for what you tough out, but for when you advocate for yourself against your own (and projected) expectations... does that make sense? What I'm trying to say is- first world problems aside- thanks for modeling true, authentic listening to your body and your own needs. Running will be there- always! How you approach it is a healthy representation that we can all take a page from. Namaste (Stephanie)
I think I'm supposed to counsel you against negative self-talk, but instead I just laughed at "I'm not an inspiration. I'm a fucking moron." You should wear that shirt to your next race/fun run. (Kat)
"I'm out of this disease. Seriously" (Sean)
That is a huge PR, way to go. And I'm so impressed by how you fought for it through those hills. I love your self talk, too! (Beth)
Ah this post is great! We all deal with weird stomach issues on our long runs so why not talk about it more? I'm all for it! Also, I totally got my period the morning of the Providence marathon last year. I ran with a tampon taped to the back of my bib! (Alice)
I like that "I don't think about a day when I won't be able to run. I just run." I get that mindset and I think that is the most important concept that we runners need to embrace - "just run". Races are great now and then, but run for you and to just run. :) (Christina)
Hey Portia! Finally got the chance to check out your running blog. Amazing--You guys are truly inspiring. I tried running again (for the first time in years) after seeing you at Aunt Janet's 90th party. But I quickly gave up and resumed my couch-surfing and potato-chip-eating lifestyle. See you at Thanksgiving? xo your cousin Sarah
Repeat after me: you are not a total slacker piece of shit! You just ran a freakin' marathon and you're STILL RUNNING! That's 100-times more than the lazy ass on the couch right now, and more than 90% of America.  (Andi)
Congratulations!!! I love that you want to go out and hope some more. Side note: I had a home birth too, but I thought running a marathon was a million times easier. (Pam)
I think you are totally brave for facing and conquering your fear. You're doing great! Here's to another fantastic week of running! (AmyC)

To paraphrase AmyC: Here's to another fantastic year of running, to all of you! And me too. Cheers.

19 December 2013

Writing on the internet about disliking the internet

I don't know when it happened, but I got burned out with all things internet. I don't want to read blogs and I don't want to write mine. The whole digital world feels stale. It's been weeks since I looked at Twitter on a daily basis, and keeping up with Feedly feels like a bad assignment.

Ever since I was a kid, I've engaged with people on the computer more often and more thoroughly than I have with real people. Maybe I like computerized people better. They are less messy and they don't have bad breath.

When I was a pre-teen in 1987, I wooed my first boyfriend via late night modem chats. We'd write live love letters one green character at a time. While other kids were playing soccer and watching too much tv, I was creating a virtual persona on Compuserv named Heather. I made "friends" with geeky guys who sent me mix tapes and stuffed animals via snail mail. I secretly felt guilty about using a fake name and pretending to be five years older than I was. Fortunately nothing weird happened. Unless you count having more virtual friends than real ones weird.

In college in the mid-90s, I chatted via Unix "talk" with my real life boyfriend who sat across the table from me in the lab. We should have spent more time actually speaking to each other. Or maybe that relationship was better in the virtual world than the real one. 

In 1999 I started a weblog called portiastar.com. I wrote self indulgent crap, campaigned for more readers by posting comments everywhere, and completely ignored my real life and the real people in it.

When social media became a thing, I eschewed it at first. MySpace and Facebook seemed lame, but then I caved to the peer pressure of LinkedIn and the pithy romance of Twitter. I tried tumblr and Dailymile and Goodreads and lots of others I'm forgetting about.

Recently I started wondering what would happen if I took all that time I spend on this internet crap and spent it on something else, something more fulfilling. Something creative that added up to something I was proud of. I'm not particularly proud of this blog. I am not sure anyone does or should care about my weekly mileage or my MS symptoms. I set out to inspire people, and hopefully I've done a bit of that, but at this point I'm not feeling inspirational. Don't get me wrong, life is good. I just need to change how I'm living it a little bit.

In 2014, I'm going to spend my time deliberately and focus on my real life. I'll stop blogging, maybe altogether or maybe I'll only write when I have something to say, which will probably be rare. I'll record my running in a paper notebook instead of on Dailymile. I'll probably stop using Twitter and Feedly, or at least change the way I engage with them - I still haven't figured that out yet. I'll read more and get back to writing in my paper journal and maybe I'll even write some poetry. You get the idea.

Maybe I'll keep up with this experiment all year, or maybe I'll miss the internet in a month or two and come crawling back. Regardless, I think you'll get on without me. I won't actually crawl under a rock. I'll still use email, but I'll use it to supplement my real interactions with actual people. You know, the messy ones with bad breath. Just like me.

I'll turn this typepad blog off soon, but I've archived  everything at my old blogspot space: runportiarun.blogspot.com. If I show up again, it'll be there. 

See you on the other side.

PS. It's not just me. Other people are saying the blog is dead