Archive for April, 2013

…was watch spark in action. The flare of something new passing over young faces.

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The thing that once seen can’t be unseen, makes your eyes light up and your toes twitch.

The last weekend of Macy’s Artswave Sampler took place this weekend, and if you can’t already guess from the things I’ve written before, this is a bit of what they’re looking at:

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CBII Trainee, Irene Przywara

Rayleigh Vent & Daniel Powers accompanied by their lovely smiles.

Rayleigh Vent & Daniel Powers accompanied by their lovely smiles.

Dancers from the CBII company of the Cincinnati Ballet hosted the strong imagination of a flock of children. The “day in a dance student’s life” was followed by…

whirling bright colors from Anaya Gypsy Dance

whirling bright colors from Anaya Gypsy Dance

the discipline of Kung Fu from Blue Ash Shaolin Do

the discipline of Kung Fu from Blue Ash Shaolin Do

Visions that go like lightening into the dreams of small children.

My own spark to the arts was conjured at the age of 5 by the wizardry of The Nutcracker. Legend has it that I stood up during the performance at Music Hall, pointed to the stage and yelled “I’m going to be a balleter!” at the top of my lungs. It was my first exposure to ballet. One look was all it took. Vision in a child is a powerful gift.

Wanting to be prima ballerinas and ninjas is where we start believing that when we grow up we can do and be anything. Events like Artswave shows us that some of us really can. That dreaming and believing and reality don’t have to be that far apart.

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The Cincinnati Ballet will be hosting the fundraiser Club B event on April 20th (that’s this upcoming weekend!) and Frampton & the Cincinnati Ballet Live on April 26th & 27th.

I think it was just this past Monday that I thought to myself:

Self, you’ve haven’t run all week. You’ve got some doldrums going on. Sign up for something and snap your ass out of it!

At the very least, I thought that it would get me up and running to shake my legs out in the interest of making a passable effort.  Ummm…yeah.

So here’s the crybaby list that preceeded this run:

  • Lexington was hard!
  • I’m recovering from Lexington.
  • My back is pretty stiff from bootcamp.
  • WHOA! My back is REALLY STIFF from bootcamp.
  • I did all that yoga when my back was bothering me. Wasn’t a good idea.
  • I can’t go to the gym, the dog needs me.
  • Seriously, the dog needs me.

Sidebar: The dog is fine, by the way. Some stitches in his eye and the headcone of shame until the stitches dissolve. Pills & eyedrops. Yay dog! Way to handle that sedation!

What it all boils down to is that I’ve been feeling LAZZZZZZZZ-EEEE!! about the gym thing this past week. So I just haven’t gone.

Also, there is nothing on that crybaby list that warrants having had too much wine last night. So there’s that too… I went into this run kinda dehydrated, with a wine hangover, not having run for two solid weeks and not having worked out at all for a whole week.  Oh…and it’s kind of a challenging course – a few of those long, slopey hills I suck at.

So, I think, without taking those things into account, I’m really proud of how this run went. Taking those things into account, this run went FREAKIN’ PHENOMENAL. Not a PR – though I think I beat last year’s time by more than a minute. Still waiting on the official results (more than 7 hours after the last 10k-er finished, insert stinky-side-eye at the RD here, here, and here).

I talked myself up all the hills slow & steady. Only 1 walk break at the water stop for about 15 seconds. I kept my positive thinking in gear. While Maine took off and schooled us both, Nash stayed with me for almost the first 2 miles – she was having a pretty rough morning too – so us toughing out our hangovers together was helpful in keeping up the motivation. Then when I was on my own – and hitting a particularly hard spot embarrassingly at around mile 2.5-2.6, I thought about this post from runthisamazingday – and I told myself – you’ve got to go to your well…you’ve got to make it deeper. My god – you’re almost done, just GET THERE! It’s only a 5k!

And then there was the last bend, and the finish line – and it was over. First 5k of the season in the books!

Then there was calf-cramping and a kinda surreal feeling for a little bit, but that was okay because I could have water and bananas then beer and breakfast, then a nap a little later.

As I told Eric, afterward, my body felt like I’d run either really hard or really far, and neither of those things are true. So feeling as bad as I did after was a little confusing.  I’m chalking that up to a lesson from the crybaby list – step away from the wine the night before a run.

BUT – I did keep my mental shit together through the whole thing. That’s growth, people. Not a bad place to start the season.

 

Sunbeam

Posted: 04/11/2013 in Photos, Uncategorized
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Cell phone picture taken on a very sunny day.

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We joke that this dog is part lizard because of the way he will sprawl, lounge & nap in any bit of sunbeam he can find – preferring to lay on the patio pavers, or out in the grass, in the blazing noon-day sun and heat long after many dogs would have dug themselves a hole in a shady spot. We’ll offer opportunities to come in, get some shade, cool down. He will just raise his head – blink at us slowly – and think at us:  Um. no. I’ll stay here. But thank you.  Because he is a very civilized and well-mannered dog. He always says thank you with a lick or a burp or a lean.

He’s almost 10 years old and quite possibly the best dog on the entire planet. 

Trained as an expert at frisbee-catching and acting as the 10:00pm town cryer. He went through a 4-5 YEAR period where he wouldn’t eat his kibble unless he got a hug first. (We blame that on the German Shepherd we had.) He was completely housebroken at 12-weeks old – when we’d only had him for 2 weeks.

And he’s in surgery today for a a minor little issue which should be totallyfine and nobigdeal and everythingwillbeokay. We’ll take care of that and clean his teeth and trim his nails and spiff up his ears. Just a little sedation and he’ll probably wake up with a headache.

I do not like the idea of me being sedated. The idea of him being sedated makes me itch.

I don’t care what kind of human you are, when your dog is in surgery, you can’t quite find that normal feeling inside your skin.  Please excuse me while I spend the rest of the day jumping out of mine.

For those of you that were wondering:

This is what the 13.1 chart looks like.  We drove the parts that I didn’t run, and I swear when you hit the crest of the hill at the 8.6 marker, all you can see are the crests of the next 5 hills laid out in front of you. It is a serious head game.

The 7-miler followed the same course until about mile 3, then broke off to it’s own hilly wonders before joining in again right around the mile 10 marker.

Yes, I knew what this looked like before I signed up.

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Okay, okay – so I already posted this photo once, but I like it. So here it is again. There is something about indirect sunlight on hardwood and pavers that just makes me all dreamy. It is odd to me, or maybe it is just a disfunction of my nose, that such a place smells more like sawdust than horses. Though really, either is just fine with me.

After the run was over, I was laying on a massage table with some very nice man named Todd giving me a rubdown on my legs and glutes. (Appropriate, professional contact to you people who are still finding me through weird search terms. You know who you are.) This is the first time I have gotten a post-run rubdown while still at the race – not that they haven’t been offered at other finishes, just that the line has always been LONG LONG LONG by the time my little turtle-butt got done. This was the advantage of switching over to the 7-mile option as opposed to the 13.1 half-mar. I got done before most of the crowd and went straight into a rubdown. I wrote a little bit ago that I was considering downgrading to the 7, and I finally pulled the trigger on that decision after taking my training pulse and deciding I just wasn’t ready for a half marathon.

IT WAS A VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY GOOD DECISION. But I’ll get to that.

So, Todd & I are chit-chatting through the awkwardness of him stretching my legs out, and he’s a runner too – and he asks me “So was there a lot in the swag bag on this one?”. Something we all want to know when we register for a race – whaddathey gonna gimme at the expo? I tilted my head and said – “No. Not really. It was a really small expo – which I liked – I’m not much for the expos. I had one thing I wanted to buy there, which I got. Beyond that, I picked up my bottle of bourbon, got my bib and got out of there.”

Um, bottle of bourbon?

Yes. One of the perks on this race was a special label bottle of Knob Creek Bourbon. The run crew went and did a tasting and picked out a cask and had their own bottles made up for the run. You had to buy them in addition to your run fee, and only 144-180 people could get them, but I was fast with my little mouse-clicker and got on the list. I’m a bourbon girl – usually with the Maker’s Mark, but Knob Creek makes a damn fine glass too. Bourbon. It wasn’t in the swag bag – it came with it’s own little bag and certificate.

But I feel like I haven’t really told Todd the truth, so I go on. You see, they didn’t really do the thing with all the chip clips and pens and mini-powerbars. There were a few vendors about nutrition, but not a lot of stuff. Which I’m okay with – I have enough chip clips, and the mini-powerbars are very often found dead in the bottom of my gym bag about a month after the expo. I tell Todd – they did it…different.

They organized stuff for us to do. Other than run. Like some tours of horse farms and distilleries.

This isn’t something I’ve noticed with the Flying Pig or Country Music Half-Marathon (Nashville). Nashville does a concert, but I didn’t notice any group discounts to zoos or museums or local attractions. Things that say – come for the run, but stay for the city. 

In Lexington,  I didn’t just show up for a run, there were these other things to do set up. I got to know a bit about the Lexington community. I had the tour schedule for what I’d signed on for (again with the speedy-mouse-clicking) and was armed with a list of small LOCAL restaurants (no Applebees or Panera)  they provided – which included a great little Coffee Pub that we hit up twice – once being the first place we stopped when we got to town. THANK YOU COFFEE PUB!  And when I first signed on for the tours, I thought – ‘Oh great, we’ll see how a horse farm works.’ 

Um, in Lexington, they don’t just have horse farms. They have HORSE FARMS. Like farms that house MILLION DOLLAR+ RACEHORSES with names that I recognize like Supersaver and Colonel John and U.S. Ranger. Derby horses. Famous horses (that I may or may not have placed a few Derby bets on). Beautiful, beautiful animals.

Seriously people, I GOT TO PET TIZNOW. TIZNOW!! He feels like supersoft velvet.

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The jacket says Bodemeister, but the horse is Tiznow.

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Also, I learned that Tiznow sperm costs more than my house.

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And that horses wear boxing gloves when they mate. You wanted to know this.  I learned about horse sex. What’s more, I just wrote that on the internet. Oh, the possible search terms just keep on coming…

This was just on our first tour – which we did when we first got to Lexington. Before the expo. Before the distillery tour. Before the run. After the coffee.

The run, you say? Oh right, it is a race recap. Um, all of these gorgeous horses and farms and literally, THOUSANDS of acres of green pastures – you run through it. No big intersections or roaring crowds. It’s two lane country roads surrounded by oceans of green. In the early morning, when all the horses are out grazing and just getting their mojo on for the day.  They stare at you curiously with ears up and eyes wide as you run past. Some come right up to the fences – some with foals. These are picturesque moments straight out of postcards. You simply can’t believe how pretty it all is – and for me, at least, it reminded me how darn beautiful parts of this country are. I got a little misty patriotic. I live an hour from this! Having decided from the very beginning that I was doing this run for scenery, not for time – I took my sweet time to look around and take it all in. I encouraged other runners to look up – over there! how pretty! – and I pointed at horses right up by the fence curious about what we were doing. I even stopped to look behind me a few times. Took walk breaks.

My time wasn’t great – though I did a 7-miler in what it took me to do a 10k just a year-or-two ago. But really, who cares? If I had been all about the time, with my head down and my game face on, I would have missed so much. But…and there’s always a butt…all this scenery comes at a price. Being without question the MOST AMAZING RUN COURSE I have ever seen,

IT IS ALSO THE HILLIEST. This is not a course to be trifled with. Hills don’t bother me. I train in hills. I’m built for hills. I PREFER hilly courses. I am not afraid of even pretty serious hills. This course – even at 7-miles – was BRUTAL!!! and I’m a Flying Pig 13.1 veteran. This course makes the Pig look flatter than an airport runway. No joke.  Had I done the 13.1, I would not have been walking the rest of the weekend. If you’re considering this run next year, train hills, then more hills, then even more hills – and not gentle hills. Do not take flatland breaks between hill repeats. Train on brutal, nasty – so steep you don’t like to drive on it – hills. 

Dear self – if you do this next year – consider adding stadium step running into your training plan. Love, self.

The views – the scenery – the beauty – WORTH EVERY SINGLE HILL.

So no – there wasn’t a lot in the swag bag. I didn’t get another chip clip. Instead, I got to pet one of the most famous horses in the world. I got to see country I’ll never forget – and can’t wait to get back to. I got run-challenged – I know I’m doing this run again no matter how hard it was.  I got to pet a month-old foal that tried to bite my stomach. I got camera practice and a generous tasting of bourbon. I got to have an old-timer tell me all about the Blue Devils and educate me about Navy aircraft carriers.

Oh! – OH! – Oh! – and I got to feel – for the first time, like I had a personal link to the Race Director almost every single day. THAT’S RARE! I don’t think I can name even a single 5k I’ve done – or any other race I’ve done – where I’ve felt such a personal connection with the race organizer. But Eric at Lexonomics – DUDE! I feel like we’re buds. The social media campaign on this race was done PERFECTLY – not overwhelming on the emails – with a fine dose of humor and excitement on Facebook and Twitter.  PERSONAL emails about the tours we were registered for as opposed to spam waves of nonsense addressed to 30,000 people. This race billed itself as 100% World Class and 100% Local. They should have included 100% Personal also, because it was obvious that this race was run by people who really cared about making it lovely. People who took every detail personally.

They got it 100% right.

Some more photos of Winstar Farm. I’ll be putting up a few more from Donamire Farm, Woodford Reserve and the Aviation Museum (I’m not sure those took though.) as I get finished editing them.

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Gemologist. These horses make me feel like a munchkin.

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All horse farms have dogs. Fact. Still haven’t figured out how to photograph through glass. Unfortunately, the reflection shows pretty badly in this one. This pie-eyed border collie was napping when we came in, stood up just like that and then went and hid when some little boys began tapping on the glass. Dog looks like he’s hypnotized.

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Peeps, this is where I offer you my most humble apology.

Because baseball season has started, and I made it down to the Reds game last night. Which means the gratuitous posting of views from my seat have started.  Good, bad, blocked by bald spots taller than me, behind the dugout, far far into the upper decks. It doesn’t matter because I don’t care too much where we sit. Usually taken with my cell phone – which is actually & surprisingly a pretty good camera. Nevertheless, it’s begun.

Last night, bundled up into heavy-duty longjohns, huddling under a nice wool blanket, and sporting my Reds earwarmer from Redsfest pulled over my baseball cap, I took in my first game of the season at Great American Ballpark. Clutching a beer and some hot dogs too. If you’re gonna do the ballpark, you gotta do it with tradition & style*.

For what it’s worth – I clapped A LOT – also, once I realized that clapping with gloves on makes almost no worthwhile noise, I started whistling A LOT. Sorry about that. (Not really, I’m a pretty good social-event whistler.) Also, I may have accidentally “wooo’d”. But really I was trying to “Hooo!” when J.J. Hoover came up to pitch, and then realized it probably sounded like a “wooo” & I shut it down with the quickness.  If the “wooo” takes hold again, well – still don’t blame that on me because there is always that one 20-something year old guy down in the 100 level that keeps doing it over and over again who is completely louder than anyone else and too drunk/big for his friends (who are laughing at him, not with him) to attempt a successful takedown to stuff his wrongly used rally towel in his wooo-hole. (Did I really just write wooo-hole?) Not that I found it abominally obnoxious or anything. *sigh* *breathe*

I really don’t like the wooo.

Also, it will not surprise me if there is a wooo-related homicide at GABP this season. Not that I’ll have anything to do with that.

I digress…

So anyway – it was AWESOME! to back in the ballpark – anywhere in the ballpark! In a few short weeks, the temperature will change and the gloves will come off, so the clapping will get louder. The long-johns will get changed out for tank-tops. I’ll go from huddling under a blanket sandwiched between two of the best people I know to wishing there were some empty seats around us to give us space in the 90+ degree heat. The weather will change, as will the opponents. But what won’t change is the smile on my face –

and the fact that we’ve got one HECK OF AN AWESOME TEAM this year!! YEAH!!! GO REDS!!

*dark mustard & relish

GPOYTT

Posted: 04/02/2013 in Uncategorized
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Gratuitous Picture of Your Toes Tuesday Ignore the pathetically abused Flintstone running feet & the kickboxing bruise on the shin. Let’s just focus on the pretty toes in “Yodel me on my Cell” aqua-blue.

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This is the part where ya’ll find out that I’m totally lame – and even though I took a vacation day specifically to go photograph the Opening Day parade, I stayed home.

Mainly because my feet and legs were just DONE DONE DONE after 2 full days of walking tours around Lexington, plus Run the Bluegrass, and giving my camera a workout to the tune of 900+ photographs to comb through and edit. I made it to the gym in the morning, but frankly, I was just too sore to stomach another day of crazy crowds, being on my feet for hours on end, and fighing a crowd to get good photos.

I stayed home, edited a reel of Easter photos of my friends’ kids, with my feet propped up and watched the whole thing on the TV.

Because you know I couldn’t miss watching the game. An incredibly LONG game – holy geez, who goes 13 innings on Opening Day, for Pete’s sake?!

So, vacation updates, photos, race repot…all that is coming ahead. First though – off for a pedicure. These tootsies have earned some TLC.