January 12, 2015

Hey time passed here are words about it

I'm the last person to come up with a "shit I did/liked in 2014" post, but here we go. Guess I needed a couple weeks to sort out my deep and complicated feelings. That said, here are not very many words, all things considered.

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No TV or movies of note, for me. Because I'm a Luddite, I guess. Or becoming one. I'll see the new Star Wars movie. Maybe nothing til then.

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Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley may not have been the best book I read last year, but it will certainly be the most memorable. First fantasy novel I've ever read (and I read almost exclusively "genre" fiction, cause I'm a nerd like that) that really explores beyond typical medieval European tropes. No humans (well, not exactly), elves, dwarves, goblins, etc. No binary gender roles or heteronormative assumptions. It's all fucking (emphasis on the fucking) weird, basically. And the plot races along, maybe too fast, with lots of things happening. Lots of bad things. Makes Game of Thrones look downright cheery. Even the good guys are cutting children in half, for example. And one protagonist is a genocidal maniac, who, over the course of the book, literally murders tens of thousands. So, yeah. Pretty brutal. Pretty fucked up. But so well done that it's compelling. (Tellingly, it's the only book I've seen make so many best and worst of '14 lists.) Can't wait for the next in the series, and the authors' upcoming sci fi trilogy.

I read a couple books a week, usually, so this section could get really long, if I let it. So we're stopping at one.

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Best album is impossible for me. Most memorable, even, is hard to guess. I'd chose Mare Cognitum's Phobos Monolith if I had to, but I don't have to. It's the best in spacy, atmospheric, truly progressive black metal. Just sit in bed, post long run, no food, no water, and bliss out on endorphins and sound. So fucking good.



So, we're also going with most listened to. Probably. They're from 2012 and 2013 respectively, but whatever.



I know anyone who reads this just sort of endures my music posts, so enough of that. 

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Running, huh? How about that.

I did some. Ran a good half marathon in March. Won it. Pretty much it, in terms of racing.

Had a trip to Colorado, went up and down a couple mountains. That was more fun, and ultimately more satisfying.

Had a stress fracture. Nasty little bitch. Two cracks in my left fibula. Did more damage to my brain, however. Really drove home how important hobby jogging is to my sanity, which is pretty terrifying, if you think about it at all.

I think about it a lot. Which is why the stress fracture ended my "all racing flats, all the time" approach to running. Coulda predicted something would break, I suppose. Probably, people did. But sometimes you need to touch the stove, to see if it's hot for yourself.

There were nutritional considerations, as well as training things, also. I can own my own dumb shit. But I have learned to love the heel strike, as it were. First shoe I bought, when back, was the Adidas Energy Boost, which is an overpriced gimmick.

Or so I thought. Put it on. Feet loved it. Bought it. Begrudgingly. (And at a 25% discount.) That was June. Still using it 99% of my miles. No visible midsole wear at all, and still feels soft but snappy. Upper is coming off in a couple spots, and the outsole is about gone in places too. But still. Turns out that, for me at least, the overpriced gimmick totally delivered.

Training at the end of '14 was the best it's ever been, but we'll see how that translates, going forward. I just know that six minute pace feels about like seven minute pace did in the Spring.

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I ate a lot of apples. Drank a lot of coffee. More of these things, going forward.

January 3, 2015

2015 is here and I'm writing about it, but not really

I ran a 5K in 17:53, which I'm reticent to "count", because it was just me and a concrete bike path. Sometimes you have to buff the ego though, so there we have it. Buffed. (Certified course, so it's not a total bullshit time.) Training is going well. Funny thing about that, I'm finding that the more I obsess over things other than running, the better my running gets. Forcing myself to read fiction - or unrelated nonfiction - instead of pouring over training stuff seems to have given me a sense of balance.

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Won a $120 "Asics shoes only" gift card at the local running store. Now, need to find Asics I like. (Or someone I like, to give it to. Do I actually like anyone though? Hmm...)

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My brother ended up making good progress on his quest to build a school in Zambia, where he's living presently. Ended up getting $5400, which, with local contributions (and his own) factored in, should be enough to get the job done. Thanks to anyone who clicked on over from either my blog or twitter. I'm checking with him to see if there's any way to continue to give money, even now that the official fundraiser is over. If there is, I'll post about it here. (Thanks in advance.)

Related: I absolutely do sometimes wonder what I'm doing with my life to make the world a more decent place. (Nothing. The answer is that I'm doing nothing. That's... probably not great.)

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Trying to write fiction. Fucking hard. Discovering I really don't know how to make things happen. Kind of a problem, yeah? I write dialogue pretty well, and "scenes" ok. But making that all move towards something... eh.

December 29, 2014

I can't really type pirate noises well but that's ok because I don't really ever need to

My R key is broken. Well, not broken entirely, as I'm - sadly - forcing myself to use it quite often, thus far. But I really do have to mash it. It's bothersome. Makes writing difficult.

Though I've been doing no small amount of it, despite that handicap. Something like... 12 hours a day over my four day break, probably? Much of that consecutive, and no, never once boring. I've found myself growing increasingly fond of writing about the things made up in my head rather than those things which actually occur in my life. And so that's what I've been indulging, with no inclinations whatsoever that anyone but myself ever read that which results. So that's enough about that. (It's not about pirates though. That isn't why my R key seems vaguely smashed.)

Running? Yes, that too. Always that. Better than ever, I say, tentatively, since I haven't raced in months, and basing fitness on how you feel during training is, at best, subject to no small amount of wishful thinking. But I do feel good, consistently. And considering that a statistically insignificant portion of your time is actually spent racing, versus training, that's not a small thing.

December 26, 2014

Running by a bar, outside of which is a sign that says "Country night!" The size of the trucks in the lot out front voice the same thing without the need for words.

December 23, 2014


This is Mount Oread, in Lawrence, on which sits the University of Kansas. It is not actually a mountain. Be a lot cooler if it was.

December 22, 2014

Steve Magness speaks truth to the bulletproof bullshit.

People ask fairly often if I miss coffee bar work, and the answer, honestly, is yes. But I'm also quite glad I got out before anyone started asking for butter in their fucking coffee.


Anyway, happy holidays. Hopefully you were good so a goat demon doesn't come beat you with sticks and drag you to hell. 



December 9, 2014

Eat this.

It's not actually ten dollars anywhere. The grocery near my house has it for less than four. But whatever. It's great. The first coffee ice cream I've ever had that's worth a damn.

Also, there is an old dog napping on the floor by my bed, and that makes it very hard for me to get vertical. The tired permeates the room. She's 14 though, which is a better excuse than I have.

In ultrarunning, the rumor mill - confirmed, more or less, by athletes on twitter - says that the Pearl Izumi ultra team is dead, and that Dakota Jones is jumping from Montrail to Salomon. The latter makes all the sense in the world, the former, less so. Hopefully we hear something resembling a why.