My First Blog (awwww)

This blog is dedicated to my friend Heather, who was taken from us too soon by random chance. My heart is with the family and friends during this hard time. It’s taught me a lesson though: Make time for the important people in your life, love them, enjoy them, and do all those things in your life that you want to. Stop wondering “when” to get the time, and if you’re too old, too young, too whatever.This is a public proclamation that I will be training to run a marathon and to climb Mt. Rainer by summer of 2009. Please check back when you can, and I’d love to hear from you about which marathon I should run next year (see Poll on right side of page). The declaration comes at the brilliant timing of our fall weather, soon to be winter. Nice …Anyways, I always start strong, and then it takes awhile for me to finish something. Essentially, I need to publicly announce my intentions to, um, keep me honest. Both tasks require a lot of commitment and work. Saying, ‘I hiked Mt. Rainer.’ sounds cool and gets a lot of attention. Do I really want to work that hard just to say it? In addition to training, the hike itself requires an individual to get up at midnight to walk uphill in the dark cold with a possibility of death. Yeah. When my fingers turn buttass white and my skin feels like gout just ravaged my feet, calves, and thighs, I have a hard time rationalizing why I want to do this. I don’t know. It’s there. Yes, I really want to work that hard. I want to climb Mt. Rainer.The first time I ever thought of hiking Mt. Rainer, was the first time I met my boyfriend, Bill. He told me he was training to climb Mt. Rainer, and it piqued my interest. He emailed me a website for OSAT: One Step At a Time. They have a Glacier Climbing course that we are going to participate in to learn rope and ax skills, and train with a group of people. (OSAT didn’t bring us together. That was Machu Picchu and a different story ;)) So do I want to hike Mt. Rainer because of Bill? It started out that way. Since I’ve started to train with him, it is beginning to become my own goal. I’ve walked the Camino de Santiago (500m across Northern Spain), I’ve done the Inka Camino. This Mt. Rainer is my next camino.Our third date was a hike up to Tiger Mountain to attend an OSAT meeting. After that date, we became preoccupied with other things and didn’t hike for awhile. Beginning of October, we discussed getting serious about Mt. Rainer. We knew we’d have to train and we started hiking Tiger Mountain every Sunday. OSAT holds a weekly meeting at the top at 10am, and we have not been on-time. Not my fault. Bill likes to hit the snooze button a million times before getting up. I try to use this as a reason to make us train harder, but we don’t seem to go faster. Our current time is 1.5 hours up (3 miles). During the walk up, we debate whether or not to take our time and walk steady (Bill) or if we should push ourselves faster (me). So far, his slow and steady drives me crazy in the beginning, but when we get to the top, he has enough energy to zip up while I am slow and taking deep breaths. I have blamed this heavy breathing due to the lack of oxygen, and not my current style of hiking.

Tiger mountain is beautiful. Because of Washington’s oh so lovely rain all the frickin’ time weather, the mountains are lush: lots of moss and rich green trees and muddy trails. We brought Melvin up on our second hike. Melvin is my thirteen year old Chihuahua Norwich Terrier mix. I found him about a year and a half ago on a road in North Bend, and took him to the Seattle Humane Society in Bellevue. He was in awful condition as his former owners didn’t take care of him (The doc said he had fleas for at least six months or longer and his teeth were so bad, they would have to pull them. Thank you for doing such a wonderful job!). The Humane Society named him Ziggy, to which I renamed him Melvin (after Mel Brooks whom I personally met) and friends have nicknamed him ‘Old School’. I purchased him for $35 (reduced rate due to his medical condition). His hair fell out for the first six months, and then grew back. When he sleeps, his tongue slips out. So cute. He’s done quite well for an old man hiking up Tiger! We got him a backpack to carry his own food and water up the mountain. This novel idea lasted about 5 minutes. When we started up the trail, Melvin sat down and whimpered. So, I took off the pack for him. I returned it back to REI. I’m still thinking about getting him a smaller pack to carry up his stuff.
Bill and I get mixed comments along the way. One person mentioned that he was going to tell SPCA that we were “forcing” Melvin to hike. Well dude, we FIRST checked with the vet to make sure his little legs and joints could make it. She said he is in great condition, and the hike is good for him. Of course, she cautioned us to watch for any irritation, weakness, or extreme exhaustion. So we watch him carefully as he is usually running ahead of us. Most people were impressed by the little guy. He seems to have an instant connection with Asians, old men, and little girls. (Men in thier late 30’s like to cradle him like a baby, but that’s a different story.) Most folks are amazed the Mel is in such good shape and offer words of encouragement to Mel.
Running a Marathon: I can do this. It’s just finding the time, as it is for everything. Bill subscribes to Men’s Journal, and I found a great article in the September 2008: An easy step by step guide to running a marathon in 20 weeks.

Week 1-4: Start By Improving Your Stride

Week 5: 10 mile mark

Week 6: Get Faster

Week 7: Run a 10K Race

Week 14: Run a Half Marathon

Week 17: The XX (20 mile mark)

Week 20: The Marathon

*Includes a week by week mileage chart.

The thing that bothers me about running is I get a runny nose and need to spit. I don’t want to “snot rocket” aka “snot cannon” in public, and yet it is the easiest way to get rid of the congestion without drying the base of my nostrils. The only reason I would consider the rocket approach is because my skin gets really dry and irritated in that space between upper lip and nostril, and it starts to flake off. It looks like I have dried snot all around my nose, and its just flakiness. Sort of like the time when a person “scoots in” at the dinner table, and the foot rubs against the chair wrong causing people to think you’ve farted. To conclude the snot rocket vs tissue debate, tissue wins in the short term category for vanity and social respect and snot rocket wins the long term category because it feels good and no flaky face. I researched this a bit and found Dr. Larry Dunlap MD discussing this issue in his son’s trial running blog which investigates medical reasons as to why we should swallow all bodily fluids when running. Thanks Dr. Larry! That was a third option I hadn’t considered, and will ignore for the most part. Well, maybe not on Mt. Rainer, where conditions are extreme.

Please send suggestions or vote regarding the location of the marathon I should run. I’m debating local (Northwest region) vs traveling (East Coast famous NYC Marathon, DC, Europe, or Boston). All options are on the table right now. Please vote on the right side of the blog, send me an email or comment.
This all begs the question of why would I do both? In my reading about “hiking Mt. Rainer”, it’s been recommended that a person should be in excellent aerobic condition with the ability to knock out a half or full marathon. Two birds one stone. ;~)
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