Thursday, July 28, 2011

Under Pressure

My focus has tipped off balance because of these long runs. Yesterday I broke my own zen rule and ran "go go gadget girl" with an iPod. I was concerned that my mind would settle in a dark groove on the 26K route yesterday.

The truth is, even with the absurdity of Pierce Brosnan singing in my ears, my imagination did occasionally go to the horrors of last week's events. But maybe that is appropriate. The only sense in such things is the sense we impose on it. How we choose to use it as a guidepost in our own lives: consciously appreciating life.

Appreciating aching tendons and even someone singing off-key in your ear.

Despite it all - the children's voices, the midday heat, the buzz of the iPod - the birds sing, a deer appears the clearing and two foals come to take clover from the outstretched hands of ten year-old boys.

There is a lesson to be learned from their willingness to be vulnerable. A lesson to be learned from the hundreds of slugs who make their way over the gravel paths around the lake, from their soft bodies and the gaping mouths of their single lungs.

No, it's not pretty.

But it is integral to the beautiful whole.

Yesterday I ran three laps around the lake to avoid the territorial swans on the more scenic route. A lost cat hanging out near the golf course seemed overjoyed to see me when I passed the third time. She ran alongside me mewing, then crossed in front of me and nearly tripped me. A healthy tabby with a new collar but no tags. Photogenic little thing, and I figured I could hide her from my dog long enough to get a response from flyers in grocery stores.

I only ran about a kilometer with her purring in my arms before she decided she preferred prowling in the undergrowth to a passive journey with me.

I'll look for her tomorrow, but today is rest and recovery in my compression socks.

I'm often discouraged by all the touting of fitness products under the guise of chatty gossip. I am a compulsive consumer and have been trying hard to revamp my life without buying the revamp. I try to resist the temptation to let my running become another excuse for shopping. But I realized I already have three pair of airplane socks. I figure under pressure is under pressure regardless the packaging.

Do you make a conscious effort to keep your commitment to fitness separate from your consumerist desires/habits?
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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Life. Happening -

Friday morning began wonderfully. Up early and out for a 26K run that went well. Still too slow a pace to make the marathon cut-off, but I ran the whole way and felt strong. I was careful to space out the gels (yuck, by the way).

The first part of the run had me fretting about precise times and distances: Do I give in and buy a Garmin? Why am I doing this anyway?

What about the shoes? Am I going to ruin my body entirely by going minimalist for my first marathon?

It was mainly about trying to make peace with the idea of coming in dead last. Being honest with myself about that. Can I really, honestly, deal with it?

I am a competitive person. I have always been one of the people to say that getting the best grade in the class isn't important, but knowing full well that I had a shot at that slot. I have always considered myself a "contender" in the endeavors I have taken up (or I have been blissfully ignorant that I wasn't). Am I being honest with myself or am I subconsciously harboring a fantasy that I have a superpower yet-to-be-revealed that will kick in on race day?

Then, almost on cue, I saw a deer in the clearing. The first since April. She didn't move. She watched me run by and then continued eating.

Why did I begin running again last year? A large part of it was the deer. Up early, seeing the flash of white tail in the fog in the mornings was a reward.

The doe was there to remind me. This is about health and peace of mind.

In March, when I made a real commitment to myself, the world was dark at 5 a.m., but every day a little lighter. I watched the reeds grow. I heard the birds returning.

In April, when the last of the snow had melted from the little hollow to reveal autumn's leaves - still bright orange - spring mimicked the fall, and I realized the fluidity of nature: the old doesn't immediately give way to the new. It is a matter of focus sometimes.

After 20 years of complaining about the cold and the rain, Friday I was celebrating the 15C morning and the light rain - with my jacket tied around my waist.

This year I decided to change my citizenship. The cells in my body have renew themselves, nearly three times over now, breathing this air. I continue to change fundamentally.

After the run Friday, I showered and biked downtown to meet three other American expatriates. We had a very long and pleasant lunch, after which I went directly to a store to purchase some Vivo barefoot shoes for work (one of the Americans showed me hers and told me where to find them). Then I picked up my second pair of Vibrams. (I have worn out a pair of running shoes!)

Then my oldest son called me. He was watching the news.

The day broke sharply in two.

Today I am reminding myself that, that doesn't mean one half of the day negates the other. Life and death... and life.

What keeps you running?
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Friday, July 22, 2011

A Moment of Silence

Yes. I ran this morning.

But no blogging today out of respect for the grieving families and frightened young people in Norway.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wordless Wednesday 1

Mid-Week Charting

No fartslek yesterday.

My oldest came along with me. In fact, once the hail started hitting the windshield, I would would have turned back if he hadn't suggested we see what was happening at the beach.

K. along the beach.
It was beautiful there. At 8:30 p.m. the hail had left a rainbow inland, and the sun was starting to set over the water.

K. has agreed to come along with me to the beach once a week as a pacer. The sand slows him down, but I still have to push myself to keep up with him. But yesterday I didn't even try.

I have a strange, springy-twangy twinge along the sole of my left foot, and the sand had been packed hard as concrete by the hail.

Slow, easy, recovery pace. And since my normal pace is a normal runner's recovery pace, I mean slow.

Time to mistake sand-infused seaweed fronds for vipers, and - although my husband swears this is a photo of a dog's paw print - I still think it was a mountain lion sprung from one of my homesick hallucinations.

You can see how swollen my foot is.
Evening runs are not my thing. My body did sort of find a groove at around 5 kilometers, but I slept until 9:00 this morning. This summer is slipping from my control like a live fish.

It is now after noon and I am sitting here with my second espresso and the TV on in the background. There is a social network on three of the four tabs on my computer.

My summer "to do list" has been a vague charcoal sketch in the back of my mind that I have been almost afraid to look at. To commit to. And that's not the way to get things done. This isn't who "I am".

Because "I am": structured, discipline, productive... up at 5, down at 10:30; a veggie-squeezing, goal-oriented body-of-sunshine-and-happy-happy-joy-joy. So a third cup of coffee and pixelated accountability:
  1. De-clutter the basement
  2. De-clutter the kitchen
  3. Menu-planning
  4. Resume sleep schedule
  5. Detail plan the marathon training schedule
  6. Set off limited time for computer use
  7. Outline production schedule for HW libretto
  8. Begin editing Running Metaphor ms.
Now. Where did I put my happy helmet?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Joyfully, Not a Joiner

After hitting the wall this weekend, I have been crawling over the internet for some inspiration. I discovered that the Barefoot Runners Society has a Norwegian chapter whose introduction is in English, no doubt as a means to further serve its apparent purpose:

"You are also special. You are a tougher breed of barefooter*."

In my head, what follows next is a Tarzan yell and chest beating.

I haven't switched to minimalist shoes and barefoot beach runs to prove what a bad ass I am. I gave birth.


I am already a bad ass.

I run because I enjoy it. I enjoy running barefoot on the beach. But I enjoy running the lake trails without having to worry about cuts or infections or breaking my gritted teeth while struggling over stretches of sharp gravel.

Pete Larson has written a great plea for moderation in regard to the barefoot/minimalist debate. What puzzles me is how often the question of speed comes up in the shoe/no shoe debate. I could certainly jump higher with spring-loaded shoes. It doesn't mean my body wasn't designed to jump at all. We are designed to jump and run - and to do a million other physical activities. None to the exclusion of others, so compromise is part of the evolutionary equation. We aren't gazelle.

I have always thought it was amusing that some swimmers shave the hair off their bodies to glide through the water better. It helps them win races, I suppose. It makes them better swimmers. They move faster. But it doesn't make them better at swimming.

I am not a competitive runner. I think there is a difference between being a better runner and running better.

When I am looking for inspiration I need to hit the restart button. Why did I start running again in the first place?

Also from Larson's Runblogger, where he shows how his son joyfully runs with the technique he strives for:

The less I think about it, the more I enjoy it. Mindful running isn't about my technique.

How the marathon fits into this?

... Well... the less I think about it, the more I enjoy it.

(*update: I was walking around the lake today after my swim, and thinking about the horrible swans - how they are the only thing I have to fear here in Norway. No venomous spiders or snakes. No polar bears or alligators. The only thing barefoot runners in Norway need to watch out for is stinging nettle and rutting elk. Talk about a lot of bravado for nothing.)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Wall

I hit it.  The Wall.

After running a mind-bogglingly slow 22K, I had to walk the final 4 home in pain from the waist down. Toes, arches, ankles, achilles, knees, hamstrings, gluts. My running mantra morphed into a decidedly unhelpful litany of four-letter interjections that began with "ouch" and ventured into asterisk territory.

I probably spent 3 of my almost 5 1/2 hours of running yesterday asking myself why I am doing this. What is the point?

I love running 6K each morning before the rest of the house gets up. It clears my mind of the clutter. It clears my muscles of the lymph. It makes me feel strong, capable and productive.

Yesterday I felt like a fraud. Runner? Healthy?

As I was lying in bed last night, unable to sleep, I noticed the pile of winter blankets was breathing. I wondered if I would die before I woke. If I was suffering from some silent, mysterious brain disease that made me experience running at a fair pace, while actually moving two strides forward, one stride back.

Clearly, I've too much Sci Fi in my life.

Why am I choosing to run with a GPS, to keep to a schedule someone has laid out for a race I have no intention of winning? For a chance to face the humiliation of coming in absolutely last (or worse, after the officials have packed up and started dancing)?

Maybe I need to keep in mind that a humbling situation need not be humiliating.
And what do I take with me from yesterday?

I ran the edges of three lakes and a stretch of seaside. I inhaled the scent of fresh tar, rotting seaweed and densely-petaled roses.

I burned one arm and two shins on nettle; startled a gathering of ragged-wooly sheep. I climbed over porous, black outcroppings, and smooth, gray boulders. I ran the path over the hill where the treeless, rocky terrain brings my mind back to the desert.

I saw a cormorant, perched on a dark rock capped with white bird shit.

Intermittent drops of cold rain.

And this morning? I am still alive.

Rest today, cross-train tomorrow and some fartslek on Tuesday.

I choose to continue the journey.

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Little Too Attatched to the Sh*t

Yesterday my facebook status update was a complaint worded as an impersonal maxim:
"If you can't find the sh*t you need, you have too much sh*t." 

In reality, it was a heartfelt cry of frustration. I can't find my iPod.

I've downloaded some yoga audio tapes I want to try, but am sitting here wondering if I am actually sabotaging myself with all this clutter and these half-hearted commitments.

You know, the kind that siphon energy from the real commitments. Or the kind that are too much bother to pursue, but it is nice to tell yourself you are doing it: like reinstating a yoga practice or learning to cook healthy meals.

Yesterday I saw part of a television program about decluttering. It was actually (effectively) an advertisement for the container store.

Have too much sh*t? Buy more sh*t to help sort it. 

Help and inspiration on the internet? Buy this book to help you learn how to make do with less. 

In our house, it is not a joke when I say we might need to move because there isn't room for another bookshelf.

A few years ago, I went to Kyrgyzstan for a women writers' conference. I packed a weeks worth of clothes. Sight-seeing clothes, meeting clothes, out-to-dinner clothes. And the airline lost my luggage.

I managed the week on the t-shirt and capri pants I was wearing, and the one cotton dress, two pair of underwear and toothbrush I bought at the local market. I had a great time and didn't feel the least bit self-conscious or deprived. You'd think I would've have learned something.

In reality I wear the same single t-shirt and capri pants and dress most days now. Not because I have no other clothes, but because they are the only clothes I can find easily in the landslide of fabric in my basement. 

We renovated our kitchen last month. No, honestly, we are still in the process of renovating the kitchen. The new tiles aren't yet up. Neither are the moldings or baseboards. And there is a big hole in the wall near the refrigerator where the old tiles, when we pried them off, threatened to tear the entire weight-bearing wall with them.

The new kitchen has less cupboard and storage space. I still am not sure what to do with all the kitchen machines, pickle forks, cheese cutters and mystery doodads. But like my clothing issue, I keep eating the same three or four meals. None of them healthy. Because I can't be bothered to sort through the landslide of options.

My exercise routine works for me because it is simple. Put on the wicking clothing so I don't chafe and wriggle into my VFFs so I don't spring a leak, and go.

How do I simplify the rest of my life?

That is not a rhetorical question. But please don't say I have to buy something.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wanting to Be Better

It is a beautiful day today.

The kind of day that's not perfect - just a little too sharp a chill in the air, just a few too many people on the beach - but it reminds you that you are alive.

That things are in motion.

Even the fingerprints left by the tide will be gone and replaced by the next.

I am half-way through summer vacation and have been lazing in the mornings. My days starting too late and filled with too little. I can't have them back to try again.

But I can get up tomorrow. Make juice and dance, not faster, but with a little more attention.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Yesterday I ran a half-marathon distance.

Actually, I have been so focused on the training schedule for the marathon that a friend on Daily Mile had to point out the milestone for me.

I ran a half-marathon after a weekend of pushing myself in a kayak (in more ways than one). I ran a half-marathon with the uncomfortable burn of an infection brought on by sitting 18 hours in a wet wetsuit.

I ran a half-marathon without earphones or distractions.

Without the promise of external rewards or brag-bling.

Without injury, exhaustion or depression.

Did I mention I ran a half-marathon?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Don't Sit on the Screwdriver!

(or Part Two of The Kayak Report)

On the morning's first crossing to the island, my wool underwear soaked up enough sweat to make me think I would disappear into my own puddle of electrolytes - which sounds kind of sparkly and flamboyant, but really would have just smelled bad.

Long sleeve wool underwear, under a long sleeve wetsuit, under a life vest, with a plastic hat tucked into my collar, rubbing against my skin in the 60F sunshine... well, the predicted rain then would have been welcome. 

When one is that warm, one would think that tipping into the water wouldn't be difficult. Physically, of course, tipping a kayak is not a problem. A sneeze can do it. A good giggle.
Mentally, however, it is actually pretty difficult to convince yourself to willfully go from a warm, comfortable sitting position in the sun to a dark 55F wet place inhabited by stinging orange globs of pulsating jelly.

We moved a bit further from the shore where I had to dip a paddle into the water to prove to myself the water really wasn't black.

That didn't make things easier.

Counting down out loud does. A little. Weird how that works. Next time I can't get my butt up off the couch to do housework I am going to count down out loud.

I can now assist in recovery should my kayak buddy tip over. I can now survive cold, black water (kind of fearlessly, actually) and climb back into my own kayak with buddy-help. I can now beat myself black & blue and spin a kayak countless times around its central axis while trying to get back into my own kayak unassisted.

The rain they predicted did show up. Right after we had cooled down on shore, eaten our lunch (causing our blood to rush from our extremities into our stomachs) and changed into dry shirts.

It amounted to 5 minutes of fat drops. Our sunscreen effectively off, the sun reappeared.

More tipping and rescuing.

This time we had to try it with the screwdriver on.

At least that's what I heard the instructor say. And when you get back into the kayak, be careful not to sit on the screwdriver.

I guess, even after 20 years, I hear things incorrectly:

Spruttrekk versus skrutrekk(er).

This is one:

This is the other:
One keeps the water out of your kayak so you don't sink.  (It can also keep you prisoner in an over-turned kayak, if you aren't careful.)

The other doesn't help much when you're out in a kayak, and you might as well sit on it.

I am no cameraman. I thought I took a dozen pictures yesterday, but once home I found four photos and an 18-minute film I didn't know I took. So here are few minutes of my huffing and puffing, from the perspective of a camera hanging around my neck.

(And if you look closely at the blue and black "spruttrekk" towards the end of the film clip at 2:07 or so, you will see that they actually make very cute mini-hoop skirts!)

By the end of the day several people had commented on how "sporty" I was.

The thing is, in Norwegian, "sporty" doesn't mean anything like athletic. In fact, quite the opposite. It means you throw yourself - with gusto - into physical things you know you aren't going to do well. 

I take my compliments where I can get them.

And my strengths as well.

Okay. Time to get to work:




Still here.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Paddling as Fast as I Can!

I don't run fast. I run so slowly, in fact, that I am concerned about finishing the September marathon before the cut-off time. (I am starting with some serious fartslek next week.)

Not only do I run slowly, I swim slowly. I splash and thrash around like an angry reptile, and move very slowly across the pool.

And today I learned that I also paddle slowly. Very slowly. Like, turtle-slow.

Wait. I actually have no idea if sea turtles are slow. I am slow like a desert tortoise paddling a kayak on a cold day.

And it wasn't even that cold. 

Day one of the two-day kayaking course today. On the water from 11 to 5, with a little lunch break: hopping up and down under a tree to keep warm while swallowing spinach soup and chewing on crisp bread. Chewing, because everything was damp. It rained off and on, steady but never a downpour.

The thing about rainy days here is that the sky so often is a perfect slate grey. It makes all the colors pop: the greens, the oranges, the purples. There was little to no wind, so the water was clear and it was easy to see that jellyfish season is right around the corner. We paddled close to land, as close as possible, and the jellyfish's orange tentacles moved slowly and elegantly with the ebb and flow. By next month the shores will be chocked with tentacles.

Five years ago the idea of being so close to the ocean terrified me. Kept me awake at night. But twice now I have been on trial dives and am getting used to the water. No, not water. I have no problem showering or swimming in a pool. It's the idea of what is down there in the water - under the rocks, under the sand, among the seaweed fronds. I only had a few moments of panic last night when I thought about having to practice tipping over.

Wetsuits help. Aqua shoes help. I didn't think about the jellyfish when I tipped into the 13C (55F) water. Again and again.

I am so glad I chose to not take the instructor's advice to ditch the wool underwear. I kept my wool undershirt. And I didn't freeze.

Which is kind of amazing, considering how slowly I was moving. (The instructor had to circle back for me, splashing and thrashing in the middle of the sound.)

Going back out tomorrow. It's going to rain. I'm going to take it slow.

Part Two

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Friday First

And how is this for irony? My first time participating in Fitness Friday & Fitness Fridays (Life... As I See It) & (Sparkles and Bugs), and here I sit shaking off the remnants of a summer flu - feeling decidedly unfit.

Paid my fees on Monday for the September marathon, and for a kayaking course this weekend only to come down with a fever after Tuesday's run. I've been spinning my wheels since. My training schedule is completely off-track and I am fighting the ridiculous, but insidious, thought that four days of illness will unravel a year of hard work.

That's how I stumbled on Life... As I See It.  Trying to find inspiration and a reminder that this is real life, not a project wrapped in parenthesis. A colleague of mine with MS said once that she has been sidelined for a few months due to an injury, but it was okay because she runs for life, not for any particular race. I'm trying to keep that in mind.

I figure this is as good a place as any to introduce myself since I don't have an about page on this blog. I am a writer and a teacher, most of the time in that order. I am a 45 year-old woman and not the kind who will make statements like I'm turning 29 (or 39) for the 6th or 16th time. I'm proud of (most of) what I have done with my life since I turned 29. I wouldn't disown those years any more than I would disown my two teenage boys.

In the last 16 years I have worked as a freelance writer, a massage therapist, a yoga instructor, a teacher and for a humanitarian organization. The latter, long enough to realize working against politics means eventually working with politics.

I have a vested interest in mental health issues and (reasonable) holistic approaches to life. I don't believe in magic: not magic-thinking, magic-words, magic-shoes etc.  I am trying to improve my nutrition and exercise habits without becoming an amateur scientist.

While stretched on the couch, next to an ever-growing pile of used tissues, I have been blog-jumping, looking for inspiration and role models. What disappointed me was the motivational imagery out there: twenty-somethings with Photoshopped skin. Or fifty-somethings with nips and tucks and more money than original bone structure.

Okay, yeah, I want to look "hot". (Obviously one gets too old to comfortably use the word "hot" before one gets too old to be vain). But even Cindy Crawford doesn't look like Cindy Crawford. I am looking for real women who have it all. And by that I don't mean personal trainers and professional stylists.

I mean women who have to face days on the couch with an ever-growing pile of snot rags, and no one to clean up after them, or help them dehydrate to the point of svelte before their next public appearance: women who are healthy role models for other real women.

You out there?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Reversing through the Roundabout

I have never been one to stick my head in the sand. I have, however, been known to close my eyes and barrel through.

My worst character traits are things I have been fighting since I was a kid. When I was ten I was called out publicly at camp for having accused (without proof) boys of breaking into our teepee and stealing our candy. I still tend to jump to conclusions and make accusations to quickly.

When I was sixteen and asked in Driver's Ed. to reverse through a roundabout. I had never driven in reverse and never taken a roundabout driving forward. So I put it reverse, closed my eyes and stepped on the gas.

I have always been pretty lucky. And I still tend to close my eyes and hit the gas.

For the past week my husband has been laid up on the couch. Coughing, sniffing, moaning a little. I woke on Tuesday with a sore throat. But my marathon training schedule said it was the day for a 22 kilometer run. So on with the neoprene and lycra, and out the door.

I swallowed a lot of pride (along with a lot of mucus) 6 kilometers in. I turned and ran home and figured I could reschedule the long run for Thursday. Still closing my eyes: not sick, barrel through. Kept lunch date with a former student. 3, yes, three, glasses of wine with my avocado sandwich, brainstorming and gossip.

Home five hours later with a fever.

Husband is healthy and out of town,  so the couch was available. Good thing I rented a load of films yesterday. No yoga, no push-ups... no wine today.

Looking forward to tomorrow's run. (And I still think those boys took my SweeTarts.)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Fish on the Beach

Sounded heavenly. But yoga on the beach was not what it's cut out to be.

The sand was too hard.
The sand was too soft. 

And the quaint little shoreline smelled like rotting vegetables. 
Thursday, I will continue searching for a beach where the sand is just right.

And where the air smells like salt spray.

Anyone know of good audio guides for standing yoga sequences?

Doing Fish on this beach was kinda gross.

Still scraping the sticky sand off my neck.

Renaissance Woman

After Middle Age(s ic) comes Renaissance...

And cross-training.

Looking back, I wish I had taken a more holistic approach to life the last three years instead of pushing through ultra-marathon sessions at my desk.

Those weekends I went to the mountains to hammer out a thesis, denying Kiri the joys of lemming-chasing and myself long runs in the mist on soft trails, I was living a half-life and courting atrophy.

The wisdom gained from hindsight, certainly more valuable than my degrees.

I have been wondering how long it would be before I could call myself a runner and not feel like a fraud. Count that 74 runs. Today I need to forgo a run in order to do tomorrow's 12 miles on my marathon training schedule. I am itching and dying to get out there.

Instead - off to a secluded beach... with the yoga tape.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Garmin or Zen

When I recommitted to running in March, I decided to ditch my gadget girl ways and run without the heart monitor and mp3 player. Mindful running, I decided. Running to lose. But the gadget habit is difficult to shake.

I downloaded an app for my Desire HD so that I could keep track of the distances I run, so that I know I will be ready for the marathon in September. Problem is, it doesn't do very well in my pocket.

I started at one end of the beach and hit "start" before taking off. I tucked the phone into my pocket and ran to the far end of the beach and back. Then half and back again. I took out my phone and hit "stop". Seems I ran about 200 meters in over the course of an hour, according to my GPS.

Free app: not helpful.

So I am itching to buy a Garmin so I can keep track of my distances and my pace. I take my phone on my runs, just in case, and just to snap a quick picture now and then. Garmin watches may track speed and altitude and how far the moon. But they don't take photos or call ambulances.

Garmin or Zen? Today, it is all about learning how much the sand gives where the sea ebbs and how much it gives nearer the dunes. How much it gives and smells where it is nothing more than a thin layer over rotting seaweed.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Driftwood and Sinking Steps

Today I drove out to the beach and ran there. Overestimated the wind chill there and over-dressed for the occasion.

I lack both the abs and the self-irony to opt for ditching the fleece to run in my light blue bra, so I suffered a little. But the water was cold each time the tide caught me, and the sand felt great on my feet.

I think I may make this a weekly habit - or find out which bus drives there on weekday mornings. I can deal with the spattering of wood, and even the sinking sand that covers the rotting seaweed on the south end.

I gave my greatest smile to a sour-looking woman whose face broke into sunshine.

Oh, God. I'm losing my bitchy edge.

Friday, July 1, 2011

New Rams in the Paddock

The heron was still there today. I'm convinced she is brooding, and I'll bring binoculars one of these days. From a distance I recognized the white silhouette. Then she turned and spread her dark wings a little, as if to spite my presumed familiarity.

The white sheep have recently been shorn and look a little pathetic even in the sunshine. Or maybe they are just shamed by the newcomers - a large brown ram and three black & white creatures that look overdressed for the paddock.

I've been running in the Vibram 5 fingers since March and have been gradually increasing distance. My longest distance to date is 19 kilometers. Funny that it is today, on a short run of 9 kilometers that I felt an uncomfortable - and sharp - twinge under my left foot after I took off my shoe.

Tomorrow is cross-training day. I'm thinking sand would be a good idea. Beach combing anyone?