Training, Week Two: The Hills of Mount Lookout

My dad recently bought this house in Mount Lookout, and he's working on fixing it up and then renting it out (he thinks it'll be ready by April, if anyone is looking for a place around then). So we met there on Tuesday and ran around the neighborhood. I had mapped out a three-mile run using this nifty website that tells you the distance and elevation of your route.

The thing about running in Mount Lookout? It's hilly. Quite hilly. The little elevation chart tells me we climbed close to 300 feet in our first half-mile, which took us to the end of Golden Avenue. Isn't that the height of the Eiffel Tower in King's Island?

So we huffed and puffed to the dead end at the top of the street. As we turned around to take in a pretty amazing view of the river and the city in the distance, I said to my dad, "I'm going to finish this half marathon, you know, but -"

"I know you are!" he interjected.

"- but it's not going to be quick," I finished.

"That's OK," he said. "What matters is that you're doing it."

"I know," I said. And we started back down the hill.

Memories of free Wi-Fi

I just received an e-mail notifying me of a new comment on a very old post, in the comments of which I reveal that in 2005, I was connecting to the Internet through an open wireless network named "Eurmama." I speculated that it was named for a band that often plays at R.P. McMurphy's bar down the street (although that would be a pretty long way for a wireless signal to travel).

The new comment said:

LOL, i know this is an old post, but you are piggy backing off of MY internet... LOL... good thing I put a network key on it!

signed.... Eurmama

It's not from RP's....

How funny! Well, Eurmama, you'll be happy to know that I have since gotten my own network connection. Thank you for providing me with Internet access for my first few months in this apartment!


White Death 2008 edition

At about this point in my commute Thursday, I was really starting to envy the people who live in those downtown condos.


Training, Week One: Why the Treadmill Sucks (And Also Why it is Sometimes Awesome)

Last week saw Greater Cincinnati covered in horrid ice, so all my workouts were indoors. (To be fair, the weekend was excellent for outdoor running, but I spent most of that time making my apartment appear habitable to outsiders.)

I've never done much running on the treadmill before (not that I did much this week, actually; I totaled only five miles), but here is what I noticed:

- It is boring. If you are facing a television, it is slightly less boring - but only slightly.
- You can't adjust your pace to match the beat of the awesome song that just came on your iPod.
- It feels unnatural. Running outdoors is tiring, but at least you are fairly certain that you are moving across the ground and not the other way around.
- It's loud. Which causes you to crank up the volume on your iPod, which in turn causes long-term damage to your hearing.

But there is this:

- I don't have a Garmin or a Nike Plus system or any of that. The treadmill was an excellent source for just how far I had run and what my pace was getting there.
- The treadmill's set pace prompted me to push myself. I am fairly certain I wouldn't have run two miles without stopping for a walk if I had been jogging through Oakley.
- Let's not discount the utter lack of deadly ice to slip on while running on the treadmill.

So, while the treadmill thing is far from ideal, I like that it keeps me accountable and gives me lots of information about my run. Until the weather starts cooperating (the lovely weekend weather was shoved out the door by more ice), I can handle it.


12 weeks and counting

I talk a good game about running, but the truth is that it's mostly talk. When my dad and I get together to "run" twice a week, we do far more walking than running. During those leisurely workouts, I think the farthest we've gone running and walking combined is four miles. The farthest I've gone at a nonstop trot is 5K.

So when I say that tomorrow I'll begin training for the half marathon, it is with a feeling of sheer terror and a lack of confidence that I'll have the willpower to see the thing through.

Working out six days a week for 12 weeks doesn't really seem like "my thing," or rather, "humanly possible." I know that people do it, and in fact plenty of people have been doing it for months already for the full marathon, but those "people" are clearly super-athletic robots designed to inspire and/or shame normal humans. (Some of them have fun blogs, though.)

But what the hey; I'm gonna give it a shot. It took three years to change me from someone who hates running to someone who tries to convince others to run 5Ks. Let's see if 12 weeks can change me into a real runner.


Oscar Watch, miniature edition

Juno (Best Actress, Directing, Original Screenplay, Best Picture)

Seriously. Ellen Page is tiny.

(Image stolen from Best Week Ever, where I also learned that Juno director Jason Reitman made his screen debut as that boy who sneaks off with his girlfriend to make out during the fire in Kindergarten Cop.)

I know I posted a list of a dozen or so movies to see before the Oscars - but most of them were really just movies I'd like to see at some point, you know, in my life. There was only one I really wanted to see as soon as possible. And now I have! Hooray!

I don't have much to say about Juno, except that I loved it. I really did. It's funny and sad and poignant, and it takes a small, fairly simple story and uses it to display fascinating characters. I want Juno to be a TV show so I can see these people every week.

If I had to nitpick, I'd say the best friend character could've had more nuance - I don't know whether this was a directing or acting issue, but she was the only character in the movie who seemed like kind of a caricature. (She was also the one who said the one line of the much-maligned too-witty dialogue that actually bothered me - "Honest to blog?" - but she couldn't help that, I guess.)

But that's really a tiny gripe - tinier than Ellen Page, even. Overall, I thought Juno was fantastic. The story? Fantastic! Ellen Page? Fantastic! Michael Cera? Fantastic! (I was about to list all the other major actors in the same manner, but you get the picture.)