Dusting off my gardening skills

The house we have rented in Columbus has a large backyard, including a couple of raised garden beds (one neglected, one more recently tended, but still overgrown). I am SO EXCITED to start gardening! Given that we moved in in late May and had a bunch of unpacking to do, my attempts this year have been both quite late and pretty haphazard, but I’m still enjoying them.

First I weeded the raised bed that was in better shape. It’s about 3′ x 4′, and I was really pleased with how many lovely worms there were in the soil! Then I bought several tomato plants of different varieties from a local grower, and some chili pepper seeds and sweet pea seeds from the Seed Savers Exchange, and some sunflower seeds…

Little tomato plants
Continue reading “Dusting off my gardening skills”

Some things have happened

The last time I posted, in August 2020, the most interesting thing happening in my life was my new interest in soap-making.

Well, it’s now May 2021, and… some things have happened.

September 2020: road-tripped down to Texas to see my granddad (socially distantly)

October 2020: drove back up to Seattle, stopping at a few National Parks along the way… and got engaged on a hike in Grand Teton National Park!

A happy moment at the base of the Middle Teton, the turnaround point of our long hike along the Garnet Canyon Trail

January 2021: B was offered, and accepted, an assistant professorship with the Ohio State University

Continue reading “Some things have happened”

2019, 2020

I keep meaning to do a better job at updating this site… though given that my life isn’t generally super-eventful, one could wonder whether it’s necessary. But anyway, here we are, half a month into 2020, and I see that the last time I posted was in June 2019. Oops.

The second half of 2019 was good – really good. I didn’t quite manage to do my “Summer of Halves”, but I did do two half marathons (at the end of May, and midway through June), and a 50-mile bike ride one Monday afternoon in July. So that’s three out of four “halves”!

I also managed to only miss ONE day in my Project 365 photo project, which was by far the best showing I’ve made of all the years I’ve tried or semi-tried to do it.

And in November B and I went to Spain together for a couple of weeks – four days in Albarracín to go bouldering, a couple of days in Besalú to spend time with a friend, and then a week in Barcelona. A selection of photos from the trip is below.

Summer of halves? Maybe… maybe not.

The half-marathon at the end of May went really well, all told. I had a lot of support from friends – especially P & T, who managed to combine showing up at the start, finish, and three points in between with doing a huge bicycle ride of their own (the overachievers) – and I ran exactly according to my plan (walk the uphills, jog as much of the rest as possible). I finished in 3 hours 20-odd seconds, which I’m very happy with! The only problem was that a near-faceplant at about mile two had developed into a really painful left knee by about mile 10 (probably from trying to save myself from eating dirt). Still, I enjoyed (!) the race enough that by a few minutes afterwards I was saying that I would do it again – which is a first for me and races.

I took some time off running after that, primarily to let my knee recover. Instead, I went on some bike rides, did some yoga, did some climbing, etc.

Yesterday, however, I decided to go ahead and try to do another entry into the “summer of halves”. Set out from the apartment at about 7:15 am, planning to do a predetermined 13.1-ish mile loop around Lake Union.

I did it – I finished, and in a slightly shorter amount of time than the previous one – but the experience has made me rethink whether the plan to do a half-marathon each month is a good one.

The main problem is my left knee. It started twinging by mile 2 and was full-on aching by mile 6, and the last three miles of the “run” were more like “limp-jog 25 m, walk 200 m, repeat”. Not fun at all. And I spent the rest of the day grimacing every time I had to bend the knee while applying any pressure on it. I’m better today, but going downstairs is still not awesome.

So, of course, what I should do is take more time off, rest the knee more, right? Except the less I run, the less good at running I get. I could tell that my running fitness had declined in just the three weeks since I did the previous run – more time would presumably only make it worse!

Adding to the knee considerations is the fact that my body just simply does not like running long distances. Full stop. And shows that by … being deeply unpleasant in the GI realm for many hours afterwards.

All in all, I’m just not sure that doing two more half-marathons is really a good idea. So I’m toying with other things I could do. What about a half-century? After all, a week ago yesterday I went out for a spur-of-the-moment bike ride and got back home 32 miles later. So 50 just doesn’t seem that far out of reach.

::shrug:: Anyway, I did two half-marathons in the space of three weeks, which is… an accomplishment of some kind, right?


I very nearly signed up for a second half-marathon that is taking place two weeks after the one I’m doing this month. I like the idea of doing another – of having another impetus to keep doing some modicum of training/regular running – but the $100 entrance fee made me pause. Do I really need to spend $100 for, essentially, a bit of bling?

No, of course not. But the idea of having regular races to spur me is still a good one. So, taking inspiration from P and T and their ridiculous/awesome Picnic, I’m going to try to do something myself.

My new plan: run a half-marathon at least once a month this summer.

By which I mean I will commit to doing at least one 13.1-mile run every month. I don’t really intend to worry too much about time or anything like that – I don’t for organized races, so why should I for mine? – but that may change. ::shrug:: I don’t know! Maybe I’ll need to introduce a time focus to make up for the fact that otherwise these are just long runs. Who knows?

This will be a good way to get me to keep running, and to get in better shape overall. I want to try to do the Timberline Trail over Labor Day weekend, and might cap off the other end of the Summer of Halves (title is a work in progress) by signing up for an organized half-marathon in September. Again, we’ll see!

When the stick no longer works

Back in January, I did what I periodically do, and decided that I needed to sign up for some sort of arbitrary timed event (read: race) to get me to add running back into my regular rotation of exercise. So I signed up for the Stumptown Trail Half-Marathon, which is happening at the end of this month in Forest Park in Portland. I knew I didn’t want to do another full marathon (I’ve done three, and that seems to be holding strong as “enough”), and I knew that I much prefer trail running to road running. So a half-marathon (this will be my… hm, fifth or sixth?) on the lovely trails of my favorite park seemed ideal. And with five months to go before the race, I had visions of the lean, mean running machine I’d be by the race.

Except that seems to be too far in advance to be an effective prod, now. Because I know that I can procrastinate and not really train and still finish half-marathons – and full marathons, and the occasional self-imposed ultra – on mostly just willpower. Continue reading “When the stick no longer works”

New environs

Early this year, I moved up to Seattle from Portland. And late last month, B and I moved in together (officially), into an apartment in the Fremont neighborhood. Much as I liked the area we were in before, I’m feeling at home in Fremont in a way that I wasn’t there. Maybe it’s because here I actually am actual a real tenant, with (more of) my own stuff in the place, rather than unofficially crashing with B in his studio apartment. (Which was generous and kind of him – but still, we both acknowledge it was a bit tight!)

Or maybe it’s because Fremont’s such an interesting neighborhood. It reminds me a little of what the Hawthorne district in Portland used to be – a mixture of artsy/hip boutiques, glass shops, scruffy bars, awesome brewpubs, tasty restaurants, and funky public art. I enjoy looking over towards the Queen Anne hill looming across the waterway, and sometimes seeing the top of a mast peeking out above the trees as someone sails up or down the Cut. We don’t have easy views of the Cascades or Olympics anymore, like we did in our old neighborhood, but if I want that, all I have to do is haul myself about fifteen blocks up the hill from the apartment – which I should do more often anyway, since I’m “running” a half-marathon in Forest Park at the end of this month. Access to downtown is easy, and there’s a good grocery store a five-minute walk away, and a triumverate of Fred Meyer-New Seasons-Trader Joe’s about a mile in the other direction, along the mixed-use path that runs near the apartment. There’s even a Sunday Market craft fair with food stalls!

It’s going to be a good home.

Some days…

… are inexplicably good climbing days. I flashed two 5s in a row today, and got another one a few minutes (and tries) later. And made progress on a 7. All with a big toenail that I might be about to lose (thanks, Enchantments!) and no focused climbing work lately. Just hit the groove, I guess!