Monday, August 30, 2010

It's a Bit Drafty In the Bathroom

I decided that we needed to make progress on the downstairs bath this weekend and that progress meant ripping out the drywalled flourescent light box.



It's a little weird using "the facilities" in such a state as this...

/* start tangent */
All yesterday, when I in there I kept having paranoia that some critter will fall on my head as I sat on the john. I must have mouse-trapping-post-traumatic-stress syndrome from the kitchen gutting when we had "the invasion". I haven't seen any since but I still have a mini freak-out seeing as I'm somewhat tethered to the toilet if one decided to visit me in the bathroom.
/* end tangent */

...but it had to get done one way or another. I am hoping to put it all back together over the next couple weeks. This week, I am hoping HZ (the huz) will be able to do some drywall work on it (I generally get the task of drywall finishing). I have to get a blue electrical work box to install in the wall in order to mount a new, normal, non-80's vanity light fixture. Also have to make a small hole in the center of the stud to route the wire to the other side of the stud so that the fixture will be centered above the vanity.

Now, if I said that progress on the chair is moving slower than the economic recovery, it just might still be an understatement.

[current state, flipped on its back]

The part I thought was going to be easy actually took me a couple hours to wrap my brain around because I didn't have the template for it. I had cut up my template by not taking apart a wooden piece that was nailed down. I figured I should let nailed parts stay but then figured that taking them off and running the fabric underneath like the original construction would be the best bet. Here is the part I am referring to:


So, it's coming along, certainly, but slooooowly. I haven't even gotten to the cushions and back cushion which are probably doing to drive me to the brink of DIY insanity. This week's goal is to figure out how to use the curve-ease thingies.

Monday, August 16, 2010

I Swear I Didn't Buy It!

IMG_1801

I have a new antique fan in my collection to help fuel my obsession, courtesy of my husband's aunt and uncle. They visited last month after helping their daughter move to Washington state. With 4 fans littering the house they clearly saw I had an affinity for the buggers. They pulled this little Polar Cub (which appears to oscillate but I think it needs some TLC) out of the attic of my husband's 92 year old grandmother (a very cool little old lady who still swims in her pool and takes hikes). I am not sure what year it's from but the blades are hunter green which leads me to believe it's from the 40s.

IMG_1798

That was the only room downstairs without a fan aside from the bathroom so now all my bases are covered!

Also, after fighting with the compressor and staple gun, I started putting the chair back together. You would think the gun would just be a matter of hooking it up to the compressor and firing away, but, I managed to find the wrong way of loading the staples. Thank you, interwebs, for showing me how to properly load the damn thing. My compressor also had a very stuck regulator knob so that was fun - luckily the husband's hand strength is better than mine and he was able to un-stick it so I didn't fire staples at 120 psi when it needed to be 55-95 psi.

IMG_1802

I got through only section of an arm. woo. hoo. I hope to make more progress this weekend - I think this part is the more annoying part (aside from the back and seat cusions). The front, sides, and back seem easier. I was a little freaked out, initially, like "OMG, what the crap did I get my self into?!" but I just rolled with it, started with one small piece and now I'm feeling less overwhelmed.

I think I'm going to treat the fabric (which is home decor weight not necessarily upholstery weight) with a fabric guard spray to help ward off stains. Anyone use a spray guard it before? Does it work well?

Monday, August 9, 2010

56th Annual Balboa 8 Miler

Every race yields learning experiences. Beginning with beverage choices the evening before. I am someone that through excessive consumption has become desensitized to the caffeine in Diet Coke. Generally, I can drink it at any point in the day and will have no issues passing out in the evening. In an effort to "save calories" Friday night, I opted for a Diet Coke and vodka (skinny bitch) instead of a pint of IPA (which is like 150+ calories more). That small amount of caffeine combined with have-to-get-up-early-and run mind game jitters resulted in not falling asleep until after midnight. Racing on 4-ish hours of sleep.

Another lesson is to question why a race is only $15 for 8 miles long. Perhaps the description of this race should also add in the features: "Bag check also includes your ass and we'll hand it to you at the finish." The course had a total ascent of 1115 feet and total descent of 1110 feet. That's no joke over only 8 miles. Mile 2-4 and 5-7 were brutal. Like dirt hills where you can barely run them and if you walked you would be at the same speed. I ran up them just because I knew if I walked, I wouldn't keep running when I got to the top. The unfortunate part is that the course is an out and back. So you have to repeat the pain from miles 2-4 in reverse from 5-7, with a really nasty uphill around mile 6.5. That last hill almost broke me. I wanted to just trot in at a 10:00 pace and had to convince myself that I had enough left to push the last 1.5 miles.

I didn't even eat a Clif Blok during the race because I couldn't imagine wasting precious energy to reach into my fuel belt, unwrap, and eat it. I had to convince myself to drink Gatorade because I knew I at least needed that. I was running behind one woman at the monster hill and I swear the noises she was making, I thought she was going to burst into tears from the effort. She ended up coming in 7 seconds ahead of me, so I guess that worked out for her.

The race was well run, though. Really friendly volunteers and friendly participants. While I was literally cursing the course during, I am glad I did it.

My race time is officially 1:11:40, 8:58 pace. My garmin said 1:12:13 for 8.13 miles, 8:53 pace. I think the course is a bit longer than 8 miles - most of the mile markers were off by .07-.15. I came in 7/18 in my age group but the reality is the people at this race were all pretty hard-core runners. Many track club members in their official orange/navy uniform. I was competing with an above average field.

The other thing I did at the event was get a gait analysis done. RRS had a mobile trailer with treadmills, video gear, etc, for runners to get a free analysis done. I had an analysis done years ago at an excellent running store in Marina Del Rey, so I never bothered to get it done again. But I figured, what the heck? I have always thought I was a moderate overpronator and was told that years ago. Talk about surprised when I found that I should actually be running in neutral shoes. My right foot is rigid and while my arches look low, the weight sensor thingy showed them as high arches (they don't collapse in when I stand - I keep the weight on the sides). The annoying thing visible on the video is my left foot pronates and is semi-flexible... Boooo. I need custom insoles so that I don't over-correct my right with stability shoes or under-correct my left with only neutral shoes. Stupid inconsistent Left and Right! Make up your mind!

Whatever, I am going to finish the year out with my existing shoes because they are fairly new-ish and I'm not having any problems as of yet. They probably still each have 200-300 miles left on them both, so while I am bummed for my right foot being over-corrected with the extra stability, I think it will be ok for now. I have to decide if I want to go custom orthotics from a doc (small fortune) or do the Road Runner custom ones which are much cheaper, but only last through two pairs of shoes.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Run, Run, Run

I've gotten bitten by the race bug. I have become obsessed with the idea of smashing previous PRs and running like the wind. Two recent good races and suddenly I think I am Prefontaine or something.

Ok, I am not that delusional. He was short, though. Anyway.

I have spent hours this last week analyzing race calendars, which races to squeeze in, checking every neighboring state for their races, etc. I have the Long Beach Half which I'm already registered for and I'm really close to pulling the trigger on the Snow Canyon Half Marathon 3 weeks later. We can either stop in Vegas for fun or go to Zion's National Park for a day or something for Sunday and Monday. I know a day is not enough for that big a park, but whatever. Better than not going at all, I say.

My next race is this Saturday morning - 8 miles on 50% paved/50% dirt. There appear to be some gnarly hills thrown in there for giggles, but my running pal is all about doing her pre-race due diligence and found (via Google imagery) that the hills are paved. I was about to say "sweeeet" but then hills are not really sweet so maybe then it's more like "eeeehh."

My last race was a 10K last month, where there were numerous organizational issues that the race directors failed to iron out (it was like the 30-something-th running of it so one would *think* it would be like a well-oiled machine by now). Issues like, placing the porta potties on the other side of the start-line where you can't see them if you are waiting behind the start-line. That was cool. We asked people around us - they had no clue where they were either. I had resigned myself to pissing and/or shitting my pants mid-race. 15 seconds into the race, I saw an abundant row of blue potties in a parking lot. "Eff this, " I said, and paused my Garmin to get my bidness done. So that screwed up my official time. Going off the Garmin, I completed it at 8:13 pace. Had the unfortunate location of the potties not transpired, I would have had an official PR for a 10K. Instead here I am sitting here trying to explain that "I really ran something like a 51:00, but the shitters! There were no shitters at the start!" blah blah blah. Sounds like excuses, excuses.

I am hoping that this race - which, is the 56th running of it (seems like our races in San Diego are older than Grandma Moses) - has its logistics squared away. If you can't figure it out in 56 years, it's never happening. I'm not asking for lots of frills. Just a place to park my ass pre-race, and someone (or something) to efficiently record the times at the end of the race. The last two races I have been plagued with both issues - the last 5K in Temecula, they never posted results that's how clueless they were about race organization (nevermind the 15K back in January with the human traffic jam at the end, and a course .3 miles too long).

I think I will aim for somewhere in the 8:30-8:45 pace for the race on Saturday. I'm really not sure what to expect of myself. The last month, I have consistently been around 9:05 for my long runs (6, 7, and 8 mi). Today I did 4 miles with 2 one-mile repeats @ 8:13 /.25 @ 10:00 recovery in between, on the 'mill, and was only feeling slightly winded the last .10 of each repeat. Who knew that 10 pounds of weight would make this much difference? Earlier this year, 7.3 on the treadmill was only something I would run for 400 meter repeats.

Who sounds like a narcissist after all this yapping about my running?

Anyway.