Monday, May 23, 2011

waterlogged flowers and my awesome half marathon plan

We are having yet another drizzly day, and my mood’s dragging as a result. I believe I’ve experienced perhaps four hours worth of sunshine in the past week and a half. I’m downing vitamin D3 like it’s candy. This afternoon, I finally dragged my sorry self outside for the mail run, and was not disappointed: I’ve got a couple of new wildflowers.
Golden Alexander (Zizia aurea).
The blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides) flowers are long gone, and I’ve been tracking the formation of the blue berries that will result. The funny thing about blue cohosh is, it’s shy…or it likes to tease me. Every time I get near one, a gentle breeze starts up, without fail, and I end up with blurry pictures.
On May 6, the last of the flowers had spikies in the center of each blossom. Once the petals dropped, the spikies remained, with the berries forming at the base.
May 19
May 23 – looking more and more berry-like. We still have a ways to go.
Sometimes I just have to grab the plant and ask it to simmer down, already. Here’s some white baneberry (Actaea pachypoda), the one that will generate spooky white berries with black dots, with my thumb (Thumbaea sarahensis).
The flowers are just starting to open up.
On the red baneberry (Actaea rubra) front [Editor's Note: NO! Not red baneberry! This is probably actually wild sarsaparilla - Aralia nudicaulis) ], here’s where we were two days ago…
According to my Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide, “the 4-10 small, narrow, white petals are scarcely noticed due to the numerous, long, white stamens.
So far, so good, right? And today, many of those flowers seem to have opened up somehow…
After all these green and white flowers, I was glad to spot my neighbor’s patch of tulips:
Ahhhh…color. Not that I have a problem with green! Green is great! Bring on the green!
At least the lilacs are still going full-bore.
This rain…sigh. Time to apply the cats to my lap.
In other news, I just signed up for my next half marathon. The great thing about this one is, it’s local, and it starts at 9:00 am, which means I don’t have to pay to stay in a hotel and then get up at O’Dark Early. Of course, it also starts at 9:00…in August…which means it could be brutally hot and humid. I’ve come up with my training plan. Wanna see it?
the plan
See how I’ll be overshooting the mark, hitting up to a 17 mile run on July 16th? Hee hee! Given how lousy I typically feel right around mile 11, this part of the plan will The secret apparently lies in this little invention called “ibuprofen” – take it before the run. Really? I’m allowed to do that? I’m also doing speed training – that’s what all those “x 800 m” bits are about. And I finally figured – thank you, Ivy League degree – how to get my Garmin to tell me how fast I’m going, while I’m running.
Those of you with Garmins are going “duh?” but see, the default screen on mine tells me all about how long I have until my next little walking break. It didn’t occur to me until a couple of weeks ago to press the little “down” button on the side while I was running. What a revelation! Current pace! lap pace, whatever that is! distance run! Yee haw!
Now that I can tell how fast I’m running, while I’m running, I am amazed to find how much variation there is. I’ll jump from an 8:34 pace to a 10:12 pace and back again with the same perceived level of effort. This could make the speed training a little tricky, but I figure, the basic idea is to be running faster than feels comfortable, and to do that a whole bunch. How hard could that be? Other than, hard? Bring it, I say.
I want to land somewhere solidly under a 2:30 overall time. Say, 2:15 or 2:20. Something like that. On my long runs at home, I can nail that – I once did 14 miles in 2:35, and another time, did almost 13, in just under 2:22. My trouble on the actual race events is that with having to get out of bed at 4:30 am, it throws off the whole pee thing, and I end up using the johns along the course, and that blows five or ten minutes depending on the line. Grrr.

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