Sunday, March 11, 2007

Half Marathon Redux

Ran the Valley of the Sun 1/2 marathon this morning. Very early this morning. Had to get up at 3am in order to get ready and drive all the way to the edge of town to the race’s staging area near the Usery Mountain park and recreation area. It was beautiful (actually, when I got there, it was very very dark). The race started at 6:15, just as the sun was rising over the desert. I was a bit worried about this race, since my training has been really spotty since the semester started and the last long run I took (10 miles a couple of weeks ago) ended in great pain (the knees, ow). But it went OK, though there were a few hills (some long ones, too). I finished the Rock and Roll ½ marathon in january in 2 hours and 10 minutes about; this one I finished in 2:01:49, so 9 minutes faster. I took 310th place (woo hoo!) and 37th in my division, which I think is age group. And the knees held up.

It’s interesting what people discuss with each other during these long runs. They’re not talking to me, just happen to be on the same pace and nearby; and some people’s voices carry, even when running a half marathon. During part of the January race I was treated to a discussion about someone’s relationship; today I got a half hour of how one person was going to re-do their landscaping and how expensive desert plants from nurseries were these days after the big freeze in January. But a couple of people were talking about the PF Chang run, and reminded me of something I forgot to blog about when I described that run. Over the course of the first two miles or so of that race, there were a number (over a half-dozen) people on the sidewalks holding these huge signs with biblical verses from Revelations and bold warnings that we (presumably the thousands of people trotting down the road) were all on the road to hell (“actually,” someone nearby quipped, “I thought this was the road to Tempe”). It was an interesting way to start a race. No signs today, just lovely saguaro cacti and pretty mountains (and the edge of the ‘burbs cutting into the desert).

Saturday, March 03, 2007


Always swore that I'd never buy a minivan.
Never conceived that I'd own a vehicle with leather seats.
And am very wary of built in DVD systems in vehicles.

But with the pragmatics of ferrying small children and their friends thither and yon, the larger vehicle makes sense (seats more people, more car seats). The leather and DVD player just happened to be there, though we weren't looking for them when we were scoping new wheels.

But what prompted such a purchase was the final failure of our ever-faithful 1995 honda civic hatchback (178,000 miles). We loved that car and have driven it across the country, commuted from Georgia to South Carolina in it (cf. the opening of my "home" essay; that's the car). Over the last two years it's been stolen and returned (as part of a police sting operation on a ring of honda thieves no less), wrecked and fixed. Put a new A/C system in it last Spring ($2K) and a new clutch two weeks ago (and new tires last month). But something caused it to overheat, the head gasket blew, the engine fried, and we were looking at way too much money to get it fixed again. But someone who loves those cars bought it and will fix it up so that it may finally make that 200K miles we wanted it to make.

So now we have a 2003 Honda Odyssey in great condition with only 38,000 miles (perhaps they only drove it on weekends?). Not looking forward to having to fill this thing up with gas. But it's a great vehicle.