"...In the end, people either have excuses or experiences; reasons or results; buts or
brilliance. They either have what they wanted or they have a detailed list of all the rational reasons why not."

~ Anonymous
(taken from Matt Erbele's, It Takes Time to Get Good)

Monday, June 27, 2011

My Humble Apologies to the Washingtonians

This past week hubby and I went on our annual journey to Puyallup, WA to visit the in-laws.  Now, if you have been reading for a while you know that these trips have not been so FAB in the past. And on our last trip I said some not-so-nice things about the Washington State Park System, their questionable trail sign polices, and the general fucked-upness of their maps (Ok, 'fucked-upness' is not a world, but it should be)

On this trip, we decided to mix business, in the form of familial obligation, with pleasure, in the form of a trip to the Quinault Rainforest that is a part of the Olympic National Forest in western Washington. It is "one of only three coniferous rainforests in the Western Hemisphere" according to the website and only about 2 hours from the in laws.

 So nice to have a talented hubby :)

We stayed at The Lake Quinault Lodge (whose claim to fame is the fact that Franklin Roosevelt stayed there, like, a billion years ago and all the of towns children dressed up as "Indians" - meaning Native Americans not people indigenous to India- very few of whom were actually Native Americans 'cuz that is how we rolled in the non-PC 1930's, BUT nine months after his visit he did sign a bill that created the Olympic National Forest and saved this area from falling prey to overlogging, so maybe I should not be so snarky) which was as beautiful and relaxing as I could have hope for.

Frankie D and the little indians, circa 1937

The main lodge. FYI - We stayed in the Lakeside rooms. I am not so much of a 'share a bathroom with total strangers' girl.

View of the Lake Quinault from the back of the lodge. 

Driving around serene beauty of Lake Quinault surrounded by the dense greenery of an old world rainforest, I could not help but think, ...

"What a great place to dump a body!"

The 'unwanted organic material' would be reclaimed by this natural wonder in a week, tops. Just saying....

What? That is not your first reaction when faced with the staggering natural beauty of a dense, moss covered rainforest? Whatevs.


I decided to run my long run (on the schedule was 6-8 miles) on Thursday, so I could run it in the rainforest all mystical woodnymph style, so I asked the gal at check in for a trail map.

 Is this not the most Mickey Mouse piece of shit map you have ever seen?

Christ, even our local Happy Hollow Zoo has a more descriptive map and, unlike Olympic National Park, you can not wander for days in Happy Hollow Zoo without finding another warmblooded life form (other than cougars apparently, for which there were signs warning of  "many recent sightings" and helpful tips how to 'scare' off the predator. Sadly, one of those tips is not to  "piss your pants and cry like a little girl", since I am certain that would be my reaction upon 'sighting' a real live cougar )

 The list of what to do was below. Sadly, an hour later when alone and hearing "strange noises" from the forest this is all I remembered of the sign. Something about ... "looking big, and fighting back"

I was convinced that I would be hopelessly lost in the rainforest and found years later living amongst the ferns, eating beetles, and braiding my leg hair to pass the time.  But, in true RBR style I headed out on the run anyway.

Beginning of the Run: Cautiously (or foolishly) optimistic

The trail started out running along the edge of the lake

 and then headed inland to wind along through the forest.... (scenes from the trail)

Single track through paradise

The sun came out at a rare clearing in the forest overstory. I experienced both springlike sun and heavy rain in this 2 hour run. It was really the perfect run. 

 Please note GIGANTO tree, please ignore GIGANTO ass

There were many bridges and waterfalls along the way. I was having such a great time I was 3 miles in and 2000 ft up before I realized I forgot my iPod. Yeah, it was THAT beautiful and fun out there.

They even had a wooden pathway over a bog. I always forget the difference between a marsh, a swamp, and a bog, so now you have to learn it again too! 
In a nutshell, they are all poorly drained depressions with a think growth of water plants where the water level remains above or at the soil line. Swamps and bogs have trees, whereas marshes do not. Bogs are found in coniferous forests, but swamps are characterized by deciduous trees.

My bog picture, which sucks because you can not see the coniferous trees that tell you it is a bog. Whatevs. I looked it up after the run. Sue me.

I had planned to run 6 to 7 miles depending on how I felt, but I was having such a good time that I did not want it to end and I ended up running just over 8 miles. I am not in good enough shape for an 8+ mile trail run, so it was beyond slow, but totally worth it.

5 miles in, channeling my inner wood nymph. Just call me Hamadryades

 Ok, so the real Hamadryades was a tad hotter and a shitload scarier. 
There were signs that contained the full map at every junction that clearly marked where you were on the trail (yes, like you see at the mall)
 Note that they had to amend the "You are here" marker, but still very helpful once that slight confusion was cleared up.

As I was finishing up my run, I started to remark to myself, (Shut up. I was the only one there, who else would I remark to?) "There is virtually NO WAY to get lost on this trail. Only a fucking MORON would get lost on this trail!"

So you can imagine what happened next...

Yep. I am the fucking moron that could get lost on the only single track that ran through the rainforest. 

Here is how it happened. I ran along until I spied a rest room at a camp ground that I was certain I had seen before, I briefly left the trail to use the facilities. When I came out and could not for the life of me figure out where to go. After a few false starts that dead ended or had me heading back out to the rainforest instead of toward the lake, I stood in the center of the camp ground parking lot, slowly spinning in a circle trying to figure out which way went back to the trail. Until a kid at the wordly age of 9 came up and asked me what I was doing:

Know-it-all 9 yo: What are you doing?

RBR: I am trying to find the trail back to the lake

Know-it-all 9 yo: *snickers* There is only one trail [I think the little bastard rolled his eyes too, but I am not certain]

RBR: *weak smile* I know, but that one goes back to the rainforest.

Know-it-all 9 yo: Ummm... what if you go that way?

*points to the ground behind the restroom where, to my horror, I see this....*

RRR: *mumbles inappropriate things for 9 year old ears* Ummm.... thanks  

*snickering from smug, nine year old continues as I run down the trail*

So there you have it. I can no longer blame Washington, nor it's fresh-from-Walt-Disney-school-of-cartography map makers. It is me. I can truly get lost anywhere.

But it was a great run :)

* Photo credits (that are painfully obvious, but need to be pointed out anyway) - The over or under exposed, blurry, or just generally crappy photos are mine. The pretty, professional looking photos are hubby's. Here is a link to his photos of Lake Quinault: http://erader.zenfolio.com/p726862123 if you are interested in seeing more of the area. The painting of Hamadryades is from some weird ass LARPer site that may or may not have a virus, so I am not linking to it, but it was my favorite wood nymph picture.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Back at Baylands, Baby!

Today was my first run back out at one of my favorite places to run, Baylands Nature Preserve. 

This place makes me happy
 On the schedule was an 'on your own' run and this is a recovery week, so we were told to run between 2-4 miles. I decided on a 4 mile run since I joined the team late.

Thursday's 3 mile midweek run was in a word, fucking miserable. Oops. That was two words. My bad.

I know that the return to running outdoors from the treadmill is always hard. I also know it hurts a bit when you up your weekly mileage by like 200%. If you add to that the additional, ahem... "donut damage" I inflicted on myself during my running laziness, and it becomes downright painful, and not pretty to watch. I was hoping that by returning to one of my favorite running spots I could offset some of the pain.

I was right. Sort of.

My white pelicans were there. Shitty picture, but cool birds. 

This time I ran along the single track trail that goes closest to the water, so I could watch my feathered friends.

Pretty day out there...
 Now you may have noticed that it was a nice, bright, sunny day. You may have also noticed my bright, butt-white, winter skin shining in that bright sunny day.

That lead to my first flesh tank top of the season

Molly Melanoma at your service.

 It was slow,

Calling this run slow is like calling Lady Gaga odd, it is a massive understatement 

but it was really great to be out there again. I almost felt like a runner again.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Now we don our gay apparel.....

Alternative title: She's Baaaaaaaa-ack!

Pink Run Hat? Check! 

I had to make a more major commitment to get myself moving for more than 3 miles at a shot on the treadmill a few times a week, which has been pretty much the totality of my running for the last 5 months. I decided to rejoin Team in Training (yes, G, the tranny shot was just for you) for a third season to train for the Portland Marathon in October. 

I could not get back into my running and I could either tell myself that it was ridiculous that after so many marathons I could not train on my own (which just results in me feeling bad about myself and STILL not running enough) or I could get some help. I chose to get help from a group that has worked for me before and that raises money for a great cause that I believe in. So there it is. 

On Saturday, I ran 5 miles, outside without stopping. I was really proud I could do it. It has been a long time since I have gone that far without walking.  I did not want to write that because I was getting caught up in where I have been previously with running. Didn't I run a 50K last October? Who gives a shit about 5 miles? 

I do.

I have always believed you have to take your wins where you can get them. You start from where you are, not where you were, or where you want to be. I have done some pretty cool (and frankly shocking) long distance running.  Does that mean I do not get to be proud of myself again until I run 35 miles? Fuck that. I am more of an instant gratification girl. I would rather be proud now.

Ok, so RBR, where the hell have you been? 

I won't spend a bunch of time making excuses for why I have not been posting, but I will show you one major reason: 
Introducing Michael Quinn!  

Obligatory Baby Stats (which no one really cares about, but you have to post because, duh, 'obligatory') 

Born: April 28 at 1:15 pm
Weight: 9 pounds 1.5 oz (that is 4.13 kg for our Canadian friends)
Length: 21.25 inches
Method: C-section a mere 41 HOURS after her labor was induced.

Yes, you read that last part right. 41 fucking HOURS after her labor was induced, young Michael who was already two full weeks passed his due date, had to be ripped from her stomach in a procedure reminiscent of Luke Skywalker's Han Solo's evisceration of the Ton Ton  Tauntaun in Star Wars. (UPDATE: strikethrough edits due to Joja Jogger's superior Star Wars knowledge database. Umm... I am not sure I would around bragging about that one, darlin' :) )

 Ok, this is an actual  groom's cake for a wedding. It brings up so many questions, not the least of which is, "who the fuck would marry a guy that insisted on a cake with a dude entwined in a fictitious creature's intestines at her wedding?"

LA Run Buddy is now the poster child for birth control, adoption, abstinence, or selling your children into slavery. God help the little bastard if he ever forgets Mother's Day. I am just saying... It was horrific. 

He is cute though. Here is the He-baby sucking 'em back at the local Starbucks. 

A brief observation about newborns from RBR 
Titled: "Shit a new mom can not say about the reality of newborn babies without sounding like a monster, but RBR can say because she is already known to be a bitch."

Newborn babies are patently NOT fun and they are not nearly cute enough for how unfun they are. They scream a frantic  "Help me I am dying and your incompetent ass can not figure out what I need to save me, you worthless excuse for a mother" scream.

They do this ALL. THE. TIME. 

Before feedings, after feedings. Before, during, and after diaper changes. (For the record, when the nurses came to give him two vaccines, and gouge out a chunk of his little pink heel to get blood samples, Master Michael did not make a peep. Four minutes later when his exhausted and loving parents tried to change his diaper he let out a wail that had even his grandmother dialing child protective services. Fucker.)

Then there is breastfeeding. I am sure that all of the readers that do not have children believed, like myself, that you put baby on boob, baby eats, take baby off boob. Simple dimple, right? I mean, it is a basic mammalian function for Christ's sake. 

Uh, no. That is NOT how it works. How it works is that two nurses and a lactation specialist are required to teach mom and baby how to nurse. Seriously? Teach a baby to nurse?! No wonder there are people that do not believe in evolution. And this teaching process is not a one shot deal. You fight with the little sucker (pun not in intended, but I had already called him a 'fucker' and it was funny so I left it) for like the first couple WEEKS of his life to get him to eat enough to NOT DIE. Oh and you know the thing about boobs? They do not have a neat little measurement tool on the side to tell you how much Junior has actually eaten so he could look like he is nursing away and actually not get enough nutrition to sustain life!  No pressure, Mom! You know what has a nice little measurement tool on the side and is VASTLY easier for the baby to get milk out of? A fucking BOTTLE! *gasps of horror from all the crunchy granola, midwife loving, birthing tub advocates*

CGMLBT Advocates: Bottles are the devil! It destroys the mother child bond! It gives them 'nipple confusion'

RBR: He just spent 43 weeks in her stomach, she controls his access to food and shelter. And later a cell phone plan with an adequate amount of texting allowed. The bond is fucking fine. Let's not starve him now. And nipple confusion? Maybe if he is that stupid that is something we should know now.

Sorry, but goddamn. Watching my best friend fall apart and feel like a failure as a mother because he could not latch or he lost more weight than he should, and having each feeding take one and half to two hours when feedings are two hours apart (meaning she had to start over almost immediately after finishing the last feeding) was awful.

He is better now. Still not what you would call 'fun', but everyone says that is on the horizon. I will believe that when I see it.