Sunday, January 25, 2015

Naked snowboarding

   A while back my mom sent me a text: 
"Tonight there's a show about naked snowboarding on MTV, and I better not see anybody I know on it!!!!"
   I finally found the episode of Slednecks. And they make it look like fun!

Groundhoggin' it

   It was indeed Groundhog Day, as I have run this race many times, in either the 5K or 10K format... And have finished in roughly the same average speed. I was a little slower than normal today, since the flu, plantar fasciitis, tendinitis, and busy life in general have tampered with my training plan.
   Regardless of any challenges, I am thrilled to have been fit enough to run, and so happy to be surrounded by such great friends. I kept seeing David before the race, and Caroline during the race, and we all found each other in the VIP area afterwards. Madeline was a last-minute addition, as Jen K had to drop out due to a family emergency. It was so fun to have a buddy along for the ride, and she did great! The only bummer was that Rich is recovering from the flu and couldn't join us.
   I finished in 55:30.5, 25th in my age group, 397 overall, bib #4638. My PR at this race is 54:54. Not too bad considering what I've been up against...although I pushed myself harder than I really should have. Today was just fun.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Awesome day!

   Today has been inexplicably awesome. It started out a little slow, as it was a little challenge to get out of my comfy bed. But I rallied and made it to yoga for a great class with Emily. Before the class started, I had a conversation with Katie who was on the mat next to me. She went through the teacher training program last year, and was telling me all about it. What an amazing accomplishment! Always nice to meet a new friend--it makes me look forward to Saturday class even more.
   Then for my next trick, I headed over to   KC Running Company, who has a screaming deal... Free hi-vis vest with the purchase on New Balance shoes.
   Technically I didn't need new shoes, but since the vast was over $100 value, it was worth it for me to shop! I worked with Chris, Who used a program on his iPad to perform a gait analysis on me on the treadmill. I've had people watch me run at other shops, but he was able to show me video of myself running, and show that I pronate slightly, and would benefit from light stability in my shoes, rather than pure neutrality. (Turns out that my current Adidas are just what I need--which is great because I can keep wearing them, and put my new new balance shoes in the closet until I'm ready to retire my Adidas.) 
   I had such a great experience working with Chris today! He spent so much time with me and was careful to ask me questions to make sure that he got me in the right shoe. He even consulted with me on my plantar fasciitis and tendinitis, and gave me some handouts on stretches and treatment. I wholeheartedly recommend this company for athletes. And hopefully this new glow in the dark, intense neon yellow vest will help keep me from getting killed on my night runs. Kansas drivers are frequently inattentive to runners. 
   Then I made a stop at Price Chopper and bumped into a retired Hallmark artist whom I have always admired, Wendy Collins. She is known for her watercolor paintings of her old kitties, Geeky and Irv, named after a former Hallmark executive.) She said she is taking a sculpture class at Johnson County community college. She is happy and well, and we had a great conversation. She told me she follows my adventures on Facebook, and she confirmed what seems to be a popular perception that I'm not at work very often ;)  It was so nice to have a chance to catch up with Wendy!
   And as if all of that wasn't awesome enough, I got home in time to meet Mindy and Gary, who came into town from Atchison specifically to pick up the painting that I just completed for them. I hadn't met Gary before, so we really enjoyed talking, and I am so thrilled that they love their new painting of their corgi, Karma.
   And now it's 5 o'clock and I can't wait to see what other awesomeness is in store for today… My cup is already flowing over! Between these events and the great time I had at dinner last night, this weekend would have looked ordinary on paper, but it has been the best.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Octopus for Adam

   Tons of fun celebrating Adam's birthday tonight! His lovely wife Dana commissioned an octopus-in-a-kilt painting from me as a surprise, and I surprised them both by commissioning a piece by Keiko Murakami for them. The pictures say it all... Pure glee! 
Jonathan McGaha did a nice Doctor Who theme piece for them, too. I'd say Adam made quite a haul!!
   Some octopus-in-progress shots. Adam & Dana have a collection of art depicting octopus in kilts. Such a fun idea to commission art on such a personal and specific theme! Mine is acrylic on wood panel.
   As to the reason for this unusual subject matter, Dana said: Adam has Scottish heritage. He was a scuba diver when I met him, and I later became a diver. Right after we started dating, we somehow discovered that on our monitors on our work desks,  we both had a toy octopus. We both really liked octopuses. When I made our account on Crunchy Roll (to watch anime), I just made it "octopusinakilt", and it just sort of stuck. Eventually, we had the idea to ask artists to create artwork simply given "octopus in a kilt" as a subject. It's been just glorious fun!
   These guys live super close to me, though we first met on a dive trip in Roatan, Honduras. You quickly learn to dive near them because they find octopus everywhere!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Perry Lake shots

   Much hike. Many enjoy. Very smile. So Shibe.

Frilled shark

   Brett sent me a link to the story on NPR about the discovery of a rare, prehistoric frilled shark. Though they may look scary to some, I absolutely would love to see one of these guys while diving! Brett challenged me to do a cartoon about what that might look like, so here you go.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

More pet portraits

   My friend, Ginny, sent these uber-cute photos of Izzy and Addie with their painting:
   And my buddy, Andy, just sent me this photo of Jackie A's "Wheaten wonder," Bonnie Rose:
   I'm lucky to have such adorable muses…

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


   Last week, my buddy, Gretchen, announced that she was attempting to drink the recommmended amount of water per day, and challenged me to follow suit. You know I love a good challenge. But wait... I'm supposed to be drinking 90 to 128oz of water... per DAY?! Like, a whole gallon?? But I'm tiny... where is all that water supposed to go???
   Well, if you're like this lucky woman, it does amazing things somewhere between passing through your lips and into the toilet. Her skin looks amazing, she lost her headaches, and those dark circles that were under her eyes are history. Could this be possible? I don't know. But I do know this: if you need me, you can find me in the ladies room. Because I have 3 more weeks to complete this challenge, and if it goes as well for me as it did for her, I ain't coming outta there.
   Meanwhile, my legs are crossed—hard—my teeth are submerged and my eyeballs are floating. Here's hoping that being properly hydrated brings even more benefits than the exercise I've gained sprinting down the hallway just in the nick of time.

Runners' ailments

   My buddy, Brett, passed along this great, comprehensive article about common runners' injuries and how to combat them. My favorite thing about the article is the attempt to cover when you need to stop exercising completely, when to use caution, and when to go go go. That's always a dilemma for us athletes who are having some new or nagging issues... which pains are okay to power through? Saving it here for my own future reference and I hope it will help you, too.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Friendly Fire

   Sharing a link to this excellent article about how to think about "friendly fire," which doesn't feel so friendly. I thought the article did a good job of summarizing how to – or more importantly, not to – respond should you find yourself in this situation. And I did, last week, when a friend shared something that someone had told her about me.
   The two points that are the most insightful to me are: 1) considering the source of the comments and the individual's track record and behavior; and 2) understanding their world, their lens of experience through which they are casting judgment.
   The article reminds us that criticism is often a reflection of our own fears or shortcomings, rather than being a reflection of the person to which it is directed. Person who is stressed, unhappy, or insecure is more likely to engage in this behavior.
   Each of us is a leader in some way, and we're all prone to this type of criticism at some point. I'm glad to say that it hasn't happened to me very often (or maybe I just haven't heard about it?). But I also work on my own "brand" or character every day, with intention. They say character is more important than reputation because character is reality, and reputation is merely how others interpret you. We all approach life through our own lenses, and with changing perspective and emotions based on our experiences, our mood, and our reaction to what may be happening at any given moment.
   With that in mind, I'm not giving an credence to the conversation that was shared with me, as it is so easily discredited. Took me a few days to get over the emotional hijack, but I've moved on to thoughts that matter, and am happier for it. Life hands us challenges so we can learn from them and be better and more whole.