It turns out I’m actually not a terrible cross-country skier, which is unique solely in the fact that I’ve never been pretty good off the bat at anything involving coordination. But, all I tried was ‘classic’ or Nordic skiing. Because I was searching the difference between classic and ‘skate-skiing’ so much on my phone, Google recommended an article, which led to another article, which led to the fascinating and complicated history of the invention of skate-skiing in cross-country racing. Seriously. It’s weirdly interesting.

Winter in California

Saturday, when I re-joined the gym, it was sunny and fairly warm, you know, for December. At the pool there were people sunbathing. It basically looked like this:

Yep, obviously, that is me.
Yep, obviously, that is me.

Which, I mean, it was nice, but I don’t know that it was that nice. Still, after the cold weather last week (and, yes, it was cold, so there), everyone is going a little nuts with the sun and mid-60s. If it stays this nice until New Year’s, it’s going to get hella annoying with all the people and their short-lived resolution to lose the holiday weight. Of course, rain sucks too. Guess we’ll just have to decide which is worse: hypothermia or crowds.

Everyone keeps Instagramming photos of Christmas lights and trees and holiday spirit, which evidently looks a lot like a sepia filter of cookies. We actually don’t have any of those things at our house because our LED fake tree finally started to kill brain cells from the lead paint and Tupac the Cat would almost definitely eat the needles of a real tree, which apparently can puncture his stomach. Also, the lights on our porch are half out. So.

Guess we’ll just trade that for trail running in shorts and swimming outside or something.

Merry Christmas from (Northern) California.


Back to Training After Vacation is Exhausting

Today, I was back to my regularly scheduled programming, which was tough. I suppose it’ll be tougher tomorrow, when I have to actually go back to work. But, with the whole ‘working for myself’ thing, I haven’t made any money in three weeks, so back to work it is.

I ran ten miles today and barely made it the full ten. I even tripped over my own feet more than once.

I also had to dodge 60-70 mountain bikers on the trail. That isn’t an exaggeration. On the weekends, it’s a popular mountain bike trail, so there were a good number of groups and families out. The trail is also used for a program taking inner city kids into the outdoors — on bikes. Five of those groups of leaders + kids passed me, in addition to the regular mix of weekend warriors and small children.

At that point, I’m not going to stop for every single mountain biker. That’s not bitchy, right? I just move to one side and keep running. The only problem is some of these kids learning about the outdoors don’t have amazing handling skills. Not that I’m going to hate on anyone’s poor mountain biking skills. Kettle. Black. But, still, it makes it rough.

The kids are also practicing their trail etiquette, so instead of one person yelling, “Runner Up,” every single kid yelled it. It was cute/annoying.

About halfway through, I was doing a pick-up effort at about 6:30 pace and a group of kids + leader passed me going the other way. One of the kids yelled, “Jogger Up.” If I’d been near the end of the effort I might have stopped and done some explainin’. Look, kid, this is not a jog. I am definitely going harder than you are. 

But, I was too tired. So, I didn’t.

The main reason I’m so tired is because of all the visiting, and traveling, and being a tourist with my parents for the last week, and ‘skiing.’

Steve and I on the Pinecrest dam. "Hiking."
Steve and I on the Pinecrest dam. “Hiking.”


This is the only photo of me actually skiing. Eat your heart out.
This is the only photo of me actually skiing. Eat your heart out.

I say ‘skiing,’ because I don’t ski. I have skiied four times in my life and twice was in the Midwest, so that evidently doesn’t count. The last time Steve and I went three years ago at Dodge Ridge, it didn’t go well. We don’t talk about that.

So, this time, I started out very slowly and worked my way up the mountain.

Eventually, I was able to do a few long blue runs all the way from the top. I would say I only fell a few times, but it might be more accurate to say I only totally wiped out a few times. I fell plenty. Still, I only got a couple blisters and no new concussions. We’ll call that successful.

I also ran a little bit in the snow (and ‘hiked’), which was also exhausting. Doing drills in a semi-plowed parking lot, I accidentally ran backwards into a snow drift. Not a peril that I encounter regularly.

Back to normal it is.

Steve, me, my sister's boyfriend, Jake, and my sister, Maggie, near the top of the mountain.
Steve, me, my sister’s boyfriend, Jake, and my sister, Maggie, near the top of the mountain.