"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Little things like pineapple plant

Little things often make me happy, which is good, as my tightly circumscribed life doesn't have a lot of big things. I don't necessarily mean physically little things (I love Maine Coon Cats and Bernese Mountain Dogs, both very large breeds), though sometimes a small delicate object in a big showy scene is a delight, as you'll see.

One person who reads this blog was concerned about my interest in the local trailer park goth girl. Fifteen year-olds fortunately hold little interest for me (that was true when I was 15, as well), but there's something you have to really work hard to notice about her that always makes me smile. She always wears the same black hoodie with a faint dark grey pattern; if you look closely, the pattern is... bunnies. She wants to be a dark, serious, dangerous mystery and she's covered in fuzzy bunny rabbits. It's adorable.

My usual running path has a number of ginkgo trees and they're in bloom now, so I'm running elsewhere. Ginkgos have male and female plants (asparagus is the other common plant like that) and the females sometimes smell strongly of rancid butter (butyric acid). If you buy a ginkgo, it'll be a male to avoid that problem, but public parks always have female ones because they're cheaper.

Odors are important in this week's training.

Recent Training (after a long absence)

June 7&8: FANS 24 hour run, 85.24 miles. 25th of 85 finishers. I forgot to mention my favorite part of the race. After the sign on the path reading "Allez Pierre!" I saw one reading "SELOG." I knew sel was French for salt, but what was og? Og isn't a word in any language that I know. It took four laps for me to see that it read "GO LES."

June 9: 0 miles

June 10: 0 miles

June 11: 0 miles

June 12: 9 in 82. Stiff and sore toward the end.

June 13: ~9 in 86, much with Barb. Sore at the end.

June 14: 8 in 108 at the Richard T. Anderson Conservatory with Adam, Andrew, Bryan, Pete A. and Zach. Feet were killing me, so I quit early. Thighs still not recovered from FANS. First woodtick of the millenium for me! Adam's course is maniacally tough, perhaps a good training ground if one wants to do the Barkley, but not what I need right now. I did really need to run with others, though.

June 15: 12 in 100. Felt good for 8, then sore feet and quads.

June 16: 12 in 97. There's always one perfect day, weatherwise, each year in Minnesota. This might've been it. Though a minute per mile faster than recently, it was okay. But tough.

June 17: 12 in 96. Last few miles were difficult. I'm not used to this pace!

June 18: 11 in 99, with 11 x Ohio Street Hill (HRav=143, pk=173)

A lesson from pineapple plant

My first hill run since March. I decided to do the Ohio St. hill (exactly 0.5 miles up and 165 ft. of elevation), as it was the last one I did and I wanted to make comparisons. In February and March, I managed to get my heart rate within 10 beats of maximum for 8-14 minutes.

Things didn't seem right from the start. I couldn't get my heart rate up. I couldn't run fast enough. I managed 6 times hard up the hill, when it became apparent I'd have to salvage what I could and reassess when I got home. I squeezed out two more mediocre times up the hill, when I stopped and bathed my head in a water fountain and hoped for some inspiration.

The air was full of the smell of honeysuckle, which is pleasant in small doses, but overwhelming when several plants are close by. The side of the hill had been replanted in an erosion plan and there were a lot of wild roses (scentless) and honeysuckle. There was one other faint aroma, which I tried to identify. Too pleasant to be my shoes. Ah, pineapple!

I looked down and there it was. Little pineapple weeds (Matricaria discoidea). If you run on trails you won't find these, but if you run in the city they grow in the compacted dirt next to sidewalks. They're so tough they'll grow in clay and spring back after being stepped on repeatedly. And when you step on them, they smell like pineapple.

A deceptively tough little plant with an easily overlooked beauty. That's what I needed. [Had I been at the top of my game, I might've recognized a connection to Athol Fugard's "A Lesson From Aloes." But, I digress.] You kick it and it springs back with a gift of fragrance.

I ran the hill three more times, though it was like the end of an ultra, I was so tired.

When I got home, I looked back at the other times I'd run there. I ran the first 5 hills at the same speed as in February and only 30 seconds slower than in March. The difference was that my heart rate was slower - not wearing a sweatsuit was part of it, I'm sure, but I think I'm actually in better shape than then! It was not a failed workout at all. That's why you don't quit early.

Superior (shudder)

That workout was 1800 feet of elevation. Superior is 20000. Could I do that workout a dozen times in a row?!


keith said...

yes you can do that workout a dozen times in a row!

i haven't been able to smell a g-dd--n thing for about a month now. the smell of lilacs is but a memory.

they lure you in with the bunnies so they can stab you with their mind bullets.

Anonymous said...

Many years ago my mother was fond of the "country look". The Laura Ingles sort of country look. One of the cornerstones of that look is the white ceramic bunny with a wreath around its neck.

I cannot recall a single time that I have ever seen a bunny in the woods jumping around with a wreath on its neck.

Pete Anderson

Joel said...


I've been negligent in reading your blogs. I apologize. I set up my mac email to receive your posts via RSS reader. I don't know what I'm talking about, but a friend showed me how to do it. Now, your posts show up auto. in my mail program (which I check about every 11 minutes).

Hope to see you soon. Hope you recover. from FANS

sea legs girl said...

Interesting about the pineapple weeds. I had to look them up. I do learn a lot from your blog.
Glad I was able to introduce you to a song you hadn't heard of. I figured you were a bit of a music geek when you mentioned Robin Hitchcock.

Joel said...


Wow. Your other blog looks intriguing. I'll read more as I have time. In the meantime, I'm anxiously watching my email for a new post.