I am a runner. There, I said it.
I’ve been running for about four months now, and with my half marathon three weeks away, I’ve been thinking about how far I’ve come. I’ve put in over 200 miles – that’s more than the distance from Portland to Seattle! I’ve also grown to love the challenge of running (something that didn’t happen the first time I gave running a go in 2006). Running is hard. It’s not like any other physical activity that I’ve experienced. Sometimes I feel like I’m not built to run, and the rest of the time I feel incredibly grateful to have a body that can carry me so far.
So here are some things I’ve learned in my recent foray into running:
Are you a runner? Any tips to add?
A few weeks ago, I stumbled across a Kickstarter campaign for a ‘community supported cheese club’ from Cyril’s at Clay Pigeon (a new Portland urban winery). Cheese? Intriguing. So I bought the $10 “I want to attend the party only” option, and then after tasting the amazing blue cheese – from Point Reyes – I upgraded to the “I’m taking a pound of this magic home” option.
Point Reyes is a family farm on the Northern California coast. And of course, they have the most adorable story… Italian immigrant farmers, three generations later they were dairy farmers, raising four girls. All four girls came back to the farm after college and starting careers, to help with the dream of making an artisanal cheese. Hello, amazing blue cheese.
I think Sasha, from Cyril’s, put it quite well that it has kind of a ‘butterscotch’ taste to it. And it’s super smooth and delicious. Since I bought a pound of it, I had the chance to try out a lot of different things. My favorite may have been just snacking on it, but I also made blue cheese burgers with caramelized onions, omelettes, sandwiches, and more snacking.
Oh yeah! Last week, I stumbled across a design file that I’d done on a flight at some point last year called chocolate, cheese, & booze, with the idea that I’d highlight tasty items I’ve consumed that fall in this category. So here’s a start. Now I can move this to my ‘finished designs’ folder. Boom.
2013 is the year I will run my first half marathon!
Back in January, I spontaneously signed up for the Lululemon SeaWheeze Half in Vancouver, BC. I heard about it last year and thought it sounded fun, and this year when I found out it was open for registration, I just signed up, almost without really thinking about it. And then I tried recruiting people to go with me, which was an epic failure and then a week or so later it sold out. So while I was a little disappointed that I won’t be running with a friend, and it would be super fun to have a training buddy, if I waited around for someone to say “yes!” to things, there’s a lot of cool adventures I would have missed thus far in my life. So to hell with you people (I kid, I kid) – I’m running a half alone (well not alone, I’m trying to think of it like travel – you might be solo, but you’re never alone)!
Also, instead of a finisher’s shirt, you get training shorts. Plaid + the Lululemon Speed Shorts? It doesn’t get better than this, people! ;)
Although I’ve been ramping back up to running for the past three months (previous IT band issues so I decided to do the Couch to 5k program first this time), the first “official” week of training started this week. And I’m loving the revamped SeaWheeze training app.
10 weeks to go – this summer is going to fly by!
Ah spring – the worst is over! Every year it’s the same feeling, like by the end of February you begin to believe that the grey and rain is just not going to end this time. But it does and it’s always worth it. Seeing blossoms all across the city makes me a little giddy.
Here are some things I love about spring in Portland…
I’m a fan of alternate transportation methods. It makes life different, and cheaper, and sometimes more inconvenient, but definitely more interesting. One of the things I love about living in a little city, like Portland, is how it makes transportation easier. Whether you’re biking, walking, taking the Streetcar/MAX, riding the bus, car-sharing, or some combination, it doesn’t take ages to get to the “other side” of the city.
I’ve been using car-sharing (Zipcar to start) since January of 2008. At the time, I was just getting ready to go traveling for a year, so in preparation for selling my car, I signed up to try it out and have a backup just in case my car sold earlier than expected. When I got back to the States in 2009, I ended up not repurchasing a car, and have been using Zipcar, and Car2Go ever since.
So in an effort compare the current car-sharing services in Portland, here’s how they stack up:
Annual Fee: $50
Initial Application/Setup Fee: $25
Rates: from $8.50/hour, from $69/day
Service Areas: 39 states/provinces in North America currently (& some in Spain/UK)
Availability: sprinkled all around the city
When/why to use Zipcar:
The thing Zipcar has always had going for it, is the cars. Zipcar seemed pretty revolutionary when they started. You could rent a regular car with zero hassle. And if there was a zipcar parking spot close to you, you pretty much felt like you had a car for whenever you needed it, so long as the neighbors didn’t hog it.
Zipcar was recently acquired by Avis, so I’m expecting more fees to start creeping in at some point.
Annual Fee: $0
Initial Application/Setup Fee: $35
Rates: $0.38/min, $13.99/hour, $72.99/day
Service Areas: nine North American cities currently (& some in Europe)
Availability: currently 300 cars in Portland
When/why to use car2go:
I signed up for Car2go last summer, and one of the biggest selling points for me using Car2Go is that more often than not, I don’t need a car for exactly one hour or more. Plus, I don’t want to make a reservation for an exact time in the future. When I’m running to meet friends for happy hour, I want transportation that’s fast and flexible — I don’t want to have to agree to one hour of car rental etc, if I only need to drive 10 min in the rain, and I have a ride home. This is where Car2Go is awesome. You pull up the app, see that there’s a car a couple blocks away, reserve it (the reservation holds it for you for 15 min), and you’re on your way.
Another thing Car2go beats Zipcar on is location. I know off the top of my head that the closest Zipcar parking space is 2 blocks away, and is a more expensive vehicle type, so the closest car that I usually reserve is about 5 blocks away. With car2go, there could be one right outside my door, or a mile away. Obviously, I’m not pleased when I really want to car2go and the closest one is a really long walk in the opposite direction that I need to go. And of course, Car2go’s are little Smart cars so they don’t drive as smoothly as a “regular” car. It took a little bit of getting used. I thought like they felt kind of like a go-kart at first, but I don’t notice it anymore.
Car2go is a Daimler company, so not exactly the ‘startup’ that Zipcar felt like when they started, but fine by me. It feels like a very innovative project coming from a bigger company.
Car2Go wishlist: app notification that you can select ‘notify me when there’s a car within x distance from me’ so if I know I want to go somewhere at some point in the next few hours, I don’t have to keep pulling up the app to refresh.
Another newbie to the car sharing scene is Getaround — think Airbnb for your car. I haven’t used this service yet though.
Photo by: atomictaco