Wednesday, November 30, 2005


I ran some easy Yassos tonight. Not too fast. 4 reps and then I threw in a mile with Coach Katie at a 6:56 pace. It was quite cold tonight which motivated me to run just so I could warm up. Afterwards it was a dinner of chicken taquitos at Baja Fresh. Tomorrow is the first hill training, which I'm not eagerly anticipating. Perhaps it's a good thing I dread it because it means it's good for me. Like veggies.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Back in the saddle again

Distance: 8 miles
Time: 1:22
Location: Rose Bowl
Notes: For the last couple of weeks I've been trying to get back into a regular, diligent running schedule. School and daylight savings time has made it hard to get runs in. I'm hoping that this weekend's 8 miler marked a brand new start. It was my longest run in over a month, the longest since the marathon. I squeezed a couple of six milers, but lately it has been about 4 miles. I felt great. I ran with Gina, who has improved incredibly since she started last year. She even got third for her age division at the Turkey Trot by running it in 24 minutes and change.

Gina struggled a bit with the faster pace, and even with a short bathroom break, we managed to get in a little above 10 minutes per mile. Running with her also made me realize how much I had progressed. I wasn't huffing and puffing at all. The goal now is to be able to run comfortably at a faster clip. I'll talk to Jimmy about training to run a sub 4 hour marathon. This shouldn't be a big problem and competely within reach. I just have to run 21 minutes faster. Yeah, that's it.

I'll definitely get runs in on Tuesday (track training) and Wednesday (hill training #1). Since we'll be running 10 miles on Saturday, I'll squeeze in an easy run on Thursday night.

Tengo hambre.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Turkey Trots

I wound up running two Turkey Trots this week. The one on Sunday at Puente Hills was pre-planned. The entire TNT team ran that one. Then I found out about a Turkey Trot in La Canada-Flintridge on Thanksgiving day. I wasn't planning on running it until late Wednesday night. Here are the results.

Puente Hills 5K - 11.20.2005: 23:10
Run for the Hungry 5K - 11.24.2005: 24:16

Neither one were personal bests. I was much too tired and exhausted for the Puente Hills run, and I don't think it helped that I had been drinking for two nights before the run. The course for the second one was too tough. I really don't like 5K's. I'm not built for speed, and I hate feeling as miserable as I do during a 5K, but I would love to get closer to 21 minutes. I think it's manageable.

Saturday, November 12, 2005


I finally succumbed last night at 3AM. I joined the millions who have preceded me and put up a profile on MySpace. I've had an account for a while I established just so I can look at my friends' pictures and spy on strangers. I don't know what came over me, but now it's up. The remarkable thing about it is that a couple of people found my profile even when I had nothing up but my name. Strange. For a while there it was just Tom and me.

I didn't run today. I maintained the aid station for the six mile run at Griffith Park. I messed that up. I left the cooler at home, so I had to MacGyver it and made the Gatorade by cutting a hole on the water bottle and mixing in the Gatorade powder. It worked out fine. Breakfast at Mimi's Cafe in Glendale. Corned beef hash! Mmm. Not nearly as good as the one served by Canter's or the best yet, the cafe we ate at in Napa. I can't remember the name. But, yes, I love me some hash.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

"even in his heart the devil has to know the water level..."

I (finally) ran again tonight. I had plans to run last night at the gym, but I got sidetracked, so I made sure I did it after class today. I'm not sure how far I ran. I basically ran from campus to the entrance of the Claremont Wilderness Park and up the first hill and then back. I was running for time, an hour round trip. I think my pace was about 9 min/mile. The run up to the park is uphill all the way, gradual, but it gets to you. I realized running back how much I had ascended when I was basically looking down on the street on the way back. As it was downhill, I, of course, ran the second half faster than the first. I'll measure the distance next time in my car, but in my estimation it was about 7 miles. I felt out of it the whole run. My shins tightened in the first half, but even the downhill was uncomfortable. I think I just haven't run enough since the marathon. I'll try to get back in the game next week.

Other news...Monday was the Broken Social Scene show. An awesome show that soared from beginning to end. I usually get bored somewhere in the middle of a concert, but I was pretty much entertained and gripped during the whole BSS set. There were some lulls, tuning the guitars and the band chit-chat, but overall it was a terrific show. It's hard to go wrong when you have upwards of 16 band members, 5 guitarists and 2 drummers. I'm also mightily impressed by the quality of gorgeous, indie-rock kids the band drew. I had whiplash craning my neck to check out the scenery.

All this week I've been procrastinating on school projects. I have a prospectus and bibliography due tomorrow for my film class, but I have yet to get started. I'm also presenting on In the Mood for Love but I have yet to organize my thoughts on the matter. I'm a wreck. I'll probably call in absent to work tomorrow to finish up everything.

Even with all the work I have to do, I found time to show my face at the department party. I only intended to stay for a half hour and eat the food, but I wound up staying for two hours. I talked mainly to the people I know. Then again, it's a small program, and I pretty much know everyone. Before I left, I spoke with one of my professors and I think she was a little drunk because she was strangely fascinated by the dancing going on. She asked me if there was a name to the dance the others were doing. I tried my best to explain to her the nature of the dancing, and before she could go on her theory regarding the dancing I switched the conversation to academics. Again I'm attributing it to intoxication, but the professor dogged the class I had with her last semester. She said the discussions were disappointing and felt that the students didn't know a lot, except me, of course. She apparently was stung by our evaluation of the class where we expressed a wish for her to do more teaching. There were only four students in the class and we took turns leading the discussions, and after a while, it felt like we were teaching her more than she was us. She did praise me, but I'm skeptical since I doubt she would disparage me to my face. She told me I should think about pursuing a PhD in film studies. I'm really not that interested right now, but perhaps in the future.

Back to work...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

"liar, liar everything's on fire..."

The spring team ran five miles today, and I ran along with them. I'm still taking it easy and wound up doing it in a very easy 12 minute pace, including frequent stops to chat with others along the way. I think it's six miles next week. I won't be doing that one since I'm in charge of the aid station. I'm still in the mindset that this is still the fall season and that I'm all done with aid stations, but alas, it's a new season and I have three aid stations to operate this time, including the 20 miler in January. I can always make up the six miler easily. I may even try to get up early on Saturday and get the run in before the team does.

Afterwards it was breakfast, and perhaps I was just really hungry, but I don't remember the food being ever so good at Wild Thyme as it was today. Everything was perfect. My eggs-over-easy were not underdone, the potato pancakes were golden brown, and the bacon were the perfect crispiness. Even the toast was perfect.

I'm quite excited about the Turkey Trot coming up on the 20th where I'll be running a 5K. I have it as a goal to finish under 22 minutes. I don't think I give it my all when I run because I hate the exertion. Yes, I'm a wuss. I want everything to be as easy and comfortable as possible. If I maintain a pace just under 7 minutes/mile pace, then a sub-22 minute 5K is possible.

The rest of the day was a bit of a waste. I enjoyed it, mind you, but I didn't quite accomplish all the things I needed to get done today for school. When I got home--around 1:30PM--I took an hour nap. I was so tired that I napped before showering. I then showered and did my laundry.

One of the things I needed to do was watch Wong Kar Wai's In the Mood for Love for my postmodern melodrama class. I'm presenting on it on Thursday. What an excellent, lovely, yet ultimately pessimistic film. It's a film deliriously in love with the feeling of love but in such a way that it negates the possibility of happiness through marriage and monogamy. The key word is "feeling." The film feels--and looks--like the warm, cozy confines of love. It's a paean to old, romantic films and songs of a bygone era. Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung cannot be more glamorous and alluring than in this film. I fell in love with Tony Leung in this film. And Maggie Cheung's cheongsams! Hot damn! I need to watch it again and this time take notes of things I should discuss for the class. I'm glad I signed up for this one.

After the luxurious experience of watching In the Mood for Love I watched some TV, "Most Outrageous Moments on TV 3" on NBC and a Filipino horror movie called Sigaw (The Echo) (Note: The word "sigaw" translates into "scream" or "yell," but they have opted to translate the title to The Echo. They probably did so since "Scream" has already been used, and the title does work with relation to the film's story.) I'm generally not a big fan of Filipino movies, but this one was sufficiently scary and creepy that it kept me watching despite the plot holes and the general unbelievability of the plot. "Outrageous Moments 3" had quite a few good laughs. These cheesy clip shows are a guilty pleasure of mine. I watch them and I am always entertained. News anchors flubbing their lines and uttering double-entendres are always good for a laugh.

With that, I neglected to read deep into Melville's Pierre and to start on my prospectus and bibliography for the film class. I think I'll write on In the Mood for Love. I also have to start reading that Melville biography so I can begin that paper. It's going to be a lot of writing.

Tomorrow: sushi, perhaps a viewing of Saw II, and hopefully, finishing Pierre.

Friday, November 04, 2005



I just won a pair of tickets from KCRW to see Broken Social Scene on Monday at the Henry Fonda Theater! With Feist! Free! Well, I did pledge $150 to them last pledge drive.

WOO HOO! Winning is fun!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

when i thought the islands were under attack you weren't there...

I just finished watching Claire Denis's I Can't Sleep for my postmodern melodrama class. It's the first film we've seen this semester that I can't categorize as a melodrama. If it is, then it's a more subtle one. I liked the film, but it's so subtle and enigmatic that I can't begin to explain what it was all about. I'm sure I'll come up with things to say in the discussion tomorrow. It seems like my best ideas come during class discussions where I surprise myself with some--if I do say so myself--interesting observations.

While we're on the topic, my class discussion on Moby-Dick on Monday went OK. The professor really helped me out. He's a great man. He manages to keep the discussions interesting and there are rarely any slow spots in the discussion. I started off a little shaky. I chose to offer up an idea I had about the book's commentary on masculinity and I thought I spied an eyeroll from someone in class. It's a constant worry of mine. I'm not well-read on criticism, most of which puts me to sleep, so most of my comments and my papers are founded on my own reactions to the work. I often worry that they are too simplistic. Most of the praise I get is for writing "thoughtful" and "sensitive" essays. I suppose those words describe me well.

With about six weeks left in the semester, I need to gear up for the term papers. I also have the language exam I need to take. It's going to be a busy next few weeks. I'm looking forward to the holidays, a time to relax and buy presents. I love presents. Gosh, this year has flown by. I need to assess how the year has been. It's been a great year, building off the momentum from 2004. I think it could have gone even better, but at least it leaves room for improvement in 2006. I'll leave the 2005 year in review for the inevitable end-of-year blog entry.

One of the things that I couldn't have predicted a year ago was that I will have run two marathons in one year. Yet I have, and in about five months I'll be running a third. Less than two weeks after having just run a marathon, I registered myself last night for the 21st Los Angeles Marathon. It's official. I'll be running, that is, if I'm not injured. Last night was the deadline for a $75 registration fee. From now on it's $85 to register.EDIT: I just looked up the website, and they have extended the early registration deadline to until December 1.

I haven't run much since the marathon last weekend. I did an easy three miles with TNT on Saturday, but apart from that, I've been immobile by choice. Today, though, I went out for a sunset/early evening run at the Claremont Wilderness Park. Initially I wanted to just hike it and take some pictures, but I got delayed by a chat with a friend. By the time I got to the trails it was almost sunset. I had to run or else I'll be walking in complete darkness, but even running I got caught in the dark. I almost sprained my ankle running down the hill. I ought to invest in a headlamp for evening runs.

I didn't time the run, but I think it took me about an hour to complete it. Not bad considering I was intentionally running slow and had to take it easy on the downhill. I also took pictures while running, but none of them came out very well. The pictures of the city lights were too blurry and it was too dark to take a picture of the mountains. Next time.

I really should be exhausted right about now, but I'm not. I was up until 3:30AM last night watching Spellbound. What a terrific documentary. It manages to touch on Americana, the immigrant experience, competition, family unity, and the American Dream. The film looks at eight disparate Spelling Bee contestants. Some come from well-to-do families, some from poor, rural homes. Some have parents that drill them to succeed and win, while others were just happy to leave their homes for the first time. Angela, the first contestant we meet, is the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her father is a Texas ranchhand and speaks not a word of English. Yet she's a champion speller. Another kid, Neil, is the son of highly-motivated, to say the least, Indian parents. They compare their Spelling Bee training to going to war. They have two spelling coaches for him.

I won't ruin the ending, but it's a feel-good movie. I got choked up knowing the effort and meaning they had placed on the whole thing. It reminded me of running a marathon. Actually, there are very few things lately that don't remind me of marathon-running. It really is a metaphor for life.