May 25, 2014


I am aware that *technically* Summer in the Northern Hemisphere does not arrive until the Summer Solstice (this year on June 21st).

However, for me, spiritually, Summer always begins on Memorial Day weekend.  By now, the lettuce have bolted, and the broccoli and cauliflower have all been harvested (all brassicas, really), and the summer garden is in full swing.  It is hot.  The days are long.  My Summer is here.

What's left of the "Spring Garden" -- bolted lettuce and broccolli leaves with no heads.

For the first time in a long time, we are home, with no pre-scheduled plans for Memorial Day, and we both plan to take the majority of the Monday holiday off of work.  3 days!  No work!  Home!

Today, after my first trip to our local farmers' market in well over a year (California produce is *so* glorious at this time of year), a short run, and a long laid-back lunch while people watching with E, I decided I'd just like to take the day to read a book straight through. It had been so long since I'd indulged like this.  Typically, this is something I am only able to do on vacation, by a pool, on a chaise lounge (and I have to agree that the oh-so-precious vacation day that could be spent sight-seeing or hiking or whatever will be spent there, by the pool, doing nothing other than reading, swimming to cool off, and, ideally, drinking drinks with umbrellas in them).  According to my calendar, the last time we took a trip where this was even possible (and I'm not sure I dedicated the necessary time to make it happen) was October of 2012.

Today, when I turned the last page of my book, the pleasure reminded me of something from my childhood:  on Summer vacations, I often competed in the local library reading contests, and easily put away a book a day.

Today's cover-to-cover indulgence.

(This book was classic Murakami: cats, nighttime, darkness, duality of worlds, loneliness, Japanese culture, outsiders, Jazz, and some of the best writing and symbolism available from a modern author today.) 

I told E I was going to lay on the couch until the book was done.  I had a *goal*.  I cheated, about halfway through, and moved to the guest room carpet floor, substituting the mild couch yoga hip twists I'd been doing for real stretching and rolling while reading.  My legs were so thankful!  I may be able to justify the 1-day book more often now that I know how loose and wonderful I feel.

In other news, on the running front, this was a good week.

33.4 miles total.  25% sub 10 minutes/mile.  Quite a bit of walking and easy run-walking.

Track workout was great (I cut off the 200s on the back end and substituted 2X800 since I've got the half marathon coming up and I thought I'd fare better from some longer efforts): (5X200/30; 3X800/400 jog: 46, 47, 55, 54, 49; 8:13/mile; 8:46/mile; 8:41/mile).

Long workout hit a bit of a snag,  I did 4.3ish to a local 5K, only to learn that it was on grass and consisted of 10 oddly shaped laps in a single direction.  My inside foot also happened to be the foot I rolled, *and* a foot that has a mild bunion that has never seriously bothered me until this week, while recovering from the 4th/5th metatarsal sprain.  By the end of the first mile, I could tell I'd need to modify my plan, so I did.  I opted for mile intervals with walking recovery instead of a constant 5K, and I let the paces slide as much as I needed to when it became clear that my bunion was *not* happy with the setup.  I finished, but slowly.  And then I called E and asked him to come pick me up rather than running the way back home.  So, my last long run before my half marathon with my sis was shy of 8 miles instead of 11ish.  I'm not too concerned about the decrease in mileage.  I was able to do 2 miles with E today (1 @ 9:34 in the heat, followed by an easy mile) with no pain, so I think I made the right call.

And, now, I'm so excited to enjoy Monday as a true holiday!  It's been a long time since I've decided to take a holiday that many in the start-up world don't take.  But, you know what?  I'm slowly getting better at drawing the boundaries I need (and, it doesn't hurt that this memorial day is still 6 days before the end of the month (before the final month of the financial quarter rush) so there's not as much pressure to close deals as normal).

I hope you all have a great holiday!  Happy Summer! (Enjoy gratuitous turtle/tortoise preserve photos!)

Beautiful Burmese Star Tortoises

Grown-up Yellowfoot tortoise (what Guito will look like when he's 30)

A very small subset of the 100+ acquatic turtles

The Russian Tortoise breeding program has been *very* successful.

Beh-Beh Tortoises!  Hatchlings, less than one-week old, note the hand for size)

Ginormous Aldabra Tortoises hiding from the wind behind their house.


Angela Knotts said...

Love Murakami! The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is one of my favorite books of all time. I know I read After Dark at one point but it's been long enough ago now that I can't remember the details.

bt said...

@Angela - I love Murakami, too. I'm running out of his titles, at this point. Agreed on the Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, I may need to go back and revisit that one soon, it's been a while.

L.A. Runner said...

I'm so excited to be finished w/ school b/c I also love to read books in 1-2 days. In fact, I won't allow myself to start books during the school year b/c I will stay up all night trying to finish. Haha. I just need the closure! I'm more of a murder mystery reader, but I truly like nearly anything; so maybe I'll give that book a try!

Sounds like you had a nice weekend of relaxing and running!

bt said...

@L.A. Runner -- if I had a summer off, I think I'd do the same thing! Enjoy. I just ripped through the Perri O'Shaughnessy Nina Riley series on audiobook this year and loved them -- they are legal thrillers, but almost all involve some murder as well, so perhaps you'd like them too!

Arvay said...

behbehtortoises! d'awwww!