Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Portland Marathon 2014

So about eight months ago I decided it would be a great idea to sign up for the Portland Marathon. Running a marathon has always been a bucket list item of mine, plus I've got some family up in Portland who were planning on running the half marathon, and it sounded like fun to all run the race together.

Well, I conveniently forgot about the fact that I'd signed up for this marathon until about halfway through June. After a brief panic, I came to my senses and laid out a training plan. I'm not what you would call a faithful runner by any means, but I'll go in spurts where I run consistently for 4-8 months, and then take a break for about the same amount of time. I've done five different half marathons and a dozen or so other races, so I'm not a complete noob. But until last weekend I'd also never run a full marathon before, and 26.2 is a lot longer than 13.1, I'll tell you what.

So anyway, I started training. Some of my long runs went well, and some didn't. There was a brief period where I was seriously considering dropping out of the race, or trying to slip into the half marathon instead (which wasn't possible anyway). But I didn't. And I'm really glad. Because the race was actually quite fun.

The lower altitude and race-day adrenaline (15,000 people running a race at the same time provides a whole lot of energy) more than made up for my less-than adequate training. I didn't get a competitive time by any means, but I finished, and that's all I really cared about this time around*. Also, it was a lot of fun to run the race with family. One of my uncles ran the marathon with me, and seven others--including my grandma, so, yeah, amazing--ran the half. It was a fun weekend, fun to see family, fun to do something relatively healthy, and fun to be part of such a great race.

Anyway, I was tempted to write some expose on how running is a lot like writing a book, or reading a book, or a character's arc (David Farland actually shares a great example of how running is a lot like a character's arc in his book Million Dollar Outlines), or something else. But I'm not going to do that. The truth is, running is like a lot of things. Writing is one of them, and so is reading. But this time, for me, running was running, and that's all I'm going to say about that. Now, for what really matters: pictures!

We didn't get to see nearly as much of Portland as we wanted (because walking around for miles and miles didn't sound particularly appealing the day before the race), but we did get to hit up Voodoo Donuts. Worth it.

Getting ready, early in the morning, on race day.

Walking to the starting line. SOME people wanted to walk the entire mile and a half from the apartment to the starting line. And I was like um no we are driving as close as possible. So we did, and cut about a mile from that walk. Also worth it.

Pre-race fix.

Me on St. John's Bridge, around mile 17. I was feeling pretty good at this point.

View from St. John's bridge--that's Portland in the background.

Me, about .5 miles from the finish line. That's my aunt cheering me on like a boss.

Post-race view from my uncle's apartment. That's the Fremont Bridge in the background. Also, notice my bling for finishing the marathon.

All the runners. Two marathoners and seven half marathoners. That's my grandma in the middle, in the orange.

Aaaand the whole family who went to Portland (or already lived there) for the race, or just to hang out. It was great fun. 

* Will there be a next time around, you ask? I can't say for sure. I could go either way on whether I'd run another marathon or not; only time will tell I suppose.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Head Shots*

So, my agent asked me yesterday whether I had an "author photo." I briefly panicked, responded that I did not, and then scoured my Facebook photos and the photos on my hard drive for anything that might pass as a head shot. Turns out I take very few photos of myself, alone, that are remotely serious or professional in nature. The following are what I came up with:

This one was actually cropped from one of my engagement photos with Raych. So, in addition to now being deprived of the best part of the photo, it's also, like, 7.5 years old. Otherwise it was a pretty good option. Notice the very natural, effortless, not-awkward-at-all way in which I am diagonal.

Ok, I actually love this picture. Look at that eyebrow. Botox accident? Dwayne Johnson impression?** Who knows. But, again, this picture is just as old as the previous one, and I'm just not that same little boy anymore.

So I sent this to my agent as more of a joke, but he didn't comment on it so maybe he thought I was serious? Who knows. Also, I'm trying really hard not to pun on the "joke" and "serious" parts of that previous sentence. Must...resist...punnage...

Um, because I'm awesome, and top hats are totally in right now. As are blurry photographs.

Also more of a joke (because who DOESN'T want to think their favorite author is a a white walker???). But, even if it wasn't all weird and inverted, color-wise, it's got me with long hair. And I ain't got long hair no mo. :'-(
As you can see, the first batch I sent my agent was abysmally*** slim pickings. Unsurprisingly, he asked if there was anything else. So I took the following improvised selfie:

The resolution isn't that great, and I find this photo unsubtly ironic  in many ways (even if only to myself), but it's a good representation of the current Me, and isn't awful. 
So, yeah, that's my temporary author photo. (No need to panic--this photo won't actually go in any books, it's just something my agency needed on-file for some stuff.) On the to-do list now, of course, is to get one professionally done. I can only imagine that being awkward. To me it just sounds like taking school photos all over again, and to that I say: ick.

* Not FPS shooter head shots, mind you, or the type of shot that kills zombies. Just photos, people.

** Full disclosure: I stole both of those jokes from Facebook comments. ...thanks, Aunt Jeanne. And Dad. (No, seriously, look:)

*** "Abysmally" is one of those words that suddenly becomes hilarious when you look at it long enough. Amiriteoramirite?