matociquala: (froud magician)

So I flew down to Galveston to run in the Galveston half-marathon with [ profile] stillsostrange on Sunday, and also to do Writer Things and confab with her and several other colleagues about Writer Stuff. Many plots were discussed.

On the way down, I caught this amazing triple rainbow over Chicago:

This is what the sky over Galveston looked like at sunset on January 31st:

The day of the race was supposed to be rainy, but instead it was mostly quite sunny, and around 70 degrees. Which is a little on the hot side when you are running 13 miles.

These are our before faces:

And this is the view of the beach along the race course:


Doesn't look quite real, does it? The water and sky were the most amazing hazy agate colors. Absolutely breathtaking in a subtle sort of way. We ran through several old Victorian neighborhoods too, and the houses were lovely. A half-marathon is a great way to tourist!

And these are our "after" faces:

Yeah, it got hot. We were delighted to find a kind guy handing out handfuls of ice to runners at the 11 mile mark. We filled up our hats, and it was a serious relief.

Then I came home to this: some snow.

Here's some tea! Before I left, I was drinking from the Royal Albert morning glories:

And the tea on Thursday was Constant Comment. Because I like it, and I'm not too much of a tea snob to say so.

Today, I lifted--I'm starting a new powerlifting program, and I'm getting serious about the self-discipline, because honestly that half marathon was a LOT harder than such a flat course needed to be, and all my clothes seem to have shrunk--and grocery shopped, and cleaned the kitchen, and made dinner for the house. And then I wrote a bunch of words on the micro robot story, which still has no title but which I think I will finish tomorrow.

Today's first pot of tea was Stash's Portland blend, and the second pot was Stash's Wedding Tea. I have a new teacup! It's a Royal Doulton pattern called White Nile, and though it's not eggshell-amazing translucent like my other Royal Doulton cup, it's very understated and pretty.

Now I'm going to practice some guitar and read for a while before bed.

But before I go--for your delectation, a selection of Galveston signage! Texas never disappoints.

Cthulhu runs a restaurant. Sorry it's blurry, but there's an octopus with an Illuminati eye on that sign, and the text below OLYMPIA GRILL reads, "Since 1500 B.C."

...all right then.

Then there was this one:

You don't say.

matociquala: (writing gorey earbrass conscious but ver)
First, I must shill!

I will be appearing as a call-in guest on the Flyover Zone radio show today at noon my time, 11 Central.  We will be talking about Karen Memory.

Now on to the rest.

Yesterday, I adulted so long and so hard that when it was done I felt quite sick. But I did many responsible things involving well-mammal appointments for the GRD and me, and insurance for me, and I went to the gym and lifted seriously for the first time since 2013. I must resume Discipline. I have resumed Discipline, because 2014 was bad for everything about taking care of myself physically, except indulging the sensual animal, as it were.

Pretty sure I've got a three-millimeter thick subcutaneous layer of French butter over my entire body, is what I'm saying here.

But I did lift--deadlifts, squats, bench presses--and let's just say that my deadlift is not what it was in 2013. But we shall prevail! And the soreness isn't too bad today--I shall yoga a little, and that should clear it up.

Fitness, lifetime commitment, sustainable choices, yadda yadda.

I like this gym. Pickings are slim out where I live, but this place is like a Gold's Gym circa 1985, except with a much bigger cardio room. ;)

I wrote a hundred words on "And the Balance in Blood," mostly queries to myself, and that served for writing for the day.

And I seem to have successfully resurrected my shoggoth, or [ profile] standuponit's shoggoth if you prefer. It was residing in the freezer during my year of much travel last year, and I think today I will use some of it to make delicious bread.
matociquala: (Default)

Airborne bear! Here I am at the finish line of the St. Paul Monster dash half marathon last weekend.

We anyways look our best in race photos.

matociquala: (literature sally and encyclopedia)

Oh, adventure.

Dear Reader, it's been a dratted long time since I did any serious updating, for which I apologize. Let's just say it's been busy, and I'll provide a few highlights to convince you.

To start with, here's a fun thing. I will be appearing at a couple of the Project Hieroglyph book launch events September 30th-October 2nd, in New York City and Washington DC. Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future itself is of course available at fine book retailers on and off line, everywhere.

Also, here's my Hieroglyph story up at Slate: "Covenant."

Here's what I will be doing this week:

Project Hieroglyph Book Launch and Celebration
Tumblr and ASU Center for Science and the Imagination
Tuesday, Sept 30th, 2013 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Register for free tickets here.

Can We Imagine Our Way to a Better Future?
Keck Center of the National Academies
500 5th Street NW, Washington, DC 20001
(This event is booked full, but there will be a live webcast.)

In other news, I finished my third official half marathon on September 13th--the Milford CT Gulf Beach half, which was lovely and I felt like I did well in, despite being twenty pounds up from where I was this time last year (blame a hard winter, too much convention, and France. You would not believe the subcutaneous layer of cheese and butter from Normandy I still have to haul up walls) and otherwise out of shape from a long summer of hotels and bar food.

Here's the obligatory pre-race shot:

Finish line:

Post-race with swag and new contact lenses.

The Europe trip was lovely, if hectic. And Scott and I were both incredibly giddy by the end of it. Iceland was gorgeous; Normandy was spectacular; Sweden and Finland were fantastic and England was just as I left it, though we saw some new bits this time. NB: I highly recommend tramping the downs on the Isle of Wight.

I have never quite felt so slow-witted as I did at the Worldcon panels. Wow.

Anyway, I did the race in 11:25 miles, finishing in just under 2 and a half hours. Not a PR, but very respectable given my lack of training. (Now I'm working on doing better at the Monster Dash in Minneapolis on October 25th!)

Also, we've been scraping and sanding the porch preparatory to painting. I hope the damned thing magically paints itself before I get home.

Anyway, tl:dr, here are some photos.

One does not simply WALK into London...

Re: what I said about the Isle of Wight.

A Bear in Iceland:

Snails and barnacles:

It's been a good year for the morning glories:

What else? Oh, Omaha Beach and Mont St. Michel are both totally worth a visit, and I have written a couple of stories and some gaming content, and as soon as the Hieroglyph publicity trip is up I'll be diving back into An Apprentice to Elves. That's what I'll be doing at Viable Paradise while my colleagues are all teaching. I feel like I ran a great scam this year.

Here's a blurry photo of Carlos and his perfect hair holding the first copy of One-Eyed Jack I ever personally saw, at Nine Worlds:

And here. Have a fuzzy caterpillar, and the Giant Ridiculous Dog, for his fans, with the shark Sarah Monette sent him for my birthday: ...hey...


matociquala: (atc)

Item: I was actually in tears this morning when I heard of Pete Seeger's death. Just saw him in 2011, I think, at a fundraiser for church in Middletown. It was raining like a son of a gun.

[ profile] pecunium is right. Pete would say: "Don't mourn; organize."

Still, an American hero has left us. And I feel like that demands a moment of recognition.


Item: (The following possibly triggery for weight and fitness stuff; skip if that bothers you.)

Fitness is a lifetime commitment...

...and I will keep telling myself that. I had made a pretty good comeback after slacking during all that travel last fall--was back up to an 11 mile run for my long day, and was climbing regularly and working on getting back into yoga two or three times a week.

And then the cold snap and the book deadline hit. -20 wind chill is a real disincentive to get out and run, let me tell you.

Anyway, I have been managing to get to the climbing gym. And last night I stuck around after climbing and hit the elliptical for some hard intervals. AND did a little kettlebell. I was doing swings with the 40 pounder, and they were hard, but I didn't kill anybody! (My friend [ profile] ashacat and I also played catch with a 14-kilo medicine ball. That was fun. And heavy.)

I've been more or less maintaining weight despite somewhat lackadaisical discipline, which is encouraging, but I've been claiming for two years now that I'm going to get this last thirtyish pounds off for the sake of my climbing and my joints and--hell--my vanity.

(I got rid of fifteen of it at one point, and then ten of that crept back. And then I got rid of ten, and five has crept back. It's the long stints of traveling that my job entails that do me in. Hotel food is the devil.)

Still, I've been stable in the low 190s despite holidays and cold and only intermittent exercise and occasional Restaurant Incidents and the Hobbit-related alcohol consumption.

I think I can knuckle down and make this happen. I have a size 10 dress that I want to wear for fancy this summer, and I can get it on, but I can't zip it--so now it's hanging by my bedroom mirror. Inspiration!

Also, I'm running in my second half-marathon in June. So I'd better make sure I get back into training and stay there. It's the Sour Grapes trail run in Brainerd, Minnesota.

My climbing-related goals are to climb 5.10 consistently and start work on 5.11s, and to take a sport lead climbing class. Those are trickier, because my time in Wisconsin leads to much less climbing. But since my new climbing gym also offers weights and cardio stuff... Thursday I plan to hit the rowing machine and do weights after climbing. Whee!

And Friday or this weekend, depending on weather, a six mile run. Before I lose the ability to do six mile runs. :P

I can't wait. *g*


And now I am going to finish this fucking book.

matociquala: (comics invisibles king mob)
I've been playing Zombies, Run! for the past couple of weeks, which is largely [ profile] coffeeem's fault. And I have to say, it's delightful. It makes me want to run more, so I can get through the story faster. In fact, it makes me want to run more than is probably healthy for me, so I have to make a point of taking rest days. (Between that and the fitbit, the compulsion to feed my exercise tamagothis is perhaps leading to a slight obsession. Ahem.)

Not only is the game smart, populated by a diverse and interesting cast of characters, and addictive... it gives me something to think about other than how many miles I have left to go. I just wish I could chain together multiple episodes over a two-hour run without having to stop and restart, but that's a minor complaint, and the radio mode helps with that.

Although I don't know what the zombies actually want with me, I'm not sure. Day 246, still no sign of brain regeneration. And yet, deadlines.

I think I need six months off from writing.

I have, however, discovered that Warren Zevon, surprising no-one, is the perfect music for running from zombies. Tom Waits, as well. And the Tina Turner cover of "The Bitch Is Back" cracked me up when it came on. Also surprisingly pleasing in the post-apocalyptic wasteland of the English countryside: Everlast's "We're All Gonna Die" and Squeeze's "Annie, Get Your Gun."
matociquala: (criminal minds reid runs like a girl)

I spent my Worldcon being chased by velociraptors.

No really. Proof!

(photo Scott Lynch; editing Fran Wilde)

How did you spend yours?

matociquala: (criminal minds reid runs like a girl)
[ profile] coffeeem convinced me, and I just tried out Zombies, Run! And ran 3.62 miles in 36 minutes. And then realized I had forgotten to use my inhaler before heading out. And then nearly got eaten by zombies because sprinting, not so much.

I would do that again.

I would use my inhaler first. Still: Project: Valkyrie stretch goal unlocked! Outdoor 10-minute miles! 3.6 of them!

I think it's time I admitted to myself that I have a problem. I may be addicted to running aps.

Half marathon.
Ten minute miles--more than one, in a row. Indoors. Outdoors.

I will deadlift a me.
I will bench three digits.
I will kick up to handstands at home, when there is no comforting pad under me.
Free headstand.
And I will climb 5.10 reliably, rather than on good days and easy routes.
matociquala: (loose tea for loose women)

I'm working on revisions for my short story for the Hieroglyph Project, and wishing I had a lot more time to work on it. I am full of partly-gestated ideas, and not sure how to make any of them crystallize. Especially since I'm having serious trouble focusing today. But I will put on my big girl pants and get 'er done. Because that's how we roll.

(Also, I just figured out a great scene for the end of Steles of the Sky. Which was finalized last week. Le Sigh. Maybe I can work it into a sequel, if Tor wants any more Eternal Sky books down the line.)

So I bring you photos of things, instead. And the Return of Tea, since I picked up a new mismatched but aesthetically pleasing cup and saucer at a barn sale this morning.

Here are some nifty wildflowers I noticed while walking the dog this morning, for example:

2013-08-18 09.29.28

And here's that teacup and saucer.

2013-08-18 13.57.55

The teacup was manufactured by Westbrook, in England. The saucer is by the Richard Briggs Company in Boston, manufactured in France. The flowers are from the back yard, except that insane Van Gogh sunflower, which was grown by a friend.

The tea is Upton's Jiu Hua Mao Feng ("Nine Glorious Mountains"), a nice light China green tea which looks amber in the photo because it had been sitting in the thermos for a bit, and had oxidized some.

In Project Valkyrie news, a ten mile run yesterday over a new route, because I got a hot tip from another runner in town about a back road through the hills to the neighboring town. It was gorgeous, and I may try to repeat it tomorrow, because we get one more day of cool weather before August returns. Hills are mostly trivial for me now, and I made the mistake of mentioning it to this acquaintance...

...well, there's one hill on this route that I had to walk up the last half of. But it was desperately pretty, and I'm pretty well hooked on this whole being able to go out and run for two hours thing. It is such a great way to look at the world and reset my brain.

2013-08-17 08.26.53

Jiu Hua Mao Feng "Nine Glorious Mountains"

(Body and diet talk below, skip as needed)

I'm currently operating under a relaxed version of The Discipline, in that I'm using a Fitbit (which I love with a passionate love: fitness Tamagotchi!) and trying to meet movement goals using that--and also use its calorie estimates to undercut my actual expenditure by about 500 calories a day. Which is not at all onerous, actually, given what I was doing previously.

My weight loss had stalled out with about twenty pounds to go, and my body was fighting like heck to regain about ten pounds--which it did; some of it muscle. As a result of that ten pounds, though, my running times have slowed down a bunch and climbing has gotten a lot harder again. I was doing 5.10s pretty handily for a while there, and they're back to being a struggle. Also, running in hot weather is a lot less miserable with less insulation, and in winter time I can put clothes on as needed.

(Slinky dresses are also a motivation, but you know, God in Her wisdom did give us foundation garments.)

So I'm working on finding a balance that will let me take this last bit of excess energy storage off, and if slow is what it takes, slow is perfectly doable for me.

What's hard is trusting in the process, and not fretting, and not trying to rush things. But since my body had pretty obviously decided that WE ARE IN PERIL CONSERVE RESOURCES and what I need it to do is STOKE THE FIRES!!!, this is what we're trying. My metabolism is an amazing beast; considering how much I exercise and how carefully I eat, that it manages to cling to the layer of insulation no matter what. *g*
matociquala: (comics invisibles king mob)
I am home from Space City Con in Houston, where I got to visit NASA, met several real astronauts and one of my favorite make-believe astronauts (Gil Gerard, who played Buck Rogers), and was also privileged to meet The Doctor, and another the Doctor as well.

I played AD&D with some of the people who design it, and I went drinking with Klingons. (Klingons are the absolute nicest people, as I tweeted. I think they get all their aggression out at work.)

I also achieved a conditional Project: Valkyrie win, as I ran 5K in slightly under 30 minutes. It was on a treadmill, though, so it only sort of counts.

And I've just finished a draft of my Hieroglyph Project story, "Covenant," giving me something else to cross off my overwhelming to-do list.

Tomorrow, back to the CEM.

travel and appearances 2013:

Space City Con: Houston, TX August 2-4, 2013 (Literary Guest of Honor)
Lone Star Con (San Antonio Worldcon): San Antonio, TX, August 29-September 1 2013
Context: Columbus, OH, September 27-29 2013 (GoH)
Signing (and Scott Lynch's The Republic of Thieves book launch!) : Pandemonium, Central Square, Cambridge MA, October 8th 2013
NYC Comicon: NY NY, October 11th 2013 (only)
Viable Paradise: Oak Bluffs MA, October 12-16 2013 
World Fantasy Convention: Brighton England UK, October 31-November 3, 2013


"Dark Leader": April 2013
"Covenant": August 10, 2013
Steles of the Sky CEM: August 10, 2013
OWW EC: August 15, 2013
Revise "Covenant": August 19, 2013

"Something's Gotta Eat T. rexes": December 2013

An Apprentice to Elves: ?


Karen Memory: January 6, 2014
Lovecraft story: 1 February 2014
Cyborg story: 28 February, 2014
Apocalypse story: June 30, 2014
Other apocalypse story: December 31, 2014

travel and appearances 2014:
Boskone: Boston, Massachusetts, February 13-15, 2014
Tucson Festival of Books: Tucson, AZ, March 14-16, 2014
RavenCon: North Chesterfield, Virginia, April 25-27th, 2014 (Guest of Honor)
4th Street Fantasy: Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 20-23, 2014
ConVergence: Minneapolis, MN, July 3-7, 2014
Finncon: Jyväskylä, Finland, July 11-13, 2014 (Guest of Honor)
Worldcon: London, England, August 14-17, 2014
ICON: Iowa City, IA, October 31-November 2, 2014
World Fantasy Convention: Washington, DC, November 6-9, 2014

No fixed deadline:

Smile (unless its name is actually Salt Water)
Unsuitable Metal
Gotham Jazz

Untitled Gangland Urban Fantasy That Keeps Bugging Me
"Untitled Space Opera Thingy" aka "Periastron"
"Posthumous Jonson"
"On Safari in R'lyeh and Carcosa with Gun and Camera"
"This Chance Planet"
"Patience and Fortitude"
"A Time to Reap"
Untitled bard trolling story
matociquala: (spies mfu goodliest outside napoleon)
I totally just did a tripod headstand with no spotter and no wall. This physical fitness thing is really awesome.

(Scott took the photo. Because he is tolerant. And he's been spotting me since last year some time while I practiced. He is a patient soul.)

I have not been this geeked about a yoga accomplishment since wheel pose. (Proper crow was pretty exciting too, I admit. And handstands, even though I still use a wall and cheat to get up. And bound side angle. But wheel was the best! And so is this. Exhilarating. Success, when you have worked for it, is the greatest thing in the world.)

You practice and practice and accept that you're never going to get it and you fall over a lot and then one day it happens and it's actually easy. Easy-ish. Easier than you expected. Much easier than the practicing made it seem like it would be.

I was thirty years old before I learned how to learn things. Nobody has ever taught me. Either I could do things or I couldn't, and there was never anybody who explained to me that no, you have to study. You have to fail. And keep failing better (and trying different things and researching and stuff) until you're not failing any more.

It was writing novels that taught me this, by the way. Because I never could. And then eventually I just kept trying long enough and did. Then I wrote four more, and sold one.

Reader, I had an epiphany. Stuff doesn't just happen or not happen. I mean, some of it does. But some of it happens because you keep doing hard things long enough to learn the knack of it, and then it's less hard.

Writing novels is exactly the same thing as running thirteen miles, or doing a headstand, or learning how to cook.

And I'm better at this stuff at 41 than I was at 14. It's amazing how useful it is to know how to learn things.

Also, damn, have I got some spinal erectors going on. Let's hear it for deadlifts, boys and girls.

Now to work on my form.
matociquala: (sf doctor FANtastic!)

Two sets of four pullups today. 

[ profile] stillsostrange and I need some PROJECT: VALKYRIE stretch goals.

So. I hereby commit to ten minute miles--more than one, in a row. I will deadlift a me. (If I lost ten pounds, I would have this one.) I will bench three digits. I will kick up to handstands at home, when there is no comforting pad under me. (I am still using the wall, dammit.) I will keep working on my free headstand. And I will climb 5.10 reliably, rather than on good days and easy routes.


matociquala: (muppetology need bears fozzie & kermit)
Well, I learned last night that I can deadlift three sets of 140 pounds, which made me feel pretty good about myself. (My squat is nowhere near there yet. Someday, I hope it will be.)

Today, I learned that in my shoulders and neck, I have trapezius muscles, deltoids, and this little dude called the erector scapulus. And I also learned that they have ways of making their opinions known.

Picture Binkley saying calmly, "'Ben-Gay,' Please."
matociquala: (holmes confidence)
Still not Spring.

More photographic evidence: half-marathon finisher's medal, propped up against two Hugos.

2013-03-24 09.37.23

And here's Amanda in her race gear, looking very chic:

2013-03-23 06.41.34

(Do you know how hard it is to find good workout gear that's not offensive to a Goth sensibility? Seriously, there's a killing to be made in this area.... except it's possible that there are only three jock Goths nerds on earth, and we all hang out together.)

The following morning, I am still walking like John Wayne, and I have eaten my weight in carbs and protein. But apparently my body is hardening off to this endurance running thing: it wasn't that bad, though I think it was more like seven miles of rolling hills in the middle, not five, and two of them were pretty brutal: one was steep and high; one was long and relentless. I managed to run the whole thing, though, which was my goal--and I finished in under 2:30, which was my stretch goal.

At the beginning of the race, I was being passed on all sides by everybody, but once we settled in I started to pick some people off, especially on hills. (Let's hear it for doing the damned hill runs every other week even though they suck!) About four people passed me; one of them somebody I had passed in Mile 2 who made a stunning comeback and kicked my ass.

When you cross the finish line, they hand you a bottle of water. After you drink the water, you notice they also handed you a medal.

Final result: I was 360th out of 420 finishers.

I don't know if I will do it again. It was an interesting experiment, and I love being fit enough to do stuff like that. I might--it wasn't as bad or as hard as I expected it to be (let's hear it for long careful training and a good taper). And it's kind of pleasantly luxurious to have small children handing you Gatorade and Gu while you run. I'm not sure I won't do it again... but the training schedule is really stressful for me (one more goddamn obligation with a goddamned deadline that requires constant tending and attention, which is pretty much my entire working life) and since I'm not even remotely competitive even in my age group, I'm not sure what I get from running a race that I don't get from running around town.

On the other hand, I am officially declaring Project: Valkyrie complete and moving into maintenance phase. Project: Less of Me still has a bit to go, but I'm in no real hurry.

I'm planning on trying the Austin Run For Your Lives! in December, if my knees hold out. That should be fun, and I can do it with [ profile] stillsostrange.

After the race, [ profile] stillsostrange and I ate bananas and chocolate, drove home, checked our results, ate sammiches, and then drove into Boston for Richard Thompson, Emmylou Harris, and Rodney Crowell. I could have used a larger proportion of Richard Thompson (nobody should have to follow Richard Thompson), and I was tired and hungry and not my best self by the end of the concert (translation: the largest land arthropod is ME. Crab crab crab.) but it was in general really good and I am glad we went.

I especially liked the bluesed-up version of "Can't Win" and somewhat countrified "Tear-Stained Letter) RT did (most of his set was stuff off the new album) and Emmylou and Crowell doing "Poncho and Lefty," "Tragedy," and "Black Caffeine." RT came back out and joined them for a massive jam on "I Ain't Living Long Like This."

Now I need to eat some more protein, and thing about climbing in a bit.
matociquala: (criminal minds reid runs like a girl)

[ profile] stillsostrange and [ profile] evynrude and I saw the fireball last night, over Westport, CT. It was amazing and beautiful, and we actually mistook it for a firework it seemed so bright and close--green and orange and gold and shedding sparks all the way. Gorgeous: best one I have ever seen.

And then [ profile] stillsostrange and I got up in the cold pink dawn and put our socks on and drove to West Haven.

And I have run a half marathon. It was really boring and my glutes are killing me, but I'm pretty pleased to have done it and it wasn't so bad.


(Photo: Amanda Downum)

Now Amanda and I are off to an Emmylou Harris, Richard Thompson concert, as out reward for Valkyieness.

matociquala: (writing plot octopus)

Some of this post is about fitness and weight loss stuff, and could be triggery to those that find such things triggery.

I donated blood today! First time in a year and a half (I was having iron level issues when I started eating a more flexitarian diet, and got refused several times. I seem to have a handle on THAT nutrient now, at least.) and for the first time, I gave blood via the shiny new apheresis method, where they take two units of packed red cells, centrifuge it, and give you back your plasma and a bunch of normal saline to bring your blood volume back up.

It took a bit longer, and my arm got cold (the saline is at room temperature, so it lowers your body temperature a little--and in New England in winter, room temperature can be pretty chilly!) but the result is that they get twice as many life-saving red blood cells, and I get to feel like a contributing member of society for a while. ;-)

Supposedly, it takes 650 calories for the body to rebuild one unit of blood, so I'm eating at maintenance today. Which is an awful lot of food, it turns out, given my training schedule--a little under 2500 calories.

I am about to shrink out of my skinniest pair of jeans. I've been weighing in at 178-179 for several days now, which is very encouraging. I'm not actually particularly concerned with losing the fifteen or eighteen pounds to my goal at this point, although I mean to keep working on it. I'm not in any hurry, though--that's mostly just to take some more pressure off my joints running and climbing. 

So close! And I'm so happy with my body these days. It does so much, so efficiently, and feels good doing it. I am strong and fleet of foot, and I love that.

Speaking of which, I ran a twelve mile long day last week, which kind of kicked me to the curb for the rest of the day. I need to pay more attention to nutrition while running (carbohydrate and especially electrolyte replacement) when I'm running for longer than two hours. Shamefacedly, I have bought some sports drinks.

And today I did 4.9 miles in 49 minutes. Despite it being cold enough that breathing was a bit of a challenge. I can't wait until it warms up into the 30s. Anything over 25 and under 65 is a pretty comfortable running temperature for me. 20 is a bit much on my tender alveoli, and below that I'm good for maybe two miles before I run out of oxygen.

Thursday, I have a much shorter long run--9 miles--on the hilly route. I guess I'll find out what giving away two units of red blood cells has done to my stamina.


In other news, I have broken 60,000 words and 300 pages on Steles of the Sky. There's still a heck of a lot of work to do--but I'm feeling pretty confident in my ability to do it. The book is more or less cooperating, and although the scene I am working on now is kind of a mess of [Go back and put in this brilliant idea later] notes, and a few [insert awesome banter here] notes, I'm feeling pretty good. I'm working well within myself, and I think I will even be able to take Boskone off without too much guilt.

Which reminds me, I will be at Boskone. And a bunch of other stuff this spring--check the Bear Appearances tag! 

matociquala: (atc)
So when I got to the gym last night, I went to check on the two unrated routes I'd climbed on Monday. One was still unrated, but the hard, overhung green one that I had thrashed up one or two moves at a time, dogging on the rope and bitching (definitely not whining. whining is against the climbing gym rules!) had been rated...


I blinked and rubbed my eyes and looked again. Nope, it still said that. It was my first 10b. And it was overhung.

So I went to do some warmup yoga and wait for The Jeff, and when he arrived I told him of my triumph and we went to look at the tag again.

It had been replaced by a blank white square.

This is about when I started to figure I must be having a really creative anxiety dream. But we climbed for a bit, and the next time we were in that corner, the tag had been replaced:



Definitely an anxiety dream. At least I wasn't pantsless.

I later told Greg, the routesetter, that somebody must have told him I got up it, so he had to downgrade. He laughed.

(I tried the route mostly because of the name: "Eating Pasta With A Spoon.")

Still, it was a 5.10. Even if it wasn't my first 5.10b. Which gave me the courage to try another, different 10a that looked pretty doable... and in fact, it was a lot easier than the green route. I still didn't do it clean--terrible slick feet, and my toes kept popping off the holds--but I think this means that I am officially a 5.10 climber now, if not somebody who can climb 5.10 clean. (I also failed on a 9, which I think I have done before, and got up another 9 only with a great deal of falling and swearing and Doing It Wrong. And then there was a bunch of easier stuff. Leave me my illusions.)

But I think I have the courage of my convictions to keep working on 10s. And I can still do a pullup! (It's reproducible! Still just one, but give me time.) I can get into bound side angle and hold a proper tree pose, and with [ profile] scott_lynch spotting me, I can manage a tripod headstand--and I can do a handstand, albeit only against a wall, and I can't kick myself up to it. And I can run ten miles, and run an under 9-minute mile if wolves are chasing me and I have a tail wind. ;-)

Which means Project: Valkyrie is tentatively declared a success, and I am moving on to new goals. Which are:

Climb 5.10 clean
Run a half marathon (attempt scheduled for March--and that's where I quit, because I don't think my ankles will support longer distances.)
Proper headstand
Kick up to a supported handstand (It's mostly a courage issue. I did manage it once on the mats at the climbing gym.)
matociquala: (bad girls  mae west)
(potential eating disorder and exercise related trigger warning.)

Managed to run a little over two miles this morning--slowly, but I had the dog, which shaves a minute onto every mile. I'm feeling mostly recovered, although my mitochondria are still reporting taking scattered fire and casualties. Still, I'm going to make it to archery tonight.

I'm going to try yoga and a dog-run tomorrow, and then a long solo run Saturday--although the jury's still out on whether it'll be the one with all the damned hills.

Progress photo, with wet hair, because I am pleased by my biceps today:

me 2012 12 20

Size 12 cargo pants, which fit well--a first since 2001. When not sick, I've upped my protein intake to 140 grams a day, and I'm seeing results in muscle definition. My biceps have a little notch at the bottom now--which you can't see in this photo, but hey.

For reference, a photo from 2006:

Blood pressure's down about 40/25 points, since you ask. ;-)
matociquala: (atc)
I've been down with a stomach bug for a couple of days, which is no fun--it's interfering with my attempt to return to climbing twice a week, for one thing. Still, I managed an 11 mile run last week, so it's probably not a bad time for a little enforced rest. I'll be skipping my long run this week.

But I'm making good progress on reading Jane Eyre, so I suppose there's a hidden silver lining.

I've just about talked myself into a half-marathon at the end of March. We'll see how it goes. And [ profile] stillsostrange has me almost talked into a Run For Your Lives! next year--either the Boston or Austin one. I have to say, Austin in December seems a lot nicer than Boston in August. 

Nothing like a good bout of gastric distress to really kickstart the weightloss. I do not recommend this tactic, but I can currently confidently report that my dry weight is about 186 pounds. :-P, as the kids say.

Here are some tables of contents for forthcoming anthologies in which I have stories!

Rip-Off (Gardner Dozois, ed:)
This is an audio anthology of all-new stories that share first lines with out-of-copyright masterpieces. My story, "No Decent Patrimony," draws its inspiration from Christopher Marlowe's Edward II

Weird Detectives: Recent Investigations (Paula Guran, ed.)
Reprints my Promethean Age prequel story "Cryptic Coloration," along with stories by such luminaries as Neil Gaiman, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Carrie Vaughn, Simon R. Green, Charlaine Harris, and Sarah Monette.

The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirtieth Annual Collection (Gardner Dozois, ed.)
Reprints my Asimov's novella "In the House of Aryaman, a Lonely Signal Burns," as well as being the first print publication of the podcast original "The Wreck of the Charles Dexter Ward," which I wrote with Sarah Monette. This premiered on Drabblecast, and I believe it marks the first time a podcast-original story has enjoyed its first print publication in a Year's Best volume.

I'm pleased to say that some of my work has made a few of the annual year's best lists so far. Range of Ghosts made the Kirkus and year's best lists, and it's a Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award nominee. "In the House of Aryaman, a Lonely Signal Burns" will be reprinted in two different Year's Best anthologies (one ToC has not been released yet) and made Rich Horton's best of the year list.

Meanwhile, Shoggoths in Bloom made Jeff VanderMeer's list of the best collections of 2012. Which also reminded me that I need to get my hands on [ profile] kijjohnson's and [ profile] esedia's books.

And I am interviewed in the December issue of Locus!. You can read an excerpt here.
matociquala: (criminal minds reid runs like a girl)

Item: Sorry, other decades, but the Eighties have you beat for running music.

Item: More than twenty years later, I finally figure out that in the first line of Shriekback's "The Bastard Sons of Enoch"--Cain looked at the angel and said, "Fuck you, screw."--that ultimate word "screw" is a direct address to the angel, and not a little extra random cursing. Sometimes I'm slow.

Item: Small syncronistic reasons for gratitude: When the random shuffle on my running mix kicks up Iggy Pop's "Wild Child" as I'm hitting the last hundred yards to the top of the biggest hill on my route. And then once I get there with the music to power me up, I can run as fast as I can down the other side.

Here is the view from the top of the third-biggest hill. It's the only one with a view, alas.

Item: 9.5 miles in 1:43 this morning. Now I get pie.

March 2017



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