Thursday, June 28, 2007

Photo - not so great

1st year together - a blast!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

My god, these people can run. I don't know how I can possibly describe the anguish of trying to keep up with them. But the challenge is very motivating (as is being the last one struggling to keep up). Their website says they run an 8.30 pace. Ha! I'll be back. They are a good group, very friendly, and I think with a little more dedication and effort, maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to stay with the pack some day.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I'm not crazy about this sketch done in Charleston, but it's the only one I got to last week, so I have to post it. I realized during this sketch that the fine and super fine markers or watercolor markers, or even just pen and watercolor, would have been much better for this outdoor drawing.

Though the sketch isn't fantastic, Charleston was. This was done in Battery Park. The breeze coming off the bay while relaxing under the shade trees was a wonderful contrast to the warm, sunny walk down historic King Street to get here.

I'll try to post about Charleston later, but wanted to get my weekly sketch assignment in. I came across two new blogs today that prompted this post - Pen and Ink expressed the same issue I was having with scanning from my sketchbook (which was resolved by suggestions in her comments.) And Draw Anyway reminded me that even if it's a bad sketch, it's good practice and a learning experience. I'll chalk this one up to that category.

On the running front, took a break Fri-Monday but put in roughly a 9 mile bike ride over the Cooper River bridge and around Charleston, along with uncounted miles of walking. Got a decent six-miler in today. I've added the core training back in and managed to fit in a number of sit-ups over the weekend to try to counteract all the junk I was eating. All of this along has left me feeling quite worn out. I'm still feeling sluggish during my runs. Hope my body adjusts to this heat and activity soon.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

While everyone else received the news on their NYC marathon entries, I got my Peachtree number in the mail this week. A well-earned timegroup 1A for me. This will be my 4th Peachtree and so far the one I'm the least enthusiastic about. I want to be excited, but running is becoming a lot of work for me lately. It could have something to do with this being the first Peachtree in which I'm not a part of a running club.

There are benefits to a group, but there are benefits to running alone too - primarily that I run at the time and location of my choosing and usually without getting into a car first. But I miss running with other people. Maybe I'll get around to rejoining with some group or another.

I worked on my "heel-striking" this week. I didn't notice much of a difference during the 5.5 mile run on Tuesday, but that could be because it wasn't much of a run in the first place. I probably walked the last full mile. Today's 8 mile run wasn't much better but I forced myself to run the whole thing (with my usual 8/1 walk breaks). I was groaning and gasping up that final hill. Ever since that great 9 mile run a couple of weeks ago, running has been a struggle.

Back to the heel-striking. I focused on landing on the ball of my foot and picking up my heels more. Either it's part of my overall exhaustion lately or running this way makes my legs work harder. My calves, hamstrings and quads made themselves known to me in a big way. Maybe the 15 mile bike ride on Sunday gets some of the blame for that.

Anyway, I am looking forward to a break from strenuous exercise this weekend with a little get-away to Charleston with MOB. We leave tomorrow and come back on Monday. I can't wait. Will bring the sketchbook along.

Speaking of sketching, I've been working on a secret project. I'm doing a bunch of little drawings that I'm going to scrapbook as a gift for someone. I am dying to post them. Even though the person I'm making them for probably doesn't read this blog, it's safer if I don't. I will scan them and post them after I give them away though.

So, here's a picture I did a while back. It started as a doodle of a serpent while I was on a long conference call. MOB and I had been spending a lot of time looking at tattoo magazines and searching the internet for a serpent tattoo for him. I told him that I didn't expect him to get this picture on his arm but I wanted to give it to him as a gift. The tattoo artist he went to knew his art better than I do and in the end MOB's tattoo doesn't really look like this, but it was fun for me to do.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

This post by Scott Dunlop put a lump in my throat as I read it. Honestly, the first time I glanced at it, I thought it was just another long race report and passed it by. MOB pointed me back to it. It's a race report like no other you'll ever read.

It's hard to imagine going through something like that and easy to understand how it would release an army of demons in your head. It's also a reminder of the benefits that running (and a running community) can offer to your soul and your mind - not just to your body.

Monday, June 11, 2007

This is very very cool. Click it.

By the way, we did 15 miles at the Silver Comet Trail yesterday - awesome ride!

The rain today caught me on my way out to meet up with a running club at the Chattahoochee. 1 and 1/2 hours in the car and no run. Forcing myself to look at the bright side, at least I didn't get caught in it out running and we probably do need the rain.

Here's the sketch for last week. I don't love it but at least I got to play with my markers. I prefer to do people and figures - but I did enjoy playing around with the perspective of this car. That warped, fun-house mirror effect was intended. I was sitting very close to the front tire of the car and drew it the way the perspective appeared to me. I could have corrected it to look more normal, but I liked the way this looked. I think it works well with the colored marker cartoony look.

I need to work on cross hatching with colored markers. Here's a model from someone who knows what he's doing with markers. For practice, I may start copying his pictures or the style of his pictures just to practice the technique a little. It would just be to learn how to work with the markers - not to claim as my own. I don't think I'll post any of those here just to be sure no one gets confused over that.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Currently 68 going up to 93 today. Eee-gad. Glad I don't have a run today, but MOB and I are planning on hitting the Silver Comet Trail with our bikes today. Hope he gets up soon.

Yesterday I found out something very important during a conversation with a professional triatholan trainer. The subject of my tricky knee came up. He asked if it was worse on uphills. Yes. He then mentioned something about how some runners strike with their heel more on uphills and that the shock of the heel hitting the ground is carried up to the knee and causes damage.

Me: Wait - you mean you're not supposed to land on your heel???

Centuries ago, when I tried joining the cross-country team in high school (lasted two weeks, different story), the only running tip that stuck with me was that a runner should land on their heel and transfer weight to the ball of the foot for efficiency.

He said that runners were told this in ancient times, but that the wisdom has changed with the realization that this form causes damages the legs.

This is huge news for me. Especially since my knee injury, I have been consciously trying to land on my heel more, thinking that it was the proper form! In all my research over knee injuries, I never came across this information regarding heel-striking. I am very excited to get out for my next run to work on changing this.

Here are some links I found related to this topic. It was good to find out that I'm not the only person that this has been a revelation to. And that there is actually a wee bit of controversy over this.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Terrible run today, but I'm not worried about it. Yesterday's 6ish miles felt great. Today's 6ish were a struggle but I'm giving myself a break since first, I'm not accustomed to running two days in a row and second, the humidity is cranked up today. Plus it's tough to spoil a beautiful morning like this one. In spite of the humidity, the temperature is nice, the sky is clear and the flowers and greenery seem bright and refreshed after yesterday's rain.

MOB and I checked out the grand opening of a new "gastro pub" at the corner of 14th and Peachtree called TAP. The beer selection is fantastic - off the top of my head, Chimay, Corsendunk, St. Bernadus, and a couple of TAP's own brands brewed by the Atlanta Brewing Company. Many others that I don't recall. Reasonably priced. We'll be back for more.

I need to get a sketch done this weekend to meet my goal of at least one sketch per week. Not sure what I'll get around to doing but look for something soon.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Taking Marta to the conference over the last four days turned out to be very convenient. I never had to wait more than 3 or 4 minutes for the train except for on Sunday. I was only on it for about 4 or 5 stops to get to the 5 Points station and then one stop over to the GWCC - so there was never time to pull out the sketch book and draw people. Plus, I might be a bit paranoid, but I try not to attract attention when riding Marta and staring at someone 3 feet away over my sketchbook might not have been a great idea.

There weren't too many crazy people this week. There were a couple of annoying Paris Hilton wannabe's who got on the northbound train at Peachtree Center Monday afternoon. A couple of girls around 20 with the bug-eye sunglasses, speaking loudly about their globe-trotting plans, clarifying every other word by adding "like" before it. It was "like" nails on a chalkboard to me. I usually love listening to people's stories about travel - if they had been whispering to each other I would have been straining to listen in. I just find loud people who don't speak well very annoying. Worse than the guy at the 5 Points station who kept yelling loudly "if I had a girlfriend, I'd beat her!" Not a great way to advertise your availability, but at least he was grammatically correct.

The only sketching I did was on Sunday - trying out my markers on the nearest model available - MOB on the phone with his parents. The scan came out blurry... but I like the perspective emphasizing his legs coming at me... he's got great runner's legs.

Speaking of running... yeah, well, not such a great training week. One glass of wine too many on Sunday night meant not such a great run Monday morning. I managed 3 miles. Was supposed to run last night but the heat, my lack of hydration, combined with "that time of the month" gave me a poor excuse to postpone it until this morning. That makes it three days with no running this week. I did get a 5ish mile bike ride in on Mon or Tuesday night though. I'm off to run now. God speed!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Even though I've been running regularly, I have not been on any training program since the Nashville Half. Each weekend I just run according to what I feel like. Time to change that. I am going to start tracking my miles here again because from week to week, I don't remember the mileage of the last run and have no way of judging how far the current run should be.

Today I did about 8 1/2 - 9 miles on the Georgia Marathon route. 8/1 intervals with the knee strap and it felt pretty good.

After that, MOB and I walked (a mile round trip) to the art supply store and I picked up the supplies I was just whining about in the last post. I bought some artist pens. I've never worked in ink much but I've been inspired by a couple of artist blogs (tkane and ice-cream monster toon cafe) to try them out. I just played around with them for a few minutes and here is one page from the sketchbook. So far I like the super-fine marker best. I did some color pen too but that photo came out too blurred.

I won't have time today to paint at all. Tomorrow through Wednesday, I'll be taking the train to a conference downtown each day. Hm, maybe I'll bring these pens along and see if I can sketch people without intruding too much.

I want to try to adhere to the advice that I am reading that you have to constantly be trying to sketch, paint, whatever to keep yourself in the "flow" (for lack of a better word) of making art. It really is hard though.

Somehow I've been able to fit running into my week on a regular basis. I used to have the same complaints about that as I have now about fitting in the art-making. But now it is a part of my weekly routine. I want to try to get sketching and painting into my routine without having to sign up for art classes to be disciplined about it. Maybe some goals, like I give myself for running, would help. Just like a beginner runner, I need to work up from some easy miles though. So, for now, my goal will be just to sketch more often. At least once a week to start with. Even if it means sketching these damn cats or my own foot. And I'll post here for some sense of accountability.

Friday, June 1, 2007

The best intentions to keep that momentum I was starting to build during my Thursday night painting classes promptly fizzled to nilt once the classes ended. My model is patiently leaning against the wall, waiting for me to complete the background. And touch up the hair. That's it. Just a tiny bit of effort left and I'm stalled.

Of course I have a good excuse and if I didn't, I'd at least have to make one up. To be honest, I have been painting. I've been slopping a few quarts of golden harvest semi-gloss on my kitchen and bathroom walls. Well, I was slopping and MOB did most of it.

I also need to get to the art supply store for a couple of supplies that I really want, but there is always just this other errand to run instead.

Should I feel guilty that I am sitting here blogging instead of finishing my painting? That instead of just picking up my sketchbook and drawing, I'm googling for information to get "inspired"? Maybe I should, but I don't. I'm in a generally dark mood right now. (Doesn't help that I'm being kept awake by partying neighbors with their drunken renditions of "you gotta fight, for your right, to pahhhwtee!!!)

I wish my funk was because of something more conflicted or romantic - but it's simply because I am getting fat. Yes, it could be related to that time of the month, but I'm ballooning. No, I don't expect much sympathy from anyone as I recognize that my challenge is not as great as others have it. It's just especially frustrating because I am still running three times a week and biking once a week.

I guess it's time to get back into the core workouts which have also stalled and add more interval/speed training to my life. And yeah, maybe between runs and workouts and daily life, I'll get to the art store and finish that masterpiece...