Friday, June 18, 2010

music recommendations from yours truly...

This week has been, like, an overflow of amazing music. There was so much music my poor head almost exploded. I just don't know how to deal with it. So I guess I'll write a blog and share with all of you the awesomeness of the sweet tunes I have discovered. (And yes, for those of you who are reading through this thinking, wow, there's a preponderance of lesbian rock on here...well, what did you expect? Deal with it).

Grace Potter & The Nocturnals

Holy good GOD, this CD is fan-fucking-tastic. Amazing like whoa. This woman's voice is simply breathtaking. The way she belts out these lyrics like she is trying to scare Satan away gives me goosebumps. By FAR one of the best cds I have heard in a very, very long time. I'm sure people at work are going to be sick of it since I don't plan on removing it from my cd player for the next two months. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it.

Sarah McLachlan "Laws of Illusion"

Seven years. SEVEN FUCKING YEARS. That is how long it has been since Sarah McLachlan has released a new album. I was still in high school (wait, was I? Let me do some math...fuck, okay, first year of college). But still--to imagine me as a neurotic, stressed, no-fun college freshman that I can barely remember, and then realize THAT was the last time Sarah McLachlan released a cd is, well, fucking unnerving. (She did do all those Animal commercials that made me cry, but other than that, no Sarah). So Sarah, thank you for releasing this awesome cd. And thank you for bringing back Lilith Fair. If I can afford to go to Seattle over 4th of July weekend, I'm so there. I mean, it's THE lesbian fest of the year. And even though you tried to get Rhianna and Selena Gomez in an attempt to not make it a big lesbo-fest, it still is. Sorry.

But the cd is wonderful, and I would expect nothing less from Sarah McLachlan after all these years.

Katie Herzig

I had the privilege of seeing Katie Herzig open from Brandi Carlile back in January (oh, and I totally get to see her again in Germany when she opens for Brandi again...yesss!!). I bought her cd "Apple Tree" a while back, and it was pretty good, but I recently procured her earlier album "Weightless" and love it. She has a beautiful voice, and she is an absolutely stunning woman (not to mention incredibly nice--she and I had a nice little chat). I'm probably going to have to get the rest of her cds before I leave for Europe.

Gillian Welch

So I pretty much love Patty Griffin. And recommended Gillian Welch to me based on my love of Patty Griffin. Gillian Welch is, for lack of a better word, so raw. So, so raw. I hate country music, but this is "reach into your soul and rip out your emotions and twirl them around like a fucking hula-hoop" country music. I'd actually like to classify this as kind of bluegrassy-folky-awesome. Raelynn, if you read this, I need to burn you this cd. You will <3 it, I swear.

Sarah Harmer

I bought "You Were Here" and "All of Our Names" on Amazon because they were about .50 cents a piece (well, with shipping they were like 3.50 each, but still). Sarah has another one of those voices that is just simply captivating, and her songs are fantastic.

So yes, if you have time, check them out. Or I can burn you a copy. But only if I like you.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sawtooth Relay--aka learn to breathe at higher altitudes.

I've been semi-consistently running for the past five months now. I consider myself *fairly* in shape. But nothing, I repeat NOTHING could have prepared me for the Sawtooth Relay this weekend.

The Sawtooth Relay is a run starting in Stanley, Idaho which goes to Sun Valley (Ketchum), Idaho. It's roughly 62 miles. There are six people per team, and each person runs approximately two 5-6 mile legs. The goal is to get to Sun Valley in less than 12 hours, I suppose. There are all sorts of crazy people that participate in this race, including hard-core people who are actually trying to win, but for the most part, it's just an excuse to run with friends and see some great scenery.

The awesome part about this: the race starts at 5:00 a.m. Some people start even earlier, depending on how long they think it will take their team to complete the race. So if you start at 5:00 (which our team did), you have to be at the start line by 4:15. Which means you have to be awake even earlier than that. F. That.

Even better: we decided to camp the night before. In a tent. Out in nature. Did I mention that I had never been camping before? Oh yeah--I've never been camping before. I've done things that I think may be considered camping, but as far as staying overnight in a tent in a sleeping Fuck no. I do not like nature. I like to look at nature; I like to take pictures of nature. I do not want to be out IN nature. Ew. Ew. Ew. Ew. So we drove up Friday evening, set up camp and did what I suppose are considered camping things: grilled hamburgers (in my case, vegan burgers) in a fire, made s'mores, drank beer (well, I drank beer), etc. When we were setting up camp, due to my inexperience, when I asked what I could do to help, I was told to go make friends. That's right. My job was to walk around the campsite and make friends with people. Sweet. I could totally do that. I happened to make friends with a group from the Air Force running in the relay. They had such fun nicknames as "Nader" and "Knuckles." Very nice group of people, who were at nearly every exchange on the run.

Neither here nor there. Here are some photos from the campsite. I will give nature this: I've never seen anything quite so magnificently beautiful.

See? Stunningly beautiful. That's about where my love of nature ends.

We finally went to bed I'm guessing around 11. This being my first time really sleeping in a sleeping bag in a tent, I was not sure what to expect.

1. It was 18 degrees that night. 18. That is not a typo. FUCK that.

2. Apparently the side of the tent gets "moist" with condensation. So when I wake up and roll over, I get a face-full of wet tent side. SICK.

3. I cannot sleep in tiny sleeping bags. As someone who suffers from severe claustrophobia, I about lost my shit. I woke up almost every hour in a complete panic because I could not move. LAME.

4. Even with a foam pad underneath, ground = not comfortable.

I guess the good thing was that we had to be awake at 3:30 in the morning. So my stint with sleeping in nature really only lasted four hours. Still, that was four hours of hell. I was afraid to go pee because the bathrooms were so far away, so of course I had to pee the entire time (why, body? WHY?). I thought I would get eaten by a cougar or something. It's Idaho. Stranger things have happened.

So let's all flash forward to 5:00 a.m. and the start of the race. It's cold. We're all tired. But we're pretty stoked. Nikky ran our first leg and I ran the second. You'd think as a seasoned distance runner, I would be smart when it comes to putting on the proper clothing for running a race. I'll give myself props for having the wicking shirt on, but I lose some serious cred for having my hooded sweatshirt on. Granted, it was only 35 degrees when I started running, by the second mile, I was sweating balls. And I couldn't take off the sweatshirt because I had this damn reflective vest on with my number. Rules, rules, rules. Here's a pic of said reflective vest:

I finished my first leg, which was 5.8 miles, in 1:01. Not too bad, but I'm sure I could have gone faster if I had not been swimming in my own sweat for an hour. As soon as I crossed the exchange point, I started stripping off all my clothes. By the time I got to the porta-potty, I was down to my spandex shorts and sports bra. And it was still only 42 degrees outside. Sarah = smartest person alive. I also got a rash on the side of my neck from where the sweatshirt rubbed against my skin. I so lose more points for that.

Sally ran our third leg, Kent ran our fourth leg, Katie ran our fifth leg and Jake ran the summit and the last leg. Here are some photos from the race:

The sixth leg, which belonged to Jake, was this awesome 1400 foot hill climb up "Galena Summit." I'd like to call this death. Just DRIVING up this hill made me tired. I have no idea how Jake did it, or how he did it so quickly, but big kudos to this kid.

Here are some pictures from the top of the summit, and Katie and I being total dorks.

After the summit, the next six legs are pretty much a cake-walk downhill. Please enjoy the following pictures (in case you couldn't tell, this is a blog primarily dominated by photos).

I ran my second leg, which was a little over five miles, in 49 minutes. This is slightly closer to my actual mileage pace. I would have gone faster (and not had to walk part of it) had it not been for the huge difference in between Boise and Stanley. No kidding. I didn't think that elevation would make that big of a difference on my ability to breathe but oh my dear God, was I wrong. I thought my lungs were going to get coughed up and I would trip and them and probably tear my knee again. I'll keep this in mind for when I decide to hike to Base Camp at Mt. Everest.

Apparently while I was running, a group of women, who had stopped on the side of the road to cheer on their teammate, asked me how I was doing. I whined that all I wanted was a beer. And don't you know, one of those women met me at the exchange with a PBR. I almost cried. I gave her a hug. It was truly a touching moment.

We finished the entire relay in under 10 hours, which is super awesome. There was a fun little picnic at the end where I got a t-shirt, a medal and free beer. I also made friends with a volunteer who is from Boise. Because I'm one of those people that just loves making friends. Overall, I had a fantastic time, and I'm kind of bummed I don't get to run it again next year, but I definitely think this is a race I will keep up with, even if I move away from Idaho.