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Wednesdays were Wonderful

And we still remember. Here the excitement of weekdays past lives on.

Wednesday, the 31st of March, 2010

Lots of fun at Sharkeez. But we’re all busy packing for the weekend Wildflower camping/training experience. See y’all!

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Wednesday, the 17th of March

Last week, headlamps. This week, sunglasses. What a difference a day(light saving time) makes. We welcome Dave, Liz, and Taj back from a Mexico trip, the fun details of which will just have to be omitted from this Web site. With Andrea, Lisa, and Kelly also back we have restored the estrogen/testosterone balance from last week’s disruption. Shajan arrived late, but making the classic (and inevitable -- we all do it) Groover move, he just started on the course and ran his part. You’re not a true Groover (or Mover) until you’ve started late and just toughed it out! Andrew helped Josh slow down and Josh helped Andrew speed up. We saw Desa and GiGi playing in the sand and swings at East Beach.

But what to do afterward? It’s St. Patrick’s Day, and taverns, alehouses and rathskellers everywhere are packed. We scout out both the Brew Co Lounge and State & A, but no room at the inn. We decide on Chilango’s, the Mexican place next to the Brew Co. We were well served, sat right by the parade of Irish and Irish wannabees on State Street. People stopping by to say hi all dinner long made us feel like maybe this is a place we should try more often.

We worked at staying in the St. Paddy spirit, with a very international touch: watched a soccer game on Spanish-language television between two Korean teams, drinking Mexican beer and eating chips dipped in green guacamole.

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Wednesday, the 10th of March

We started in daylight this time, the last Wednesday run before Daylight Saving Time is instituted this weekend. And even on the run back, there was enough skylight to navigate the tricky tree-roots of the Bird Refuge running path.

This evening’s run was distinguished by the notable (and regrettable) absence of the fairer (and perhaps smarter?) gender. We believe this was a first in the history of Nite Grooves. Big boys don’t cry, so we gritted our teeth and laughed all the way. But we didn’t degenerate into a tickle fest or any of those other hijinks that groups of guys apparently get into.

After the run, we absconded to the Brew House (not the Co), where the menu was so extensive we had to get our our reading glasses (an aging bunch!) and study up. A few relatively new faces, like Travis (shown here discussing the beer menu with a server) who is a serious off-road runner. Peter was wondering if he should have taken that Pilates class so soon before the Catalina Marathon. Maybe he will even see the legendary (mythical?) great white buffalo. (Josh, perhaps that’s some more inspiring training music.)

Taj is planning out his driving down south — and has his trusty traffic map on cell phone. How did we do anything before our modern information tools? Andrew got two wines for the price of one: a bit of the restaurant’s left hand not knowing what the right hand was doing. The second server (clearly one of those smarter women) was kind enough to laugh and let him have it. (The wine.) He was laughing soon enough too. We toasted the absent distaff side and worried about Jody up there in Alaska after hearing this story about wolves.

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Tuesday, the 9th of March, 2010

Just a few interesting news stories for this pre-Groove day. Brian has called our attention to (yet another) article about food and diet. The executive summary? It’s complicated.

But here’s something positive for the ladies: a study that finds moderate drinking is associated with less weight gain. Sounds like most of our Groovers are on the right path!

Wednesday, the 3rd of March

Alert Groovers noticed during the day that the odds were good for rain during the hallowed hour of 6-7 PM. Some chatter took place online, mostly bold commitment to carrying on, muddling through, hanging on in quiet desperation. When it came down to putting foot to ground, there were about a dozen hardy souls to try their soles. Especially Brian, who ran barefoot!

As luck would have it, the rain stopped during the run and we were drying out by the time we finished. After that, a visit to Dargan’s, with a “beauty stop” for some of us, who looked all the better for it. We discussed the upcoming release of Tim Burton’s film version of Alice in Wonderland, and the difficulty of making literal what is so imaginative. That led to a discussion of translation, for example of the poem “Jabberwocky”. How to render such nonsense as “’Twas brillig”? One French translation starts “Il brilgue”; a German one has it as “Es brillig war”. But could any culture really appreciate wackiness as much as the Brits, who gave us silly walks?

Brian was talking about being so down-and-out as to resort to eating pet food. (Not him you understand, just a reflection of the difficult times.) David Lindley, that multi-instrumentalist, once sang a tongue-in-cheek (we hope) song about that...

Another topic was the location of the 2012 Winter Olympics, in Сочи (Sochi), Russia. How “high” was this place, both in latitude and altitude? (Funny that those words are anagrams, no?) Various nerds got out their various nerd tools to figure this out. The short answer is that Sochi is at 43° North latitude, that is, almost exactly halfway between the equator and the north pole, and about parallel with Bordeaux, Venice, and Portland, OR. Will it have enough snow? Only time will tell.

Jayna entertained us with the story of how she is setting up time-lapse motion-triggered video coverage in her lab where a new optical table is being installed. So that researchers can indulge in recursion and investigate their own activities. Like so many ants swarming around a new find. We “higher” species can be remarkably similar to our “lower” relatives.

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Wednesday, the 24th of February

A little rain threatening.. but it was clear skies when the pedal actually hit the metal at eighteen-hundred hours this Wednesday evening. Nonetheless there were plenty of challenges for the dauntless daring doggies (yes, there were dogs!) that drove the dark. Puddles! Or would they be oceans? You can’t tell unless you run right through them, getting your shoes and socks completely soaked, and then it’s too late anyway, so you might as well keep on going. There were a few dark spots around the bird sanctuary that no Petzl headlamp could quite fathom. Some ran around them, some went right through.

And it seemed so light when we started! But we are still in the winter months, and our relatives on Facebook don’t seem too sympathetic as they shovel themselves out of the latest blizzard.

After the run we reassembled, like a flock of birds shrugging off a small disturbance, at Brew Co Lounge. They were probably wondering where we’d been for the past few weeks. Sterling and Brian were predictably talking about cars and/or money... well they actually know a lot about both, and it’s worth your while to hear what they say. Learn from your elders! Laura T and her upstanding young daughters came along to teach the elders good manners. There was discussion about the upcoming Solvang bike rides: historically rainy and once again threatening to be the same. Josh has publically committed to doing it anyway. He may have some stories to tell next Wednesday!

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Saturday, the 20th of February

No Wednesday report for this past week, but we’re sure it was a big party. That is, if anyone was recovered from the preceding day’s Mardi Gras!

Some healthy news for Groovers who are (probably) already guzzling green tea by the barrel: it’s good for your vision too. Now you won’t have to use that “other” glaucoma medication they sell down the street. Unless you want the munchies too. And then there’s that Vitamin D... how do you get it? It’s not so easy, but there’s always cod liver oil!

Sunday, the 14th of February

Happy Valentine’s Day to all groovy Groovers!


Wednesday, the 10th of February

Each evening it’s a little lighter out when we start — but still dark when we finish! And word must be getting around: we seem also to have new faces each time. Well, let the party get bigger. In May it will expand a lot more.

Dinner was, as conjectured last week, at Dargan’s. Adults and kids played well together. Three generations, even: Stacy’s dad, a retired Boston cop, stopped by, and remembered quite a few of us from a visit two years ago. In his profession, a memory for faces must be quite useful. He and his daughter will be vacationing to Australia next week. She promises not to give him a heart attack by surfing on huge waves... but perhaps a little body-surfing will be irresistable.

There was more than one photographer there, as Laura T’s daughter shows. Plenty of “walking wounded,” i.e. athletes with ongoing “issues.” But as the saying goes, there are only two kinds of athletes: those who have injuries, and those who are going to have injuries. We sometimes have to exercise our common sense to recover. Your webmaster found a wine label that probably expresses what Kelly K wants to do to that tree she skied into.

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Wednesday, the 3rd of February

Finally, not so much wind or cold. Back to the weather that makes us forget about winter altogether. On the way out we were guided by Mars, low in the sky right in front of us. On the way back... well at least we were on the way back! The long-missed Heather caught up to the peloton on the way back and vowed to be more consistent. But she normally runs in the mornings. Is that normal?

Still more talk about barefoot running, because it seems we can’t go a week without another new article about it coming around. Executive summary: barefoot runners hit the ground more lightly. Guess that helps when you land on sharp rocks!

We intended to go to the Brew Co Lounge yet again, though resolving to try Dargans next week, but then the Lounge was packed, so we just diverted to Madison’s. We were Knights of the Square Table and we made Maddies as packed as the Lounge was. Sterling explained how wearing down is what makes automatic transmissions work in the first place. So don’t expect them to last. Both he and Taj have upcoming long races, and Taj is tweaking his optimal race weight. The latest buzz suggests that your best weight is... whatever you weighed at your last best race.

We stayed so long that the karaoke was being set up, and Karen took the stage and owned it! She was a blonde Pat Benatar (remember “Hit Me With Your Pet Shark?”) or a female Geddy Lee belting it out in an octave many singers can only dream of. Look for her at Nite Moves some day.

P.S.: That dangling participle was for you Desa. Heal that knee. Swim!

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Wednesday, the 27th of January

How many synonyms can we come up with (sorry for all those prepositions in a row, Desa!) for “blustery”? Perhaps “blastery”? We had to go around downed trees by Desa’s place and pass beached boats at the beach and endure sand in the eyes. Is there no stopping us? Apparently not, because we all ran fast and faster this evening and didn’t get lost.

Our momentum carried us all the way to the Brew Co Lounge, where we were joined by more Groovers who just didn’t happen to run this evening. You can see Liz rounding ’em up on the phone... well Dave arrived, and Desa, and Jayna.

Desa is nursing a knee injury, but was also at Parents Night at San Marcos. Hope she assigned those parents some homework! Her scholars are now reading Beowulf, the classic Old English tale. For a long time, the last word on Beowulf scholarship was said by one John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, whose other well-known accomplishment was... contributing to the ‘W’ section of the Oxford English Dictionary. (And if you don’t think that ‘W’s are important, just look at this Web page itself.)

Some buzz about upcoming marathons, and running at pace rather than race. And about recovery from marathons. Lizzie is a total mom and reminds us that it’s “one day per mile” that you lay off after a race. There are several Groovers “in recovery” and we hope they will all be kicking you-know-what ASAP.

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Monday, the 25th of January

And that would make it Happy Robert Burns’ birthday! What? He’s not a Groover? Well he would have been if he’d been around. We can all still learn a lesson from him. Real (Scots)men do write poetry.

Wednesday, the 20th of January

No photos or story this time, unless some Groovers who were present would like to contribute some stories and photos. (Send to webmaster at nitegrooves dot org.) But we can report that the rain did die down and give our steadfast runners a window of opportunity.

One closure to report: this weekend’s Triple Crown bike race up Figueroa. Race director J. Ritterbeck reports predictions of snow up there, and the concomitant lowlanders who love to drive up to see it. Not the best for lines of skinny bikers in spandex. Tentatively rescheduled for 20 February.

Monday, the 18th of January

I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in, and”... now what were we thinking again? Oh yes, that the forecast looks much the same for the next few days. But fear not! We will be running on Wednesday. Maybe somebody has a hot tub they can donate for après-run?


Thursday, the 14th of January

OK, it's official: Lance wants to do an Ironman. The Ironman. Was there ever any doubt?

Wednesday, the 13th of January

Seemed like a reasonable, though cool evening when we got in our cars to head to the venerable Meeting Place. But down at the beach it was again a very blustery Winds-day. The wind seemed to die down as we got further along, but that should have made us suspicious. Sure enough, as soon as we turned around it was a gale in our faces! Laura T showed her tough-enough-ness by pushing her daughter along on a few extra wheels. Was that motorized?

We had magnanimous plans to go to Deano’s for dinner, to bolster their slipping bottom line, but when we got there we were told “The kitchen’s closed for a half hour.” That gave our food an E.T.A. of 90 minutes later... a bit long for glycogen-depleted athletes. So we decamped to Giovanni’s across the street. We tried to get the message out to all we could, but we missed (in both senses) Desa and Brianna. Sorry ladies, we didn’t just stand you up!

The food and service were great, and we thought this place could stand another visit or two. Sterling showed how a real runner drinks. Stocking up for his marathon next month in Huntington Beach. His only previous one was at age 16 — an impressive feat of which he remembers nothing. Condemned to repeat the past then. Kelly showed off her bling on the injured side, and told the “cover story” about fighting the mountain lion. Poor thing — the lion, that is. Everybody talked skiing. As you can see, there were pizzas everywhere, and very few leftovers. We all missed a certain vital Groover, and didn’t know how we will be able to carry on. But a few more beers and we all forgot. Who were we talking about again?

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Monday, the 11th of January

A new run series! Do we ever get enough chances to drain our legs and livers of glycogen merely to restock them again? Check out the UCSB Runs website and be sucked down another slippery slope of race entering.


Wednesday, the 6th of January

For a minute there, it seemed like it was going to be a pretty skinny run — not the runners’ builds but the build-up of the runners themselves. Who’s here? You? Me? But then we heard Brian’s voice complaining about the cold and we knew it was back to the good old Nite Grooves. We waited around a little longer than usual, to give people their New Year’s “bye”. Appropriately, we had a new visitor, Shajan. Welcome! Like all of us, he is “getting back into it.”

“It” was kind to us, or else we were all very speedy still after the holidays, because we all kept up well and felt fast. We heard about all sorts of vacation activities, a lot of which were more sedentary than what we were doing.

After the run we reconvened at the Brew Co Lounge, where there is always room, the service is always prompt, and we always have fun. We had Dave’s son with us, who apparently got his butt kicked by his step-sister Emmy at the lounge’s video game. Maybe he just let her win, but really the kids are always better at those things. There was a lot of reminiscing about recent hangovers... but also it seemed some planning of future ones. Do we ever learn? We will run it off!

The papparazzo designated to cover this milestone event had only a cell phone camera, so the documentation here looks a bit like it felt: all a big blur of fun. If you know the protagonists, you will recognize them; if not, it’s all a bit impressionistic.

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Tuesday, the 5th of January

Happy New Year to all Groovers! Tomorrow we reunite at the sacred meeting place to compare resolutions, share distributions, and scare all institutions by running amok. No excuses, it will be dark but not cold. See you all there!