Tag Archives: Website

Happy 4th Birthday, Where’s the Finish!

Where’s the Finish turns 4 today!

I can’t remember what it was like to be 4 years old, but I’ll certainly remember this past year in running (or not running).  From my sprained/broken ankle, to the misdiagnosis, the first rehab, the correct diagnosis, the second rehab, and the final (very late) return to running, it’s been a painful year without a lot of blog posting since I didn’t have much running stuff to write about.

Central Park’s version of “Reflection Lake.”

But that’s all over now, and I’m already in the eighth (8th!?!) week of training for the NYC marathon (12 weeks to go!).  I took the last two weeks totally off from running, however, as I was on vacation in the Pacific Northwest (Washington & Oregon)!  It was an amazing trip and I throughly enjoyed myself (and all the fish & chips & Dairy Queen…) but returning to running the last couple days has been painful.  Not because of my ankle, or even my knees, but because I feel like a bloated slug full of broken marbles and quick-setting cement.

Eating all of this yesterday on a food tour also did not help.

To be honest, even though I’m incredibly grateful and thrilled to be running again, running still kinda sucks.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s much better than not running, but there are still many days when it’s really, really hard, and it’s hot outside, or it’s too cold, or it’s raining, or I’m tired, or there’s something on TV (there’s always something on TV), or I’d rather reorganize my sock drawer than go out for a run.  And even when I do get out the door, sometimes the actual running sucks, too, and I feel heavy, and slow, and I can’t breathe, and everything hurts, and I’d rather be folding socks and watching TV.

Saw this in Central Park on my run today. So prophetic…

So, yes, there is hard work ahead.  And I’m trying to keep in mind what the cute PT told me recently – this marathon is about returning to running, not about speed, not about time.  It’s about being healthy and uninjured and enjoying myself.  I can’t compare myself to where I was a year and a half ago, or play the “what if I never injured myself” game.  I can just keep slogging out the uncomfortable miles and hope the growing pains don’t last too long.

 

And as I do on every blog birthday, I reflect on my goals.  Even though I’ve been stuck on state #24 for a long time now, I still hope to run a marathon in all 50 states (although half marathons are so tempting… but I’m not ready to drop down to that level yet).  I still hope to improve my running speed and endurance (which should be easy at this point since I’m bargain basement).  And I hope to celebrate many more birthdays with all of you!

 

How do you deal when running sucks?  Is rhubarb crisp an acceptable substitute for birthday cake?  What if you put a candle in it?  Share in the comments!

Happy Birthday, Where’s The Finish!

 

WTFinish 1st birthday

Celebrating 1 year with MS Paint.

Happy first birthday!  I started WheresTheFinish.com one year ago today, and while I’ve enjoyed having this new blogging aspect to running, I’ve had a pretty bad year in terms of actually pounding the pavement.  From the Polar Vortex to new and (not) improved injuries, unexpected events led me to my first two DNS marathons and my Personal Worst marathon time.

 

In fact, these last few months (of injury and of being unable to train in even the half-assed way I call training) have made me seriously re-think my marathoning goals.  As of today I still want to run a full marathon in every state, but at this rate I think that desire is going to dwindle due to frustration.  Again, hasn’t happened yet, but I can feel it, and to temper that thought, I have to create some back-up plans.  Just like every marathon should be run with multiple goals in mind (so missing one goal won’t “ruin” your marathon experience), my marathon-of-marathons (aka the 50 States) needs to have another goal besides finishing 50.

 

It’s always been about the fun, the travel, and the experience, but right now it’s strongly tied to the full 26.2.  But I might have to swallow my pride and lower it to 13.1.  I don’t mean to take anything away from those who have the goal of a half in every state, but for me the real challenge was the full – I always felt that even without much training I could power through 13 miles, and thus a 50 States goal would only be one of travel and scheduling if it were only for half marathons.  A full marathon was (and increasingly is) a serious physical challenge for me, and one that I am never 100% sure I’ll be able to accomplish.

 

But these weeks of not being able to run at all, and the daunting prospect of needing to finish 37 more states, has sucked some of the fun out of the adventure.  I love traveling to these random towns and seeing the US in a way I never would otherwise, and I love being social with other runners at the pasta dinners and the races themselves, so I don’t want to give up race travel entirely.  I must remind myself that there is no gold medal* for finishing a marathon in every state, and no one besides me will ever care if I do it or not.  It’s really only the Type-A gunner inside me that won’t view the “half or full in every state” as a true accomplishment.  I’m going to have to have a chat with that gunner, show her my plantar fasciitis, my tendonitis, my patellofemoral pain syndrome, and my random hip pain, and try to convince her that halves are good enough.  She might hold out a few more years (especially if the injuries subside), and she might even see me through all full 50, but she might also concede that halves might have to do for now (and then she will promptly justify why that’s a good decision, not only for health but also for sightseeing purposes, and while we’re at it, why don’t we try going for a new PR in that half time?).  Shhhh, gunner, this is all still very tentative, and I still have vague hopes to run the Blerch and plans to run Chicago and Houston.

 

This was meant to be a “happy birthday” post but I suppose re-evaluating the main theme of this blog is an appropriate thing to do on an anniversary.  I have no plans on quitting the blog (I know you were worried…), but would love to hear any feedback on what kind of future posts you’d like to see – race recaps, general travel info, candy reviews, gear reviews, random posts about my running life, other running topics I haven’t covered but you’d like to see?  Please share your blog desires in the comments, and I promise to consider them as I eat candy.

 

Also, to celebrate this site’s 1-year anniversary, I’ve signed up for the NYC Pizza Run.  It’s about 2 miles of “running” and 3 large slices of pizza-eating, and, let’s be honest, I would have signed up even if it wasn’t the website’s birthday.  I might only barely be able to run right now, but my pizza-eating skills have only improved with age.  Expect a full recap with at least one photo of which I’m terribly ashamed.

 

Finally, some random housekeeping – sorry for my lack of posts; they are only equaled by my lack of running.  I still owe you a bunch of Montana photos/posts, and I also took an unexpected cross-country road trip last week, wherein I visited a lot of states but did not run a step.  I will get to those soon-ish, as Blerch is rapidly approaching (6 weeks away!), as is Chicago (only 9 weeks!).

 

*I just discovered the lucite award that the 50 States Club used to award finishers has been replaced by a paper certificate!  This is both a devastating blow and also oddly liberating, as I was willing to run my knees into the ground to get that damn lucite award, but I’m not willing to do much for a paper certificate (diplomas notwithstanding).

 

Do you ever re-evaluate your running goals?  Do you like pizza and live in the tri-state area?  Are you outraged by a paper certificate replacing the lucite award?  Do you think it’s ok to eat birthday cake for a website?  Share in the comments!

Where's the Finish Panda

A little on how the sausage is made

The winning panda, drawn by Fiverr jukra13.

The winning panda, drawn by Fiverr jukra13.

This site is about running, with a primary objective to inform and a secondary objective to entertain.  My rule for content is “if it’s not related to running, it doesn’t go on the site.”  So you won’t get posts about a movie I saw, or a craft I made, or a bad date I had (unless, of course, it relates to running, e.g., running away from said bad date).  However, I couldn’t resist posting about my recent attempts to get a logo for this site, and although it’s not really related to running, (1) at least it’s related to this website and (2) I make the rules, I break the rules.

 

I’m not yet happy with how this site looks.  I’m trying to focus on content before worrying about style, but the sooner I get it looking like I want it to look, the sooner I can start telling people about it without embarrassment.  First up on my list of to-dos is getting a nice logo.  I already have a very concrete idea of what I want, it’s just a matter of realizing it.  Since I’ve tried getting (unrelated) logos made online before with dismal results, I decided to take my idea to Times Square and ask the caricature sketch artists there to try their hand at it.  I thought that I would simply scan their images, clean them up a bit, and be ready to go.  I learned a lot that day, first and foremost being that those $5 caricature street artists can’t draw a logo.

 

Artist #1 drawing from my clipart printout

Artist #1 drawing from my clipart printout.

The first guy I approached was a little confused at what I wanted, but quickly settled down and gamely copied the printout image I brought for inspiration.  A woman who seemed to be the manager of this particular two-artist operation got a kick out of what I was trying to have done.  She also upsold me a frame to transport the drawing – something I had thought about earlier but forgot to get before I left home.  The frame was listed on their product price list for $20, but I negotiated her down to $10 (I tried for $5 but didn’t push very hard).  This “frame,” by the way, is a thin piece of plastic cellophane bordered by thin cardboard, held together by masking tape.  The frame turned out to be essential, however, as these charcoal drawings smudge when you look at them and are drawn on paper that’s tissue thin.  As for that first drawing itself, the head on the woman was a bit long and overall it didn’t improve much on what I already had.  No fear!  On to the next artist!

 

Artist #2 drawing the Girl on Fire

Artist #2 drawing The Girl on Fire.

The second guy asked to see both my printout and the other artist’s drawing.  He mocked how ugly the first drawing was, acting confident that he could do a much better job.  Then he spent the next couple minutes scrolling through his iPhone, looking at old drawings he had done, and finally asking if it was ok to draw the woman standing with her hip cocked out.  I told him no, I needed her running.  He seemed to struggle with this, but eventually settled on doing a reverse image of the drawing (holding the printout up to the light to see through it).  I’ll give him credit for taking some artistic license and giving the runner flowing hair, but in retrospect it looks like her head is on fire.  Plus, the drawing took a long time and in general wasn’t that great.  So much for artist #2 making fun of artist #1!  (Also, his woman manager wanted to know how much I paid for the frame, making me a little uncomfortable and oddly feeling like I would get the other woman in trouble for breaking some unwritten street artist manager code.)

 

Artist #3 making quick work

Artist #3 making quick work of the sketch.

The third guy was the most intimidating, as far as caricature artists can be intimidating.  I had skipped him earlier since he was smoking a cigarette and didn’t look like he wanted to be bothered.  This time he wasn’t smoking and was sketching something for himself (a sign of a true artist?).  I explained what I wanted, he looked at my printout and at the other two drawings, then got down to business.  He used the side of his charcoal to draw thick lines with minimal strokes, finishing the silhouette in no time flat.  It was my favorite so far since it was the closest to the black and white logo I was thinking of, and he seemed pretty pleased with it himself.  He had no woman manager, clearly preferring to work alone.

 

Artist #4 making his own interpretation

Artist #4 making his own interpretation.

I crossed the street to visit the fourth guy.  At this point I truly felt like a crazy person, collecting ugly, smudged sketches of computer clipart, but figured that since I took the time to come down to do this, I might as well get as many sketches as I could stand.  The fourth guy, much like the first two guys, was managed by a woman who was calling out to the passing tourists.  (She also demanded information about my frame, but I lied and told her I got it from home.)  He took a while to get started, but I think his finished piece was pretty nice (but definitely not like the logo I was envisioning).

 

For the fifth and final guy I decided to just have a caricature done, since I didn’t feel like I was getting anywhere with the logo.  I don’t have a photo of him drawing since I was posing as the subject (smile!).  Since he used a little bit of color (without asking me and with me unable to see what he was doing) he demanded $10 instead of $5.  I didn’t want to argue so I gave it to him.  He also really tried to sell me another frame because he said his drawing would get smudged in my old frame, but I cleaned off the plastic with my hand (making my palm black) and he seemed somewhat satisfied by that (his woman manager didn’t push me on the frame).  He clearly had a lot of pride of authorship, as you can see that he was the only one to sign and date his work.

At any rate, at the end of this experiment, I was out a total of $40 but five strange drawings and five strange experiences richer.  I also learned that the caricature business can be brisk and busy – several artists were so occupied I had to skip them.  Also, most customers were having their two kids drawn (two people B&W = $15, color even more), and everybody must have walked away with a frame.  If you want to work on the NYC sidewalks, caricature drawing sure seems to beat selling fruit (five, sometimes eight bananas for one dollar!  biggest bargain in the city!).

 

That night I started exploring my options online (finding lots of sites that will make a logo for around $300), then saw an ad for Fiverr (which my friend had suggested a week ago but I dismissed it – doh!).  My knowledge of Fiverr was limited to segments on TV where celebrity hosts got people to do weird things for $5, so I didn’t take the site seriously, but there actually was a lot of talent on there, so I ordered a few woman runner logos and one fun panda crossing the finish line, because I like pandas and what the heck.  Turns out the panda graphic was done in less than 24 hours, the creator did two quick revisions for me, and now I have my temporary logo for $5.  (Well, I would have had it for $5 if I had just gone straight to him and not done all the other stuff…)  I still might switch it out for a female silhouette runner, but for now I’m going with it.

 

Also, since this is the post about sausage and if you’ve read this far you might care about these things, the web host I chose was hostgator (decent reviews online, supposedly almost never down for maintenance) and I’m using wordpress to create the site (they seem to dominate in the self-hosted blogs, and so far it’s been fine, although I wouldn’t know the difference).  I know next-to-nothing about creating websites, so this is all very new to me.  I’m trying to slog through CodeAcademy lessons online and read beginner tutorials about HTML and CSS (I just learned there was such a thing as CSS), so I plan on making this site prettier and prettier.  Also, your trivia for the day – the little icon that appears on the tab or next to the name of a website is called a “favicon,” short for “favorites icon.”  (Yes, there are other names for it, too, but favicon is the cutest.)  End of non-running digression!

 

Have you ever created a logo or website?  Any resources you recommend or tips you have?  Are you now addicted to Fiverr like I am?  Share in the comments!