Friday, September 29, 2006

Sneak preview

Follow the link for a sneak preview of the course Tina and I will be running tomorrow. Oooh, it's 6:00pm I have to go to bed now so I can pick up Tina at the gawd-awful hour of 5:30 tomorrow.

And no, your eyes aren't playing tricks on you....the route as mapped says 21.69 miles. Shoot, we might as well do the whole thing! Ooops....did I say that?!?

Running and Running and Running

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Swim like a fish

We hit the pool for our weekly laps. The number of laps depends greatly upon the number of people in the lane, the cleanliness of the pool and what we've eaten that day.

When we arrived there were two lanes open, with only one person in each. Excellent. We started our laps and soon noticed that we were down to one lane. They took our other lane away and were using it for kiddie lessons! And only 2 kiddies at that. Seriously, they take up way less space than we do. You could take 2 lanes worth of kiddies and fit them into one lane. Ah well, there were only four adults in our lane, so it wasn't horrible.

This one guy, Japanese it turns out, had the smoothest strokes. He barely made a splash at all. After we had been flailing around like usual, Tina asked him for some pointers. Turns out he's an infomercial. He points to his hat and says 'you have to get this DVD.' It's called Total Immersion. Okay, we say we'll check it out. Later on as I'm finishing a couple of laps and taking a quick breather, he gives me two quick pointers.
1. look down at the bottom of the pool.
2. push your head down into the water.

Turns out I was riding too high in the water and creating more drag then necessary. Pushing your head down brings the hips up and makes for a more streamlined swimmer. I tried to push my head down and look down, and it did seem to work. I felt smoother in the water and not so splashy. Cool. We managed 52 laps in about 50 minutes.

2 days of rest and then......then 20-miler! If I survive, I'll blog the experience.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Stricken by injury

Tina and I took off for Garin last night to try and sneak in our run before darkness. We were going to the off leash area so we brought Bam and Teva to keep us company.

We started off from the parking lot and it was pretty comical. The dogs were pretty much dragging us around. With all of Tina's shouting out in surprise, I'm sure people wondered what the heck was going on over there. Hahahahaha!

So we hit the off leash section and settled into the big hill. Ugh, I had forgotten how incredibly long that hill is! Bam and Teva led the way sniffing and marking territory and more sniffing. I caught Bam pawing at a cow pie at a time which I'm sure was just prior to her rolling in it. Luckily she left it alone when I told her to, but it was a close call.

A bit later both dogs took off at a really fast run through the field chasing some birds. It was quite a site!

As we made it up the next big hill, Bam took off after a deer, with Teva following. Teva soon came back, but I had to call and call for Bam. I was sure she was all the way back down the hill and I'd have to go after her. The she comes towards us and I ask Tina "Is she limping??...No....a little, maybe....she's definitely limping." She came hobbling up to us and started whimpering and limping along. I had no idea how we were going to get her out of there. We were at about 1.6 miles and were trying to figure out if it was shorter to go back the way we came, or continue on. Either way is pretty much all downhill. Okay, let's press on.

By now, it's getting fairly dark. Bam is limping along and we're trying to go slow for her. We're starting to wonder which one of us is going to carry her out. Teva's wondering why we're lagging behind. Luckily Bam seems to loosen up a little bit and is trotting along with a pretty normal gait. I put on my headlamp to give us a little more light. I really don't want any more injuries, and the path is pretty bumpy. As we went by some trees, I swore I heard a mountain lion. But then I always think the weird sounds are a mountain lion...particularly when it gets dark.

So, we made it back to the car. 3.5 miles in about 50 minutes. That includes injury time tho and hills!

Bad news is that poor Bam is not wanting to walk today at all. She's holding her back, left leg in the air and not wanting to move. I gave her some ascriptin this morning and will check on her tonight. I think tonight is bed rest for her. Poor girl.

Monday, September 25, 2006


Yep, we earned those medals!

What a happy runner!

Or not....a mean sprint to the finish.....outta' my way!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

A nice Sunday run

We only had to do 8 miles today. Piece of cake.

I was given another chance at choosing the trail, so I opted for one I knew was flat and we hadn't been there, a plus. The minus was that I couldn't find a map of the trails to plot out an exact course. I did find a description which stated that there were over 10 miles of trails, so distance-wise I thought we would be okay. My pick of the day: Shoreline park in Mountain View. Jeff and I have played golf there and I knew there were some decent paths.

As I was getting ready to leave, Bam started getting VERY excited. Especially when she saw the running shoes. Sadly she had to stay home. No dogs allowed at most of Shoreline. That's one strike against it. Jeff said she whined and pouted for quite a while after I left. Poor Bam. Until he fed her that is. Then she seemed to forget all about me. Huh.

Tina picked me up and we headed over the bridge. As we got close to the park we started seeing "Race...this way" signs. Ooooo, I hope it's not too crowded. I didn't know there was going to be a race here today. We wound around the road to a parking area and started off. We kept seeing banners and a couple of water stops for the race, but no people. Finally we passed the start/finish line and the race hadn't even begun yet. Good for us...less people on the trail. It was a fairly nice trail, kind of straight and boring, but at least it was a change of scenery. The last section was shaded and kind of 'woodsy' which was nice. We hit our four miles and headed back. On the way back we saw a bunch of walkers. Guess they finally started the event. As we passed the start line we heard them calling for the 6-minute mile and faster runners. Hmmm, I think we're about to get run down. With a little over a mile to go we were passed by some guys who were seriously cruising. They were running a 5K and man they were RUNNING. Pretty impressive.

The volunteers, mostly a bunch of teenagers, kept cheering us on thinking that we were in the race. Tina finally told some of them 'you don't have to cheer for us, we didn't pay.' Hahahahahaha!

At the end of the run my GPS read: 8.04 miles in about 1:27. Nicely done.

Next Saturday: the DREADED 20 miler. (ominous music plays in the background)

Friday, September 22, 2006

What have I been doing?!?!?

I've been very busy thank you very much. So, I'm going to do one post to update the last week and then maybe I'll get back on track with my posts.

9/19 - Buddy run. Tina and I headed over to Garin since we hadn't been there in a while. Sadly, it's getting dark so early now it's tough to get after work runs in! We did the loop with the smaller hills, which I think is about 3.5 miles. Neither of us had our Garmins, since Tina was sure I'd have mine she didn't bring hers. I couldn't find mine (later found it buried in the dirty laundry) so we guesstimated time at about 40 minutes. Not bad since I'm sure you remember that Garin is a bit hilly. A good run.

9/20 - Jeff couldn't make his workout at the gym this morning with the trainer, so I went in his place. Got a good overall workout. About 2/5 legs, 2/5 arms and 1/5 abs. I didn't feel totally beat afterwards, just like I got a good workout, but man was I sore for a couple of days! I have to get back into the gym on a regular basis and soon. Also did our usual swim of about 40 laps in the evening. It was REALLY crowded at first, only one lane open. Tina spoke to one of the instructors tho and they kicked the little kiddies out of the lane and we took over. Go Tina. :-)

9/21 - Track workout. We did circuits even tho I was still sore from yesterday. We did the whole set although I imagine I was running much slower than usual. 1 warm up lap, 1 lap, 1 circuit-25 squats, 20 crunches, 15 pushups, 25 squats, 1 lap, 1 circuit-10 supermen, 20 crunches, 10 left leg only squats, 10 right leg only squats, repeat the whole sequence (except the warm up lap). We might have mixed up the circuits a little, but we got the just of it. I think it actually helped my muscles loosen up to do some exercise.


We're going to do our long run on Sunday this week. It's an 8-miler and I'm being given a second chance at course plotting. Remember-those little numbers are 'elevation', don't pick the big ones. Hahahahaha.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

We ran thru Disneyland!

We did it! We earned this super cool medal for running the Inaugural Disneyland 1/2 marathon.

I have to say it was the most entertaining and well supported run I've ever done. The course was a bit narrow and crowded, especially through the park, and they told us to show up way too early, but other than complaints.

So our day started with getting up at 3:30 to have a bite to eat and be at the start by 4:30, as directed by the instructions we received in the mail. Yeah, well we really just ended up standing around for 1-1/2 hours until the start at 6:00. Around start time there was evidently some entertainment, but our corral was too far back to see much. At last we heard the count down and 9 minutes later we crossed the start line. We're off!

We ran through Downtown Disney, through California Adventure and through Disneyland itself. Tina and I agreed that next year we need to bring a camera because there were Disney characters all over the place that we wanted to have our picture taken with! If we do it again, we'll be doing it for the entertainment value alone and not for time!

After we left the park, about mile 4, we headed out onto the streets of Anaheim for the most boring part of the run. Granted, the planners tried to liven things up by having marching bands, hula dancers, Mexican dancers, all sorts of stuff along the route. But running down city streets is, I think, inherently boring. Then about mile 9 we hit Angels stadium! We ran around the track and were projected onto the big screen! That was way cool.

About 2-1/2 more miles through city streets and we were back into the park for the home stretch. We hit the finish line at 2:28! YES! I wanted to be under 2:30 and we did it! Three cheers for us! Go Tina and Kristi! :-)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Expo and California Adventure

We hit the expo as soon as it opened this morning in an effort to get the good stuff before it was sold out. We hit the packet pick up first and got our race numbers and timing chips. Tina and I were then off and running like mad women. I think Matt thought we had lost our minds. It was fun tho! Next stop, pick up our commemorative t-shirt, of course. A pretty cool long sleeve dri-fit type running shirt. Excellent!

A quick stop to look at the shadow boxes for finisher medals and then over to the line for commemorative apparel. The line was moving pretty well, then when we got to the front they stopped it to let the check out line clear out. It was okay tho, because we were able to do some 'window' shopping and see what we wanted to grab. Sadly, one of the items I really wanted was already sold out in small! It was this really nice track jacket. Would have been perfect for warming up and running in cooler weather. Dang! We should have come down on Friday and hit the expo then! Argh!! Okay, I settled for some t-shirts and a fleece. Next we cruised around to see what free stuff we could get. We saw some cool t-shirts for sale, but again they were sold out of anything but XL. Sigh.

Once we had our fill of the expo we grabbed some food and then hit the California Adventure park. Not worth the admission price. We should have stuck with good old Disneyland. CA Adventure is pretty small and there are only a few good rides. Tower of Terror is awesome, and California Screamin' is a great roller coaster. But overall a disappointment. Maybe for the extra $20 it would have been worth it to get the park hopper. Ah, well, we really shouldn't have been on our feet so long as it is, so maybe it's good we didn't go to Disneyland since we probably would have spent more time there.

Finding a restaurant was an adventure in itself. Matt's new GPS kept sending us either back to Disneyland or to places that no longer existed. Eventually we made our way to a spaghetti joint, chowed down and headed back to the hotel. Not an early night like we planned, but in bed by 9:00. It's going to be a short night since we have to be up around 3:30 to head over to the starting area by 4:30. The race doesn't even start until 6! What's the rush??

Friday, September 15, 2006

I'm goin' to Disneyland!

I'm off to Anaheim tonight and Sunday is the Disney 1/2 marathon. The inaugural Disney 1/2. Too cool. I think it will be loads of fun.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Cool, cool, cool

Tina and I went to take a quick spin around Coyote Hills. We wanted to do just a couple or three miles to keep loose for Disney. We took off about 6:45, only to arrive at the park gates just as the ranger was getting ready to lock up. Since the days are shorter now, the park closes at 7:00 instead of 8:00. Argh.

So instead we went over to Don Edwards regional park and the gates there don't close until 8:00, so we did a quick jaunt around two small loop trails. And man, it felt like winter was closer than summer. It was breezy and cool and I wished I had been wearing my running pants instead of my shorts. I did have a long sleeved shirt, thank goodness. It was still too cool for my comfort. I was barely sweating, which for me is saying something.

2.21 miles in 23:45 or so.

The bad shin started a bit of achiness. Go away pain, I'm not giving in. We'll see how it holds up at Disney.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Motion of the ocean/invasion of the sasquatch

Tina and I hit the pool for our weekly laps. Our first indication that it was going to be very busy was the parking lot. We had to park way far away. When we got inside, we could see that there were about 30 women doing the aqua aerobics class. There were only 2 lap lanes open and several people in each lane. What happened to the great nights where we were practically the only ones here?

Taking a look at our choice of the 2 lanes (fast/slow), we opted for slow. Paddle-hands man was in the fast lane and he can get quite testy if he perceives that you get in his way. There were 2 other people in the slow lane, so we'd have to negotiate around them. I started out on my first few laps and noticed something strange. There was an ocean like movement to the water. Okay, maybe more like a lake, but still there was chop. It was coming from the aerobics women! They were making the pool choppy! It was actually difficult to get my head out of the water enough to breathe sometimes. Unbelievable.

We splashed, kicked, and choked our way up to 38 laps when the sasquatch man joined the slow lane. Ewww. Okay, I guess 40 is it for tonight. Well, we have to take it easy anyway for the Disney 1/2. Uh, yeah, that's it.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Warm up

I have told myself to take it easy this week. One reason is to recover from the disaster last Saturday. Also, I want to rest a bit to give myself a chance to have a good run at the Disney 1/2 marathon on Sunday. So, do I listen to myself? No, not really. Sigh.

I started out to do a short run to see how I would feel. I headed out from my house, down Niles Blvd towards Quarry lake, around the big hay field, through the Isherwood staging area, across Alameda Creek and back the same route. I felt pretty good on the way out. On the way back, with about 1 mile left to go I started to feel really tired. What's going on? I should be able to do this run without feeling it at all. Granted it's a bit faster than a 'long' run pace, but still. I know, I know, I'm probably pushing myself too hard. I guess Tina's right...I am an over achiever. It was warm today, so maybe that contributed to my fatigue. Maybe I was dehydrated. Who knows. On a positive note, my shin seems to have given in to my will. It didn't bother me at all tonight. Then again, maybe it's laying low to act up at a most inopportune time. We shall see.

Total time: a little over an hour. Total distance: somewhere just under 6 miles. My GPS zonked out a little over 1/2 way (which was 2.8 miles). When I looked at it as I arrived home it said 11.something miles. Uh, yeah, I don't think so.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Word for today...struggle

Tina and I hit the road bright and early this morning at 6:00. Well, early anyway, but the sun was not yet up so it sure wasn't bright.

We arrived at the San Leandro Marina all set to do our 16-18 mile run. Which for us translates to 18 miles, of course. You know...over achievers. It was cool, but not too cold, and a little breezy. Good running weather. I was a little apprehensive about this run. For some reason I just wasn't feeling great. But we were going to give it our best shot.

The first few miles went by and I just didn't feel like I was getting into a groove. By the time we hit 6 miles, I really felt bad. I was having side stitches and feeling tired already. It was nothing like the 16-miler a couple weeks ago. That one was tough, but doable.

The course was 8 miles out and back. Somewhere on the course we were supposed to make up the extra two miles. Like repeat the last mile, or add a 1 mile loop on the end of the run. Tina and I decided to add a mile on once we reached 8 miles. So we went past the turn around and did one more mile then turned back. For one reason, it's mentally easier to see the finish line and know you can stop instead of having to go past the finish line and do an extra mile. For another reason, most of the 8 miles were on a gravelly trail which was wreaking havoc with our stride not to mention our joints. The extra mile we did was on pavement and we noticed an immediate difference.

I was really struggling by mile 11. I was exhausted and nauseous and felt like I wasn't going to make it. Tina, good run buddy that she is, suggested we do a combination walk/run for the last 6 miles. I was running so slow at that point that I didn't really think it would make a difference time-wise, and it didn't. It did help relieve my nausea and it seemed easier to push through 5-7 minutes of running, realizing that once we made it through those few minutes we could have a one minute walk break. I think Tina was doing much better than I and could have finished much sooner, but she wouldn't leave me behind. I owe her one, since she pretty much dragged me to the finish. We missed a part of the course and ended up doing 'only' 17.1 miles in about 3:40.

I don't know what it was exactly about this run that had me so down, but it was the worst run I can ever remember having. Including the full marathon. Tina thinks it was the gravel that makes it feel like you're running over molasses. That may be part of it. Mama Lisa (one of our coaches) says that everyone will have a bad run once in a while and we shouldn't get too down about it but I was really discouraged. I've come all this way and then I feel like I have a major set back. My eating habits hadn't changed from previous weeks. My activity level was about the same. I had a couple nights of bad sleep, but not too bad. Is my body trying to tell me that this is too much? Or did I just have a bad run, like coach says? All told it was only one more mile than the run two weeks ago, so why was it so bad? Argh. I'm driving myself nuts trying to figure out what went wrong. I need to just put it behind me and move on. Easier said than done. Hopefully I'll have a good run on the 17th at Disney and that will help my mental state. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Quick sprints

I bet you thought I meant the sprints were quick, eh? Nope. Just that we only did a few so track workout was quick tonight. We were taking it easy in preparation for our big 16-18 miler this weekend. So, one warm up lap, then 8 sets of sprints followed by a cool down lap and we were outta' there. Told you it was quick.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Just keep swimming....just keep la la la la

Okay, so maybe I've seen Finding Nemo a few too many times.

It was my theme for the evening tho. I hit the pool right after work and when I arrived there were 3 lap lanes open and only one other person. Cool, a lane to myself. Eventually one more person showed up, and by then there were 4 lap lanes open. The pool was clean, I was in a groove. It was probably due to my new streamlined swimming cap. 60 laps and about 47 minutes later I hopped out of the pool and headed home to walk my Bamber-dog. When I left there was still no one else in my lane and only 4 people (including me) in the pool. Where is everyone? Don't know, but it sure was nice....and clean. Did I mention how clean the pool was? :-)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Same ol', same ol'

Bam and I did our usual Tuesday night 5 mile route. My GPS was out of whack, so although I didn't measure the actual mileage, it's the same route we've been taking so it has to be close to 5 miles. Time: 53:45. A little aching in the shin, but not too bad. Hopefully it's giving up and realizing that I'm not going to stop running just because it aches.

It's getting dark much earlier now and I'm starting to wonder how I'm going to run the Bamber-girl when I lose the sunlight. Maybe I'll have to do morning runs and then go into work a little later. Hmm, running in the morning...blah. And then what will I do when I get up in the dark and get home in the dark? I miss summer already.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Last 10 of Nike Route

Tina and I decided to do the last 10 miles of the Nike route, just for the experience. Also, I think this will be the hardest section. There is a 3 mile section that runs down the Great Highway (boring!), then about 4.5 miles around Lake Merced (seems to go forever!) and than back down the Great Highway to the finish line. I remember this section from last year as being pure hell.

We took off about 8:00 Sunday morning. It was typical San Francisco, overcast and cool. I was glad to have worn my long running pants instead of shorts. The first section of the Great Highway seemed to go by really quickly and the lake seemed to be okay at first too. Of course, Tina mentioned that it probably can't compare to last year when I'd run 16 miles already before hitting this section. Oh yeah....that's right. As we were continuing around the lake, I realized why it's so daunting. I have no sense of direction when I'm running around the lake and I don't feel like I'm making progress in getting around, but just running and running. I tried to notice some landmarks so when we're running Nike I can remind myself where I'm at. Then I noticed that there are 1/2 mile markers on the course, so that will come in handy too.

We finally made it around the lake, after almost taking the wrong road and took off back down the Great Highway. A little ways past the zoo I called for a snack. I think we were just shy of 9.5 miles or so. I felt like I was starting to lose focus (starting?!?!) and we stopped for a quick bite. I choked down two Shot Blocks. Mistake. I got side stitches after that and had to pinch my side and really concentrate on my breathing to make them go away. No more Shot Blocks! That was their last chance. I'm sticking with the salty pretzels from now on. And maybe some CarbBoom. Maybe.

Our training calendar said 7-9 miles for Nike Full Marathoners. Over achievers that we are, we did 10.4 in about 1:54. Nice going!

Tina: "Yeah, but can we keep it up for 16 more miles?"
Me: "Don't know about you, but me? Uh, no."