Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Rain drops are falling....

Well, pretty much everywhere.

I was working at home today and thought I'd sneak out for a lunch time run in between rain showers. I peeked out the door and it wasn't coming down, so I leashed up Bam and headed out. We had gone about 1-1/2 miles when the rain came. I think that Bam was about as thrilled as I was, but we were troopers and kept on chugging. It was actually *kind-of* nice because there was no one out there. Very quiet. As we hit the turn around point the rain stopped and it was perfect running temperature. Not too warm, not too cool. We made it 5 miles, but barely. I think my poor girl is slowing down. The last 1/4 mile or so she was really lagging behind. Maybe 5 miles is getting to be too much. That makes me sad. :-(

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Thought of the day

Treadmill running sux.

That's all, thank you and have a nice day.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A bit of spirit at last

For the first time in many years, we put up a Christmas tree! We usually travel to Illinois to visit my family and it just hasn't seemed worth the effort. I've done garland or a wreath before to get the smell of the tree but it just wasn't the same. So we broke down and got the whole tree this year. It's a nice little noble fir and smells wonderful. I only have a few decorations, but at least I have lights! It's almost as pretty with just the lights, but I put on the few decorations anyway. I don't have and haven't found a topper I like just yet, so it does look like somethings missing a bit, but it's still pretty. And it's putting me more in the spirit of the season. Now I just need to get on the ball with my shopping. Note to self....try to keep up the spirit in the midst of the shopping chaos. Uh, huh, good luck with that one. ;-)

Sunday, December 09, 2007

That could have started off better....

I rode my bike over to Tina's early this morning. We were heading over the bridge to join up with a women's riding group for their 15 mile beginners ride. It was chilly and my face was stiff with cold when I got to Tina's. I'm not too sure about this winter outdoor exercise. I think I'm a fair weather exerciser. :-) We loaded Ruby up on the rack next to Tina's bike and headed out.

We thought we were going to be late and miss the ride, but we made it there with about 10 minutes to spare. After parking along the road side where we thought we saw some women riders gathering, we unloaded our bikes and started to prep ourselves for the ride. Right off the bat we had trouble....Tina forgot her helmet. Doh! We decided to get our bikes ready and then head over. Next item on the list...tire check. Tina was pumping up her tires and I stopped to check mine......and my rear tire was completely flat. What?!?! It was fine when I got to Tina's house, but at some point it went completely flat before we got to the ride. I decided I'd just pump it up and see if it held. So we rode over to the organizer, but it was a no-go without a helmet. But Tina and I could follow along, we just couldn't 'officially' be with the group. I was a little worried about T riding without a helmet, but we decided to give it a go. At this point, I rode back to T's car to get my bike computer and realized my back tire seemed to be leaking and going flat again. So I yelled back to the group (okay, there were 3 other people besides us, so 'group' might not be the right word) that I was going to change the tube. I think the ride leader was getting a little disgusted with us, so T told them to go ahead and we'd do the ride on our own. It was a pretty simple out and back, so I didn't think we'd be getting lost.

Now, I know *how* to change a tire, but it never seems to work out as easy as it should. I must've looked inept because a guy that looked like a pro asked me if I needed help and proceeded to change the tube fairly quickly and painlessly. I *really* need to have a day where I just practice changing the tube. I thanked him profusely and we finally headed out. As we rode off, Tina thought she heard the guy's friend ask him "is she going riding without a helmet?" This seemed to set a theme for the day as it appeared that a lot of folks were giving T weird looks. We decided it was either the missing helmet, or they were admiring how hot Ruby is. :-D

The ride itself was supposed to be a short ride with 'gentle' rollers. They seemed more like hills to me, but then I'm still a newbie rider. The ride leader had told us to make sure and stop at all the stop signs, so we clipped out at each one and made a full stop. We made it to the turn around and were looking for a bathroom and discussing how we should have brought money for the bakery when a 'local' overheard us. He offered to buy us a latte, which we declined but secretly wanted to accept, and then told us about some additional routes that we could check out the next time we came out. He was *really* admiring our bikes and even offered to watch them for us while we used the restroom, but since I didn't have to go I stayed while T went. Good thing because the guy's daughter showed up and off he went. We think he was scamming a way to get 2 new bikes...1 for him and 1 for his daughter. Hahahahahaha!

We rode all 15 miles, although I don't remember our time. It was really just about getting out there on the bikes and that we did. It was a little cool, but we managed. We're talking about doing the Cinderella ride in April, which is a metric century (65 miles). It's technically a fun ride, not a race, so I don't have to feel like I need to ride my socks off. We'll see if we get in, as it's very popular and sells out every year. And that's getting close to the start of Tri season. Man, I gotta start looking at dates for events for next year! :-)

Friday, December 07, 2007

Lost it?

Have I lost it? Already? I haven't run since the trail run last Saturday. Just been doing gym workouts and spinning on the bike trainer. So I decided I needed to hit the treadmill tonight. I know...boooooring! But it gets dark so early that I can't get a run in after work otherwise. And I'm afraid I'm losing my running legs. Looks like I was right. I don't know if I was just having an off day or what. Let's hope so. I got in a little more than 3 miles and had to jump off that treadmill. I just couldn't stand to be up there any more. It's not like I was exhausted, but I just couldn't make myself keep going. Sigh. I can't wait for those longer days. C'mon spring and summer!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Since it's pretty much dark when I get up for work, and dark when I get home from work, Jeff bought me a used bicycle trainer so I could 'ride' during the winter. Tonight was the first night I made my sorry butt get up there and pedal. It wasn't as bad as I expected, but I didn't have the resistance turned up too high either. I really want to get Ruby out on the road, but no way I'm risking it in the dark. That will have to wait until this weekend, but the trainer may be a nice break from running for a while. We'll see how it goes.....as usual.

On a sad note, my grandma's friend lost her battle with leukemia this week. She hadn't been doing well, pretty sick from both the disease and the chemo/radiation, so although it's a sad occasion, in some ways it's a relief. Another name on the "running in memory of" list. I wish that list would stop growing. Sigh.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Woodside Trail

Glutton for punishment that I am, I signed up for the Woodside Trail run. It was yesterday. I'm still wiped out.

I had originally signed up for the 17k (temporary insanity is my plea), but our day was filling up with required activities, so I *had* to cut it back to the 10k. Thank goodness for that!

I don't know why I can't seem to remember that I do NOT like this trail. While it's not too far away, and the trail is certainly very beautiful, it's hell to run it. The first part is down, down, down for maybe 1.5k. It's never a good sign when the run starts off down hill. What goes down must come up. And up did I go. And up, and up. Oh, here's the elevation guide:

Um, so yea, see how you get to go down the hill for about 1.5k, then the next 5-6k is ALLLLL uphill. That's why I hate this trail. I don't mind the hills *as much* when it's more rolling hills. Up a bit, then get rewarded by going down the hill for a bit. So, I'm making a mental note not to run this trail again. Hopefully I'll remember.

This was my last scheduled run for the season, so hopefully I can stay in shape. With the holidays fast approaching, and the lack of sunlight hours, it's getting hard to find time for everything. Maybe now that I don't have any runs scheduled I can get in some time on my Ruby. I need to get that $$/mile cost down. :-)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Run Wild

Today was the Cal Academy of Sciences Run Wild run.
I convinced Jeff to ride along with me and sign up too. I figured he could walk the 5k and I could run the 10k and we'd meet at the end. He hasn't tried running because of a fairly painful back injury he suffered several years ago. So we were up and on the road by 6:45, headed to Golden Gate Park in SF. We arrived and got him registered and I scored my t-shirt. Yep, managed to score another small. :-) Jeff had to wait until the end since he wasn't preregistered, but I assured him there are always plenty of large shirts left.

We took our loot back to the truck and made it to the start line with about 10 minutes to spare. There were some pretty cool costumes...some penguins, a praying mantis, some cows, a flamingo, a cowboy, a big bad wolf in grandma's PJ's, and more.

To be completely honest, I tried to get Jeff to just stay in bed so I could stay home too. I wasn't up for running today. The cold I've been fighting is just lingering on and on, making me more tired than usual. He dragged me out tho, so I decided that instead of running the 10k, I'd hang with him. You know, keep him company on his first 'official' event and all. See, I don't *have* to be competitive. I can kick back with the best of them. :-) We were discussing the distances and before we knew it, we had convinced ourselves to walk/jog the 10k. I told Jeff to take it easy and don't hurt his back, so I let him set the pace and duration of our jog sessions. I have to say, he may not run far, but he's booking. He would say "okay, let's run to xxxx" and take off. I'd push my usual pace a bit and still couldn't keep up, so he'd run until he needed a break and I'd slooooowly catch up and then walk with him until he was ready to go again. I think we finished in about 1:18, which is decent for mostly walking. I'm just proud of him that we did the whole thing! And it was kind of nice to not be pushing, pushing, pushing.

We scored his t-shirt and then hit all the freebies, including some anti-oxidant juice in cans that was awesome, some power bars, and a few miscellaneous goodies. A nice day all in all. :-)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Run Turkey Run

I headed out with my cheering section (Jeff) at about 7:15 this morning for the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot. I signed up for the 10k even tho last year the organization left something to be desired. I figured it would motivate me to keep moving at least through Thanksgiving.

They must have gotten a ton of complaints since last year, because this year they allowed t-shirt pick-up prior to the race. Last year we had to wait until we finished and by then all that was left was x-large and xx-large. Seriously people, don't you think there are a lot more Sm, Med, and Large people than XXLs? Anywhoo, we arrived at the event to a chilly morning, but it was warming up quickly as the sun rose higher. I headed straight for the t-shirt pickup and scored a small! Schweet. And this year they were a nice navy blue instead of that hideous 'natural' color of last year. Yeah, I'm a t-shirt junkie. :-)

Now we just had to hang around for about an hour for the thing to get going. Eventually starting time arrived, and then passed. Hmmm. Maybe they were waiting for some late registrations. Turns out there were over 6k people running and walking today. Yeah, it seems like it with everyone pressing around the start line. One thing that tweaked me a bit...they had pace signs that said "Runners, 4-5 min/mile", "Joggers, 6-7 min/mile", "Power Walkers, 8-9 min/mile." Are you kidding me?!?!

Finally they started the thing and it took forever for people to spread out, as usual. Once the 5k folks split off it was easier going. The course was the same as last year and I was glad. At least I had a feel for how far I had left to go, which seems to help me get into a rhythm. I was hoping for less than an hour, but thanks to being sick, I hadn't run for over almost 2 weeks. And that rattle in my lungs wasn't too encouraging either. Another bizarre thing...there must have been a huge group of 5k people who started really late, because as I hit the 5 mile marker the crowed pretty much filled the route. So for the last mile or so, I had to dodge around walking walls. How about a little courtesy?? Don't walk 8 people across and block the whole freaking route!

I finally made the finish line and although the 'official' results haven't been posted yet, according to my trusty Garmin....6.3 miles in 58.38. Looks like the rest, even tho I was sick, paid off. Imagine that. :-)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Question of the day

Could one be soooo congested that one's head could literally explode? Stay tuned...I think I'm about to find out unless I can find the right combo of drugs to clear up my super stuffy head. Yesterday I felt like I was getting better. This morning I could at least breathe out of one side of my nose. As the day wears on, I have only a tiny whistle in my nose thru which I can breathe and one ear is stuffed up like I just got off a plane. Being sick totally sux.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Happy B'Day Ruby

I brought home my new baby yesterday....the 2008 Specialized Ruby Comp Compact. I wanted to name her "LANCE" but since she's already called Ruby, I didn't want to give her an identity crisis. She cost waaaaaay more than I wanted to spend, but man is she sweet. I literally called Tina nuts for spending what she did on her bike, and now I've gone and outdone her in the insanity department. Never let it be said that I'm not competitive. Hahahaha.

Here she is:

We did a quick 10 mile ride today, sick and all, just because I couldn't resist. Yep, I think we're gonna get along juuuuust fine. I got compact gearing instead of a triple ring on the advice of the bike shop and I like it so far. I'm mostly spinning in the middle gears, so I have room in each direction for uphills (ick) or downhills (yea!). I had them put a bike computer on her so I can keep track of how far, how fast (or slow in my case), etc. It could be bad.....now I can track cost/mile. So far, she's an expensive ride. ;-)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Shout out

Just wanted to give a quick shout to my brother Jedi Dad. He started running earlier this year in effort to lose weight and get in shape. I'm *so* proud to say that since he started, he's lost 35 pounds and is running his first 5k tomorrow! Good luck Rob! I'm sure you'll kick ass!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Roll with it

I just experienced my second significant earthquake since we moved to the Bay Area in 1995, although I'm sure there have been others in the middle of the night, and little ones that I didn't notice. They're calling it 'moderate' with initial reports putting it at a 5.6 magnitude.

We didn't have anything fall off the shelves or anything, but there was a definite rolling motion and almost a rumbling, although I may have been imagining that part. It really is a bit unsettling and a very strange feeling. Jeff is still at work and I think they got rolled even more than we did here. He called to see if we were okay and said he almost got sea sick. Now that's some rockin' and rollin'.

Oh, and that thing about animals being able to 'sense' it coming? Yeah, not mine. She barely reacted at all until it was all over and then she just went outside to sniff around. That's my girl....just roll with it.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Starting Sucks...Or Am I Just Lazy?

I haven't quite figured out why it is that starting a run is so difficult for me. I feel good once I get out there and especially once I'm finished. I think while some people get runner's high I get finisher's high.

Anyway, I did a run at work on Tuesday which went okay. Then last night I got home from work with a plan to take Bam for a run. I started to talk myself out of it before I even got there. The excuses abounded..."I left work later than expected", "It's going to be dark before we get back", "Bam looks pretty tired (riiiiight)", "My Nano isn't charged". I quickly pulled on my running gear and out the door I went before my body started listening to my brain. We went to the trails at Garin and did the 'big' hill side, which Bam loves because she can be completely off leash.

It was good once I got out and moving. I saw some deer (besides Bam :-) and a flock(?) of wild turkey. And luckily no cows. They scare me, especially after the horror stories I've heard about them kicking and pinning dogs. I make Bam stick like glue to me around the cows.

I would have felt like a slug if I hadn't gone. And Bam obviously loves it, so I should feel guilty if I deprive her of a good romp. But the getting out there and getting started is just so tough for me, especially lately. Am I lazy? I don't *think* I am, but it's hard to say. You see I'm not that objective.

Maybe I just need a vacation. That's coming very soon. But then I worry about gaining weight and losing ground with all the effort I've been putting in. I don't know, maybe I need therapy instead of a vacation. :-D

Photo Shoot

Here are a couple of shots from the Nike 1/2 last Sunday courtesy of T. Yes, I am a *wee* bit proud of that PR. And you can't see the Tiffany charm very well, but it's better than last year. It has 2 running ladies on it...Me and T.....she's the one in front. :-)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Done baby....done

Today was my last big race of the season, The Nike Women's Marathon, well the 1/2 Marathon anyway.

We met at T's at 5:15 to head into the city and it was EARLY, and dark and cold. We found a place to park and headed to the start line, hitting the porta-potties on the way. It was already a mad house with people everywhere. We hit the 'VIP Nike+' Tent to grab some water and check out the goods. It was a peaceful tented area where we could stretch and hang out. The guys had to wait outside tho, so we grabbed our goodies and went out to wait out the remaining time until the start at 7:00. T's early morning coffee had her running to the porta-potty again and then we decided to head down to our corral.

The announcer informed us that there were 23,000 participants, runners and walkers. 5k more than last year. Dang. The total raised for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, an impressive 18.5 million. Sure wish they were making more progress on a cure, but that's another story.

Soon enough the starting gun goes off and an amazing mix of 'get pumped' music started playing. Funny tho...we weren't going anywhere. And go nowhere we did for about 15 minutes. I'm not sure what the hold up was, but eventually we were on our way. Well, sort of. The crush of people continued almost unabated for the entire course. And hello, but walkers should have been waaaaaaay behind us by pace time. Hello again, please have some course etiquette and don't walk 6 people across, blocking most of the course! Especially in the narrow-downed sections where people are trying to maintain a pace and find a rhythm. Sheesh. Okay, I know that some of them were probably doing their first race, but you can't imagine how frustrating it is to have to bob and weave, put on the brakes, zig-zag, you name it, to get through the madness. It seemed like they allowed 5k more people and made the course even narrower in spots. Serious chaos. Hopefully next year they'll institute a waved started. But with 23k people, I don't know if that's a realistic expectation.

I really tried to stick to my pace early on instead of pushing too fast, too early like I usually do. For the first 5 miles, I really felt like I could have pushed it quite a bit faster, but I didn't let myself. I remembered those freakin' hills would be coming up soon enough and tried to hold back. Mile 6 came, with the 1 mile up hill through the Presidio and I was still feeling pretty good. The next two hills, which came shortly there after however, really wiped my legs out. Damn, that was a tough stretch. By mile 10 I was really feeling tired. I kept telling myself "You will NOT walk", "You do NOT need to walk, you're almost there." I was hoping to pick it up for the last 5k, and push like it was ONLY a 5k I was running, but my legs were having none of that. I started thinking "Just make it to the turn off" and once I did, I was still wiped. About 1/2 a mile from the finish I had to put my headphones on and play my Nike+ Power Song just to push myself to the finish. I was hoping to push it enough to hit a 2:15, but didn't quite make it. Still a very respectable PR of 2:16:48. And I actually felt like I wasn't too tight afterwards. I will admit to being completely thrilled that I wasn't doing the full. I couldn't even imagine having to pass up the turn off and head off for 13.1 more miles. Ugh, being poked by a sharp stick would be more enjoyable. Maybe even a dull stick. It was an awesome end to a very long training season and season chock-full of events. Next year we shoot for 2:10, right T? ;-)

We scored our Tiffany necklaces, a couple of jamba juices, and our very, very PINK t-shirts. We were about ready to head to breakfast when we passed by the Powder Room. Hey, looks like some free stuff in there! Back we went to check it out. What, wait in line?!?! Okay, okay. Man was it worth it. We got to freshen up and then scored an armload of Luna Lip Balm and Lip Gloss, and Neutrogena hand cream, lip gloss, concealer, cleanser, etc. Excellent score! Definitely a good end to the running/tri season. Now I have enough lip balm for 7 faces as Jeff noted. :-)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Next to last

Next to last event of the year, that is. Today was a little 5k in Palo Alto, the Running of the Bulls! Tina found this one on-line and it sounded like a kick so we gave it a go.

The bulls and cows are actually 'pro' runners, some ex-olympians, some college track stars, in other words FAST folks. The average, every day Joes and Janes get to start the race and the bovines are released every few minutes to run them down, just like in Pamplona. Supposedly for each bull or cow you beat, you get an extra raffle ticket. Schweet.

My pre-race time goal was 29 minutes. I wanted a sub 30 5k, and this was my chance. Forget 'fun' run, this was my next to last race of the year and I wanted a PR. The race director gave us the go ahead and we all took off. A little more than half a mile in I hear "MOOOOOOO MOOOOOOO". Dang! A bull passed us up that quickly. It's not looking good for that raffle. Soon enough another bull runs by pushing a calf in a stroller. Hmmm, that calf looks a little wind blown. I think that's one fast bull! It didn't take long for the cows to go flying by either. Who needs raffle tickets anyway?!? ;-)

It was a nice flat course mostly through the shady Palo Alto streets, but pushing my speed really wiped me out. Finishing time: 27:15. Woohoo!

We hung out waiting for the raffle and ate some of the awesome post-race food. While we were waiting we watched the kiddie races, starting with the one-year old age group all the way up to 11-12 year olds. Too cute, well the little ones anyway. ;-) They had no idea what they were running for, but they were out there running. Good job kids! Next up was the Black cow social.....root beer floats for everyone! Uh, how about that raffle?!?! Turns out the raffle was a scam! WHAT?!?! Okay, maybe not a scam, maybe just a 'misprint.' Aw well, it was still a really fun little local race.

Last race of the year in two weeks.....the Nike 1/2!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Hanging with my peeps

I was supposed to be participating in the See Jane Tri this weekend with Tina, but some of my family chose this weekend to plan a get together in Vegas. So, off I flew Friday morning to meet up with my peeps.

We saw the newest (I think) Cirque du Soleil show "Love", which is based on Beatles tunes. It was good, but very different from the rest of their shows. This one was less about strength/acrobatic feats of wonder and had more of a story line to it. Of course there were still feats of wonder, just not as many. The music was awesome tho, and I'd say it's definitely worth seeing. It just wasn't my favorite of all the Cirque shows.

All in all it was a fun weekend with a few too many drinks, too much shopping, a TON of people watching....okay, people critiquing....but very little gambling. I've realized I'm just not very lucky, so it's better to keep my money and dump it on something significant.....like a new bicycle. :-)

I'll have to leave the summary there, can't say more. As you know...."What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas."

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Who to believe?

Okay, so in the search for 'the' new ride I hit a local bike shop today. Wouldn't ya' know it...I got basically the opposite advice as the first shop I checked out. I liked the guy at this shop, he explained basically everything about the different bikes: riding positions, frame material, compact vs triple gearing, etc.

However, after visually 'sizing' me up, he recommended a women's specific bike. The guy at the other shop said women's bikes were for 'petite' women and I DEFINITELY wouldn't classify myself as petite. Also this guy said my legs looked fairly long, while the other guy thought my legs were short 'for my height.'

Sadly, the bike he was recommending for me wasn't in stock so I couldn't take a spin on it. I probably wouldn't have wanted to anyway since it rained most of the day. They're ordering one for the floor in a size that will work for me and will call when it's in so I can check it out.

Now, do I flip a coin as to who has the 'correct' advice? Or hit a third shop to see if I get a 2/3 situation on advice? I think the biggest problem is that I don't know enough about what I want/need to determine which bike is right for me.

The one certainty is that I don't want a tri specific bike. Evidently they're great for nice flat tri courses, but are horrible at hill climbing and a little squirrely on handling. And sadly, the going advice is that I would need to do some hills to get stronger. Sad, I know. ;-) Squirrely handling for me=bad, bad news...probably a crash. The guy today said that if you have a lot of money, you could buy a tri bike for racing and another bike for training. Uh, yeah, not me, but thanks for the advice. :-)

So the search continues......

Monday, September 17, 2007

Really tri-ing

After much whining on my part about missing the See Jane Tri, due to my families trip to Vegas, I roped T into doing another tri. It's going to be my last of the year, sadly, as the season is quickly ending. We debated for most of the week and I even emailed the guy running it to make sure we could register on-site. :-)

This was the "Tri for Real", run by the same folks that did the "Tri for Fun" series we had done earlier in the summer. So, the 'real' tri is a bit longer, which is one of the reasons we had been debating about doing it. The swim is 700 yds vs. 400 yds., the bike is 18 miles vs 12 miles, and the run is 4 miles vs 3 miles. Are we up for it? Hell, yeah. Why not.

So, T was at my place at 5:00 on Sunday and we were off. We got to the park, scored a prime parking spot, and headed to the transition area to claim our bike rack space. Then it was off to registration and body marking. Interesting difference at this tri, they mark your age on your right calf. Niiiice. I always wanted to see the ages of everyone passing me. So by this time we still have about an hour until we start. Back to transition, set up our stuff, and then just hang and watch the battles for space that ensue between late comers. One guy takes his bike out for a test spin and when he comes back someone has stolen his spot. It's pretty entertaining actually.

We head down to hear the pre-race briefing and watch the lifeguards haul the buoys out into the water. Um, they just keep going. What!?!? Way out there?!?! Sadly, yes. It looks unbelievably far. Sigh.

Eventually it's time for the pre-race briefing and then we wait for our wave to start. We're wave 5, as evidenced by the big, black "5" written on our right hands. Finally it's our turn to head out and we make our way into the water. No one seems to want to be at the front, where the elbowing and running over takes place. We're off! Roughly 15-16 minutes later we're into the transition area to switch to bikes. Amazingly the swim wasn't nearly as bad as I expected. I could have kept going if I HAD to.

Now for the weakest link, the bike. Up a hill and out onto the course. Hmm, what's that strange wobbly feeling? Damn, it's not the road, it's my bike. Hop off and check it out. Looks okay, but it must be 'out of true'. Nothing I can do about it now but hope it doesn't go flying off. Eventually we hit the big downhill and it feels like it might fly off, but it holds. Another loop around the course and we're off the bikes in about an hour of riding.

Slip into the running shoes and take off. Hmm, still sucks but the legs feel a *little* better than last time. Maybe those bricks do work. I find it harder to run a course when I have no idea where I'm at distance-wise. So I concentrated on reading peoples calves to see who was kicking my ass. Basically everyone was. I did pass a 70 year old guy and some 20-somethings. But mostly I got breezed by. We do the 4 miles in about 40 minutes, which I'm pretty amazed at. Overall time: about 2:03. Not bad. A satisfying end to my tri season. :-)

Last scheduled event for the year: Nike 1/2 in about a month. I think I'll be glad for the break. It's just going to be tough to keep the activity level up and the eating level down thru the winter. We'll see how it goes. Wish me luck. :-D

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Lookin' for a Ride

Since T and I have been doing a few tris this year, I've been curious about
1) if my bike fits me well
2) if a newer bike would help me out on the dreaded bike portion of the tri (definitely my weakest link).

So I asked some questions of a coworker who I know bikes a lot but he said he wasn't really up on the newest technology. So he referred me to a friend of his that owns a bike shop. Amazingly it's just down the street from where I get my hair cut. Granted that's still a considerable distance from my house, but it's worth checking out.

I went in there yesterday to take a look at some new bikes. Brought my current bike (maybe 10 yrs old?) with me so he could take a look. Okay, I had been looking online at some bikes, but still the prices are just amazing on these things. And I'm looking lower end of the spectrum. There are bikes way beyond $6-7k. Seriously, people buy these things?

So the guy looks at my bike, determines that my bike probably fits me okay, and we talk about what my gains might be on a new ride. After he has me stand astride a few bikes, he determines that I have 'really short legs' for my height and grabs two tiny bikes (48cm) for me to try out. One is a Cannondale and one a Specialized. He sets them up for me and throws all 3 bikes, one at a time of course, on the scale to compare weights. Yeah, I'm toting around about 5 extra pounds compared to a new bike, with the Cannondale being the lightest of the three. That's about 20% more weight than I need to be hauling. Damn. No wonder I'm so slow. Hahahahahahaha!

The guy at the shop, Ric, tries to explain the difference between the two bikes to me, and makes it simple. I think he could tell that I'm mechanically challenged and don't know squat about gearing, brands of components, materials, etc. He uses a car analogy. So both bikes are around 400 hp, the Cannondale is a Corvette and the Speciaized is a Caddy. So, a little whippier on the Cannondale, maybe better handling, but a more comfortable ride on the Specialized. I take both out for a spin and can actually feel a difference between the two bikes. Power of suggestion? Maybe. I'm enamoured with the Cannondale, but not quite ready to drop that kind of cash on an activity that I'm not all that thrilled with. I only ride because I have to...it's an inherent part of the 'tri'.

But with a new ride would I enjoy it more? T says "NO". She got a new ride, I think last year, and says it hasn't enhanced her enjoyment, or decreased her dislike may be a better phrase, of the bike section. A guy at the dog park where I take Bam said a new bike definitely made him enjoy riding again. Bah, what's one to do? The decision may be made for me as I might just be too cheap to spend the dough. The saga shall continue.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

F-ing Cancer

A very close friend of my family, whom my grandmother has known since high school, has been diagnosed with Acute Leukemia. Why does this disease seem to be everywhere? Why can't we figure out ways to beat it? What's the hold up people?!?!

Maybe some people would say that she's lived a long, full life. So what does that mean? Better her than a younger person? WTF kind of attitude is that?!?! I hate that this woman who's life has already been soooo hard is now stricken with this. It just really pisses me off and makes me heart-wrenchingly sad all at the same time.

F-ing cancer.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Happy B'day to me...Happy B'day to me....

Another year older today and definitely feeling it. As I mentioned yesterday, I seem to be getting slower with less energy. I think my old age is finally catching up with me. Seriously tho, I'm not sure what's going on.

I think part of it is that Bam, my pup, has been really restless around 3 or 4 am. She's crated at night and when she moves around a lot I wake up, as I'm a really light sleeper. She's been having bad allergies this year, so she starts scratching in the middle of the night. Or sometimes she just wants me to let her out of her crate, so she paws at the door or whines. Argh! I need a good nights sleep dog! Poor thing, tho, I feel bad that she's so itchy.

Got some cool presents for my birthday including an iPhone and roses (from Jeff of course), a happy birthday message on the phone (from Spencer), and a DVD, running stuff and a huggy Jesus stuffed doll, "Have you hugged Jesus today" (from Tina ~ that one is a long story).

There was also sad news today. I've mentioned Miles a couple of times before, a young man battling cancer who has an awesome blog about his experience. He passed away early this morning. He was just days away from his 19th birthday. Working at a biotech company that is focusing on oncology drugs, I understand that it takes a really long time to develop new therapies and the chances of success are really small, but I wish things would progress so much faster. But then I'm sure that I'm only one of many with that wish.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Swim Bike Run again

Tina and I did another sprint tri today. It was one of the "Tri for Fun" series, the last one of the summer. The organization offers 3 'fun' tris, one in June, one in July and one in August. Then in September they have the 'Tri for Real.'

They were pretty late getting started and Tina had somewhere to be later in the morning, so we slipped into the wave for 45+ yr old men. We weren't the only ones, there were maybe a dozen women who tagged along....and beat quite a few of the men. :-) We were around the 1/4 mile swim course in about 8 minutes, which is quite an improvement for us. We hit the transition and headed out on our bikes. I soon lost sight of Tina. Just couldn't seem to find my rhythm. Then up the one 'big' (not that big) hill on the course, I managed to kick out of my clip and lose all momentum. Sigh. Oh, hey, this is supposed to be 'fun' right? Back into the transition where Tina was waiting. I told her there's no 'waiting' in the transition area! She should have headed out already! We hit the road for the run and I still wasn't feeling it. Maybe I should have skipped my gym workout yesterday. I'll never learn. Tina beat me in by several minutes, but I think it was still my tri PR at about 1:18. Not bad.

Just wish I could figure out why I'm slowing down and getting more tired when I should be getting stronger with all the training. Sigh. It's always something. Well, at least I 'did the damn thing' as coach would say. :-)

Friday, August 10, 2007


In preparation for our upcoming 'mini' triathlon on the 18th, Tina and I have cut down our running days and added in a swim day, a spin class day, and a brick day. What is a brick, you ask?

I googled it to see what it actually means, but didn't get a satisfactory answer. One answer was that it's how your legs feel during the workout. The other one says it stands for 'Bike Run Ick.' I like that one. :-) So basically, you do a bike ride followed by a run with as quick a transition as you can manage. It's supposed to get your legs 'used' to the feeling of the transition in a tri. The bike to run transition is tougher on the legs than the swim to bike transition, so that's the one that needs more 'practice.'

Since we're still tri beginners, we've been doing a 5.5 mile bike followed by a 1 mile run. Oh, and we only had 3 weeks between our last 1/2 and our upcoming tri, so there's only so much training we could jam in. :-) I've been impressed that we've been able to keep our pace for the run somewhere between 9:00-10:00. Usually close to right in the middle of 9:30. It's a really weird sensation tho, running on jello legs. Give it a try sometime...it's fun. ;-)

Monday, July 30, 2007

A PR in SF....in more ways than one

Tina and I hit the hills of San Francisco at butt crack early yesterday. We signed up for the first half of the San Francisco marathon. Our start time was 6:05, so we headed out around 4:30 for the city. Yep, we finished with a 1/2 marathon PR 2:25, but that's not even the best part of the story.

The best part of the story is that I also PR'd with the number of porta-potties visited in one run. Niiiiiiiice. I'd love to see the medal you get for that one.

Back to the beginning. We went to SF on Saturday to pick up our race packets and found a beautiful sunny day in the city! We got our goody bags, as well as some nice freebies from the expo and headed home to rest up and carb up. A bit after lunch I had a queasy stomach. Gotta be something I ate, right? I'm sure it will pass. No pun intended. No need to take medication or anything, I'll be MUCH better by tomorrow morning. Idiot.

By 4:40 on Sunday morning Tina, Matt, Jeff and I were piled into Tina's jeep and heading to the foggy city. We got there plenty early and parked (illegally...shhhh, don't tell) to hang out until we needed to go to the start line. About 15 minutes before our start the guys dumped us out so we could get in our corral. Damn, wish we would have left a few extra minutes for that porta-potty line. Ah well, I'm sure I'll be fine. Idiot.

Our start time finally arrives and off we go....hey, we're cruising right along. I feel pretty good. We hit the Presidio hill....no problem, not nearly as bad as I remembered. Maybe all this 'speed' work and training has paid off. Down past the aquatic park, past Crissy field, where we saw the cheering guys (woo hoo guys!), and up towards the bridge. Ugh, this hill was a bit longer and not as easy. Still, not toooooo bad. Over the bridge. And up, and up and over and over. That has GOT to be the longest, most up-hill bridge in the history of the world. I thought I was going to die. Or kill someone. Take your pick. Finally made it over the bridge and out to the turn around....when I started dying. Every step was miserable....I'll spare you the gory details, but let's just say that I got a close up view of at least 3 porta-potties, maybe 4 I've lost count now, by the time the 'race' was finished. I guess it wasn't something I ate after all. I have never been more miserable in my life. Okay, maybe I HAVE, but this was pretty bad. Stomach cramps, hills...oh, I did say I was sparing you the details didn't I?

Anyway, I lost sight of Tina the speed demon. Which was good in a way, I wouldn't want her to have to wait around while I went visiting the little booths. I thought I would never get to the finish line, but I finally started to approach it. And there was Tina waiting with a cheery smile and a hug. I was so miserable I just wanted to die. I ran off to the last porta-potty of the day and Tina picked up our medals and scored us some Cytomax (sport's drink). Jeff tried to make me drink it, but I thought I was going to puke, so I refused. I have never burped so much, so loud in my life! It was awesome. Hahahahahahahaha.

Anyway, I took very little comfort in the fact that we PR'd. I could only think how much better it could have been. So much for having a 'glass half full' attitude. I really need to learn to cut myself some slack. Well, I need to learn more than just that, but it would be a good start.

I felt better after getting home, taking a shower, taking some Imodium and having a nap. But my stomach still isn't back to normal. Gee, think it was more than something I ate? Next time I'm going to take the drugs BEFORE the run. That's one lesson I don't need to learn again! :-)

Thursday, July 19, 2007


It's been a while since I've posted and I'll be honest. It's because I'm friggin exhausted lately. It's been a bit warm to run after work (huh, summer, imagine that), so Tina and I have been following this schedule:

M ~ get up around 5 to be at the gym by 6 to work with the trainer
T ~ get up BEFORE 5 to hit the road for a 6-8 mile run with 'speed' work
W ~ see Monday
Th ~ see Tuesday
F ~ either run or hit the gym again
Sa ~ Thank the stars a REST day!
Su ~ Long run 8-10 miles

So you can see why I might be getting a bit crabby and tired and worn out. It's all in prep for our next event, the SF 1/2 Marathon on July 29. Hello hills again. :( The actual training schedule we're following calls for rest days on Mondays and Wednesdays, but as usual we're too much over achievers to follow that advice. And now it's catching up to me. With a vengeance.

What's this have to do with reflections you ask? Well, nothing really. All that stuff is just my lack of posting excuse.

I'm in a bit of a funk today, maybe not the best day to post. I've been following the story of Miles an 18 yr old cancer patient and he's run out of treatment options and is not doing well at all. What must it be like to know you probably won't make it to 19? How does he keep posting and have the energy to worry about how the readers will react to his death? He really seems quite amazing and even tho I don't know him personally, I feel like it will be a loss when his time is up.

So, I'm reflecting on 2 years. 2 years since my Dad died.....in June. 2 years since my Uncle lost his battle with Leukemia...tomorrow. 2 years older....in August. 2 years that has flown by. What have I accomplished in the last 2 years? I ask myself that question often these days. I'm not sure there are a lot of things I can put on the list. What qualifies as an achievement? What can I be proud of? What kind of 'legacy' will I leave behind? Some days the list in my head is longer than others. Today is a short list day and I'm wondering why I'm not doing more to help the environment, or the homeless, or some cause that will really make a difference in the world.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Muddy with a Buddy

This morning Tina and I were up at the crack of dawn to drive to San Jose for the Muddy Buddy . According to the directions we were supposed to be there by 7 am, but let me tell you, there were people still coming in at 7:30 and 7:45. We got there VERY early.

Yet, not early enough to score a small t-shirt. One of the things that really pisses me off is when these event people don't plan out their resources appropriately. I mean c'mon people, you think I'm out here for my health?!?! I'm here for the goodies and I don't like being short changed. And why bother asking me when I register what size I want if you're not going to have enough?!?! Anyway, the shirts are MEN'S sizes and they ran out of small. So it looks like either I have another night shirt, or Jeff gets a free tech-t.

And while I'm ranting, let me just mention how male-centric this race was. As I already mentioned, the shirts were men's sizes, but even more disgustingly, the men's waves all went out first, then co-ed (because, hey, at least there's one man) and the women get to go last. Wouldn't it have made more sense to send out the waves by age? So the short story is that we arrived soooo early and then we were in the second to last wave. Ugh. Ah, so this is why Tina and I do so many female friendly events. At least we aren't relegated to the back of the pack there!

Aside from all that testosterone favoritism, the race itself was SOOOOO fun. Well, all except the first part. But let me explain the premise. So, 2 person teams. One person starts out mountain biking, the second person starts out running. There is an exchange point with an obstacle after which you switch activities. The person that was biking now runs and vice versa. Continue for roughly 7 miles, with 4 switch points and a GIANT mud pit at the end. Fun, no?

The worst part was the first segment which poor Tina had to bike up. "Running" up it was bad enough, but biking was horrific. Very uphill. Most people were pushing the bikes it was so bad. Finally it leveled off and we came to the first obstacle, a small rock climbing wall. After that, my first biking segment which was mostly downhill, which was a relief, but since I'm such a chicken, I was riding the brake the whole time. It would really freak me out to hit the bumps and have the back of the bike bounce up. Then a sort of beam a-frame that you had to climb up and under and over. Then I was back to running. Tina passed me pretty quickly on the bike and offered water but I was still chugging along okay at that point. Next we arrived at a big inflatable obstacle with a cargo net to climb on one side then down the slide on the other. It looked pretty steep from the top....wheeeeeeeeee. Back onto the bike for another fairly downhill ride to a balance beam. Great, not like my legs are jello-ish or anything. If you fell, you had to start over. Luckily there was no falling on our team. Finally, we meet up at the end and do our crawl through the mud filled pit. My knees got a little scraped up because there were sticks or little rocks or something in the mud. Sheesh, they really need to have clean dirt mud. :-)

Off to the hoses we went for a quite lengthy rinse. Wow, it takes a while to get all that mud off. Back to the expo to pick up a few free goodies and what do we find?!? They already did the raffle! Or at least already handed out tickets and we didn't get one. Man, the organization of this thing really stinks. Thanks for sending us out next to last and then giving away the goods while we're still getting ourselves put back together!

Overall they get high marks for fun-factor but they definitely failed in both the organizational department and in female-friendliness. I hope they ask for feedback because I'd really like to help them improve so it's better when we do it next year. Right, T? :-)

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Tri? Yep, we did!

It's official folks, not only are we marathoners but we're now triathletes! :-)

Tina and I completed our first mini-triathlon last weekend. We did the Mermaid Tri which consists of a 1/4 mile swim, an 11 mile bike ride, and a 2.5 mile run. Yep, we did the whole darn thing!

It all started on Saturday with packet pick up and then a quick shopping trip to Sports Basement. I needed some gear because evidently you swim in gear and then don't change but jump right on the bike. Well, after putting on your shoes of course. So I got quick drying gear that included a pair of padded shorts, a pair of padded pants (because the sale couldn't be passed up) and a quick drying tank. I was gonna get a short top, but there was a sausage effect that is better left undescribed.

At packet pickup the water temp was reported somewhere in the low 70's, so Saturday night as I was packing my bag with all my stuff I decided to pull out my shortie wet suit. I might not wear it but at least I'd have the option. Tina didn't have a choice and went sans wet suit. Turns out I am REALLY glad I took it. The water was pretty cold. So much so that Tina had trouble catching her breath in the water and had to back stroke a good portion of the swim because she couldn't breathe. I was pretty comfortable in the shortie once I started moving.

We went down to the water to get acclimatized prior to our start and entered the water way too soon. We were left standing around for a good 10 minutes before we were sent out. We waited until the end so we wouldn't be in the mad crush of people, but that didn't work out so well. We ended up catching up to the crush anyway and getting right in the mix. I lost sight of Tina and kept trying to look back to see if I could find her, but damn it's hard to find one person in a sea of pink swim caps! At one point I was treading water looking back and the young lifeguard asked me "Are you okay ma'am?" Ma'am! Ouch. I told him I was fine and continued on my way. I got to the beach and still didn't see Tina, so I stripped off my wet suit and hung out looking for her. She made it up to the beach and we sprinted off to the transition area. Let's just say she was a *little* ticked at having to backstroke. ;-)

In the transition we dropped our swim stuff, shoved our shoes and helmets on and were off on the 3-loop, 11 mile ride. We were cruising right along passing people left and right. Okay, so we were only passing people left..."Left!.....Left!....Left!" we shouted out over and over. There were people out there on all kinds of bikes, cruisers, mountain bikes and of course tons of road bikes, fancy and not so fancy (like mine). Tina is DEFINITELY the stronger biker of the two of us. I was just praying that I didn't get a flat. Tina was carrying extra tubes and a pump, but as the woman beside us in the transition area warned "You can't help her." Uh, hello competative lady, we're in the **for fun** division! Anyway, I needed to stay fairly close to Tina just in case I got a flat, so that kept me moving even though I was running out of steam.

Our 3 loops finished, we headed once again into the transition where we kicked out of our clips, hobbled on wobbly legs over to the bike rack, dumped our bikes, changed our shoes and headed out on the run. Yeah, you read that right. The ladies that can run for miles had wobbly legs. I can't believe how tough it was running after riding just 11 miles. Maybe it has something to do with not having been on my bike at all in over a year? Nah, that couldn't be it. Anyway, Tina pulled me through the run as I started getting stomach cramps. She fired my competitive spirit by pointing out a lady that we couldn't let beat us, we had to pass her. ;-) I think part of the reason the run was so tough was that I was really dehydrated. I'm not that steady on my bike (again, lack of practice?) and was afraid to reach down for my bottle too much. I only took one quick drink the whole way. Definitely need to learn how to handle that and force some fluids in.

Anyway, we out did our best estimates and finished in 1:33. I told Tina "Just think if you had been able to breathe how much better we'd do!" Well, we'll soon get to find out! We signed up for another one on June 16th, and this time darn it, we're getting that girl a wet suit! Stay tuned for the next adventure of superladies T and K.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Hangin' with my favorite girls



I spent Memorial Day weekend with my brother, sister-in-law and 2 nieces in Illinois. Spencer is 3-1/2 and Parker is a little more than 2 months. It was a fantastic weekend. The girls are soooo cute.

Parker, being just a little one, isn't too active but she sure is cuddly. She's got blue eyes and dark hair. Spencer is hell on wheels and is a blue eyed-blondie. Their little faces are quite similar and I told my brother that there's no mistaking these two are sisters. Spence is a good big sister and kisses and hugs Parker. It's really cute. Let's see if that attitude continues when Parker starts being able to grab Spencer's stuff. ;-)

We had one good thunderstorm, which I appreciated since we don't get those out here in California. It did put the kibosh on outside playtime tho. We took Spencer to see Shrek 3, which was just okay. She got fidgety about 3/4 of the way through, and I couldn't blame her. I was getting fidgety too. She plopped down on my lap for the rest of the movie and then we headed out for some shopping. We each got a new book, although as I started reading mine I realized I had read it before. Sigh. That's what I get for tearing through my books with a voracious appetite. I forget what I have and haven't read sometimes.

The visit went by quickly and I can't wait to get back to see the sweeties again....oh and of course spend some time visiting with my brother and sister-in-law. It's okay, I think they're getting used to coming in second place to the girls. :-) Of course, I had to get home to catch up on my rest. I was exhausted from chasing Spencer around after only 3 days. I don't know how they do it every day, but they do. And they do an awesome job of it.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Reflections on THE RELAY

What is THE RELAY you ask? Well, almost a month ago, about 175 teams of anywhere from 3 to 12 people (the vast majority had 12) started on a 199 mile relay from Calistoga to Santa Cruz. Our team "Fat Kids Always Win at See Saw" was 11 people, as one of the kids got sick right before the run. The rest of us weren't sick until somewhere in the middle of the run...hahahahaha.

So here's how it works: There are 6 people in each of 2 vans. Kid #1 starts running at the start line and van #1 drives to a point ahead of said Kid where it's 'safe' to pull off the road. I say 'safe' because some of the places were a bit of a tight squeeze to fit the van on the side of the road. :-) Van #1 provides support for Kid #1 and then drives to the exchange point to ready Kid #2 for their turn. Kid #1 runs to the exchange point, handing off the baton/bracelet to Kid #2 and the process continues until all 6 Kids in Van #1 have run a leg of the race. While Kid #6 is running, Van #1 meets up with Van #2 at a van exchange point and the next 6 Kids take turns until it's time to do another van exchange. If it sounds complicated, it sounded that way to me too, but it is pretty smooth going once you get the hang of it. Each leg of the race is ranked Easy, Moderate, Hard or Very Hard and ranges in length from 3-8 miles or so.

So because we only had 11 runners, 3 Kids would have to do another leg of the race. Stupidly Tina and I volunteered and she drafted one of her friends, Sean. Even more stupidly I volunteered to do the last leg of the race thinking it would be 'fun.' Yeah, not so much...but more on that in a minute.

So I was Kid #2 and my first leg went pretty well. The most concerning thing was that it was rated E for easy. Hmmm. If they considered this Easy, I wonder how the Hard and Very Hard legs would look. Well, they lived up to their rankings and then some. Luckily I only had a Moderate and 3 Easy legs, for a total of about 18-19 miles.

I think a lot of us were concerned about the night runs, since we were mostly running along the road side out in the middle of nowhere and it was pretty freakin' dark. I had my head lamp and a flashlight, and I knew my trusty Fat Kids were waiting up ahead for me, but that didn't make hearing the howling coyotes any easier. My first thought was "Well, I only need to be faster than one person and then they'll eat that person instead". Luckily no one was eaten in the running of this relay. :-)

I didn't think the short distances of running would be a problem, and for the most part they weren't. It's the sleep deprivation that really got to me. We were able to crash for a while at a local community college in the gym, but I didn't really sleep. It was noisy and I kept thinking "What if we're not at the exchange point on time?". I ran my third leg Sunday morning and knew I was in trouble for the 4th leg at the end of the race. I was exhausted. It didn't help that as the day wore on we were seeing fewer and fewer teams. At one of the exchange points, the volunteer who was keeping track of teams told us there were only about 6 teams behind us. Ugh. Then we found out that teams were leapfrogging their runners. In other words, instead of running a true relay, they would have more than one runner on the course at a time. It didn't take long and we were dead last. Great. The one thing I didn't want, namely being the only person out there running, was going to come true. I was so tired, exhausted, disgusted when I was coming into the finish that my language left a black cloud that I'm sure still hangs over Santa Cruz to this day.

As it turns out we didn't come in last, only second to last. There was a team that finished 45 or 50 minutes ahead of us, but started an hour earlier than we did. I'd have to say one of the most surprising things was the lack of 'for fun, not very fast' teams (like us). Most of the teams that run this thing seem to be quick runners even if they don't look like they're in that great of shape.

Anyway, that's the short version of the story. You can let me know if you want to hear more. Yeah, I know the one question I've heard from everyone....Would I do it again? Wellllllll, it's kind of like any painful but rewarding adventure (IE running a marathon). You remember the accomplishment but forget most of the painful stuff. So, it's possible that I could get my arm twisted into doing it again. You know the saying...."Anything's possible."

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A little perspective, if you please

So here I am whining about how tired I am from the relay last weekend (blog forthcoming....no promise of when :-) and I'm browsing the CNN website when I come across this article:

Miles' blog

What a schmuck I feel like. Why is it so hard to enjoy the time we have and so easy to get all wrapped up in daily junk? After all, who really knows how much time any of us have? Nobody, that's who. I'm turning over a new leaf. I'm going to work on letting go of the crap and enjoying the time that I have. It'll take a long time for me to get there, I think, but it's a worthy aspiration. Wish me luck, I'll need it.

Monday, April 09, 2007

I won the lottery!!!!

Okay, okay, don't have a heart attack. It wasn't the big lottery, it was the little lottery for a spot in the Nike 1/2 marathon on October 21.

Tina and I both got our 'Congratulations' emails tonight after lamenting earlier today about not having recieved an email. We figured we didn't get in. But lo and behold, we are 2 of the 'lucky' stiffs to get a coveted spot. Tina said she saw an ad on Craig's List where someone was willing to pay over $200 bucks for a bib. Hmmmmm, now that's tempting. :-)

Let the training continue!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Weekend Runs, Injuries and Curses - warning LONG post

This is a catch up blog to let you know how the runs went last weekend. There was the 20k trail run on Saturday in the Marin headlands and a itty-bitty 5k run on Sunday at Coyote Hills, close to home.

Saturday....what can I say about this run....except it was miserable. Started off with me waking up Saturday morning with that heavy, congested chest feeling of an oncoming illness. Great start. The drive there was nice and supposedly scenic, although with all the freakin' fog who could tell. This is not looking good. "Not to worry" my buddy Tina says, "It burns off by 10:30 or so." Okay, okay.

We sat in the nice toasty car waiting for the start time to approach and discussed whether we'd actually do the 20k or only do the 8k. We DID run 5.5 miles just on Thursday, so 20k might be pushing it. Hmmmm. Well, we don't have to decide until we hit the split point on the trail. We have other options too..we could take a short cut which will make the trail about 10 miles, 16k, but we'd still have to tackle the 2nd hill from hell.

Oh, time to go. We go to the start and take off with the crazy 30k and 50k people. What's better than starting with a big long hill?!? And then more hill and then steps. Before we know it, it's the decision point...ah, what the heck we can walk that 2nd hill, right? So we go for it, planning to take the short cut. Ok, let me just say that if I had believed Tina in how loooooooong that damn hill was I would have voted to skip it. Ugh. At one point I thought my lungs were going to burst, from exertion and illness combined. And the higher we went up the hill, the colder and windier it got. That damn fog wasn't burning off.

Granted, what we could see was really pretty, but it wasn't enough to make the run enjoyable. So, we took the shortcut and ended up back on the trail, where people who had passed us gave us some pretty perplexed looks as we ended up in front of them again. That was pretty funny.

Oh, they save the best for last on this run too. You get to run across the beach to the finish line. Yeah, great, I always wanted to finish up a 10 mile trail run by running through molasses. My feet were sooooo heavy. But we finally made it to the finish line around 2:40 later. Ugh, miserable.

We hit the finish line changed into sweats and grabbed a bowl of hot soup. Now that felt good. Some more treats and we were on our way outta' there.

On the way home, Tina took me to the Marine Mammal Center where she volunteers. They rescue abandoned and injured seals and sea lions, rehab them and then release them. They currently have quite a few Elephant Seal pups. Oh man, were those little guys CUTE! I wanted to pet them, but that is HIGHLY discouraged. They really don't want them to get used to people.

Sunday's run was to be a quick 5k. After Saturday I considered blowing it off, but I wanted my t-shirt. :-) We did get to sleep in since it was so close to home, but then of course there was no parking and we had to be 'shuttled' into the park. Shuttled by a minivan driving 20 something who hit those speed bumps like nobodies business. Wow.

There were quite a few people and we trotted along until it opened up a little bit. Then 'the orange shirt girl' passed us. Okay, no problem. She was bugging me a bit, but okay. Then there was a little girl and her mom(?) that were walk-running. We would pass them while they were walking then they'd pass us while they were running. And that snotty little girl would look back to make sure we were behind them. I'm sure that's what she was doing. I put up with her for 2 miles, but then I couldn't take it anymore. I had to get away from them. I picked up the pace a bit, and sadly, yes, I was a terrible running friend, I left Tina behind. I was a woman possessed. I was going to finish this damn thing in front of that 8 year old if it killed me. Oooooh, as I got closer to the finish line I spied orange shirt girl. You guessed it, she was going down. I picked up the speed a little more and passed her. I saw her try to pick it up too and get by me. No way was I going to let THAT happen. Happily I beat her! I may be slow but I'm faster than her! Hahahahahahaha! Oh, man, I really need to get that competitive streak under control.

So I'm pretty sure she put some sort of curse on me. Yeah, I'm pretty sure. My knee has been bothering me for almost a week now. Maybe a tendon strain, probably a curse. I asked Tina if she knew the anti-curse, but she was no help. Sigh. Serves me right I guess for gloating, even if the gloating was in private. Have I learned a valuable lesson here? Probably not. Although Tina did volunteer to always run behind me if it would make me feel better to be beating someone. Somehow it just isn't the same. :-D

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Big news and a run too

My new niece was born today at 11:28 am. Parker Emily is her name and being a cutie is her game. Congrats to my brother and sister-in-law! Way to keep those grandkids coming so the pressure is off me! ;-)

Tina, Bam and I did a 'quick' 5-1/2 miler out at Coyote Creek. The weather was awesome, a little breezy but not too bad and just warm enough to be comfortable without wanting to die. Bam was panting pretty hard and I thought we were going to have to carry her for a while, but she seemed to get a second wind whenever she saw a ground squirrel or anything that might be a ground squirrel.....like a moth. A couple of times she practically tumbled me down the hill. If not for my quick reflexes in bracing myself I'm sure I would have rolled like a tumbleweed.....much to Tina's amusement. At least I had my cell phone so I could have called an ambulance. Well, we did about 5.5 miles in about 1:05. Not too bad for our first longer road run in quite a while.

Saturday is the big one....a 20k (about 12.5 miles) trail run with somewhere around 2100 feet of elevation. What was I thinking?!?!? If I survive I'll blog the hellacious experience.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Great cause, tax deduction....who could ask for more

I'm blogging about Team in Training again. Not for myself this time tho. Three of my relatives and one of their friends have signed up to run the Cincinnati Flying Pig marathon as a relay. They are raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through Team in Training in honor of our Uncle Robert who lost his battle with Leukemia in July 2005. I can't believe it's going on two years now that he's been gone. I still miss him and get teary when I think about it. Okay, okay, enough sap.

What you can do to make a difference is donate money to fund research in the hopes of finding a cure. So, if you've got some extra dough laying around and would like not only to help a great group of people raise money for a great cause but get a tax deduction in the process, follow the link and throw a few bucks their way.


Sunday, March 11, 2007

Good deed

Last night Jeff and I did a volunteer shift for the 'Art Inspires Hope' event. It is an event that raises money for Camp Okizu, which is a camp for kids with cancer, their siblings and their families. My company is a corporate sponsor and they needed some volunteers, so we thought we could lend a hand. It's a super fancy dinner/concert/auction. Huey Lewis was the entertainment, but we only got to sneak a quick look since we were there to work. Eh, he looks and sounds the same as I remember from TV. :-)

We arrived at the event around 5:45 to get our instructions and the action didn't really start until about 7:00. At that point we went to work moving tables, artwork, props, etc. and setting up the checkout stations where the patrons would come to pay for their purchases or to make donations to send kids to camp. Jeff and I were 'runners.' Our job was to wait until the customer paid for their items then we would check the item number and run back to get the item for them. Also, we would help them to their car if necessary. And definitely thank them for coming...thank them a LOT.

While we were setting up we could hear the live auction going on and it was pretty amazing to hear some of the prices. A ladies diamond watch, and it must have been some watch, sold for $19k. A trip to Spain for the America's cup, including a ride on the BMW racing yacht during the race, went for $13,500. And there were a whole bunch of people who donated money to send kids to camp. It was pretty interesting to see the people checking out as well. They were people just like us....except you know...they have a lot of money. One guy had bought an $8500 piece of art and donated $1000 to send a kid to camp. "Just round it up to $10,000" he says casually. Yeah, definitely a whole different mind set. :-)

Anyway, it was a fun night for a great cause and we'd probably do it again. I'd say definitely do it again, except for the fact that we almost turned into pumpkins. We didn't get home until almost 1 am, and with the time change that's 2am!! Way past our bedtime. We haven't heard the final tally on how well the event did, but the coordinator told us they usually get 20% of their operating budget from this event. Hopefully our small contribution made at least a tiny difference for some very sick kids.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Missed Out

Looks like I won't be doing the Nike 1/2 this year as planned. Due to some glitch on Nike's part I didn't get the email that said registration was open. Evidently it started on March 1st and sold out all 20,000 spots (includes both 1/2 and full marathon) in 9 hours. Amazing. Everyone has found out about the Tiffany bling, I guess. Sigh. I'm pretty bummed about it. Of course, I'm so out of shape I couldn't run it if I wanted to....but hey, it's not until October. I COULD have gotten in shape to run it by then.

Oh, the email I DID get was the one saying "Hey, it's sold out, but you can enter the random drawing for one of 3700 spots in the 1/2 marathon." So I entered, but I can only imagine what the chances of getting in will be. And I only want to run it if Tina runs it too, so we'd both have to get 'randomly' picked. Fat chance, I think.

I could always get in through another year with TNT, but I'm not sure that I'm up to the fundraising again this year. I guess for now I'll just ask everyone to cross their fingers that BOTH Tina and I get picked. Oooo, oooo, pick me! Oooo, oooo, pick T! :-)

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Running dog

Tina and I went out to do the Sunol run today. I wasn't sure if I should bring Bam, as it's almost 6 miles and lots of hills. But she did fine after we ran Garin on Friday. Granted, that was 'only' 3-1/4 miles or so, and we did the flatter of the two runs, but still seemingly no ill effects. She may be a little stiffer getting up after lying down for a while, but then again that may be my hypochondriac tendencies coming out again. So I dragged her along to really test out her non-arthritic joints.

We headed for Sunol about 8:00 and I must say that even tho it felt cool, it was about 20 degrees warmer than the time we were out there this winter, so I didn't complain too much. The biggest problem this time was the mud. We had quite a bit of rain earlier in the week and some parts of the trail were quite soggy. Also, the horses and cows leave BIG hoof marks in the mud which are real ankle hazards.

Oh, and about those cows. I think they remembered us from last time when Teva and Bam chased after them. As soon as they spotted us, this HUGE cow started giving us the evil eye. Then she started coming towards us. Bam was freaked, and I'll admit it, so was I. Tina wasn't scared tho, she yelled at those cows and man did they respect her. They trotted off in the other direction and didn't bother us again.

All three of us managed to come through the run injury free which is always a good thing. And a bit surprising too with all the pot hole dodging we had to do. It was about 1:38 for the almost 6 mile run. Slow for road running, yes, but not bad for a muddy, hilly trail. Next up for contemplation....a 20k trail run. To sign up or not to sign up? That's a looooooong way and about 2000 feet of elevation. Yikes.

Oh, yeah, Bam hasn't shown too many ill effects from the run so far. Mostly a wee bit stiff in the knees and tired. Hmmm, are those Bam's symptoms or my own?? :-)

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Test Run

I took Bam out for a run today. I wanted to test her out while she's still on the medication. This way I can see if it's helping and then compare that to how she is when she goes off the medication. So despite the rainy weekend we headed out for a quick jog.

I didn't want to push her too far the first time out after having had a couple of weeks off. So we did a nice easy 3.5 miles. I was pleased to see that she was at least keeping up, not like the last time I had taken her out and she was lagging way behind. There were a few times when she fell behind, but invariably she was sniffing or digging, or up to no good. And when I called her she caught up. Good sign.

I waited most of the day to see how she would fare, keeping an eye on her when she got up after laying around for a while. No limping at all. That's a good thing. I'll try to take her out once more while she's medicated for a bit more vigorous run and we'll see how that goes.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Woodside Trail Run

Nice view, but hard to appreciate when one is gasping for air.

I did my first official trail run yesterday. Or should I say my first organized trail run. Whatever....you get the point, it was a trail run.

It was in Woodside, which is across the bay and a little bit north of where I live. And it's in the hills. The choices of distance/elevation were:

10k / 1110 feet
17k / 1890 feet
35k / 2990 feet
50k / 4530 feet

Being my first try at this, I opted for the 10k run. Let me just say that I have a new found respect for how much 1100 feet really is.

The course was absolutely beautiful, the people were friendly, the treats after the run were great....the hills were hell. Okay, okay, not all of the hills. It started off a little up hill, a little down hill, some switchbacks. Nice. I like this. Then it was uphill, a little more uphill, a little MORE uphill. Not so nice. I don't like this. I did WAY more walking than I had hoped or planned. And I think I came in almost last. I have no shame in admitting I felt good about passing someone....even if it was an 8 year old kid. But honestly, I really am trying to get into the spirit of the Pacific Coast Trail Run, whose motto is "Runs that aren't races in beautiful places."

Also, and this is very exciting, I got a pair of trail running shoes! Schweet! Okay, so maybe you aren't quite as excited as I am. I got them at Road Runner, because they have a 60 day guarantee on running shoes. If they don't work out, I can take them back and exchange for anything in the store. So basically a win-win situation.....if they have anything else in the store that I'm interested in. Which of course they do. :-)

I'm going to try another trail run in 2 weeks on the east side of the bay this time. Elevation for this 10k is only 1090 feet. Thank goodness....I think another 1100 footer would kill me. ;-)

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Fakin' it

So over the weekend my dear dog Bam was limping even tho we hadn't been running, or even really walking fast in the last few days. I decided to call the vet on Monday and we went ahead with x-rays yesterday.

Now she had to be sedated for the x-rays. Why? Well, if she would have been willing to lay on her back and have her back legs turned out and then pulled straight she could have just had the x-rays. For some reason, I didn't think that would work. :-)

I dropped her at the vet yesterday morning and by mid-afternoon the vet had examined her, called me once, done the x-rays and called me again. I was working myself into a frenzy because I hadn't heard anything (must be bad, right?) but by about 3:30 I had a call from the vet. Yeah, the x-rays were clear. That's right! No arthritis, no bone spurs, no abnormalities, no cancer. Nothing. So as the vet said, the good news is there's nothing. The bad news is I spent all that money and don't know why she's been limping.

The prevailing theory in my circle of peeps is that she's been faking it for sympathy or faking it because she doesn't really want to exercise. My boss even told a story about some people he knew who had a dog. I'll summarize: dog is in an accident, dog takes about 6 months to rehab, limping a lot etc, getting lots of attention; dog gets better and dog doesn't get as much attention; dog learns to limp to get attention. Tooooo funny!

Anyway, I AM relieved that there's nothing serious going on but also puzzled. We're trying some anti-inflammatory meds for a couple of weeks and see how she is after that. You know my motto: Better Living Through Pharmaceuticals! I support the industry in which I work. :-)

So, three cheers for no cancer! Three cheers for no arthritis! And finally three cheers for the faker!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Old dog, new meds

I found out today that Bam probably has arthritis in her hips. That's why my poor girl has been limping after runs. Poor baby.

The vet says I can still take her running, but need to watch the distance and if she limps after a run I need to shorten the distance. So, we did a little over 3 miles today and she's limping tonight. Sigh.

I'm supposed to start her on glucosamine and see if that helps. I'll probably also do x-rays of her hips to confirm the diagnosis and see how bad it is.

For now, she's going to get a few weeks off from running. Walks only. Hopefully the glucosamine will help because she is going to be pissed off when she sees me going for runs and I don't take her along! I'll have to learn to sneak out of the house. Or maybe running at lunch at work is a good idea.

Hmmm....wonder how much hip replacement is for a pooch. :-)

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Home for the holidays

Jeff and I spent the holidays back 'home' with my family in Illinois. We've spent the last few Christmases on the farm and have been really lucky with the weather so far.....knock on wood. This year was no exception. I probably didn't even really need to bring my heavy winter coat. There were some days when it was warmer there than it was in California! Amazing.

We arrived the 23rd and had luggage issues.....it was lost....then found....of all places, on the plane! Niiiiice. At least it arrived tho. Christmas eve my brother came up from the Champaign area to the farm (about an hour's drive) with my sister-in-law and my adorable 3 year old niece. Her vocabulary has increased about 100x since my last visit over the 4th of July and once she overcame her bashfulness she was just like a chatty Cathy doll. :-) She really is a genius, I'm sure of it.

When my brother tried to explain to her that we would have to wait until after lunch, when everyone else arrived, to open presents she said "That's not a good idea." Hahahahahaha. Not afraid to say what she thinks, that's for sure!

After Christmas Jeff went home to attend to some errands and I spent a few days at Toys 'R Us, otherwise known as my brother's house. Why didn't they have toys like this when I was a kid?!?! We had picnics and played with dolls and dinosaurs and dragons and beauty parlor and Spencer basically just wore me out. Kudos to Rob and Susie who do this all the time! No wonder they are tired! Well, Susie especially since she's expecting my second niece in about 2-1/2 months! Yep, another girl. Wow, my brother is soooooo outnumbered. :-)

It was a great visit, and trying to get back into the swing of work and working out has been hell. Although I did go trail riding (bicycles) once while I was there and did a 5 mile run. Sadly, it wasn't enough to cover for all the eating I did and I've gained a few pounds. Time to go back to the gym and back to the salads. :-( Damn my love of food anyway!