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 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?? :-)