Thursday, December 22, 2011

(There's No Place) Like Home for the Holidays

December brought a slew of non-stop busy-ness.  It's been party, party, party... sort of.  I can't remember the last time Hubs and I were invited to a grown up party together until this year.  After Las Vegas, we had four holiday parties last week, plus our wedding anniversary of 29 years on December 11th.  This week was a little calmer but busy with baking and trying to remember what we did with certain Christmas decorations.  I went old school this year and used most of the Christmas decorations from the years when my kids were in grade school.   We also put up the tree in the living room this year. 

The dining room where the tree usually goes is, uh, having issues...  

Like last year, the Kiddo was my decorating buddy and helped me with the majority of the decorating.  Hubs put one ornament on, and and my son put a few up high were I couldn't reach, and my daughter was oblivious to other life around her while busy with studying for finals.  

Living room fireplace.  
I would so love to have a warm fire, but this fireplace needs to be repaired or torn down and rebuilt.  I put candles in it but there's no damper, and the air coming in through the top blows out my candles. *sigh*    The kiddo pointed out that since we can't burn anything in this fireplace that Santa won't get burned when he comes down our chimney.

The Kiddo

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas because I got this surprise delivered today:

Nothing says Merry Christmas more than socks, holiday peppermint Gu's, and Stingers from  blogger Tara - Colorado Runner!   Yay! 

The packages were shipped from REI.  When UPS delivered the boxes I was wracking my head trying to remember what I had ordered from REI.  Then it clicked that these were from my Secret Santa from the Bloggie Gift Exchange.  One box contained the great pair of Smartwool running socks, and the other box contained the Gu's and Stingers.  The timing is perfect because I'm out of any type of gel/goo electrolyte and I just might have to save a couple for the Carlsbad half marathon next month.  The socks are on my feet right now:

Warm and cushy!  I can't wait to run in these! Thanks so much, Tara!

On the running front, not a lot of running has been happening.  Somewhere between the parties and work, I caught a cold.  It's not a bad cold, but just enough to mess up the flow of day-to-day life.   I know I had the cold before I had to deal with the bratty snot-nosed kid patient and his clueless mother.* Gross. I hope to do a slow, longish run this Saturday morning, which happens to be Christmas Eve.

In other news, for the first time in YEARS (2000?) I received a cash bonus at work.  I honestly wasn't expecting much of anything, maybe a box of candy, but since I'm part-time right now I felt the bonus was rather generous.  I had plans for new Ugg boots and have change left over for an outfit, BUT one of my cats became rather ill yesterday and my bonus went towards paying the vet bill. Merry Christmas to my vet. Oh well.   At least I had that cash to help lessen the blow of that hefty vet bill, and for that I am grateful.    FYI, it was my little girl cat, Luna, the little bitty 8 pound cat who can beat up our 75 pound dog.  The vet thinks it's a thyroid issue.  She's doing much better now and will be on meds for a week.  Good times.

This year we didn't send out Christmas cards.  I suppose we could have, we just didn't.  I'm thinking of New Year's cards.   Just in case, consider this picture of the Kiddo and me your Christmas card from me:

Wishing you all lots of Christmas cheer!

Song from Thursday, December 8, 2011:  
Good Intentions - Toad the Wet Sprocket


*On the scale of one to ten in snotty-nosed grossness, this kid was a 10, plus he sneezed all over everything.  It was so gross that I felt the need to wipe everything down with rubbing alcohol when he and his mother left the building.  I'm not a germophobe, but felt gross dealing with this obnoxious kid.  I just don't understand parents who let their kids run a muck in a medical office, or any professional office.  Sheesh.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Good Intentions

You know what they say about good intentions?

I'm sure the race coordinators at Competitor had really good intentions when planning the new night race for the Las Vegas Rock N Roll marathon and half marathon. I'm sure it all looked good on paper. The reality was another story.

The expo was pretty straight forward and the same as any other race expo, such as retrieving  race numbers, d-tags, swag bag, t-shirt and freebies (mostly food) at the expo, plus peruse the expo for the latest and greatest gear.  Hubs and I attended the expo on the Friday before the marathon/half marathon, so it wasn't too bad as far as crowds and getting out of there with in a reasonable amount of time.

This year the race was a night race. It sounds kind of fun to run the strip at night with all the lights, right? The marathoners started around 4:00 PM and the half marathoners started around 5:30 PM. With the wave starts, I think we stared around 6:15PM-ish.  The corrals were rather tight, and it was hard to get into our appropriate corrals.  I was supposed to be in corral 9 and ended up being good with starting in corral 13. I've started other races that were quite crowded and just started in the wrong (higher numbered) corrals because I couldn't  move due to crowds, so I really wasn't too surprised that this was the case.  I figured it would ease up and become less congested once the race started.  It did ease up a little, but, due to the fact people couldn't get into their appropriate corrals, there were walkers in front of runners, which made for slow going in some parts of the race where I felt good enough to kick things in gear.  After the sun went down the temps dropped down to the low 30s and the wind kicked up in spots. It's also really dry in the high desert and you tend to get thirstier. With about 44,000 people running total, they did not prepare for running out of electrolyte, gels, and water cups. I carry a 20 ounce water bottle with me, and might need to refill it once. I refilled it 4 times at water stations. There was one stretch of the course where they ran out of cups and there was no water for 3.5 miles. The marathoners were mixed in with the runners at a several points, which screwed up those marathoners who were trying for a BQ or PRs.  There were about 20,000 MORE  people this year.* I was unintentionally elbowed and bumped several times, and have a pretty good bruise on my arm from someone's elbow. I was often stuck behind groups of people who were much slower, and it was hard to get around them.  As much as I tried, I couldn't speed up at the end, because I just could not navigate around people.   After the finish line the water seemed like long ways away, and I had to ask someone where she got her water. I know there were tables with bagels, bananas, fruit, bars, etc, but it was so crowded I never made it to those tables. It also took me a while to get a mylar blanket. I was FREEZING. When I ran I was mostly fine. Stopping was another story. I was shivering while I waited for Hubs, who was about 10 minutes behind me, and that seemed like an eternity. My gloves got wet at the water stations and my fingers were freezing.  I really wanted a hot beverage like hot tea or hot apple cider. Even hot chocolate would have sufficed, and I'm allergic to dairy. Heck, a cup of hot water would have been great. We didn't stick around for our post race beer, we just wanted to get our gear, use a restroom, and go back to our room, but that took about two hours total. Mandalay Bay, where the race ended, is connected to two other hotels and an overpass walkway to the hotel we stayed at.  We thought we could walk through the hotels and overpass to get to our hotel room at New York, New York, which should have taken 10 to 15 minutes.  We never made it out of Mandalay Bay.  We got stuck in a cluster f*** of people trying to do the same thing.  People were getting sick and passing out around us.  The EMTs had a hard time getting to people in need. It looked like a war zone.  It turns out part of that walkway area was blocked off for some Las Vegas premier for a Michael Jackson tribute show.  Talk about bad timing! It took us well over an hour to get back to our room, which was less than a mile from the finish.

Edit - Check out this article as to why so many people got sick!

We missed the after parties because it was so late when we got back to our room, but we were too tired to go anywhere. While I showered, hubs went into the hotel lobby area to get food and bring it back to our room.  The hotel restaurants were OVERWHELMED with post run people just trying to get something to eat. A couple of places told hubs that they were no longer seating people or placing to go orders.  He managed to find a place that had pasta, which turned out to be fantastic, but maybe because I was so hungry by the time he made it back up to our room at midnight. 

The next morning we didn't have time for much more than packing and catching the shuttle to the airport.  While at the airport we heard stories from other runners who had the same experience.   I'm sure Competitor has heard an ear-full by now. I'm also sure they saw everything that happened from their heated and catered VIP viewing section... I guess they were initially too busy paying attention to their bottom line and not the finish line.

There were some high points.  They actually had women's sized t-shirts this year, finally, and it FITS.  Hubs and I attended a pre race carb load dinner at the condo one of our track club buddies, and we saw a lot of friends there. I also met up with my blogger friend Dawn (Dawn on the Run) from Canada at a Tweet-up. I also met Mary (The Running Green Girl), Carrie (Family Fitness Food) and a few other bloggers (who I can't for the life of me remember their names, but they are wonderful people!!!) I also did better than I anticipated. My mile splits weren't that great, but I was happy to see the finish time of 2:36:48 because it felt more like a 3 hour run running at night, plus it was hard to pace myself with so many people.  I'm generally happy with my run.  I did  chat with a few (a very few) people who enjoyed every aspect of the race, and I'm glad to know it was enjoyable for those people.  I'm guessing they were either uber fast and got out of the race area before the chaos hit, or they were walkers who were at the back of the pack and missed the bulk of the chaos.

The medal is pretty nice. It even glows in the dark. 

The skyline is actually a sparkly green, but it didn't photograph that way.  I didn't know it glowed in the dark medal until someone mentioned it to me once I returned home.  Of course I tested the medal for it's glow in the dark capabilities.  All the yellow coloring on the medal does glow in the dark, and even though it's a novelty, it's still pretty cool.  

Besides the race, hubs and I did enjoy a night out.  We caught a show, Zumanity, and had a fabulous dinner and drinks on Friday night.  Sure, we could easily have a nice dinner out in our hometown, but sometimes a change of pace can do a relationship some good, and being in Las Vegas for some time with hubs was worth the effort of being there. 

I'm not sure why, but I have DOMS in both forearms. I'm guessing I was tensing up after the race while trying to keep warm.  I dunno. 

Now it's back to normal and continue training for my next race (my favorite) The Carlsbad Half Marathon in mid January.

Song from Monday, November 28, 2011
Monday Morning - No Doubt - Run-DMZ


*The 2010 Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Marathon/Half Marathon event had 24,403 participants listed as finishers.

PS...  Any one else having issues with Blogger?  I'm having issues with comments and showing my full list of  followers.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sunday Morning

I went walking along the coast with Hubs on Sunday and took the grown-up camera.

It's hard to believe this is November with weather so warm.

Song from Wednesday, November 16, 2011:
Human - The Killers


Wednesday, November 16, 2011


What have you all been up to?

I've become rather meh* when it comes to blogging. I used to be so consistent, but now it has taken somewhat of a back seat to social networking.  Sad, I know, but that's what's happening.  It's also a time issue as well, and when I am home the last thing I'm doing is blogging, but dealing with family things like helping the kiddo with homework and the usual day in, day out things that need more attention than my blog does.  I'm not abandoning the blog.  I suppose I'll amp things up again, and post more frequently at some point.  I just don't want it to collect cobwebs.  I still have plenty to say, as disjointed and grammatically incorrect as it may seem at times.  At least it's honest.

Product Review:

I've been trying out the VITAband wrist band. Here's a picture of mine:

From the VITAband site:

"The VITAband acts like a medical ID bracelet providing medical professionals with your identification, relevant medical history and emergency contacts to help ensure you get the care you need in the event of an emergency.

VITAband also offers Visa® payWave contactless payment technology. This allows users to simply wave their VITAband, featuring The VITAband Visa Prepaid Card, at the point of sale to make purchases at millions of retailers who accept Visa debit cards."
 I know it's hard to see, but I'm wearing it on my right wrist in this photo from the Nike Women's Half Marathon this past October

I've been using the VITAband for about the past three months, wearing it during every run.  It's rather comfortable and I've gotten used to wearing it.  It's a rubber bracelet with an emergency number and my personal ID number on the back of the wrist- which will access my emergency and medical information for first responders, and can include a removable, scan-able pre paid Visa chip.  I have yet to use the Visa chip.  There are stores in my area that do have the scanner, but I usually don't frequent those stores.   I wanted to talk about the ease of just being able to wave my wrist at the contact-less payment scanner, but I haven't seen one yet.  I might have to make a special trek to the stores that do have the scanner, and I'll post about using it.  I like the idea of having some form of money on me when I run, cash or credit card, and this wrist band would mean one less thing to carry if my post run eateries/establishments would have this scanner, and (so far) none do.  There is a yearly fee to use this band and to keep your personal emergency information in their system.  I really like the concept of this band, which can access more than your emergency phone numbers, but includes what ever health information you provide on the site, which can include allergies, past surgeries, medications, health issues, etc.  I like the VITAband with all of my information for first responders, I just wish the High Dive down the street from my house would  have the Visa  scanner... Just sayin'...

Other Stuff

I was contacted (through THIS blog) by the Mutual of Omaha's "Aha Moment" team to film my  "Aha Moment."   I thought I'd take them up on their offer and put in what I had to say.  I went to their Airstream mobile "studio" set up at Balboa Park.

As I waited for my turn there were others ahead of me who were doing great things like helping those less fortunate than themselves, saving babies, helping to find cures.  Their interviews were on a screen just outside the Airstream in the waiting area.  Here I am, going to talk about me and running.  Running and I  felt so petty at that moment. 

As I waited, I filled out this clap board, which they actually used, and I got to keep:

What I had intended to say in my filmed interview with them is that my "Aha Moment" happens every time I run, that I am constantly awe struck with running in San Diego county.  I'm extremely fortunate to live in an area where the running season lasts all year long.   After I said something to that effect, the person directing the shoot asked me to repeat what I had just said because an airplane flew overhead and they didn't get a clear recording.  MY MIND WENT BLANK.  *gah*  I lost everything I wanted to say.  *Poof*  It was gone.  I became really nervous after that and felt myself stumble on my words.  There was no flow.  She had to prompt me with questions after that, and I felt rather sucky.  I've posted my segment on Facebook and Twitter. Since Blogger won't let me post the link to access the video Mutual of Omaha posted on their site, here's the actual link:

I never realized that I move around so much when I'm nervous.  If this were Tyra Banks Top Model show I would have lost the spokes model segment. Seriously.  Thank goodness for creative editing.  My last words came out wrong.  I wanted to say something about every day being an "aha moment, "  not the thing about putting it all together to say this is why I do what I do.  (What?)  Yeah, I lost my train of thought that morning.  The scarf. People asked about my scarf.  I bought it on clearance at a store in an outlet mall a few years ago. It goes with everything... I also had a black sweater on which (I thought) made me look more pulled together, but it turned out to warm up that day and by the time arrived to the taping I was rather toasty, so the sweater came off.   They have three finalists and one will win a spot in the actual televised ad campaign, and I knew from the get go that I wouldn't be one of them. I wasn't vying for a TV spot.  That's just not me.  It's all good, though.  I've never done anything like this before, and now that I have, I hope that's it. 

 Song from Wednesday, October 26, 2011:
Hey Soul Sister - Train - Run-DMZ


*For lack of a better word.  Complacent?  Bored?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hey Soul Sister

Nike Women's  Half Marathon 2011 Race Report

Pre Race Thursday

Not at all organized.  Not at all packed.  The flight out was the next morning.  I tried to be organized, but that went by the wayside with a midday doctor's appointments.  I also had my sister coming down from Los Angeles to accompany me on the trip.  Amazingly, flights were much cheaper out of San Diego going to San Fransisco that out of Los Angeles to San Fransisco.  Go figure.  I wasn't quite ready for my sister, either, the house wasn't quite up to par for company, but since it was my sister, she really didn't care that I hadn't vacuumed or mopped the kitchen floor yet.  Once my sister Donna was safely delivered to San Diego, we went out for dinner and I probably should have stuck with just one drink, but since I didn't have to drive I went for a second.  Have you ever tried to pack after two drinks?  At least I had all of my race gear pre planned and I purposely wore my running shoes on the flight.  Everything else was a mystery as to why I packed it.  I was missing a few things, but it's not as if we were going to the middle of nowhere.  One major thing to forget was my camera.  I did have my cell phone but it's not quite the same as an actual camera. I never think to use my cell phone camera. Obviously.

Pre Race Friday

Up bright and early.  Donna slept in the Aerobed on the living room floor.  She woke up with a couple of Hotwheels cars, Elmo (the Muppet), and a Transformer toy.  I guess my grandson didn't want her to get lonely.  The male cat, Lumpy, was intrigued and woke her up just before her alarm went off.  I guess he figured she could get his breakfast... 

We made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare.  No major issues, but I was the lucky recipient of a random search.  I found it odd that they swabbed my running shoes.  No pat down.   We  hooked up with the Heffers on the plane, then we were off.

Once in San Francisco, my sister and I trekked to our hotel to freshen up a bit, then went to the expo at Union Square.  It's at this point that I realized I forgot my camera, but did use my cell phone camera for a few shots.  My sister took a picture of my name on the Niketown wall, but has yet to send it to me. I stole this one from AKA Alice:

This was the billboard over Niketown, adjacent to the expo at Union Square.

Donna and I spent enough time at the expo to retrieve my race number and swag, walked around the expo and Niketown a bit then met up with some of the Heffers at the Hyatt for lunch.

A spectacular view!  I've never seen San Francisco so clear... Not bad for a cell phone pic.

Me & Donna

Post lunch photo op... Charlie's Angels?  Betty,  me,  AKA Alice.

AKA Alice and I have the paparazzi pose down,  but I'm not sure what Elsie was doing... 

Since I didn't have the sense to take a lot of cell phone pics, there's a lot of gaps that I can't remember clearly, perhaps a little alcohol was involved, but we did attend a happy hour at the Hotel Palomar where the Heffer's stayed at,  and had dinner at John's Grill to celebrate Elsie's landmark birthday. BTW, John's Grill has some pretty good martini's.  

I must add that a big part of this weekend was celebrating Elsie's birthday, and the cool thing was that friends and family kept showing up, which was a complete surprise to her.

Pre Race Saturday

My sister and I pretty much did our own thing with some random shopping and did a little sight seeing.  We decided to take a cable car up to Fisheman's Warf since the restaurant was in that general direction.  After about a half hour wait, we entered a cable car, then went about a block, then the driver stops and announces that there's a protest and he can't move the cable car until it passes.  Here's some of what transpired:

"Welcome to San Francisco!"This is only about 15 minutes worth, captured on my cell phone, but we were there for about 45 minutes.  We could have jumped off, but it was more interesting to see what was going on. 

Once we got going again, we made it up to Fisherman's Warf  and  I relied on my sister for directions to the restaurant.  I discovered that my sister isn't great with directions.  We ended up walking about 4 miles to find the restaurant that turned out to be only about a mile and a half from our hotel... 

I  do much better with  rice dishes for my pre race carb load dinner instead of pasta, and we had reservations for Ozumo, for sushi.  The restaurant was lovely and looked like the perfect spot for date night.  Next time I'll bring Hubs there.  I so wanted to have an adult beverage, since they had an awesome drink menu, but adult drinks were out since race day was the next morning.  The sushi was wonderful, however, the highlight was dessert, which was dark chocolate fondue:

So yummy!

Race Day Sunday

The morning went rather smoothly, and there were really no glitches until I got outside and realized that it was already warm at the crack of dark.  This wasn't the cooler San Francisco weather that I was anticipating.  I had on a long sleeved running shirt and leggings.  The hotel wasn't too far from Union Square, but I decided that since we were already less than a block away from the starting area that I would change shirts right then and there.  At least I thought enough to have a short sleeved shirt in my gear bag.  I ducked into a small store front entry and changed.  Looking back now, I should have gone back to the hotel and changed into shorts.  I was already feeling warm and the race hadn't started yet. 

As Donna and I made our way to the race area, we became stuck in a sea of people.  There was no direction of where people observing should go and where runners should go.  I handed Donna my gear bag just in case we became separated from each other, and we did, and I just sort of found myself in a corral and stayed there.  There really weren't corrals, just signs with paces.  It probably didn't matter where I started since I really wasn't going for PR.  Getting strep throat a couple of weeks before really messed with my training and stamina.  It was all about finishing and getting the bling.

While waiting for the race to start I chatted with a couple of ladies who live in San Francisco and have ran this race several times.  I really wanted to start the race with someone I knew, as several people from our track club were running, and the Heffers were somewhere near by in the mayhem, but it was OK.  This race has a really good vibe about it and everyone seemed pumped up.  About 15 minutes after the starting gun went off, I made it to the start.

Everyone kind of winces at the thought of running up and down the hills on this course, but I was OK with the hills.  I was ready for those and actually ran (slowly) up and down those hills.  Thank goodness for those practice runs on the Torrey Pines hill! 

I think this is somewhere in Golden Gate Park, perhaps around mile 9???

My issue was the lack of stamina to take me running to the end of the race.  Not being able to get in that last long run of 11 to 12 miles due to getting sick messed me up. It was also humid and I went through two 20 ounce  bottles of electrolyte.  For a half marathon I normally need just one 20 ounce bottle and rarely finish it.  I was so sweaty.  Right before mile 10 my body was telling me I was done.  This was also at that point where I saw a friend from the track club, Judy, and I thought we could finish together.  Judy was having a really good day, and after about a mile of running with her I just couldn't keep up running.  I had to walk. I was exhausted.  I walk/ran most of mile 11, and slowly ran mile 12, but it was running, just because I knew I was so close to the finish. 

I finished, and turned to a lady right behind me and said  "I have to high five somebody!" She humored me and obliged.

So happy to be finished!

After about a week, the official times have been posted, and I clocked in at 2:41:52, a whole three seconds faster than first reported.  This is my second slowest race, but I really wasn't racing, I was needing to finish just to get my Tiffany & Co. bling. 

NWM on the front, "I RUN TO BE" on the back.
  I've been wearing the necklace since the race and have only taken it off to take the photos of it.  It was worth the effort.

After the race I finally found some of the Heffers and a few track club friends, but it took me over an hour to find my sister.  Cell phone reception was next to nil at the finish line, and I didn't coordinate where to meet up with my sister after the race.  We finally found each other then waited in line for the busses to get back towards Union Square, which was actually smooth considering having to shuttle 20,000 people.  People were in a good post-race mood.  The bus dropped us off right across the street from our hotel, which was so sweet.  We weren't that far from Union Square, but I guess they were dropping off people on side streets to avoid a traffic mess. 

After a brief rest and a long shower, Donna and I walked towards Market street to grab a quick something to eat.  We ended up at Burger King just because it was fast and I was hungry now.  I know I could do better than Burger King.  We thought about going to Subway for sandwiches, but there were no seats.  After running 13.1 miles the burger was pretty good.  Then it was mani-pedi time at Nordstroms.   

Post Race Monday 

 Looking down Lombard street

Donna and I stayed an extra day in San Francisco to do some sight seeing (we walked from Union Square to Fisherman's Warf) and we took the BART to visit my brother and his wife who live in nearby Fremont.   I'm not sure why I didn't get a picture at my brother's house, but I know my sister did, and I'm waiting on that pic, too.  We had a wonderful visit with Karl and Ellen and they made dinner for us.  The visit was way too short, but it was wonderful catching up and talking about their eldest daughter's wedding plans. 

  The BART station on the way back to the hotel.

Post Race Tueaday

Tuesday was all about getting packed and getting home.  We made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare and had a last hurrah lunch at an airport bar.
This airport bar had awesome Bloody Marys...

At lunch I asked Donna if she thought she could run a half marathon, and she said that, based on the people she saw finishing, she thinks she could do one.  I have a feeling I might be doing a return trip to San Francisco if she decides to complete her first half marathon.  She's already running 5ks.  

Life is somewhat back to normal and I hope to get back to regular blogging.  The weeks before  the half marathon were busy, then getting sick really threw me off.  I now have the Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon up next in December, so the training continues.

Song from Friday, September 30, 2011:
In Da Club - 50 Cent


Friday, September 30, 2011

In Da Club

It's all fun and games until someone gets strep throat.


I had plans to bust out some serious mileage with hills this week, but it didn't happen.  Last Sunday I felt rather ill to my stomach, but I thought it was something completely unrelated to strep throat.  I though it was just bad timing or something I ate.  By Wednesday I had a sore throat that burned.  I had major plans to bust out 12 mile run on Thursday, but that didn't happen. I went  to the doctor instead.  Since my doctor had a full schedule, I was seen by another doctor who I had never seen before.  I was surprised to be seen by Doctor Tall, Dark and Handsome.  Bonus points that he was actually a nice guy.  I wondered what kind of workouts  Doctor TD&H did while he looked at my throat.  He was rather cut.  ANY WAY,  The doc said it's pretty obvious that I have strep, but he took a throat culture for protocol.  I get to take 10 days of antibiotics.  I questioned my training for  my half marathon, and he just said to take it easy.  Just great. I sort of need to get in an 11 or 12 miler before Nike, which is looming in about 2 weeks.  I wasn't planning shoot for any PRs  while in San Francisco, but I did want to run the entire race and not even think about running up some of those hills.    If there is any consolation is that I'm getting this infection over and done with now and I won't have to deal with it while in San Francisco on my big girl's weekend. 

RU had their annual fundraiser for MS.  There was a silent auction and a drawing for prizes.  Hubs won a chemical peel from a dermatologists office, which was given to me It remains to be seen if I'll use that, but at least one of us won something.  Last year they also raised money to get the PTs to ride a mechanical bull.  This year it was the battle of Bryan and Brian.  They had a beauty contest complete with talent segment, sort of a bathing suit part which was actually ballet garb, and a evening gown competition.

Bryan raising money for charity...  

Brian also raising money for charity...

Brian, me, Bryan.  
Is it a guy thing or what, when dressing in drag they HAVE to grab their tatas?  

Song from Tuesday, September 20, 2011:
Bad Sneakers - Steely Dan - Miss Rachel


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bad Sneakers

Running & Stuff

On the running agenda I have the Nike Women's Half Marathon in just a few weeks.  I've been getting in some hills, including THE HILL in my neighborhood and the hill over at Torrey Pines State Park.  I'm pretty confident that the hills on the race course won't be an issue, even the one at about the 10k point, but now I just need to get in the miles in addition to the hills, especially when I've already run a bunch of miles.

I'm also going through finding just the right shoes again.  My favs, the Pearl Izumi Cruise, are no longer being made and I've scoured the internet for more in my size, but to no avail.  I'm currently wearing Nike Air Pegasus 28, but even after putting about 50 miles on those, I'm not quite in love with them.  My feet ache in all the wrong places, even when I'm not running. I think they'll be OK for really short runs or for working out. 

I'm beyond the point of returning the Nikes. I went ahead and ordered  Mizunos Wave Prophecy. I originally tried them on the same day I tried the Nikes, in a half size smaller and half size larger than I needed, but the size I needed was not available at the time, and was on back order for several weeks. The weird thing is that the size smaller and size larger fit perfect in the arch, where I need it, it's just the toe box was too small and too big in the other sizes. In retrospect, I should have ordered the Mizunos, but I was hoping the Nikes would suffice, even though they felt good in the store. Shopping doesn't float my boat and I intensely dislike returning anything.

My very first pair of real running shoes were Mizuno Wave Riders, and it was a happy union, until the next version changed, then it was all about the Asics Gel Nimbus... Until those changed, then it was all about the Pearl Izumi Cruise, then that version went away. I'm hoping to have another happy union of feet and shoes.

Another person who I (sort of) know is down with a similar kind of femur fracture to what I had, except that her fracture did not break all the way through.  She is a runner and  triathlete. My PT, Bryan, gave her my number so that I could talk to her about what I went through with my entire ordeal, about I went through physically and emotionally.  She was agonizing over being out of commission from running or from any sport for about a year or more if she opted not to have surgery, or have the surgery and begin physical therapy and be back training with in months.  She had several conversations with her doctors and Bryan.  I ended up chatting with her for about an hour last weekend, and I believe she was scheduled for the surgery today.  I have every confidence that she'll recover well and zoom through PT.  It boggles my mind how this injury appears so uncommon, but it's actually quite common in endurance athletes. Perhaps I have the propensity to over react when someone mentions that they have groin/hip pain, but It comes from a place of concern.  I just don't want ANYONE to go through what I went through. 

School has been back in session and the kiddo is now a second grader. He loves being in second grade.  Of course, I had him pose for the obligatory first day of school picture:

Just for kicks, I had do dig up his first day of preschool photo from 2007:

Song from Saturday, September 17, 2011:
My Girl - The Temptations


Saturday, September 17, 2011

My Girl

The last time I was here I said I was going to give my book review, but, I swear, I didn't think I'd take so long to read the book. Life happens.

I was eager to read the Run Like A Girl by Mina Samuels because it's an accumulation of inspiring stories about women in sports, but mostly running. There were several points in the book that I did not want to forget, and I ended up tabbing a few pages...

OK, so I tabbed more than a few pages, so sue me.  I did go through a few sets of tabs, especially to refer back to some of the finer points that resonated with me.

I found my head nodding over "shrink and pink."  Shrink and pink is where clothing and gear companies take a man's designed item, such as a t shirt, size it down and change the color to pink, with no consideration to a women's body, sizing or need.  You would kind of think that, by now, shrink and pink would no longer be an issue, but it is.  The last two half marathons I ran in gave out men's sized/fitted t shirts to everyone. Bonus points that they were tech shirts, points lost because both of my XS men's t shirts from those two races have no consideration for my curves and fit me rather large, even though those are both XS.  In both of those races the women outnumbered the men. "Shrink and pink" is so 10, (20 ,30+) years ago, but still an issue. 

Samuels points out that when women get together we rarely start a conversation with a list of our accomplishments, but with the tendency to bond though belittling ourselves, and dialing into the internal radio "KFKD," and, yes, it's exactly as it sounds. K- f**ked.  This got me thinking to a conversation I had with a couple of ladies from the track club, how the first things that we all talked about were our crappy run times, aches, pains, and other mishaps of the running week.  After a short while one lady piped in "hey, next time we get together let's talk about how wonderful we all are!"  Everyone laughed, but she had a point.  We needed to celebrate each other and focus on the good things, that we showed up for the run that day, that we ran, that we're together, that we are strong and awesome, etc...  It's time to turn off "KFKD" and tune in to "KGrrrT."

The book is chock full of stories of women who have overcome struggles in their own lives which lead them into sports, mostly running, and how their lives evolved from being involved in a sport.  What I took from this book was an over-all sense of empowerment from participating in a sport.   As a girl growing up in the 1960s  and early 1970s, sports were not encouraged unless the choices were dance, tennis or volleyball, and maybe basketball.  There's nothing wrong with any of those activities, but that's all there was and I wasn't adept at any of those.  I was rarely encouraged to find empowerment in sports, or anywhere else, for that matter.* There was no sense of empowerment from running because that was a considered boys sport, at least in my parent's eyes.  There was no girls track team in middle school or in the early years of high school.**   I often longed for that sense of empowerment in those younger years, but I'm glad that I can feel empowered from running now.  It's never too late.

Title IX is brought up a few times in this book, which is the education amendement, passed in 1972 stating:
"No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance..."
—United States Code Section 20, [1]
I'm not sure why, but there is a reference to Roe v. Wade in this book.  I'm not sure the context of which it  was meant, as I re-read that particular paragraph a few times over to figure it out, but I just couldn't wrap my head around the reference.  I'm not sure what Roe v. Wade has to do with running, and I felt the reference was rather unnecessary.

When I began reading this book I was excited to delve into the individual stories, but as I read I became rather complacent,  making the book a bit slow to read.  It's not that the stories weren't interesting, in fact they were interesting and very relevant,*** it's just that I felt certain points were made time and time again.  I became bored.  I'd read a page here and there, but would often put it down to take care of other business.  There was no desire to get back to the book until I realized I has been over a a month since I received the book and figured would finish reading it.  I began plodding through, just to give the book a fair shake.  I found a new eagerness to read this book once I made it to the last couple of chapters, and my interests were once again piqued.

Mina Samuels discusses the importance of friendships and bonds through sports, and how, as adults, we still needs play dates.  This chapter resonated with me.  I never really thought about running in the terms of "play dates,"  but she has a point.  Running can be a very social activity, and people can accept that you have no make-up on, you're sweating from every pore on your body, probably smelly, and, well, gross. Running friends are rather accepting of each other.  We help to hold each other accountable, or to be our cheerleaders. Yes, there is something to be said about having solo runs, where you can clear your head, but it's nice to have someone who knows about your training,  someone who you can talk about running with out the blank stares back and that that common bond of running that evolves into long term friendships.

I would recommend this book to an eager, new runner or any one who needs to rekindle the spark to get off of their butt and start doing something to put their body in motion.

If you don't mind, I have a play date to attend to.

Gotta run.

Song from Thursday, August 25, 2011
Take it all - Adele


*My parents were of the realm of "Leave it to Beaver" and I was supposed to grow up to be June Cleaver.

**FYI, I  graduated from high school in 1977, and the small Catholic school I attended was still playing catch up with girls in sports.  They finally had a girl's track team in my Senior year, but I had no transportation to or from practice, even though I did try out for the team.  My parents weren't quite caught up with Title IX.

***There were many inspiring stories of women who were top notch athletes, beginners, women who overcame disease, abuse, adversity, discrimination, struggles with weight, self-esteem  issues, finding love, separation, divorce, death,  losing, winning, and so on...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Take It All

"Didn't I give it up
Tried my best
Gave you everything I had
Everything and no less"

 Summer, although somewhat at the end for most people, has been in full swing for me over the past couple of weeks or so.  For weeks not much happened, but then August starts and everything becomes super busy... and exhausting.  A lot of the busy isn't anything extra special, work and house stuff, but nothing earth shattering.  There are some notables, though.

Hubs' uncle and cousin visited us from Rio de Janiero Brazil.  Between work and everything else, we found time to share some great moments together.

My daughter Renee, Uncle Pedro, my grandson Evan, and cousin Ana Christina.

We managed to purchase tickets to Adele in concert. I was initially irritated that I could only purchase over priced tickets through an unaffiliated on line ticket agency and not through the venue ticket sales, but it was a concert worth attending. At first Hubs was thinking I was dragging him to a chick show, but he was pleasantly surprised.  Even though Adele was accompanied by her band, she could have easily sang without the band. She was THAT fabulous.  In addition, Adele's personality is nothing like her songs of relationships gone wrong.  The girl is genuine, hilarious (let the "f*** bomb" fly a lot)  and really connected with the audience.  She also dedicated  the song "Make You Feel My Love" to Amy Winehouse. The cool thing is that she had us  - the audience -  turn on the lights to our cell phones and cameras during that song.  I didn't get a picture of that, it would not have turned out on my cell phone, but the affect was amazing.

@ the SDSU outdoor amphitheater. Adele is down there, I promise. Not the best seats, but I'm glad we managed to get tickets without having to apply for a loan. 

I ran in the America's Finest City Half Marathon on August 21, 2011.  I honestly did not train well for this particular half marathon.  I guess my head wasn't into it as much as it was for the SDRNR half marathon this past June.  I did almost no speed training and it really affected my time.   My goal was to complete the Triple Crown series, since I had never done that before.  Done. Check. I have no mile to mile account of this race.  I just could not find my groove at any point in the race.  Sometimes it takes me the first couple of miles to get my bearings then I'm OK.  No groove.  I dragged.  No reason.  No good excuses.  Perhaps not being mentally invested in this race affected my performance.  I haven't looked at all of my stats, but this could possibly be my second slowest half marathon.   I must say that the support on the route (water/electrolyte stations, restrooms, etc) was well done.  I'm also loving the Triple Crown Medal.  I think this has to be my absolute favorite medal.  One of my friends said it looked rather Olympic.

I completed these three races...

... to receive this.

There were a few notables on race day.  Waking up at o'dark thirty so we wouldn't be late for the bus to the starting area was extra special since I didn't sleep well.  We had cool, overcast skies at the start of the race, which was somewhat of a bonus since August can be toasty.  The warm up and stretcing exercises with the track club was nice, and helped me to wake up.  During the race here were a couple of guys who were running ahead of me who stopped at the half way point to do burpees.  I'm not sure how many they did, I wasn't going to stick around to count, but they full on, proper burpees without looking tired.  Show offs...  I got it done in 2:30:00, and that included walking up part of the 6th Ave. hill.  It wasn't the hill that got me, it was just that I had no umph to spare even well before that late point in the race with one mile to go.  I actually felt like walking the rest of the race, but managed to focus on and follow someone just in front of me who was running at a pace I could deal with.

I'm having kind of a tough time bouncing back from this race.  I usually recover rather quickly from a half marathon, but I've been feeling rather lack luster since that day.

I've been asked to do review on this book:

I'm still reading it and will probably give a full review on my next blog post.  Several pages have been dog-eared or tabbed.  There are some great quotes and a few pet-peeves in the writing. I should have been finished reading it by now, but I haven't had much time to sit still and just read, or even blog.  I just need to remember to take the book with me to work and read it during my lunch hour.

My niece Amber, (Hubs side of the family) who was training for her first triathlon for later on this year, ended up with a femoral fracture, similar to what I went through back in 2008.  She had a similar surgery, too.  In her case, what caused the break to manifest further was a freak accident where a kid (playfully) jumped on her after she completed a brick (training).  There's speculation that she had the beginnings of a fracture, but the kid jumping on her caused a dislocation and possibly contributing to the fracture.  Surgery was on  8/19.  She's  going through a lot of what I went through and I've been talking to her a lot.   I keep reminding her that she will get through this and complete a triathlon, but I know that sometimes it's hard to sit still, be happy and heal while all of  your friends are out there training. I feel for her.  Been there, too.

My niece Anne, my brother's eldest daughter, is officially engaged.  I'm not sure when they're planning the wedding and any details, but we'll attend if they have a big to do. Anne will be the very first out of all of my nieces and nephews from both sides of the family to get married.

Anyone till there?
I hope to get back to regular blogging soon.

Song from Tuesday, August &, 2011:
Heaven - Los Lonely Boys


Tuesday, August 02, 2011


Summer is finally in full swing in my neighborhood.  Going to the beach, backyard barbecues, early morning running before the heat kicks in, outdoor concerts and visiting with family and friends is on the agenda.

Speaking of backyard barbecues, Meg - Meg Runs and her husband Steve (Boy Scout) hosted a blogger meet up at their home.  It's so funny how we live within such close proximity to each other and have never met.  We've probably been at the same run events, either running or spectating, but have never bumped into each other.  This time the happy occasion of Jill - Run With Jill and her son visiting California was just what we all needed to meet.   Also in attendance were Chris - The Manly Runner and his girlfriend Alycia, Anne - Run-DMZ, Cindi - AKA Alice and her husband Michael (Walter), and  Glenn - The Running Fat Guy.   Hubs manned the camera and managed a few great picture.

 I was able to catch up with Anne. 

"Walter", Meg, "AKA Alice", "Boy Scout"
Meg's back yard is enchanting.  It reminded me of what my grandparent's house used to be when I was young.  I was inspired. 

 Boy Scout manning the barbecue as Meg looks on.  The grilled pizzas were awesome.

Photo op with Jill.  
We had a good giggle about Victor Newman. :)

 All of us
 Left to right: Jill, Meg, Steve, Chris, Alycia, me, Hubs, Anne, Glenn, Cindi, Michael

I'm wishing I had more initiative and snapped photos, but I was enjoying the company of wonderful friends.  It's kind of funny how somethings just fall into place and you just know you're going to get along.  Hubs made the comment that we're always going to events, parties, and homes of people I have never met in person, but through the internet.  I have trusted that these meet-ups are going to go well, and that no one is extremely off kilter.  There are no overtly bizarre stalkers or ax murderers in the bunch.  The evening was lovely, conversations flowed, and we left feeling warm and fuzzy.  I appreciated how Meg and Steve made everyone feel so welcome, and it was fun having everyone together. 


Oh yeah, I run.

Last week I fit in about 20+ miles, even though Daily Mile says 19.5.   There's about 3 unaccounted miles that I never took the time to log in.   On Saturday I ran 10.5 miles with the track club up the hill that goes to Fort Rosecrans.  It's a long, gradual hill, and I felt a sense of accomplishment when I was done.  I've never run that route before.  One year I think we were out of town when the group ran that route, and the next year I was cruising because I was still getting over the broken foot debacle, made it to the first water station at mile 3 and went back to the start at Harbor Island. It felt good to get over yet another hurdle.  I need to maintain at least 20 miles a week, which can be a challenge with a wacky work schedule, but  It's doable.

It wouldn't be summer without an outdoor concert.  This year was Los Loney Boys joined with Los Lobos for fabulous music and a great time. Having decent seats wasn't too shabby, either. 

Of course, since this was somewhat of a stay-caytion, we had a room facing the bay...

Still not a wake yet, but so glad to be there! No, I didn't go out for a run. 

Song from Saturday, July 23, 2011:
Just Breathe - Pearl Jam