Wednesday, February 29, 2012

One Moment in Time


We've had actual weather activity here in San Diego. We had heavy rain, hail, thunder, lightning, and even snow in the higher elevations of the county.  (OK, stop the eye-rolling --  We're not used to extremes here. Even my fruit trees look disheveled.) Earlier in the week it was so cold that I woke up with both cats in our bed, curled up between us.  Normally, having the cats in bed drives me nuts, but it must have been so cold that I didn't even notice...  

We went to a live show for Sam the Cooking Guy.  I won free tickets from Sam's live webcast, via Facebook, and it was sort of a last minute thing.  We had been up since 5:00 am that day and were super tired.  I'm amazed that Hubs didn't fall asleep during the show, but there was plenty to keep his interest piqued, especially the smells of food being cooked and prepared on stage. 

The thing that impressed me about the show is that it was all family/friend based.  His wife was giving out bottles of water to people waiting in line, his sons were filming and taking pictures, friends manned the ticket/will call booth, and his dogs socialized with the audience:

Hailey the Golden Lab working the audience.
I sort of geeked out and waited in line for Sam to sign my book and have a photo op:

I know.  So cheesy.  I look like I'm going to pass out - I was beyond tired and probably rattled on too much about whatever I don't remember saying  when I met him.  I probably came off as one of those weird/creepy  fans.  Oh well.    He's a very cool and gracious guy, though.

"Don't eat bad food!"

Ever try to organize and end up with more disorganization? My son took it upon himself to clean out the shed at the back of the yard.  We STILL have a lot of stuff from when my uncle lived here -- It's stuff nobody wanted. It's rather overwhelming.  It's a matter of determining value, but at this point it all seems like junk to me.  Yes, before we purchased this house there was an estate sale, and we all went through the house for items we all wanted, but when escrow went through, we ended up with all of the leftover crap. I'd rather blindly get rid of it all, not knowing the value of anything.  It's all just stuff. We don't need it. My son did put a dent in getting rid of some things, but there's more of it.  It's just a matter of time and effort to clear out everything, but having time to do so is the issue. It would take a few days to clear everything out, go through it all, trash some of it and take the rest to Goodwill.  It's hard to do when you only have a few hours on a Saturday.

My son and I have been sharing the Honda Fit for a few weeks since the Exploder (AKA: 1998 Ford Explorer) was not working.  The only thing good on the Exploder are the tires.  I was afraid that car would actually explode.  We needed another vehicle.  Public transportation was not an option since you can't transport an entire drum kit on city bus. The intention was to buy a used Honda CRV, a couple of years old with low miles.  I couldn't find one that didn't already have a bajillion miles on it, and I began to look at other makes.  I ended up with a 2011 Nissan Rogue that had only 10,000 miles on it.  It's the basic model, is a little smaller than a CRV, and doesn't have a few of the fluff extras, but it has a decent ride, gets decent gas mileage for a car of that type, and the price was right.  Sold.

I mentioned something to my son about removing the "iRun" sticker from the the back window of the Fit since he'll be driving it.

He wanted to keep the sticker because it made the car more identifiable in a parking lot full of similar cars.  He has a point.

The running continues.  It's not fast, pretty or frequent as I need, but it continues.

I pulled a muscle in my right quad at track last night, even before we started to run.  I still can't figure that one out, other than getting up wrong after the group stretch.  We have a 15K on Saturday.  I might sit this one out and volunteer.  I have a few days to see how I feel. 

Last week we learned of the passing of our dear friend Ann Marie.  She was the wife of Jeff, Hubs' best friend from high school. Ann Marie and Jeff met at their 20 year high school reunion.  The school was so huge when they attended that their paths never crossed until that night at the 20 year reunion.  They came from much different backgrounds and different worlds, but together they were perfect for each other.  Ann Marie never had a loss for words and had to be the friendliest person I've ever met.  At the "Celebration of Life" many friends and family members shared about their experiences with Ann Marie.  Her daughter recalled the several times her mother would go to the grocery store and come home with a new friend, and that, in the teenage years, was kind of embarrassing.  Soon after her daughter spoke, a woman came up to the podium and said, "I am one of those people Ann Marie brought home from the grocery store."  Everyone laughed. That was Ann Marie:  Friendly and always making friends along the way, no matter where she was. Ann Marie also had a deep faith, which is something that I admire since I often question my own.  Illness took our dear friend on February 20, 2012, just 6 days shy of her 54th birthday.  It's so hard to say goodbye to someone who had so much to say.

Me, Ann Marie, Jeff at the Campgrounds near Carlsbad State Beach.
The service was held at a church located in the middle of the Temecula wine country. After the service and reception a few of us went to a winery to reflect, regather our thoughts after an emotional morning, and toast to Ann Marie.  

The view from Bella Vista - Organic Winery, Temecula, CA
It was a beautiful day to say good bye and to remember.

Song from Sunday February 26, 2012:
Hold Me Tight - The Beatles


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Hold Me Tight

PRODUCT REVIEW - 110%  - Compression Gear

Ever since training for the 2009 Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon, I've been using compression sleeves for my calves/shins.  In 2009 we were at the end of our training stint for the LVRNR event.  It was the LAST day of training with one week until the event.  For some bizarre reason, I blew out my left calf muscle during class.  There was no immediate rhyme or reason why this happened, it just did. The only thing that helped me to even participate in the half marathon a week later was the use of compression sleeves.  Since that time I've used compression sleeves on and off for calf issues and shin splints.  Compression sleeves DO work.  I've tried a few different brands, and they are about the same, with minor differences, but all offer support and compression for the shins and calves.  

I was contacted by 110% to review their compression sleeves for calves/shins.  Here's what they  had to say about their products:


Our tubular seamless construction delivers an ergonomic fit and serious support exactly where you need it.


110% compression system is the only one designed with pockets that allow you to easily slip in thermal ice sheets that perform as ice therapy for faster recovery.


Our training and recovery garments are made of 70% polypropylene which retains 300% less water than nylon garments to keep you cool and dry while you're pushing your edge. 110% compression gear is made from individually silver-treated fibers to help destroy 99.99% of odor-causing bacteria.


Every garment is anatomically designed to create zoned and gradient compression: Highest furthest from the heart and lowest where it's closer, to provide targeted biomechanical support.


Research told us (and we listened), the optimal 15-22 mmhg of compression allows for extended use as well as providing superior comfort and maximum efficacy before, during and after training or performance.


Advanced garment technology and a 360-degree Stretch Knit with 50% more spandex than competitors and higher levels of compression (mmHg), for optimal support, circulation and mobility.


The elemental power of ice has long been a staple of recovery treatment for high performance athletes. Ice restricts the blood vessels to prevent the accumulation of fluids. It also reduces inflammation and pain.
Compression and ice TOGETHER immediately reduces swelling, aids in soft-tissue recovery and helps reduce numb, sore, tissue to decrease further injury in the future.  The combination of ice therapy and seamless compression technology makes 110% the perfect gear to use if you are driven to play harder. Only 110% benefits your training before, during and after.

I asked about sizing.  During a non running, non workout state, I measured my calves at 14 1/2.  I was between needing as small and a medium.  It was advised that I would need a small.  

The sleeves arrived in a reusable, insulated, silver packet with a clip attached to the corner, and ice pack sheets. 

The compression sleeves are much thicker and more taut than the other compression sleeves I've been using.  The sleeves are doubled, which makes a pocket for the ice packs when needed.  

When I first put put on the compression sleeves, I noticed how tight they were, almost verging on being too tight.  I wore them to a run fit class and later on for a 6 mile run.  I had no problem putting them on, but taking them off was somewhat of a struggle.  I know they're supposed to be tight to be effective, and I figured I would give these sleeves the ultimate test at the Carlsbad Half Marathon.  I figured I had put in one workout and one long run with these compression sleeves, and I probably would be OK at a half marathon.  

Right after the half marathon, the compression sleeves felt way too tight, and I got a pretty bad cramp in my right calf after finishing.  I was well hydrated, had plenty of electrolytes, and bananas, so I knew the cramp wasn't from lack of sustenance.  I also had a difficult time getting the ice inside the pocket of the sleeve.  Once I was able, I attempted to take off the compression sleeves and it seemed much more of a struggle than normal.  The fit seemed more tight than what is normal.  When I finally got the sleeves off, I found that the sleeves actually cut into both of my ankles:

The compression sleeves I was wearing were too small for me.  I contacted the rep and I was able to exchange the smalls for mediums. 

Now that I have the medium sized compression sleeves, there is less of a struggle to insert the ice pack sheets and to take them off, and still offer plenty of support.  I wore the mediums on a few long runs and at a couple of Run Fit workouts, and I am happy to report that my calves, shins AND ankles are liking the mediums quite well. That being said, my recommendation is to measure your calves right after running or working out for a more accurate idea of what size you might be.  If you happen to measure between two sizes like I did, size up.

I was impressed with the quality of the 110% product.  The compression sleeves retail for $75.00 and are worth every dollar.  I actually feel the 110% brand of compression sleeves will outlast the other compression sleeves I already use and I would actually purchase this brand on my own.  

Song from Wednesday, February 8, 2012:
This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race  - Fall Out Boy - Run-DMZ


Wednesday, February 08, 2012

This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race

A Tale of Two Races.

Where did January go?  January is over and we're a week and a day into February. I posted here only once in January! That's so sad.  The blog fodder is in my head, but it doesn't magically appear here once I think it.

I ran in the Carlsbad Half Marathon on January 22, 2012!  It was an epic day because I didn't get sick at this run or run already sick!  Woohoo! I was so happy to run the entire thing in a healthy state, albeit slow.

Highlights from the Carlsbad Half Marathon/Marathon weekend:

A healthy carb load dinner - Hubs, Jill, Boy Scout, Meg, Tara, Marcia, Me.

Jill and Tara came in from Colorado, and Marcia just barely came in from Chicago in time for us to all meet for dinner.  I was so happy they all made it out here because several flights were cancelled or delayed.  It was so much fun to see everyone and it makes me want to travel to one of their races.

Carlsbad is my favorite half marathon race because it goes right along the coast.  We had partly cloudy skies and cool temperatures, which made for a nice run.  Since I constantly train on hills, the hills on the course didn't phase me too much, but I also realized that I need to get in more squats, lunges and longer, steeper hill in my training to take me through June of this year.  I can normally keep pace going up hills and pass people, but I slowed quite a bit going up a few of the hills in Carlsbad.

I have no mile to mile synopsis, other than getting to around mile 9 and realizing that I still felt good.  The first two times I ran Carlsbad the mile 9-ish marker was the point of  walking, only because I was sick or about to get sick.  Even though it was slow going, I ran the entire race without stopping for anything or anybody, not even a photo op.  I finished in 2:30: 45.  Definitely WAY far away from a PR, but certainly not my slowest.  Bonus points for not being escorted to the medical tent by a volunteer.

Here are a few photo highlights of race day:

Hubs and I up with Cindi and Jamie in the potty line.  Cindi passed on a potty line tip - go for the corner port-o-potties.  For whatever reason, those lines are shorter, but don't tell any body.  It's a secret.  *wink*

Jamie and Cindi (AKA Alice) in their trademark Heffer day-glo green, showing off their green arm sleeves.  ( I stole this photo from Cindi's blog.)
Cheese! Pre-Race with Penny!  The past thee Carlsbad Half Marathon races we've been able to find each other with no planning.  Amazing.  (I stole this photo from Penny off of Facebook)

I think this is somewhere around mile 4 going up hill. As for those sleeves, I received more comments about those Moeben sleeves at this race, even though I've worn them at several races. 
Hubs coming in to the finish.

Post race - Meg, Me, Jill, Tara, Marcia.  I totally matched my bib number and finisher's medal/ribbon. I was amazed and impressed that Jill, who ran the marathon, was still standing and looking fabulous.
Mary - The Running Green Girl met us at the race to cheer us on!
I know tons of photos were taken by track club friends, but I have no idea where those photos are, or if those have been posted anywhere.  Hubs and I also spent some time recouping post race with track club friends Bruce and Michelle, and if those photos ever surface, I'll post those.

Post race we thought about meeting the Heffers at the High Dive for post run cheers and eats, and we were also invited to Megs for post run eats, but by the time we left  the parking lot of the race area, all I wanted to do was go home and sleep.


My next race was the Super Run 10K, February 4, 2012, which coincides with Superbowl weekend.  I knew from the get go that it wasn't going to be a stellar race for myself.  My PR for a 10K is 55:19, and I knew I would be at least 5 or 6 minutes off of that time, especially when I'm doing my slow, non race mode training runs (6 miles) in about 1:06, and that's without going for speed and stopping for electrolytes or water.  We arrived at South Shores, next to Sea World at the butt crack of dawn to retrieve our race numbers and long sleeved race tech T shirts.  After plenty of time socializing, trips to the port-o-potty line, and the track club warm-up and stretch session, it was race time.  I was set to use music to ease into this run, but the random headphones I grabbed from home (when I couldn't find my regular ones) were not compatible with my iPhone, meaning: no running music for motivation.  I set my Garmin and we were off.  Within the first 50 feet my Garmin beeps and I get an error message that says something about laps being full and shuts off.  WTF? I just cleared it out.  I might have to do a reboot before I call tech support.  It was too late to use my iSmoothRun* phone app since I was already running.  I figured this was a chipped race, and I'd have an official race time that would be posted somewhere on the internet.  So I thought.

I felt so tired and sluggish for the entire race.  I could not find my groove or my happy pace.  I struggled and, for the first time ever, disliked running. *Gasp!*  My legs felt heavy and my breathing was labored.  I wanted it to be over. I tried to dig down deep and pull through by calling out to my friends, cheering them on, as I saw them run ahead of me near the turn-around at this out-and-back race.

I ran the whole race as best as I could, but I RAN.  There were walk/runners who were faster than I could go.  I crossed through the finish line as the clock clicked over to 1:06:00.  I figured my chip time would be somewhere  in the 1:05 range. Eh.  Not bad, but not stupendous, either.  By the time I finished the race the skies were clear blue, and it was another gorgeous Southern California day.

I was happy to be finished with the race, and met back at the post race expo area with a lot of my happy friends, most had PRs.  I fed off of their happiness because I've seen the progress my friends have made over the past 4 years, knowing where they've started and how far they've come.  It felt good to be around such awesomeness. 

Hubs, me, Cathie and her husband John.  Cathie WON her age group!
Hubs and I decided not to stick around to see who won the age group placements and official time postings, and joined the Heffers at the High Dive, since we missed joining them after the Carlsbad half. 

I was too lazy to get off of my butt, to walk a couple of hundred feet to my car to get my iPhone to take pictures at the High Dive.  I used Hub's iPhone instead. I'll be lucky to get those pictures off of his iPhone any time soon.  If I do, I'll post those somewhere.  Again, here 's a collage shot I'm stealing from Cindi's Facebook page:
Pre race and post race. Cheers! BTW, that's blogger Laura in the lower left hand picture on the right side.

The High Dive was rather busy with happy post racers and regulars, and we enjoyed our beers, mimosas, bloody Marys, and bloody beers.  Oh, we had breakfast foods, too. :)

Post High Dive, Hubs and I went home.  I got on the internet to look for our official finish times.  The race officials posted up to 1:01:56, and posted that these were "preliminary results."  A couple of days go by and there are no updated race results. I sent Kathy Loper Events an e-mail inquiring about my finish time.  I did receive a prompt response saying, "...we had some issues with our equipment and will repost as soon as we can.  We appreciate your patience."  Just peachy. It figures that it's the only race I've ever run blind (sans timepiece) and is my slowest race is the one they have issues at, and it's with time frame I ran in.  Sheesh.  Thanks KLE for making me feel even slower than I already felt that day.  As of right now, the race results have not been updated.  

It's so odd that I went from feeling great at the Carlsbad Half Marathon to feeling like a super slug at the Super Run 10K.  I've been feeling a little worn out and have decided to take a week off from anything running or working out.  Not all races can be on, and I completely get that.  Been there done that, been there done that.  It kind of helps that I have to work this weekend, which means I can't run with the track club on Saturday. I'm the kind of person who will show up for something if I've officially signed up for it or say I will be there. Give me a gold star for attendance. Having to work gives me an out.  It's not that I need an out,  I guess it makes me feel justified.  Aside from running, Hubs and I have been dealing with our rental house and preparing it for our new renter, who is already awesome and has offered to refinish the wood floors.  Our prior renter was a royal pain for many reasons, but it was mostly a case of major laziness on her part. Needless to say, both Hubs and I are exhausted from fixing the house and making repairs. Thank goodness for our son and his friends who offered to help paint.  

Now that the rental house is in order, I'll be able to blog more frequently... Well, at least more than once a month.  I'll go for twice a month. 

In my next blog post I'll be reviewing compression sleeves from 110%.

These even come with places to put ice packs!

Song from January 6, 2012:
Yesterday to Tomorrow -  Audioslave


*After a little research, I purchased the iSmoothRun app for my iPhone because I found the Nike+GPS app too glitchy, and I like having a backup to my Garmin.  So far, this app is idiot proof, except for when your Garmin craps out after the race has started and there's no time to restart the race...  Anyway, it's close to my beloved  but discontinued BiM app that I had two cell phones ago.