30 November 2012

Rain of Biblical Proportions

I was prepared to run in rain.

Then I looked at the forecast, and I saw hours of HEAVY rain and wind.

I don't think that I want to run.

12 November 2012

Commence Taper

I made it to the tapering point.

This is cause for celebration as this has been a difficult training season for me.  Multiple times during the training I told myself that this third marathon is probably going to be my last one.

But yesterday I had my final 20 mile training run of the season.  I still hate Gu and Honey Stinger and all that fueling crap, but I didn't hate the 20 miler.  In fact, it was easy.  I was blessed with excellent podcast entertainment, perfect running weather, and the promise of an extra day off from work the next day.  I've also finally learned how to probably prepare for long runs.  Eat more food and drink more water the day before.

My legs still hurt after 20 miles of running, but today I feel great.

Maybe I'm not ready to retire from marathons after all; maybe a marathon free 2013 is the way to go.

For now I am going to enjoy my half-marathon next weekend and the rest of my taper.  I'm going to practice thinking positive thoughts.  I also going to look forward to running my third marathon on December 2.  And the required food pig out that must precede it!

16 September 2012

My Aching Body

I've had a rough 2012 running wise.

The IT issues, hip pain, and lower back pain that I have been fighting lately has been discouraging.  I have been quiet about it because I didn't want to admit how worried I have been.  I didn't have health insurance for two months, so I couldn't go see a doctor about the issues.  I could have afforded the initial visit, but if the doctor wanted any tests done to take a peek inside, I would not have been able to afford that.  Then I would have to live with the knowledge that something is wrong in my leg and that the doctor wants a peek.  I couldn't handle it.

I ended up paying to see a chiropractor and paying out of pocket.  My rationale was that a chiropractor would more than likely be physically active himself and well-versed in all the ways that a runner like me can screw up my body.  The chiropractor did his work by moving my body is strange pretzelesque ways.  When he could not elicit pain with certain movement, he declared me probably stress fracture free and probably piriformis syndrome free. Since I couldn't afford x-rays, I decided to trust the nice running chiropractor.  The man declared that runners batter their lower back with the repeated movement.  This is was the first time that I heard this one.  Usually the cry is "You'll destroy your knees!"  Guess what. My knees are awesome.  This may have been standard chiro back adjustment promotion.  Whatever. The heated massage thing convinced me that it wasn't all that bad. He also declared that I have falling arches and gave me shoe inserts, which I have been using since he gave them to me.  He also badmouthed my professional ballet flats as bad for me, but conceded that at least I am not wearing heels.

Three weeks later, the aches and pains are nearly gone.  Fourteen miles today and not issues other than the standard aches and pains that happens when one runs for 14 miles.  In fact this week, my weekly mileage hit a new high for this year.

It's been a bad year.

But I am hopeful that things are turning around.  I'm getting older.  This means more icing and stretching.  This means more responsibility.

On Tuesday, I was slammed with work.  I believe that I stopped working at 11:15 pm that night.  I had to skip my training run.  I was very close to calling off the marathon in December.  Then on Wednesday, I was determined to run my seven miles if only to decompress from all the work that I have been doing.  After hitting the zen mode in that run, I decided that I probably could handle the marathon training after all.

And I did.  This week I ran Wednesday-Sunday.  Every damn day.

And I am ready to do it again next week.  Nearly every damn day.  Rest is, after all, an important part of training.

07 August 2012

Let's Hope It's All in My Mind

I'm wondering something.

My right IT band and hip have been bothering me off and on.  I know that it bothered me back in June because I got a sports massage on June 15.  But I don't know how long it has bothered me exactly.  I'm quite bad at keeping details in my training log.

I'm wondering if I did the right thing by not logging the details.

I'm wondering if some of this pain/discomfort is only in my mind.


  • I can have runs without any notice of pain or discomfort.  That was today. 
  • I can have runs with some pain and discomfort.  That was Sunday.  
  • I can have runs in which the twinge appears quickly.  That was Sunday.  It took about two miles to appear. 
  • I can have runs in which the twinge takes longer to appear.  That was the SF Half.  It took nearly 8 miles for it to appear.  

I can't figure out its modus operandi.

Right now it feels vaguely achey.  This nebulous vague ache makes me believe that my mind is to blame.  I can't pinpoint where in my right thigh the pain exactly is.  It feels everywhere and nowhere at the same time.

I'll return to work in one week.  With that return, I'll be the new girl for the first time in 11 years. There is a bit of anxiety wrapped up in being the new girl.  I think that anxiety may be manifesting itself with this vague ache.  When I was a little girl, I would have leg aches the day before traveling.  It never failed.

My worry tends to live in my legs.

I'm hoping that with the distraction of work the pain/discomfort will disappear.  I'm rolling and stretching and icing, too!  I have two races coming up:  Big Sur Half Marathon in November and California International Marathon in December.  I want to run better than I did in those same races in 2011.

I need to get healthy.  I need to NOT worry.

29 July 2012

2012 San Francisco Marathon: 2nd Half Marathon Race Report

Background:  My training for this tanked.

When I started training, I was employed at one place with no plans to leave.  Then one of those once-in-a-lifetime job opportunities popped up.  I applied and interviewed for the job.  That was stressful.  I got the job offer, and then had to resign from my other job of eleven years.  That was also stressful.

Then as soon as the oppressive summer heat hits, I started feeling this very persistent pain and discomfort in my right IT band.  I initially thought it was my shoes.  New shoes seemed to do the trick.  Then the pain would return.  Sometimes at mile 4.  Sometimes at mile 5.  It was unpredictable.

I rolled, and I rolled, and I rolled.  I screamed through the rolling.  My IT band has issues.

Then I vacationed for a week in Washington, DC.  Because of my IT band issues, I decided to NOT run in DC.  Wise move considering that running in the DC humidity and heat would have really destroyed me.

The week off seemed to help.  I continued rolling.  And stretching.  And stretching.  The pain and discomfort seemed to be absent from many of my runs.  My last eight miler featured NO problems.

Because of the injury and the stress, I skipped a few runs here and there. Or I made them easier.

It wasn't the best training cycle that I have done.  Therefore, my goal was to finish.

Yes.  Just to finish.

I knew that I didn't have a PR in me.  I didn't train to PR.  I trained to maintain my running in the summer so that when marathon training starts, I'm ready.  Plus, I wanted to baby the IT band.

Alarm Failure:  Oh my goodness.  My alarm went off, but I didn't hear it because the ringer was turned down.  Stupid smart phone user.

I woke up 37 minutes before I had to catch the bus to the start.

It was a little stressful.

But I made it.

The Race:  I didn't find the start area for the second half marathon to be particularly well-organized.  I couldn't hear the announcer.  The announcer didn't repeat anything.

This meant that I didn't start with my wave.  Oops.

Whatever.  I hurt no one.

The first six miles of the second half marathon is in the Golden Gate Park.  Slight hills.  Repeated often.  I knew that the park featured the most uphill portions.  I wanted to make sure that I didn't go out too hard.  I actually kept telling myself to take it easy and run my own race.  I even thought, "This isn't a race."  I really didn't want to hurt myself.  I was clearly mentally out of the race.

The park dragged.  I really wasn't enjoying myself that much.  I was so glad to get out of the park and onto Haight Street.  A bicyclist trailing a sound system provided the right music to make the race fun.

Then some painful downhill.  I don't like running downhill on steep grades.  Scary and it hurts.  But I survived.

And then around mile 7.5, the familiar IT band discomfort popped up.  Then disappeared.  Then reappeared.  It wasn't persistent, nor was it particularly strong.  But it was enough to disappoint and discourage me.

I finished with a time of 2:25:24.  Better than I expected, honestly.  Maybe better than I deserved.  It was actually my fastest half time for a race in San Francisco.

Because I have now ran both halves of the entire San Francisco Marathon, I got a fancy Half It All Medal.  It spins.

Afterward:  Strangely, this bad performance is motivating.  I felt like this was my worse race, but it wasn't my worst time.  I wonder how I could have done had I actually been able to train well.  I feel strangely compelled to do more hill work in my training.

But I know that I need to work on that IT band first.

21 July 2012

Now I've Done It!

I've destroyed a pair of Lululemon running crops merely by running.

It took a little over a year.

I'm simultaneously devastated by the loss and impressed by my mileage.

Sadface.

20 June 2012

Runner, Heal Thyself

People sometimes ask me about common running injuries.  I've had a few.  I own rolls of KT tape.  I use the term Achilles more than I should.  I'm pretty smart about these things, I suppose.

Often the exchange looks like this:

Random Running Friend:  "Hey Runs4Cake Girl!  The bottom of my foot hurts when I wake up/there is a twinge of pain in my left knee when I run/right behind my right ankle hurts when I start a run, but then the pain subsides."

Runs4Cake Girl:  "Hang on!  The first thing I need to know is:  Are you in the right shoe? And how many miles do you have on your shoes?"


That is my standard go-to response to injury inquiries.  I usually pin the shoes as the culprit.  Occam's Razor, right? 


HOWEVER, when the bottom of my foot hurts, or when there is a twinge of pain in my left knee, or when my right IT band has caused me nothing but physical discomfort and mental anguish like it has for the last four weeks or so, I do not seem to think about my own shoes AT ALL.  


Even though I meticulously note my mileage for each pair. 
Even though I know that all of my shoes are past their prime. 

I somehow never connected my heavy mileage shoes to the problems with my left Achilles and my right IT band.

I think my little aches and pains have made my runs seems like chores.  I've skipped so many runs during this running cycles blaming the heat or the stress of going through my job interview.

Why didn't I realize that my shoes were too blame?

I ran in my new pair of Lunarglide 3 Breathes yesterday.  Not a twinge of pain.

God bless new running shoes!




18 June 2012

Running Milestones of a Different Sort

What?  There was a clearance and a discount code for the clearance!  And free shipping.
Don't judge.
I cannot believe that three boxes of brand new Nikes were delivered to my front doorstep.  I mean I was there when I made the online order.  I distinctly remember doing it.  But the CONCEPT of three pairs of Nikes is a little nebulous; three actual orange boxes on my porch makes it real.

Yeah.

Stuff got real.

I also got my very first sports massage.

Yeah.

Stuff got more real.

The massage therapist told me that I needed to start stretching.  I believed her after all the knots she had to work out in my legs.  She, of course, commented on my extremely tight IT band.

I really need to be a grown up and use my foam roller.

I guess I am a real runner now.  Or still.  Or more so.  Or something.

14 June 2012

Serotonin


Who doesn't love serotonin?  Runners make more of the stuff.  It's like we runners chase the stuff.
 
But sometimes we forget that that little beautiful molecule is our reward for the run.  Lately, I've struggled significantly with my training.  I blame some serious possible life choices and changes that I've been facing lately.  I can't divulge more at this time.  Everything is unresolved; everything is in limbo; everything hurts.

I'll feel worried or overwhelmed or angry or peevish or generally unhappy.  I'll decide to not run.  But then somehow I talk myself into the run because even though no one enjoys the beginning of each run, everyone loves the end.

Neurotransmitters are beautiful, beautiful things.


06 June 2012

National Running Day!

It is National Running Day.

I'm obviously going to go for a run.  But I am going for the run not because it is National Running Day, but because it is Wednesday, and I run on Wednesday. Every Wednesday.

For runners darn near every day is National Running Day!

01 June 2012

Influence

Today during my son's last day of third grade the kids worked on filling a memory book with favorites, thoughts, stories, and pictures from the school year.  As I looked through it, I was shocked to see this:  


I feel like I have influence.

I feel like it isn't what I say, but what I do.

I feel like this is quite a bit of pressure.

Nevertheless, I am touched and proud.
 

28 May 2012

I had lots of fun STORMing THE CASTLE

Yesterday I ran my very, very, very first 5K race.  It was called STORM THE CASTLE.  Best name for a race.  Ever.  

I love how I started with half marathons and marathons before trying out 10K and 5K races.  I wonder if this is normal, or if it is as backwards as it feels.  

The course ran through the Castle Air Museum.  Therefore, this race marked the first time that the number of parked aircraft I passed outnumbered the number of parked automobiles.  

Since I've never raced a 5K before, I wasn't sure what to expect for pacing.  I have run tempo runs that have been longer than 3 miles before, so I should not have been perplexed.  But I never can seem to get a handle on my opening pace.  I always plan for a reasonable opening pace, but I just simply need to face the truth. 

The truth is that I just don't know what a reasonable opening pace is for me.  I'm still figuring all of this out.  I'm sure that I will still be figuring all of this out in another five years.  I ended up running a 8'44" pace for the first five minutes.  What?  The plan was a 9'45" to open and then progressively speed up.  That clearly didn't happen.  I distinctly remember feeling like I was running pretty slow because of all the faster runners.  But I wasn't running slow for me.  8'44" is like my 400 interval speed on a good day.  But it didn't feel hard during the race.  Perspective, I suppose.   

About two miles in I lined up with the woman who would later edge me out by 1.8 seconds to claim first place in our age group.  Fairly soon we passed a teenage boy.  This teenage boy didn't seem to like that because whenever we pulled ahead he would surge ahead and then fade a little.  This would repeat.   

We pushed and pushed until the end.  I crossed the finish line at right after she did and spent the next two minutes trying to prevent myself from vomiting!  Yes!  I feel like a real runner now. 

I stuck around for awards and discovered that I earned 2nd in my age group and 5th overall for the women!   A humble 27:25 for my debut in the 5K.  That equates to an 8'49" pace.  I'll take it.  This is totally a personal record for me.  I can't think of another time when I've run about 3 miles at that pace.  

Now I'm hungry for an even faster 5K time.  


05 May 2012

Tumor


I think that I have a brain tumor.  

I've been attacked by these bursts of creativity.  It all started with a my cat sitting at our dining room table as if he were a seated human guest.  I took a picture.  I snapseeded it.  For a lark, I put the photo into Penultimate and drew the standard mustache, goatee, and angry eyebrows that are the hallmark of stereotypical photo vandalism.  My son saw what I did and immediately wanted to give it a shot.  He added bloodred eyes and dripping blood to the cat's mouth and captioned the photo with "I am a monster!" This revealed the possibility of drawing new eyes for the cat. 

Whatever I did, my son twisted it.  This, in turn, pushed my creativity further.  I saw new things that could be done with the photo.  

I've completed fourteen portraits of my cat so far.  It's only been like three days.  I can't stop.  I've transformed the cat into a professor, Paul Stanley, Mad Headroom, Wendy (of Wendy's), a nun, a fruit ninja, and Groucho Marx (above).  I feel the need to parody famous works of art and corporate logos.  I can't stop.  

I am reading this book on creativity entitled Imagine by Jonah Lehrer.  In illustrating one of the discoveries regarding the machinery of creativity, he mentioned a type of brain tumor can causes unbelievable bursts of creativity.  

I now believe that I have this tumor.  

I'm also feeling these remarkable bursts of this heightened tranquility and joy during the last 5-7 minutes of my run.  It's completely odd and completely noticeable.  My senses are clearer.  Maybe it has to do with the time of year and the fact that I am starting with my nightrunning.  I don't know.  

It's probably a tumor.   


01 May 2012

One Year Later


Some milestones you have no choice but to reach:  first tooth, first words, first steps, first day of school. 

Some milestones you are proud to simply survive:  first failure, first heartbreak, first car accident, first job.  

Some milestones you reach because everyone else seems to be doing it:  high school graduation, college graduation, marriage, kids, mortgage.  

Some milestones are personal and precious.  One year ago today I completed my first marathon.  

The unintended consequences of becoming this marathon chick include but are not limited to the following: severe increase in patience for everything BUT bad drivers, purchase and use of Vespa, fearless attitude towards solo travel, too many pairs of running shoes and expensive Lululemon running gear, a huge repository of trivia from hours on the road listening to Radiolab, The Nerdist, and Real Time with Bill Maher.  

Happy Marathon Birthday to Me!  




29 April 2012

4,000

I just surpassed 4,000 logged miles to date.

I should feel a sense of accomplishment for this, but I don't.  It isn't like I set out to cover 4,000 miles on foot.  That wasn't the goal.  Running 4,000 miles happened in chasing down other goals:  finish a half-marathon, PR in the half-marathon, PR again in the half-marathon, PR again in the half-marathon, run more intervals and tempo runs, finish a marathon, PR in the marathon, race a 10K and then PR in the 10K, PR in the half-marathon, etc.  Notice how the PR chase is neverending. I can always run faster, can't I?

So, raise your Gu or your Gatorade or your beer or whatever and let's toast the fact that in chasing down other goals, I've run 4,000 miles.

CHEERS!

Next goal:  Race my first ever 5K.  Yes.  I do stuff backwards.

28 April 2012

Running > Other Athletic Endeavors

I'm thisclose to an amazing rant about kids and organized sports.  I'm trying to behave.  Therefore, this will be brief and written in the positive.

Running is better than all the other sports because not only is it open to everyone, but also the last guy across the finish line is supported and applauded and respected just as much (if not more) than the winner.

13 April 2012

Friday Faves: Lucky Friday the 13th Edition

I'm getting older.

I like how we cope with aging with yearly celebrations complete with gifts.


Four weeks ago, I saw this fortune cookie pinned to Pinterest.  I immediately repinned and following the link to an Etsy store:  Christina Kober.  I told my husband about it, and he came up with the fortune pictured above for my birthday gift.

Isn't it perfect?  And gorgeous?  Aren't I a lucky woman?

So fitting for a runner.  Ridiculously fitting for a runner like me.  Surprisingly applicable to more than running.

I may be getting older, but I am also getting wiser.

I may also be more affable and charismatic in my advancing age.  Observe:  A student made me cupcakes!


Mother Nature didn't neglect my birthday either.  She was a little late with the delivery, but she delivered some one "hail" of a storm.   



Hail yeah!  Even with the storm damage, it was another great week.


10 April 2012

Searching for a Pocket of Silence

The wall of sound that comes from my son.

I am an introvert.  And as I age, I seek pockets of silence more intensely.  I'm starting to believe that I need the quiet.

I didn't run today.

Full day at work (lots of noise there) followed by dashing the kid to karate (bad techno, kids making that karate noise), taking the husband to the dealership to pick up his Vespa (husband and son take turns talking and questioning while I drive), making dinner (drive-thru and therefore the quietest moment of my day), and forcing the child to do homework (loud and combative.)    

I paid attention to everything that my son said.  "Hey Mama" preceded every question and complaint.  "Hey Mama...hey Mama...HEY Ma-mA! heymamaheymama!"

I love my extroverted son.

But I need moments of silence.

Today I needed a run.

Moral:  Schedule rest days wisely in the future.

09 April 2012

Venn Diagrammed






I've always argued that running has made me a better driver.  Now I can argue that running prepared me for riding.  There's lot of overlap between the world of scooters and the world of training for road races.  

Now if I could only get those motorists who are perpetually distracted (squirrel!) and the motorists who believe that stop signs don't apply on a Sunday morning onto a scooter or onto a marathon training plan, the roads would be a much safer place.  

06 April 2012

Friday Faves: Thankful for Spring Break Edition

This has been a very needed week of rest and rejuvenation.  In addition to celebrating my eleventh wedding anniversary with a proper date, I've read books and watched movies and played words games for smart people and laughed with the kid.  


Nice weather means that I am putting on the Vibrams more often.  I forgot how much I love these ugly looking shoes.  Here they are at the tennis courts.  My son is going to try to be the next big tennis player.  I tried to think of a name of a famous male tennis player and all I have is John McEnroe and Andre Agassi.  Clearly, this ages me.


Bird on a wire during my Wednesday run.  I'm trying to run to maintain my fitness.  In mid-May, I will start on like six months of training.  I'm trying to take it easy for now because I won't be taking it easy come training season.  So I have these lovely run with no purpose other than to maintain my fitness and allow me to eat more calories.  I happened to have my phone with me so that I could listen to podcasts on Stitcher.  I snapseeded the heck out of it and a drab picture suddenly looks as if I could sell it canvased on Etsy for $25.  

And it REI dividend time!  I know that you are curious as to what I would spend my dividend on! The answer:  



Socks!  I love Injinji.  I don't understand people who don't understand Injinji.  Also COMPRESSION socks!  Squeezy.

And another pair of overpriced but amazing Chaco flips.

30 March 2012

Friday Faves: March is the Longest Month Ever

Abbreviated and underdeveloped though it might be, here are some faves from the last two weeks.  

Student admitted to UCLA.  Very proud.
Fun times with my student book club at The Hunger Games premiere.
Earned more than 100 points on Words with Friends.


And lastly, NOT RUNNING.  I'm quite savoring this time off despite my somewhat constant desire to get out there and run.

I do need to get back out there.  I have about six weeks before I head into about six months solid of training with half and full training back to back.  It is going to be exhausting again, but I'm hoping to pull off a PR in the full in December.

I like getting PRs.  I like it a lot.  

25 March 2012

Oakland Running Festival: Half Marathon Race Report

How I Ended Up Here
The Oakland Running Festival offered a 50% off registration with my San Francisco Half Marathon goodie bag.  I normally try to avoid buying things simply because they are on sale.  I jumped at the chance and registered for a half marathon for only $35.  

What I Saw From My Hotel Window on the 18th Floor

An actual view of SOMETHING.  

Since the half marathon didn't start until 9:15 (utterly late for a half-marathon), I was hanging in my hotel room and could see the marathon runners who started at 7:30 make their way down Broadway and then turn around to head back the other direction.  One runner didn't get the memo to make the u-turn.  I think she started late.  She ran off the course and past our hotel INTO TRAFFIC.  I kept watching to see when she would realize that she was off course and come back up Broadway.  She eventually headed back up STILL RUNNING IN THE STREET WITH TRAFFIC.  Holy hell, woman!  Get off of the street.  I saw her ask a volunteer who finally put her on track.  

Good grief.  

What I Learned About Oakland From Running Oakland
1.  People really hate their mayor.  When she was introduced the runners (many of whom were local) booed her.  
2.  Raider Nation is loud.  Very loud. 
3.  There is a place called The Crucible.  And it looks amazing. Fire! 
4.  Lake Merritt is pretty.  I wish I lived near a place with a lake to run around.  
5.  A few residents were mad about street closures.  But the majority of Oakland residents were so kind and encouraging.  

How I Fared
About 3/4 of a mile into the race, the 4,000 runners are still pretty bunched up.  An Oakland Running Festival volunteer froggered his way across the street thick with runners.  I nearly hit him.  I may have turned my head and called him a name.  In fact, I'm sure of it.  This is so unlike me.  He must have really, really, really, really deserved it.  

I hit my pace and went into cruise control mode for the rest of the race.  I'm shocked at how even my splits were.  

For the first time in my running career (odd word, but can't think of a substitute), I didn't listen to music or podcasts while running.  I tuned into all the conversations around me, yet I can't recall a single one that I eavesdropped on.  




Finished in 2:13:10.  Definitely hit my A goal which was to break 2:15.  I'd have to look it up to be sure, but I think that this is a 3:58 PR from Big Sur Half Marathon 2010.  I really need to be better about recording stuff down like that.



Overall Assessment
I'm not a fan of such a late start for a half marathon.  I'm not a fan of the Marriott host hotel who didn't give me a late check out, but then I discovered on Facebook that they granted other runners a late check out.  I'm not a fan of weak corralling and people sardined into the start area.

However, the course itself was nice, and I have to admit that the half marathoners seemed to merge easily with the marathoners.  Of course, I don't know how the marathoners felt about the merge, but it seemed okay.

I'm not sure that I will be back next year for this one.  It depends on my goals and running schedule for next year.  It is definitely not a must run race, but it is also definitely not one to avoid at all costs.  




24 March 2012

Prediction of Rain

Tomorrow I run another half marathon.  The threat of rain is imminent.  In preparation, I've searched my iTunes library for some music about rain.

No judging.
Very excited to encounter "November Rain" while running in March.  I still love it when Axl Rose sings "If you want to love me, then Darling don't refrain."

I also love "Dry the Rain" from The Beta Band.  I haven't heard that one in a while.

And I love, love, love, love Mint Royale's "Singing in the Rain."

I'm starting to look forward to my run tomorrow.  My training went better than expected.  I have tanlines from this most recent iteration of training.  That's how wonderful the weather has been this winter.

Goals:
A:  Break 2:15
B:  PR
C:  Have fun and finish strong.

16 March 2012

Friday Faves: "I'm not Irish ENOUGH to celebrate" Edition


One of the drawbacks of social media is the fact it has lead to what I like to call conspicuous parenting (slight nod to Thorstein Veblen).  I will not lie.  I know that I have participated and probably will in the future.  It is simply what is done.  St. Patrick's Day is tomorrow.  I lamented to my husband that I felt like a bad mother because I have no plans to do ANYTHING to mark the holiday tomorrow.  Others on Facebook seemed into the spirit for the sake of their kids.  Not me.  There will be no leprechaun footprints.  No gold coins.  No rainbows.  No crafts.  No cabbage.  No beer.  

Well.  

Maybe I can arrange for beer.  

In sharing this with my husband he says, "We're not even Irish.  We don't celebrate."  I then pointed out that while I am not Irish, his Native blood has been spiked with some rogue Irish grandparents on both sides.  He then said, "I'm not Irish enough to celebrate!" 

I found this exchange delightful.  I love my husband.  He can be very charming.  

In face, earlier in the week he saved a bad day from certain disastrous melancholy by bringing home a bag of old postcards that he purchased at a flea market.  This look into the past stirred some strange longings for a simpler time.  A time when the post office would deliver a post card with only the name of the recipient and a town.  No address.  No street.  Simpler times.  But then after perusing what was written on the cards, I realize that these postcards are the old timey version of Facebook and/or Twitter.  I realized that humans have always had this need to share the minor details of their lives with others.  One hundred years ago it may have been news of the cow having milk fever.  

It is like Tobias F√ľnke's ancestor wrote holiday card copy.

Simply frightening.
Text:  Trimmer, Cal.
This may give you some faint idea of the sort of looking object who
writes to you--and also a hint as to who told me about you.
Excuse scrawl--Have an injured hand.
Kindest regards,
Alan
The front of Alan's card:  "No. 2 Yours truly"



But my favorite moment of the week was watching my son read from The Hunger Games and choose with his own free will to ANNOTATE THE TEXT with his thinking. 


am

so

proud.

Interacting with the text.  heck yeah and stuff.  
  

15 March 2012

Thursday Accomplishments

1.  Asked a tough question and subsequently angered a the type of person who can't take a bit of constructive criticism.

2.  Registered for California International Marathon.

I'm awesome.

11 March 2012

Hornitos-Indian Gulch 10 Mile Race

Last night I decided to go out and do this run.  I needed to run ten miles anyway.  I thought that I could practice hitting race pace.

Of course the race coincided with Daylight Savings Time going into effect. I woke up at 5 am which is really like 4 am to drink my coffee and do my reading.  But after the 3 am wake up for Big Sur, this doesn't faze me.

In the early morning, I posted this on Facebook: Heading out shortly for a ten mile race in the foothills. I have a FANTASTIC chance of being last since only very serious runners will drive out to Hornitos.

Finally got dressed and did a triple check that I had everything.  I'm on the road when I realized that I hadn't eaten anything.  Fortunately for me, I realized this before I left town and was able to find a Starbucks for a scone.  With scone in hand and with music on the radio, I left the city limits and started my drive to the middle of nowhere.   

It was a beautiful drive.  It seemed like I was the only one traveling those back country roads into the foothills.  I also had to stop when I crossed over the Merced River to take some pictures.  


Merced River

Quiet and beautiful
At this point, I'm glad that I came just because of the peacefulness of the drive.  I realized that I need to take the Vespa out here one day for a getaway.  

Hornitos Road led to the little ghost town.  I got a prime parking spot, registered, and then returned to the warmth of my car to spy on the other runners getting ready.  Lots of the quintessential serious upper middle class runner types.  

The race director, in telling us about the course, prefaced his comments with "I know most of you have run this course."  This concerned me because people who know me know how much I am uncomfortable with NOT knowing something.  Luckily a friend was there and he told me that I couldn't get lost.  

Then the race director presented a plaque to a couple who had run nearly all of the 36 running of this race.  They were quite elderly; the gentleman had a cane.  What warriors!  I hope that I am still active in thirty years!  

Finally we are off.  
  1. We head out onto Hornitos Road.  Lovely road.  Nicely paved.  Wide.  Lots of room.  
  2. At mile 1, the two milers turned around to head back.  The crowed thins.  I see kids and make a note to drag my boy out here next year.  
  3. We turn onto Indian Gulch road.  I'm horrified by the state of this road.  Hilly and woefully potholed and cracked.  I'm likely to injure myself.  I glue my eyes to the ground and find the safest path.  
  4. Around mile 2, I'm regretting my arm warmers because it feels too darn warm.  
  5. Around mile 2.25, I realize my shoe is untied.  Curses.  I have to tie it.  A blonde passes me who is probably in my age group.  She looks late 30s.  
  6. At mile 2.5, the five milers make their turn around and the crowd in ridiculously thinned.  I'm caught up to the blonde.  It is really just the two of us out there.  
  7. Some man runner passes both me and the blonde; I care not.  He is a man.  
  8. The lead runner passed me right about when I hit 3.75 miles.  He ended up winning in like 1:02.  Fast.  
  9. I start counting runners who are ahead of me.  
  10. This counting reveals that there are 8 women ahead of me including the blonde.  
  11. I pass the blonde at the five mile turn around.
  12. I pass the man who passed me earlier at the same turnaround.
  13. I pass no one else for the remainder of the race.  And no one passes me. 
  14. I count people behind me.  I think I counted four of five.  Smallest race ever.  
  15. The entire way back I fight an incredible headwind.  I hate life.  I wish I had stayed in my flat little valley city.  
  16. I finish in 1:44:45 ish.  A little slower than my half-marathon goal pace, but not too much off.  Considering my intense concentration on the bad road and fighting the wind and the hills, I think that I may be able to hit my goal in two weeks at the Oakland Running Festival.  
Running in the middle of NOWHERE!
A little hillier than I expected.  
Breakfasted at the post race shindig.  I hoped that maybe being the 8th woman, I might have eeked out a 3rd place for my age group.  No such luck.  Oh well. 

At least I wasn't last. 
At least I didn't injure myself. 
At least I feel more confident for Oakland. 
At least I had cake waiting for me at home.  


The cake for which I ran

09 March 2012

Friday Faves: Eve of ANOTHER Presentation Edition

Good grief.  I must be hot stuff.  Another presentation gig tomorrow.

In looking back over this past week, in seeking my faves, I see nothing.

Only this.


And my unexpected discovery of a word problem for English:

You interviewed three people for your research papers on pineapple abodes.  First you interviewed Spongebob Squarepants on Leap Day of this year.  Then you interviewed Patrick Starfish the following day.  Just yesterday, you were able to secure an interview with Sandy Cheeks.  Write the works cited page for this.  

07 March 2012

Hey Runner Girl!

No problem, Ryan Gosling. Come on over!
I realize that this blog's title may be a bit of false advertising.  If I were unemployed, I could very feasibly run a workout, come home bake cupcakes, photograph the cupcakes, and finally eat the cupcakes without guilt because of the amazing workout that started the day.

Alas.  I'm employed.  

And alas, there are many more miles in my life than there are cupcakes.  I think if I ate cupcakes to replace all my burned calories from running, I'd grow to hate cupcakes quickly.  

But today I am having cake. Lemon Cake!  Wait!  I think it is Lemon Chiffon.  Whatever that means.  I earned it.  Intervals:  4x1600 after a long day of work that followed two longer, more political, more wretched days at work.  

04 March 2012

Running Away

I like to mentally file away songs into a hypothetical playlist called "Music Mentioning Movement." One day I'll make the actual playlist happen.

What generally happens is the iPod shuffle gods throw me songs during a run, and I listen closely to the lyrics.  I struggle to hear lyrics in music.  When I try to explain this affliction (first world problems™) to others, they think I'm crazy.  I may be.  All I know is that I find it incredibly difficult to focus on what a song is saying.  I sort of hear music like I might view modern art.

Let's allow Steve Martin a chance to show you what I mean.



But sometimes when I run or when I am focusing, I can see the lyrics.

I was listening to Crosby, Stills, & Nash as I am wont to do when the weather turns perfect.  I listened to "Southern Cross" and this little running gem presented itself.

"But on a midnight watch, I realized why twice you ran away."  

I thought about it.

Running away gets a bad rap.  It is occasionally equated with quitting.  To this, I say HOGWASH!

Sometimes I thank god that I had to courage to run away from certain bad elements, be they people, places, or situations.

I'm actually quite good at saying, "This is preposterous.  I'm out!" It never earns me any sort of points for being nice or sweet.  I'm not popular.  I won't win any awards.  But running away from the bad or even the mildly bad is good for everyone.

And I believe that I am much happier than nicer, more tolerant people.

So here's to running away!


02 March 2012

Friday Faves: Motherhood in Full Effect Edition

My general weekday experience:  Wake up.  Get ready.  Rouse child from bed.  Rouse child again from bed.  Rouse child yet again from bed.  Physically remove child from bed.  Return to room and physically remove child from bed.  Drive kid to grandma's.  Converse en route.  Drop off kid.  Commute.  Work.  Work.  Work.  Work.  Try to sneak in a bathroom break.  Work.  Work.  Work.  Work.  Question sanity.  Work.  Realize that I need to drink more water if I am going to run.  Work.  Work.  Try to sneak in a bathroom break.  Drive home.  Change into running clothes.  Realize something isn't charged like iPod or watch.  Run anyway.  Become victimized from random honks.  Run.  Shower.  Observe kid's karate class.  Face palm.  Drive home from karate.  Converse en route.  Homework Battles:  he with third grade assignments; me with grading.  Greet husband upon his return.  Dine.  Read.  Worry.  Worry.  Worry.  Sleep.

Therefore, my weekdays tend to blur together.  Imagine the above paragraph sans spaces and punctuation.  That's my Monday morning through Friday afternoon.

There were a few highlights this week.  Most involved my kid.

Fantastic Car Conversations
One morning car conversation involved my son asking me how he could know if a girl liked him.  I enjoyed those ten minutes immensely.  It was a wonderful little moment that will not likely repeat.  You only get those kinds of questions for the first time once.  For the record, these were the answers that I gave him to that question.  He rejected each.

  1. You can never know if a girl truly likes you. 
  2. Fine.  Send a friend to one of her friends and to ask if she likes you.  
Arts and Crafts:  Boy Version
Picture says it all, I think.

Hunger Games Book Club
Eight daring teens joined the Hunger Games Book Club and we discussed Part I of The Hunger Games after school.  It was a joy to hear these kids discuss books--not for a grade, not because they had to--but because they wanted to.

I had a moment during my reading time one night.  I designed this T-Shirt on Customink.com.  The back says my last name above a large number 12.   Going to wear it to the next book club meeting if it arrives on time. 

  
Surprising Awards
Sometimes I wonder, usually during training runs, what my boy will grow up to be.  I was listening to the Nerdist podcast featuring the interview with Conan O'Brien, and I had an epiphany.  O'Brien, in talking about the creation of his humor style, mentioned the dinner table as his first sort of place to experiment in making his father and brother laugh.  I saw my son in that comment.  

I'm not claiming that my son will be the next Conan O'Brien, but he definitely is the type of kid who purposely attempts to get a laugh out of people.  

This means that he generally doesn't impress the teachers.  His humor isn't always appreciated come multiplication time.  

He's never been Student of the Month.  He likes to remind us of this fact after every Awards assembly.  Last month, he informed me that he has not earned Student of the Month 35 times.

Today was the Student of the Month assembly and my boy took home the award.  The school failed to tell us, so my husband and I couldn't attend the assembly.  I'm saddened by not being able to see his face once he heard his name called, but in the end, this is about him and not about me.  

Finally.  He is Student of the Month.  It is likely he'll never be again.  His humor is getting more purposeful and blatant.  I'm seeing more detention in his future. But today, he gets to feel like the school system is proud of him.  

Applebee's for dinner.  His choice.  The large bucket of sangria helped me get through.  


Mother-Son Drawing Time
The bargain books section of the local Barnes and Noble had a copy of Illustration School:  Let's Draw Cute Animals.  It sounded like a worthy plan.  I bought the book and the kid and I sat down to learn to draw cute animals.  

I like his platypus best. 

My version of a cute koala! Let's call her Sheila!


I have no grown-up presentations this weekend that require professional clothing.  That was the previous weekend and that will be next weekend.  This weekend I have a long run and a date with a nap.

Divine.





29 February 2012

Leap Day

So much to leap for lately. 



  • My kid had a blast leaping up in the air for me in observance of Leap Day.  
  • I held a book club meeting to discuss The Hunger Games with eight willing and bright teenagers.  So excited for the movie! 
  • I closed out February with 98 total miles of training.  Less than I aimed for (thank you week of migraine for that one), but more than February 2011.  
  • I have a sense of perspective that helping me stay grounded in a time of professional change.  

24 February 2012

Friday Faves: The-OMG-When-Did-I-Become-A-Grown-Up-Presenter-Consultant-Type-Girl? Edition

Tomorrow I have to wear fancy grown ups clothes.  Heels will probably be required.  I have a three-hour presentation in front of 30 people in my field.  I'm, I suppose, somewhat important.

Downton Abbey.  I'm upset that I resisted for so long.  I love this show. Thank goodness for Netflix and the PBS app on the iPad.  My iPad become my TV friend for many hours this week while I dived into the lives of the Crawley family and their servants.  I so want a happy ending for Anna and Mr. Bates.  I'm not quite through Season 2.  I have until the 6th before PBS yanks it.  



My husband took photos of me on the Vespa.  This is 2012 after all.  I must obsessively record my life.  I love my little orange Vespa.  

Lastly, I love Evernote and Dropbox.  I plan on using both with my phone during my presentation tomorrow.  I love having my presentation in the palm of my hand while it is projected behind me. Today local university.  Tomorrow TED?  

17 February 2012

Friday Faves--The Weekend Arrived at a Snail's Pace Edition

It seemed like the longest week ever for no discernible reason.  The promise and perceived future ecstasy that comes from a three-day weekend slowed the week down.

Saturday meant another day hanging with The Writing Project.  I love those people.  One of my favorites distributed fortune cookies.  Mine delighted me to no end.  I giggled.


Sunday brought a PR.  I have to Instagram it!  I adore Instagram. 


On Valentine's Day my son brought home the best story.  I'll bullet it for posterity.

  • My husband allowed him a small spray of cologne for Valentine's Day. 
  • My son was jumping rope at school.
  • The object of his affection ran in and began jumping rope with him face to face.  
  • My son's male friend grabbed the jump rope and ran.  
  • My son caught up with the rope thief and said, "Why did you have to ruin the moment?"
  • In retelling the story to his father and I, my son said, "She must've been attracted to my scent."
Then the next day, this popped up on his door. 


My kid is the best.  


I've been relaxing on the couch at night watching television.  I've been waking early and getting to work 45 minutes early all week.  This means falling asleep early.  I feel old.  My precious Paul decided that he wanted all eyes on him.  Nathan Fillion looks shocked. 

13 February 2012

Adele and the Concept of a Real Woman

Apparently, the Grammy's aired last night.  People hate on the adverb, but look what my adverb just conveyed in ten little letters.

I know about the Grammy's and Whitney Houston dying because of Facebook and Flipboard.  My news consumption is primarily through the internet.  I do like it this way because I enjoy seeing the reaction of my friends and unknowns commenting on articles.  I do feel like it is one giant cocktail party.

Adele was the big winner.  Probably deservedly so.  I did buy and enjoy her album until I found myself listless, peevish, and depressed.  It is an excellent album.

What I found curious was the reaction of a friend who in celebrating Adele's win made a comment about Adele being a real artist and a real woman.  Ten years ago I'd be more likely to comment on the real artist part of that statement.

I'm no artist.  I may have used to enjoy "films," but nowadays I just want a good movie--preferably an action flick with an underlying romance featuring a believable heroine.

Which brings me right back to the real woman bit.

I may run, but I'm not a stick.  I have a normal BMI, but I also have curves.  And I am growing a little concerned with the idea that a real woman must be a certain weight to qualify for her estrogen card.

Why can't thin women be considered real women?  Why must our size dictate our validity as a person?

I'd like the phrasings "real woman" and "real man" to be banned.  The whole concept is preposterous, vague, and--therefore--meaningless.

We're all real.  Some of us are healthier than others.  Sometimes you can tell this by looking at a person; often you can't.

12 February 2012

Honey Bun Run Race Report

I'm not sure if the name of this race is a nod to the upcoming Valentine's Day holiday.  There were literal honey buns at the finish line.  Little Debbie Honey Buns.

Poor choices in post-race food aside, it was a decent little run with enough volunteers and traffic cones to keep the automobiles away from the runners.  I felt safe the entire run--which is more than I can say for the last race that I ran in Carmel with the old ladies driving between the runners in their metallic sedans.

I haven't looked at my watch data yet.  I can't find online results anywhere.  But my husband took a photo of me crossing the finish line around 59:31.  I'll take it.  Pace calculator says 9:34 pace.  My speed work and tempo runs have been really working.  That's nearly 7:30 faster than my last 10K.

This was meant to be a test at my half-marathon pace.  I honestly felt very good during the race.  I did not feel like I was pushing it too much.  I wonder if I can run the next half marathon at the same pace.  I might have a new A goal.

They also had a 1K for Kids. Adorable.  My kid raced it.  He said his tummy hurt afterward.  I told him that meant he did it right.





10 February 2012

Friday Faves

TypeDrawing:  I love this app.  It lets me add words to pictures, thereby opening up some awesome opportunities for concept and vocabulary development for my students.


Today's Run:  I had a Category-5-Call-FEMA-It's-A-Natural-Disaster Migraine on Tuesday.  Wednesday and Thursday meant a lingering aftershock of a headache.  I was out of running commission for three days.  Getting out to run today was so good for me.  It was a little tough, but I was just what I needed after the week of work related stress I endured.  I did some intervals.  It felt right.

Flipboard:  Good gravy!  I love this thing.  I really love this thing.  I love waking up and going to my Flipboard to check on news, iPhoneography, social network happening, and what not.  The future is here and it is so much better than what Jane Jetson had to deal with.  I have a certain degree of autonomy and don't have the deal with the misogyny of the Jetson world.

Pinterest Find: Singin' in the Rain is my all time favorite movie.  I found this on Pinterest. I must have it.  I'm ready for love!

Last, but certainly not least:  My first ride on the Vespa.  I'm in love. I'm also the Queen of the Dorks.





09 February 2012

Not Running Related, but Movement Related

I totally own a Vespa.

It's orange.

And the DMV granted me a permit to drive said Vespa TODAY!

I never pictured my future self on a Vespa.  I never pictured my future self as a two time marathoner.

I'm kind of excited about what might happen next.

05 February 2012

And I'm a believer.

I have been suffering some minor pains here and there when I run farther than say four or five miles. The side of my right hip and my left plantar fasciia are my current nemeses. KT tape works on the foot, but the hip has been a little more troublesome. I finally broke down and bought a foam roller about two weeks ago. I have been using it to release my IT band. It hurt so much at first (like screamy hurt), but it works! I haven't had that side of my hip flare up AND I have been running faster without an increase in perceived effort. Why did I wait so long? In other news, I think this means I should schedule a massage in my near future.

04 February 2012

Friday Faves Delayed: Saturday Edition

Things that are decidedly not part of my favorite things:  migraines on a Friday.  Two in one week.  Fortunately for me there was some things that balances it all out.


As a stipend of sorts for my work and participation in a state something something something leadership something something, I received an iPad2.  I feel like I'm living the better version of the Jetsons.  I have an iPad for work, but I never really figured out how to use it properly.  It wasn't until the state something something something leadership something something and talking with others that I realized all the options that this opens up for me.  Evernote is going allow me to go paperless.  This excites me.  Flipboard is going to help me keep up on my internet reading/consumption.  And the ultimate, Penultimate is allowing me to sketch and later insert Stick Man versions of the Odyssey for my students.  Penultimate in conjunction with Genius Scan allows me to make newspaper blackout poetry.  This is from The Hunger Games.


I'm quite the poet.


My husband made avocado egg rolls this week.  Earlier he make a vegetable tempura that was to die for.  I'm so lucky.

But my favorite moment from the week, was realized that my orange dream in coming true.  I'm picking up the Vespa tomorrow.  It feels amazing to cross things off of your dream list.  Amazing.