Saturday, December 29, 2007

Happy Birthday Jennifer!

It's impossible to believe, but this wonderful little girl is now an adult.

She is now the mom of these two beautiful children.

Happy Birthday Jeni. May this year bring you joy and happiness.

Monday, December 24, 2007

And Now The Calendars Just One Page

Hmm. It's been two weeks, you say? I don't know how that happened. December has been a whirlwind.

I'm visiting my parents for the holiday. The trip from the West Coast to the East Coast was a challenge. There was ample time to meditate while we sat on the runway for hours. Then there was some "quality time" in the terminal at Chicago's O'Hare Airport. Sure, I ended up in a different airport than the one I had on my itinerary, but it was fine. My dad drove to get me at 2 a.m. He's a trooper.

When it's all said and done, I did make it home for Christmas Eve unlike some people I met in at O'Hare. If you look closely at the blurry camera phone photo, you'll see the cots that were set up in the airport terminal. That's no way to spend the holiday.

I hope that all of you find your way home for the holidays. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Rose Bowl Half Marathon Photos

How incredibly cute are these to volunteers. They were giving our pretzels and licorice. I love kids who give me candy.

The flickr set is available even though I look completlay dorkay in all the photos.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Rose Bowl Half Marathon

It was a beautiful event and I don't think that's the 4 beers I had in the post-race beer garden talking. Steve and I weren't the fastest we've ever been, but we both loved the course even though it was 8 miles of uphill. Today, everything about the event was well done. Yes, the trails were muddy after two days of rain, but they were easily passable. The course volunteers were fantastic and supportive. It was one of the most lovely courses I've ever raced.

It was certainly a reward after yesterday's comedy of errors. Lets just say that getting to Pasadena was not a smooth journey. It culminated with Steve and I driving back to parking lot where we'd been 30 minutes earlier to find something that had fallen out of the car. Oh, and we were searching the parking lot in the dark and in the rain. It was an adventure.

Kudos to the event organizers for putting on a great inaugural race. And 3 cheers for allowing finishers to tour the Rose Bowl stadium. For a Big Ten girl like me, that was an extra treat.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Waiting for Amelia Lynn

Ashlee and Roger are going to welcome their daughter Amelia Lynn to the world today. Hurry up and get here Amelia - we love you already!


She's here! Little Lia is 6lbs 10oz and 18.5 inches. Mom, Baby and Dad are reported to be doing fine. Photos as available.

Update 2:
Here she is. Meet Miss Lia.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Tony Testosteroni and the Spinners!

My Team In Training teammates have mostly been women. One thing about working out with women is that we are very, very supportive of each other. Are we competitive? Yes, but we want to see each other succeed. I don't want to crush my competitors; I want to beat them on their best day.

So it's with some amusement that I watch the men in my spin class. There are three men, all about 45, who compete without mercy. If one cranks up his resistance, then the other two crank theirs too. If one is doing stability work with one hand, then other two try for no hands. It's a constant battle for superiority. They aren't friends; they don't seem to know each other at all. They don't even do the smile, nod and chit-chat that the rest of us do before class. Make no mistake this is a battle for the alpha-dog crown collar.

Sometimes I see women who compete with other women to be prettiest. These women are obsessed with thinness, plastic surgery and botox. That makes me heartbroken. When I watch these three guys in my spin class, it makes me realize it's not any easier schlepping a penis. The boys are competitive too.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Spin, Spin Sugar

Went to spin class today. It's not the cardio that's a problem; it's the butt hurting. I did hang in for the entire 45 minutes of class which made me proud. And sore. Then I managed to hit the weight room.

If you need me I'll be over here. Standing.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Easy Rider

The century ride continues to become more likely. We went to look at bikes yesterday.

I had no idea how complex and precise performance bikes have become. Let me explain - if you asked me to describe a bike, I'd be telling you about a basket on the front, tassels on the handle bars and a banana seat with flowers on it. That's the bike I owned as a child. I've certainly ridden and owned bikes since then, but nothing fancy. My last bike was bought at Target. And trust me, it didn't have carbon anything or Shimano gears or whatever else.

So I showed up at Cal Coast Bicycles like the village idiot and asked a ton of questions. Luckily, we had George, the world's most patient salesperson, help us. He put me on the right size bike and gave me some advice on how to balance myself better on the saddle. Viola! It wasn't uncomfortable like the bike in Ireland. In fact, I road tested the bike for so long that I got lost and George had to come out and fetch me.

During the ride back to the bike shop he gave me a few more tips. And then I almost took out a guy who stopped dead in front of me while crossing the street. How typical for me. I don't have a single problem riding on my own. As soon as someone is available to see me be uncoordinated my doofus gene makes a spectacular appearance.

In other news: On Thanksgiving Day I did the Run for the Hungry 10K and averaged 13:30 minutes per mile. That's a vast improvement from the 13:52 minutes per mile I did in the Iron Girl 10K in late July.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sarcasm Can Be Fun!

Thanksgiving morning I'm doing a quick 10K in downtown San Diego. The run is called the Run for the Hungry and it benefits food banks and some such. The food kitchens are always flooded with newbie volunteers on Thanksgiving Day. Instead of going to try to volunteer at the shelter, I'm doing this run.

The Thanksgiving run/walk is a tradition that my friend started for us in Dallas. Our whole group would go and do the Turkey Trot, complete with all of our dogs, friends, and cups of Starbucks. It was pretty laid back. In fact, we always parked about a half of a block ahead of the finish line. We skipped the finish line and went home. That way we didn't have to put up with traffic delays on the way to our big meal.

I'll be doing this one alone and I'll miss the happy vibe of the Dallas peeps. It's still worth doing. I'll do a little bit to help the food bank and get in a workout before heading off to give gluttonous Thanks with friends.

Here's the sarcasm part. I told someone, and I'm not sure who, that I was doing this event. And their innocently sarcastic reply was, "A run for hungry people? That's mean! And they won't be able to go fast, because they are hungry." Tee Hee!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


I'm not saying that I'm doing any of these marathons but, here is a list of some international marathons that interest me.

March: Rome, Monte Carlo,
April: Paris, Z├╝rich, Madrid, Vienna,
May: Prague, Edinburgh, Stockholm, Beijing,
June: Mount Kilimanjaro, Saint Petersburg, Mont Saint Michel,
July: Perth, Gold Coast,
August: Reykjavik, Berlin, Amsterdam, Helsinki, Isle of Man,
September: Sidney, Warsaw, Moscow,
October: Venice, Istanbul, Auckland, Munich,
November: Athens, Florence, Palermo,
December: Milan,

I'm just putting that out to the universe.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I'll Take This Under Advisement

Steve has been advocating skipping the Spring Marathon season and training for a Century Ride instead.

A century ride is -
100 miles.
On a bike.
That I would need to pedal.

Actually, the pedaling is fine. I like pedaling the bike. On the other hand, I have a rather delicate tush. Steve and I rented bikes to explore the Aran Islands in Ireland. After about 90 minutes on the bike I had a tender bruise on my butt bone. Do you see how happy Steve looks in the photo? That's because he doesn't have a sore bottom. A day later we flew home to San Diego. The 12 hour flight was an adventure of fidgeting trying to find a sitting position that was both comfortable and not putting weight on my bruise.

Today was the Team In Training Alumni Celebration. It was great to see everyone again, especially since everyone did really great in their marathons. Over the course of the party several folks came over to tell me that me ride in the Aran Islands should not deter me from the Century ride. Amicus briefs were filed to point out that my problems in Ireland were the result of a poorly fitted bike, a saddle designed for men, and lack of appropriate cycling shorts, etc..

Personally, I think it's that I have a super sensitive "Princess and the Pea" tush. Unless I can find some sort of super soft, Lazy-Boy recliner bike saddle I'm not sure this Century ride idea is going to work.

However, I'm willing to listen to arguments to participate in the Century. Potentially, I will be riding in "America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride" in Lake Tahoe on June 1, 2008. Just be sure you understand that I have not committed to this.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Hey Babe, Take A Walk on the Wild Side

This morning was the Walk on the Wild Side 5k to benefit the San Diego Zoo. It was a "race" only in that there was a start/finish line and we did probably walk 5k. Other than that, it bore no semblance to a race. It was more a stroll through the zoo.

We started early, 7:30 a.m. That's actually the best time to visit the zoo. Most of the animals have night jobs as hunters, If you go during the heat of the day all the cool animals are asleep. This morning even some of the big cats were awake and walking around. The zoo staff also had a bunch of animals out in the crowds so that you could pet them.

We dawdled in the zoo so long that we almost completely missed the food and goodies they had after the "race". Poor Steve had to listen to me recite nearly every animal fact that I learned watching Animal Planet with my nieces. It's fabulous to have one of the worlds greatest zoos down the street from my house.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Silver Strand Half Marathon ✔


That might have been the boring course ever. I'm probably more sensitive to that after the Dublin Marathon. There every turn lead to another fabulous sight - Phoenix Park, Kilmainham Gaol, Trinity College. Also, in Dublin people were out cheering. Today, there were maybe 100 spectators on the entire course.

All in all, today wasn't my best day. It wasn't that I felt awful or even uncomfortable. I just wasn't at my best. That said, I think my time was about 3:05 or 3:07. Certainly not bad for a walker, but I think I could have easily beat 3:00 if I'd been a bit more together.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Just when I think I'm out...

they keep pulling me back in.

I thought I'd selected all of my events for the year, then I saw this:
How can I possibly ignore a half marathon that has such a fabulous finishers medal? I'm not that strong. Must.Get.That.Medal.

Looks like a good course. It's a lovely area of Pasadena - partly road, partly trail, some hills. Who am I kidding? I wouldn't care if the race went through the town dump and alongside the sewage treatment plant. That medal is awesome!

Cross-Training Navel Gazing

Slowly returning to real life - post-vacation and post-marathon.

For the last few months, I've really focused my workouts on getting ready for the marathons. I've let other types of workouts slip - very little weight training, Pilates or yoga and zero cross-training cardio. In fact, I didn't even join a gym in San Diego; I just walked and walked to get ready for the marathons.

This week I finally joined a new gym. It's nice and it's huge. Yesterday I did some weight work and I was heartbroken by how much weaker I am. I couldn't even bench 70 pounds. Of course, logically I knew that would happen but I'm still bummed.

Now I'm studying the gym's class schedule to determine what I can work into my schedule. This gym has really varied offerings - a LeMond cycling studio, a Gravity Studio, Feldenkrais. I took a Gravity class today and it was a killer.

Here's what I'd like to squeeze in: 1 session traditional weights, 1 Gravity session, 1 advanced Pilates class, 1 pool workout, some other cardio (maybe Tae Kwon Do). I'm also going to take some Feldenkrais classes, but I can't count them toward my workout total. Plus, I'm going to keep up my long walks on Saturday or Sunday. I still need to be ready for the Carlsbad Half Marathon in Janaury.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Hello Reality, Did you miss me?

We're back home from Ireland. It was a busy trip with the marathon and the zigzagging across the Emerald Isle, but we managed to see a lot of country. Hopefully, Steve got some good pictures. I always forget to take out my camera and snap a photo.

Now I'm trying to get my head back into my real world. That involves mountains of laundry and getting ready for another half marathon this Sunday. In other news, I start a new job on Monday which is 95% yippee and 5% worry. This was the first vacation of my adult life where I didn't have to go back to my old job. I've spent most vacations worrying a bit about the work that was piling up at home.

Here is a photo I took at one of my favorite spots in Ireland. It's at the Meeting of the Waters in Killarney National Park. We spent a day walking on the trails there. It was a glorious place. Kudos to Steve for insisting that we spend an extra day hiking there.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Greetings from Ireland

Ireland is lovely. Other than getting caught in a bit of a rain - okay, a downpour - it's been dry and warm.

The marathon was fabulous. I'll post photos of my swag when I get back to California.

The Guinness does taste better here.

Love to all - Photos and Stories soon!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Race Notes: Dublin

  • My race nutrition wasn't exactly correct. I used 2 energy gel, plus 1 bag of Luna moons and 1 bag of Sport Beans. Also, I had some biscuits and a Mars bar from spectators on the course.
  • Always take a gel at mile 24. I need that last burst of fuel to make it to the finish.
  • Luna Moons are satisfying to eat, but they aren't the best course nutrition. They are slightly too large to eat and breathe. Sports Beans are fine for this.
  • Gels are best, but Beans are good too. Beans are more satisfying to eat.
  • Hills are slow because my form falls apart. It's not my cardio capacity, it's my form.
  • In cold weather my throat gets frozen/dry. It feels like really uncomfortable. Chewing gum might help here.
  • I felt good all day, except for a bit around mile 12-13. I had a negative split, but I was tired for miles 25-26.2.
  • No more carrying the camera. I forget to take photos anyway. If I didn't take any in Dublin I won't take them anywhere.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Note to Friends and Family - I'm Safe

Friends from all over the place have reached out to me today to find out if I'm okay. My family and most of my friends are from far away from Southern California. They aren't familiar with the area and it's hard to tell if I'm in the path of the wildfires. I'm not. My house is North of the Southern fires and South of the Northern fires. I'm not near the evacuation zones and I'm not worried about fires damaging my home.

From what the local news is saying, there are plenty of supplies for people in shelters. At some of the shelters they have more volunteers than evacuees. That's good news - people want so desperately to help their neighbors. I took some pet food over to Fiesta Island where they are sheltering animals for evacuees.

Of course, I'm heartbroken for my friends and for strangers who've evacuated or lost their homes. It seems that a lot of my co-workers, friends and TNT teammates live in evacuated areas. It's hard to watch. If there's something you can do, then you should do it.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Check ✔

The race was absolutely beautiful. In fact, the all the events of the Marathon weekend were beautifully planned and executed. I'll say this for Nike (and for Team in Training) - they did a fabulous job making this event special.

Any yes, at the end of the event they do have hot men in tuxedos who give you a Tiffany jewel box that contains your finisher's medal.

Maybe I'll write about it later, but for now let me show you my swag. Oh, yeah and click to see it larger so you can appreciate that Tiffany necklace.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

On Your Mark

Tomorrow is the Nike Women's Marathon. We've had a nice, albeit busy, weekend in San Francisco. Actually, it's been such an emotional, topsy-turvy, got-what-I-wanted-now-what week that the actual race will be a nice break for me.

Tomorrow will be a beautiful day here. This course is gorgeous. I can't wait.

I'm only doing a half marathon because I don't want to exhaust myself before the full marathon in Dublin next week. I'm officially turning off my worrying brain for the duration of the race.

I'm looking forward to it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

And...We're Back

I went home to Pennsylvania last week to visit my family and to drop off my cat, Toby. I didn't want to kennel Toby for the duration of my long trip to Ireland. Usually if I have to board him, I'll fly him home to stay with my family instead. They adore him and they'll spoil him. I'll pick Toby up when I fly home for Christmas.

While I was home I got to spend time with my wonderful nieces and the adorable new babies in my family. Who wants to see some photos?

Jessica, Mya and Me. I guess there's no family resemblance here. HA!

The world's cutest little boy, Jadiel. Look at those curls and those big brown eyes.

I didn't get a good photo of the newest baby. I'll have to ask my mom to send me one.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Fortune Cookie Wisdom

My fortune from dinner at the Chinese place.

Don't argue with it. Just order some pie.

Sunday, October 07, 2007


Yesterday was the 20 mile training walk. It was fine. Twenty miles is a long day, but I felt pretty good for the entire session. I'm not sore or stiff today. The top of my left quadriceps is a bit tweaked, but other than that I'm absolutely fine.

From this point onward, there's really nothing I can do to increase my strength or endurance for the events. It's simply too close to the races and the body needs time to rebuild itself. This is a weird time during marathon prep; there's nothing left to do. Stretch everyday. Eat right. Get enough rest. Wash your hands frequently so you don't get sick. Basic good health stuff but that's it. There's nothing marathon specific on my to do list.

Next week is our final training session. The following week with is Nike Half Marathon. The week after is the Dublin Marathon.

I'm as ready as I'm going to be.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Victory, It Is Mine

When I left the office tonight, I had dealt with every single email in my Inbox. Read, replied, delegated, denied or ignored - every email was handled somehow. I've been hammering at the email backlog for nearly two weeks. Today I was at the office until o'dark o'clock, but when I walked to my car there wasn't a single message remaining.

It's been over 5 months since I left the office without any remaining email nagging at me. By the time I get to office tomorrow, the sweet bliss of an empty email Inbox will be gone. For now, I'm triumphant!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

October? How Did That Happen?

It's October. The Nike Half Marathon is less than 3 weeks away; Dublin is less than 4.

We're coming to the end of this season of Team in Training - which I should have noticed due to the increasing mileage. Last Saturday we did 18 uneventful miles. Somehow September (and August) slipped right by me.

Actually our Saturday mileage is increasing, but our weekday mileage is already in the back-down mode. Last night we did 3 miles in the park. The entire Monday night crew was itching to go farther, but that's back-down for you. Tuesday night is normally our intervals session at the lake. Unfortunately, the sun is setting earlier and they're closing the trails earlier too. That means we can't do that walk again until the springtime. I'm really sad to lose our walk at the lake; it was probably my favorite.

Not to get all misty, but I'm really sorry to see this season end. I'm excited about the two events, but I'd love for my time with this group of teammates to continue. Of course, I probably won't miss hauling up the Laurel Street hill every Monday (nearly a mile at the 22.5% incline. Whew!)

Kat sent this photo of the Monday night group. We always meet at this statue - for the photo we tricked her out with a TNT hat, jacket, bracelet, and water pack.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Singing in the Rain!

Water came from the sky!

If you live somewhere that it rains, then the concept of a little shower isn't a big deal. After a year in San Diego, rain is a surprise to me. When I moved here, I didn't notice the absence of precipitation. Of course, not noticing the lack of rain is why my front yard looks like the valley of death. It didn't occur to me to water the lawn.

Last week's training was kind of a bummer because for the first time in 10 months it rained during a training session. It was drizzling when we got there and I refused to get out of the car. Then it slowed to a mist and I was willing to get moving. Steve tried to convince me that it was good training for Dublin because it is likely enough to rain during the marathon. I gave him the stinkeye for even suggesting it.

About 5 miles into the training distance, the skies opened up and it rained. It rained sort of hard for a 5 whole minutes.

During that 5 minute mini-cloudburst, I had one of those surreal this-is-Southern-California moments. We walked by a TV news crew doing a live broadcast about the rain. The broadcaster was dressed in full storm-gear regalia. Imagine what the guys on the Weather Channel wear when they broadcast from a hurricane. That's how this broadcaster was dressed. Of course, the guy holding the camera was wearing the same sort of thing I was wearing: shorts, tee-shirt, and sneakers.

I now live somewhere where a rain shower is news.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

You Say It's Your Birthday

Someone in this photo turns 40 today. (It's not me!!!! But it will be soon enough.)

Happy B-day Blyss! Here's hoping that your forties are filled will good times and good friends.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Scotland Revisited

Gosh, beautiful.This post is just for my traveling compadres. Whenever I think of the Scotland trip, I think of how Carla once described it: "The perfect mix of people, places and personalities. I wouldn't change a thing. It's too bad we could never duplicate it." She's right. That trip was an absolute gift. Roger, Carla, Leia, Ru, me, John

It's hard to believe how different all our lives are from three years ago when we took that trip. There have been so many good things - 6 marriages, 1 baby one the way, at least 10 job changes, 3 major moves. Sadly there was also the passing of our fabulous host, tour guide and raconteur - Ru's father.

I'm going to steal a little bandwidth from Larry's server and link inCupping my bum, and biting something else!  No wonder his dad is hiding. a few pics. He'll forgive me. (I hope!)

The first photo is practically a postcard photo that Roger took of Dunnottar Castle outside Abedeen.

The second photo is a bunch of us at Dunnottar.

The third photo is all of us in a pub in Oban. Ru's mom is in the shot, but his dad is sort of hidden. And is Ru cupping my bum? IRoger, Ru, Me and John don't remember that!

Photo 4 is one Larry took of me and the other boys.

The fifth photo is one of Carla and I. I love this photo so much. I had that photo posted next to my desk in my office for a long time.

The last photo is one we asked a stranger to snap for us. It was our last night in London, just before we hopped on the London Eye. If you look closely you can see that I'm wearing the crazy sandals that Tina and I bought in London. I'm still wearing mine, Tina!
my evil twin and I
It was a great trip. I miss you guys.

P.S. To my Scotland Trip Compadres: There are planes that fly from where y'all are to San Diego. Come visit me!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Amazing Suitcase

Last night Steve and I were talking about which suitcases to take with us Ireland. I am a devotee of the carry-on bag. It doesn't matter how long the trip is, I only take my carry-on suitcase. Checked baggage seems to get lost and I hate waiting for bags when my flight lands. More importantly, I don't like to have to ask for help with my suitcases. Too many bags makes shuffling through the airport difficult.

Steve asked if I could really squeeze two weeks worth of clothing into a tiny bag. Everyone who went on the Scotland trip is laughing and laughing. That trip was longer than two weeks and I squeezed everything into my carry-on. My companions joked that the bag had some sort of compression function, because it seemed an endless amount of items could come out of that bag.

With all that stuff meticulously compacted into that bag, it was ridiculously heavy. I'm very strong and I would have had a hard time heaving it into the overhead bin. Luckily, on every leg of the journey some poor, sweet man would generously offer to lift it for me.

The conversation always went like this:
Sweet Man: Let me put that in the overhead bin for you.
Me: Oh, I couldn't ask you to do that. It's so heavy.
Sweet Man: Puffs Chest w/ Machismo Oh, then you should definitely let me do that for you.
Me: Taking a seat and getting comfortable Gee thanks, I appreciate it.

Then the poor, sweet man would practically give himself a hernia trying to heave that thing into the bin. This was always to snickering amusement of my traveling companions. And I was truly thankful. I could have lifted it, but I was grateful that I didn't have to do so.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


Last week was sort of dud for workouts. I didn't do much of anything. The weight training I did do tweaked my IT band. Again. Will that thing ever heal completely?

Yesterday was a recovery training session, so it was short: 12 miles. I had a great day and a good steady training partner got off to a rougher start, but rebounded. Actually, my times weren't too bad considering I was nursing my IT band a bit. The only times I was over 14:30 were on my warm-up and cool-down.








































Monday, September 10, 2007

We're Going to Ireland

After much hand-wringing, calendar flipping, and a few calls to American Airlines our airplane tickets to Ireland are booked. We are one step closer to the Dublin Marathon.

Task Completion: 100%

Saturday, September 08, 2007

All Aboard!

Today's training session was the train walk - we get on the Amtrak train in Solana Beach and ride to Oceanside. Then we walk the 18 miles back to our cars.

Last season, I found the train walk to be a real challenge. I was good for the first 14 miles, but then I was very tired. Today I had plenty of pep at the end. In fact, my fastest mile of the day was mile 18. That's good yo'.

Also, several times today we passed people from the run team. When a walker passes a runner, it's a pretty good feeling. It's not competitive as much as gratifying. Running is obviously faster, so when you pass the runners you know you're working some excellent walking form. Today we passed runners several times. It was especially sweet when Laurie reminded me that the runners were doing a 16 mile course.

We walked 18 miles faster than runners ran 16 miles. That feels good!

1 16:08 267
2 15:09 236
3 14:36 211
4 14:59 214
5 15:03 232
6 14:37 193
7 14:22 186
8 15:21 319
9 15:26 313
10 14:58 192
11 15:00 185
12 15:16 241
13 15:23 206
14 15:40 223
15 15:02 303
16 13:16 249
17 14:24 242
18 13:12 260

Friday, September 07, 2007

Road Trip Diary

Really, we just wanted to eat breakfast at Cracker Barrel and get a drink at the Sonic Drive-In.

Yuma, Arizona is the closest place with Sonic and a Cracker Barrel, so Jen, Debbie and I packed into the car and drove East. Of course, we picked the hottest weekend of the summer to drive to the desert - we're crazy like that. A few side trips en route made for a fun 2 days.

Here are the high points -

Went to my first Pow Wow. Apparently, it's Pow Wow season in Southern California. I'd like to go to another one when I have a bit more knowledge of what's happening.

Ate (and ate and ate) at Cracker Barrel.

Went to the Center of the World in Felicity, California. It was closed. I don't understand either

Finally made it to my beloved Sonic Drive-In. Ordered a Route 44 sized (44 ounce) Sonic-Diet-Cherry-Limeade-with-Diet-Cherry-Syrup-and-extra-cherries. Also ordered a Route 44 sized cup of the fabulous Sonic crushed ice. Oh Sweet Sonic - I've missed you since I moved to San Diego. I was crushed to discover that I did not receive a Sonic-Diet-Cherry-Limeade-with-Diet-Cherry-Syrup-and-extra-cherries. It was some mystery drink. Then I accidentally spilled the entire a Route 44 sized mystery drink on Debbie. Returned to hotel to clean up Debbie and the car. Returned to Sonic to get correct drink. Entered state of bliss while finally drinking Route 44 sized Sonic-Diet-Cherry-Limeade-with-Diet-Cherry-Syrup-and-extra-cherries.

We ran out of gas while trying to reach the Desert Tower on In-Ko-Pah Road in Jacumba, California. Called tow truck and sat down to wait. That's when I realized that my bladder is not Route 44 sized. I propose changing the name of In-Ko-Pah Road to In-No-Potty Road. Proceeded to beg a stranger for use of a bathroom. A Giant Lizard ran across my feet while I was "indisposed." The Horror!

We decide to forget about visiting the Desert Tower; proceeded directly to famed Wisteria Candy Cottage. Decide the candy isn't actually all that great. We ate it anyway.

Wrapped up trip at Mount Helix. Looked out from the mountaintop at my beautiful San Diego.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

My Shins Are Freaky

On Saturday I bought new sneakers. I went to San Diego Running Institute, got measured and fitted - the whole nine yards. On Tuesday, I took my new kicks out for a spin. For the first time ever, I had intense pain in my shins. Not shin splint pain, muscle freak out pain. Just walking was fine, but as soon as I tried to get some speed going, Bam! Pain! We were doing intervals on Tuesday and I was a good 10-20 seconds slower on every interval than Steve and Peggy. (Truth be told, Peggy could have smoked us both if she'd wanted to do so.)

Tonight I took the new sneakers out for a second try. It's essential that the shoes I'm wearing this Saturday are perfect since it'll be a 18 mile session. Tonight I walked with Erica and we were flying along - no official intervals but with blasts of effort at a 10 minute mile pace. For walking that's pretty darn fast.

Guess what, no pain in the shins at all but a tiny bit of soreness in my arch. I can't decide if I should use the new shoes Saturday or not. If I don't break in the new shoes on Saturday, all I have left in one 20 mile session before the marathons. I don't want to relive the sneaker agony of my first marathon when I tried to change shoes too late in my training.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

This Just In: Fat Tastes Good

For the last two weeks, I've been making some really bad food choices. Thankfully, I'm back on track this week. Then tonight I got an urge for a taste of my childhood, rice pudding. Real rice pudding - not the horrible slop you get at buffets - was one of my favorite foods as a child. I can remember my Nana making it for me. I would sit next to the stove and watch the pot and wait for pudding.

The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. I made a batch of rice pudding for dinner.
By tinkering with a recipe, I converted it to a healthier option that was still yummy. Brown rice, egg, low fat milk, vanilla, cinnamon and Splenda. It was very tasty and creamy. Of course, it wasn't as good as my Nana's. It's hard to duplicate the taste of cream, butter, and brown sugar with healthier ingredients. Knowing my Nana she probably added some sweetened condensed milk too.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Road Trip!

Just got home. Body is tired. Belly is full. Brain is amused. A successful journey by all definitions. Photos to follow.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

It's Not the Heat

Coach Peggy wisely cut yesterday's workout short due to the brutal humidity and heat. Well, it's brutal for San Diego, but a real nice day if you live in Houston or New Orleans.

We got to Ocean Beach expecting a 13 miler, but instead she shortened it to 12. You know you've been marathon training when someone says 12 miles and you think, "That's nothing; it's not even worth getting out of bed."

It was a decent workout and we had a reasonably good pace. A little frustrating to have another short workout, but it was the right thing to do.

Yesterday, we saw several non-TNT people out running with no water, no electrolytes, no salt, nothing. It was hot and sweaty and people were obviously struggling. One thing that always impresses me about Team in Training is that we have very, very few injuries. I haven't really seen one in the last year. Part of the reason for that is the coaches are conservative and make sure participants are working out safely.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Back to the Training Schedule, Sort of...

It feels as though I'm being a huge lazy slug and not working out at all. I know that's not exactly correct, but it feels that way.
  • Last Saturday was a back down and we only went 9.5 miles.
  • Sunday I did a TNT fund raiser. I learned that on a hot day a cold Grabassier Belgian-style beer is very good.
  • Monday was our normal TNT workout in Balboa Park. We ended the workout early so that we could enjoy a team picnic and enjoy a performance of Brits on Broadway with music from The Lion King, Tommy, Phantom of the Opera, and Spamalot. It was very fun evening.
  • Tuesday night I skipped the workout. I spent the day getting chewed on so hard the I felt like rawhide. Rushing to the team workout was one extra stress that I just didn't need.
  • Tonight is my swim night. Whee!!!
  • Tomorrow Steve and I are playing hooky from TNT and going to a Padres game. I'm going to have to get some sort of daytime workout.
  • Friday is the rest day.
  • Saturday is another short training at only 13 miles.
  • Sunday and Monday I'm taking a girl's trip - probably relatively little working out then.
It feels like I need to work much harder in my training. I'm getting antsy. How will I manage to do a half marathon and full marathon in October if I don't kick my training into high gear?

Friday, August 24, 2007

What Time Is It?

My co-worker just stopped by my office and said; "It's ice cream o'clock. Then he handed me an ice cream sandwich. Add that to the great times of the day: Starbucks, a.m., Beer:30, and 5 o'clock-somewhere.

Really, this week I've eaten every last thing that wasn't tied down. I'm not sure if it was the long training session last week or something else, but I've been hungrier than I've been in a long, long time. Hopefully, my appetite will calm down with tomorrow's short training session. Otherwise I'll be waddling through the marathons.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Happy Anniversary to Me

Yesterday was the first anniversary of my move to Southern California.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Why I Love San Diego, Part 1 of a Bajillion

It's always beautiful here and people want to be outside. Houses in San Diego are tiny, because a house is for storing your gear and sleeping. Why would you be inside when you could be outside? Have you seen our outside? It's awesome.

Last night Steve and I went to see some Laurel and Hardy silent films in Balboa Park. The films are shown at Spreckels Organ Pavilion. (Fun facts: It's the world’s largest outdoor pipe organ with over 4,500 pipes and it sounds amazing. San Diego has its own Civic Organist who gives free concerts each week.) The films were accompanied by a live organist as they would have been shown originally. If you've ever seen silent films, then you know how much the added music makes a difference. The films were very sweet, especially Putting Pants on Philip.

The Organ Pavillion seats about 2500. It was jam packed - as were all of the spaces around it. On a Monday night, a few thousand folks came out to the park to enjoy one of the world's great free public art spaces.

You can get dinner and a movie anywhere. Here you can have dinner under the stars, a silent movie festival, a beach blanket, a live organist and 3000 close friends to share it.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

15 Miles

Yesterday's training session was 15 miles on Coronado Island. Sometimes you just need to chug through the miles even when they aren't fun.

Today is the America's Finest City Half Marathon. (America's Finest City. That's San Diego, my home.) The event is sold out and I didn't register in time; ergo, I slept in today instead of getting up for a race. Next year. This morning I was watching the news coverage of the half marathon and who do I see waving to the news camera - my buddy Zeke! He's finishing the San Diego triple crown today. It'll be two medals for him today. Go Zeke.

Friday, August 17, 2007

What A Week, What A Year

It's been crazy-humid in San Diego this week. That's really put a cramp in my training style. When it's muggy, it's very hard to get me to workout. All I want to do is lie on the bed and let the World's Most Powerful Fan blow on me. In fact, that's what I'm doing right this minute. In spite the humidity, it's been a good week - went to my first Padres game, had the best training session evah, even my work has been manageable.

I'm coming up on the first anniversary of my move to San Diego. My brain swings between thinking a year already and only a year. When I left Dallas last August, I comforted myself with the knowledge that I could always go back there.

In Texas, I was blessed to have two groups of incredibly close friends: the Tribe and the CoolGirls. None of the Tribe members were in serious relationships and we had a standing date for Friday night Mexican. Some of my favorite memories of Dallas will always be sitting in the back room of Avila's Restaurant and laughing. Laughing at Carla's ironic, intellectual musings, Ray's sage take on the world, Leia's naive wholesomeness, Ru's Scottish charm, Blyss's outrageous rampages for booty, Roger's vengeful colon and Tina's "terrorist" attack in Lutin Aiport.*

The CoolGirls are a group of women friends that bonded with a complete lack of bitchiness. We have nothing in common - age, marital status, background, but we love and defend each other. We met every month and laughed until we cried (and occasionally cried until we laughed). Through divorces, first dates, misdirected love affairs, jobs, kids ... we hung together. Fueled by Crown and Coke, Nicotine and low-carb diets we had these marathon gab-fests. We'd spend so long chatting, that people would fall asleep on the floor, then wake up and resume their part of the conversation.

Over the course of the last few years, both the Tribe and the CoolGirls have changed. People have gotten married which expanded the groups, but also diluted us. They've conceived children, moved across the country and across Oceans. This weekend Jim and Leia are moving from Dallas. It's hit me very hard. I could go back to Dallas as a place, but not as the community that I miss.

Of course, then I look at my adorable neighborhood in California, the friendships that I'm building here, the Ocean and I realize that things are good. I'm still incredibly blessed.

*There were other people that made my life in Texas special - Tony, Nick, Moni, Annella, Josh, Jim, AB, Lyn, Vanessa, Michele, Erica, Ashlee, Nat, Jon, Natalie, Karen...I missing tons of people and I love you all.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Choose Your Own Adventure

I finally filled out my recommitment form today. For Team in Training participants recommitment is the real decision to do the event. Before that, you've agreed to train. Now the commitment is financial. At recommit you're accepting responsiblity to raise the full amount of funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. If you don't meet your goal, you're agreeing to donate the remainder yourself. The official recommit date was Wednesday. I've been out of the office so I haven't had a printer to print the forms. Our Team in Training coordinator kindly agreed to bring me a set of recommit forms to today's training session.

For the past few weeks, I've been kicking around an idea. This session Team in Training participants are training for 1 of 2 events - either Nike Women's Marathon or the Dublin Marathon. I wanted to do both, but signed up for Nike since all my friends were doing it. But Dublin just called to me. For the last few months, it seems as though everyone I know has gone to Ireland for work or vacation.

About two weeks ago I asked Steve what he thought would happen if I did the half marathon at Nike (October 21) then the full marathon in Dublin (October 29). Other than the fact that I might get sore, he couldn't find a reason not to do it. I asked a few other people, and they didn't have a good reason either. I'm fit. I'm strong. I train consistently. In truth, everyone is sore after a marathon. Soreness is no reason to skip Dublin.

When I filled out my recommit forms, I was still massaging the Nike+Dublin idea in my head. That's the decision point - not the money, which I'm going to raise anyway - but the event. Selecting the Nike Half Marathon means I can go to Dublin too. It's hard for me to do half of anything, but two full marathons in 8 days is insanity. I stared at the form for a long while, and finally checked off the half marathon box.

That's the adventure I choose - 2 continents, 8 days, 39.3 miles.

Nike Women's Half Marathon and Dublin Marathon - Get Ready, Because Here I Come!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Bouncing, Swaying and Other Wasted Motion

  1. Plans for the October-Make-My-Own-Goofy are underway.

  2. With extra help and attention from Coach Marcy and Coach Peggy my form has improved in the last two weeks. Part of the problem is that my natural stride is bouncy - so my energy was going upward instead of forward. The other issue is that I wasn't rolling my hips correctly. They were swaying side to side which is a waste of energy. Forward, everything should be moving forward. It's hard to believe I finished a marathon with all that wasted motion.

    Coach Peggy explained the physics to me. Once I could understand the motion and the forces, I was able to change. Coach Marcy worked with to have some verbal cues and visualizations to help me recapture my form when I flounder. It's harder than you're thinking it is.

    All in all that's amusing. I've spent my entire life thinking that I'm too tall and my hips are too ample. My natural stride makes me bounce myself taller and sway my bottom wider.

  3. Changing my hip roll has made me realize my hips aren't as flexible as they were when I took dance classes. I'm still very flexible, but I'm not the Stretch Armstrong Action Figure I once was. For the next few weeks, I need to add some hip opening asanas to my yoga practice.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Out of the Mouths of Babes

My friend Blyss and I had a chat this weekend. It was great to hear how she's doing, because I've missed her. I've missed her wickedly funny insights into the world.

I was giving her the update on everything and she observed something that is painfully true.

"Damn girl. Even your play is work."

It's true. And it's not a good thing.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Proposed Addition to the Marathon Schedule

Trying to select my January marathon has been a really difficult decision. The options are:
  • Carlsbad Marathon - If I select Carlsbad, then I can do the San Diego triple crown next year. The triple crown is Carlsbad, the La Jolla Half Marathon and the America's Finest City Half Marathon.
  • Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge - This is Disney World Marathon weekend. The Goofy is a half marathon on Saturday (the Donald), followed by a full marathon on Sunday (the Mickey). You put the Donald and the Mickey together and you've got the Goofy.
Here's the rub - Carlsbad and the Goofy are only a week apart. I can't do both.

I actually have this crazy idea for a make-my-own-Goofy for this October. I have an itch to do two events that are very close together. I'll have to think about my options there.