Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Cleaning off the Camera Phone

Making room on my camera phone memory card I found these snaps of Steve and I at the top of Mount SomethingOrAnother just outside of San Diego.

This was the climb where Steve noted my amusing lack of balance. It's true; I climb like a weeble - always wobbling back and forth but never actually falling.

The view of the desert -note that San Diego is recovering impressively from last year's wildfires.

Steve at the top of the climb.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Revised - The 2008 Race Calendar

For the last few months I've been revising the 2008 race calendar. I added on a bunch of races mostly in beautiful places. Last year, when I'd consider a race I thought - is it pretty there? Now I only ask, is it flat?

It struck me that I hadn't mentioned all of the changes when I realized I had another race this weekend. On Sunday, I'm doing the Avenue of the Giants Half Marathon up in the gorgeous California Redwoods. At least I hear it's gorgeous. This will be my first trip there. This is strictly a girls trip and it should be a very, very slow "race". We're planning to stop and take pictures along the path. At the start of last week's race I told Marcy that I just wanted to get through La Jolla, but I was looking forward to the Avenue.

For 2008, I ended up dropping the only short distance races I had on my calendar, because I needed the longer miles to train for La Jolla. I'm also dropping my century ride, Disneyland and Reykjavík. I'm really bummed about missing Disney.. Nike Women's Marathon lost my interest when they went to a lottery system. It is a nice race, but it wasn't worth the lottery hassle.

Anyway, here's the new calendar - 13 medals is the goal for 2008. That's one more than I originally planned to accomplish.

January 20 Carlsbad Half Marathon ✔ Complete
February 3 San Francisco Half Marathon ✔ Complete
February 10 San Dieguito Half Marathon ✔ Complete
April 6 Carlsbad 5000 Hill training for La Jolla
April 13 San Diego Mud Run 5K Hill training for La Jolla
April 27 La Jolla Half Marathon ✔ Complete
May 3 Avenue of the Giants Half Marathon ✔ Complete
May 18 Bay Bridge Run/Walk
June 1 America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride
I didn't like bike riding in traffic
June 22 IronGirl 10K
August 3 San Francisco Marathon I'm going to run on the Golden Gate Bridge. Whee!
August 17 America's Finest City Half Marathon
August 23 Reykjavík Marathon Not enough vacation time available. :(
August 31 Disneyland Half Marathon Family wedding
September 6 Big Bear Half Marathon Added this one because Steve likes Bear Shaped finishers medal
September 13
Heartbreak Ridge Half Marathon
September 28 Lake Tahoe Half Marathon Added just because it seems pretty.
October 12 Long Beach Half Marathon Added because it's a local event.
October 19 Nike Women's Marathon The Lottery was stoopid.
November 9 Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay Added because it's at Big friggin' Sur.
December 13 Rose Bowl Half Marathon

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Race Notes: La Jolla Half Marathon

Hot. It was so very hot. In fact, today was record setting heat. Bless Noel's heart. As we got out of the car this morning, she pointed off into the distance and said, "I think I see the marine layer!" It wasn't the cooling marine layer; it was heat squiggles. Some people do well in the heat. I am not one of them. If I was supposed be in direct sun and hot weather, then I wouldn't be so pale skinned. Given the choice of a full marathon in the cold or a half marathon in the heat, I'd take the cold every single time.

Here is the picture of the race for me using the brutal course elevation map.

La Jolla Elevation Chart

A: Feel great. I'm hot, but I'm fast - just banking minutes for when the heat kicks it up a notch and I have to slow.

B: This is where I stopped to heave on the side of the path along with a lot of other runners in the middle of "The Hill". Before I got unwell, I knew it was going to happen. For a few minutes, I had black spots swimming in front of my eyes and my stomach was churning. Honestly, I couldn't wait to get sick so I'd feel better. It didn't work. Afterwards, I still felt puny.

C: What I'll call the "shocker vomit." I felt sick and got sick within seconds. No warning. I was sure I wouldn't finish at this point. Luckily I was close to the side of the road. About a minute later someone showered the runners with a garden hose. I love this person with my whole heart.

Someone who I won't name, but her initials are Lynne, met me here with ice cold beer. There is a place in Heaven for her, I'm sure. Normally, I'd pass on beer on the course. However, I was already sick and the beer was cold and wet. Plus, my stomach was completely empty. I've never enjoyed a beer more.

Steve and one of the cycle mentors rode up on his bike to check on me. I was in the full-on Bite-Me mode. Bite-Me mode is awful and it happens to everyone eventually. Steve has done enough endurance events to recognize the Bite-Me's. He checked on me, cheered me on for a minute and then rode away on his bike.

F: Stomach stabilizes. Damn if that beer didn't help! I started to feel good and strong. This is when I knew I'd finish. There is a special spot in Heaven for the people along the course who hosed down participants. I don't think I could have made it without a relief from the heat.

Flying. I'm flying. Here I start to be me again, cheering on other runners and walkers. I start having fun.

Princess St. hill - why? Why another hill? Why?

Go, go, go! Passing on your left. I'm sure a few people wanted to slap me when I passed them and I'm not talking about giving me a high five.

I'm sunburned and blistered, but I came home with this.

After the race we hung out in the shade of the post race beer garden. Traffic made it impossible to get out of La Jolla Cove and we decided to simply hang out there instead of getting in the car. We finally headed out after about hour. On our way out of La Jolla, we saw (what I hope) were the last few finishers turning onto the last mile. We cheered for them, but they were in the throes of complete Bite-Me. I doubt that they heard us.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Race In Peace

This morning there was a shark attack off the coast of Solana Beach. Fatal attacks in Southern California are very, very rare. The last confirmed one in San Diego county was in the 1950's. Any attack is such an incredibly, incredibly sad thing.

The man was training for a triathlon. Solana Beach is a strip of the shoreline where I train frequently. As soon as I heard, I did what most endurance athletes in Southern California did - I checked to see if I knew him. In a way, we all did know him. We knew his love for training and for competing. We knew his drive to find his personal best.

Race on brother.

Bend to My Will!

Why won't the weather cooperate with me? I need to have Sunday be a cold, cold day. Everyone is faster when the weather is chilly.

The forecast?
San Diego, Sunday April 27, 2008


85° F | 58° F
Average High Temperature: 69° F
Record High Temperature: 86
° F

Yep, that 1 meager degree off the record high temp. Please, let there be wind.

Oh - and I just think this is so cool - there are always two cyclists who lead the pack of runners. The cyclists show the path of the course so that the lead runners don't get lost. Trust me, the pack would simply follow the leaders. It would be Moses in the desert out there. Any way, Steve is going to be one of the two cyclists this year. We may be the first couple in La Jolla Half Marathon history to have both the first and last finisher.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Didn't You Used to Have a Blog?

Uh, yeah. It's been a hectic two weeks with lots of time on the road. When I say "on the road" I don't mean lots of time running/walking. I mean a lot of business travel. The high point was a very quick trip back to Dallas. There are few things more comforting than seeing old friends. Oh, and having fabulous Texas BBQ beef ribs, good Mexican food and Shiner Bock beer.

For the last week, I've been back in San Diego and trying to get my house in order. There are a ton of things that I've been meaning to get accomplished, but just haven't had the opportunity and inclination. All of these are jobs with what I call a high "And Then I'll" factor. The "And Then I'll" factor is how many steps it'll take to reach the end of the job. For me jobs with an "And Then I'll" of less than three will be accomplished in a week or two. An "And Then I'll" of four to six will be accomplished within a few months at most. An "And Then I'll" of more than six is the kiss of death. Unless I'm under extreme pressure, I won't even begin of job that many steps.

Steve went out of town last weekend which gave me a perfect opportunity to get on some home spiffying. I dropped him at the airport at 6 a.m. and headed straight to Home Depot. Since last Friday I've:
Painted the Kitchen
"And Then I'll" factor: 15
  • Scraped the remaining paint off the kitchen walls and ceiling.
  • Scrubbed all surfaces to be painted with TSP.
  • Spackled and sanded the walls. (2)
  • Completed the finish carpentry on the microwave installation.
  • Primed and painted the laundry room/kitchen ceiling. (2)
  • Primed and painted the laundry room/kitchen. Oh, for this I used tinted primer since I was shooting for a soft buttercup yellow and yellow is an impossible color to get to cover nicely. I will never use white primer again. Tinted primer is where it's at! (2)
  • Primed and painted remaining cabinet in the kitchen. (2)
  • Bonus "And Then I'll" - Decided that I could not stand the blue bathroom cabinet a moment longer. Since I had out the primer and paint anyway decided to make it white. Sanded, TSP'ed, primed and painted that cabinet white. This will get one more coat of enamel tomorrow. Technically this is not finished. (4)
Refinished the dining room table
"And Then I'll" factor: 8
  • Stripped off the old finish with a chemical stripper.
  • Sanded and sanded and sanded.
  • Stained.
  • Polyurethaned. Buff sanded. (2)
  • Polyurethaned. Buff sanded. Again. (2)
  • Decided that I hated the satin finish.
  • Polyurethaned again, but used semi-gloss this time.
Spruced up the light switch and outlet covers
"And Then I'll" factor: 5
  • Hunted in the garage for the covers I bought a year ago. Found the light switch covers, but never located the outlet covers. Ran to Home Depot for new covers.
  • Removed old covers. Which should have taken 2 seconds but the last electrician had put some sort of caulk around them. There was some work to get them off without damaging the walls. (2)
  • Used wood putty to repair the the beadboard paneling around the dining room outlets.
  • Replaced the cheapie plastic light switch and outlet covers with much nicer ones.
Finished jobs started ages ago
"And Then I'll" factor: 2
  • FINALLY touched up the mess I'd made of the dining room ceiling. When I painted the dining room, the job ran long and I had to finish the work in the shadowy afternoon light. It looked like I'd painted it in candlelight. It was a mess. Taped off and painted. (2)
Kicked off new jobs
"And Then I'll" factor: Unknown
  • Ordered new light fixtures for the kitchen and hallway. Ordered ceiling fans for the bedrooms.
  • Met with the landscape architect about what to do with my yard/valley of death.
Those are just the bigger jobs. I'm not telling you about all the prep work - taping off rooms to paint, cleaning up brushes and trips to Lowe's, Ace Hardware and Home Depot. There is still a ton to do - fix my mail box, paint the bedrooms, call the contractor about some work I can't do myself. So much progress, and yet not enough to be complete.

I took a break from all this home repair to do a quick 8 miles - including the worse of the Torrey Pines hills. The La Jolla Half Marathon is this weekend. I'm not sure I'm fast enough to get a medal, but I'm ready to give it a try.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

That Was Fun, See You in a Month

Today was one of the rare Sunday's where we could do nothing all morning. It was a very nice sleep in/watch a movie/go to breakfast morning. Then I realized that the next possible opportunity to have a do nothing day will be May 11th. Between travel, training, and 2 half marathons we are committed every weekend morning for the next 4 weeks.

Friday, April 11, 2008


They aren't all fun. Yesterday's workout was 6 miles with aching shins. Slow a slug too.

Monday, April 07, 2008

On My Way

Oh, what a craptastic morning this has been. The entire trip the airport has been a comedy of errors.

I just found my seat on my first plane. In a matter of hours I will be drinking a Sonic Diet Cherry Limeade Made With Real Limes and Diet Cherry Syrup with Extra Cherries. Oh, and I'll have dinner with some of my most favorite people in the world.

All is right with my world.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Training Notes

Planned mileage was 10-11 miles and I ended up doing closer to 12 because I missed the turn onto Neptune Street in Encinitas. This is amusing because the course is incredibly narrow going North to South - Highway 101 is about 2 blocks to the East, and nothing smaller than the Pacific Ocean is the West boundary. Still I managed to get wayward and add a mile. That puts me over my training plan which is always a worry this close to the event.

I'm still trying to get faster - I'm so close to the goal, but narrowly missing it. I tried to mix up my faster jog and walk pace to see if I could increase my overall mile pace by a few seconds per mile. It worked in general but I got tired and lost time in the back miles. Between the extra running and the extra miles, I was a little worried that I'd be very sore today. Luckily, I feel great. I did skip the Carlsbad 5000 this morning though. That much extra running seemed like courting injury.

A few observations and things I need to change -
  • It's far, far easier to jog at a 11 minute pace than it is to walk at a 13:30 minute pace. Of course, jogging is harder on my knees so I need to limit that.
  • My beloved Saucony sneakers have come to the end of their usable life. After 1 marathon, 5 half marathons and all the training in between they simply are finished as running shoes. Goodbye old friends, hello Zappos.
  • I drank a lot more than usual. I guzzled an entire 24 oz bottle of hydration mix in under 7 miles. I'm always a big drinker on the course, but that's a lot even for me. It was a cool, breezy day and I shouldn't have needed that much hydration. It must have been the running.
  • My old fuel belt is unacceptable for faster running. The big single bottle keeps hitting me in the back. I need use multiple bottle belt. Of course since I'm drinking tons, I'm worried that it won't hold enough hydration fluid. Also, learning to use a new type of belt takes a bit of practice so that I can drink quickly without losing a few seconds with fumbling to grab or reattach the bottles. It sounds trivial but if I lose 5 seconds every time I take a drink that could easily add a few minutes to my time. This is another little complexity to add before a time pinched race. This is the fourth fuel belt that I've tried since I started training 15 months ago. I just can't seem to find the perfect belt.
  • I need to reconfigure my Garmin - the front panel needs to have: current pace, current mile pace, race pace and total distance. Luxury information such as elevation/grade and time of day are out - it's all about pace now.
  • When I run more my nutrition becomes problematic. In the past, I had about a 10 minute window from the time I noticed that I needed a Power Gel to the time I bonked. Yesterday, I bonked in about 10 seconds. In the past, I could easily go to about 10-11 miles without fear of the bonk. Yesterday, I crashed out at just under 10 miles. I'm going to need to rework my hydration/nutrition plan. This may have something to do with the fact that I'm eating a lot less carbs in my overall diet.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

La Jolla - The Prep Work Continues

I'm starting to get a little worried about not completing the La Jolla Half Marathon within the required time frame for a medal. It's a hilly course and I haven't been training hard enough particularly on hills. Since this is the second race of the triple crown if I can't make it within the time frame, I'll be tanking on both the La Jolla medal and the Triple medal. That would be sucky.

The obstacle is that I have two more weeks of travel before the race. That always throws a wrench into my training schedule.

Really, I know that I can't get any stronger in the next 25 days. Also, I know I'm more than strong enough to complete the event. I'm worried that I may miss the finish time by a few minutes.