Saturday, August 23, 2008

Oh Baby!

My newly arrived niece.

A big, healthy baby girl - 7 pounds 6 ounces, 20 1/2 inches.

Welcome to family little one.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

So Long Riverside Run

The Riverside Run Half Marathon has been "postponed". That'a a nice way of saying that the City of Riverside flaked out and the sponsor bailed.

That's one more race I won't be running.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Time to Chill

I've decided to skip the Big Bear Half Marathon.

The reasons are multifactorial. My parents are going to be visiting me. Steve decided that he's focusing on his bike riding and he's not training for walk/run events. It's a lot of driving and hassle and expense for half marathon . I'd have to rush into and out of Big Bear so quickly that it would be stressful Mostly, I'm skipping this one because it's starting to feel like a chore. I don't need to collect every single Southern California half marathon medal this year. I'm giving myself permission to skip it.

It's supposed to be fun.

In other news - anyone want to do the inaugural Disney Princess Half Marathon with me next March? I bet the medal is going to be fantastic.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Good Day and Two Medals For Me

Ran America's Finest City Half Marathon today; the final race of the Half Marathon Triple Crown. It was a beautiful course starting at the most Southwestern point in the continental United States, the Cabrillo National Monument. I'd been there before, but it always impresses me. The views across the bay to San Diego and to Mexico are postcard perfect.

The race didn't start until 7 a.m. and there was no marine layer to keep things cool. It was hot out there. The race started at 7, but we had to be a Balboa Park to catch the bus to Cabrillo a 5 a.m. Cabrillo is part of that National Parks Service and there simply isn't room for 8,000 people and their cars. Every single runner must take a bus from Balboa Park. That said, I really wish that they'd start this race at 6 am and have us get to the buses at 4. I hate the early morning, but I hate running in the heat more.

The first two miles are a gentle uphill that's followed by 2 perfect miles of downhill running through the Point Loma neighborhoods. Oh, I lurve me some downhill. This was the only part of the course that I had never run before and it was lovely. Tons of families and kids were out to cheer on the runners. I love that. It makes running so much fun.

Then it was on to the familiar territory of Harbor Island, the Embarcadero, downtown San Diego and the (dreaded) 6th Ave. hill. Amusingly, 6th Ave was nothing. All those Monday nights running up and down that hill and it was just nothing on race day (even at mile 12 of the run).

At the end of the race I got my America's Finest City Half Marathon Finisher's Medal. It is a lovely medal. A nice medal is normally is very pleasing to me. However, I what really wanted my Triple Crown finisher medal. This was race three; I did them all. Give Me My Medal. I had to walk another mile to get it and I was ridiculously stressed out about it. Joanne and I finally found the tent for Triple Crown Finishers. The volunteer gave me the medal and asked me if it was worth it. I knew the answer - after months of work starting in January at the Carlsbad Half Marathon, to the steamy, pukefest that was the La Jolla Half, through the training doldrums of the summer getting ready for today - yes.

Yes, it was totally, completely and absolutely worth it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Do You Believe In Miracles?

The Olympics have been awesome so far. With all the huge spectacle, I'm absolutely charmed by this photo of children in the outskirts of Beijing from I love the kid on the end who's stretching to make the rings connect.

Children of migrant workers from outlying provinces look at themselves in the mirror as they use their hands to form the Olympic Rings after watching the TV live broadcast of the Olympic Games opening ceremony at their quarters August 8, 2008 on the outskirts of Beijing. (Andrew Wong/Getty Images)
I can remember watching the Olympics as a kid and feeling this incredible feeling of hope and happiness. I hope that these kids feel that. Heaven knows being a migrant worker in China (or anywhere) can't be easy.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Look What I Made

It's a gigantic, yummy fig.

Well, I didn't make it so much as I picked it off the tree in my backyard. In fact, it's not even as though I planted the tree. The tree came with the house. My sole contribution to making this fig was waiting for it to ripen before I picked it.

Figs aren't fruits; they're flowers. Unlike fruits, figs will not ripen off the tree so you have to wait until they are perfectly ripe to pick them. I've been checking these figs for weeks. That's a lot of waiting considering I don't think I'd ever had a fresh fig before. Of course, I do love the fig newton so I was pretty sure the fresh fig would be good.

Patience pays off. Just look at how perfectly ripe it is. Delicious. Fresh figs from my yard. How awesome is that?

Apparently, the tree will yield two crops each year. One small early crop (this one) and a later, heavier sweeter crop in the fall. I'm not much of a gardener but I can tell you this. Figs take forever to ripen. Here are the figs of the future.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Rock & Roll Fantasy

For the last year, I've been mulling over doing the full Rock Star series of marathons in 2009. Elite Racing does a great job putting together the Rock N Roll Marathon series and the medals are fantastic.

I'd love to do it, but the it'll be a lot of solo travel. Steve isn't doing these events, because he'll be doing century rides next year. That's a bummer because each Roll N Roll event ends with a rock concert. It's a strange and cool array of artists - the B-52s, Seal, Gin Blossoms, Kool and the Gang. It'll be a lot less fun to do the events alone.

So I've been mulling it over...want to do them, but it's a big commitment in time and travel. When I picked up my race number last week in San Francisco, there was a promo table for all of the Rock N Roll events - with a coupon for 10 dollars off on the entry fee for Phoenix. Well sure, if there's a coupon I guess I'll do it.

Race Series for 2009

P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon & 1/2 Marathon
Phoenix, AZ - January 18

Surf City USA Marathon
Huntington Beach, CA - February 1 (Completes the California Dreamin' Triple Crown)

Country Music Marathon & 1/2 Marathon
Nashville, TN - April 25

Avenue of the Giants
Humboldt, CA - May 3

San Diego Rock N Roll Marathon
San Diego, CA - May 31

Rock N Roll Seattle

Seattle, WA - June 27

Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon Virginia Beach
Virginia Beach, VA - September 6

ING Philadelphia Distance Run
Philadelphia, PA - September 20

Rock 'n' Roll 1/2 Marathon San Jose

San Jose, CA - October 4

Rock 'n' Roll San Antonio Marathon & 1/2 Marathon

San Antonio, TX - November 15

Already a full schedule and I haven't even mentioned the New York Marathon and Nike Women's Marathon both of which I'll do if I get a lottery spot for the event. If I get a spot in New York, then I'll do Chicago too and knock out 2 of the World Marathon majors. Once you start training for a full marathon, you may as well crank through a few. I'd also love to do Big Sur, Napa-to-Sonoma and Palm Springs - just for the stunning scenery. Then there are the local events: Carlsbad, La Jolla, America's Finest City and IronGirl.

And well, there's the Lavaman Triathlon only 2 days before my birthday.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Race Notes: San Francisco Marathon

A good day, even if my overall pace wasn't as fast as I'd hoped.
  • I executed well against my plan until the final half mile or so. My plan was 7 minutes running followed by 1 minute recovery walking. On the most brutal hills, I planned to walk up the hill when needed and run on the decline. I was mostly okay with 7:1
  • The Hills Were Alive With The Sound of Complaining. On the last hill I had some cramping in my hip rotators. However, all the miles of hill work really paid out in this race.
  • I woke up with a knot in my left calf, started the race with a knot in my left calf, ran with a knot in my left calf, and then finished with a knot in my left calf. It never loosened up and it annoyed me all day.
  • Pre-race prep was suboptimal. On Saturday, I spent the day walking about 6-7 miles around Berkeley, then had Indian food for dinner. When will I learn to take it easy that day before a race?
  • I loved the race start - wave starts with all runners on the marathon course on the road by 6am. I shot out at 5:30 and it was heavenly to run in the cool air and see the sun rise.
  • I had a lllloooonnnnngggg bathroom stop at mile 7.5. Generally, I do not stop on a half marathon because I've got a camel-like bladder. I spent about 20 minutes waiting for a port-o-let. This is really the fault of course organizers. Six port-o-lets for 17,000 runners is not sufficient. This bathroom stop was jammed because it was the turnaround to go back across the Golden Gate Bridge. No runner had been able to stop for un besoin naturel for the last 2 miles going across the bridge and no one could stop for the next two miles returning across the bridge. That meant most runners needed to stop here, me included. Nothing to change in my race prep, but it did kill my pace by adding a minute and a half per mile.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

This Just In... San Francisco Is Hilly

I don't know why, but every time I looked at the elevation map for the San Francisco Marathon, I thought it didn't look too hilly. It looked more like low, rolling hills. Uh, no. There were some challenging climbs and the headwind was stiff at times, but overall a good effort.

Race report to follow.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Olympic Moment

My morning flight to San Francisco is full of soon-to-be Olympians on the way to Beijing. They're all traveling in their team USA gear and it is quite patriotic on this flight.

Update: It was the U.S.A. Women's Field Hockey team.