Monday, November 30, 2009

Sofa Time

We spent an outstanding amount of time on the couch this weekend.  Steve and I rarely have that luxury.  One of us is always traveling, working, racing, training, fundraising, mentoring or volunteering.  There's precious little time to hang out and relax.  It wears on both of us; Steve tends to get little colds and I just get grumpy.

This weekend it rained a bit on Friday and it was windy on Saturday; therefore, neither one of trained.  Yes, I know.  I'm a delicate flower who won't train unless the weather is perfect.  Whatever, it was time on the couch.

The couch has become the couch of controversy.  We're trying to figure out who's furniture to keep since Steve is letting go of his place and moving into our house. (Did you notice how I slipped that in there all subtle-like?)  We're in the midst of trying to decide how to put our two households into one little bungalow.

Unrelated - the photo is some flowers that are on the dining room table.  Have you ever seen roses a more spectacular color?

Hot 100 Week 8 - Talking Turkey Edition

It's weekly check-in time with South Beach Steve's Hot 100.

Weekly Goals



No wheat or potatoes Sunday – Thursday.

Done. Luckily Thursday was Thanksgiving.  Then it all fell apart.

Hill or Interval training every week.


Each week do 2 sessions each of Upper Body and Core.


Year End Goals


Prepare to run a personal best at either the San Antonio or Las Vegas Half Marathon.

Ready or not...the race is Sunday.

Lose 15 lbs (bumped up from 10)

Gained .2 pounds. That's point two.  That's nothing in the grand scheme of things and yet I let it completely frustrate and derail me. I was a chowin' down machine through Sunday. It was plain bad luck that I got off course on a four day Thanksgiving weekend.

Ah well.  Back to giving it 100% effort.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Return of the Pie Snatchers

I went to Costco twice the day before Thanksgiving.  On its best day, Costco isn't the place to see a live enactment of peace on Earth and goodwill toward all men.  Have you seen the pushing to get that last sample of beef jerky?  Costco is Thunderdome.

At 3 o'clock Steve called and said we should bring pumpkin pie for the dinner we're attending.  Normally I'd bake my own pies, but we needed pie ASAP. During my morning trip to Costco they had pallets full o' pie.  By the 3 pm there was no pie, but an amazingly long line of people waiting for pies.  I actually took a bunch of photos because I thought it was so funny.

That's when it all started going to H-E-double-hockey sticks.  People started to try cutting into line by sneaking through other aisles.  If you want to get a Costco crowd violent, try budding in the pie line.  I finally had to say that I had photos and I could verify who had been in line and who had not.  That ended that skirmish.

The guy in front of me said he was going to buy all the pies and resell them at a profit. Seriously.  I'm in line behind a dude who's business plan is forming a pie monopoly and becoming Opie the Pumpkin Lord.  That was solved when a Costco employee said there was a two pie limit.  There would be not Pie DeBeers.

I finally got my two pies, plopped them in my cart and started the grindingly slow salmon-upstream trek toward the checkout line.  Why, oh why are they sampling hot soup today?  That takes people forever to sample and I'll never get out of this store.

While I was waiting for a clear path, I saw a lady try to take a pie from someone else's cart.  (Hey, if you abandon your cart mid-aisle to get a sample, this is going to happen.)  That's what we're reduced to...pie snatching.  I used an empty fabric softener box to build a Pie Defender.  That way no one could distract me and steal my pies.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hot 100 Week 8 - Slow Roasted Edition

It's weekly check-in time with South Beach Steve's Hot 100.  This wasn't my best week, but I was in a sort of recovery week from the San Antonio race.  I was more mentally fatigued than physically burned out.  I skipped my Thursday night swim just because I didn't feel up to doing it.

Weekly Goals


No wheat or potatoes Sunday – Thursday.


Hill or Interval training every week.

Nope.  I really need to get serious about hill running.

Each week do 2 sessions each of Upper Body and Core.

I was sort of off my game here.  Workouts were definitely lower intensity.

Year End Goals


Prepare to run a personal best at either the San Antonio or Las Vegas Half Marathon.

Had a nice run on Saturday.  I'm ready for Las Vegas.

Lose 15 lbs (bumped up from 10)

Another pound gone.  Total loss - 9.6.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Best Parenthetical Comment Ever

(dietitians have now proven, in laboratory experiments, that high-fructose corn syrup is the the sweat of Satan).

Martha Beck, PhD

Thursday, November 19, 2009

2010 Race Calendar

My tentative race calendar for 2010.  I probably won't do the South Dakota race, but I really want to run there so it's on the list for now.  Even with South Dakota, I'm planning fewer races than 2009.  Plus, these are mostly within driving distance.  Steve will be happy to see there's no two week San Diego to Nashville to Oregon to Northern California trips planned.  As a bonus, two trips will allow me to visit my family in Pennsylvania which I completely missed doing in 2009. 

SoCal Half Marathon
January 9, Irvine, California

Rock N Roll Mardi Gras Half Marathon
February 28, New Orleans, Louisiana

Solvang Century *Steve's Event*
March 13, Solvang, California

Rock N Roll Dallas Half Marathon
March 14, Dallas, Texas

Lehigh Valley Half Marathon
April 25, Allentown, Pennsylvania

Santa Barbara Wine Country Half
May 8, Santa Barbara, California

Rock N Roll San Diego
June 6, San Diego, California

Tour of the California Alps - Death Ride *Steve's Event*
July 8, Alpine, California

Wine Country Half Marathon
July 19, Napa to Sonoma, California

Cool Breeze Century *Steve's Event*
August 21, Ventura, California

Rock N Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon
September 19, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Rock N Roll San Jose Half Marathon
October 3, San Jose, California

Rock N Roll Denver Half Marathon
October 17, Denver, Colorado

Rock N Roll Los Angeles
October 24, Los Angeles 

El Tour de Tucson *Steve's Event*
November 20, Tucson, AZ

Rock N Roll Las Vegas
December 5, Las Vegas, Nevada

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hot 100 - Week 7 Chili Pepper Edition

Better late than never for the weekly check-in with South Beach Steve's Hot 100.

Weekly Goals


No wheat or potatoes Sunday – Thursday.

Not perfect, but overall my eating was clean.

Hill or Interval training every week.


Each week do 2 sessions each of Upper Body and Core.


Year End Goals


Prepare to run a personal best at either the San Antonio or Las Vegas Half Marathon.

Well...I ran San Antonio.  It wasn't a great run for me, but I'm okay with it.

Lose 15 lbs (bumped up from 10)

Woo Hoo.  Dropped 1.8 leebees. 

Sunday, November 15, 2009

My Most Embarassing Race

Race Notes: Rock N Roll San Antonio Half Marathon

My calves were sore the day before the race. When that happens, I use Sportscreme or Aspercreme or Flexall the morning of the run. Brand doesn't matter to me as long as it doesn't smell. The store didn't have any brands that I'd used before, but they had Capzasin. It was odorless and came in a roll-on. Fine.

What I didn't know is that Capzasin is made of the stuff that makes chili peppers hot and makes pepper spray burn. I was fine before the race. Then I started running and sweating and the Capzasin started burning. By mile 2, it was scorching. I looked at my calves because I was sure they'd be bleeding; they hurt that badly. No blood, but I had raised welts where the roll-on went over my skin.

I stopped at the first medical assistance team. I sat on the bumper of the ambulance and put my water bottle and race pack down. They looked at my calves and started to rinse them with a bag of saline solution - that's salt water. Ouch. Then people started running up saying that someone was having a seizure on the course. The EMTs grabbed the gurney and bolted off. A few minutes later, they were back and yelling about full cardiac arrest. Two runners who were doctors or nurses had started doing CPR on the course. They tossed the guy in the wagon and sped off to the hospital.

Said a prayer for the guy and went back to running. I spent the next 3/4 mile alternating between praying and trying to block the memory of the guy on the gurney. I went to take a sip of my water and realized that my bottle and race pack were gone. They were in the ambulance when it sped off. My race pack had my credit card and my ID that I need to get on my flight home.

I turned around and ran back, hoping they had tossed the stuff out when they put the guy in the ambulance. I was asking if anyone had seen my stuff and a very nice young woman offered to drive to the hospital and find the EMTs and get it. I don't know how she did it, but she managed to weave through the marathon's closed streets, get to the hospital, find the EMTs, convince them to give her my pack and drive back to the same spot to return my race pack to me. Bless you! I don't know your name, but you are the most awesome of awesome people. I hope the whole world treats you as kindly as you treated me.

This whole adventure took well over an hour and I still had searing, burning calves. I might have given up, but this is race 6 of a 7 race series. I've been running this series since January - literally hundreds training miles and airplane miles. At this point, I will complete this series no matter what the pain or problem. Burning skin or not, I'm finishing this race.

When I passed the timing clock at Mile 3 it said 1 hour 47 minutes. Depressing. By mile 5, I was nearly in tears because every time the hem of my running capri touched my calf it was searing hot. At every water station I'd pour water on my calves, but it was making it worse.

Ding! Idea!

I remembered that water doesn't quench chili pepper, but there is something in sour cream that neutralizes the hot in chili peppers.* That's why they serve sour cream at Mexican restaurants. I bolted into the next quickmart, bought at 32oz. Diet Dr. Pepper (don't judge me!) and a tub of sour cream. I slathered sour cream all over my calves. It didn't work immediately, but within a mile the heat wasn't tear inducing. Within 2 miles I was okay.

Chili peppers, sour might as well serve me with a side of refried beans. I'm a running burrito.

But I'm a running burrito who finished that race.

*Milk has the protein casein which cools the capsaicin.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Cell Phone Camera - Deep in the The Heart Edition

This weekend I'm in San Antonio getting ready for tomorrow's race.

I had almost forgotten how much I love Texas. I'm very happy living in Southern California and never want to move but Texas will always have a very special place deep in my heart. Texas was the first place I ever really lived on my own without college or grad school to parent me. When I stepped off the plane yesterday I got was so good to be safely home.

Upon arrival, job 1 was to get myself an ice cold Shiner Bock beer. Upcoming race be damned. I need a Shiner! Just like Guinness tastes better in Ireland, Shiner is better in Texas.

Today I spent most of day reading my book in the garden at the Alamo. To get ready for the trip, I've been reading Three Roads to the Alamo. Sitting there, in The Cradle of Texas Liberty, reading the story of the siege was heartbreaking. (Though that Jim Bowie was a horrible scoundrel.)

I had dinner on the Riverwalk and enjoyed meandering back to the hotel. On the way, I stopped in a convenience store to get buy gum for the race tomorrow. Steve and I collect Christmas tree ornaments from our travels and I spotted a display. What the hey, sometimes I find nice ornaments in odd places. In the center of the display I spotted this one. Because what says Merry Christmas like a gun and "We don't dial 911".

Monday, November 09, 2009

Share the Road

Sometimes you scratch your head and wonder what people are possibly thinking.

Dr. Christopher Thompson had pretty nice life going: head of emergency services for Beverly Hospital, owned a medical record company, had a nice house on a California canyon down the road from the Governator. Nice life. He also had a nasty habit of harassing cyclists who rode in the canyon by his home. He graduated from yelling and cursing to stopping short in front of cyclists by slamming the on the brakes of his luxury car.

He probably would have gotten away with that behavior except last summer he stopped short in front of two guys who were unable to avoid him. One suffered a separated shoulder; he got off easy. The other slammed into the rear windshield suffering shattered teeth, broken bones and lacerations that left his face permanently scarred. Dr. Thompson told the officer who came to investigate that crash that he did it "to teach them a lesson."

Last week, Dr. Thompson was found guilty of 6 felonies and a misdemeanor. He was found guilty in part because other cyclists testified that he had done his brake slam maneuver previously. Which is horribly sad, because as an ER doctor he had to know how vulnerable a cyclist is.

I've been thinking about this case a lot in part because Steve and so many of our friends are cyclists. Over the past for years, I've seen plenty of drivers act like jerks to runners and riders. Every time I wonder what makes someone mentally unstable enough to think that his car is an acceptable weapon.

For Dr. Thompson, he's in custody awaiting sentencing. It could be up to 10 years, but it's certainly likely to be much less. He'll almost definitely lose his medical license. Hopefully, the two men he injured will prevail in some civil litigation also. Seems like an awful lot to lose simply because one sunny afternoon Dr. Thompson decided he was entitled to the entire road.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Hot 100 - Week 6, Getting Warmer Edition

It's Friday. That means it's time for the weekly check-in with South Beach Steve's Hot 100.

Weekly Goals


No wheat or potatoes Sunday – Thursday.

Good, but not perfect (and that's okay).

Hill or Interval training every week.

I've been trying to incorporate more interval sprints into my swim workouts.

Each week do 2 sessions each of Upper Body and Core.

Cranked it on the upper body work, a little less so on core. Could use one really nasty Pilates session on Sunday.

Year End Goals


Prepare to run a personal best at either the San Antonio or Las Vegas Half Marathon.

My Monday morning run was a complete bust. I think it was the sugar nasties from Halloween combined with a hot, cloudless day. Spent the whole "run" fighting nausea and walked a lot. I'm going to do a long run on Saturday instead of having a back down week before the race.

Lose 15 lbs (bumped up from 10)

Slow and steady, but not this friggin' slow. Down .2 pounds.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Citizen-By-Choice Marathon Winner

In case you missed it, last weekend was the New York Marathon. I love that marathon and dream of running it one day. When I was growing up in Pennsylvania, we got the New York television station. This was BC - Before Cable. It was a "get off the couch and turn the TV dial to pick one of 10 channels" world. Most years, I'd see the marathon on TV and I'd think, "those people are crazy, but I sure want to do that".

This year the men's race was won by the USA's, Meb Keflezighi. That's the first win for the US in nearly 3 decades. He ran a blistering 2:09:15. That's faster than I run a half marathon.

Of course, he's not enough red, white and blue for boneheads like Darren Rovell at CNBC. Rovell's problem with Keflezighi is that his family immigrated to the US when he was 12. His family left Eritrea, a small country in Africa, because army troops from neighboring Ethiopia would kidnap teenage boys a force them to fight in their guerrilla war. (Gee, my parents worried about me falling off the swing set at the park.) Keflezighi's father walked 600 miles to Sudan to make immigration possible for his family.

By all accounts, the Keflezighi family have worked hard to succeed once they got to the United States. Meb went to San Diego High School then on to UCLA where two of his sisters went also - one to med school and the other to law school. And in 1998, he took his test and swore his oath and became a US citizen. End of story.

Looking at the article, I find Rovells original article insulting and stupid; his follow up apology is even worse. Here is what he said, "Nothing against Keflezighi, but he's like a ringer who you hire to work a couple hours at your office so that you can win the executive softball league." No, Meb Keflezighi's like any of the hard working citizen-by-choice immigrants who got to this country and worked to be successful.

The photo is the one used by CNBC for the story. Oh, the irony - it burns. Photo credit Don Emmert, Getty Images.
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