Saturday, May 22, 2010

Seen While Running - In the Navy

San Diego is such a beautiful, interesting place that every run is filled with things to see.  Part of the reason I enjoy running alone is that there's no conversation to distract me from my people watching.   

Today I needed to crank out 11 miles and I didn't have a run mapped.  I decided to do a big loop around the Big Bay and actually ran 14 miles. It's a flat, scenic route: downtown San Diego, the USS Midway, the Embarcadero, Seaport Village, the Tall Ship Star of India and a loop around Shelter Island. 

You always see a bunch of Navy ships in the Big Bay.   As I started the Shelter Island loop, I saw a giant Navy boat headed out to sea.  The sailors were "Manning the Rails" which means all the crew are standing around the edge of the boat.   I've heard they man the rails when they enter port, but I'd never seen it.  The San Diego bay only has one opening to the Pacific and the boat was definitely leaving.

It was very, very sweet.  Retired Navy guys who were sitting around fishing would get out of their lawn chairs as the boat passed by them.  People were looking at the boat with binoculars...maybe trying to get one last glimpse of their loved one headed far away.

Run Notes:  It was windy and chilly for the first part of the run and I completely forgot to drink for the first 4 miles.  Stupid! My hydration never really got caught up even though I was chugging fluids.  I ran out completely and had to stop at Point Loma Seafood and get a refill of water.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Race Notes: IronGirl 10K

I love the IronGirl race series.  I love that it's a race for women and girls.  It's not that I want to see men excluded, but there just aren't enough activities that encourage young girls to run and play.   In a world that constantly tells women to be thinner it's great to see a race that encourages young women to be more healthy and fit.

Plus, IronGirl has the best swag. This year they gave way: insulated lunch bags, nice technical shirts, shopper bags, full size bath products, nutrition bars, stuffed animals.  I wasn't even trying to collect freebies; they were pretty much chasing you down to give you stuff.  There's a catered post race breakfast.  And of course, there were finishers medals.  You know that I'm all about the finisher's medal - I run for the bling.

It's with a heavy heart I have to say anything bad about this race.  However, the course was really rotten this year.  The race was in Del Mar and Solana Beach, two lovely coastal towns slightly north of San Diego.  The race started at the Del Mar thoroughbred race track which is about 500 yards from the Pacific Ocean. This is an overview of the 6 mile/10K course:
Mile 1:  Loop around the parking lot.
Mile 2, 3:  Loop on the streets on the perimeter of the parking lot
Mile 4: Highway 101
Mile 4.5, 5, 6: Perimeter of the parking lot and redux of the first parking lot loop.

So yes, the race was well less than a mile from the beautiful Pacific Ocean and we spent 90% of the race running around the parking lot. A race that went along the coast and I never saw the ocean or sand or a surfer dude in his sexy wetsuit.  That's craziness!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Feet at the Happy Buddha

Sometimes I get caught by an idea that will not let me loose.  This week I decided that I should go for a foot reflexology  treatment.  I've never been for reflexology and know nothing about it, but the idea would not be denied.   Of course, I didn't want to go alone; therefore, I decided that Steve also needed foot reflexology.  Steve's a good sport and he agreed to join me in a visit to the Happy Buddha Reflexology Spa
We didn't know what to expect. We got there and the place was dimly lit and absolutely quiet except for some soft music.  Occasionally, you'd almost hear someone whisper but most they just mouthed the words.  The room had six super big lounge chairs that sort of resemble Craftmatic Adjustable Beds.  As we sat down, we were served some lovely tea and the reflexologist reclined the chairs for us and gently put our feet in hot water scented with Chinese herbs.  Ahhh.

What happened next was a take no prisoners attack on any possible muscle tension or knot.  I'm not sure how these guys train to be reflexologists, but I'm pretty sure they can squeeze coal into diamonds with their bare hands.  You wouldn't believe their hand strength.  While my feet soaked the therapist worked on my head, neck, shoulders and arms.  No gentle soothing strokes, this is serious drilling into tense spots.  I had no idea there was so much tension in my forearms and triceps.  It was Heaven.

After about 20 minutes the therapist moved on to my feet.  Wow.  Running creates a lot of tense tendons and ligaments in your feet.  When I had plantar fasciitis, I was supposed to roll my foot on a golf ball to break up the scar tissue.  That golf ball had nothing on this.  Any remaining scar tissue probably dissolved out of pure fear.   I wouldn't call it relaxing and sometimes it hurt a bit, but wow my feet felt great.  The hour wrapped up with some work on my shins (ouch! good!), calves and thighs.

All this for the low, low price of thirty bucks which is an unbeatable value for a full hour.  If you're someone who likes a very, very firm massage or you have tense muscles and tootsies or you just like to try new stuff, then I highly recommend you give foot reflexology a try.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

I'm With Lynsey

Today was Lynsey's first ever 5k.  Syl organized a bunch of bloggers to run with her.  Of course, we're geographically spread out, so our run "together" took place thousands of miles apart.

For me this was the IronGirl 10K. Check out my race bib, 'cause I'm with Lynsey!

By the way Lynsey, if you want the duck and some race swag to commemorate our group run, email me your address.  I'll send it to you..

Friday, May 07, 2010

Race Notes: Lehigh Valley Half Marathon

It had been years since I've been back to the Pennsylvania in the Springtime.  I'd forgotten how amazing it is when everything blooms at once. Winter is replaced by bright green leaves, fluffy pink cherry blossoms,  white dogwood trees and azalea bushes that look like giant pom poms of hot pink, coral and purple.  I love living in Southern California and I loved Texas, but it's hard to beat Pennsylvania in the spring.

After a few spectacular days which were warm and sunny, race day was cold, gray and rainy.  Not fair, but that's how it goes.  Right before I left for the race, my mom suggested that I swap out my tank top for a long sleeved shirt.  Mom knows best. I was really happy that I wore the warmer shirt because it was cold on the race course.

More and more, I'm loving these smaller races.  This one was only 4,000 people and it was wonderful.  We started from my high school gym - oye, the Clearasil scented nostalgia.  The race looped around the city parks and through a 150 year old covered bridge.  The race finished on the track of the stadium where I'd done more wind sprints than I care to remember..

Mostly, I had a good race.  Part of the course was on crushed gravel which was soft and cushy, but kept filling up my sneakers. I had to empty my shoes three times.  What do other people do to keep their shoes from filling with rocks?  I must learn this secret.  My other little mishap happened at mile 6. I passed a Team in Training runner limping along with an aching IT band.  I told her I'd run ahead and send back a coach to help her.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find a coach which is odd since I normally see our coaches every few steps on the course.  Eventually, I found a way to cut across the course and loop back around to were I remembered seeing a coach.  Of course, this whole adventure added about a mile to the run.   However, I did get to run twice through the covered bridge, so I guess we'll call that a bonus.

Since I'd run a little farther than I'd planned, I nearly missed seeing my parents on the course.  My mom and dad were waiting for me at course mile 12 (or Christine mile 13).  I was trotted along and finally heard my dad call me. I was already a bit past them, but got to stop and say hi after the course looped around for the final stretch.  It's always awesome to see a friendly face on the course - especially on a cold, wet, longer-than-I-planned run.

Overall, this was one of the nicest races - lovely setting, great volunteers, yummy post race goodies, bands along course, a gorgeous finisher's medal and a polar fleece jacket instead of the usual race tee shirt.

Lehigh Valley Half Marathon, I'll definitely see you next Spring.