31 July 2011

Obliviously Spectating at the 2011 San Francisco Marathon


This photo taken at about Mile 6 sums up my spectating experience at today's San Francisco Marathon...

A big blur with me whooping and hollering obliviously at runners I may or may not know :P

You can't see from the picture that I am screaming "GO, RUNNERS!" as loudly as I can as I drive across the Golden Gate Bridge on my way to cheer on a couple of my Nuun Platuunmates (Cap'n Cupcake was doing the full marathon and Sargeant Style took on the half) and a few other running bloggers I follow (like Aron).

I had a plan... drive the truck with my bike in the back, park sort of centrally, bike to a few good vantage points, and cheer on and photograph my blogbuds in a couple of locations.

Initially, I had hoped to do my first rah-rahing at the approach to the Golden Gate (roughly Mile 5), but of course the parking lot was closed and of course I had not gotten up early enough to allow for that, so I ventured up to the Avenues at around Mile 11... my husband, who is much more familiar with The City than I am, had suggested this as a good place to park the mondo truck.

After picking my spot, I realized that the course was a split route at that point, with some of the runners coming up 27th Avenue and some up 26th and no way of knowing who was going where! Dang it ...  lucky thing I had a bike! It was around 6:45 a.m. ...plenty of time to see Cupcake (who was shooting for 8:30 pace) and Style (who was looking at finishing the half marathon in a bit under 2 hours).

I whooped and hollered and clapped until my hands were numb and red (really) and my voice was hoarse (sort of). I whipped back and forth on my bike, between 26th and 27th, scouting the crowds for the ladies I knew.

I never saw them :(

The passing runners enjoyed my cheering, but when the 4-hour pace guys came by, I knew I needed to high-tail it to the half marathon finish in the hopes of seeing Sgt. Style cross that line. Even on a bike, traffic and road closures made it slow going, and I missed her. I scanned the crowd of finishers for a pretty woman with a buzzed, bright red hairdo...

Unsuccessful :(

Hustling over the the full marathon course so as not to miss Cupcake again, I found myself at 17.5 miles with a good view of runners coming around a curve and down a hill. I watched and waited. Right away, the 3:40 pace guy ran by. Whew... based on her projected splits, Cupcake would be coming soon! Time passed. Runners passed. The 3:50 guy passed. So did the 4-hour guy and the 4:15. All the while, I whooped and hollered and clapped myself stupid. While this led to some buoyed up and appreciative runners...

these guys aren't looking too inspired and motivated 
because I had to stop clapping and screaming to take the picture ;-)

No Cupcake :(

This put me in a weird limbo... bike downtown to see the finish? go back and get the truck and drive downtown? which would take longer? parking issues? Needing to ultimately get the truck to go home, I went back and loaded in the bike and started driving cross-town. Traffic was a nightmare... of course. There was no way I would get to the finish in time to see Cupcake cross the line and who knew if I would be able to find her in the throngs of people down there...

I just went home.

In the car I get this crazy text...

I saw you at 27th Ave & California! I screamed your name & you barely acknowledged me... isn't it supposed to be the other way around? :)

Cupcake saw me even if I didn't see her!

While I may be losing my sight in my old age, my reputation as a supporter and hollerer remains intact. And bringing the bike was perfect. Unless you are watching a marathon in a city with amazing public transportation... like Paris... I highly recommend doing it from a bike.

Congrats to all the finishers!

30 July 2011

Butterflying Around...

Today Miss C discovered the dress-up box.

After being a queen...

 and Little Red Riding Hood...

 and the Church Lady...

she stumbled upon the fairy wings and they were it...

She claimed to be a beautiful butterfly...





After a little warm up...

She decided to do a butterfly duathlon...

the trike leg...

and the running/flying leg...

note the awesome arm-flapping :)




29 July 2011

How to get your Nuun on the cheap :)

The awesome people at Nuun have given us Team Nuun Hood to Coast Relay members a promo code to share that will get you...

25% OFF

You just need to enter the until-now top-secret, highly-classified promotional code ...


at checkout when purchasing Nuun online here.

Time to stock up!


Do you like avocado? And more Friday FUN stuff.

Got that gadget! ... keeping you guessing... no longer reserved for Mondays ;-)

Summer turns me all around and upside down. Some people seem to think I live on the computer and spend no time with my kids. Not true. The truth is... I don't sleep. Not very much, anyway. It is a bad habit that I am working hard to break. 

Last week's ice cream scooper was deemed 'weak' by my husband. While this week's gadget is a little more ...ummm... rare, I feel a need to apologize for my somewhat 'weak' presentation. I usually get super pumped to do the gadget, but being sort of injured and tired and basically fried, the perfect opportunity to do the video did not coincide with my pumpedness. It happens.

I actually bought these awesome avocados last weekend in anticipation of this video, wanting to present a perfect 'cado being serviced by the perfect 'cado gadget... well, I waited a little long and suddenly realized that my window of opportunity was about to slam shut. Must do gadget video NOW! is what the last not-rotten avocado screamed at me.

I present to you...Granny's Gadget #28...


To hopefully make up for the suckiness of my attitude, I am including the outtake...because this girl is just the supercutest thing EVER!!!!


And after I cranked (as in was cranky) my way through the video and through dinner and through the evening round of swim lessons, I got to go work out!!! yay!!!! more exclamation points!!!!

I want to again thank Big Daddy Diesel and Patrick from The Road for encouraging me to try the bike. I was so resistant. So resistant. But it is saving my life. I even went and got that leaky tire fixed so that I don't have to carry the big pump around with me in the backpack anymore and pump it up every 15 minutes!

I rode my bike for 55 delicious minutes... fairly vigorously. I don't know how far I go or how fast I go... I just go until I need to stop. My legs were quivering when I was done, so I know it was a good effort :)

The sun had already set when I started, and the fog was rolling in. We live in a little pocket that seems to get the fog last... it's pretty sweet. But I do so love watching it stream through the Golden Gate and tumble over the hills of Marin County, on its way to nestle up in the East Bay hills.

The view of the fogbank as I stepped outside The Gate...

looking south... 
(you are looking at that Costco in the distance)

and looking west...
the beauty that is the fog...
obscuring the view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I came home feeling way less cranky. 

28 July 2011

Going around and around and around...

Summer vacation is just past the halfway mark. Yesterday was Summer Hump Day. I feel like I am going in circles... getting injured (not badly!) blows... unruly children (not horrendous!) drain... so today's post is dedicated to circles. Let's make the most of them...

Having missed my Musique pour Mercredi again yesterday, here's a little circle music for today...



This morning I headed out early and got this circle.... (and 4 others just like it)...

looks gross... feels good :)

Then I came home and made my circle breakfast... raw almonds, raw cashews, golden raisins, chocolate chips...

It's a lot more than it appears to be...
 the pint container was more than half full :)

Then I took the kids to the pool for swimming lessons... withOUT Miss C...

while I cannot twist my body into a near-circle like this lovely yoga lady,
I think I did achieve a level of nirvana while sitting pool-side
ALONE.

And there is always this circle...


click it

then press the thumbs up and cast your vote for 
Taking It On
Top 25 SF Bay Area Mom Blogs

One last thing...


she gets around ;-)

You need NUUN! You were the bestest game player... you always are... and so let me know what kind of Nuun you want and where to send it and it is YOURS :)

And my question for you all is... ever been cupped?


27 July 2011

Build Me a Corral

I think I need to get my contractor-husband to build a portable corral. Maybe it's because I am old...er. Or maybe it's because two kids like this, one right after the other, is exhausting anyway. Or maybe it's just ....

her.

The other day, I posted about my busy morning. It was busy for ONE reason...

Miss C.

Noticing a theme?

Today the older kids had swimming lessons.

I hate taking Miss C with us to swimming lessons. She runs (no running in the pool area!). She attempts to scale the cyclone fencing between the observation area and the pool (no climbing on the fence!). She makes a mad dash for the parking lot (unsafe!). She enjoys frolicking in the pool owner's front garden (off limits!).

It wouldn't be soooo bad if I weren't also fending off glares from other adults and disapproving 'tsk-tsk's. It is a workout... and I am jumping up and down and running around and pulling her off of things and she is screaming, "no! no! NO! I wanna go in the pahkin lot!" A little sympathy, folks, instead of useless negativity.

Here is a tiny view of what we did during part of the 30-minute swim class...

p.o'ed ... just got 86-ed from the fence...

p.o'ed... the gate is nailed shut...

a-HA!
this way to the parking lot!

But mommy's too fast...

pushing the envelope...
supposed to be on the khaki carpet and NOT the pebbly pavement...
that brown line is The Limit.

rolling over...
inching away from that carpet and further into forbidden territory...

waiting for mommy to get distracted...
which will happen at any moment...
so that she can make her getaway to the parking lot!

And just in case you missed the Q & A video extravaganza, complete with costumes, and the announcement of the Nuun winners... it was yesterday and you'll need to click here to find it.


26 July 2011

Costumed Video Q&A Finale (aka the many sides of XLMIC) ... + Who Wins the NUUN?!

Whew! This was tough... but fun :)

I hope you are all having as good a time reading and hearing all this crap good stuff as I had formulating the replies!

Do you think that title is a mouthful? Well, after all the freaking piss-me-offing incredible hard work it took to pull this unfortunately-anti-climactic post together, I can call it whatever the heck I like :)

Choosing to do the last bit in video format was supposed to make it easier on me. Ha! It was such a challenge to figure out how to make it not unbelievably long and tedious. I broke things up by questioner because otherwise it was a 10-minute video of me talking by myself... gah! You don't want to watch that :P

I am hoping that this way, if you really just want to see the answer to certain questions, you can just watch that particular clip and skip the rest without having to figure out the whole fast-forward thing. It's a challenge for me, so I know it must be for some of you, too :) Others of you are rolling your eyes at my sucky skills.

The opening few are written... read and ye shall learn...

The lead-off question was from Beth. She wanted to know where it happened for the first time?   A set-up very similar to this...

But there was a stereo underneath that I did vomit into at one point later on in the relationship. Yes, alcohol was probably involved :P

Then none other than The Manly Runner (initial bestower of this Q&A 'award') himself demanded to know if I felt guilty for giving him crap because he only wrote two questions even though he was actually doing me a favor? The answer to that is a resounding NO. Limit my oversharing, indeed. And then he went on to ask if I was still figuring out how to apologize. To that I say "HA!" ... not likely :)*


The two of them each also asked a similar question:  What is the one thing you are working on about yourself? What is one thing you would like to change about yourself?  I'm working on my ABS! and I'd like to change my nose :P

And now we come to the Main Event... video boringness awesomeness...

Here we go...

Lisa wanted to know...
  • How did you meet your husband?
video




Chris K, The Manly Runner, finally came through with these questions...
  • Do you nag?
  • What is your best quality as a wife?
       
  • Do you fundamentally avoid conflict or subconsciously create it?

video
I realize I didn't address the third question in the video...
what's your guess?

Jennifer asked...
  • In all aspects of your life, where do you struggle the most, 
  • where has balance come most easily and 
  • where have you thrown up your hands exasperation? 

Noemie hasn't had the courage to ask me these questions in real life... even though we've been friends for at least 4 years...
  • was your husband still married when you two met, or, to put it otherwise, were you "the other woman"? (see there how I withheld names for privacy?)
  • does disliking your husband's ex affect your relationship with his kids or are you able to just ignore her to appreciate them? Do you see traces of her in them that bug you?
  • Am I unreasonably obsessed with your husband's ex? I can't imagine having to deal with that kind of thing, don't know how you do it.
  • what's the story of the terrible car crash that cause your hip issues? Was anybody else involved? Did you have any other injuries? When was that anyhow?
  • Do you still want those skate rental tickets I just found lying around in my drawer, or am I too late?
video


Beth inquired...
  • I've heard that crewing/rowing is the most intense and physically demanding sport there is. How do you think it compares to other athletic stuff like running?
  • What is one thing you are most proud of? (about yourself; you can't say our kids, your backyard, etc).


Laurie asked...
  • How did you become so cool? Were you born that way, or is it something you've been working hard to perfect over the, uh, 30 some years you've been alive? :)
  • If you had say a butterfly tattoo on your lower back (you know, the "tramp stamp") that you got when you were young and stupid and didn't really care for it anymore and decided the time had finally come to change it, what would you get to cover it up?
video


Sandra needed to know...
  • how big are your biceps when you flex? 
  • I ask because as a runner, I'm guessing you focus more energy on cardio than weights?
video

So now you know more about me than my own mother.

Now for the Nuun winners...
  1. The Most Bizarre Question Award goes to S from footbeats who wanted to know about my favorite feminine hygiene products (clearly she didn't read about my souvenirs from France) and related embarrassing race moments.
  2. The Question That Made Me Think The Most Award goes to Beth from Shut Up and Run! for presenting me with the opportunity to reflect on what one thing in my life has made me the most proud.
  3. The Appeal To My Vanity Award goes to Laurie from The (Mis)Adventures of a Jogging Stroller Mom who isn't afraid to publicly say that she thinks I am cool :)

Awesome job, ladies! Email me at xlmic.tio(at)gmail.com with your two tubes of Nuun preferences and where to send them :)

And for the next four days, that little pink button will be sitting there on my sidebar... begging... crying... sighing... to be pushed. Please help me in the Top 25 SF Bay Area Mom Blogs contest. You can shoot me after you vote ;-)

Too lazy to visit the sidebar? Here's the easy way out... CLICK THIS!


*I am extending an apology to The Manly Runner. I get it. You were right. I was wrong. Eating crow now... 

25 July 2011

The Semi-Urban Athlete

Lately there have been some athlete blogs showcasing gorgeous scenery... mountains, trees, beachfront settings, sunsets... all inspiring vistas. Often, when I take pictures during my workouts I, too, generally focus on the pretty things (except when it is a pivotal bathroom or monumental dungheap). I tend to look one way and not the other.

I am definitely sequestered from reality, here all cozy in my little gated community. This hit me hard on Saturday morning. My husband was listening to the radio. "Did you know there was another homicide?" Another? I have been hiding my head in the sand... He went on..."There have been 8 homicides in (our city) this month!"

It is just over one mile from our house to the pre-ghetto... the edge of the Iron Triangle. Fortunately, between our house and the pre-ghetto are: The Gate, police headquarters and 6 lanes of freeway. When we moved to this city we were moving from the nation's #5 ranked crime city to #6... a step in the right direction :P but The Gate really makes all the difference when it comes to feeling safe.

Last night, I went for a ride. I decided to look that other way. Not the pretty way. I didn't head into Crime Central on my bike, though I do drive through it nearly every day. It doesn't really scare me, but perhaps it should. I guess I tend to not really think about it. It's there. I need to go through it to get where I am going. Just do it.

I headed, as usual, over to the water. For a change, instead of looking out over the water at this...

or noticing the lovely marshlands and all the interesting waterfowl or Mt. Tamalpais in the distance, I looked the other way.

About a mile of the ride is alongside a huge postal transfer center...

The razor wire lets you know you shouldn't hop the fence.

This mile goes by fairly quickly when biking but much more slowly when running.

Next door to the postal transfer center is ...

Home of $9.99 pizzas that are soooo bad for you.

Right near the Costco is a great little getaway spot...

Coffee Cup Beach

The pathway down to Coffee Cup Beach...
I thought I would find a litter-mess of coffee cups down there.
Nope... just a rainbow of colorful, used condoms.

A little further down the trail is this...

I know what you're thinking...
prison guard watchtower!
Wrong!

It has something to do with horse-racing...
the track grandstand is in the distance.

And here are the bales of straw and horse-trailers in the parking lot.

One of the exciting parts of the trail is where it parallels the freeway. Just a flimsy cyclone fence and 4-foot retaining wall between you and fast cars...


video

It's kind of hard to shoot video with a cellphone while biking down a trail, 
so a little slack in the professionalism department and a lot of appreciation for the risks I took :P

So that's the less-gentle side of my 'hood. I am working up the guts (or stupidity) to do a photo/video study of the harsh side.



Are you ever afraid where you work out? Of what?

Do you get to run or cycle in a lovely environment?


24 July 2011

It's been a busy morning...

I've mentioned before that Miss C is non-stop. Today has been no exception... and it's still officially morning.

First...

she peed on daddy's briefcase 
(I cleaned it up before taking the picture)
We are potty-training over here... sort of.
I think it's a great idea...she doesn't really agree with me.

Then...

While I was cleaning up the pee on the briefcase,
she got busy with her toys...
My husband insists a purge is in order...
this picture has now convinced me that he is RIGHT!

And...

While I was cleaning up the toys,
she decided that sitting in her water table would be fun!
This thing is great!
And to think that I got it off the curb for
FREE!


Things were cool,
then she decided to stand up in it and do a little tapdance...
so we went inside.

So...

While I was fetching a towel and some clothes for her,
she was finding a red marker...
and using the red marker on her body.
(thankfully not on the white walls or the pink carpet)

Finally...

we decided a bath was in order...
intending it also as an attempt to tame her 


I think matted, wild hair must run in our family :P

I wonder what this afternoon will bring?

On a training note... I was able to eke out 6 easy miles yesterday without feeling too imbalanced. A little soreness in the back and hip but nothing to worry about... I hope. I'm thinking another 2 mellow runs early in the week, and I'll be back in biz. Keep your fingers crossed for me! In the meantime, some biking and a little stretching and core work... P90X-style... will be attempted. I really don't want to stay out of commission for much longer :(

Are you good about taking care of yourself when you get injured?

Are you patient with your kids (or pets) when they make a royal mess?



23 July 2011

Playing Catch-Up Big Time

Oh, boy!

I have been Slackerama Mama this week... I think it was all those questions that I still haven't answered ;-)

You might think that since I haven't been able to run, I would have tons of time on my hands... but then you might remember that I don't really spend all that much time running and wondered what the heck is going on. Or maybe you just don't really think about it :P Or care.

Anyway...

Starting with the first forgotten thing...

Granny's Gadget #27! which was supposed to happen on Monday.

My husband accused this one of being kind of weak. But as far as most of us are concerned, if it has to do with ice cream... it's pretty awesome. Am I right?


The second forgotten thing...

Musique pour Mercredi!   which was supposed to happen on Wednesday.

This is the world's worst music video... every time I watch it I just crack up and want to make an imitation of it. I find myself acting out the moves and singing the totally lame song. It is like a really contagious disease or something. Or lice.

These guys caught the disease. They did what I want to do. I am so impressed by the fact that so many of them participated! I think I would be lucky to get anyone other than my kids and my husband to do it with me. I want to party with them!

This couple did a more intimate rendition. Just the two of them were able to effectively do the ensemble dancing and solo parts... incredible! Someone needs to sign them up! I wonder if they already have an agent? hmmmmmm....

And if you made it through the above madness... what with the ice cream scooper (ooooooo) and the triplicate music video (aaahhhhhh) and you are ready for more...

I bring you the third forgotten thing...

Vecchio Venerdì!  which was supposed to happen yesterday.

This week's photo of the past is not a scary-looking guy with scary sideburns... nor is it of the same guy after the beard filled in the spaces between the sideburns... nor is it of that same guy clean-shaven to look like Mr. Clean.

No.

It is a photo of Coach XL and her National Championship-winning crew...

1989 USRowing Senior Nationals
Senior Women's Four with Coxswain
Bachelors Barge Club
Philadelphia

This was, incidentally, the very same regatta at which my own personal "most embarrassing moment" occurred. But that's a story for a different day. And thankfully, there are no pictures of the incident... though they wouldn't be appropriate for this family-friendly blog anyway :P

22 July 2011

My New Best Friend

Please bear with me while I pull together the last installment of "You Ask, I Answer"... the fabulous Q & A game that bares all, tells all. (Answers vol. 1, vol. 2. and vol. 3 can be found by clicking on those numbers). The video is just boring and long, and I am figuring out how to spice it up and make it interesting and entertaining. I hope to debut it on Monday, at which point I will also announce the Nuun winners :)


In the meantime...

I would like to introduce you to my new best friend...

This is her good side.

She's doesn't have a whole lot going on on the inside.

My physical therapist introduced us. She goes by the name The Grid... click on it to read her specs. What I love about her more than other foam rollers are the following:
  • the little ridges and groove things make it hurt more while rolling, thus making me hurt less after,
  • no deforming over time... my other roller started looking like an hourglass, and
  • the hollow, PVC-pipe core make her easier to take on trips... I can pack stuff inside of her so she really doesn't take up a whole lot of space in the bag/suitcase.
She and I have been spending a lot of time together since I was rear-ended a week ago Tuesday. I do believe she is helping get me back to running sooner than if we hadn't met. She wasn't cheap... but she's worth it ... and so am I :)

So... yep... haven't really run in over a week. It sucks. I did get a little, easy 3-miler in on Tuesday. I was going to run yesterday, but I was slammed by a migraine that sent me to bed at 7:30 (about 5 hours earlier than normal... and before my normal running window of opportunity). I hope the headache lifts enough by this evening so that I can log a few miles. I am working on my patience big time. I don't want to be a DASA.  I know that waiting until I don't feel off-kilter and bound up will pay off. And I know that not waiting will come back to haunt me... so I wait.

I've gotten a couple of bike rides in... one early enough in the evening that I was able to take these cool pictures...

At the southern end of my ride that day was an old city dump. 
People make all kinds of interesting things out of found objects
(read: junk)
This little amphitheater-ish thingy is one such creation.

There is a community of 'homeless' squatters who live in lean-tos and tents in the near vicinity...
I think they have little bonfire parties in this amphitheater sometimes.


At the northern end of my ride was the Rosie the Riveter Memorial...
These structures are an artist's rendition of ship-building...
I think this is the bow...

this may or may not be the part in the middle of the ship where the control guys hang out
(my Love Boat-watching self seems to think this was called the 'bridge')
and in the distance, out over the water, is the stern.
But I may have the bow and stern reversed :P


There are a whole lot of commemorative pavers between the bow and stern...
below are three of them...



Fascinating stuff, history. 

World War II, the war efforts and the ship-building industry are largely why my mom's side of the family wound up in these parts.

A less experienced athlete and younger person might be getting super duper agitated by needing to sit out for two weeks when in the middle of training for a half-marathon AND getting ready for a rapidly-approaching team event like the Hood to Coast Relay... stressing about letting her Nuun Platuun down. Well, I know that I will be much more likely to perform at my highest level by taking care of this pain biz NOW. I'll come back fresh and feisty... raring to go... Commando, I am :)

On the parenting front, I am struggling. My kids fight a lot. I know I need to get more authoritative with them... but I have been doing this for 16 years and am feeling a trifle burnt out. 

I just found out that my 6-year old has been going across the street to play Halo video games. We don't have video games over here... long story involving my stepsons, and husband hurling the nintendo down the street into the vacant lot to get them to finally stop needing to be glued to the darn thing. So Q-Man has been having nightmares and lots of separation anxieties lately... thanks, Halo. I just read the parental reviews on that one. What are those neighbor parents thinking? Clearly not what I'm thinking :P No more video games for now.

Baby X begged to go to another session of camp. She loves it so much. She has her father's awesome social streak. Lucky her :)

Big G is reading like the reading fiend he is. And fighting with his younger siblings. 

Miss C is into anything and everything. She can climb all the safety gates... they are now just decorative. She has figured out how to bust the doorknob covers off so can enter any room she wishes whenever she wants. She learned to push the chair over to and climb up on the kitchen counter to access the upper cupboards, where the cookies and chocolate live. She has started biting! Even herself! And now she likes to slide down the bannister...


But she gets stuck at the bottom. And screams.

Here's hoping for lovely weather for us all, enjoyable and healthy exercise, relaxing family moments and world peace :)

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

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