29 November 2012

If you're running CIM this weekend...

You're probably going to get wet.

And it's most likely going to be miserable.

And you will be cursing the day you signed up for what was supposed to be an 'easy' marathon.

If you're running CIM this weekend... 

Remember:  running is an OUTDOOR sport. Click that...yeah. Click it. And read it. It'll be good for you.

I'll bet you hate me now.

But... I will be there shouting and shrieking my little heart out in the hopes that it will spur you (yes, YOU) on to an amazing and transcendent experience. I will be like a screaming ray of sunshine in the midst of the storm...and hopefully not one that beams right into your eyeballs in a really annoying way. And I will be really glad I am not running. Just being honest.

Here's the cheer gear so you'll know it's ME cheering for YOU...and we won't be random people passing each other in the rain...

Miss C modeling the chartreuse t-shirt with bright pink lettering:
"XL says..."


I'm prepared for the rain, too...

Bad, dark photo...but I think you can see enough.

I know I look naked under the Hefty bag...but I'm not. And I won't be on Sunday either...so don't get your hopes up.

But seriously, does it look too much like The Grim Reaper? The last thing I want to look like on the sidelines of a marathon is Death! 

Please know that I have run CIM in the pouring rain myself. 1997. A million years ago. I was freaking out leading up to the moment the gun went off...and then it was really fun. I'm not kidding. And I even did okay.

I'm rooting for all this weekend's runners who will be facing inclement weather...I wish each and every one of you a hearty bonne chance! That's fancy for "good luck." And understand that despite my little rant about running being an outdoor sport, my hat is off to all of you for braving the elements :)


*If you'd like some personal attention during Sunday's running of CIM, let me know in a comment. Tell me your # and give a ballpark range for estimated average pace and I'll see what I can do. Just remember that I am notorious for not seeing the people I'm intending to see...hence my really LOUD outfit...that way if I don't see you, at least you'll see me :) *

26 November 2012

I'm pretty sure I looked something like this...

...when I was winning that big race last Thursday ;-)  So joyful!

Yeah, I'm bringing that up again. Roll your eyes and click out if you must, but I'm going to revel in the glory for just a little longer...

Okay. Long enough.

What's next?

Jingle Bell Hell, that's what! Who's in? It's free! And there will be prizes :) Virtual and in the flesh... I'm hoping I won't be running it alone again...except, of course, for random strangers who jump in and unknowingly end up winning :P

I'm not sure if I'll let Miss C run in it. While she's pretty quick and seemingly tireless, she invariably craps out at the most inopportune times. And toting 35 lbs. of squirming preschooler on my back while finishing up a one-third of a marathon run is not high on my list of 'must' experiences.

Be sure to check out the Jingle Bell Hell information post! Join in...any distance 5K or more...

Do it with friends! Do it alone!
Do it singing loudly! Do it talking on the phone!

What great potential for 'hell'...running in December,
A super-duper suffer-fest you surely will remember!

You'll definitely be hurtin'.
Yes, the pain is certain.
Though rain may fall and winds may gust,
Our smiles prevail and laughter's a 'must'!

Whoa...lame poem.

Alrighty then...

23 November 2012

And then there was that time I ran in a race...and won.

The Sonoma 5K Fun Run Turkey Trot has been my Thanksgiving fun run since way back in 2010. It was my first race after nearly 10 years of injury and holds a special place in my heart. My first trip up was spurred by the fact that I was an avid reader of Goals for the Week, and the race is her creation. I ran it for the second time last year and significantly improved my time. This being the year of the Don't Run, Run Faster training regimen, I went into the race really excited to see what might happen :)

This being my fall "A" race, I had some clearly defined goals...

  • universal imperative:  have an incredibly, fantastically fun time running.
  • A+ goal:  finish in 23:30 (avg pace 7:34)
  • A goal:   finish in 23:50, thereby beating Patrick's 5K tempo run workout from the other day.
  • A- goal:   finish under 24:01 (my time last year)
  • B goal:  keep the average pace faster than 8-minute miles...extra credit for never seeing an "8" in the first place on the Garmin's screen.
  • C goal: finish in one piece.
(So basically I was thinking along the same lines as the handful of people who left predictions in the comment section of yesterday's post.)

I left the house in what I thought was plenty of time, but then I checked my new phone's stupid map app and was completely freaked out when it told me I was in for a 75-minute drive instead of the anticipated 45-minute drive. Turned out it was a crap map app. 

GoogleMaps rocks. It was, indeed, 45 minutes from here to there.

The drive up was lovely. The sun was rising and the light was gorgeous...

After a minimal (quarter of a mile jogging easily) warm up, it was time to head to the start line. I'm not entirely sure where the time went. I had wanted a lengthy, thorough warm up. But you can't always get what you want.

On your mark....Get set... GO!

I started running down the hill. I was behind three girls (like, high school girls) who reminded me totally of my friends and I when we would "run" in high school (meaning very lackadaisical and sort of goofy)...except my Garmin showed that we were all running about 7:20 pace. That was a little faster than I imagined I could sustain for the entire race, so I just tucked in behind those lovely young ladies and enjoyed how effortless the pace felt...for once.

I was smiling hard. But it all felt easy. What a beautiful morning! What a great feeling! How awesome is THIS?! were the thoughts running through my head.

Things flattened out about three-quarters of a mile into it and the effort picked up a wee bit while the pace stayed relatively constant. Some guy passed me. He went on to be the overall winner.

We hit the first mile right before heading up a long, slight hill.


Last year my pace slowed dramatically in this next segment...and here was where a guy pushing a stroller passed me. Demoralizing. Well, this year I motored. I decided that this was where I would take those girls...and I did. Go, old lady...way to beat up on the unsuspecting kids :P

I pushed to the top of the hill and caught some guy, saw some llamas, the guy I'd just caught found another gear and peeled away from me like I was standing still...but no matter. I was running my own race.

And smiling hard. But it all still felt easy. How fun! I love this! What a beautiful day! as I hit the second mile mark.


As I pushed myself to hold this great pace that I had no idea was even possible for my body to run, I stepped into a pothole and flipped my foot over. Man, did that hurt! But hey, less than a mile to go... and I'm having such a great run! No way am I stopping!

I was able to keep driving the pace until I hit the bottom of that long hill...the same one that, in reverse, had made the start so speedy.

Still smiling hard...but it wasn't feeling so easy. Keep it under 8, keep it under 8... was the mantra.

I had an idea of my quarterly average pace but no idea of the elapsed time...and math while engaged in sick physical effort isn't my strong suit. I was incredibly surprised when my time was called as I crossed the line...

23:11    (7:28 avg pace)

All i could think was...

How did i do that?

And I was still smiling.

When all was said and done and I was ready to head home,
still smiling...so happy :)

First woman...and yes, there were several other women in the race :P

Check out this photo of the top three women on the race's Facebook page here. Just never mind the fact that I am old enough to be their grandma. 

I wasn't smiling so much when I saw this...

For the sake of comparison...
Hurt foot...

Not hurt foot.

It's okay to walk on it, but it is stiff. Nothing like this friend's ankle or this friend's, thankfully. I'll recover by next week. But I've been given the "no running this weekend" directive and I'm happy to go with that :)

I'll give the report on the rest of our family's Thanksgiving festivities later.

Hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving!

22 November 2012

How to cook a turkey...and other random stuff

As I head out the door before dawn here on Thanksgiving morning, I want to wish everyone a joyous day of gratitude.

In less than two hours (hopefully!) I will have finished my go at the Sonoma 5K Fun Run Turkey Trot hosted by this lovely lady....

She's on the left...the lovely one.

I'm excited and nervous...and extremely thankful that I get to do this. I get to run.

If you can guess my 5K finish time today in a comment below, you'll win a prize :)

Now for the really random stuff...

* directions are really important. This gigantic ship turned left out of the harbor the other day as we were on a walk. Left takes you into the ground. Right takes you out to the open sea. The tugs had to really work to get this guy unstuck.

* I have opposite ends of the spectrum in my house...
Zen and peaceful....
Lurking and attacking...
he has a driftwood weapon...
watch out.

* I think my daughter is part elf...or maybe it's pixie...

photographic evidence

* crab season is the best...
I'm really lucky that my husband likes to clean the crab :)

And now for the date-appropriate cooking tip....I posted this last year after the fact. Maybe I'm a little more timely this year and can spare someone a whole lot of angst!


18 November 2012

Jingle Bell Hell 2012 is COMING!

You may or may not remember that I was race director for an awesome holiday race last year. It was SO awesome that no one attended the real life event knowingly. And the winner of the real life race was a random guy who had no idea he was a part of the resurrection of Jingle Bell Hell. 

Runner Chris...random guy who won last year's race!

There were a number of participants in the virtual race and they gave some fabulous race recaps...and most of them got prizes! Though two of the prizes are still sitting here in a box never having made it to the post office...so embarrassing :(

ooooooo!!!!  aaahhhhhhh!!!  prizes!!!!!


It's time to sign up for this fabulous event!

Below is information on the race...past and present...a little history...some details...hope to see you there, either in the flesh or in spirit!

The 5th running of 
Jingle Bell Hell
1/3-marathon and fun run 
Saturday, December 15, 2012 at 8:00 a.m.
Inspiration Point, Tilden Park, Berkeley, California
Rain or Shine

or wherever in the world you might be :)

The starting point of the real-life event is Inspiration Point in Berkeley, California and the course map is...

and the elevation profile is...

as determined by my Garmin.

The History

My best friends from high school used to put on a race in December. It was small in terms of the number of participants but huge in terms of fun and adventure. Initially, it was a half-marathon, but they found that very few of their friends were at all interested in or capable of running that far. Additionally, the course involved some running on a twisty, narrow road with minimal shoulder that did see its fair share of traffic...especially on weekends. So they abbreviated it to a 1/3-marathon (more or less...a bit over 8 miles) and were able to run it entirely on a paved, car-less road.

My husband (who was my boyfriend at the time) and I ran in their 3rd Annual Jingle Bell Hell in December of 1995 (see picture above...I am front and center with the socks on my hands, he is in the back in the light shirt). It was freezing by Bay Area standards...but not wet. Not everyone went all the way out to the turnaround...and that was just fine.

I won the trophy that year... the "Actually Trained for This Race" Award...

This year's winner will get to have their picture taken with this perpetual trophy and have their name added to the illustrious list on the bottom... ballpoint pen inscribed on masking tape, 'cuz we're classy like that. And there will be some prizes that can be taken home as well :)

I am really hoping to see some local runners in attendance! It's not far from San Francisco, San Jose or even Santa Cruz... looking west or south. Concord is super close to the east, and Sacramento is just 90 minutes away to the north. It's a great follow-up to the early December races, like CIM and Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas

If you're coming in from out of town and need a super cheap place to crash...with an SF Bay view, in a solid structure, and don't mind driving a five miles...

The Albany Bulb Waterfront has some very artistic structures that may or may not be inhabited by squatters.

If you want to do virtual version of Jingle Bell Hell, here are the parameters...
  • Must be at least 5K in total length...no maximum.
  • Must be done on a challenging course (and if you hate treadmills, that means it could be on a treadmill) because the idea is "Hell" ... that is the important part.
  • Must be done between Dec. 8-16, 2011... any time of day or night. This gives you two entire weekends to choose from.
  • You must laugh at least once... can be an evil laugh, a laugh of futility, any kind of laugh but laughter is a MUST.
  • Email me a link to your Jingle Bell Hell recap so I can post it and we may all share in the fun... please include something about when, where, why regarding the laughing part and what made the run your special brand of Hell :)
Participants in the virtual race will be entered in a prize drawing. Things like fueling products, Nuun hydration products, winter running gear, running safety items, some random stuff... I want to try to have something for everyone... depending on how many or how few participate. Going with that whole "Everyone's a Winner" thing :) Don't want anyone's self-esteem damaged by a silly sporting event. 

Leave a comment if you want to participate!

15 November 2012

What a week it's been...

So Hump Day was a long time ago, and we are nearing the end of our NINE-freakin-days-without-dad odyssey. Can I get a...


Thanks :)

Here's a quick summary of what has happened since my whine-sans-cheese party the other day...

1. I stabbed myself.

I was going to wash the humungous pile of dishes in the sink Monday night.
I reached into the water and was stabbed by a very pointy steak knife.
I didn't even know until I saw the blood all over the place.
That's an exaggeration...but it did really hurt once I realized it had happened.

2. We finally took down the Halloween decorations.

And boy, was that skull scared. He did NOT want to go back in the box. 
Or maybe he's shielding himself from that mondo spider crawling toward him.
In any event, I had threatened to leave the stuff up until our petty HOA started griping,
but it's supposed to rain this weekend and that spiderwebby crap gets super gross in the rain,
so down it all came.

3. I accidentally packed my maternity shorts in my gym bag.

This shows how much too big they are...and that is NOT stretching the fabric.
Why they were on top of the clean laundry pile is a total mystery.
Why do I even still own them?
Somehow I was able to complete my vigorous elliptical workout on Tuesday
withOUT these shorts winding up around my ankles...
which would have been hilarious...if it happened to someone else.

4. We went to the park.

Really one of the cutest kids ever...
(gush, gush, gush... how can you get annoyed by my gushing? 
She is monstrously cute even when she is picking her nose!)
It was probably in the 40's (F) and she just insisted on wearing a tissue-paper thin sundress...
she claimed she was warm enough because
"I've got tights, mom."

5. I did a good deed. And went for a run.

Evidence of the good deed...
I killed a f**king yellow jacket. 
I hate those things almost as much as I hate ants.
Which I spent over an hour annihilating hordes of instead of eating lunch on Tuesday.
So that's actually TWO good deeds.

Sort of evidence of the run.
Of course I could have taken a photo of my shoe in my car without having gone for a run...
but I wouldn't do that.
Those are my 'trail' shoes now that I've given the Brooks Cascadia 7's the ol' heave-ho.

6. I rode an emotional roller coaster.

Going several days without a little 'me' time was really stressful (see top left).
The mere idea of a little exercise in nature totally mellowed me out (see top right).
The fact that my knee...of all things...hurt during the run caused me some worry (see bottom left).
Realizing that I needed to be at school pick ups 10 minutes ago...caused by slower running due to f**cked up knee...obliterated my zen moment (see bottom right).

7. I went to see Skyfall.

The best babysitter in the world (who happens to work at my gym
came over to give my craziness a bit of a break. 
The movie was entertaining, and I liked it.
But this little guy I spotted in the parking lot was far more thought-provoking.
What is it?
Why is it there?
Where did it come from?
Is someone missing it?

8. I'm still loving being with my kids.

This afternoon we went for a walk. It's supposed to rain for several days, 
and I wanted us to have some fun outside time.
Look! We're having fun! Everyone is smiling!

It was very low tide and twilight.
Q-Man and Baby X decided to go hunting for ...treasures?... in the mudflats.
"That is SO gross..."
"Yeah...look...it's chunks...and those are hairs..."

I am soooooooo glad they didn't pick that crap up and bring it over to me.
Just hearing about it made me shudder and go all queasy.
For real? Meat? With hair?

Speaking of food...sort of...

9. I discovered an amazing food item.

Sweetened primarily with agave.
Mint Galactica is the best mint chip-like ice cream I've ever had.

10. I started working with a trainer.

I'm sore.
Hot, salty bath. 
Almost overflowing because I forgot to turn the water off :P

And some breaking news...

11. I sat in chocolate again.

And it melted because I didn't realize it, so my body heat did its thing.
I just discovered it this moment.
So I'm going to go clean it up and then go to bed.

And tomorrow my kids have NO SCHOOL!
Can you believe it?
If you don't understand why that is typed in the 'sarcasm' font,
you need to click on it.

Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend :)

What's the grossest thing you've ever found at low tide?
–just mangled crabs and jellyfish. Nothing like chunks of meat with hairs!

12 November 2012

Hump Day

I know what you're thinking...

Since it isn't Wednesday, this post must be about some sort of humping. And you got all excited... or grossed out...or were just expecting something that you are not about to get. Sorry.

Hump Day.


My husband has been out of town since early Thursday morning and he returns late Friday night. With 4-ish days already down, then today, then 4-ish days to follow = Hump Day. Right?

I haven't paced myself very well. I was trying to be all proactive and set up some babysitters/childcare so I could work out and just BE a few times during daylight hours and have a night or two sort of off, but I didn't get a lot of interest to my inquiries. And one sitter possibility forgot about a really important thing she had already committed to and so she had to bail last minute. And I was lame and stayed up too late a couple of nights in a row. So I am really tired already. I had looked forward to an evening run last night until it became clear that it would actually be a late night run and then I tanked and just went to bed...at 9:10.

I almost never go to bed that early.

I set the alarm for 5:30 in the hopes that I would drag my butt out of bed before all the kids woke up and do my run before their day started. Eight snooze buttons later...


It took "just 10 more minutes" to a whole 'nuther level.

The upside? I got the kids to school on time :)

The downside? I was still really tired because that snooze-napping is not real sleep. And I spent more than eight snooze buttons-worth of time half-asleep on the sofa while Miss C watched the same 90-minute Dora the Explorer DVD two whole times without stopping.

I'm hoping that by laying low today the next 4 days will be a breeze...and that I might even have some energy and time to squeeze in some exercise. I'm seeing how much it feeds me to be physical. Given that all four kids have school for the next three days, this little plan should become reality :)

So not the humping you might have been expecting, but there's today's whine...and I can't even have any cheese with it because dairy makes my body hurt.

Any other whiners out there today? Feel free to unload here... 

09 November 2012

Brooks Cascadia 7...a review

I remember when I bought them...I had such high hopes...


The first time I ran in them I got a ginormous blister. I chalked that up to running in muddy, wet socks. What I didn't remember at that time was this:  a whole lot of trail running is going entail muddy, wet socks. Hence, ginormous blistering might not be a one-time occurrence...and it wasn't  :(

In that first run I also struggled a lot with my form. I wrote that off to the muddy slipperiness of the trail and being out of shape. Today I was well-rested and things were just a little muddy and not at all slippery and I still struggled to hold things together :(

Muddy during that first run

Not so muddy today

 So the shoes....


I hate them.

I want to like them. I want to LOVE them. But I just don't :(

They are the right size. They feel comfy when I put them on. They are pretty and blue. But as soon as I start running in them...*sigh*...I find myself wanting to love them and just...not.

They are not as responsive as I would like. They feel squirrelly. I don't really know how to explain it. I don't need a stability shoe, yet when I wear these I feel totally unstable. I feel too much of the trail. I like feeling the trail somewhat...but these don't feel like they provide enough buffer for my tastes. And I slip more on rocky surfaces in the Brooks Cascadia 7 than I do in the Mizuno Wave Rider 15.

I've run in them about 6 times...in mud and on dry dirt. Over rocks and tree roots, too. I've tried them with a variety of socks...mostly dry running so it isn't sopping wet socks that are causing the blister...which I get every time. I've used BodyGlide and 2Toms SportShield and still get that blister :(  I guess I should have tried the BlisterShield, but damn...needing to buy a special product to utilize a shoe that is not wowing me at all anyway is annoying...is that lame? Don't say 'yes.'

Okay...so... bleh... not enchanted with the Brooks Cascadia 7. I'm so bummed it took me 7 months (and only 6 runs) to figure it out. Yeah...if you dread running in a certain shoe, chances are it's not the shoe for you! I should have returned them and gotten something else :(

On the bright side of things...

Today was a glorious day! And I got to run on my favorite trail...we won't mention those shoes anymore...just going with the positive from here on out :)

The sun was shining. The air was clean and cool and crisp...

This is the meadow at the bottom of the valley near the start of the trail. I call it a meadow even though it has tall stuff growing in it.

I love the smells where the trail is under the tree canopy...the damp, rotting leaves mixed with the wet earth. Not blurry because of my speed...more likely because of those shoes...I will blame them for everything that wasn't perfect about today's run :)  Oh, bummer...I mentioned them again :(

The first half of the run is in that shaded, damp, earthy environment. Once you get to the top of the hill, the view across the valley shows the trail in the sunshine :)

The long afternoon shadows are so bizarre. I look sort of like an inverted giraffe. The ol' shadow ain't so sexy this time of day at this time of year :P

After today's run, I am officially giving up on those shoes. I don't even want to walk in them. I'm in the market for replacements and am all ears for suggestions. In the meantime, my non-trail-running Mizuno Wave Rider 15's will suffice. But now that the rainy season is upon us, they are going to get thrashed :(

Maybe I should run with baggies over my feet?

Or be a total wienie and never run in mud.

But where's the fun in that?


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