Showing posts from August, 2005

Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda

Amazing how the constant parade of devastating images from Hurricane Katrina can impact people like me, so far removed from the disaster. I'm overcome with this exercise inertia, finding the task too indulgent at a time when there are all these people fighting for their life. That worries me. Having grown up in hurricane-prone areas, I've never gotten why we build up coastal communities like we do. New Orleans in particular always perplexed me, ever since discovering the entire city was essentially one man's mistake. Now survivors will become temporary Texans and twang-talkin' politicians will go on Fox News and demand the submerged cities be rebuilt. That angers me. Initially, I couldn't understand why people stayed behind in their substandard housing, knowing this storm was catastrophic. Then I learned that many that perished or had to be saved were so poor they didn't have the motorized means to escape. That saddens me.

Yoga Tension Mounts; Book Oddities Released

Rather than the usual stretching after my long run Sunday, I incorporated some of the yoga poses learned the prior week and then woke Monday morning muscle-pain free. That’s impressive, given I’d tacked on an extra 20 minutes and should have felt some soreness from lactic acid buildup over 16 hilly miles. That had me jazzed for Monday night’s Yoga for Runners session. The instructor again kept the room music-free but had the fans going full blast as she guided us through a heavenly hour of hip stretches. That I had so much trouble demonstrating flexibility confirmed why I’ve had so many aches in that area lately. Time to loosen up a little. The yoga instructor, Susan, was interested in hearing how last Wednesday’s power yoga went and we reported it was intense. I sensed there must be some tension between the instructors, who follow completely different styles of yoga. But Susan, whom I’m starting to like a lot, stressed to me in particular that yoga isn’t a competition and not to push

High drama among the High-test

I was spared the brunt of today's triple-digit temps (again!) by beginning my 16-miler before the sun came up. Once it did, my progress slowed but the miles continued to pile up. However, the enervating heat circulating through our AC-less house has since left me lazy. Still, I just wrote a news story that may be of interest to some of you (and you know who you are). It involves a software maker and some customers trying to catch cheating lovers by rummaging through their computers remotely. Time to warn everyone again that it is ILLEGAL to read someone else's e-mail without permission. Four devious types will find out the hard way just how illegal when they appear before a judge to explain away their actions. You can read about it here. Yesterday Alex and I were on our way to join a gym and catch a movie when we stopped for gas and encountered one such cheating mate begging for forgiveness as his riled-up, foul-mouthed lover strolled by with suitcases in tow, screaming all

Some Accomplishments

1. Tara and I resumed running together around Miramar Lake this morning for the first time in many, many months. We met at sunrise. It was soooo nice. 2. I bombed at Power Yoga for Runners last night, but while wallowing in self-pity I found a dirt track I can run on for a change of pace. Score. 3. I spent a bulk of yesterday "de-nesting" and realized I am far better at accumulating crap than I am at relieving myself of it. The Passat was packed when we reached the recycling center and again when I stopped at Goodwill. Rather than worry how we'll downsize to a condo, I'm thinking of using this experience to expand our empire of junk with a second, vacation home. 4. I've gone exactly a month without watching "The Today Show" and feel my life's enriched. 5. I made it through today's school shopping at the mall without telling a single person that the reason I don't want a store credit card, and the reason I can't use my debit as a

Tracking My (Lack of) Progress

Last night I returned to the San Diego Track Club’s Tuesday night workouts. Before all my summer adventures, we were doing 400s and 800s and 1200s around makeshift, grassy courses at Balboa Park. During my lengthy absence, the training switched to hills and dirt trails to help those readying for the AFC Half Marathon and the Dirt Dog cross country series that kicked off last weekend. I thought about bailing, but then I decided that talking myself out of a 4-mile run the first week of my new training program didn’t bode well for future weeks. So I towed the line with about 60 others around 5:45 p.m. and headed into the woods to run a circuitous course incorporating some steep hills. The first was Powderpuff, an apt name since you end up inhaling the dust of the runners in front of you. Once you climb the summit, gasping for air, you run though a dog park and onto Balboa Drive before tucking into another wooded area for more trails. Eventually you turn up at the far end of the large pa

Yoga for Runners

Last night was tight. I had my first ever yoga class, and it was one designed exclusively for runners. It rocked…but thankfully I didn’t. I held my poses and stretched my tight hamstrings, quads and calves way past their normal comfort zone for a full hour in a quiet room within the Miramar Sports Complex. The instructor issued asanas as she took the 11 of us (tilted just slightly toward the female faction) through a series of breathing exercises and then traditional poses, such as Mountain, Warrior and Eagle. The pace was just right, and she reminded us that not everyone arrives at a pose at the same time and that we were to take our time and move out of one when we felt ready. I was usually first to finish. Yoga would seem to be at the opposite end of exercise for someone who brutalizes her body running rapidly along pavement, track or trail for “fun.” But, I discovered, yoga compliments running by mandating these athletes carefully stretch muscles that tend to become rigid from t

Let's clear the air out there

Sorry, but I had to post this UPI report about what polite people call "bottom burping." It's a study showing adults aren't eating their vegetables because they fear farting. Anyone that's run with me knows I do not give a sh--. But should you be among those concerned with this potential setback, and because we have been discussing the 'cost of gas' lately, I encourage you to read on: Flatulence phobia hinders healthy diet

Lazy, hazy days of summer

Had things gone according to plan, we'd be comparing college campuses in Berkeley, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara on Alex's behalf right now as we took our time driving from Napa along the 101 as part of a week's vacation. Instead I'm sitting in front of the computer at my home office, at work, trying not to move much. I resumed Pilates this weekend after an 8-month hiatus and have a serious case of delayed muscle soreness syndrome in my chest. It was that second minute-long plank exercise that did it. I just know it. How'd I get this out of shape this quickly? And, more immediately, will I heal enough to do the Yoga for Runners I just signed up for? It begins in (gulp) 8 hours. Meantime, I'm trying to figure out just how far I ran yesterday. On Friday, I fiddled with that really cool Gmaps program someone in Hoboken, N.J., created to gauge distances . I mapped out two courses in my suburb, both 12 miles. However, as slow as I may be, there ain't no wa

More fuel for thought

I just came across some more online gas calculators, courtesty of the Wall Street Journal Sunday. AAA's Fuel Cost Calculator lets you enter you car's make, model and year and the cities you're traveling to, then determinces what it'll cost you in gas. Two others focused on cheap fill-ups are and

It's a gas gas gas

It's Friday and time for something fun. Sort of. Having just trekked across the state as gas prices topped $3 a gallon here, I thought I'd introduce you to a neat-o online tool that monitors the lowest gas prices in specific areas, or states. The one for San Diego shows a drop from last week, but given two of our cars have turbo engines, the lowest grade does us little good. Still, when prices at the pump were at their peak, I was mighty glad not to be driving a Surburban like one woman who spent $159 to fill up her tank. To modify the search for your own area, you can use the search feature on the left side of the site or just modify the URL (Web address) in your browser, i.e., change to or Read it and weep!

Having a 'senior' moment

The Long Beach Marathon is now about eight weeks away, and during my morning run in the dark I tried to remember my enthusiasm when I signed up for the fall marathon. My legs still ache; my hip still hurts; my running shoes suck; and my mind's been AWOL for awhile now. That 2:10 finish last weekend also makes me mad, still. I need a change. So beginning next week I'm trying a new training program, Hal Hidgon's Senior Marathon Program . It involves only three days of (quality) running, and given the pending changes at work, it remains do-able should fecal matter hit swift-moving blades in the next month at the office. It also will force me to cross-train. I'd abandoned that critical component completely since my bout of pneumonia last winter. Time to rededicate myself to the gym and a stretching class. Ouch.

If it's on CNN, it must be big news

So I'm mentally preparing for my return to work yesterday when my husband calls and tells me to turn on CNN -- there's breaking news. Expecting pictures of destruction -- another plane crash, rioting in Gaza, a local brushfire -- I instead find Wolf Blitzer going mano a mano with some other CNN wonk about the huge computer worm wreaking havoc on the world. If you don't know by now, a group of B-grade worms got the best of some companies this week by taking advantage of laggard patching and, in a more sinister development, the legions of botnets nestled within millions of machines. For anyone familiar with information security, the exchange on CNN bordered on comedic. These worms hit on Sunday; not Tuesday. But until CNN was infected, it wasn't "breaking news." Media groups were hit hard, which makes sense given their generous e-mail policies and legacy systems (This wave hit only Windows 2000 in the operating system released six years ago by Mic

Race Review: America's Finest City Half Marathon

It might have been America’s Finest, but this race was definitely not my finest. Overall, I’ll take the 2:10 finish, but only because I was cruisin’ along for three-fourths of the course and because my head wasn’t on straight -- and that’s gotta count for something. Beer is no way to hydrate or carbo-load, and yet that’s what I opted to drink Saturday afternoon. Dinner plans fell through, and our Mother Hubbard cupboards left me eating a fried egg sandwich for dinner instead of having the wherewithal to walk across the street to the Italian restaurant. Don’t ask. Just don’t ask. Very early Sunday morning (4:30-5:30 a.m., to be precise) everyone takes a bus from Balboa Park to the start at the Cabrillo National Monument high atop Point Loma. There, we were treated to a sunrise over the San Diego Bay, the colors muted by a thick cloud cover. I met my running buddy Mark, who kindly shared a small amount of his sugar-free Red Bull when I was falling asleep standing up. Nothing in the bel

I (Heart) Huckleberry

One mandatory outing when I visit Blacksburg is to run what is now known as The Huckleberry Trail. It’s an asphalt bikepath that begins just off the back lot of the Blacksburg Public Library and forks at the edge of an established neighborhood near Airport Road. You can go straight through open fields to the New River Valley Mall or turn left into one of the college town’s many tree-lined, venerable neighborhoods. Then there’s the third option, which Colleen and I selected on Sunday. We hung a right and eventually went off the asphalt onto gravel and dirt tracks that form a circumference around the Virginia Tech campus, which as the state’s agricultural university is full of farmland. We passed cornfields, horses, cows and sheep and saw a stray groundhog shoot by us. The setting was so serene it almost felt surreal. I don’t normally run in such a bucolic setting, so the quiet, rolling rain-soaked terrain and especially the soft running surface -- so forgiving to my marathon-weary kne

More Pictures: VPI and Steppin' Out

Below are a couple of snapshots from my trip down the ol' Tech memory lane and downtown Blacksburg's summer festival. Next up: A recount of our trail run.
My old dormitory at Virginia Tech. It's got a lot more competition now with new residential halls filling much of the greenspace back when I was a student. 
The Virginia Tech football team during a practice outside Lane Stadium. Trust me, they look bigger in person. 
The Prossers at Blacksburg's annual summer festival, Steppin' Out. 
Blackburg preteen sensation The Snax performed covers of everyone from Indigo Girls to The Who. They had quite a following among the town's teenagers. 
My sister's steel drum band, PanJammers and Pan-a-Mania, performing at Steppin' Out. Colleen's way in the rear (behind the kid in the red shirt) and mistook a change in lineup with the end of the performance and left. The show went on without her. 

Falling waters, uplifted spirits

There are places each of us hold sacred, and I’ve come to realize The Cascades in Giles County, Va., is one such haven of the heart for me. I’ve made the two-mile, slightly rigorous climb to the falls more times than I can count over the last two-plus decades, and always with people dear to me. Last Sunday’s hike was no exception. My sister Colleen suggested we visit the natural treasure tucked inside the tiny town of Pembroke, and her husband and three children agreed. The oldest, Austin, wasn’t feeling well and ended up staying back with his dad. That left Colleen to carry the youngest, 3-year-old Skyler, for a considerable amount of the climb. To my niece’s credit, she managed to make it on her own farther than we expected. Bailey, her 5-year-old brother, was a real trail blazer -- provided we stopped frequently for snacks. He was a little disappointed with the offerings -- water, Gummy bears, cheese, Pringles and apples. “That it?” he asked sourly during the rundown of rations.

Round One: Pictures as Promised

Below are some snapshots from my just-finished trip to the East Coast. Two are scenic shots and two are from my high school reunion. Unfortunately, the flash on my digital camera, and my preoccupation with talking instead of snapping pictures, didn't yield many good ones. I'm hoping some classmates come through in the next few days. Next up: The Blacksburg, Va., leg. Photos from Steppin' Out, The Cascades and Virginia Tech.
Holly H. and her husband, Jerry W., during the reunion. Holly was one of my best friends when we were at Menchville High School. 
My high school friends Susan M. and Melinda M. pose while I still had "decent hair" before we left the Omni Hotel for our 25th reunion at Colony Pool in Newport News. 
The U.S.S. Constellation historic ship in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. I took a two-hour stroll around the harbor in lieu of an evening run. 
A view of my temporary home in Newton from the beginning and end of my running route. 

Just a quick update

I'm preparing for my return to Southern California tomorrow, the suitcase packed with TechTarget and Virginia Tech paraphernalia and lots of Usenix computer security stuff from my prior stops. The camera's also loaded with images, some of which I'll share as soon as I return. Highlights: Seeing old high school classmates Friday night at Colony Pool. Like old times, my hair looked like hell from the humidity. Looking at the digital camera preview window -- my clothing selection could have been better too. Blacksburg's blast from the past can't be topped. It's so lush and green that at times it's overwhelming. That's what's hit me most -- how grown up everything is in Virginia. And how well its aged. Even the forests along Interstate 81 look taller and broader than I ever remember. My sister's been a great hostess, taking me to the town festival, on numerous early morning runs and hiking at The Cascades. Then today she and her children provided me

The Baltimore Leg

I slept through my oppportunity to see Baltimore's Inner Harbor via an early morning run. By the time I finally got to the Sheraton down the street from Camden Yards and settled in, it was way past my normal bedtime and my throat was killing me. I made up for it with a two-hour evening stroll. I heard the collective screams of adolescent girls coming for a pavilion and learned an actor/singer named Jesse McCartney was performing. He's in a show called "Summerland." At least that's what I think the woman at the Will Call ticket booth told me. Heard lots of other live music in various sections of Harborplace. What a great place to hang out, even in this heat and humidity. The bulk of my day was of course spent at one of the final days of the USENIX Security Symposium here at the hotel. As usual, the quality of presentations did not disappoint. One round of talks from academics focused on new ways to secure networks through improved anomoly detection systems and vul

Joining a New 'Family'

First, you may begin to notice more emphasis on the running now that I'm officially No. 188, one of the newest members of the Running Blog Family. That should boost readership from 5 to 15 :-) Seriously, I've been engrossed in reading other running blogs for a few months now and decided to throw my blog out there for consideration. I'm both eager and anxious about broadening this site beyond my circle of friends and family. This blog, in fact, was inspired by a weekly diary series I did for my Rock 'n Roll Marathon training group's Web site this year. Don't fret (if you are so inclined) -- I'm still planning to write about all the other facets of life that feed my healthy addiction. Which brings me to an update on my trip, now three days along. Monday morning I again went out for the 4-mile Route 30 scenic route, this time expanding the loop to take in an historic sawmill overlooking both the serene Charles River and mass transit rush of the Mass Pike. Ru