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Showing posts from 2006

Happy trails to you,...

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My last official hike of the year was spent in Jessica’s backyard, which also happens to be this lovely, relatively unspoiled wilderness known as O’Neill Regional Park in southern Orange County. I’ve wanted to meet one of my favorite running bloggers for awhile and this morning finally provided an opportunity. Jessica injured her foot the other week, so the original trail run around Whiting Ranch was out. I certainly didn’t mind, especially after reading about her encounter with a mountain lion . Instead we ambled along dirt paths and occasionally crossed a river – me, always carelessly. This woman’s a true trail runner. She has such an inner calm. She has such better balance. She also has such a knack for knowing which way to turn to get from one point to another. I later wondered if I took in more rustic routes, could I become a not-so-clumsy and less loquacious human being. Is it possible that refocusing one’s running away from concrete jungles and toward single-track trails could

The Halves and the Half Nots

I’ve been giving some thought in the last few days to finally putting a little more structure into my weekly running. I’d be perfectly content to continue in freefall mode, but running when I want and for how far I want will not ultimately get me where I want. So I’ve begun looking for a few local races to do in the coming months. I love the planning part because the calendar and the body’s possibilities appear limitless this time of year. But, truthfully, rarely do ambition and ability square for 12 full months. No marathons. No ultras. And, by golly, no very expensive races that must be paid almost a year in advance to gain entry. That’s not to say I won’t see how far I can push above the surgeons’ advice to stop at 5 miles daily or sign up ahead of time for some crowded competitions. I truly believe with some common sense and careful training, I can work up to an injury-free half marathon or two. First up will be the La Jolla Half Marathon in April -- a tough course I haven’t tack

It's Like That Coyote Just Knew

There are coyote that roam our canyons, and I’m talking about the feral four-legged creatures, not the folks involved in human trafficking. I probably run into the animals two or three times a month and never with any incident. They just merrily move along the road before ducking into the woods. [A sharp contrast, I might add, to a couple of scary coyote encounters I had in Cape Cod.] The other day I was only about 5 minutes into my run when I saw a shadowy figure in the middle of the road in the glow of early morning. A rogue patch of fog made it a little hard to see too far ahead. Still, there was no mistaking this was a coyote from its build. It stopped and turned toward me as I approached. I stopped too. Then he turned back and silently sauntered up the street, periodically checking to see if I was still behind. I was, of course, moving much more slowly. It’s one thing to be in the company of coyote and quite another to try and overtake one. We got to a T in the road and my int

Lines for a Christmas Card

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My send-off went something like this: Husband: "You are being so stupid." Grandmother: "What the hell's the matter with you?" My husband was just worried. My grandmother was just herself, with wine. At almost 93, I'll cut her some slack. Still, their criticism of my planned solo hike up Iron Mountain may have been why I had butterflies approaching the entrance on Route 67 in Poway. I realized that I rarely do anything alone anymore, which is not uncommon for any woman that's been married and a mother for many years. This is a crowded trail, but not so this early in the morning. Temps still in the 30s guaranteed I wouldn't encounter many, if any, snakes and this trail isn't known for big kitty cats. It turns out I had the first half of the 3-mile climb completely to myself, and during that spell I dwelled on something else my grandmother said to me after learning I was still running. "Haven't you done enough damage?" This isn't t

Do Look That Gift Horse in the Mouth

A new research paper now provides scientific proof that gifts get crappier the longer a couple stays together. Apparently over time spouses cannot distinguish their own gift preferences from their partner’s. This must be why the kids decide what to get Mom and Dad for their silver and golden anniversaries. Left to their own devices, they’d be trading Longaberger baskets and ESPN upgrades instead of going on a cruise. Read the report if you wish . It’s a little geeky, but it sure explains how I went from getting a pearl necklace to kitchen appliances in the span of just a few years. For the record, my husband took to heart my tearful tirade over that toaster oven and has hit the mark in the years since. Still, there better not be a Dirt Devil under our tree this year. Not with my name on it anyway.

Ghosts of Christmas Past & Present

Joe tagged me with a Christmas meme. Would love to see some others' answers, so feel free to play along. Don't contribute to the pending coal crisis! Egg nog or hot chocolate? I haven’t had either in years. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? It wouldn't be a Southern California Christmas if even St. Nick covered up his 'gifts,' now would it? Colored lights on tree/house or white? Colored, and the tackier the better. Bubble lights, anyone? Do you hang mistletoe? No. In fact, last time I found myself standing under it, it turned out to be plastic...talk about a cheap shot. When do you put your decorations up ? By Dec. 10 every year. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? My cinnamon palmiers and peanut brittle. I know it isn’t technically a “dish” but I usually eat enough to co-op my next meal. Favorite holiday memory as a child? One year my little sister drove her new bike into the tree and it fell over, spilling ornam

So She Thinks She Can Dance

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And she can! The College Kid is enroute as I type and it might be wise for me to post pictures she provided me at Thanksgiving. I meant to do this a month ago. Those who religiously watched last summer's hit So You Think You Can Dance might recognize the star choreographers/judges that led classes Elise and her fellow dance team members attended this fall. Our dancer is in the red shirt.

A Day Packed With Goodness

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After the past several days' freakfest, I'm happy to report things are looking up. First, the big news. After more than two years, my husband today officially became a network engineer. Banner day in this household! Now, instead of harrowing rescues as a Coastie, he'll be hardening systems as a computer geek. Well, he will once he finds a job. Yesterday, a package arrived from someone named Neil in Santa Barbara. I knew no one with that name. But soon as I opened the Priority Mail package, I knew who'd sent the box of persimmons. My friend Annie in Elizabeth City, N.C. -- who'd asked about them earlier in an e-mail. By the time I got around to thanking her, a quarter of the perfectly ripe, peeled bulbs already were in our bellies. Others have called or written to check on me. Some have come bearing gifts, and all have reminded me of the importance of being a good friend as well as having them. Oh, and my apologies to anyone annoyed by the new Blogger Beta. When I re

A warning for everyone, local or not

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An e-mail among Scripps Ranch women is circulating, alerting everyone that the attacker from last week is not only still out there, but possibly looking for more victims. No matter where you live or who you are, please be on the alert when you are out and about. You can bet I am constantly carrying my cell phone (I usually do anyway) when I'm running. First, the message from police: Police Warning On Friday, Dec. 8, 2006, at approximately 12:25 pm a lone female jogger was the victim of an attempted rape on the north part of Miramar Lake near the dam. The suspect is described as a Hispanic male, 20 to 25 years old, 5’8”, 135 to 145 pounds, with dark skin, short black hair, and brown eyes. He was wearing a red baseball cap, red t-shirt with an unknown logo or writing, and blue jeans. He was last seen running up one of the trails towards Scripps Ranch Boulevard. Citizens are advised to call the San Diego Police Department with any information. (Police sketch to the left.) At th

Where 8-Minute Miles Are Slow

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This past Saturday was the first day to sign up for my track club's Rockin' 'n' Runnin' marathon training program . That all but about 50 of the 500 slots were taken within a six-hour period just goes to show the growing popularity of the marathon and this particular program. It probably helps this is the 10th anniversary for both the training program and the original Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, often credited for better or worse with 'changing the course' of races now full of entertainment and charity runners. Our coach liked to put us at ease by reminding us that 90 percent of people showing up on race day have no real idea what they are doing. He's got a point, if the first-timers on Saturday are any indication. When each was asked their pace, so they could be placed in the proper group, almost everyone I heard said: "Oh, I'm slow. I run 8-minute miles." Nobody mentioned that 8-minute miles boils down to a 3:30 marathon. That'

'Yeah, but this is my lake'

It's 5:30 on a Saturday morning and instead of getting ready to run before heading into a day's worth of track club volunteering, I'm sitting in front of the computer trying to figure out what to do with myself. Yesterday evening I saw a local TV station van pull into Miramar Lake. I assumed, given it was just before 4, they were doing a weather shot, though it did occur to me that they may have caught that "bloodied migrant worker" mentioned in yesterday's post. It turns out a crew was there to report a woman was attacked while jogging on the lake path -- the same path I take at least two or three times a week. And she was attacked at 12:30 in the afternoon, not in the early morning hours when I am usually out there. My friend Louise called last night to alert me. Anytime someone's attacked while running, you get a little freaked out. "Yeah, but this is my lake," Louise said. I knew immediately what she meant. Maybe if I weren't coming

Run and Ye Shall Receive

Not the greatest of weeks here. A couple of serious financial and career setbacks, combined with the theft of certain car parts, all culminated with us turning on the TV today and learning of high school students who probably belong in a penitentiary, not my daughter's public school . At least police stopped them just before they got on campus. And the kid they attacked in front of an elementary school is going to be okay. Then an hour ago we saw a helicopter hovering. Apparently the air patrol's warning there's a bloodied migrant worker on the loose. The strangest part is this is all starting to feel normal, which worries me even more. That is why I can't thank running bloggers Karen and Dawn enough for the package I received in today's mail. Months ago I participated in one of Karen's running challenges and won the "pinkest mile award." The bounty arrived today: candies, cards, Canadian fitness magazines and the cutest Running Blog Family shirt!

'Stocking Up' on Whole Foods

One of the best books I read this year was Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma , and one of my favorite sections was his deconstruction of the latest food craze, the organics movement. A good primer appears in an e-newsletter I receive explaining the labeling and also listing foods prone to pesticide contamination. According to The Environmental Working Group, these 12 fresh fruits and vegetables are consistently the most contaminated with pesticides. Apples Bell peppers Celery Cherries Grapes (especially imported) Nectarines Peaches Pears Potatoes Red raspberries Spinach Strawberries The least contaminated by pesticides: Asparagus Avocados Bananas Broccoli Cauliflower Sweet corn Kiwi Mangos Onions Papayas Pineapples Sweet peas Speaking of fruits and vegetables, my favorite fall/winter fruit is the persimmons. But I've yet to see the lush orange orbs at any farmer's markets or supermarket displays around here. The one spot I found is se

On a More Somber Note

The mood was different at the gym on base yesterday. Nobody was smiling or even really into their workouts and traffic was lighter than usual for that time of day. On my way home, I saw TV crews parked at the entrance to the gate and reporters doing live shots. They were there last week too, when it turned out a military jet had crashed a couple of miles from my house . I'd been hunkered down all day at work and didn't realize the war in Iraq had claimed more casualties close to home . This likely explains why the guy with the Virginia Tech T-shirt, who usually is friendly to this fellow Hokie, just stared straight ahead during his exercises. I wonder if he and the others there that day were trying to remember ... or forget.

The Results Are In

Anne Sxxxx 44 F 4/4 San Diego CA 0:57:53 09:19 I'm still happy. And surprisingly not hungover.

Race Review: 2006 Mainly Masters 10k

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Conditions were perfect on Fiesta Island this morning for the always low-key Mainly Masters 10k. Sunny and in the 40s with a nice breeze to keep the sweat from accumulating. The very flat course involves running an inner loop and then outer loop around the Mission Bay undeveloped island. There actually are two races: one for runners under 40 and one that starts 30 minutes later for masters runners. There is, however, only one official clock, so those of us in the second race keep time on our stopwatches. Pacing off the mile markers usually isn’t a problem; however, the city repaved a big portion of the Fiesta Island road last week, so we had no mile markers to guide us, nor time keepers. Like I said, this one’s small and very low-key and, quite honestly, why it ranks as a local favorite for this Zen runner. I picked a comfortable pace for the first loop and upon starting the second ran up to a track club member named John. (RBF members at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon meet-up: John’s t

This Eye of the Tiger Has Cataracts

In movies about aging athletes making a comeback, things don’t begin smoothly. There are numerous defeats before the moment the stars miraculously align, the penultimate punch unfolds in slo-mo and the background music builds to a crescendo. My return to “competitive” running on Saturday is going to resemble one of the later Rocky movies, specifically the part where the boxer gets his first serious ass-whooping. This became clear to me during the third of four 1600s at 10k pace during Tuesday night’s workout. For those unfamiliar with the track, 1600 equals 1 mile. You run four laps fast and then jog another before starting again. Those racing this weekend got a free pass and didn’t have to do the full six-mile set. I’d done something beforehand to get me fired up. I went to my old track club’s web site and looked up recent results, searching for women I remember racing more than a decade ago. I was amazed at how many names I recognized and even more awed that they still clocked s

Nature on the Rebound

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We opted this year to spend our annual post-Thanksgiving family hike in East County, specifically in an area ravaged three years ago by the Cedar fire. The blaze would eventually consume a third of San Diego County, kill 14 people and come within a a couple of hundred yards of our own home well northwest of here. I was, of course, running when disaster hit. This one would have been easy to run, but my fellow hikers like to linger. I did too that weekend, given an earlier blood donation left me lagging physically for several days. At least this time my multivitamin and last-minute spinach-stuffing got me past the iron screening. We took two trails. One riperian, where we were cooled by a canopy of twisty oaks and the trickle of a nearby stream. The other was up to a rocky summit that proved far more difficult to reach, just as a hiking guide had warned. The last stretch is pretty much slick slate and loose gravel, with nothing for shoes to grab for traction. And if you do make it

Oh, Yoohoo...

An interesting Indiana University study released this week suggests chocolate milk may be as good as Gatorade for a post-workout beverage. Got chocolate milk? (Kansas City Star) Study claims chocolate milk may be good for athletes (Barre-Montpelier Times Argus) Milk does a body good, or does it? (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

Counting Down the Seconds

Now that I've established a new running base (which is half my weekly distance before injury), I decided it was time to rededicate myself to the track. So I showed up last night at Balboa Stadium for the SDTC's annual Turkey Trot. Everyone arrives at 5:30 to record their predicted time for two miles. Then we warm up and remove any watches or other time-telling devices. At 6, we take off, with runners moving into Lane 1 by the time we've done our first rotation. A timer calls out our first split just to help people sense their pace. On the final lap, we move to Lane 9, and note the official stopwatch time as we finish. The man and woman who come closest to meeting their prediction win a big frozen turkey. I ended up running the entire time with my friend Vicki, and I ran my mouth the entire time too. Now, this actually helps me in tempo runs. I can maintain a faster pace if I talk. But it does have its drawbacks, mainly you easily loose track of your laps. By our fifth ro

What Is Wrong With These People?

I've had this title to a Po Bronson book on my mind all day, thanks to a recommendation by a dear friend. And just as I was convinced there are no limits to the depths of my family's dysfunction, I find out that the Los Angeles justice system is way more screwed up than anyone I know. You've got a man who mows down 10 innocent people fleeing an accident, injures 70 others, shows no remorse and never even apologizes for the carnage he created -- he even blames the victims at the scene! He's given the harshest verdict by a jury, called callous by the sentencing judge and then gets off scot-free because it would cost taxpayers too much to care for him in prison. The only consolation for those poor families is knowing that once George Weller dies, he won't be joining their lost loved ones in the afterlife. Probation for elderly driver in deadly farmers market crash

Try This One On For Size

Excuse me while I admire my new windbreaker from last weekend's track club awards dinner and instead steer you toward's my article on today's Complete Running Web site . Doesn't look like I'll have a chance to try out my new jacket anytime real soon. Today's forecast: sunny and in the 90s.

These new Mizuno running shoes

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...feel like we were meant for each other from the first time we met. ...supposedly know how to handle my formerly fractured hip, according to the guy at Movin’ Shoes. So far, he’s telling the truth. ...are allergic to fresh asphalt. ...have a hard time believing my first pair of running shoes came from a general store that sold far more food than footwear. ...want you to know I lie about my weight. ...seem far more punctual than I recall the Sauconys ever being. ...wanna know what’s up with the flabby arms. I mean, didn’t I use those "a-firming" crutches all summer? ...are as pissed as I am about that last parking ticket. ...ain’t buying that for my Confirmation during college, I was blessed with a brand new pair of Brooks instead of a Bible like everyone else. [True story, swear to God.] ...wish they went to the gym more often. I tried explaining that some of us have a job to do where we occasionally must work unexpectedly longer and harder, to which they resp

An Open Invitation

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Say you are running just before daybreak and you notice a mechanical gate at the end of a quiet residential street is mysteriously left open. It’s one of those heavy wrought iron fences flanked by dense foliage to help insulate the fancy housing development just beyond. The neighborhood sits high on a hill, metaphorically suggesting those within must look down on the rest of us. It’s still dark, though not for long. And it’s quite foggy, so there’s a good chance you can run in without being picked up by the surveillance cameras – or picked out of a police lineup. Besides, though you are clearly disobeying the big Do Not Trespass signs, all you want to steal are glimpses. Do you do it? [Photo by Sher Hogue at DPChallenge.com .]

Meet Me Halfway

Today's fitness section of the local newspaper talks about the growing popularity of half-Ironmans and half marathons. In 2004, the World Triathlon Corporation, which essentially owns the Ironman name, licensed six half-Ironman races. By this year that figure had mushroomed to 18. Next year the figure will climb to 22. There are a number of reasons tri junkies are longing to swim 1.2 miles, bike 56 and run 13.1. It's a significant accomplishment, yet not so daunting and time consuming as an Ironman; More people are joining the sport at the grass roots level, as evidenced by USA Triathlon's increased membership – approximately 80,000 this year, compared to 40,299 in 2004; With a growth in Ironman-distance events, plus novices taking up the sport, the veterans and the newbies are compressing at both ends, creating a demand in the middle. Similar reasons are given for the growth in half marathons, which experienced the largest jump of any road-race distance. The num

Inspiration: noun, in(t)-spe-'rÁ-shen

To running bloggers like D and Shore Turtle : Thanks for reminding me that being the best you can be takes hard work. If the outcome comes close to your level of training – and it will! -- you’ll be sporting big, big smiles in about another week, just like all the other outstanding bloggers who’ve gone before you this season. So many PRs! You people keep this up and I might have to do something crazy like track my mile splits. To Louise: Thanks for giving me more incentive to go to the gym. Sitting across from you at lunch today and discovering you’re almost 10 pounds lighter, 3 inches trimmer and, gosh darn it, 6 minutes faster than me now made me pedal harder and farther on that bike. Who knows, your 200-calorie salads could be next. To Cate: Thanks for that e-mail mentioning that because of me you started running. And now here you are heading into your first half marathon. We’ve come a long way since drunken dinners before Leon Russell concerts, haven’t we? I know I was suppos

Let's Talk Politics

I distinctly remember the first time I headed to the polls. I was barely 18 and didn't even know I was registered. But my mother did and came into my bedroom one spring primary afternoon to announce I was coming with her to stop some politicians from ruining the country. Sounded good to me. Thus, I duly casted votes for politicians I'd never heard of, that day or thereafter. They all lost. Some years later, when my mother thought she was dying, she bestowed upon my sisters and me some of her most cherished items. My sisters got jewelry and artwork. I got old photographs and a pile of thank you letters dating back to the Lyndon B. Johnson Administration. They were all short, obligatory missives from legislative aides, lacking any of the conviction in my mother's original letters. There also were a couple of White House reports thrown into the batch from the Nixon years, the kind mass-mailed to voters with addresses on file. Two things occurred to me as I sifted through th

The Way to Be Remembered

It takes a lot to get me off the couch at this hour just to write a blog post. I think everyone should read this column by Bill Plaschke in today's Los Angeles Times. Make sure you read it to the very end. I should warn you: Keep the Kleenex close.

Another Time, Another Place

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The other week I was rummaging through old photo albums to prepare for my daughter’s birthday party and I found pictures from my New York City Marathon 10 years ago. The event itself would be marked by one of my more embarrassing mishaps. See, I always wore a very old pair of my husband’s swimming trunks for good luck. They had deep pockets, which I filled to the max on that bitter-cold morning. Combined with the ancient waistband’s eroded elastic, the drawers dropped just as I entered Brooklyn. Suddenly bare-assed (well, I did have on skimpy undies...) and tripping, I moved to a median and used a safety pin from my running bib to keep my bottoms secured. I remember shaking as a policeman came over to yell, “Hey, get offa there!” Over the course of the next four hours, the swim trunks kept coming loose, forcing me to stop and tighten them again and again. Why I didn’t just fasten them to my shirt, I’ll never know. I had a newspaper column back then and this one published on the e

Mark All Read

During my seven-week hiatus, I discovered something: I love to lurk. I continued to periodically sift through all those blogs that provide me so much information and entertainment. For the most part, though, I kept my comments to myself. Oh, occasionally I couldn’t contain myself and I’d pepper someone’s post with a poorly worded response. But my quiet existence didn’t mean I wasn’t keeping up. One of you got a jolt during her Hawaiian honeymoon and another announced her engagement. Three of you celebrated wedding anniversaries, and one let everyone know the marriage was over. One couple campaigned on behalf of their photogenic dog, while others raised money for charities. One just coming off a serious ankle injury could still use our help meeting a looming fund-raiser deadline. Some of you ran longer or faster than you ever have before. A couple of you won a race outright. Two of you told us you plan to direct your first cross-country race. One’s back to swimming his heart out.

The Rachael Ray of Running

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I ran outdoors for the first time since June 4. All I knew is it was cool, dark and desolate. Perfect for some soul soothing with each footfall. My grandmother did not go swiftly. She lasted almost a week without food or water, aided only by a morphine patch as her organs systematically shut down. The last of her urine came out crystals. Her necrotic feet turned deep blue. And still she held on in a semi-comatose state, leaving all of us to privately wonder if we’d done right by denying her a feeding tube. No one expected this fight, and certainly not from someone 99 years old. My little sister banged up more than her small SUV during that car crash on her way to church. She came to live with us while she healed from delicate neck surgery involving cadaver parts and titanium plates. Two cooped-up drama queens with similar DNA, one in constant need of painkillers, played out just as you’d expect. During all the turmoil, I had trouble regaining gro

Until there are more hours in the day

Signs are popping up around me that everything but my waistline is stretched too thin at the moment. Run DMZ is going on hiatus until Oct. 29, when daylight savings ends and we get to push back the clock an hour. By then, my latest work project should be ready for Barnes & Noble displays nationwide and my latest freelance piece will be in the bag. My grandmother will be in a better place, whether it’s back home or in heaven. My baby sister will have found a new car to replace the one she totaled yesterday. My own baby will be 18 years old. My college kid will continue to make me proud, and my husband will have started a new career. By then, I also should have good reason to write about running again.

A run for the money

It wasn't as big of news as Katie anchoring the evening news or Rosie rejoining daytime TV, but I recently lost my title as CFO of our household. The chairman decided he didn't like how I handled the finances and, without notifying the other shareholders in the family, began a hostile takeover. Driving home today from a weekend trip to Pasadena to attend an outdoor concert with my sister, I began plotting how I'd shuffle funds to hide certain expenses like my new oldies CD featuring "Bertha Butt Boogie." It's a lot harder when I can't control Quicken and can't make sense of his bookkeeping style. I paid bills every Saturday; he waits until the day before they are all due. I rounded up amounts so the ledger looked "pretty"; he pays to the exact penny. I pulled us into the red by honoring any on-the-spot procurement requests for Stila makeup, Discount Dance shoes, running shoes, cute shorts, jog bras galore, Coolmax socks, Balance bars, ebay

Back at the lake

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Hard to believe, but I was too busy at 5:30 a.m. yesterday to go for my 30-minute walk before work. Then, after a wonderful lunch at Casa de Pico and card store shopping with my friend Jeanette, I got stuck in a traffic jam a mile from my house and lost the will to work out at the gym that afternoon. Still, that chicken and black bean tostada wore heavy on me, and the meal's huge iced tea left me twitching to do something . So around 6:30 I threw on my gym clothes and headed out for an early evening walk. It was approaching closing time when I began up the hill into Lake Miramar, part of my regular morning running route when I'm not nursing fractured bones. In all the years I've lived here, I've never come to the lake at this time of day. The first thing that struck me was that I was not alone. Kids on skateboards were heading to the lake, as were two seperate dog owners out for a stroll. Then I noticed all the cars in the first lot. Far more than I imagined for a p

That $5 bag of plums

One thing that I escaped during my months of sequestration is coming face to face with a certain segment of our society. I live among the city’s most privileged and its most impoverished, all in one block. Between the million-dollar homes down the street are canyons occupied by illegal residents, two of whom startled me during my morning walk today. They were coming out of a wooded area as I was rounding a corner, and I jumped. Then I moved on at a quick clip with my arms swinging emphatically, something that they likely mistook for anger or fear instead of a fitness thing. They had no idea that I’ve been thinking a lot about their plight since reading in Sunday’s Los Angeles Times magazine about the current conditions of many migrant workers in the San Joaquin Valley, birthplace of many fruits and vegetables likely on display at your supermarket. I highly recommend everyone read the excellent piece of journalism by Mark Arax and photographer Matt Black. It may not change your view of

Glad to be among the labored

I spent the holiday weekend quickly re-acclimating to a much more active life. I ran my own errands, dished with one friend at a cool cafe in Normal Heights, drove another friend -- long the chauffer on our adventures -- to the movies in Poway and in general enjoyed having more say in my day. I even hit a Coronado beach Sunday, making it on my own through the thick sand and standing with my daughter for as long as I wanted while the teeth-rattling Pacific lapped at my unsightly two-toned legs. I walked 15 minutes early Saturday morning, then 20 on Sunday and 30 today, with an increasingly fainter feeling in my injured hip. I spent a couple of hours today doing work at a Starbuck's and now, jacked up on caffeine, I could sure use another walk. My goal is to keep at it by the time the MRI’s findings are revealed later this month. That’s when I hope to quicken my steps and breaths into a full-out run. In the meantime, I’m content to just be able to mail bills down the block or grab A

X-Ray Vision

I nodded off while undergoing today's latest round of diagnostics at the hospital. I think that proves I've grown way too comfortable with this procedure and staff. Another MRI scheduled for Sept. 15 will either confirm that my stress fracture of the femoral neck is healed, or reveal that the bone's splintered again. Apparently my description of the lingering pain sans crutches indicates either. I, of course, hope it's just muscle atrophy and not a further fracture. One thing is certain, to the orthopedist anyway. I'm done running marathons. His parting words: "Maybe you should consider riding a bike instead." Then I'd have to change this blog to Ride DMZ. And that just doesn't sound good to me.

Music to My Muscles

I thought I’d share the latest hour-long playlist that I use when I’m working out (and remember to bring my MP3 player) at the gym. It doesn’t sync as sweetly as the Nike techno CD that Dianna and Juls both wrote about recently. But it sets the proper pace where needed, keeps me going towards the end and then mellows me out for crunches and stretching. And, someday, these songs will remind me of the summer I didn’t run, and for awhile didn’t mind. 1. “Red Light” by Jonny Lang 2. “Suddenly I See” by KT Tunstall 3. “Time Bomb” by Goldspot 4. “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol 5. “Everybody’s Changing” by Keane 6. “Mama’s Room” by Under the Influence of Giants 7. “Oh Mandy” by The Spinto Band 8. “Who Said” by Hannah Montana (yes, from the Disney Channel…) 9. “4ever” by The Veronicas 10. “She Doesn’t Get It” by The Format 11. “Move Along” by All-American Rejects 12. “I Like to Move It” from Madagascar 13. “London Bridge” by Fergie 14. “Ramalama (Bang Bang)” by Roisin Murphy 15. “Co

Are we pursuing the wrong personal records?

Go to Complete Running today and read the opinion piece by Adeel that leads today's lineup at the moment. He claims the running blogosphere shouldn't praise mediocrity as it does. He also notes that it's now easier to run a marathon than to run shorter distances at an impressive speed. And he dings both Dean Karnazes and Sam Thompson for their grandstanding, which I find especially interesting. Most running bloggers who've noted both men's achievements have called Karnazes a media whore, while lavishing kudos on Thompson.

More Photos from Chicago

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I really should bring my camera on more business trips, because it's far more fun than just trying to describe places with words. Last time I was in town, tulips were in bloom everywhere. This time, it was more your 'garden variety' plants. Loved the little architectural touches around the Hershey's store, located, not so coincidentally, right across from a Ghiradelli shop. Like most major cities, there are parks everywhere. This is the one where I sat to have my breakfast. Lots of tourists stopped to have their picture taken with the historic water tower building to the left as a backdrop. This photo, taken from an ornate courtyard at a Presbyterian church, and the one below offer a bit of that blend of old vs. new architecture I mentioned in my last post.

Now, Where Was I...

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I always viewed Chicago as being a lot like Boston. Same sport fanaticism and emphasis on architectural excellence, with a nice mix of historic and high-rise buildings. Both have similar greenways and awesome cityscapes lining a waterfront, as well as popular public transit systems, marquee colleges, world-class museums and long, bitter winters. Whenever I visit Boston, I return home fat and happy. Chicago, I’m learning, is no different. I already mentioned that the flight tuckered me out. But I got my second wind just in time to join co-workers and some pretty cool executives for a dinner of deep dish pizza, antipasto salad and wine and, back in my Omni Hotel suite, a hand-delivered pint of the best peach ice cream I’ve ever tasted. I devoured half the carton while watching a movie on one of two giant televisions in my room. I also wondered if those chatty, well-dressed women carrying O magazines in the elevator had been guests of the Oprah Winfrey Show. The next afternoon, a

On the Trail of a Killer

My sister and her husband in Blacksburg, Va., split up earlier this year, and he now lives in an apartment behind The Huckleberry Trail, just several blocks from the Virginia Tech campus. I wrote about my reminiscent run along that pathway last year . Around 7:15 a.m., he heard two pop sounds and ran out back with his neighbors to find a body on the trail, just yards from where the photo in that earlier post was taken. An escaped inmate who’d already killed one security guard and injured another had just scored his second fatality, a sheriff's deputy. That meant that as everyone rushed to the dead officer, this guy was still among them. I’ve been watching CNN all morning for updates and thinking how very creepy it must have felt to anyone running or cycling along that trail at that moment. Not to mention people like my brother-in-law and nephews who witnessed this. Let’s hope the guy’s in custody very soon. UPDATE ON MONDAY AFTERNOON: My sister just called to say the police ha

Big changes coming where everyone loves running

I'll be chiming in later in the week with pictures from my trip to the Midwest. In the meantime, I wanted to alert anyone who hasn't heard yet that Mark and Aaron, along with editor Jeanne, over at Complete Running tomorrow unveil their remodeled site. If you haven't checked it out in a while, or ever, you'll be impressed. [I know because I got a sneak peak.] A lot of hard work's gone into making it the most comprehensive online community for runners of all stripes.

Winded in the Windy City

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It figures. Now that I’ve got the time to explore downtown Chicago, I haven’t the stamina. Traveling as a disabled passenger is harder than I expected. The cane allows me more leeway with luggage but very little support for my hurtin’ hip. For some reason, I feel wiped out. There was a moment of excitement on the way to Lindbergh Field, when our shuttle was suddenly surrounded by 15 (yes, someone counted) police cruisers heading to the U.S. Coast Guard base on Harbor Drive. Being taken into custody at that moment was Mexican drug kingpin Javier Arellano-Felix . DEA agents and police everywhere. Media, too. It was all very Miami Vice. Anyway, the flight itself was uneventful and may be one reason I was in a talkative mood when I made it into the cab at O’Hare. And after we listened to an NPR report on the arrest, I may or may not have cavalierly told the cabbie, “Yeah, I was there and saw it goin’ down.” And about 10 minutes later, when the cabbie finally spoke again – this time int

Season Finale

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Night's nipping at the edges of the day again. Our favorite summer TV show's top dancer is announced tonight, leaving a void in our weeknight family routine. And, most importantly, the nest again is less crowded now that The College Kid is enroute to Sonoma State to start her sophomore year. Excuse me while I deal with some serious separation anxiety.

In this context, there's no disrepect

Remember last month how I mentioned that I got to listen to a popular 10k from my backyard ? Well that same park one Sunday evening each month hosts a community concert. Residents line up their blankets and beach chairs hours in advance and then wine and dine and dance and play cards until the sun sets. It's a nice tradition. Winding down from a very hectic weekend here, I was washing dishes in the kitchen and listening to a band sing the Black-Eyed Peas' "Let's Get it Started," which started out as the politically incorrect "Let's Get Retarded." I used to hum guiltily the latter version all the time during long runs. It made me wonder what those unaware of the original must think the opening lyrics mean. "In this context, there's no disrespect."

How did I miss this?

A few hours ago my husband called me over to watch a Discovery Science show where the topic was hip replacements. They interviewed patients whose injuries and pain sound too familiar and whose outcomes I want to avoid. "You see that? That's going to be you if you aren't careful," he angrily warned. I think he's mad my hip pain always 'worsens' whenever it's time to put away laundry or make dinner. The show sent me online to see just how long this exile is expected to continue. I'm starting to get antsy. Could be from regularly writing on this running blog without actually running. I found an article written by the same medical team now treating me here in San Diego . In the rehab section was this (with my added emphasis): As the patient’s pain decreases, gradually increase from non-weight bearing to touchdown weight bearing to partial weight bearing and eventual discontinuation of crutches. This usually takes 4-6 weeks. Coordinate rehabilitatio

Now this is how to work it

My friend Louise passed along a clip of a music video featuring a treadmill ballet while band members lip synch the song " Here We Go Again ." And I thought watching TV while maintaining a decent speed took skill....

Ratting Me Out

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I’m in love with the gym again, and this time it’s different. I’m not shopping for cute outfits at The Sports Authority, hoping the hot looking Lycra fools folks into believing I can’t be the woman who fell on her face during step aerobics or broke wind in the middle of yoga. No, now I dress like everyone else at my gym – strictly for comfort. Here, only effort counts. So now I count on warming up on the rowing machine, especially if someone’s next to me that I can try to “out row.” Then it’s on to the stationary bike, where I try not to be discouraged that peddling steadily around 100 RPMs on Level 6 only burned 200 freakin’ calories. Lately, the cardio’s been followed with a few core exercises done by everyone in the family. The Nautilus machines are next. Now that I’m weaning myself from the crutches, my biceps and triceps need more attention. I’m working up to one of those spin classes, too, though at the moment just looking into the room intimidates me. Of course, I really look

How to Boil Water

I'd just finished reading in the Sunday newspaper that the mayor was asking everyone just north of my ZIP code to boil tap water or buy it bottled when Tara, my old training partner, called to see if "my" Starbucks was opened. "Hers," less than two miles away, was not. Everything, she told me, was closed. Our little shopping village was indeed packed, with the line for mocha choca lattes snaking out the door. Later, when we returned some movies at the local Blockbuster, I saw for myself that every restaurant -- from McDonald's to Chili's to the tony Mesquite Grille -- was closed just up the freeway from us. This outage extended into Escondido, impacting hundreds of thousands of people -- many of whom, I assure you, eat out on Sundays. They dine out every other day of the week too. Nobody cooks in this town, which must be why raw foods are all the rage. It seems e. coli and another coliform , indicating fecal matter's in the water system, were discov

The Best Medicine

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I’ve been running mighty low on endorphins this summer, so I was all too ready to join my neighbor last night for a humorous talk on Simpsons family values from an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer of that long-running show. His mom convinced him to speak for free at the swim and racquet club, which was packed for the occasion. The jokes were, of course, as politically incorrect as the show. Everyone in the decidedly older audience loved it and the clips he brought. (Typical offhand remark: “I’m not really a Jew. I’m more Jew ish .”) Afterward, we all wondered how much of what he said was accurate versus artistic license. Some of the things he mentioned: After 17 years, the show still works with the original cast, a handful of people who do more than 200 voices for $250,000 a week. The woman behind the voice of 10-year-old Bart is now 48. Bruce Springsteen’s one of the few musicians to repeatedly refuse show offers. Celebrity he least liked working with: Oprah. (Whom, he s

To those halted by the heatwave

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We Californians were just in your sweaty shoes. Two words for you: frozen grapes.

I think I cane, I think I cane

Not quite the good news I was expecting, but the doctor says there are signs of new bone where it should be. The x-ray tech still can't believe I didn't do this by falling. I still can't drive, though. But if I religiously use my crutches, rather than continue to behave like the lapsed patient I've been the past week, then in two weeks, when it's time to fly to Chicago for a business trip, I can use a cane he gave me today. I did groan when I saw the thing, and he did admit, it makes me look older. Then again, it could be worse. It could make me look fat.