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Showing posts from March, 2006

One Year Later: It's All Relative

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I launched this blog exactly one year ago to convey the important concepts and technologies I came across in my line of work. At the time, I had no idea how many others far more knowledgeable and articulate were contributing to this collective. Wanting a clever name, I settled on something catchy: Run-DMZ. It combined my favorite pastime with an IT term, and it was a twist on the familiar name Run-DMC, a hip hop group that, truthfully, I know only from one overplayed pop song. Plus, DMZ stands for demilitarized zone, and it seemed apropos given last year I transitioned from a military life to a civilian one. Most of those early entries focused on information security and privacy, with an occasional update on my running or other experience, such as my guest stint on a popular radio station. Then the focus changed when I joined Complete Running’s Running Blog Family and posts shifted from the DMZ to the Run. Comments trickled in from old friends and family, then new folks. At some poi

Being Mistaken for the Breadwinner

This morning, while waiting for my tardy training partner at Miramar Lake, I noticed a flock of ducks and a few geese mosey up the path in front of me. The geese in particular looked a little angry. With my running pal a no-show, I decided to dash into the restroom before heading off. Only soon as I tried to open the bathroom door, I was rushed by a mob of honking geese and ducks. I quickly shut the door, wondering how badly a duck can bite. Then I heard a flush from the other side of the four-stall building and decided to make a break for it. After I escaped unscathed, I asked the police officer who'd also been indisposed what was up with these territorial birds. He explained that the Vietnamese woman who feeds them bread each morning was running late. "She never comes up this far," he said, "but they don't know that." That I am a short woman with deep-set eyes and happened to be covered in cracker crumbs must have added to their confusion, though the off

Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

Today I wrote about how one in five employees currently use company resources to look up porn, gamble online, check on their favorite sports, read personal e-mail, shop on eBay and hook up through an online dating service. Interestingly, those who work in manufacturing are most likely to go looking for love right under their bosses' noses. And lest one think it's a man thing, consider also that engineers, another heavily male field, are among the most behaved when it comes to their work Web surfing. I'm not surprised by the findings, given the long hours we now all work and the Web-enabled mobile devices we now are issued to keep at it once we're home. Report: Looking for love in all the wrong places

Leo Carillo Run: Tough One but not a Rough One

Yesterday our marathon training group headed back to Poinsettia Park in Carlsbad for another major bun-burner. The course took us inland, up Palomar Airport Road, where traffic on the six-lane thoroughfare whips by going at least 55 mph. We then turned into newer residential developments with some grand views. The entire course was a series of rolling hills, which in runnerspeak means “relentless.” Most were long, gradual inclines or declines but along miles-long Melrose Avenue the terrain contained some serious dips and climbs in elevation. It was an out-and-back, which gave us the advantage of knowing what to expect the second half. I’m not sure it helped some conquer the hills any better, but it was a big bonus for me. I started out conservatively, easily talking up a storm and mentally noting the first part on Hidden Valley Road was a steep decline, which meant I’d have to save something at the end to get back up it. “I’m not opposed to walking this after doing 15 miles,” I told

The Real 'Workout' in Tempo Runs

Before I begin, here's a wonderful tribute to Ursula Rains in today's Union-Tribune. And for a glimpse of what Tuesday nights at Balboa Stadium are like, here’s a recent write-up in the local newspaper. This week was our last group tempo run for the marathon season; next week we do fartleks (“speed play”) and then switch to 800s until the marathon in June. For those not-in-the-know, tempo runs are also called threshold runs. They’re done at 75-85% of your maximum heart rate. Basically you run faster than normal, but not so fast that you can’t maintain the speed for the duration of the run, either in preset minutes or miles. You can talk, if you must, but not in full paragraphs. At least not without a lot of effort. I do tempo runs with the training group on Tuesday evenings and then again with a training partner on Thursday mornings. The workouts are quite a contrast, but both have their merits. On Tuesdays, I barely speak once the workout’s underway. I stay focused on fi

Time to Face the Music on DRM

There's a contentious article on just how much battery usage and storage space are sucked up when you download music files that have copyright protections, such as iTunes. If you have a non-iPod player, as I do, you definitely notice that you can't load as much iTunes music as you can straight-off-the-CD songs on your playlists. My Rio Cali uses a AAA battery and lasts up to 10 hours. I never run that long in one stretch, so the situation suits my needs. If you find, however, you aren't able to fit as many files as you'd like, it might be the DRM (digital rights management) wrapped around the file. That also goes for the PC where your music library is stored. Our computer memory took a huge hit once everyone created their own iTunes library. Just something to keep in mind if you fear a computer crash or if your MP3 player seems to konk out, and at the most inopportune moment.

Things Are Getting Curioser and Curioser

I think Donald in his comment on my last post is right -- it does seem colder this year. And I have two recent incidents to back me up. I just returned from a trip to Henry's Marketplace in Poway and saw mountains in the distance covered with snow. SNOW! That's a first, and I've travel that route about once a week for almost five years. Even more strange was a pile of slush I found during my morning run yesterday. Corner of Ironwood and Red Cedar streets. 5:30ish in the morning. I stopped, kicked it and then bent down and touched it. It was cold and poruous. And dirty on the edges, like sidewalk slush you'd find during a snowmelt. I smelled it and it was odor free. I didn't taste it, though. There are limitations to my curiosity. The slush lined the entire street corner but was gone by the time I came back through about 30 minutes later. By then the sun was up. For the life of me, I can't figure out how the snow got there. Even if someone dumped it, which is

I Take It All Back

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( My photo of Scripps Ranch sunrise.) I want it to stop raining. I want it to warm up during the day. Low 70s, please. I want my sunrise runs to look like this again. If this is someone's way of punishing me for breaking my Lenten promise, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee. And I detest all my sins, especially any involving Cheese Doodles on a Tuesday afternoon two weeks ago.

This Won't Leave a Mark, I Promise

What do dogs do to mark their territory? They pee, usually in full view and on the lightest colored carpet in the house. And how does the woman of the house mark her territory upon returning from an extensive trip? By picking up piled newspapers still in their plastic case; sifting through a huge pile of mail for bills; clearing out molded leftovers from a crowded fridge; vacuuming crumbs embedded in the carpet; loading up on laundry; going over grocery lists; doing the dishes; clearing the dining room table; watering parched plants; and rapidly and repeatedly spraying Lysol to all surfaces of two long ignored bathrooms. All while trying to pretend she’s not ‘pissed off.’ Actually, I live with a clever bunch that agreed in advance to hand out water and Gookinaid this morning during our two-hour marathon pace run. That gesture, especially given the high winds and spotty rain this morning, left them golden with me all day. And, truthfully, the anger I currently harbor is nothing compar

My Kid, the Placeholder

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I'm still on the road and lacking time for any detailed posts until I return to San Diego this weekend. But I will have more on my (mis)adventures, including a bizarre bar encounter; a hotel fire; and, of course, some bathroom humor. Meantime, my college kid recently sent a slew of pictures and I wanted to share some of her shots from campus life. Unfortunately, I've only been successful getting one of them to upload on Blogger. So, here you go. That's my daughter, who just turned 19 last week, third from left and wearing a pink shirt.

What Is It About This Place?

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Seattle is such a clean city. Must be because it showers more than most other metropolitan areas. And it's people are pretty laid back, despite drinking so much coffee from the ubiquitous Starbucks or Seattle's Best. I also noticed for the first time that in just about every older residential neighborhood of white, beige and otherwise neutrally-toned homes, someone's gotten away with siding their house in robin's egg blue, royal blue, sky blue or orange. My cabbie couldn't explain the odd color scheme either. And how cool is the morning or afternoon commute with a snow-covered volcano in view?! The image of the sun-dappled Mt. Rainier from my plane in the late afternoon was truly a site to behold. And, as always, I thought to myself: Why the hell didn't I bring my camera?! As with too many other visits I've made here, I can't fully enjoy all the city has to offer because once again I encountered major airport delays that ate into my leisure time. It

Gripe, and Ye Shall Receive

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Temps that never top the 40s. Gale-force winds. Thunderstorms. Hailstorms. Heavy rain. Light rain. And snow in higher elevations. And through all but lightning and snow did our merry group of marathoners-in-training go as we ran around Coronado “Island” (it’s actually an isthmus) and the Silver Strand bike path that connects it to Imperial Beach. For the most part, we were lucky. Thick, ominous clouds held tight during our warm-up at Tidelands Park this morning. Many of us had awakened hours before to thunderstorms and pounding rain, but neither was present at the start. And many had heeded advice to wear windbreakers or synthetic material to mitigate the pending downpour. I’d brought 60 big black garbage bags for those who needed them, but few did. That’s good because the track club president/volunteer coordinator immediately swiped them to, of all things, collect trash. With the downtown San Diego skyline to our right and picturesque parks and neighborhoods to our left, we moved

The Winter of Our Discontent

On Tuesday I sat next to two guys from Ottawa at a technology conference. Soon as they heard I was a San Diegan, the gushing began. Oh, you’re so lucky to live in this weather. I told them that, sure, it’s great, but there’s a downside to an endless summer. Constantly good weather leaves no natural downtime. Your grass never stops growing; neither do your outdoor plants. That means you either devote considerable time to maintaining mandatory well manicured yards or pay someone else a tidy sum to help you keep up appearances. Those weekly gardener’s fees eat into household budgets already stretched by unrealistic housing costs if you had the misfortune to move here within the last four years. Your car gets dusty almost daily from months without rain. Gotta wash and wax it far more often than in other parts of the country. Gas prices are outrageous compared to everywhere but Hawaii, and because the weather’s always great, you’re more inclined to hit the road. In a county the size of Co

I Meant To Do This On Monday

But then I decided it made more sense to put it off until today. For those who fully embrace National Procrastination Week , some useful tips and tools: Just How Out of Whack Are Things? Getting Your Home in Order (click on buttons in each room) Getting Your Office in Order (ditto) A Reality Check

Why AARP Dues Eventually Bankrupt Me

From the MSN Life Expectancy Calculator : If you continue maintaining healthy habits, you'll want to plan for a maximum life expectancy of 101 years or more. Your "ideal" weight for maximum longevity is: 127 lbs. The three biggest positive factors that you have going for you are: 1. Age 2. Gender 3. Age of grandparents The one biggest negative factor that you have going for you is: 1. Family health

Today I Told Everyone to Take a Hike

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There are only two days I can depend on my family doing as I ask: my birthday and Mother's Day. It isn't May, so.... I told my husband and daughter Alex we were going for a Sunday morning hike. And I even went easy on them and scrapped the strenuous Mount Woodson climb I'd planned for the very easy San Elijo Lagoon trails between Solana Beach and Encinitis. The trailhead's a little hard to find if you aren't familiar with the area. Take the Lomas Santa Fe exit off the 5 freeway and head east (inland) to Highland Drive. Turn left, go to the end and take another left onto El Camino Real. The entrance, shrouded in trees, is on the left about a half mile up and just before the curve onto La Orilla. Runners outnumbered walkers/hikers 4:1 out there, and I could understand why. It's relatively flat, mostly single track sand trails that run through a wide variety of vegetation throughout the ecological preserve. The exception was the very narrow and rocky pa

Race Review: Sue Krenn 15k

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I think my smile 30 to 40 yards from the finish says it all about today’s Sue Krenn 15K in Mission Bay. [Thanks, Cindy E. for the photo!] I started too fast and kept getting swept up as crowds moved by me between miles 1 and 2.5, where I sidled up to a woman named Cathy training for the Boston Marathon. This made the Fiesta Island leg, which is short on visual distractions, go by more quickly for me. We kept each other company at a very steady, somewhat comfortable pace until around Mile 7 of the 9.4-mile course through Mission Bay Park. The sidewalks were full of racers, another training group and plenty of people out for a morning walk. It required a lot of weaving. Cathy cruised slightly ahead, and I decided to track her down for the final mile. I came within 10 seconds of doing just that and finished in 1:24:22 (by my watch), an 8:58 overall pace. That’s a full 5+ minutes faster than last year’s Sue Krenn! My downward spiral continues.

Oh, the Sacrifices We Might Make

Last night someone asked what everyone was giving up for Lent, and I realized I hadn’t given it any thought. I’ve always had trouble with these 40-day contracts, and since childhood I've inserted conditional language than runs counter to the sacrificial spirit of the season. I’ve successfully given up soda (Diet Coke, specifically), chocolate (milk and dark but not necessarily white) and chips (potato, not tortilla). I remember Sister Mary Ignatius lecturing us about the true meaning of penitence during the Lenten season. The stern talk came immediately after I told my fifth-grade CCD class I was giving up ice cream that winter. Actually, I agreed only to give up Friendly’s ice cream cones served from a specific restaurant's walk-up window in Westerly, R.I. This year, beginning this day, I’m giving up something that’s become a bane: snacks. Some of my ‘snacks’ have grown so large in portion that they technically constitute a meal. I don’t know how I’ll live without them, thou

We All Need the Human Touch

My friend Jeff C. in Las Cruces, N.M., yesterday sent along a Yahoo story about one man's crusade to get a live voice on the line. I wanted to share this guy's site with everyone that hates dealing with computers when trying to get some answers or service on the other end of the phone. It's Called Get Human and provides a laundry list of codes to circumvent the mechanical voices and reach a real one.