Showing posts from May, 2006

Don't Shed a Tear

Last night was our last pre-marathon meet-up at Balboa Stadium. We have this really nice way of ending the short workout with the fastest runners forming a “people chute” at the end of the last lap of our marathon pace mile. As more people finish, the line grows longer and louder till the back-of-the-packers are treated to the most rousing welcome of claps, cheers and high fives. Watching the slowest runners, grinning and pumping their arms as they proudly move through, always gets me misty-eyed. And tearful I have been of late. I’ve cried over an injury that now threatens five months’ worth of training. Then I’ve cried over being so shallow as to obsess about maybe missing a marathon. It’s just a race, right? And, let’s face it, it’s not like I’m even ‘racing.’ So, really, what gives? Before, during and after the track workout, I moaned to anyone within earshot. Let me tell you, I am surrounded by generous souls. Not only did everyone listen to me gripe repeatedly, but some who

Paying respects

First I thought of visiting my favorite Coronado beach. Then two teenagers in the family suggested shopping. I, in turn, mentioned that MTV’s “TRL” was filming in Mission Beach – a less costly excursion they chose to ignore. I considered stopping by the traveling Vietnam Memorial at Balboa Park or maybe taking in the span of flags marking each tombstone at Fort Rosecrans. But in the end, I opted to stay home and just relax on a rare Monday off. Sipping the last of my morning tea on our backyard patio, I thought of a lone woman idling in a very old, paneled station wagon that I passed on Sunday mornings for several years. She never left the car; she never looked at me as I ran by. Sometimes her presence was a comfort, especially on a couple of occasions when I’d caught the attention of a coyote. Other times, I wondered if maybe I annoyed her, given I never was too sure I belonged in her presence. Did she see me stop under the sprinklers on really warm days? Move off into distant brus

This place won't take any of your crap

Sign inside a unisex restroom in Santa Clarita, Calif.: The line for "urinating only" was long, but the crowd amused itself by guessing how many incidents it took to prompt another sign inside the service station. That one asked patrons to please hang up the gas nozzle before driving away.

I feel like a pro

After spending a lot of time conducting a self-examination and a subsequent self-diagnosis, I've concluded I mysteriously pulled my groin muscle. It's a mild strain, which may explain why I don't recall the moment I injured it. [And, may I add, I am displaying remarkable restraint right this moment by refraining from further comment, including bad puns and off-colored quips.] Treatment does not seem to include helping drive a stick-shift stationwagon for 22 hours over the next two days, with a thorough cleansing of a college dorm suite in between. But that's the course I intend to follow. Will check my progress on Sunday morning. If it works, I may just have to have a few words with the folks at WebMD.

Knock on a knock-off and this is what happens

I went the entire training season without the flu, even the sniffles, or any meaningful complaints from the muscles and tendons in my limbs and hips...until this week. Sunday my right upper quad was sore. Monday I gave it another day's rest. Tuesday I decided not to try the track workout. So this morning I was surprised that the tightness not only was still there but more pronounced during my morning run. In fact, twice my leg buckled-- and at the farthest points from my house. So now I'm on the RICE path and hoping this is not a serious setback. If there's a silver lining, it's that the training is over and I was planning to spend all day Friday and Saturday driving to and from Sonoma with The College Kid and all her dormware. Another forced rest. This is what happens when you brag about being injury-free and back it up by knocking on faux wood. Next time, it's real oak only. P.S. Dennis over at Speedwork makes some valid points about the new partnership between

Great....just great

It's been awhile since I talked about information security and ID thieves that have it so easy these days. The big news both personally and professionally this week has been the home burglar who made off with a laptop holding the ingredients to steal the identities of 26 million U.S. veterans , my husband among them. This bothers me on a number of levels, not the least of which we may be forced to strangle his credit the way we have mine since my identity was put at risk for a third time. A reader at work today made a point I found interesting. Assuming the heist of homegoods was conducted by your garden variety thief, it's possible he or she had no idea how valuable the portable computer was until the news media laid out just what was on that machine and how it could be used. Suddenly the hot property just got hotter. And yet, how could reporters hold back such details?

Manipulating menstrual cycles

Guys, I know you're curious about this, so I'm not going to apologize for wanting to delve into a rather delicate female issue. It's becoming increasingly common for women to take action through artificial hormones to avoid their period during a pivotal event, such as a wedding or even a marathon. I can tell you from personal experience that the latter can cause numerous problems with performance and end up under certain circumstances as ranking among your most embarrassing moments. That is, if things are left to run their natural course. I've never tried to manipulate my monthly cycle, but I've been tempted. I mention this now because I just read this post on Derek's blog and admit the trend toward women eliminating their monthly cycles disturbs me. As inconvenient and painful as menstruation may be (and I know it can be, believe me), there is also something perversely reassuring about their regularity and the relief that immediately follows. Amenorrhea is a

Another training season in review

I wrote this on the eve of the training season to launch our Rockin' 'n' Runnin' essay board. Given tomorrow marks my final run with the group, I thought I'd repost it here. Whether you enjoy running with others or just your thoughts, I hope you can relate. The run where you discovered something new about your surroundings. The run where you discovered something new about yourself. The run where you were so lost in thought that you veered off course, battled a snake, rescued someone’s dog, stopped for a latte and still made it back before the rest of us. The run where every muscle, tendon, joint and inch of skin kept quiet for once, so you finally could contribute to the conversation. The run that threw everyone for a loop. The run that ended with the group finding the solution to world peace. Or at least where to grab breakfast. The run where you made it the entire trip without stopping to use the restroom. The run where someone you admire gave you -- ye

Catch me before I fall

I need a lift. You need a laugh. Check out who currently is ranked fourth (until the summer race series knocks me back to my proper place) in the San Diego Track Club's grand prix standings: Women's Cumulative Grand Prix Scores to Date

New theory on the acid test

I'm still trying to confirm just who sent me today's New York Times story on the benefits of lactic acid during excercise. In the meantime, have a look for yourself. Exercise physiologists now theorize that the lactic acid that builds up during intense exercise is actually a good thing. Of course, try telling my body that after an especially intense interval workout or hours pounding the pavement. Lactic Acid Is Not Muscles' Foe, It's Fuel (reg. req.)

A disaster for mom, it is

My first official Mother's Day I asked to be left alone on a backyard lounge chair to soak up a cloudless sky and crisp copy of the latest Rolling Stone . I lasted all of two hours before the wails of a suddenly hungry 3-month-old got to me. In the years since, my demands have grown grander. Nothing too extravagant, like diamonds or luxury hotels. But I do get to call the shots and do so with abandon some years. Today, however, I went easy on everyone. If that nasty blister weren't still raw when I woke this morning, I'd be telling you about our climb up a local attraction best known for its rock climbing, Mount Woodson. Instead, I decided to ditch the hike and head to the movies to see Poseidon . I have this thing for disaster movies, no matter how campy or contrived. And this one seemed apropos, given my introduction to the genre began many years ago when my own mother took me to see The Poseidon Adventure back in 1972. The day ended with Gilbert firing up the grill

Well, at least the run is done

I finished the 22 miles. Technically. My goal was modest today. Just finish the circuit around the massive Mission Bay recreational complex. And if I hadn’t been consumed with shaking off the chills and keeping down my morning oatmeal, I might even have run all 22 at the exact pace I plan to do on June 4. It started well enough, thanks mostly to Mark, who kept me from starting out too fast or too slow as we moved from home base at Hospitality Point with hundreds and hundreds of others. Team in Training and USAFit were joining us on this one. The first loop is around 7 miles and takes us into South Mission Beach, where we ran with the beach on one side and homes stretched to the sidewalk on the other. In between were plenty of parks. The good-weather streak remains unbroken. Skies were overcast and the air, according to an electronic sign at Mission Bay High School, stayed right around 60. It was a tad humid, but not unbearable by any means. The second loop was on familiar ground

'The dreadin's always worse than the doin''

This is not my story. Another reporter once told me about an Outer Banks fisherman whose plain-sense ditties really stuck with folks. One day he was stalling on an important task: helping his recalcitrant mother evacuate before a hurricane hit. He was tired and wanted to avoid the confrontation and physical labor involved. He finally sighed, lifted himself out of a comfortable chair and announced,"Well, the dreadin's always worse than the doin' anyway." Then he convinced his mother to let him help her get out of town. I can relate. I don't want to discuss the details, but let's just say I've had a pit in my stomach this week that even the strongest of anxiety-induced stomach acid has been unable to dissolve. As a result, I'm heading into Saturday's 22-mile run around Mission Bay with barely any mileage under my belt. And speaking of dread, in case you missed it, science now offers proof to that fisherman's point . A new study says that peop

The heels have it

From Karen in Calgary , on my request to count my 13-minute high-heel dash in the virtual relay: It was timed and measured, on your own feet and in the month of May. ... Works for me.

Rising to the challenge[s]

Sometime this weekend, Mark , a.k.a. "The Running Blogfather," is going to don a runner's skirt and bra in the name of charity. Actually in the name of dozens of charities that fellow running bloggers pledged in an effort to get Mark to wear the women's clothing in a race. It was a novel idea that, though it fell short of the goal, got some of us to donate to a favorite cause. I vowed to give to Bare Necessities, which assists in buying items for a homeless shelter for battered spouses and their children. I decided to go one better today and in addition I attended the 6th annual High Tea Spring Fling hosted by the Hidden Valley House Auxiliary. The house is a safe home in need of renovations. A neighbor couldn't attend and offered me her ticket. It was weird to get gussied up just after arriving home all drenched in sweat from a 2-1/2-hour seaside run. I was outbid during the silent auction, but gladly gave a substantial monetary donation anyway. And I met some

Some More Parting Shots

While I'm either preparing for or recuperating from our marathon training group's scenic La Jolla Cove run Saturday morning, here are some other photos from Bodega Bay that I took with our Minolta manual film camera. The "birds" shots in the previous photos were taken with a Nikon digital camera, circa 2000. The Minolta's almost 20 years old. When it comes to photography equipment, I have serious attachment issues. We were amazed at the lack of safety rails, etc., to prevent someone from falling off the cliffs. But, such proximity also lent itself to some great shots. On our return walk, there were a group of boogie board surfers hanging out in their wet suits on the beach just beyond these wildflowers. Given the rocks and the weather, they were either foolhardy, drunk or, I suspect, a bit of both. The dirt path was surrounded by wildflowers in bloom.

For once, I'm in the correct corral

We got our confirmation cards for the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon yesterday. A year ago when I signed up, I predicted a 4:15 finish. A month ago, I predicted a 4-hour finish. Today, I think 4:15 is gonna be the goal. My monthly, weeklong trips have taken a toll on my training. The group of 4-hour runners I began with back in January now move a mile ahead of me on our long runs. And they're all a track's length ahead during speed workouts. I'm not surprised. A couple of months ago, my friend and renewed runner Tim G. passed along a Web site called The Athletic-Minded Traveler , which is actually a spin-off of a book by the same name. Then I listened to a podcast on Endurance Radio with the author , who noted you can lose as much as 20% of training effort during travel. That sounds just about right. So now the plan is to knock off some of those 8000 runners in front of me on June 4 and still enjoy that familiar foot tour of America's Finest City. The PR can wait unti

This trip was for the birds

Bodega Bay has 950 residents and no downtown, not even a stoplight. But each year 100,000 people pour into the place. People like me, who stop at the Sonoma County Visitors Center to ask about local hikes. A kindly man uses his yellow highlighter to point to some exceptionally easy walks with scenic views. This time of year you can also witness grey whales migrating north with their young. And sea lions and seals basking and barking on a nearby island. I smile and nod. “Thanks so much,” I respond a little too enthusiastically. I don’t move. He doesn’t move. That must mean it’s time to make my move. “By the way, these bird symbols on the map…they wouldn’t be, you know, related to that movie that was filmed here, would they?” He smiles. “Why yes they would. Would you like me to point out some spots you can visit?” He knows. And I know he knows. So, I dispense with pretenses that I’m here to hike and just start gushing about how much I loved that Alfred Hitchcock movie “The Bir

Where the sidewalk ends

This Saturday’s run was like none other. That’s partly because it took place 655 miles from home. It began and ended in Rohnert Park, a small city in the Napa Valley that also happens to be home to Sonoma State University, which this weekend held nightly performances by the school’s dance team. Nestled in a corner of a community located between Petaluma and Santa Rosa, the SSU campus reflects its host city: well-maintained buildings; impeccably groomed grounds; and plenty of park benches to suggest everyone take it easy. Anyone that’s trained for an endurance race such as a marathon knows what the final month is like. It can get pretty intense, especially if you’re a slave to schedules. But I decided long before we left San Diego very early Friday morning that for the weekend to truly feel like a vacation, I needed to ditch the daily obsessions. So, rather than follow carefully choreographed days, I just let everything run its own course. That meant waking Saturday when I wanted