Showing posts from July, 2006

'Life Out of Balance'

This is a big week for me. Tuesday afternoon I return to the hospital, where new x-rays and an orthopedic surgeon will lay it on the line. I’m anticipating a good, but not great, prognosis. To recap: One morning in late May I got out of bed and hurt. I ran anyway. I did some online research and began self-treatment for a groin pull. During a marathon two weeks later, the pain got worse. I ran anyway. Afterward I was diagnosed with a similar hip injury as cyclist Floyd Landis, and now I’m spending the summer trying to keep blood circulating through my femoral neck while bone fuses back together, lest it wither and be replaced. With the decreased mobility, I’ve spent a lot of time at home reading questionable literature and watching way too much television. It’s one thing to admit being addicted to Project Runway , and quite another to realize I’m too emotionally invested in So You Think You Can Dance . This weekend I pulled out a favorite movie from our DVD collection, an unusual docu

Germ scare for yoga enthusiasts

There is a connection between this post and the last one: I've never made it through a Pilates mat class without passing gas. An instructor afterward said something about the way the stomach is engaged. But she was at a loss when I asked why my stomach "engages" so much louder than everyone else in the room. Today's most popular story on the New York Times should be of interest to anyone who does yoga, Pilates or any floor exercises using the studio's mats. Communal Yoga Mats: Beware of Germs

Oh good, it's not just me

Just came across an interesting article from a running journal about why runners might pass more gas than others. Next time someone denies 'cutting the cheese,' remind them of this: The average adult releases one to three pints of intestinal gas daily. Releasing gas 10 to 20 times a day is considered average. Most of this occurs without our knowledge. For more: What is normal gas?

The people you meet in line at the bookstore

Somewhere, the guy who almost beat Scott Jurek today at Badwater , arguably the most difficult road race in the United States, has a lousy snapshot of him and Dean Karnazes taken in a Mira Mesa bookstore. I know because I took the photo. I'd cut in line (with permission, mind you) during a book signing at a Barnes & Noble and my running partner and I chatted it up with the couple behind us while waiting our turn. They were young and friendly and very fit. And I admit I was smitten. They were so modest that I had no idea of their talent. I mean, there wasn't a boastful bone in either's body. He was particularly encouraging as I got all pie-eyed about running my first ultra. He gave specific suggestions and offered some resources. Kristin, his girlfriend, and I immediately began exchanging long e-mails. Remember that 24-hour race in Wakefield, Mass., that was on my race calendar for the first half of the year? It was Kristin's suggestion. She thought I could do it.

Summer Sampler: Cooking the Books

Note: This is the first in an ongoing series on food & nutrition perspectives that I pick up from my focused reading this summer. Today: Why you can’t always trust what you read. Next up: Why you may not be as fat as you think. I’m not a foodie. Foodies don’t combine fried hot dogs with Kraft macaroni and cheese for dinner in a pinch. Nor do they consider how the Two-Buck Chuck at Trader Joe’s might pair with saltines and Easy Cheese spread. But I do devour recipes and television cooking shows and magazines and food blogs and then try to emulate my favorites when time permits. No processed food ingredients. Everything from scratch. Newfangled kitchen appliances a must. Why, I get such a high that sometimes I even clean up my own mess. But my confidence stumbles every time a recipe flops. Granted, sometimes it’s my ingredient substitutions or measurement misreading. But sometimes I’m stumped. After reading the latest issue of SmartMoney magazine , I think I know why my maste

Quick! Where's the guacamole?

Everyone's familiar with the prank called TPing, right? It's where someone in the middle of the night flings rolls and rolls of toilet paper all over your house, your trees, your gardens...leaving quite a public display and mess. If you -- or the vandals -- are extra bad, plastic utensils are implanted throughout your lawn too. The kids call it "getting spooned." Around here, I'm told, being the target of such a stunt is considered a badge of honor. At least in high school circles. In fact, some 'victims' get out their cameras, not as evidence for police but as additions to the family photo album. So what, then, should we make of the fact last night we were "tortilla-ed"? Apparently around here tortillas are thrown on hard-to-reach places, like rooftops, to melt, rendering them unremovable. In our case, the culprits decided to flank our car with the flour versions. Was it our motion-sensored flood lights that forced them to flee before the j

Who wants to do real work anyway

Admit it, this is more fun than whatever you were planning to do for the next, oh, hour. That is, unless you're one of the lucky ones listening to crashing waves or making S'mores right now. This, folks, is what becomes of marathoners who can no longer run. They waste their afternoon typing in every single name of every single person they've known. And then start going through magazines for more options.... The Baby Name Wizard (requires Java)

Getting Away to LA, Part II

My sister Kim is a recreational therapist who works with the mentally ill, many of whom are homeless. Her partner Lisa works in a chi-chi drug rehab center that caters to the rich and famous. Both say a lot of their patients, upon release, head to Santa Monica. After a couple of hours here, I understood the attraction. I can’t say we spotted any celebrities that evening, but we did witness Paris Hilton wannabes holding pooches, watched a furry woman croon Donna Summer songs into her mysteriously blackened finger, and shared a scary shuttle ride with one psychotic woman that didn’t like the looks of us. We’d invited Kim and Lisa, who live 30 minutes away in San Gabriel, to join us for the evening leg of our trip to Los Angeles. The two met us at our hotel, located 3.5 blocks from the beach. Maybe it was the crutches, or maybe it’s just my luck, but I ended up scoring a deluxe, ocean view room for half the price advertised. The service and d├ęcor were excellent, too. Here are a co

Getting Away to LA, Part 1

Even though a serious hip injury's left me hobbling all summer, I decided to stick with our planned getaway this past weekend. Accustomed to traveling extensively with my old job, I was going a little stir crazy being stuck at home. Plus, it's been five years since we moved to Southern California, which is far too long to not be properly introduced to our northern neighbor. I'd done the whole Hollywood tourist thing years ago while visiting my parents, then living in Huntington Beach. So, first stop was the more high-browed J. Paul Getty Center, a cultural facility full of surprises. First, it's free. Parking at the base of the hill will set you back $7 -- a steal by Southern California standards. But there is no admission. From the parking structure, you take a 10-minute tram ride to the top of the hill for a full course of famous paintings, sculptures, decorative arts, music, architecture, food, family art projects and gardens. The view (like that in the picture a

Coaching from a distance

Just as my younger daughter has a far different temperment than her sister, so too does she apparently heal from oral surgery differently. The Vicodin that Elise never touched was requested by a tearful Alex two hours after she got home. The sutures are holding, fortunately. But no parent likes to see a child in pain. Thanks for the well wishes, everyone. Meantime, I just stumbled on this NY Times health story about the use of "e-coaches." I've noticed that some bloggers use the term "coach" without personalization -- like "Today Coach said do 4 x 800 repeats...." It's made me wonder if they are seeking guidance from someone in person or online. This article is about the latter, which I think can be particularly useful to those living in remote areas. Interestingly, the runners cited seem to all train in metropolitan areas, including here in San Diego.

May tomorrow be a slow work day

Later in the week I'll be posting a couple of travelogs from our weekend getaway. But for the next day or so it'll be all Alex, all day as she undergoes the extraction of her wisdom teeth (I'm not allowed to say they're being "cut out."). Her sister went through it during her winter break from college and recovered incredibly quickly. Let's hope Dr. Chang works another miracle. Alex is ornary to begin with, let alone following oral surgery. As with her sister, no photos of chipmunk cheeks will be allowed. Instead, this photo was taken in between dance performances earlier this month in Poway.

Well, a hip and a hop and you don't stop....

Jennifer asked in a comment to my last post about the energy drink my husband bought me to get me through an all-night proofing session. It's called Crunk . Its taste fits the name, if you ask me, but until she asked, I hadn't bothered to find out its ingredients, let alone that it's borne from the hip hop industry. Given I'm forced to drive with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg blasting from the car on grocery trips (I ask you, Whatever happened to the shotgun calling the music shots...?), this choice of his now makes sense. It got me wondering if there's an energy drink that is both effective and full of ingredients that don't sound so harmful. I don't drink them often (hence, they work very well when I do), but I am sure last weekend isn't the only time I'll be pulling an all-nighter for work. And I know they are popular with the ultra running crowd. Any suggestions?

'The nape of his neck'

Warning: This has nothing to do with running. It also may have ‘cooties,’ in the first-grade sense of the word. Twenty years ago I read a magazine story on Kathleen Turner in which she maintained it’s impossible for anyone to stay in love, that sustaining that level of emotional intensity is neither healthy nor humanly possible. Instead, she continued, every now and then she’d look at her husband, maybe admire the nape of his neck, and suddenly fall in love all over again. This was just before July 12, when I made my own sacramental vow before a small gathering of family and friends. I was seeking marital advice wherever I could find it. Even from interviews of actresses I admired. On the surface, we still don’t have much in common. I’m loud and talkative; he’s as quiet as they come. I like to be up before the sun; he goes to bed just hours before it rises. I sometimes drive too fast; he’s never been pulled over. I like grilled salmon and risotto; he’s more steak and potato wedge

Everyone loves a parade

Everyone loves a parade, especially when it goes right by your house. Here are some photos from our 4th, better late than never. Competition for sidewalk space is fierce on my block, with people putting out their chairs and blankets by 3 p.m. the day before. But there's a family that we save a spot for every year because they love to cheer. That's them in the next photo, and the women surprised me with a bouquet of flowers this year to show their appreciation. It was a wonderful gesture. Gotta have the high school cheerleaders in a parade. Too bad I focused my camera just as they stopped doing some stunts. Note the sign in the front corner of this float: "SD Airport Authority Bites." It's a mild protest of a new airport planned for military land right behind our suburb. NIMBYs Unite! Fitness Quest 10, located across the street gave us a backside view of what the personal trainers and their clients can do. Always a crowd favorite (and former parade

Things That Go Bump in the Night

If my friend Melinda M. in Oregon is reading this, I hope she will confirm or set straight the childhood “memory” I’m about to retell. For it was during a sleepover at Mel’s house back in high school that I discovered something about myself that reverberates to this day. Maybe especially today. Apparently, we were all sleeping in Melinda’s bedroom in Newport News, Va., when someone woke to find me standing and staring blankly ahead in the middle of the night. When asked what was wrong, I responded, “I can’t find the clock.” A few more sentences were exchanged, then someone told me just to go back to bed and I did. I remembered none of this encounter during a discussion the next morning. When I got home, I told my parents about the late-night clock search that my friends witnessed and, to my shock, my parents weren’t the least surprised. Turns out for years I’d sleepwalk into our kitchen each night and stare at a clock above the sink. My parents would hear me in the next-door den and

Not-so-fancy footwork still inspirational

The PC's slowly coming back to life thanks to some seriously aggressive CPR, but it's still lacking all the applications that make it whole -- or allow me to post pictures from the 4th. So, while we wait, I bring to your attention a project by a so-called deadbeat who can't dance but sure knows how to make you smile, maybe even laugh. Where the Hell is Matt? Read his journal too. Passages like this provide a peek behind the scenes and maybe even help those of us addicted to these kinds of displays to understand their impact. So I made this thing – this video. And a lot of people are watching it. And they take away a message. It’s unspoken, and maybe because it’s never articulated it becomes more potent. By saying nothing, people hear exactly what they want to. And that guy on the screen becomes a symbol for what’s important, what’s possible… There are folks debating online about whether or not I actually exist. Seems irrefutable to me, but it’s a contended issue. Poi

Hearing how the other half runs

I missed my first Scripps Ranch 10k and didn't have the stamina or balance to go down and then back up a huge hill on crutches to see the finish. Instead, I listened from my backyard, which is directly up from the canyon park where the race finishes. An enthusiastic crowd welcomed home the winners, Nazario Romero in the men's division with an insane 32 minutes and change. Second and third were within close distance. Ironman champion Heather Fuhr was just three minutes behind to take the women's side, followed closely by Olympian Michellie Jones , whose first name the emcee kept mispronouncing. A 13-year-old kid was among the top finishers, coming in at 38:50. I guess he figured talent trumped age because next thing you know, the announcer's telling him specifically to stay out of the beer garden. By the way, one of my daughter's old boyfriends, Nick Lake, turned in a stunning performance of 36:34. Go Nick! Among the special high-fives: my Couples Run partner Mar

Time to be tagged

Both Kurt and Jessica tagged me and since I’ve little to write about on the running front, the timing is good. The answers, however, may not be. 4 Jobs I've Had: Restaurant hostess Newspaper/magazine journalist ESL instructor Editorial director 4 Movies I Watch Over and Over: Saint Ralph Jean de Florette/ Manon of the Spring Jaws Koyaanisquasti 4 Places I Have Lived: Numerous parts of Virginia Cape Cod Elizabeth City, NC Kodiak, Alaska 4 TV Shows I Watch: Law & Order Top Chef Survivor Lost 4 Places I've Been on Vacation: New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont Edisto Island, SC Yosemite Hatteras Island, NC 4 Websites I Visit Everyday: (Or close to everyday for me) Bloglines New York Times FitDay Google 4 Favorite Foods: Eggs (in any form except raw) Fennel Lay’s potato chips Gelato 4 Places I'd Rather Be Right Now: Anywhere without stairs (those darn crutches!) An air-conditioned room (it’s so hot here!) A clean house 1984 4 Favorite Bands/Singers: Joan