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Showing posts from December, 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