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Showing posts from 2007

Running Out of a Recession

If you aren’t familiar with the standard business cycle, it goes something like this: First, a company starts to turn a profit and devotes more resources to a consumer-driven economy. Smart companies expend, and expand, wisely and hold ample cash reserves for a rainy day; in other words, they keep their ambitions in check. Others just keep spending, urged on by competitors and a zeal for breaking records with little thought to how that unbridled growth will be sustained. During the next phase, everyone inhales the air of prosperity and continues to spend to keep the buzz going. But businesses are like living organisms that are always changing. At some point, something triggers the collective consciousness – a market shift, inflation, energy crisis, etc. -- and consumers start to retrench, prompting a chain-reaction economic slowdown. This eventually leads to an overall, sometimes painful contraction – sloughing off the excess that accumulated during the best of times. We know it bette

More Photos from My Fun Run

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Warming up on the greenway that marks the entrance to my neighborhood. We always start with a good stretch. The speedy runners with their candy canes. Photos are courtesy of Cindy E. These and more can be found in the photo gallery at sdtc.com Merry Christmas to everyone who happens to be reading this blog. Right now my college kids are in the backyard sunbathing . It's sunny and 75 degrees!

My Christmas Card Lane Run

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This morning we debuted my seasonally appropriate 5- to 8+-mile course through Rancho Penasquitos, which is highlighted by rolling hills, soaring views, a little freeway madness and a spirited romp through a storied neighborhood of handmade holiday “cards” displayed on almost every front yard, block upon block. The run began and ended at a greenway at the base of my street and traveled through several neighborhoods, including Christmas Card Lane . We even had wintry weather to accompany us – it was in the mid-30s, about 10 degrees cooler than usual for mornings here now (the drink canisters collected frost!). But the sun was out and soon warmed both us and our surroundings to a balmy 45. Have I mentioned that we’ve had perfect weather for all three of my runs, despite it being a pretty wet month? I have to say, I was impressed with the turnout, given this is probably one of the busiest weekends for people, between traveling and entertaining and last-minute shopping – and the fact I ten

Portland Marathon Now 'iPod-Friendly'

Interesting article on Active.com about the growing tension between runners attached to their MP3 players and race officials who increasingly are enforcing a relatively new ban on them. I suspect more races will follow Portland's lead and market themselves as friendly to runners who want, or need, their own music on the course. I was startled by a statistic (perhaps accurate, perhaps hyperbolic) that 60-70% of race fields now contain runners using music as a motivator/tool. That means the vast majority of races include runners tuned in to playlists or podcasts! iPod Conflict Brews in Racing

Two Down, One to Go

Another successful running event yesterday, the second of three in a row for me. This time I coordinated a marathon program orientation at the Harry West Gym at City College, followed by a run through and around Balboa Park. Around 70 runners total attended, maybe more. This was a prelude to the San Diego Track Club’s 2008 Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon training program, with an e-mail invitation sent to all program first-timers for our first-ever Newcomers’ Orientation. The response rate was far better than I expected for this time of year. In addition, I asked the fall marathon training group to serve as run leaders and mentors to the newbies that day. Again, the response was impressive and each of them did a terrific job guiding and encouraging the newcomers when the run was underway. I kept the schedule simple, and I think we were all grateful that my original choice of venues, Balboa Stadium, was closed. The gym across the street was much warmer and the restrooms much nicer. Our coach

Catch the Spirit

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Tickets are now on sale for the three-day run of Spirit of the Marathon , a documentary that chronicles a spectrum of runners all trying to finish the Chicago Marathon. I'm stoked because the movie's available at our local IMAX, which is where I'm hoping to see it in late January. Won't you join me? Complete listing of U.S. theaters here.

Wordless Wednesday

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My Three Runs

By 5 Saturday morning, yet another dense cell was moving over our chilly house and I remember asking for a favor. “Oh Lord, please don’t let it rain on my run.” About two hours later, while in the restroom at the dark-cloud-surrounded Lake Miramar, I heard that familiar woosh sound approach yet again. This downpour was fortunately short-lived, allowing about a dozen of us, maybe more, to warm up and stretch sans rain and take off on a 9-mile course I created last summer . It was about 30 degrees cooler, and much, much wetter this time around, but the 48-degree temps and sudden sun were ideal, even if the mini-mudslides were not. The orange wedges and my homemade cookies went over well too. This was the first of a series of three group runs I’m coordinating this month. Next up is one that joins brand-new marathoners-in-training with alumni in Balboa Park. About 50 people in total are expected, which should make things interesting while I "warm up the crowd" and then man the

Wordless Wednesday

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How 'Bout Them Hokies?!

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After a quick run and not-so-quick coffee break yesterday morning with a friend, I hurredly showered and headed to the mall for holiday shopping. My husband came too, and it wasn't until a young couple passed us saying "Go Hokes" that it dawned on me that they meant Hokies and they meant us because we were both wearing Virginia Tech gear. On Saturday, this might be explained, but a day later, this was momentarily embarrassing - like we were looking for some attention, which if you saw my mussed-up hair and puffy eyes I most assuredly was not. Then again, when the computers rank your alma mater No. 1 and the humans bump it to No. 3, you can let the good tidings and questionable clothing coordination linger a little longer. [This photo by the way was taken by Case Western Reserve University students in Cleveland as a show of solidarity and support following April's massacre. I think all those warm wishes from around the world really helped the team this year. I truly d

Jesus Wash Me

One of the great things about unstructured running is quickly changing plans on a whim or an invitation. I woke early Friday morning to the foreign sound of pitter patter and discovered it was raining. I quickly threw on shorts, shirt and a cap and headed out to run in the rain, with the bonus being it was still warm – 67 degrees F. While dodging the biggest puddles, I thought of the guy that comes to our work site each Friday to detail cars. We have this great deal where you leave your car key and check (plus tip!) at the front desk and Jesus will make sure your car's shiny and clean-smelling by the end of the day. Because it rarely rains around here, cars get dusty very quickly. And in our large lot, certain car owners get gently reminded to take advantage of the mobile car service. I often wonder what people driving around Carmel Valley on Fridays must think when they pass a dirty Saturn or VW where someone’s finger-written “Jesus Wash Me” in the back window. That rainy run an

Wordless Wednesday

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Family Hike Atop Torrey Pines

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The way it works each Thanksgiving is I select a place for our annual "Black Friday" family hike, only I don't announce it until that morning, or maybe the night before. Then I grab my camera and watch as the walk unfolds. At least one child will complain profusely the entire time. Two, if both of them go. But this year was different in a few respects. I let everyone sleep in until 10. Normally, we'd be done and already at brunch by then. My first two choices were ravaged by the wildfires. So I picked a place I knew would be open and would impress a nephew visiting us from landlocked Arizona. I could already 'picture' the snapshots of everyone walking along the cliffs just as the last vestiges of marine mist released their grip along the rocky coastline at high noon. Then someone "misplaced" my camera while I was making one last trip to the bathroom. They thought it was really funny to watch me freak, then pout. So, what you have are an opening shot

Locals & Visitors: Take Note

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I love running on the Balboa Park Bridal Trail, but I rarely did because it was just a little too creepy. Then I started to warn other women to be careful down there after a tourist was raped around 9 in the morning. Another runner even saw the attack but waited until he'd finished his run to call police. Most of our summer hill repeats that aren't done on the 6th Street hill are done in these woods, and I'm delighted to see the city's made some much-needed improvements to make if feel a little safer. Not sure I want to see the dirt covered with gravel, but I'm eager to check it out in a couple of weeks when I'm in the park for a special orientation for newcomers to the track club's marathon training program. Here's the article: Park volunteers blaze a new trail [Photo courtesy of the Union-Tribune's Web site]

Post Holiday Hangover

No, not the alcohol-induced variety. The one where all of the kids and company have cleared out and you survey the damage, to the house and to the wallet, and you decide no aspirin can alleviate this. Only a little Windex and a lot more shopping will do. It was a good four-day weekend, one we shared with a young nephew in the Air Force, currently stationed in Arizona. We hit a coastal trail for this year's traditional post-turkey family hike, but I left my camera behind by mistake and now am awaiting photos I took with the phone cam to magically arrive in my inbox. They won't do justice, though, to the glorious day we had to walk the beach at low tide and then climb to the top of the Torrey Pines Preserve. Hours after the college kids had left very early this morning for Northern California, I was doing a 'test run' of a 5-Miler I'd just created using Stepwhere.com. It's still very much a work in progress, but numerous homeowners along Christmas Card Lane alr

My 3:45 a.m. Surprise!

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They asked me to wake them at 3:30-3:45 a.m. to start their 10-hour drive from UC-Davis to San Diego. Only when I called, they weren't just already awake...they were about 10 miles away! I guess I oughta be upset they drove all night, and with a missing tail light. But right now I'm not. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, everyone. Whether it's a holiday for you or not, be grateful for everything you have in your life instead of stewing about all that you don't. (Wordless Wednesday will resume next week.)

Our Ryan Run at Los Pensaquitos Canyon

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We held our Saturday run this morning at Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve. There was initial confusion, since my message with a change of start and notice to carry water was supposed to be forwarded to everyone but didn't get done by the group's leader; so, some people initially went to the wrong starting place and some ran a long way on the trails without hydrating. We all kept to the "easy side" of the preserve in which no one could get lost, though that leader I just mentioned did forget a turn and went the extra mile. Some of us wore signs on our back that said "Running Today for Ryan Shay." Today was the day to run 5.5 miles in the 28-year-old's honor. The distance is where he collapsed and died during the Olympic Marathon Trials earlier this month. I'd by lying if I said I thought of Ryan Shay the entire hour we ran. I did when another group of runners saw our shirts and asked about him. But otherwise, I was chatting it up with new and longtime

The Pros and Cons of Postponing Children

Here's something for everyone to chew on. Earlier this month Duke University researchers released a scientific model they've created to help women decide when its optimal for them to give birth, depending on their career and life aspirations. One tidbit that's getting plenty of feedback is this snippet from the official news release : The model suggests that, especially in cases where both family life and career are important to the woman, having a child much earlier may be a better long-term solution than waiting until she is more established in her career. "It may seem surprising to suggest having a child at a younger age, even if the woman places no importance on having a child until a certain age," Vernik said. "But the model takes into account the fact that taking a maternity leave has less impact on the future career of a woman who is a student or in the beginning of her professional life. This woman’s child will also be older and slightly more indepen

Are You Heading for an Energy Crisis?

This week for work I'm doing research into sustaining human performance and came across this "energy audit" that might benefit some of you that find it hard to get through the days. The key to knowing if you get enough sleep is how you end and begin the days. If you instantly fall asleep the minute your head hits the pillow, you aren't getting enough. It should take about 15 minutes to doze off. If you need an alarm clock to wake up, you aren't going to bed early enough. You should rise around the same time, seven days a week and be instantly alert. Another tell-tale sign you aren't effectively managing your energy during the day: You get sleepy between 2 and 4 p.m. Here's a link to the audit in the Harvard Business Review . Most of the information comes from a site/company called The Energy Project .

Wordless Wednesday

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Travelog: Time in New England

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Our hotel at the corner of St. Paul and Beacon streets in Brookline was just a few blocks from Boston University, where I attended graduate school. Last Friday morning, as we started walking down Comm Ave., the main road bisecting the urban campus, it dawned on me that my husband had never seen the place except the dreary day I graduated. That bit of intel was all I needed to declare myself in charge of our itinerary. First stop: breakfast at Trident Booksellers on Newbury Street. There are two sides to the famed “Rodeo Drive of Boston.” One end is trendy; the other funky. Trident Booksellers is a cafĂ© and bookstore definitely on the funky side. As we wolfed down our frittata and omelet, I told Gilbert how I would treat myself during cold months to a hot white chocolate from here and take it to the reflecting pool at the Christian Science complex off Mass Ave. Therefore, the tour continued with us going to that very spot, only this time to see the Mapparium . It costs $6 but is worth i

Memorial Run for Ryan

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Most of you by now are aware of Ryan Shay, the 28-year-old that died 5.5 miles into last weekend's Olympic Marathon Trials in New York City. There are numerous memorials being erected or created, including one conceived by my friend Jeff , that amazing hipster up in southern Orange County. Jeff would like anyone who can next Saturday to run 5.5 miles in honor of Ryan Shay. The details are on Complete Running.

Wordless Wednesday

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While I Can Get a Word In

I've got a picture to post tomorrow from the afterfire days, and soon I hope to come up for air and get back into a regular routine once a series of 14-hour work days pass.

The 35,000-Foot View

A travelogue on my latest Boston trip will be coming soon. I need to get my pictures developed and my brain back in order. For now, know that they were three action- and alcohol-packed days, with the cornerstone being a traditional Scottish wedding where the women weren’t the only ones worried about those hurricane-induced, gale-force winds. At both ends were long plane rides, the kind where somehow you do very little besides read, watch and nap and still find yourself exhausted by the time you get to baggage claim. On the way up, we shared a plane with a lot of American Red Cross volunteers going home after working the wildfire shelters. One retired gentleman sitting next to me explained how everyone flies around the country on short notice as part of a mobile disaster force. The more he talked, the more I started to think I may have found my “career” once we retire. I’m at the midpoint in my work life, and I anticipate needing something to do once I’m done working for The Man. I tho

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Recovery

Among the last things I threw into the car during the wildfires were my current running shoes. When it was time to return to the gym and then finally start running outside this week, I was too lazy or busy or without the car to retrieve them. Instead, I rummaged around the closet for the last pair whose soles looked in good condition. And guess what? No more achilles pain. Since switching shoes, it's gone. Coincidence? Perhaps. I mean, I have been in rehab for almost two months now. But when I finally pulled the newer pair from the car, I examined the wear and one was worse than the other. I'm now hypothesizing that one shoe may be just a tad defective -- a flaw no human eye could detect. Just my body after running with it for all of July and August. Every theory needs to be tested. So, I'm going to do a few short runs in the suspect shoes and see how it feels. I'm hoping some of the test runs occur over the next few days in Boston. I'll report my findings -- and

Wordless Wednesday

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Whichever Way the Wind Blows

A great sign this morning: pastel-pink clouds against a torquoise sky in the east as the sun rose on my way to work. All of the wildfires here are either extinguished or under control and expected to be surrounded within the next few days. This weekend was spent mainly cleaning up ash everywhere on Saturday and catching up on errands that had been unimportant the week prior. Everyone that was out in my neighborhood was sporting masks. Mine was pink. Sunday we went with another couple to see "Michael Clayton" at a theater in Poway, and midway through the smoke had managed to seep into their filtration system. Compared to outdoors, though, it wasn't nearly as bad. It seems that the bonfire smell and cloudy air change almost hourly, depending on which way the wind blows. My co-worker just said the Santa Anas are due back this weekend, which is not good news on a number of fronts. We're out of town, attending a wedding in Boston and it would be nice to not be worried abo

After the Fires: Survivor's Guilt

About a month after the wildfires four years ago, I took home a bunch of my daughter’s friends. One kid lived in the area hit hardest by the swift-moving Cedar fire. It was nightime, and as I drove deeper into the development, I became disoriented. All of the landmarks were gone and the area was void of street or house lights to help guide me. The teenager told me where to turn right, then left, then to go to the end of the road and turn left again. “It’s the house with all the Christmas lights,” he said, which was pretty obvious because not only was it the only house with colorful lights, it was the only house for blocks! Actually, there was one home next to it still standing, but the occupants had abandoned it. I could not imagine coming home each night to such creepy surroundings and felt so badly for this child and his family. A lot of people are now coming home to the same situation in places like Fallbrook and Escondido and Poway and Rancho Bernardo. They’re sifting through rub

It's Back to the New Normal

Last night all but one local station switched to their regular primetime programming, the first of many signs that we're entering the next phase of a natural disaster. There's definitely a comfort to again falling asleep, in my own bed, to Law & Order . Almost all of the areas that were evacuated in the first wave are now safe to reenter, including ours. Employers like mine are asking people to come back to work if they can, with the caveat that power and air quality remain tenuous for the time being. I suppose Run DMZ needs to start moving in that direction too. One of the bright spots has been hearing from so many of you. Every time I checked my e-mail or comments, there was a surprise -- a nice surprise from someone who cared enough to contact me with encouragement and gratitude. And I got calls from a lot of family and friends, some of whom I hadn't heard from in years. I did watch an hour of CNN yesterday and I got what everyone was saying about the contrast in c

All Hell Breaking Loose, Day 4 (Updated)

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4 a.m.: I woke to a sign that things have taken a turn for the better. I can see stars. For the past three nights, the moon looked more like Mars, so red and cloudy, and it hurt your eyes just to try and find a clearing in the skies. We still aren't allowed officially to drive to the other side of the freeway that's in front of my street, so I can't just yet climb to a great hillside park to survey the damage from on high. But I will soon, trust me. The local news coverage overnight focused on fires at Camp Pendleton, which is just north of Oceanside and includes a huge area of unspoiled land connecting San Diego and Orange counties. Evacuations of military families have been underway, according to online sources. And that section of the 5 freeway, the main highway throughout California, was closed in both directions overnight. The other hotspot when I nodded off was at the other end of the extreme north county at Palomar Mountain and the La Jolla and Pala Indian Reservati

All Hell Breaking Loose, Day 3 (Updated)

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1:30 a.m.: The evacuation count countywide is now at 300,000, with some established shelters like the Del Mar Fairgrounds now shuffling the elderly to a safer place. It's siginificant that some communities west of the 5 freeway are under voluntary evacations now. That's the beach, and that means the Witch Creek fire -- the one that's impacting the most people -- is now looking to burn clear to the ocean, consuming homes in the wealthiest enclaves along the way. It isn't as windy where we're at, but our community's now under a voluntary evacuation, according to the crawler running under an infomercial on KUSI. None of the other stations, far as I can tell, are saying anything about communities south of the 56 freeway, but some are mentioning Black Mountain Road (our main feeder road) in roundup reports and warning the Witch Creek fire may head into Carmel Ranch Mountain and Mira Mesa, of which our section of Rancho Penasquitos is wedged between. People south of