Showing posts from March, 2007

Race Review: 2007 El Cajon 20k

I took everyone’s advice [thank you!] and reminded myself this morning’s El Cajon 20k was just a training run, nothing more. That helped calm me while the perfect conditions and bucolic course took care of the rest. The race director called this year’s considerably smaller crowd (86 finishers) an “intimate group,” and I was thrilled that it included Denise, who trained with me during my marathon days. She had a baby five months ago and, like me, is on the comeback trail. She also picked this one to prepare for the La Jolla Half Marathon in three weeks. The predicted heat never hit. The weather at the start was in the high 40s (perfecto!), with warming sun rays chased by a breeze. Denise and I agreed to average 10-minute miles and put her Garmin in charge of pacing us. First mile was well under that, so we slowed until we hit the first huge hill just before the 5k mark. Then we slowed even more :-). This is where packs split up since some people charge upward and others move more conser

Good Things Come in 3


One of the Deadliners

Back in the mid ‘90s, a group of us newspaper staffers formed a corporate running team known as The Deadliners. So good were we that we once placed second in the competitive Bay Days 10k in Hampton, Va. -- and no one knew till the results came out in the next day’s paper. Then, because of our suspicious nature, we exchanged conspiracy theories, not congratulations. Was the sports desk playing a sick joke? Did someone sleep with the race director? The team lineup changed as runners moved on to bigger papers or were called in to cover a murder. But one guy, Randy from tech support, could always be counted on. His standard response when asked his predicted time: “I’m just here to keep fill out the team. You all feel free to finish ahead of me.” And so he did, constantly coming in last among other Deadliners. Once -- I think it was the heavily attended Harborfest 10k in downtown Norfolk -- Randy and a local television anchorwoman were being tailed by the straggler van and a fire truck

OK, OK, OK...

This weekend I will go through the crumbling boxes and dusty containers in my garage to locate the paperback journal that holds all my treasured words from high school. This poem got special treatment, as I recall, with my friend Susan typing it for me because she was the only one with access to the school’s prized electric typewriters. Man, do I suddenly feel ancient. I remember what the poem was about and how it was written (the two things that led to those awful accusations), but the last thing I need is to misquote myself. In the meantime, I wanted to thank everyone for their earlier suggestions on my post-run after chills. Last night after track, I took a long hot shower right away and it helped a lot. I slept like a baby...up every two hours. Actually, I slept poorly mostly because of a very heavy workload weighing on me -- not because I was chilled to the bone all night. I am still going to look more deeply into the rhabdomyolysis and thyroid conditions “Gonzo” and Irene ment

Getting in Touch with Your Past

Our local newspaper this winter ran a series of letters from successful women to their former selves to help show how they turned their lives around. During yesterday’s long run, I thought up my own letter to me at age 16. Once home, I quickly jotted down my thoughts and now I encourage everyone to do the same. Share your letter if you want or just hold on to it for safekeeping. You might, like me, be pleasantly surprised what you discover about yourself. Dear Anne, Your friend Janet is about to tell you there’s a job opening at her restaurant. Your parents aren’t keen on you working, but your soul is sagging under an increasingly heavy burden at home. School is no refuge, I know. You’ve been falsely accused of plagiarizing a poem and teachers are making an example out of you. Your peers rejected your application for the school newspaper. There’s even talk you’ll be kicked out of the national honor society, whose membership is hard to come by on this campus. Here’s what you’re g

With Sympathy for Juls

The details came in driplets, but eventually regular readers of Juls' Keeping Pace blog realized her husband was dying, unexpectedly and quite quickly. Instead of clamming up, she kept the posts coming and we all got a glimpse of what it's like to face one of our worst fears. For the last two weeks, our track coach has reminded us to let the people fundamental to our lives know how much they mean to us. Last week it was our mother. He told us to call her when we got home and let her know how much she's appreciated. Now, such an out-of-the-blue call on a weeknight in my family usually is code for "I'm in deep trouble," so I let the opportunity pass for fear of setting off a panic attack. Then this past Tuesday, after returning from a funeral, Coach Paul reminded us how fleeting life can be and how important it is to seize opportunities while our loved ones still walk among us. Thanks for being so brave and so open, Juls. Our hearts go out to you and your family

What Makes an Athlete?

There's a new documentary in the making about everyday athletes . The kind who read and contribute to this blog, for instance. Here's a link to the trailer for Athlete . (After being unable to post the video itself on this site. Sorry.) It's well worth the 2-plus minutes out of your day.

Another Way to Make a Difference

David graduated with one of my daughters and, as you can see, was an avid runner. Count your blessings, people. This is circulating in e-mails and I thought I'd post as both a public service and as a reminder that we should never take our health for granted. -------------------------------------------------- SRHS Grad Needs Bone Marrow Match David Blomgren is a 2005 Scripps Ranch High School graduate who is now majoring in Communications at Cal State Long Beach. Growing up as a teenager in Scripps Ranch, David was never too busy to stop what he was doing to wave to neighbors as they drove by. David and his brother Dan were both active in sports, especially the cross country running team or should we say the cross country running family. David often talks about how he misses the friendships of his teammates and the entire coaching staff while attending Scripps Ranch High. Unfortunately, David was recently diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia, a life-threatening and rare bone marrow d

The Big Chill

It happened again last night. After finishing the last track tempo workout of the season (3 x 12min with 2-minute recovery jogs between), I was invited to dinner at Luigi’s, a pizzeria nestled in a neighborhood of older bungalows and excitable pit bulls behind chain-fenced front yards. Good food and even better conversation surrounded the evening. On the drive home, I recounted only three, maybe four, inappropriate comments and/or monopolizing moments on my part. And I’m still not sure just what Lou meant when he said, “Anne, you’re looking healthier these days.” But I’m running with it. Thank you! Normally, I take a post-run bubble bath or hot shower but because it was late and I was really tired, I changed clothes and went to bed. Only I couldn’t shake the chills, even cocooned in a thick comforter and warm room temps. This happens to me often and only after track workouts. I’ve tried to research possible causes online, but so far haven’t found much in the way of explanations. Thes

I, Chihuahua

A short item in Monday’s Los Angeles Times says long-legged creatures expend less energy than short-legged ones on walks and jogs. A researcher used a very limited sample of dogs, pygmy goats and humans, outfitting each on treadmills with masks to record various measurements, stride for stride. Chihuahua pitted against German shepherd and thin 6-foot human against a full-figured 5-footer. (They weighed the same so one has to be on the thin side and one heavy, right?) The conclusion: tall people don’t need to run nearly as hard as short people to maintain the same pace. Like this is news. On the plus side (pun intended), the shorter folks burn more calories because they’re working harder at it. [Photo courtesy of]

Knick Knack Paddy Whack

I don’t know about you, but St. Patrick’s Day weekends tend to prove most interesting. At one, the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach, I set my PR on a windy but otherwise perfect day. I also learned that if you hold in your bladder long enough, the urine will somehow reabsorb. Or at least I think that’s what happened because I didn’t pass a single portable toilet in 26.2 miles and yet didn’t pass a single drop. Nor did I pass out. Another holiday, I didn’t run but walked in the Nags Head St. Patrick’s Day Parade as a giant spongy newspaper, representing local scribes. Now, the Outer Banks in March is not the same as the Outer Banks in July. Back then at least, the locals tended to be tied to the fishing industry and some folks with bad attitudes and green tongues outside a busy bar got in my foam face, chanting, “Fish wrap! Fish wrap!” The drunken crowds ate it up. Most memorable though is The New Bedford Half Marathon . This is a big race for runners in southern Massachusetts, a

Come On and Work It Out

Last night’s track workout was a good one, definitely worth passing on here for those of you looking for something a little different. It comes from Eugene, Ore., a place known to produce a track star or two. After your warm-up, you’re going to do a total of 12 laps (3 miles). First six laps = 200m with a 100m recovery jog in between. That means you’ll run hard along a straightaway and a curve and then slow for either a straightaway or a curve. Repeat often. Second six laps = 200m with a 50m recovery jog in between. This gets trickier. Not only do you have to use the inner field for guidance (1/2 a straightaway is the 50-yard line or ½ a curve is the goal post), but it’s easy to think you’ve done more laps because you’re running more 200m stretches. I made that mistake but, even if I shorted myself a lap or two, my legs were wobbly and heart still pounding furiously until it was time for the post-workout crunches. And those --- three sets of 35 each, with legs up for added effort –

My Way or the Highway

Just read an article in our paper about ways to handle traffic jams . It occurred to me that such backups are common when heading to popular road races in metropolitan areas lacking good public transportation. Or, when you have the misfortune of coming up on an accident miles from the start. Of course, race mornings are especially tricky because of road closures, so I'm not sure how useful these may be. Best probably to leave in plenty of time to avoid a car crunch and have a backup route planned. Among the tips: When things get tight, hang to the right. Many rush-hour drivers head for the inside lane, thinking it's their quickest route. But as more cars veer left, the fast lane often becomes the pokiest, Rizzo said. For every hour of expected driving, add 15 minutes. Tune in traffic reports and keep a map handy. Try “ramping” to get around short stretches of congestion.

From the Heart

You all are so wonderful. I’ve enjoyed every comment and thank you for taking the time to send them to me both this week and since launching this Web log two years ago this month. Thanks also to those of you who’ve contacted me through e-mail or the phone or even in person. Without your kind words, I’m not sure I’d be so eager to go up to bat again after the latest curveballs life’s thrown at me. On a nicer note, today I’m officially the mother of a 20 -year-old. Happy Birthday, Elise! My husband took me to Road Runner Sports on Tuesday for my gift: a new heart rate monitor. I’d sustained myself on a basic model for several years, but the transmitter batteries were dead and the uncoded transmissions always prevented me from using it at the track, which is once again a key component of my weekly workouts. It also seemed slow to recover when I passed too closely to a neighbor’s television. After long debate and price comparisons, we settled on the Polar RS200sd . It seemed to have a lot

A Younger Runner Again

"We turn not older with years, but newer every day." -- Emily Dickinson Yesterday I celebrated my 45th birthday and became one of the younger runners again. I’m now in another competitive age bracket and have the advantage of “youth” among my new peers. Furthermore, I've decided to release myself from an earlier battle with aging; I'm now willing to sign that treaty with time. Sure my body’s losing its firmness, but my mind’s gaining its wit. I may no longer turn heads, but I now can command a room. And I’ve been blessed to make money doing something I enjoy, yet I haven’t forgotten the value of a dollar or the clarity that can follow a sleepless night. Last month I read this wonderful passage on turning 45 on Joan Nesbit Mabe’s blog. I think it’s partially responsible for my newfound optimism, and I didn’t have to set a world record to reach the same conclusions. My record says a world about me: a lasting marriage; a grown, fairly functional family; a decent career

Race Review: March Madness Miles 10k

As I type this, I’m back in my jammies, brewing tea and ready to read the newspapers. I’m also thinking: Did I just run a 10k? Since recovering from my fractured hip, caused not by a fall or a fluke but by years and years of running on hard surfaces, I’ve been determined to do more trails. This morning’s race in Rancho Bernardo was a start. This was the 9th March Madness Miles 5k/10k that begins and ends at Rancho Bernardo Community Park. I live close enough that I could sleep in slightly and still arrive while there was plenty of parking. The Kiwanis Club has the system down: very efficient check-in, race organization and a nice cotton T-shirt. I was surprised that this was a chip-timed race, but there also were 400+ runners on the various courses. Great course marshals, too. At the start, I saw lots of people with water bottles and worried there was no aid. Normally, I can go without stopping on a 10k but I was still not 100% hydrated from an earlier stomach bug and some major San

Now This Is Tough

Someone from my track club posted a link to an ESPN video on the Tough Guy race in England. Gives a whole new perspective to a "fun run." (Thanks, George!) Tough Guy 2007