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Showing posts from April, 2007

Coming Off The Ledge

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If ever there was a month I wish not to repeat, it’s this one. But if I could replicate a morning, today would top the list. With the station wagon loaded with lots of homemade and store-bought goodies, posters, stickers, helium balloon machine and a cooler full of ice, I picked up my former training partner at 5:15 a.m., stopped at Starbucks and headed down to Hospitality Point in Mission Bay. A few years ago our track club marathon training program started The Welcome Committee to greet runners, especially the slowest ones, returning from touring 18 to 20 miles of San Diego on foot. I’ve always been its chair. I decided to run part of the course with everyone since tomorrow morning I’m leaving early for the Festival of Books at UCLA . We first ran along a flood channel, and before too long we were heading into Ocean Beach, a part of San Diego everyone loves. We passed pooches having a ball at Dog Beach, a trio of dudes in dreadlocks (OB is a haven for hippies) and as we climbed Sunse

Everything But The House Stinks

Have you ever found yourself on a Friday baking sheet cakes to go with the 150 homemade brownies (a few MIA, you just noticed), 75 mini muffins, granola, oranges, peanuts, pretzels, tortilla strips, Dum Dums and Red Vines – what I forget? I know there’s something -- while you’re having the carpets in the house professionally cleaned and hoping no one from work calls and asks, “What the hell is that noise?!” because you might just loose it, not because you’re getting tired of all this cooking (the beneficiaries being hundreds of ravenous marathoners-in-training doing 20 miles on Saturday morning) but because your heart’s aching knowing your college kid, who’s injured no less, is performing tonight and tomorrow in her final dance show 650 miles away and you won’t be there, for the first time since she started performing at age 3, and not only that, but you strongly suspect the missing muffin batter hidden in your belly is about to make a sudden reappearance, or maybe it’s because you jus

Take a Look at Me Now

There are not enough martinis, no-hassle master cleanses or Spicey Boob Racks to ever thank this woman for what she did to this blog. If you love the new look (and who doesn't?!), you should check out all the other clever creations at Sumy Designs . Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to the spa, the mall and then maybe one of the Dr. 90210s for a makeover that matches my new virtual image.

Wordless Wednesday

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Race Review: 2007 La Jolla Half Marathon

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I was happily crawling along the edges of the Del Mar Fairgrounds when the electronic sign switched from greeting La Jolla Half Marathoners to expressing condolences for the victims of Virginia Tech. The nerves in my nose pinched and my eyes began to smart, then water. Not now, I begged. My goal on this tough course was 2:10 to 2:20, which is about as good as gets for this mid-packer with so many “issues.” A 2:10 would be on par with the pace I’d held a few weeks ago at the El Cajon 20k, also known for its brutal hills. I haven’t done a big race since last year’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, so it was kinda cool to constantly be surrounded by lots of other runners the entire way. After circling the fairgrounds and moving through beachfront, I finally caught up to two girls in Tech regalia. One was an alumna in her 20s who had done the same marathon training program as me. We talked for a couple of miles and then I filed in behind them again just as we started up the big Torrey Pines hill. T

You Wearing Maroon and Orange Today?

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Graduation, 1984 Homecoming, 1987 The family at a football game, 1994 Chasing after the next generation of Hokies on the Drillfield, circa 2000. That's my nephew, Austin, whose tutor was "Stack," the resident advisor killed in the dorm shooting. I may have had fewer degrees of separation than many; still, I've been overwhelmed by the outpouring. It's been much appreciated since I wasn’t prepared for the toll the Virginia Tech tragedy took on me. Monday, like everyone, I just watched as the bad news got worse. Tuesday, the tears kept coming; I had to stop watching TV. Wednesday, I don’t really remember except I sat down after dinner and next thing I knew it was an hour past my bedtime and the dirty dishes still sat on a darkened countertop. Somehow the remote kept coming back to CNN and MSNBC despite the fingers being given strict orders to stick with TBS sitcoms. When I slept, I slept hard and through alarms. And when I finally woke, the day felt dreamlike as an i

Taking a Page Out of History

Today was about as weird as it comes. I went into it convinced the day would suck and I was right but for the wrong reason. I expected to be fielding calls and e-mails all day after a major work project failed to come out on time. Instead, I was fielding calls and e-mails all day after a senseless rampage that now marks a nadir in U.S. history. It was nice to reconnect with high school and college friends and even to be approached by strangers who noticed my Virginia Tech Alumni license plate holder. I helped my sister in Blacksburg craft a thank you note to go with the hand-delivered baked goods for the local police, who are in for some very dark days and tortured nights. We weighed how she could help the mourners. I admit I only watched a small fraction of the Boston Marathon and had trouble relating to running blogs when there was so much chaos and carnage being reported. I’m sure I’ll be fine in time for the next round of race recaps. The last time I was on campus was on a muggy

A Very Sad Day in Hokie History

UPDATE: 33 people are now dead; 25 more injured. I basically pulled a work all-nighter, in part to make time to watch The Boston Marathon this morning. Now, it looks like I'll be toggling between Versus (the former OLN) and the cable news networks . Some of you Run DMZ readers may recall it was my brother-in-law and nephews and niece who found the slain sheriff's deputy just off campus during the last Virginia Tech shooting. Still get creeped out realizing the killer was watching them in the bushes the entire time.

Garage Sale Saturday

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For the past four years, this was the weekend I joined hundreds of others on the 16-mile train run from Oceanside to Solana Beach . But this year it also was a Grad Nite Work Crew weekend, so I instead ran 12 miles around my hilly section of the city before reporting for paint duty. I was amazed at how much traffic there was for 7 on a Saturday morning, with cars darting in and out in front and behind me as I meandered up and down residential streets. Then I realized it was Garage Sale Saturday. Twice a year a local real estate agency sponsors a communitywide garage sale, in which anyone can neatly organize their cast-offs in the front yard for a few hours and make a few bucks. Schools get into it too, turning their campuses into Hand-Me-Downs Central. What isn’t sold can then be donated to charity or scrapped at next weekend’s Spring Clean Day. My suburb’s Garage Sale Saturday draws people from as far away as Mexico. It’s also been known to include some celebrity residents. (Speaking

I Smell a Day at the Beach

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For the past few weeks, I've joyously inhaled the strong, slapdash scent of suntan lotion emanating from blooms on my morning run. Which ones, though, I can't tell from quick visual scans of the colorful explosions that seemed to erupt overnight. Oddly, the scent fades as the day gains. Or maybe my nose has too much competition as the sun strengthens. I've tried to find the flowers in Google by typing in "flowers smelling like suntan lotion" only to discover floral scents are far more subjective than I expected. Thus, someone might describe the smell as honeysuckle to my Hawaiian Tropic. And somehow everything smells like honeysuckle, somewhere. In any event, I'm going to drink it up while I can -- and be so grateful I don't suffer from allergies. Our deciduous trees are again in bloom, helping fill in the landscape between those frou-frou palms, sturdy pines and anemic eucalyptus trees. Soon the annual weather pattern we call "May Gray" and &qu

Let Me Hear You Make Some Noise

A few weeks ago I was on a widget high and managed to turn this blog's sidebar space into quite the visual cocktail. Like any sudden spike in euphoria, it didn't last long and once I crashed, I realized what a mess I'd made. I've since cleaned up my act, but one item that did survive the purge is a new way to see my latest stories on CompleteRunning . (Thanks, Mark , for the code!) For those who aren't familiar, the site is a one-stop-shop for runners of all abilities. I'm part of a team of writers that contributes articles and opinion pieces, videos, photos, recommended sites and even inspirational quotations. I try to cull newsy items from the previous week into short pieces, when possible. The latest is on a headphone ban this year for all of the races surrounding and including Minnesota's Grandma's Marathon . Violators will be disqualified and their finishes stripped from the results. In case you haven't heard, earlier this year the USATF modif

Submitted for Your Approval

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Here is the promised pictorial evidence that last Saturday's Low Tide Run was well worth whatever pain it inflicted. Before hitting our stride, we each had to cross a rocky path made more treacherous by the crumbling cliffs and all the sandy soles that had gone immediately before us. Yes, people fell. Thankfully, I wasn't among them. The view from atop the Torrey Pines hill. Worth the torture to get to this point, if you ask me. Coming down to the final stretch, there's a suspension bridge at the Scripps Institute for Oceanography. You gotta admit, it's tres cool. Home base is not much beyond this point. Note the ball of sun trying desperately to gain a glowing edge on the clouds. [Photos are courtesy of Tara Smith and the SDTC]

Woman Seeks Forgiveness From Sore Body

SAN DIEGO – Peace negotiations continue between a San Diego runner and her body after the latter felt betrayed earlier today on a “fun run” through scenic sections of La Jolla and Del Mar. “We were duped,” according to the legs. The woman, who asked not to be identified, admits she ran five miles and 45 minutes longer than expected but claims she just got swept up by the crowds of San Diego Track Club and Team in Training participants planning to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in June. Officials estimate up to 500 people took part in the pre-Easter training run that includes climbing over slick rocks and then running for miles along a tranquil beach before hitting both rolling, seaside landscape and one exceptionally demanding hill. Much of the course mimics the upcoming La Jolla Half Marathon -- the reason the woman was running with those planning to finish twice that distance in eight weeks. “Honestly, by the time I realized this actually was a 17-miler, it was too late to do any

Run at the Speed of Chat

Reebok has a “Run Easy” campaign that features an entertaining video. It’s kinda funny that I stumbled upon the ad this week since I just explained speedwork to some track newbies in terms of talking. Because discomfort is relative, I broke it down this way: Tempo runs: Conversations are clipped but still capable. You’ve got room to ask a quick question and get an answer, provided it doesn’t involve explaining astrophysics or Anna Nicole Smith. 800s: Breathy, very breathy. If it takes more than four words in quick order, best wait until the recovery lap. 400s: Who can talk when you’re trying to gulp down air? 200s/100s: The only thing you heard should be your heart, lungs and legs screaming. But enough track chat. We all know one reason we love running with someone is the company...and the conversations. Enjoy.

One Way to Avoid an Ankle Sprain

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I tried this exercise and failed, which might explain a lot. Check it out. From the fitness magazine Her Sports + Fitness : Researchers from the University of Connecticut have found that the inability to balance on one leg with your eyes closed can indicate susceptibility to ankle sprains. Check your susceptibility: Stand barefoot on one leg with the other bent off the floor and your hands at your sides. Focus on a single spot. Close your eyes and try to stand still for 10 seconds. If you find yourself wobbling, try these resistance-band exercises to help strengthen the ankle and reduce painful tumbles. Perform both while seated in a chair with one leg extended to the front and do 10 repeats on each leg. --Wrap a band around the instep of your foot, then roll your foot inward and outward pushing against the band. --Wrap the band around the ball of your foot and extend your foot forward, pushing against the band. Hold for 10 seconds.

More Core Is In Store

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I have to confess that since my husband started a new job and my own work weeks are again outta control, I haven't been to the gym. And, when I finish my morning runs, I haven't been as dedicated to doing stomach- and back-strengthening exercises. It's starting to show too, so I'm investigating ways to work more core exercises into my days and weeks with minimal interruption. For those that like spinning their wheels, there's an article in today's Washington Post on Spinning 101 . Such cycling's very good for your core when done properly, according to the article. For those wanting to improve flexibility for a good stretch, I like the exercises suggested on this site . I also like Pilates mat exercises but no longer have time to take a class, so I've been taping short (12- to 20-minute) Pilates and yoga shows on a special Exercise TV station available from one of the Free on Demand stations on digital cable. One of these days, I'm actually going to