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Showing posts from May, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

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Setting the Pace

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The San Diego Track Club supplies pacers for the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, which means I tend to know some of them. My former training partner, Tara, will be the official 5:30 pacer this Sunday. You need to normally run at least 20 minutes faster than your chosen pace, and apparently not stop to pee or be slowed down by things like dehydration and muscle cramps. I am nervous for her. My friend Terrell was the 4:15 pacer a couple of years ago, and he created some controversy when he finished in 4:10. I privately thanked him for giving me a good (ok, ok...questionable) excuse for why I couldn't keep up with him ("Hey, I trained for 4: 15 ....") and finished in just over 4:30 that day. He later explained that the crowds at the end don't know you may have started five minutes after the clock, so some will boo -- yes, boo -- the pacer if it appears he or she blew it. And as you can see from his thoroughly entertaining blog, and especially his latest entry, T's a

Commercial Appeal

All of my summer plans are being rewritten as I type this. It's going to be a busy one, that's for sure. Once they've solidified, I'll fill everyone in. In the meantime, I hope everyone reading this is enjoying the unofficial start of summer here in the USA. Remember tomorrow to say a prayer of thanks for those who gave their lives for our country. While I continue to stimulate our local economy by freely using my credit cards throughout Southern California, let me leave you with this terrific tune I've had stuck in my head since the other morning's run. (Gotta link since the embedded code isn't showing up in its entirety.) Those familiar with the band Of Montreal know this one; the rest of you might find yourself suddenly craving a Bloomin' Onion or Shrimp on the Barbie. Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games

A Poem Promised and (Finally!) Delivered

This is the follow-up to an earlier post about a requested poem for all you curious commenters . It took some time to track it down. A warning: It has nothing to do with running. Before reading on, allow me to apply a little context to what made 36 carefully arranged words so controversial back in the day. The course was Advanced Composition. I was one of three juniors in the senior-level class and the only one lacking the prerequisite, Basic Composition. So, I came to the class without proper credentials or a prior history. To kick off a nine-week poetry section, the teacher gave us our first homework assignment: write a poem in any style and on any topic – except, she said, love or death. In a very condescending tone she said “you young people” do not truly understand those concepts and she was tired of reading tripe suggesting we did. Instead, she intoned, just write about something we know. This led classmates like one cheerleader I knew to go home and craft the Dada-inspired “I

Wordless Wednesday

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Channeling the King

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The Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in a couple of weeks is attempting to set a world record for running Elvises. If you're interested in participating, here's what Elite Racing has to say . And if you're interested in what it feels like to pace the 3:45 group wearing an Elvis costume, read this terrific account . Hugh is one of the sweetest guys I know in the track club. During my first Welcome Committee he volunteered to go out on the flood channel and run in some of the slower folks returning from their 20-miler. He was out there for hours! [Photo courtesy of cacheboston.com via Google Images]

Race Review: Lakeside River Park Trail 5k

I admit I’m enchanted by the part of San Diego County that hosted this morning’s 5k, with its unspoiled mountains, risky roadways and neighborhoods clinging to their rural roots. It also was nice to run with an enthusiastic field of unfamiliar faces. The start and finish were within a huge dirt lot normally housing heavy machinery; the expo backdrop was a steel scrap yard, with the 67 freeway just beyond it. But within the industrial area is a natural preserve that race proceeds will help protect and broaden so that there’s eventually enough riverfront reclamation to maybe hold a 10k or half marathon from this same spot. I know the course director, and he did a fantastic job. Not only was everything well organized, but the course was well marked and well manned and contained just enough obstacles to keep things interesting. (And great 60-degree, cloudy weather.) The hills weren’t a problem for me; the surface was. I lost my footing on some loose dirt climbing one hill and again after

The Price Wasn't Right

My grandfather was a broad-faced, taciturn electrician who referred to me and my sisters as “the Indians” and yelled when we blocked the TV during Red Sox games, even threatening violence if it happened when Carl Yastrzemski was at bat. Everyone called him Spike. He came down with phlebitis when I was 12, after he and my grandmother had sold the small house in Westerly, R.I., and moved into an even smaller upstairs apartment that, because of his condition, he would never leave using his own two legs. That summer I traveled from our house in suburban Baltimore to care for him while my grandmother worked to make ends meet. My job was simple: keep him company and keep hot towels tightly wrapped around his grossly swollen, vein-hardened legs. Instead, I read magazines and books in the backyard, ate all the sweets and pickles in the pantry, watched soap operas and our President tell everyone he’s not a crook. We had scrambled eggs and toast for lunch almost daily, whether he liked it or

The Best Pace To Be

Tuesday evenings There’s no better pace to be Than circling the track With Intermediate Group 3 We are late-comers Who gab between laps And, well, okay -- During intervals perhaps One of us Is getting better But leave the group? No, we won’t let her The faster runners May pass us by But we hang tight and sometimes sigh (Records, we won’t ever break We’re Group 3 , for heaven’s sake!) There’s something Special about this pack Seeking better splits and PRs from way back Our timer once said, “Tonight you are Group 2.” Till someone said That just won’t do. For now and for always This is “Group 3” And I thank my lucky stars That group includes me.

King(ette) of the Hill

I spared the troops the mandatory Mother’s Day nature outing and instead started the day as I have so many Sundays: alone, with a welcomed long run listening to retro music on the portable radio. This one felt special, coming off another successful Welcome Committee for the marathoner trainers the prior day and retracing a route I hadn’t done in about four years. The delayed return to that route was due to memories of a grueling trip back up the final hill that I’d have just as soon avoid after all those miles before. But on Saturday morning the course creator for next weekend’s 5k trail run had mentioned there are a couple of “nice, good hills” on the course, including one at the end, so I decided to simulate that feeling and rediscovered a section of my suburb I’d forgotten. Beautiful homes. Beautiful big homes, lavishly landscaped. And a park bathroom that I found just in a nick of time. Nothing like the gift of good timing. (This suburb, by the way, is now within a city that'

Yeah, But I Still Want to be Waited On

Brought the Rio Cali with me on my early morning run so I could catch up on the morning news. Heard this insightful report on Mother's Day and its humble origins. Apparently its creator was so appalled at its commercialization that she actually tried to legally shut it down. Mother's Day Turns 100 (NPR.org)

Wordless Wednesday

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Race Review: Race for Literacy 8k

What does it mean when you learn you’re running in the country’s second largest 8k*? You aren’t going to win. What does it mean when you learn you’re running the country’s second largest 8k and it doesn’t use chip timing? You aren’t going to use your real name. Thus, I registered for today’s Race for Literacy under my married name, intending to take it easy as I toed the line with two other members of Team Alpha – Irene (I) and her husband Michael (M). I represented the letter S in a daughter-designed "S is for Silly" T-shirt, glammed up hat and hot pink mini hula skirt that made me look rather s tupid and s tout. S orry, I forgot my camera. They were five nice ‘n’ steady miles that ran through Balboa Park and Hillcrest, then down a scenic section of the 163 freeway and into the historic Gaslamp District before it all ended at a downtown park. For a change, it was mainly a flat or downhill course. The only downside: it was pretty darn hot. No clouds, no cool temps and n

Big Spenders

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My daughter's granted permission for me to post a clip from her recent dance show on this blog. Yeah, it's risque. It's hard to make out faces, especially if you don't know who to look for. When the group bunches together after the opening moves, my daughter's in the front. She remains in the front left of the video and, just in case you still can't find her, she injects a little humor in one pose ("Call me") midway through the performance. Here she is last month on her way to a summer job interview during spring break. She was hired on the spot to work with pre-k students at a private school in Mission Hills. OK, that's enough maternal musings for one post....

Wordless Wednesday

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Starving for Endorphins

Last summer when I realized I wouldn't be mobile for months, I started to more closely track my calories. I was, of course, shocked at how quickly they added up. Soon, calculating the cost of that extra serving of, say, those dehydrated pears became a brief obsession. I pretty much thought of little besides food and its cost. Then I again became more active and fell back into old eating habits. Now I read there's a movement that advocates eating far less than usual in order to live a lot longer. It's called Calorie Restriction, and if a recent Slate article is any indication , it's a lot like anorexia, only most practitioners are middle-aged and male. One passage in the article, written by a recovered anorexic, stood out to me: My starvation triggered the release of endorphins. In evolutionary terms, this is designed to give humans heightened coping powers in an emergency. In my case, it gave me a sense of well-being and made me feel sharp and energetic. This feeli