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Showing posts from July, 2007

Davis Orientation

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My younger daughter and I are taking a road trip to UC-Davis, just west of Sacramento, for her three-day freshmen family orientation. The school encouraged both students and parents to bring workout clothes for the ARC, the university's impressive fitness center. (During a visit in January, I think the ARC and all of its way-cool outdoors activities sealed the deal for this kid. That and maybe its excellent pre-med programs.) I am looking forward to running in a new place, especially around the campus's famed Arboretum. I am not looking forward to driving home Friday night, especially given I have a "race" early Saturday morning. It's not the monotony of the 9- to 10-hour drive, provided traffic is moving through LA and San Diego. It's my arthritic hip that hates me driving even short distances. It's gonna be really sore at me when I put it through the trails and concrete course of the Balboa 8 just hours later. Let the aventure and the Advil begin.

'What the Hill?!'

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We all have courses that we love because of how we feel while we’re running them and because of how we feel when we're finished. I’ve done one for years that’s never disappointed me for both its challenge and its rewarding views. It’s hilly and it’s often hot. It’s also one of those runs that remind me of how blessed I am to live and train in America’s Finest City. Today about 30 others got to experience that slice of heaven (and hell?) for themselves. Stephen Burch, the guy behind the San Diego Track Club’s summer training program, was on vacation, so I volunteered to fill in and “direct” this weekend’s production, which I dubbed The Lake Rim Run. We met at Lake Miramar in Scripps Ranch at 7, warmed up and then headed into the hills above the reservoir. The first four miles are intense: you’re either going up or down (mostly up!) some seriously steep hills in residential areas. Then we head down a long dirt path with wonderful vistas to the water’s edge for the final half. Prior t

No Stopping, No Dropping

Our coach gave us a detailed rundown on how to do hill repeats that I thought worth repeating here. The goal is not to improve speed, but strength; therefore, going up hills, you focus on maintaining good form. Don’t sprint (not that we could anyway...those Balboa Park hills on Tuesday were ha-uge ). Instead, hold it steady and once at the top, quicken the pace to gain a little more momentum, but, again, don’t sprint. If you run these both hard and fast, you’ll blow all your energy before the next repeat, and the one after that.... We ran in groups and in each, I ended up struggling to finish the first hill and leading the pack on the second. On the last of six loops, a woman half my age seemed to be waiting at the top of one hill while I, in second, gasped for air. Once I reached the summit, she sailed back down with me. As we started up the last hill together, and ahead of the others, she said she wouldn’t have been able to do this one without me. Did I mention I’m twice her age? I

Wordless Wednesday

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Hillacious Times Ahead

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Tonight starts my favorite season of track practice: 10 weeks of hill repeats. Some are along the trails in Balboa Park (like the one pictured here) and others are along 6th Street. Both prepare runners for the AFC Half, upcoming Balboa 8 and Dirt Dog cross country series. You never know what you'll run into on these Tuesday nights, which makes it all the more fun. Speaking of which, prior to today's workout, I'm picking up Steph at her new home in Hillcrest and showing her parts of San Diego she may not have explored yet on her own. Should be a fun-packed day.

Oh Deer

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This morning my newest pair of Mizuno Wave Riders were formally introduced to our neighbor, Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve. They are looking a little worse for wear after a thorough dust-up, and they flat out refused to skip over a few slimy looking rocks at the waterfall, thus forcing us to cross the creek elsewhere and then I got us a little lost. But all in all, we’re both pleased with the 7-plus miles that seemed to pass way too quickly. My training partner joined me and more than once mentioned that next time she’s bringing her camera. Me too. This photo’s from an earlier trip, before I moved to PQ. It doesn’t do justice to the leafy canopies and downy brush that sweep the landscape here. About two miles into it, a doe crossed our path and stood on the other side, deciding if we were friend or foe. Now, running into a deer may not seem like a big deal, but you’ve got to remember we were running essentially in the middle of a city with 1.5 million people and surrounded on all side

West End Girls

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I meant to do this soon as Karen in Calgary gave me a similar shoutout. Thank you, Karen! I guess those honored as a "rock star" must pay it forward, so without further ado, here are seven California women running bloggers that I really enjoy reading. [I could do more. I'm just not sure what the rules are on this one, and it's the seventh month of the year.] Irene of Magazine Smiles , a fellow San Diegan that I can't wait to run with again. Laura of My Beautiful Life , another local girl who proved her blog title's true with many posts from her European vacation. Yes, she tagged me too, so what goes around, comes around...he he. Thanks, Laura. Can't wait to see you soon. Jessica of My Southern California Trail Running , who I always enjoy "running into." Kim of OC Runner Girl , who I've learned a lot from reading her thematic posts. Jennifer of On the Road of Life , representin' the other half of California and always making me laugh. Oh

Wordless Wednesday

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Of Hummers and Hummingbirds

For those new to Run DMZ, I spent a lot of time last summer at the gym, a gym for U.S. Marines, while healing from a fractured hip and ankle. Once well, I dropped off and only recently returned to make myself better again. This time, to mend my broken spirit. Not a lot of conversation takes place here and what does focuses exclusively on fitness. No one discusses their jobs or their families but they will smile or at least nod if you happen to briefly lock eyes. I try to go at the same time weekdays, between lunchtime PT and the late afternoon rush. Mr. GQ is back from Iraq, looking thinner and not smiling as much. I haven’t seen the Terrorist Instructor, so he may be over there now. Nor have I noticed a fellow Hokie from Lynchburg (Class of ’88), who always wore his Virginia Tech shirt and who was deployed when the shootings took place. He should be back by now, so I’m hoping he’s moved, extended his orders or is on a well-deserved vacation because the other option is too sad for me

Melon + Meal = Gas?

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This time of year, I love to top off a meal with cantaloupe or watermelon. Lately, though, I've had to restock the medicine cabinets with Phazyme and Gas-X tablets, having gone through my entire supply to help ease the pain of extreme bloat following a meal. Then I read on FitSugar that there may be a link between melons and this type of discomfort from the way the food's processed in the digestive tract. It was confirmed during a group gathering Saturday, when several nutrition-minded members agreed that melons need to be consumed alone to avoid potential fermentation in the stomach or intestines. I'm now using melons as more of a midnight snack, to some success. The gas is gone, but bathroom trips in the "wee hours" are up.

Where There's Smoke, There's Me

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Yesterday afternoon at the gym I was warming up my muscles on the rowing machine when I saw a live report of a wildfire on one of the overhead televisions. The closed captioning wasn’t working and I was too far away (and too near-sighted) to read just where the blaze had broken out. Still, something about the scene rang familiar as I moved to the Nautilus equipment to work my arms and abs. Here’s what I was watching. If you drive about a quarter of a mile south of our new home, you’ll see the charred grounds of a June wildfire that roared up one canyonside to within inches of homes. This fire’s different from another one in the same area the month before that. And, now there’s apparently another smoldering burn line just to the east of us. That’s three wildfires within a mile of our house, all within the last two months. Somehow rattlesnakes no longer seem as worrisome, though goodness knows where all those creepy critters are headed now. Photo credit: San Diego Natural History Museum

Wordless Wednesday

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Well, This Explains A lot

Killing time, I came across the web site of Professor Richard Wiseman , author of Quirkology , and this little nugget of news about the influence our last names have on success, by chance or choice. Excerpt from the Daily Telegraph article: Everyone participating in the Telegraph experiment was asked to indicate their sex, age, surname and rate how successful they had been in various aspects of their life, such as their health, finances, career, and "life in general." Scores in all these categories were added up to obtain an overall "measure of success." The results revealed that readers whose surnames began with letters at the beginning of the alphabet did indeed rate themselves as significantly more successful overall than those with surnames starting with lowly, end-of-the-alphabet initials. The surname effect was especially pronounced when it came to career, suggesting that alphabetical discrimination was alive and well in the workplace. Interestingly, the e

As It Was

This weekend was about as close as it’s come to feeling normal again. Saturday morning I threw on some shorts and a T-shirt and drove down to Coronado to help with the track club group training for the AFC Half Marathon. Any thoughts of running it are gone: It’s sold out. But it gave me time to chat with some friends, take a few photos during the downtime and start to feel like part of a group again. The rest of the day was filled with dance. It was the final recital I’ll ever have to attend, and after almost 20 years of tutus and tuitions, it was as bittersweet as you can imagine. Sunday morning came way too quickly, with each of us up at various times beset by intestinal troubles. Watermelon appeared the apparent source since it’s the only food we had in common. Still, there I was at 6:30 on the nose in the Lake Miramar parking lot, waiting as I used to for my training partner Tara, who arrived just after me. After almost six years, the lakeside path is open for a full 5-mile loop

All That and a Bag of Chips

Our Internet connection was down yesterday morning between the time I got myself lost on my latest morning run and when we left to join our old neighbors for the annual 4th of July parade. I was still feeling really weak Saturday night and decided not to attempt the Scripps Ranch 10k, though seeing everyone emerging yesterday from Hoyt Park flush with perspiration, prizes and beer breath made me both wishful and wistful. And yet that same day I could only muster 30 minutes’ worth before I hit bottom (literally and figuratively) and began to walk (back up a huge hill to see where I went wrong). Somehow this holiday of errands and my tasty grilled halibut dinner was closing in on evening when I realized I never posted a photo and that I was bone-tired and not up to it or even fireworks. I also decided a vitamin deficiency (and not an earlier Big Gulp-sized mimosa) was the culprit and bought a new batch of a brand-name multivitamin with extra iron and B vitamins. I’m hoping it brings me

Runner, Interrupted

I thought my last run as an official resident of Scripps Ranch would have been somehow different, but it really was just like most other runs. I walked out the door, started heading in the same direction as always and then just ran until it was time to go home. Those early mornings were the only calm moments within weeks of anxiety with the move and anger over the job loss. One minute I’d be packing yet another box; the next, I’d be driving downtown to meet with a lawyer. The relocation itself went about as smoothly as it could. There are always glitches, but we’ve done this every three to five years for decades now, so we’ve got the system down. And the job-loss depression has been dulled by being crazybusy and doing so much manual labor. Now comes the return of a routine. I went for my first run in the new neighborhood on Sunday. My heart rate shot up to 178 within minutes of climbing the first hill. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t run for almost a week, subsist for da