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Showing posts from September, 2007

Some Big Shoes to Fill

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In addition to nursing a wee bit of a hangover, I spent part of Saturday working at a pre-registration table for next weekend’s Balboa Boogie cross-country 5k at Morley Field. When I showed up to Road Runner Sports, I immediately saw giant shoes and assumed it was some attention-grabbing gimmick. I was kind of correct. It was a promotion, but the concrete shoes were on display to raise awareness for an event that just ended called Blue Planet Run. It began and ended in New York City and covered 15,200 miles in between – the distanced covered by 20 “ordinary athletes” who must have been pretty tired. They crossed 16 countries and three continents to spread the message that the world needs to do something about the scarcity of drinkable water in the world. Some facts from the web site: --1.1 billion people in the world do not have access to safe drinking water, roughly one-sixth of the world's population. --2.2 million people in developing countries, most of them children, die every

I Love You Guys

I’ll admit it: I’m half in the bag. Margarita Fridays are back in this house, and I’m making up for a long hiatus while the girls were in high school. After learning most kids raid their parents’ stash if they want to booze it up, we quit stocking alcohol to avoid the liability. I trust my daughters, but not necessarily all of their friends. So among the changes taking place this week was reintroducing my tastebuds to tequila served with a tart mixer and crushed ice in a salt-rimmed glass. I’m on my second slushy. There’s a charge in the air and sprinkles of mixer on the counter. Someone should really clean that up before the ants do. The transition to empty nesthood has been eased by a raging head cold and long hours at my new job. It also helps that I’ve avoided going into the girls’ rooms. Oh, I’m driving a new car now, a brand-new Dodge Caliber the insurance company gave us while that banged-up Scion is “going away for a few weeks.” We’ve abandoned eating outdoors in favor of d

Excuse Me While I Kiss the Sky

Our younger daughter missed the cut off for kindergarten by 10 days. So when her sister and friends went to school that year, we explained that she wasn’t 5 yet and would have to wait. On her birthday she woke early, put on her party dress, stuffed her Little Mermaid lunch box with an entire box of Fruit-by-the-Foot snacks and announced she was ready. She laughs about it now; back then, she didn’t. My heart broke a little too, though I was secretly glad she got to stay with me a while longer. It seems fitting then that the same kid would watch her sister and friends head off to college ahead of her and I, too, would get to put off the day I had to leave her at school. We spent Friday evening in traffic, and I remember us all commenting on a techno-fied Killers song playing on the radio. It died out just as our stuffed station wagon pulled itself over the last Southern California mountain and submerged into the deep darkness of the rural Central Valley. Many hours later at the motel

Living Dangerously Again

I saw Bob's rant about blog word verifications and admit sometimes they annoy me too -- especially when they don't work. That's turning out to be more often for me. Maybe for you too? A few non-bloggers have mentioned over the months they couldn't post a comment here, and I wasn't sure if the verification function had anything to do with it. Just in case, I've disabled that feature and hope the spammers and lunatics take a long time to find me again. Oh wait, the lunatics are already here. :-)

Wordless Wednesday

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Hey, Watch Where You're Going

I always assume I’m the last to learn about a new technology, but after just finishing the cover story in the Sunday magazine Parade, I realized that maybe some of you aren’t familiar with Google Street View, especially how it can be used by people who walk, run or cycle. Google’s enhanced its Maps feature with actual snapshots of popular areas in major cities. Just like when it started showing satellite photos so everyone could see exactly where we live and work and recreate, Street View's generated ample criticism among those who enjoy some privacy. But one nice benefit is getting a sneak peak of an area’s landscape, especially if you’re traveling. When I’m on the road, I’ll type in the address for a home or hotel into Google Maps, then broaden it to include the entire neighborhood. I’ll click the top righthand button called Street View to see just what the area looks like. If a street's outlined in blue on the map, it's View-enabled. You can “move” down a street with

Running Ultras, From One of the Best

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Last night I drove up to The Running Center in Carlsbad to hear my friend Akos Konya relate his strategies for running – and winning – ultramarathons. This humble Hungarian packed ‘em in for his first public speaking event. Sitting there, I couldn’t help but think back to when we met at a book signing for Dean Karnazes a few years ago. No one, including Dean K., had any idea he was so talented. And now here he was being introduced as a “celebrity.” He again finished second this year at the Badwater Ultramarathon in Death Valley in 23:47, then a month later broke the course record to win the Lead Horse 100-miler in South Dakota . Up next is a 72-miler in Tahoe. I thought I’d pass on some of the tips and comments from that evening to digest or dismiss as you wish. On Motivation A lot of people asked what keeps him going when it gets really tough on the course. Akos emphasized throughout the talk that ultrarunners focus only on finishing more than speeding through a course. He’ll tell hi

Wordless Wednesday

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The Tap is Where It's At

You do know it's uncool to drink bottled water now, don't you? I meant to mention this about a month ago, when I first read in the New York Times about those Manhattan moms who wouldn't be caught dead with a Dasani in public. Their reasons, if I remember correctly, were to be more green and reduce the (recyclable) packaging and transportation costs. There are also political groups working to dissuade the public from buying into bottled water, ever since it came to light that the most popular brands come from treated tap water anyway. Meanwhile, class action lawsuits have been waged and settled with major labels using so-called spring sources for their water, the biggest being Poland Spring (it's called Arrowhead on the West Coast). I haven't seen shrinking space for bottled water on grocery aisles yet, but if this thing gains momentum, I may wish I'd bought stock in Brita filters. Here are some online resources: Think Outside the Bottle For Empty Bottles, Ther

Reach for the Beach

It’s much better than this time Sunday and Monday, but the pain in my achilles tendon persists, meaning my worst fear’s been realized: My husband was right. He’s been after me for years months to stop running when I’m obviously injured. But his motives are always suspect. If I am down, he must be up…up to doing the chores, errands and driving that I cannot. It makes it hard for me to listen to his advice and even harder to admit that he might know what he’s talking about. So I’m sneaking out of the house this morning to do my first gym workout at the small fitness center where I now work. It’s only 45 minutes on the stationary bike. It’s also casual Friday, so I can actually gently stuff comfortable clothes into my gym bag to change into after I shower. There are no silk shirts or linen suits to coddle. And it’s Bagel Friday on our floor, so I don’t have to worry about where to get breakfast afterward. Hollah . You can see the ocean from the fourth-floor terrace, and yesterday I se

Wordless Wednesday

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How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Shortly after I lost my job in June, I ran into a running friend whose frankness I appreciate. Something will come up, he assured me. In the meantime, he advised, just look at it as an extended vacation. I didn’t think I could, not while representing 75 percent of our household income. But over time I realized he was right. Just like being on an extended retreat, this summer I learned to enjoy the little things in life. A good book you can’t put down. A movie popcorn you can’t remember eating. A quiet moment left undisturbed. I caught up on letters, e-mails and blogs; I carefully read the fine print on all those bills and pared our budget to mostly basics, grateful we’d never leveraged a lifestyle on future earnings. Our file cabinets and kitchen drawers are actually organized now and the laundry basket no longer overflows. My experiment in energy conservation might have left me still hobbling, but it was fun to walk out the front door when I wanted and not worry about what time I n

It's Gonna Take Some Time This Time

There’s only one thing more foolish than continuing to run a 6-mile loop around Coronado when your Achilles tendon feels like it's gnawing into your ankle. That’s missing a turn and going about 7 miles instead. Pictured below are me and Laura after we volunteered at yesterday's Balboa 4-Mile cross country race. We both worked the finish line and made such a great team that we again banded together on our misguided adventure during a super-solar-charged run this morning. We're having a heatwave, with triple-digit temps packing more humidity than usual for here. I guess we were lucky it was only in the 80s when we were circumventing the "island" with its multimillion-dollar neighborhoods and stingy sea breezes. I returned home in bad shape, a condition that hasn't improved in the hours since. Rather impressive swelling and tenderness have yet to yield to the hourly icing and regular doses of ibuprofen. I’m willing to admit now I need to give it a real rest. T