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Showing posts from 2008

Wordless Wednesday

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Peace Be With You

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To Punch You gave my parents five years of unconditional love. Rest in peace and enjoy your new chew toys in dog heaven.

Coming Around Again

Thank you for all the comforting words expressed in the comments and in private e-mails in the past week. Each one had the effect you intended: a little boost to help keep my grief from growing. Not gonna lie to you, the next couple of days will be hard since Joe was a part of our Christmases for many, many years. But I am emotionally ready for it, and I think the rest of the family is too. We've had a lot of rain here, and somehow I've managed to run around it. Me, the one who loves running in rain. The forecast calls for more "liquid sunshine" so maybe I'll get lucky tomorrow or the next day. P.S. Joe passed away today.

Joe's Finish Line

Yesterday morning I said good-bye to one of my oldest and dearest friends. They took him off the ventilator in a Pittsburgh hospital room just long enough for him to explain why he hadn’t returned my messages and why he wouldn’t be calling me again. A friend let him use her cell phone, the same friend that for years helped him select the pajamas he’d gifted to my daughters each Christmas since they were born. I’ve written before about my friend Joe , who was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. He never smoked and had otherwise been the picture of good health until he developed a chest cold that would not go away. He ran between the chemo treatments and even finished the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in Virginia Beach, his newly bald head beaming. He used to run marathons, especially when he lived in Indianapolis, and took quinine pills to quell calf cramps that once led us both to finish near last in a 20-miler on Martha’s Vineyard. We stuck together, no matter what, and we did much

Wordless Wednesday

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Irrational Optimism

I have lists everywhere right now. On my countertops. On my desks. On my white board at work. By my bedside. By my tea stash. And by the stack of presents still left to wrap. They’re in my head. In my computer. In my car. None of these lists synch up to the days as they unfold. But somehow the stuff on them does get done, if only after being carried over a few days or weeks to other lists. I don’t recall ever being this overwhelmed at the holidays, but I’m sure I have and I’ve just conveniently crossed it from my memory much like I long to do with this growing grocery list before me. The funny thing is, with all that there is to fret about these days – my mother’s rapidly deteriorating health, a dying dog, my sisters’ continued unemployment, all these layoffs and our all-too-quickly-depleting college fund for the girls – I can’t stop feeling good. I mean, I’m really happy right now. Part of it is the migraine headaches, which recently disappeared as mysteriously as they arr

You Too Can Run with a Kenyan

Just caught this piece in the New York Times about a guy whose family hired a champion Kenyan runner to spend the day with him. I guess if people can pay Paris Hilton to show up at their party, shelling out for one of the world's best runners to hang with the hub works too. Avid Runner Gets Moving Birthday Gift

Wordless Wednesday

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What the--?!

Just looked up yesterday's race results: 66 ANNE SXXXX 561 46 1/2 F San Diego 57:50 9:19 Note the 1/2 for my age group. It figures...the one time I have to leave early I didn't have to leave emptyhanded. Well, it still makes my day to know that at some time while I was rushing home Peter, the race director, announced my name to everyone. Now I'm really motivated to keep at it.

Race Review: 2008 Mainly Masters 10k

I've just time for a short one on this morning's race around Fiesta Island, a commercial-free and exceptionally flat oasis between Sea World and Mission Bay Park. The weather was perfect, the crowds impressive and course support spot on. They even had a lone bagpiper belting out holiday tunes near miles 2 and 4. Those Gaelic chords carried for a good quarter mile in each direction and still make me smile as I write this. Unfortunately, I believe I posted my slowest time ever for this annual race that marks the start of the San Diego Track Club Grand Prix series. I wasn't wearing a stopwatch, but I do know when I hit Mile 5 in exactly 47:00, according to the official timer, I was not going to come in under 57 minutes, let alone return to my usual sub-55 days. I did manage to pass the guy I'd paced off for much of the way. And I felt terrific as I rushed home to shower and head to a family gathering an hour north in Murrietta. It looks like the Hokies are pulling off a

My Newest Running Playlist

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Wordless Wednesday

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Travel Tips for 'Long Distance Races'

If you're like me, you're planning a race that requires long-distance travel. My destination is most accessible by air, so in about a month I'll start shopping airfares in earnest. I've managed over the years to save a significant sum by combing Web sites almost daily for weeks, sometimes a full month, waiting for a sudden, fleeting drop in ticket prices. Turns out even the experts are with me on this. An expert on ABCNews.com recently offered tips for finding decent fares in the coming year. Among his tips: Don't Procrastinate -- Start shopping for airline tickets about four months before departure. This is when airlines begin actively managing and releasing cheaper seats and you'll also be more likely to catch a system-wide airfare sale. Travel the Cheapest Days -- Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. Travel the Cheapest Times of Day -- First flights out, after lunch and dinner and last flights out. Shop Online Monday Afternoon Through Thursday -- Sales ar

Fog, Family and Farmstands

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I took a break this past week – from work, from blogging and from San Diego. I basically took time off from everything except running, which I managed to do as scheduled on all but one day. Some mornings felt forced, and one run at 9 on a really hot Monday just felt plain wrong. I must be back, though, because this morning's 8-miler through Santaluz was sublime. Midweek we drove for hours (and hours and hours...) over a few rivers and through scorched woods to spend Thanksgiving at my grandmother’s house. She’s a longtime resident of a place called Paradise and, after taking the scenic route for a change, I had to admit the area might live up to its moniker. The vistas along the gorges on Neal Road were brilliant after driving all morning through fog, and the colorful foliage hugging the twisty two-lane roads once we hit town made me pine for New England again. This really felt like a classic Thanksgiving. My grandmother, 94, lives alone in a tidy three-room house that’s perfe

Pursuit of Some Happyness

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The other day (or, mercy me, week) I was tagged by Irene for the Kreativ Blogger Award. Let’s just say at the time I felt unworthy and unhappy. Now I’m officially on vacation and – Surprise! Surprise! – my creativity and mood have improved significantly. Here are 6 things that make me happy, followed by the 6 bloggers I am tagging to share their lists. 1) My husband and children. I was never one of those overly ambitious types and had but few big goals in life. The only consistent one: create the kind of family I always wished to be part of. It’s my crowning achievement, and always will be. 2) Sunrises, viewed from ground level. I don’t care how much I hurt or how tired I am, there hasn’t been a sunrise that doesn't momentarily lift my spirits. The more beautiful, the better. But even the ones whose brilliance is held back by heavy cloud cover fill me with hope. 3) Long, hot showers after a run in the rain. A rare treat here in San Diego, but each experience brings back

Wordless Wednesday

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Howlin' at the Moon

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This past week I got to witness some dear friends celebrate major accomplishments. Yesterday my husband and I drove up to the San Luis Rey Mission in Oceanside to watch Louise and Rolly walk across the stage with Faria, the Black Lab puppy they’ve raised the past 18 months for Canine Companions for Independence . Like any graduation ceremony, there was pomp and circumstance and impressive donations, including one from well-known suspense novelist Dean Koontz and his wife for $1 million. Even the dogs barked along with the applauding crowd to show their appreciation. It takes a great deal of time, money and stamina to raise a puppy specifically to someday be the eyes or ears or arms and legs for someone whose been shortchanged in life. There were sleepless nights as Faria adjusted to her new family, weekly lessons with homework, and, during puberty, there was “Camp Chastity.” Their teenaged son Fabrece sometimes was told to babysit while the couple went out for a few hours. Their oth

Another Nick at Nike

I'm a fan of the Cheapskate column that runs Thursdays in the Wall Street Journal. Yesterday's article featured the author's battle with Nike over an obviously flawed running shoe. Earlier Nike took one on the chin for a flawed race system that rewarded slower "elite" athletes over the fastest female in the Nike Marathon. Now, it appears, they have some serious customer service issues to resolve. Read the column: Kicked by a Running Shoe

Almost a Twit, But Not Quite

This week at work we all signed up for Twitter , the microblogging site that I'd resisted because of its high addiction rate. Truthfully, I didn't think I'd enjoy it but then I realized that great works -- and lives -- don't gloss over the details, they glom onto them. Of course, I immediately ransacked my personal e-mail account for connections. Yes, Mark, that's how I found my running "husband" in nanoseconds despite your low profile. It also made me realize that a lot happens here at Run DMZ between posts, and that some friends and family might want to know what I'm doing that's so important I can't return their calls and e-mails. So, I earlier I added a sidebar feature called "In Between Posts..." that is updated as needed. I thought of just importing my "tweets" but why desecrate this site with my tripe -- though I suppose it never stopped me before. Last night I helped stock Christmas stockings for young Marines fight

Wordless Wednesday

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Fall Mornings and Full Moons

Since recovering from a sick spell, my morning runs have been wonderful. The air's been crisp, with the thermostat hovering within the ideal 45- to 51-degree range. Some mornings are washed clean by a brief rain spell (our first since April); others start with the wind tossing me a few falling leaves. I head east as often as possible to witness heavenly sunrises with the moon at my back. I'm midway through an eight-week training schedule, about the point I should be tired of being told what to do. Instead I still rise before the alarm and hurry into my long sleeve shirt and shorts, sipping a strong cup of tea and mentally plotting out my course. I'm especially excited when it's a full moon because it adds an almost spiritual dimension to the moment. I had to come up with a substitute for track workouts and created the perfect circuit that has me running around a big block. I move toothpicks between my shorts pockets to help keep track of my 400 repeats. (Pennies would

What a Bright Idea

I don't do sick well (pun intended). I went home from work early Thursday and slept 12 hours. Yesterday I suffered through the work day, then slept 10 hours. Today, I'm better. I missed a blogger meetup, though, and I'm majorly bummed about it. I'll also miss tomorrow's 5k that ends with a big brunch. Right now that just doesn't sound appetizing. On to other matters... The other week at work we had a workshop on innovation. The presenter mentioned the importance of goals and how to achieve them. As we all reflect on our goals, running and otherwise, I wanted to share some advice from the workshop that might help you meet your mission. E motional : You can’t just analytically set goals; you must believe them in your gut. Without that gut-level connection to the goal, it is not locked into the brain as worth doing. You must feel it and want it passionately. D ecisive : You must commit the whole force of your being to your goal. This is the only way big goals c

No Wordlessness Today

Here's something you don't see every day here: A line -- a long line -- leading to the neighbor's garage, a.k.a. our "precinct," where we voted in the rain. And, for the first time in our 22-year marriage, my husband and I didn't cancel each other's votes . Seems like everyone at work had their "I Voted" stickers proudly displayed on their chest, not just the usual four or five regulars. Then a big group of us watched the East Coast results come in at a bar after work, all of us supporting the same presidential candidate and hoping for a defeat of Prop 8. We were black, white, Latino, Chinese, Jewish, Catholic, Protestant. One pair of gay brothers said their mother in Sacramento voted for the first time in her life, leaving the ballot blank except to pick Barack Obama and to vote No on 8. Obama won, as everyone now knows, but Prop 8 is currently winning by a thin margin. Whether your guy won or not, and whether a cause you believe in passio

6 Random Things

That Angie is so patient with me. She tagged me weeks ago to participate in this meme. I’ve done it a few times already, but it’s always fun to come up with more items. 1. I lost the office Halloween contest to a giant rat. 2. Nobody’s getting the homemade Christmas presents I planned in April with intentions of finishing by September, or October at the latest. Maybe if I start them next January they’ll be done on time for Christmas 2010. 3. I must be improving as a volunteer theater usher. The other week I got to do tickets for “The Women,” which was actually better than the movie version, in my opinion. My favorite this season has been a musical called “Memphis” that we all think has a chance at a Tony once it makes it to Broadway. 4. I’m planning three half marathons next year: one in April in a faraway place; one in August that sounds really cool; and one in November that I haven’t done in years. 5. We had a couple over for dinner and a movie thi

Wordless Wednesday

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Yeah...

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I can't believe you're 20 years old today, either. Happy Birthday, Alex!

Wisdom of the Peaceful Warrior

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I admit it took me much longer to read, let alone review, this book after I received it in the mail from Stefano . I had a vacation to enjoy, then a tough job to endure, a steady stream of visitors to entertain and a family crisis that continues to unfold. If only I’d sat down with this sequel by Dan Millman sooner, I would have handled all these situations differently. I never read Millman's earlier works, including Way of the Peaceful Warrior. Nor have I seen the movie version. But this latest installation in a series makes it easy for the uninitiated since Millman pulls scenes and sayings from an earlier work to introduce what was gained since he met a man called Socrates. That’s the guy who ran a gas station when Millman was attending UC, Berkeley and who became a guiding force in Millman’s life -- a life in northern California that seems on the surface quite ordinary, actually. If you’re up on philosophers like Alan Watts or even Buddha, then many passages will ring familiar.

A New Balboa Park 'Trail Mix'

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Just saw in today's newspaper that the Balboa Park trail system has been enhanced with signs to explain the distance and difficulty of various routes. This is a great resource for both locals and tourists. And the article is so right: There's so much more to the park than the zoo and the museums and maybe now more people will discover that. Hikers Get a Trail Mix (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Get With the Program

Few people know this, but a group of dedicated runners and volunteers have been working since this summer to gain formal approval of a popular pilot program designed for half marathoners in San Diego. After many meetings, missives and revisions, we unveiled our grand plan Tuesday evening to the San Diego Track Club’s board of directors – and gained unanimous approval. I was due to deliver the final presentation, but a last-minute work project involving a presidential candidate prevented me from giving my PowerPoint talk. The group did a wonderful job in my absence. Beginning next June, up to 125 lucky runners will be able to train weekly with full support for a variety of summer, fall and early winter races. I intend to be one of them. For now, I continue to train on my own.

Since Technically I Am Not Speaking

I'll send you to Leslie's blog for the latest on the Nike Womens Marathon controversy .

Wordless Wednesday

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PetitionSpot

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The Winner and the Real Loser

If you haven't heard, the Nike Women's Marathon last weekend showed that it's an elitist race by awarding the top prizes to women in the elite field when someone who started with the masses actually bested them all and ran the fastest time. She left San Francisco emptyhanded. This apparently is the second time in a week that race officials have made that call. Last weekend in Chicago the Kenyan who finished fourth was shut out of prize money because he too started with the regular athletes and not a special pack. You can read about it here. One question I have is: Why do elite athletes even need a head start? I mean, aren't they supposed to be fast enough to split away from the others right out of the gate anyway? And what an audacious excuse was given: The elite women might have put in more effort if they knew someone else was on their heels, in this case a 24-year-old schoolteacher who never considered herself elite. That's the other incredulous claim: that

Running Bloggers Unite

One of the best parts of being a running blogger is meeting others that you instantly know share some of the same interests. Today I got to show Rae and Brent around some of my favorite parts of San Diego while they are here on a "babymoon." My camera battery was drained before I even turned it on, so we'll have to wait to see what the two of them post after their trip. When you follow someone's blog for long enough, you start to feel like you really know them. This couple from Nashville was just as nice in person as they are in the virtual world. As usual, I talked too much and, by my count, began at least four stories without finishing them. I think that's down from previous blogger meetups. We went to Torrey Pines, and I intended to just walk along the beach but Rae, despite being seven months, was game to hike to the top of the cliffs. For lunch, we lucked out on street parking in downtown Del Mar and ate at Americana Cafe, where the omelettes and chocolate

Running Late

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My college kids were nice enough to supply some photos for Wordless Wednesday, only I never actually posted them yesterday. So, around 1 in the afternoon my husband called to let me know Alex had been trying to reach me while I was in meetings. I immediately called her and got this pregnant pause. "Where is your Wordless Wednesday?" she demanded to know. I had trouble trying to get the photos to fit in an apparently preassigned configuration. It's still a problem, as you can see. At least when it's Thursday, I can explain the photos. The first two are from the UC, Davis Homecoming game, which my other daughter Elise attended last weekend to see her sister perform. One features Alex's football-player dance partner at the previous night's bonfire rally. Do any of you remember Dominic from the third season of "So You Think You Can Dance?" Turns out he was sharing studio space with the dance team and watched a practice and, of course, posed for a

Moon Shadows

My fears from about 10 hours ago were unfounded. Not only was the fire near us extinguished quickly, but I woke to clear skies without even the faint trace of smoke. It's still brittle dry out, so though it was 15 degrees warmer, I didn't sweat -- or if I did, it evaporated immediately. With the moon full, I could actually see my shadow as I ran along a few streetlight-less avenues. It was pretty cool, until I caught something in my periphery vision and realized it was not one but two coyotes tearing across a canyon -- towards me. I quickly did a 180, though I think they were after something else anyway. About a mile later, I saw what looked like a cat scoot across another moonlit area toward a storm drain. As I approached, I knew the tail was way too large to be a house cat. (Plus, what cat heads toward water?!) Sure enough, it was a big ol' raccoon staring at me.

Here We Go Again

As I type, we can hear helicopters overhead as they help douse one of the first wildfires of the season. The biggest fire is in Oceanside, a safe distance from here. This one near us is less than a mile away but contained already. We got the milder end of the Santa Anas, unlike LA, but the extra dry air, high temps and smoke have caused the air quality in my neighborhood to drop considerably. One day into the new running schedule and already it's threatened. The Oceanside Fire The Rancho Penasquitos Fire

Politics and Pocketbooks

I started the first day of a new eight-week 10k plan with a wonderful run under clear skies, lush moon and 49-degree temps. The mid- to upper-40s is my ideal running weather. Always has been. I’ll take 50s if I’m properly dressed, and 30s are good for trails since snakes and big kitty cats stay put. I’m going to make a concerted effort to really watch what I eat and stay within 200 calories of my recommended daily allowance to lose 10 pounds by Dec. 6. This whole following a plan is a bit of a sea change for me and harkens back to when I took running a little more seriously. I had a restful weekend and didn’t leave the house yesterday after I did my long run. So I was surprised to see so many political signs on everyone’s front yards early this morning. Judging by all the Republican candidates and “Yes on 8” signs, I live in a very conservative neighborhood. Prop 8 would overturn a court ruling that now allows gay couples to marry. It’s certainly the most polarizing issue on the bal

The Onion

This week I was a victim of sexual abuse. Actually, I pretended to be one for a video testimonial after the videographer asked me – and only me. After deciding not to be insulted, I really got into the role. I didn’t even need to inhale a cut onion to bring on the water works and, despite there being no audio, I found myself sobbing loudly and heaving heavily. I clenched my tissue wad on the hand close-up just as I would in real life – and with no direction. Finally, all those Lifetime movies paid off. And who could blame me? I’m a bit surprised that few running blogs I’ve read the past two weeks mention the now-worldwide financial crisis that should have every one of us nervous. I guess no one I read needs to borrow money or tap into their dwindling nest egg in the next few years, or works for an employer with cash-strapped customers. Now our Governator wants a $7 billion “bailout” – which, trust me, will be the top word for 2008. At least his request would pay for state nursing hom

Guest Wordless Wednesday

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Photo of somewhere in Sonoma County San Francisco taken by my daughter, Elise.

What Would You Do?

Say you’re a course marshal at a cross-country 5K this past Saturday and, due to some park resodding, the course is changed. It’s basically a new course to everyone. You have two assignments: make sure runners stay off the road on the way out and make sure they come all the way back to your spot and negotiate a sharp turn right at the 3-mile mark, just before the finish ahead. Complicating the return are chalk lines for another event about 200 feet away that can confuse someone unfamiliar with the new course. Most of the runners handle the final stretch just fine, but eventually the back of the pack folks, now few and far between, are following people cooling down and cutting the course. So you move up to get their attention and show them the way. That works until the last three women, all walkers, come through. You see them turn with the chalk lines and you run over and shout, “Here! Here! The course is over here!” Unlike the others, they ignore your shouts and another woman who’s

New Carnival of Running

Mike A ., a columnist for Complete Running , is starting a new Carnival of Running. For those new[er] to blogging, “carnivals” are collections of blog posts from the past week or so and can be focused on a theme, such as different impressions of the Boston Marathon or a roundup of run-ins with nature. Typically, though, someone is assigned to just jot down highlights and hyperlinks to their favorite blog posts. Mike’s blog is called Running is Funny and, thus, he’s taking carnival at its word and asking for running bloggers to submit strange, weird, wild and uproarious runs or encounters with runners that they experience during the week. You can send them to carnival@runningisfunny.com.

Wordless Wednesday

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I (Heart) Running Again

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Former running blogger Dennis, who runs with the Greater Boston Track Club, e-mailed to let me know he was coming to town this weekend and wondered if I wanted to run with him one morning. So he and I joined my track club’s Saturday morning half marathon group for a run that starts and ends on Harbor Island. Dennis ran with the faster crowd, while I hung on to run with Amy, a member of the masters women team that I used to meet for afternoon lake runs a couple of years ago. We ended up taking a route along Shelter Island, an aquatic hamlet that’s best known among locals as home to Humphrey’s by the Bay concerts. Amy raved about a 5k that finishes here with a champagne brunch, so I think that’ll be the next race on my schedule. I ended up running 7 miles, maybe a little more – my watch battery died enroute – that morning, grateful the fog stuck around to help hide the humidity. We ended with crunches and planks and now I know for sure I need to ramp up the core strengthening. My bac

Wordless Wednesday

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That's Messed Up

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Tell me, what immediately comes to mind when you think of British singer Amy Winehouse? If you follow pop culture, you don't think runner, fitness, health, etc. No, you think crackhead . She's also apparently bulimic and racist and...you get the picture. Apparently a local running store doesn't. Under a tagline "Need for Speed" is a graphic that looks distinctly like Winehouse when she was saying "No, No, No" to Rehab and her drug-dealing husband wasn't behind bars. It's in the latest issue of a local publication that lists Southern Cal races and entry forms. Am I missing something?