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Showing posts from 2009

Once in a Blue Moon

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If you were up and outdoors under clear skies before dawn this morning, then you witnessed a beautiful full moon. And if you're still up tonight celebrating the end of the decade, you'll see yet another full moon, much like the one on Dec. 2, which makes tonight's occurrence what we informally call a blue moon (though it isn't blue). It's a phenomenon that hasn't happened in about 20 years, and I think it bodes well for all of us, don't you? Cheers! 'Blue Moon' to Shine on New Year's Eve (National Geographic)

Wordless Wednesday

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5 Considerations For 2010 Running Goals

By now, just about everyone’s declared big plans for 2010. Here are five ways to help you succeed. 1. Pick a central theme, for your running and your life. It helps bring more meaning to your running if you have a central focus for the year, whether it’s trimming down finish times or smartly building mileage for a 100-miler. Since running is but one part of life, it only makes sense that the year’s overarching running goal sync with other expectations. For instance, if this is the year you want to be well respected within your running community, you’ll need to conduct yourself accordingly. You'll need to show, not tell. This is your personal brand that we’re talking about (and you have a brand whether you cultivate it or not). You can break down goals into semesters or seasons, but be sure both are consistent with what kind of runner you want to be a year from now. Remember too that cross-training is a must to avoid injury. In addition to running, create goals for cross-training

Count Your Blessings

Yesterday I was doing my holiday baking and one of my ingredients had gone bad. I rushed up to the Vons grocery store while the oven was still preheating, hoping to just run in and run out. On my way out, an attractive woman in her late 30s ringing the bell for the Salvation Army kettle was trying to hide her eyes from me. She was crying, hard. I asked if she was OK and she just said, "I hate when people make you cry." I figured someone had made some snide comment to her, given how bad things remain for many here. I also knew from seeing her several times now that she isn't bringing in much money, so maybe she was tired of so much rejection. I asked what happened and she said that a woman had just gone by and asked when her last day was. She said tomorrow (Christmas Eve) and burst out crying because she was going to miss the volunteer job and seeing now-familiar faces. The kettle-bell-ringing had been the only thing to pull her out of a deep depression after a string of

Wordless Wednesday

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One of the Most Amazing Things I've Seen

This is a 24-year-old Ukrainian woman, who's really "Got Talent," using sand to show what happened to her homeland when Germans invaded it during World War II. And be sure to click out of the annoying Google ad for the full effect.

My Moment in the Sun

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First folks started to hyperventilate when told to keep their technology at home for this run -- some defiantly telling me they refused to go “naked.” Then yesterday I drove up to the start and finish only to discover half of the park closed, as well as half of the parking spots. There would be nowhere else nearby to park, either. Not legally, anyway. All I needed now was for there to be unusually cold weather or, worse, rain. Instead, I’m happy to report that the 3rd Annual San Diego Track Club Christmas Card Lane Run was as good as it gets. People carpooled as I requested, so there were even spots for the locals using the park. The iPod and Garmin junkies made do. And the weather at the start was an unseasonable 60 degrees of full sun. Apparently this year I ranked much higher than I thought on Santa’s “Nice” list. I designed a new 5-mile course with Rancho Penasquitos’ Christmas Card Lane as the centerpiece. It had my hallmark hills, with the steepest the last .30 miles, but

Wordless Wednesday

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Hope on the Horizon

I got to see my insides, at least as they apply to my lower leg and -- yikes! -- it wasn’t pretty. All those bones and tendons sure make the foot and ankle look far more complicated. One slide in particular caught my attention, as well as the doctors’, and that’s the one with a significant tear on the upper portion of the achilles tendon. The good news is it’s only a partial tear. Had I not stopped running when I did on Halloween and beyond, I would have severed it by now. Instead, the continuous rest, ice and compression have helped, but there’s still a noticeable gap on the MRI screen. Surgery is the standard course of action for this injury; however, we’re going to give it another month of rest, ice, naproxen and, now, heating and specific stretches to see if the tendon can heal on its own. As with previous health care providers, we talked a bit about my running history and the M.D. and R.N., both former runners who didn’t quit when they were ahead, gave me hope that I will be a

Thank You, Bill

It took a random sighting on a dear friend's blog to prompt me to post before tomorrow's day of reckoning. That's when I'll get the final verdict on my foot injury after already receiving two other, confusing opinions. This time it's a sports medicine specialist with great credentials who is outside my HMO network. But back to folks who are within my network -- of friends, that is. A former colleague recently launched a very personal blog about his battle with OCD, and gave me a nice mention in a post on his work history. I know runners like to joke about their OCD-like tendencies with training, but after you read Bill's posts, you'll realize it's nothing to kid about -- and if you recognize yourself in what he says, please consider professional help. The OCD Diaries And speaking of Web sites, I wanted to note two running-related ones that vendors recently brought to my attention. The Clymb . This is a members-only price club on athletic gear that

A Cautionary Tale

Yesterday marked the anniversary of my last race. Exactly a year ago I ran one of my slowest 10ks and, having failed to notice no one around my age ahead of me, hurried off without my first-place age group award. In the months to come, I signed up well in advance for fast-selling races, only to be hobbled by injury. To save a spot and $5 on the registration fee, I’d blow five to ten times that amount to be a no-show at the start. By summer, I was still entertaining training schedules for a fall half marathon and a few 5ks, only to be sidelined again and again by injury – the same injury, acute achilles tendonitis. A familiar pattern continued to play out: I’d rest for weeks, start running on my own for short spurts, finally feel fine and rejoin a running group. Within weeks I’d re-injure my ankle. Looking back, I logged more (gas) miles volunteering to help my track club peers than I did running errands for the year. The final assault came during a Halloween morning trail run I was

Wordless Wednesday

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Treadmill Tales

It took two bum-busting falls on black ice and a near collision with a skidding car for me to break down and buy a treadmill during our first winter in Cape Cod. It cost about a grand on sale at Sears, and it ended up being used more than I expected in our tricked-out basement. I used it to run at 4 a.m. weekday mornings because it was the only time I had between my crazy Boston commute, only it was so loud it woke everyone sleeping three stories above. During Sunday long runs in January, February and March, it kept me out there when no one else was. I’d tell myself, “I’ll run half outdoors and then finish with the rest on the treadmill.” Then I’d hit the midpoint, with my sweaty hair iced to my face and my Camelback frozen solid, and remember how much I dreaded that machine. I would tell myself I could do another 30 minutes outdoors and then finish inside. And I’d keep at it, until, of course, I’d done the entire run in the bitter cold. When movers were hauling that treadmill out o

Building Bridges

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As mentioned in an earlier post, this year’s annual Black Friday Family Hike had to be more like a walk due to injury. For something both short ‘n’ pretty, I decided on a trek to walk over the new David Kreitzer Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge at Lake Hodges. The pathway/trail to the bridge is easy to reach from a concrete entrance at the end of Sunset Ave. in southern Escondido. I’d run numerous times along the nearby Mule Hill Trail and another used in the old San Dieguito River 10k Trail Run, but this was my first on this path. We were close to the chaos at the North County Faire mall but miles away in terms of scenery and seclusion. The path initially parallels the 15 freeway, then goes under it. The bridge is within easy sight on the other side. There are signs – and signs – that this area was hit hard by the 2007 wildfires. Another natural disaster also was in plain sight: long-term drought. While on the bridge I recognized part of a 10k trail race route on the Rancho B

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone

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From today's New York Times: The Turkey Day Trot, Explained

Wordless Wednesday

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An Honor to Serve

Certainly one of the biggest beneficiaries of my spare time this year has been the San Diego Track Club, particularly since I lost my job this summer. Not only have I served on a couple of committees, done one-off assignments and helped out at every race I'm in town for, but I unexpectedly went from being a training program e-newsletter editor for three months to an interim administrative director for six months. That's a huge shift in responsibilities. On Saturday night the track club held its annual banquet and I was among the "Super Volunteers" to receive recognition and a really nice embroidered, fleece jacket. A lot of wonderful people received special honors, including Mike, our volunteer coordinator, who was named Volunteer of the Year, and Marison, our own program's volunteer coordinator, who received the coveted Spirit Award. I liked something Mike said that evening that explains why a lot of running programs have a chronic shortage of volunteers. Mike m

A Tear Away from Ending It

I really, really like the nurse practitioner that is my primary care provider. She really knows a lot. She really knows me too. For more than two years I have complained to her off and on about the same ankle injury. She listens, recommends a conservative course of treatment and tells me to get back with her in six to eight weeks if there is no improvement. For awhile this fall, there was improvement, which I think is why she was surprised to see me this morning. My achilles tendon had by then swollen to twice the size of the healthy one on the other leg just by running errands the day before. Fortunately, the tendon is still attached to my “calf muscle,” so it’s not severed. But the huge knot and chronic pain point to a significant tear. Maybe even a “recreational-ending” one. For those that are interested, the course of action for now begins with prerequisite x-rays of my foot and ankle, which are required for me to get an MRI. The MRI will settle once and for all the extent of da

'The Skinny' on Those Maniacs

Just finished reading today's Wall Street Journal that includes an article on the rising trend of 'mega marathoners' and just what motivates someone to essentially devote so many waking hours and income to run marathon after marathon. To no one's surprise, those in pursuit of such big goals tend to be middle-aged and at their peak income, at least when they start chasing race tallies rather than race times. For 'Mega Marathoners,' the Race is On ... To Run More Races Here's a passage that stood out to me: Scientists have studied compulsive running, not only in humans but in rats and mice. Some compare it to eating disorders like anorexia nervosa. Michael Sachs, a professor at Temple University in Philadelphia who studies exercise addictions and usually runs 18 miles a week, says for most people, running multiple marathons is simply a passion, like skiing or surfing, and not a disorder. He says runners enter addiction territory only when they can't c

Wordless Wednesday

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Who Is Killing the Raccoons?

This morning made four. Heading to the gym at daybreak, I spotted the fourth very big and very dead raccoon in the very same place as three others, give or take a few yards. These casualties of cars, coyotes or some other collision are all just around the corner from our house, on the main throughfare through our housing development. The carcasses are removed by the time schoolchildren head up the street, but by whom I do not know. I'm not sure how often you've encountered a raccoon, but these critters are very big (21 to 60 pounds) and often rabid. I've seen maybe three my entire time here, all while running in the dark. They like to hide in storm drains until you pass, though wild ones can be aggressive. And now I come upon four of them, all stone cold dead, in one week and in one place. Even more disconcerting: What are my neighbors doing with the road kill?!

An All-Too-Typical Saturday Morning

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Once again I sat out what appeared to be another superb Saturday morning run with our training program. I guess when you re-aggravate a tenacious ankle injury that took months to heal, it takes more than a couple of weeks to mend again. Instead, I volunteered at our aid station at Morley Field, near North Park, which meant sitting in a cushy director's chair with my spiced chai latte and shooting the breeze with fellow volunteer Erin while runners came and went. I also shot photos for our online album, some of which I'll share here. First, the group decides on a route - or several options, in this case. Ordinarily we follow a map with a prescribed run, but today everyone decided to wing it. That flexibility and innovation is what I love best about this group. We always do a warm-up first. Oh, come on...you wouldn't have been able to pass up this shot either. (Besides, it's not like I was 'behind' everyone.) Most of the group just before everyo

Some Wordless Days Don't Go As Planned

I spent yesterday in Point Loma babysitting an 8-month-old. We spent the morning strolling all over Shelter Island and surrounding residential areas. The weather was perfect. The setting, perfect. The baby's disposition, perfect perfect perfect. My camera, not so perfect. It wouldn't work and there were some wonderful Wordless Wednesday photos just waiting to be captured. One image was of a pod of lunchtime runners all wearing their iPods and Vibrams with the bay, city skyline and mountains in the background. (I will say this, those barely-there "shoes" make you look much cooler if you're running in longer board shorts than itsy bitsy running shorts, guys.) So there's no photo for today. Instead, let me cast aside my disappointment and thank each and every veteran and family member of a veteran for their service and their sacrifices on behalf of our country. That includes my all-time favorite veteran, who is still upstairs snoring away as I type this.

Fall Harvest, At Last!

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This weekend has been marked on my calendar since August, when a farm in Fallbrook took out a notice on Craigslist to let everyone know that persimmon picking would begin the first full weekend in November. That weekend finally arrived, along with an email invitation to former customers of Little Quail Ranch deep in Valley Center, where we set out Saturday morning. The timing worked well for me because I’d decided to take the day off from our half marathon training program to ditch some e-waste at our suburb’s annual recycling event. It’s usually full by mid-morning, but as a sign of the times, there was still plenty of trash truck space at all the recycling stations by 9 a.m. People are indeed holding on to their stuff now, which is probably just as good for the environment. From there we drove up to northern San Diego County, though my husband did so under duress. It’s college football season, after all. To win him over, I repeatedly vowed to be quick and to not go over budget, a

Welcome Home, Meb

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Today San Diego welcomed home Meb Keflezighi , the first American to win the New York City in 27 years . Meb’s family emigrated from Etirea when he was young and he went to elementary, junior high and high school here in San Diego. His family, classmates, coaches and teachers and track friends attended the special event at the San Diego Hall of Champions in Balboa Park. A former sports broadcaster, who ran NYC in 1977, gave Meb an original LeRoy Neiman poster from that year. (As he accepted the gift, Meb mentioned that despite running NYC five times, he'd never gotten a poster.) Most people, particularly those who read running blogs, are familiar with his story, which includes winning the silver medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics. Then a few years later he fractured his right hip (from, he says, being “too lean for too long”) and many wrote him off because of his injury and his age. “A year and a half ago, I couldn’t even walk,” he recalled. He said during that time he came to re

Are You Balanced?

Saw this over on Daily Mile yesterday and thought others might like to take this simple quiz to determine if maybe, ahem, you have a real issue with exercise. Be honest, now. It's very easy to tell what the "correct" answer is. Let us know the results, too. Exercise Quiz: Are You An Exercise Perfectionist?

Guest Wordless Wednesday

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From a friend's collection of photos during a recent trip to Vermont.

Bringing It Home

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Our Saturday training runs typically are held in either East County or near the coast, but not near my coast in La Jolla or Del Mar. The exceptions have all been races or those runs I've hosted. That includes this morning's trail run in Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve. It was nice to not wake extra early and not worry about mysterious car sounds or consuming so much gas to basically go for a run. All I had to do was grab my handheld water bottle, a few copies of the map and do a slow-jog warmup to our gathering spot at Canyonside Community Park (where it's FREE to park and open early, by the way). I wasn't ready to christen my new Nikes, so I wore my old Mizunos, which removed any doubt that they were at least partially responsible for my prolonged achilles tendonitis. A mile into the run I felt that old familiar ache. And seven miles later, under otherwise perfect conditions, I couldn't stand the stabbing pain any longer. Once everyone had returned safely to

You Talking to Me?

Most of you don't look at my online training diary, but if you did you'd notice I'm in the throes of another online rowing challenge. This is my first since February and it requires me to row 31,000 meters between Oct. 25 and 31. Doing this using gym equipment creates an additional challenge because sometimes both machines are in heavy use and sometimes the 30-minute rule is enforced. So I'm essentially doing this in four days instead of seven. I took on the challenge because, after almost a full year without racing, I need new spark plugs and this is the best way to get a cheap tune-up. And, if this morning is any indication, my body's running much better already. Usually if I'm going to row long, I run short. But I woke to perfect 45-degree weather and decided to run 5 miles around Lake Miramar first. A mile into it, a guy in a warmup suit heading my way did a U turn in front of me, and I figured I'd use him as a rabbit. Only I caught him a half mile la

You Guys Are So Smart

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To those who guessed yesterday's mystery man was Robert Englund, a.k.a. Freddy Kreuger: Congratulations. You are very wise and know your warped characters. I felt incredible guilty taking that photo because it was very obvious the man wanted to be left alone. His dog was much friendlier once he realized I wasn't part of the papparazzi. I bet he'd have liked a copy of this photo, too, but I wasn't about to ask for his email address. Ah, well.

(Not Quite) Wordless Wednesday

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I took this photo while we were at Laguna Beach a number of years ago and thought it apropos for the week of Halloween. Try to guess the 'gore porn' character this actor played. (I had to scan the photo since I couldn't find the CD holding the image, so the photo is not as crisp as I'd like.)

A Long Way From Alaska

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Happy 21st Birthday, Alex! In case you can't remember, this was our front yard and this was your favorite time of the day. The neighborhood no longer exists, but fortunately the mountain still does.