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Showing posts from January, 2009

One Craptastic Run

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I don’t know how you run-walk folks do it. Terri suggested the next time I rave about a great view on one of my runs, that I take a picture. So, I packed my digital camera as I headed out to run around Del Mar. Every time I thought something picture-worthy, I slowed to a walk to point and shoot. This haphazard system threw off my sense of pace, my breathing pattern, my digestive system and my final mileage. (And, yes, I know the true walk breaks are timed and in set intervals. I'm just messin' with ya.) But what ended up being bad for me may be good for you who wish to be warmed vicariously by the following photos of what was otherwise a fantastic morning. (I’ve saved a few for upcoming Wordless Wednesdays .) I arrived just before sunrise. The first surprise, other than there being so few cars parked along a normally packed lot, were temps just above freezing with the wind chill. My fingers felt frozen within a couple of minutes. However, it was 15 degrees warmer once I clim

Run, Eat, Work, Sleep

The post's title sums up my week of 'round the clock activity. I get up, go run, shower, eat breakfast, get to the office early, work through lunch at my desk, leave the office late, eat dinner, check email and crash holding a book or staring at the TV. I'm not complaining, just explaining. As for yesterday's photo, it is indeed a sculpture outside the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. Unlike the linear pattern of my days, this artfully arranged wreckage aptly reflects my mental state at the moment.

Mess or Modern Art?

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You Decent?

The first time I returned to the gym after a long absence, I saw a notice reminding everyone there was a dress code at the place. It boiled down to two things: No hats indoors and no revealing clothing. The first made perfect sense since it's long been proper etiquette, particular among the mostly military clientele, to remove your hat when indoors. The second part, though, has me curious. Maybe I just work out at the wrong time, but I've never seen anyone, male or female, dressed in anything less than T-shirt, shorts and/or sweats. Never. This place is for the hardcore, or hardcore wannabes like me. No one talks while they work out, let alone makes eye contact and smiles. A few did before the war, but not now. It's one reason I love the place. Initially, I thought the dress code reminders were for all the January newbies. Then I remembered they first appeared in December. This weekend, they multiplied and were plastered in every room. Who keeps showing up half-naked, I w

The Place on Picrus

About every other week I run this 5-mile loop that takes me into an adjacent neighborhood with two big hills and one really strange house. This place on Picrus Street stands out among all the other stucco-and-red-tile tract homes because of one thing: It reeks of birdsong. About a half block away you start to hear the loudest chirpers and by the time you reach the house, it sounds like a zoo aviary in the throes of spring breeding. During the day, it's probably a delight. But in the still darkness of pre-dawn, it sounds a little like the crows in that Alfred Hitchcock horror movie. I don't know how the neighbors can stand it. What I'm still trying to figure out is whether these birds are being held captive or just taken with this particular backyard. And how on earth can anyone sleep through that?! There must be hundreds of them, maybe thousands, heard but never seen, each calling out for attention or for help every time they hear the approaching footfalls of a would-b

Wordless Wednesday

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Getting Up There

I just returned from a glorious Sunday run to Black Mountain Park and back, the kind of leisurely early morning run that makes you feel so gosh darn lucky to live in America's Finest City. People from central San Diego know Black Mountain -- it's pretty hard to miss from the freeways thanks to some unsightly antennae towers at the top. Luckily for me, there are a number of hilltop parks near it that I can run to on weekends. It's always worth the climb, even if sometimes it's just to experience the descent's sweeping views of the entire Carmel Valley all the way to the ocean. I hit 25 miles for the week, which is close to the 30 mpw average I'm hoping for during the month of February. I wore short sleeves to work last week and couldn't help but notice my jiggly upper arms, so I'm trying to make more time for a few rowing sessions at the gym. My weight is also up -- alarmingly so. I'm weighing what to do about it. (And, yes, that was a pun.)

From One Fabulous Blogger to Another

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My homegirl Christine this week selected me for a Fabulous Blogger Award. Thank you! Thank you! Now it's time to both respond and to pass it on. First, list 5 things you're addicted to, then bestow the honor on five of your favorite bloggers. Here's Part 1: Right now I'm addicted to: 1. Bad economic news . I know, I know. It’s a constant buzz-kill but I think I'm in too deep. 2. Barefoot Contessa . I want Ina Garten’s life; I’ll settle for her pantry. 3. Torrey Pines State Preserve . I’m there too often to be called a casual user. 4. Cape Cod potato chips . Pretzels, popcorn, even Ruffles with their ridges cannot compare to the high these kettle-cooked wonders produce. 5. Daily Mile …My latest time suck. And Part 2: I bestow the honor next to... 1. Irene 2. Alice 3. Laura 4. Penny 5. Terri

One More Reason to Switch to Tea

Seven Cups of Coffee May Lead to Hallucinations

Not Your Typical Wednesday

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I get very attached to my possessions, so when we finally replaced a loveseat purchased shortly after we married, it was a big deal. The new furniture arrived yesterday and I decided to show it off on the day normally reserved for more stylistic photos. I'm sprucing up the old couch for Goodwill. I hope this new piece, and the ultrasmooth wool rug we bought to match it, last for the next 20-plus years. They go nicely with the bookcases my father-in-law built in the 1950s and the solid marble coffee table that belonged to my grandparents, circa 1945. (See, I'm not kidding when I tell you I hold on to things for a long, long time.)

Tour of California To Finish in Escondido

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Yesterday I learned from a colleague what cyclists likely already know: The Tour of California's last stage now takes place between Rancho Bernardo and Escondido . Up to 100,000 people are expected to be on or around Grand Ave. in downtown Escondido when the largest cycling event in the United States ends on Feb. 22. Watching the Tour de France is a summer tradition in our household, so being able to see many of these guys whirl by on their bikes -- including Lance Armstrong again -- is a unique opportunity I don't want to miss. Especially since we are one suburb away from RB and a 15-minute drive from downtown Escondido. (Somehow, though, I doubt either will be that easy to access on that day!) More info: Bike race expected to attract big crowds

Product Review: ProWash Active Detergent

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My theme for the year is Preservation. I plan to better tend to everything I hold near and dear, and that includes my mind and body, my relationships and all my “stuff” to which I’m economically or emotionally attachment. Race and running gear included. “Technical clothing” made of synthetic material is great at wicking away moisture to keep us cool or warm. But it’s often at the cost of soaking in odors and stubborn stains. It’s embarrassing to show up at summer races already reeking, and I have. It also kills me to toss great-fitting shirts, shorts, tights, or socks because they now resemble spotty rags. That’s why I was thrilled to be among a group of running bloggers to test the activewear detergent called ProWash . As many others have noted, the packaging is eco-friendly and the liquid’s consistency unusually light. But don’t let that fool you: like the other reviewers have noted, this product packs some punch. I’ve done four loads of laundry with it thus far and it’s surpassed

Wordless Wednesday

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Wading Deeper into the Risk Pool

In a comment on my previous post, Tony brought up an interesting point about the impact sanctioned headphone use may have on specific races: raising insurance costs which, in turn, will raise race fees. Personally, I’m already appalled at what some, mostly for-profit organizers now charge for the privilege of running along a closed course with aid support. But I get that demand remains quite high for popular events, and more expensive premiums like technical shirts and any-distance medals increasingly are expected. Tony’s comment, though, struck at something I’d just learned from the excellent book Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do by Tom Vanderbilt. I had no idea our insurance rates were tied to our credit scores. Did you? It seems auto insurance companies assume those who make poor financial decisions are also more likely to drive dangerously on our roadways. If you live where there are a lot of at-risk drivers, you pay more because of the likelihood of colliding with one of the

USATF Loosens Headphones Rule

I missed this last week, and maybe you did too: USATF Amends Headphones Rule Looks like it'll be up to race directors whether to allow participants to use headphones in all but championship competitions. Enforcement of the ban proved more difficult than expected -- maybe because there was so much non-compliance?!

My Resolution Run

I spent my first waking hours of 2009 joining Goody Two Shoes everywhere who mark the first day of the calendar year with a soulful run, a new attitude and ne'er an ounce of alcohol in the bloodstream. I passed only two other renegade runners on my 7-mile trek to and from the waterfall at Los Penasquitos Canyon (the trails weren't officially open yet). Thus I carried with me that comforting yet creepy feeling of knowing I was truly alone out there. Last time I did this trail run to mark a holiday, I tripped no less than three times and cracked my shoulder on the final fall. This time I managed to run much more smoothly, maybe because I stayed in the moment. I didn't listen to music or let my thoughts wander beyond the dirt, rocks and muddy sections ahead of me. It's amazing how well things turn out when you just pay attention. Happy New Year, everyone!