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Showing posts from 2010

Best Wishes in the Coming Year

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My Favorite Things of 2010

I've already discussed my favorite races from this year . Here are the books, movies, plays, songs, and an essay/blog post that stood out for me. And unlike Oprah, no one paid me to endorse them. Which is why none of you will be going home with a copy, let alone a new car. Favorite Book: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks A really impactful work of non-fiction that deftly weaves together many important issues in what at first blush appears to be a medical science story. But it's much, much more. Favorite Movie: Inside Job I love documentaries and this one really left an impression on me. It visually and powerfully shows what led to the global financial crisis of 2007 and why we still are suffering so. Warning: You'll leave even more depressed than when the movie began once you realize we don't have the type of representative government outlined in our high school history books. Honorable Mention: 127 Hours I love Danny Boyle movies, including this one. It also

Thank You, Sergio Stefano

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We had just settled in for the evening when we heard a knock and our neighbor handed over a small package that had been mistakenly delivered to the wrong address. It was my Secret Santa gift from Stefano, aka The Black Knight , in Italy! Hai fatto la mia giornato con il vostro regalo bello e gesto. He must have read my mind -- omnipotent army leader that he is -- because just the day before I'd been eyeing that very moleskin day planner at a local bookstore. I love it and the notepad in Italian with very cute dogs. Maggie, our furry houseguest, approves of the gifts too. Thank you, Stefano. And may you be the only one to get the joke in the headline. I am still woefully embarrassed by it. Your Lady Anne P.S. A big thank you to Jill in Colorado for creating and coordinating the running blogger gift exchanges. It had to take a lot of work. Now to wait and see if my gift ever arrived on Tuesday as intended.

From Our House to Yours

If you have trouble viewing, go here .

Wordless Wednesday

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Monday Brain Exchange: 2010 Race Poem

This week's Monday Brain Exchange, courtesy of One Little Tri Girl's blog is to create a poem that sums up your 2010 race year . Those who've followed this blog know in October 2009 I tore my achilles tendon, one of the most serious injuries a longtime runner can suffer. Through a beaurocratic blunder, I had to forgo surgery. With a lot of patience and physical therapy, I managed to heal the injury and accept newfound limitations now placed upon me, a former marathoner who loved nothing better than running 10+ miles every Sunday just to clear the cobwebs. So my return to running and racing inspired this poem. Marking the Occasion Toeing the start line Not once Not twice But three times With a firmer body A sounder mind A fully healed injury And good friends of mine Is better than Any personal records Any finisher’s medals Any technical T-shirts To mark the occasion You proved critics wrong. After all these decades Here is where you belong.

Just Call Me the Rainmaker

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I came so close to batting 1.000 for hosting rain-soaked runs this year. And technically I did because we had drizzle before the start, but otherwise we really lucked out and hit that reprieve between storms this morning for the 4th Annual Christmas Card Lane Run. This would not seem all that spectacular of a streak if we lived in Portland or Seattle, but this is San Diego and it only rained on the Saturdays I had a hosted run scheduled. Each year is a little different and this time, due to what would otherwise have been a record crowd – San Diegans can be fair-weather runners – I needed a place with a lot of free parking and setup space. So we ran to Rancho Penasquitos’ famed neighborhood from a parking lot next to a city-owned skate park that doesn’t open until 10 a.m. The location from that standpoint was perfect. The course, however, was .2 miles short because I walked the group to the base of a big hill for the official start. This was for everyone’s safety. This one was p

Guest Wordless Wednesday

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Taken at San Fransico's Lincoln Park by my daughter, Elise.

Jill's Brain Exchange: Best and Worst Races of 2010

This is a first for me: actually participating in Jill’s Monday Brain Exchange ... on a Monday. Someone hold the presses. Today topic of discussion: What were your Best and Worse Races of 2010, and what made them so? Given I only ran in three races, it was easy to narrow down my list but difficult to eliminate one of them because all three were wonderful in their own right. What may be more instructive is my very brief deconstruction of what made each a winner for me. My best time came from this summer’s Scripps Ranch 10k , and I actually outlined in my race review why things went as well as they did. Being familiar with a course often brings on a PR over the previous year’s efforts. You know what to expect and where you are likely to need to shore up mental or physical sagging. Having ideal weather is key too. I also posted a better-than-expected time in the Balboa 8 Miler , and this time I credit my friend Alexis. We stuck together the first half and talked, which provided me a n

Do Not Leave Your Valuables in the Car

This time of year we see an upswing in crimes of opportunity. I just posted the following on DailyMile and thought I'd repost it here because we all need to be careful out there. Yesterday at a track club potluck brunch, I learned that thieves have been deftly breaking into cars parked at Lake Miramar in San Diego by first popping the car's hood, disabling the horn and then somehow opening the doors and very, very carefully lifting credit cards from wallets. They do not disturb anything else so that no one suspects anything (unless they try to use their horn). The victims I know had no idea anything was gone until their credit card companies began calling to ask if they bought $5,000 worth of merchandise at Target -- I know, I thought the same thing: who can spend that much at Target?! Be careful when you park your car to go for a run or ride, especially if it's a long one. Always assume you are under surveillance, and try not to leave anything valuable to someone else

Recommended Books for Runners

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Those who are regular readers of this blog know I'm more of a Zen runner inspired by nature, not numbers. But, of course, that's probably because the numbers no longer seem to go my way. That said, a post called 40 Exhilarating Reads for Runners came to my attention this week, and having read many of the suggested entries, I wanted to point you to the site and highlight a few of those books I've read and still include in my permanent library. They make great gifts for those just discovering the joys of running and those who can never get enough literary inspiration. Running and Being by George Sheehan . When I first got into competitive running, I'd make reading a chapter from this book or another by Sheehan part of my pre-race prep. That I regularly read George Sheehan's Runner's World column while he was still very much alive gives away my age. Yes, there are some dated parts but it's still one of the best books on the subject of why we run. The Lo

Wordless Wednesday

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Run Far and Wide of Escondido Tomorrow

My friends in Escondido are a bit freaked out right now and I can't blame them. I live a good 15 miles south and I'm a bit concerned about what is going to happen when authorities blow up a house that harbored a "bomb factory" right under our noses . That means while the rest of the world's attention was on a nearby Oceanside man's standoff with TSA officials , a hoarder on the other side of the county was planning the real deal, and apparently bankrolling his bomb-making by robbing banks. It goes without saying that no one should be exercising outdoors in the vicinity when the house blows, or perhaps for days afterward. UPDATE: The explosion is now planned for Thursday due to the weather forecast .

How Awesome Is This

I’m discovering one way to a great Sunday morning long run is a superb Saturday as a warm-up. Yesterday included a highly invigorating hike through Torrey Pines State Reserve at a friend's invitation and a reunion with friends in my old neighborhood. I drove home and found out I’d won Lara ’s giveaway and will soon be wearing a pair of ultra-cool yoga pants. The evening ended with our friends Todd and Christine joining us for pizza and the ACC Championship Game. Virginia Tech is headed to the Orange Bowl! So this morning I headed out with my 8 ounces of Vitalyte and MP3 player and turned east to witness an explosion of color on the horizon. It just got better from there. I was entering my favorite part of this course when I came up to two women running ahead of me and gave out a “beep, beep” to pass. As I did they both smiled and a few seconds later I heard one of them say, “You’re awesome!” I turned around to see who they were shouting at and they gave me warm smiles and a

Wordless Wednesday

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Nothing But Blue Sky

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Longtime readers of this blog know our family celebrates the day after Thanksgiving by going on a family hike. The location is kept secret until close to the date, and participation is mandatory. Our older daughter couldn't come home for the holiday, so her little sister once gain stood in for both of them. This year I chose Blue Sky Ecological Reserve in Poway. It's close to our house and since I didn't make it to a group run here a couple of months ago, I wanted to see what I missed. The entrance just off Espola Road has parking for about 75 cars and is open this time of year from sunrise to sunset. The trailhead is easy to find. Here are my daughter and husband heading toward the entrance. We did see a hawk and mistook a crow for a vulture. Lots of aviary life and strange sounds coming from the creek that runs alongside the first half of the trail, which is shaded by live oaks, many of them damaged severely by the 2007 wildfires. Time out to take lots of photos,

My Favorite Post-Thanksgiving Run

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As I age, a lot of memories start to run together, but not my most memorable runs. One took place on this day about 13 years ago when I lived in Cape Cod. I lived on a military base and often ran outside our housing development along narrow roads surrounded by woods on both sides, which upped my chances of wildlife encounters. Usually it meant coyotes and squirrels. Just several miles north was Plymouth, site of the first Thanksgiving (at least officially). And most American families still celebrate the holiday with a cooked turkey as the centerpiece of the meal. In fact, Benjamin Franklin tried to make it our national bird. He lost to the bald eagle, but the turkey remains the symbol of the holiday. About an hour into my run I came around a corner and hit a clearing and there, sunning themselves and caring not one bit about being seen were about a dozen wild turkeys. I slowed as I approached, but they didn’t seem to care. In fact, they seemed to be oblivious to me and to the occa

Almost Wordless Wednesday

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May all my U.S. readers enjoy tomorrow's Thanksgiving holiday, no matter what direction you're headed. And for all my non-U.S. readers, enjoy yourselves as if it were your day of thanks too.

The Angels Are Crying (Again!)

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Once again a last-minute forecast check and reality did not align this morning as I hosted another training run. This time the rain proved a real problem since we were running all trails. I had a backup road course, but a group vote in drizzle affirmed the original plan to run along the main trail through Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve. The rain stopped just long enough for a group photo at the trail entrance and then I ran up ahead to get photos of everyone coming through a particularly photogenic spot ... and my camera would not turn on. That bode ill for the remainder of the morning. The plan was that everyone would turn around if the rain became more intense, which the rain did. But it's difficult to gauge rain pressure when you are running and so no one came back for an hour, and then folks trickled in (no pun intended), seeking a way to get the mud off their shoes. Before everyone returned, the park ranger came by to place a sign warning everyone to stay out; the trails w

I Love You Even If You Voted No on Prop D

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The best part of being married to your high school sweetheart is you not only grow up together, you grow old together too. Happy Half-Century, Gilbert.

Rise of the Unranked Runner

Last night at our track club’s annual awards banquet several runners and volunteers were honored. At least one was genuinely surprised: the Women’s Open Runner of the Year. She won for finally breaking the 5-hour mark in the marathon and taking 2 minutes off her mile time. And she beat far faster and more competitive females who’d been nominated this year. Until this year, the club’s board of directors would select the top runners, and as long as I can remember, the top runners came from the competitive racing teams. These teams contain some of the fastest and most fit men and women in the county, state and even country. It’s a rarified group. (The men’s open winner, for instance, finished second overall in the Disneyland Half Marathon.) But this year our Executive Committee decided to take nominations from the entire membership and then have that same membership select the winners. As a result, some members who’d made significant self-improvements made it onto the ballots and in a

Do You Run Even Miles or Negative Splits?

Just finished reading a great piece by Matt Fitzgerald on The Art and Science of Marathon Pacing . It explains some of the physiological reasons behind pacing and how what works at shorter distances tends to fail at longer ones, particularly marathons and ultras. My best marathon times all involved running negative splits, in which I ran the second half faster than the first. Sometimes this is due to crowding in the early miles or flatter terrain in the second half. Rarely was it pure skill on my part. Consider this passage: There’s a large and possibly crucial difference in the fitness levels that elite and non-elite runners bring to the marathon event. It’s plausible to me that the more modest a runner’s fitness level is, the more likely it is that he will achieve his fastest time by running somewhat aggressively in the first half and then “hanging on” in the second half. Put another way, it’s plausible to me that the smaller the difference between the most comfortable pace a

Wordless Wednesday

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