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Showing posts from July, 2010

Product Review: OrthoLite Performance Insoles

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A few weeks ago I received a pair of OrthoLite inserts to test and was excited at possibly finding another shoe insole to help extend the life of my legs and running shoes. OrthoLite manufacturers say their insoles retain 95% of their cushioning after the first year, something they also claim no other open cell foam insole can do. I wasn’t about to wait a year, but if that’s indeed true, then it’s great news to those with a limited budget and shoe lifespan. The inserts also use an environmentally-friendly anti-microbial to fend off fungi and malodor and a structure for ventilation that helps keep the foot dry. This last part was what impressed me most since it was one of the few areas I could truly test. You see as soon as I trimmed my inserts to fit my Nikes and tried them on, I didn’t feel any difference. Then I looked at the original insert and saw they were indeed by OrthoLite. It made sense – more than 100 million OrthoLite inserts are used in many popular athletic shoes (Nike,

July Sigh

We have a typical weather pattern in San Diego that we call May Gray and June Gloom. This is because a thick marine layer settles in during the late spring and keeps everything cooler than other parts of the country, or even here. It's one reason we can schedule a major marathon in June. What isn't typical is what we call July Sigh, and this has been the coolest July on record in almost 100 years . Where I work, near the coast, it's barely been above the mid-60s; where I live, it's stayed a highly comfortable 70 with a light ocean breeze. July Sigh is not good for tourism, but it's excellent for long-distance running. This morning our group ran from Harbor Island deep into Point Loma by way of a big, big hill on Canon Road. I ran 9 of the 11 miles on the schedule and definitely could have done the entire circuit except I didn't want to fool with an 8-mile hard-as-heck race next weekend. So I climbed the big hill and then turned around at 4.5 miles and went bac

Music to My Ears

A BBC Health report today explains why people like to use music while exercising and how it can increase performance by as much as 15%. Among other things, it "masks" effort and helps you maintain a quicker pace. Of course, this is with training. Here in the USA, most major races still prohibit running to music for mostly safety and competitive reasons. But if you find you "can't run without my music," this may be why. [I couldn't embed the video, so here's the link .]

Hold On

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Back in the Saddle

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One great thing about doing your long run on a Saturday is having more options for your early Sunday mornings. I decided it was high time to get back on my bike, partly inspired by my friend Jeanette's first half Ironman celebration and partly instigated by an upcoming sip 'n' cycle tour in September. Before I even get to a very well traveled bikepath along the freeway, I have to motivate my muscles to get up a big hill just to get to the bikepath. (This photo is at the midpoint.) The reward once I reach the top is a nice downhill start on the 56 bikepath that always makes my eyes water and my windbreaker flap. I did not stop to take photos on the real decline, which you can't see from this angle; trust me, it's a decent drop. I originally intended to go 20 miles up and back, but I forgot to bring my water bottle and forgot to drink any water before leaving. I was already thirsty and decided to instead pull off the bikepath onto Rancho Santa Fe Farms Road and w

Saturday in San Diego

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I pulled into Harbor Drive early this morning fully expecting to run 30 minutes max, and all alone, due to a volunteer shortage for our half marathon training program. Instead, I got to be a full part of the group, from the warm-up stretch through a post-run breakfast in Old Town . This is my kind of Saturday morning. I’ve been doing my weekend long runs at the butt-crack of dawn to avoid the worst of the heat inland, so it was a treat just to run along the brine-scented bay still covered in a thick marine layer. I've missed the hum of airport traffic and the urban trees and maritime museum and bold gulls along the embarcadero just slightly peppered with tourists and fellow runners and cyclists at that hour. On this morning, we turned up Ash Street just beyond the Star of India and headed up to Sixth Avenue. Due to traffic lights at every block, our group of three quickly grew to 8 and then 12 by the time we’d passed the hotels, city jail and skyscrapers and mentally prepared

'Never, Ever Sprint Up a Hill'

This week our club began 10 weeks of hill training on Tuesday nights. I ate a lot of dust and humble pie on the first one, which included going up and down two particularly gruesome hills in Balboa Park a total of six times. I managed to stay with my group the entire time, but on the last two climbs, we all pretty much ran out of steam and walked a wee bit. Since I run hills routinely at home, I was surprised at how difficult the workout was for me. Hills are part of the training trilogy: long slow distance runs to build endurance; speedwork to improve pace; and hills to build strength. We got a mini-lesson on how to handle hills from our coach just prior to the workout. The most important thing, whether in training or racing, is to "never, ever sprint up a hill." If you do, you will implode at the top and suddenly be passed up with no chance to catch up. Form is key with hills. You need to keep your head up (to keep air flowing) and pump your arms to get those legs m

Wordless Wednesday

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And Now For Something Different

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While my friends were weathering the heat in nearby road and trail races and even an Ironman, I was assisting aging athletes who proved you’re never too old to compete. The event was the Chuck McMahon Masters Meet at Cal State-San Marcos. Beautiful track. Beautiful day, if you discount the raging heat. And beautiful people, truly. These were former high school and collegiate stars and even current world-record holders who continue to display the spirit, if not quite the physique, of their glory days. Many were in their 60s, 70s and even 80s. There also were triathletes using the events for training and at least one Para-Olympian javelin thrower with quite a story to tell. And, truth be told, most were a lot faster than I’ll ever be. I primarily worked registration, which unlike road races is an all-day assignment. People often arrive early to do one or two events, then add on competitions as the spirit moves them. Occasionally I got up to shoot some photos, some of which I’ll share

Wordless Wednesday

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The Key to a Fruitful Marriage

Once in awhile I find fresh-picked lemons on the kitchen countertop. They remind me I made the best decision of my life 24 years ago today. My husband works as contract support staff for a large law firm. He rarely talks about the place, but apparently somebody in the office brings in bags of fruit from her lemon trees. And at some point my shy, seemingly unprepossessing husband grabs one or two and stuffs them into his backpack to bring home for my daily cup of tea. Initially the mysterious lemons left me baffled. Now they remind me of just how far we’ve come as a couple. Like all newlyweds, we started doing things a certain way, and over time our habits became our family rituals. Those rituals now, as then, are the glue that holds us together in good times and provides secret solace in bad ones. If something suddenly changes, we both sense trouble. Of course, some habits we vow to break for the sake of household harmony. But as I type this, I see that he still defiantly tucks hi

Girls: GoTRIbal Next Weekend

I will be volunteering at a master's track meet next Saturday, but I hope some of you moms and daughters will instead be at Ocean Air Community Park in Carmel Valley for a fitness fair hosted by GoTRIbal. Caleb K., who I know from DailyMile.com and who is a pretty phenomenal triathlete, wrote a nice piece on the event in the San Diego Examiner. GoTRIbal is a network of women who promote - primarily through example - triathlons and running. Its Chief Ambassador is Kona Queen Chrissie Wellington . San Diego is home to the largest "tribe" in the nation, which is no surprise given every other person here seems to be training for a triathlon right now. Here's some more information on GoTRIbal in the Park on Saturday . It runs 8 a.m. to noon and includes: An hour-long yoga session "Get Your Booty Strong" Bootcamp 2k fun run/walk Mother-daughter activities A cycle-run for the wee little ones Food Raffle giveaways You can also learn more about GoTRIbal on its

Sometimes Even Great Races Stink

I mentioned in my Sunday race report that there was one minor incident that cost me some time in the 10k. Allow me to explain. About 1.5 miles into the race, I came upon a group and smelled something really foul. Initially, I thought it was a dead animal; then I realized it was from someone very alive in front of me. Process of elimination led me to a very tall gentleman in his late 60s, maybe older. The stench grew stronger as the race intensified and no matter where I ran, I always seemed to be downwind from this guy with a major hygiene FAIL. This was no regular body odor, and I kept gagging. I noticed everyone who came up behind him make a face and sometimes quietly, sometimes not let loose with comments like “Sweet Jesus!” and "Peeee-eeeew!" There came to be a wide berth around this fellow, but no one said anything to him directly. It was a polite crowd. By mile 4, I was really starting to gag and also tiring of passing the guy only to be passed by him a few minutes

Race Review: 2010 Scripps Ranch 10k

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It is not a coincidence that I selected the annual Scripps Ranch 10k for my return to racing. I have a history with this event and its course, which I ran almost daily for years when I lived in the neighborhood. So today was a homecoming in more ways than one. And I could not have picked a more perfect race. For starters, my official finish was 57:16, or a 9:15 average pace (35th out of 95 in my age group). That happens to be right around the finish time of my last road race – in December 2008. However, despite our shoe D tags, I knew this one was done by gun time and clocked myself finishing at 56:52. So I'm truly picking up where I left off before tearing my achilles tendon. When I look back, I had everything going for me, except for “female issues” and one incident that I’ll save for the next post. The weather was perfect – low to mid-60s and overcast the entire way, with a slight headwind to keep from ever getting too warm or feeling the need to hydrate on the run. The c

Talking Down This Sunday

It's a fine line between building myself up on this blog and being realistic about my current fitness levels. I keep crossing over that line, then tiptoeing back when it appears no one's watching. I intentionally chose this week's photo because it's where I'll be running in my first race since December 2008. I don't think I'll be stopping to smell the flowers. Yes, it's just a 10k. But it's also highly symbolic, even if my private time goal keeps shifting. Already I have a few butterflies, but mainly because I haven't been running well this week and I'm suffering serious premenstrual cramps. I've been combing my memory for how I felt when I set my PRs. In every instance, I just didn't think too hard about pace and lived in the moment that morning. I'm not sure I can do that this time around.