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Showing posts from 2013

And Then We Came to the End

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  Normally this is a day I look forward to every year because it marks another milestone in this blog’s history. This time, however, I post with far more reluctance than I imagined. Eight years ago I started this blog on a Wednesday night right after the family shared a spaghetti dinner at our then-home in Scripps Ranch. I christened it Run-DMZ to marry my favorite avocation with my then vocation, which was working full time in information security. My techie friends thought the title was clever. Blogs evolve over time and this one was no exception. I shared – and overshared – far more of myself than I originally intended. But, really, those are the best posts, aren’t they? And because I was the same in the real world, strangers sometimes recognized me and some said they immediately related to me. This I consider my greatest success as a blogger. I have met both online and in person some amazing people who confided in me and who gained my own confidence, saving me unto

Wordless Wednesday Goes Dark

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Prelude to a Breakdown

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This photo was taken by my friend Cindy E. years ago. It was waiting for me three-quarters of the way through the El Cajon 20k, my favorite local race. I remember how good it made me feel to be surprised and to be recognized. I also remember how I just flew up that huge hill. Things have not improved since Saturday's "incident." Monday morning I worked out at the gym, per my usual routine. After a rowing session, I hit the mat to do some "PT exercises" to prevent another back injury and then headed to the locker room, where my lower back began to spasm the same way it had almost a year ago. Ironic, I know. I made it only until 1 p.m. at work. I had to make a flier for an event today and I just learned nobody took one. I have to give a 5 a.m. Webinar to students in another country and I just learned my audio isn't working. I also just learned my medical appointment to get a diagnoses, some x-rays and, I prayed, some new medications was canceled. My d

Sh*t Happens

Whatever rough morning you think you’re having, I’m about to trump it. We’re going deep into TMI territory, folks. Even seasoned search crews will wince. This morning our Saturday walk/run/hike group met up at Mule Hill Trail in Escondido for a lovely hike on a fog-shrouded path that meanders along farmland and this morning included a close(ish) encounter with a coyote so large we initially mistook it for a deer. This course is totally runnable, but I decided to just walk at a brisk pace to avoid jarring my intestines. I’d “gone” before we arrived, but I still had reservations. I walked. I talked. And I talked a lot. At no time did I feel any, let say, sensation even as we all got into our cars at the end of the hike to head to a special breakfast at the Golden Egg Omelette restaurant. Instinctively, I felt my backside before I sat down and … oh God, it wasn’t just moist with sweat. And my hand didn’t come up just wet. I gagged, grabbed a towel and began to wipe as everyone

Happy Birthday, Sue

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May good luck be with you, Sue.   It might surprise some people to learn I don't immediately warm to others. In fact, I rarely initiate conversation or contact with someone I don't know well.   So it took some time before I struck up a conversation with one of the few women who worked out at a gym the same time as me in 1993. And, of course, she's the one that approached me, not the other way around. Somehow, we went from a few exchanges in the weight room to regularly scheduled lunches at The Sandwich Shop, always ordering a Reuben on pumpernickel. And then we started meeting for special events, like live theatre and a Bruce Cockburn concert, and she introduced me to Sarah and Tracy (below), who turned out to be just as fun and a little outrageous in the way you wish all your friends would be.   She bragged to people about my marathons when I was too embarrassed and she convinced me to keep running when I broke my ankle and I split my foot and thought those

My Birthday Gift from Axel

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The Business of Blogging

There's this DIY blog I read each week, not because I have an interest in redoing my entire house but because I am fascinated by the family. Husband and wife are both full-time bloggers and make in the six figures basically recording their homelife. They even wrote a book based on the blog and it was almost instantly a New York Times bestseller. They have a huge following and get sponsors to give them great loot to give away. They have a no swag policy, meaning they won't take freebies from companies. This is genius because it makes them appear to have a lot of integrity when I suspect it's really because if they buy a product or service and then blog about it, they can deduct it as a business expense.  They moderate up to 10,000 comments a day (I am not kidding). And they love to take pictures of themselves and do Q&A videos where you feel like you are right there in their living room or kitchen. They just did a book tour and people all across the country loved the

The Science of Junk Food

I have to admit I've never fully bought the "addictive nature" of junk food, even as I was engrossed in a bag of Ruffles that disappeared in minutes without me even realizing it. We all have a weakness and some of us are able to manage our cravings better than others. Real food is also more expensive than the fake stuff, which we can buy on sale and with coupons. But I highly recommend you read The New York Times feature on " The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food ." It's based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning author's upcoming book on the same subject, which is already cued up on my Kindle Fire. The piece opens with one of those secret meetings in 1999 in which big CEOs behave just as we expect them to behave: without any scruples, ethics or morality. Here's the crux: The public and the food companies have known for decades now — or at the very least since this meeting — that sugary, salty, fatty foods are not good for us in the quan

Best Line of the Day

I worked the U-T Successful Aging Expo today. About 10,000 people are expected during the two-day event, many of whom looked like they've never exercised or ran too much back in the day. It's amazing how you can detect those with a runner's bum-hip walk. Still, it's inspiring to see those that have aged well and even those who haven't but continue to persevere. Seniors love freebies and they love to stop and talk, even if the topic - losing your memory - makes them uncomfortable. One woman in her late 70s said she's looking to give her husband something new to do. Retirement apparently wasn't going well. Then she leaned in and told me in a hushed tone: "I married him for better or for worse, but not for lunch every day!"

Word[y]less Wednesday: Stasha's Graduation

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Stasha is a very special dog. She had the right combination of discipline, temperment, smarts and compassion to take on a very important job. This is Rolly and Louise, who raised Stasha for the first 18 months. Actually, Stasha was so smart, she got called up for "Puppy College" early.   It's an emotional day. They had plenty of tissues on hand.   And plenty of people taking tissues too. Boo hoo  hoo. Finally, the moment that Louise and Rolly officially unite Stasha with her companion. She's their third puppy and their first "success" - though we are glad Twilah (known in our house as "The Best Behaved Dog We've Ever Known") intentionally flunked.   Here she is getting ready to go to Kylie. And here's Felicia, the next puppy to join the Roup Troupe. Love is neverending, isn't it? Special thanks for the stage photos from Louise, who got them from someone else whose name I cannot recall. The rest are min

A Clean Start

At 7 Saturday morning, my friend called to let me know that their 2-year-old had just come home from the ER. I was due to babysit her and her 3-year-old sister for the weekend while her moms went to Las Vegas to celebrate a birthday. The toddler had a stomach bug, and even though the worse had passed, my friend was willing to stay home. I knew how long they had planned this trip and agreed to stick with the plan. Which is how I ended up dehydrated and delirious with fever the past 24 hours. Fortunately, the illness didn't strike until Sunday night after everyone was home and I was able to get sick in my own home. But here it is Tuesday and I still lack an appetite and have trouble moving around, mainly because my body's sore from six hours of straight retching followed by 18 hours of shaking under the sheets. Tylenol doesn't work to reduce a fever if you can't keep it down. I feel like I did after undergoing a colonoscopy several years ago. I feel "clean.&quo

Wordless Wednesday

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How to Keep an Eye on Your Pace

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My friend Louise, a longtime reader and commenter on this blog, sent along a news item out of Portland on new smart sunglasses to help runners maintain a swift pace. The glasses are embedded with code that tracks your pace and distance, much like a Garmin or other GPS-based watch. But here's the really cool thing: When you start to fall behind, an avatar appears on your right going the pace you originally set. So, you in essence start to race yourself. Genius. And expensive. The startup behind it expected the first version to hit the market around the winter holidays and cost $300 to $500 a pair. And these are sunglasses, which means they may also help keep out harmless sunrays but are more likely to be lost, broken or stolen because they aren't affixed to your wrist when not in use. But this certainly seems to be the wave of the future for runners in search of novel ways to improve running times. Whether this particular tool for training will truly work remains to

Guess I Still Got It

Just an update to yesterday's race in Mission Bay. I finished 2/20 in my age group. The funny thing is the woman who won it ran with me until the last 3/4 of a mile. She asked if she could pace off me and I said, "Sure" and we then told "war stories" of running (and cycling, in her case) in the 1970s. So I knew she was around my age. (And, counterintuitively, I run a little faster if I talk out loud, which is how I kept the quicker pace for both of us.) My friends Deborah and Stephanie also did well. Deborah won her age group, though she was in competition with only herself. Still, there's something to be said for outlasting everyone just to get to the starting line at her age. And Stephanie came in fourth in her group. "Good times" had by all this weekend.

Race Report: 2013 Mermaid Run 5k

I wondered what would happen to this all-women race series after gushing about how great it was two years ago . I'm happy to say the only thing that's changed are the crowds - they've grown considerably in the past two years for the Mermaid Run half marathon, 10k and 5k. Last time I did the 10k, this time I downsized to the 5k. All three courses are pancake flat since you essentially run loops or out-and-backs  through the Mission Bay Park complex. It isn't a closed course, and as with my previous race, there was a lot of weaving and pulling up short once you were on the Mission Bay sidewalks. Even though it cost me some seconds, I'm okay with it. There's a reason I haven't been writing as much about my running; I don't run as much as I used to. That's by design. So even though you are supposed to run your heart out at a 5k pace, it was okay for me to have a time goal that was doable but with a decent dose of discomfort. That I had when I crosse

Sleep More, Eat Less

Studies abound showing that how much we sleep impacts how many calories we consume on average, with those short on sleep compensating during the day by eating more calories, especially empty calories. But a study in today's Time.com also proves the reverse, that how much we eat helps determine how much sleep we get. And, no surprise, short sleepers tend to overeat, which just causes disruptive sleep patterns to continue. Short sleepers are defined by those who get 5 or less hours a night; standard sleepers get up to 8 hours; and long sleepers somehow manage to stay asleep 9 or more hours. This is daily, not just when you're under the weather or overstressed. Among the UPenn researchers' findings: Short sleepers consumed the most calories, followed by normal sleepers, then very short sleepers. Long sleepers consumed the least calories. Normal sleepers actually show the highest food variety in their diets; very short sleepers, the least. A varied diet with a balance of

Wordless Wednesday

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Things I Learned Today While Getting My Hair Done

If you want to lose more weight by running, do it by miles and not minutes. For instance, say you'll run 5 miles and not 40 minutes because we overestimate how much distance we actually do when we run by time, according to Self magazine. If you want a racy dream, fall asleep on your stomach. The mattress apparently stimulates your breast and pelvic regions. Guys say they prefer women who don't wear makeup then they actually complain if they don't wear any. So, ladies, wear makeup for your man, just not enough to where he can tell. An old NYC acquaintence has always been courageous, talented, truthful and beautiful, but it's still startling to keep seeing her in Juvederm ads -- using her real name too -- that say, "With Juvederm, no one will know." Really? Kale is the trendy veggie now. Or it was last month, anyway. The reason legs and hands get so dry in winter is because neither area produces many natural oils. And Glamour magazine recommends a $125

Wordless Wednesday

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Yoga: Good for Runners, Especially Those Who are Depressed

A report in today's Time online talks of a study showing yoga can improve mental illnesses, particularly those with mild depression and sleep problems, where another piece in the New York Times shows a link between poor sleep and poor memory. There are a lot of different forms of yoga, and part of its current popularity comes from yoga being marketed now as a fitness regime rather than a different way of life. That distinction helped yoga replace P.E. classes in a local school district's elementary school. It's a controversial decision because some parents saw yoga as a type of spirituality in conflict with their own children's religious values, rather than just another way to stretch, tone and burn calories. But the school board wants to see if it gets more children to be active, and if it really does work on such psychiatric disorders as ADHD, then maybe it's worth it. But those who've stuck with a yoga practice know that if done correctly, there's a

Wordless Wednesday

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About that Library Encounter

To those who wondered what I did when I encountered a well known San Diego disc jockey and 80s singer at my public library branch : I didn't ignore my germs and unkempt appearance and approach them. As I mentioned earlier, I had a really bad cold, which turned out to be a bronchial flu, and planned to just pop my due library book with its freshly Lysoled plastic cover in the Book Return bin and be gone. Then along came two people, one whom I had met and the other who I heard on the radio over the years, especially this song , and I couldn't help myself. So I pretended to look at some magazines and watched them through the stacks, just like in the movies. Only I couldn't really see them and I felt really, really stupid. So I left without saying anything, thinking they must be here at this time to avoid any encounters like the one I was contemplating. And from now on, I'll at least wash my face before I visit my local library. While I am at least mentally in the s

Wordless Wednesday

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Why Must We Always Meet This Way

You are working from home because you're sick, but not yet sick enough to stay under the covers. Actually, you are very sick and running on Dayquil fumes, which your fever is about to breach. Before you do call it a work day, you decide to return a book due tomorrow to the library across the street. You look like you feel, wearing poorly fitting sweats, a red nose and sunglasses to hide your puffy eyes. You showered earlier but, honestly, no one can tell. You may also smell of Lysol wipes ... or worse. As you head to Book Returns, in walks a local radio celebrity (most people from San Diego would recognize at least the name and maybe the voice) and a woman you are 85%* sure was in a very popular band in the 1980s. She still has that aura to her, and he's mentioned her on the air and to you personally when you appeared on his show about 8 years ago. You remember he lives in your suburb, so the encounter makes a little more sense. And, you still listen to his show faithfull

What's a 'Safe' Distance from the Finish?

News outlets announced yesterday that they are changing the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll marathons finish to Petco Park -- news that is sure to please just about everyone . I worked the final aid station the first year the marathon course changed from the MCRD near the airport to SeaWorld, and it was universally panned. And I'd run the marathon for consecutive years prior. The next year the organizers added the half marathon, which greatly diluted the crowd circling Fiesta Island before the final push. And last year it dwindled even more, with the half marathoners now sounding the horn that SeaWorld sucks as a finish point. (Finishing on the backside of DisneyWorld during its marathon does too, I might add from experience.) But that's not why I'm writing this post. There's a comment from the SDTC coach in the article, saying that seeing the finish line from a couple miles out made those last miles even more difficult. “At 23 miles, all you want to do is f

Let Me Just Tidy Up a Bit

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Those familiar with my personal history might remember that shortly before my wedding, I got “lukewarm feet.” I loved my fiancĂ© and wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. But I didn’t love where he lived in rural North Carolina. Nor was I keen on his friends, who would have to become my friends since I was leaving behind everything and everyone. There we were sitting across from each other at a Pizza Hut when he won me back with one name: San Francisco. He explained that this place was temporary and that we had a lot of better options a year from now, like San Francisco. I’d never been to San Francisco or any point west of Virginia, but I knew it was a big, big city filled with lots of culture and smart people. I didn’t know it felt like winter even in July. Well, we never moved to San Francisco. Still, I thought back to that conversation almost 27 years ago as I helped my older daughter and her boyfriend move into an apartment near Golden Gate Park. It’s a n

Wordless Wednesday

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