Sunday, December 31, 2006

Impossible Things

nothing like a new pair of running shoes to make ya feel all badass....which is exactly how I needed to feel as i tentatively considered taking on Strawberry this morning. as i've been mentioning the training has been sporadic for about the last month. which might explain why my period...which is usually barely noticeable........ paid a most unpleasant visit yesterday...i was crampy and nauseous all first i thought i had the flu thats been going around at I layed low all day.

sleep and hydration are wonderful things both of which i got plenty of and when i awoke at 9 am i felt great. i ate an english muffin and has some coffee. i then zipped over to REI to use the generous gift certificate T gave me for x-mas.

i tried on quite a few pairs of trail shoes...much to the dismay of the young man helping me wasn't busy at all.... but he seemed a bit put out...normally i would be intimidated by this and just go with the first pair ...or get mad and leave...neither seemed like a good options and so i just asserted myself and reminded him that it wasn't too busy and asked him to bring a few more pairs. in the end i settled on montrail hurricane ridge trail shoes and i felt good that i didn't let poor customer service derail me.

i raced back home to change and then headed for strawberry canyon. it was well past 11 am at this point and the parking lot was full...luckily i spotted a gal coming off the trail...that familiar sweaty tired look told me she was done. i waited a few minutes for her to collect herself and pulled into her spot. it had been awhile since i'd been here and i was a bit nervous about big bertha and the other i haven't been doing much running ...even less so on hills. i silently reminded myself that it was okay to walk, it was okay to take it slow.

the new shoes felt new but good at the same time...and i managed to get the lacing right the first time...not too loose or too tight. as i approached big bertha, instead of being scared i looked her square in the eye and began to climb. normally i keep my head down and pump my way instead i would look up to the top periodically and instead of dread i felt compelled to hold my head up and focus on the rising terrain.

when your standing at the bottom of this particular seems insurmountable...ridiculous to even try...most people walk strategy has always been to keep my nose to the grindstone and don't look up until it levels look up would just be too hard to take...but today despite my earlier doubts i felt suprisingly strong and looked big bertha in the eye and i was not afraid.

as i cleared the crest, my breathing labored but under control i kept going, in fact all the earlier negotiations fell to the wayside and i felt that familiar state of grace that i often feel here in this place...a sign if you will... that i was exactly where i needed to be. doubt and fear about my ability to run on this mountain were replaced by a warm welcome home.

pushing forward more climbing up ahead i ran past the bench and didn't stop until i reached grizzly peak. i noticed an ever so slight twinge in the rt. achilles and stretched a bit before turning around. i really noticed the difference on the descent. the new montrails are divine...form fitting not clunky like the supernovas AND a roomy toebox...i was able to run straight down the face of big bertha and not smash my toes.

todays run was yet another reminder of why i run. i have to. nothing else takes me to that place where i feel strong and humbled at the same time. nothing else makes me strive for impossible things.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Sacred Truths



Tuesday, December 26, 2006


i'm really beginning to wonder why i signed up for a half mary in february. last winter i belonged to a small neighborhood gym and could trot over and be on the dreadmill in less than 5 minutes. now i need to drive 2 miles into town and uh basically have my shit together before 6am (no small feat believe you me.) in order to be at work by 8:30.

my training has absolutely sucked the past few weeks. saturdays run went fine...but my lack of training was evident and i was tired within an hour...i know i know i know...i wasn't going to pick up where i left off.

i absolutely have to drag my ass to the gym BEFORE work tomorrow....(i'll be at yet another new facility arg!) my facility's census is low and is having a serious case of the flu and there will be no new admissions for awhile so i get to go were the work is plentiful (and for which i am grateful......lord knows i could use the money now) but all this traveling is wreaking havoc on the training.

i know. quit yer bitcin and get up earlier. nuf said

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Seasons Greetings

Peace to You and Yours
and May the New Year
be filled with
New Trails to Blaze
Love and Hope for all.

Warmest Wishes,
Christine, M and Brandy

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Fair Weather Friend

Dear Running,

I know we haven't been as close lately. I feel like a schmuck. You've always been there for me. Whether we hung out for hours or just a quick catching up I've always left feeling a little bit better. My only excuse for staying away is no excuse at all really....making choices and juggling priorities ...somehow you've come up with the short end.

Today right now it's just you and me hunkering down for a nice long get together. I know it's been awhile and I wont expect to pick up where I left off. I respect you too much to think it's all good just because I'm making the time now. Just know I've thought of you often. The desire to run never left, it just showed up at the oddest and most inconvienient times.

The past couple of weeks we've only hooked up maybe 3-4 times, the longest maybe an hour. I've taken you for granted and have relied...heavily.... on our history when I know that every good relationship requires consistent nurturing . We'll take it slow, no expectations, and see what happens today, okay?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Note to Self

when i have no time run (because i refuse to haul my ass out of bed before 7 am!) a short faster run is better than nothing. never have i felt like i could literally close my eyes and fall asleep during a run before. i ran a bit faster than normally for maybe 20 minutes. i made the route up as i went along shaortening it at every opportunity. then i stretched out on the floor and could feel myself drifting back to sleep. jumped in the shower but still unable to shake the sleepies.

i'm in a different facility for the next 2 weeks and it's keeping me really busy.
i'm still adjusting to the new routine. i am slow to adapt. at my normal facility...despite all it's shortcomings...i have a workout routine..and it's not carrying over as well at the new building....oh well it's only 2 weeks

i've had meetings everynight after a moment of weakness i threw my name in the pot for parent/teacher governance committee.....and i receieved the most most votes. good god what was i thinking. i don't know squat about budgeting or school politics..i'm not completely sure why i signed up..i blame Mia...for getting me all riled up to attend a PTA meeting (wink) here i was wanting to get all involved and volunteering for stuff.....M is a 5th grader and i guess we'll leave grade school with a bang!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Training for Life

the weather though wet at times never really amounted to much this weekend. chalk one up for the weather guessers.

just as i stepped outside this morning around 8:45 it started to drizzle. about 20 minutes into the run it picked up...slightly.....but it died back down and i ran 5 miles relatively unphased by the rain. yesterday i mapped a route from my house. it was pretty much flat with a few gently rolling hills except for one short steep climb at the halfway mark.

i wore a watch this time and the first 2.5 miles took me 25 minutes. i felt like i slowed down a bit on the way back. i sought a "bring it home" song and with the help of Santana picked things up and finished the run in 50 minutes. a shorter but faster sunday run. tired, i walked past my house for a bit until i cooled down.

as i entered the house i was greeted by a haze of smoke wafting from the kitchen. m was cooking...unsupervised. normally, this is the kind of thing that would have me go ballistic. she knows she's not to use the stove without an her mind there was an adult..... he just happened to be sleeping in the next room.

she made pancake batter from scratch and couldn't figure out why they were burning on the outside and still raw on the inside. i had her open the sliding glass door and i turned on the vent and proceeded to calmly explain that the batter was too thick and needed a little more liquid. the amazing thing about it was i did not raise my voice...not once. i was careful not to go over the top about using the stove unsupervised...yes i did caution her strongly but i didn't yell. i then proceeded to thin out the batter and finished cooking the last few pancakes.

yes, i was annoyed but instead of freaking out i kept a lid on the emotions. a little later i said to her "we've had a pretty peaceful weekend haven't we?" and she replied "actually this has been the best christmas window season ever!" kids are pretty smart....despite the dumb things they do. she's been extremely receptive to my new approach. when she's arguing with me and i give myself a time-out or just keep my cool she's often the one to approach me later contrite and apologetic for her behavior...something never evident when i would yell or engage in an argument.

i'm still going to get irritated, angry and pissed-off...of this i am certain... but i'm also feeling more confident in my ability to not let these feelings escalate and make things worse. i'm in training and consider this early phase similar to when i first started running. it took time to build up to 30 minutes of steady running. i walked alot. nowadays, some of my most enjoyable runs are upwards of 3-4 hours. i never would of imagined that a mere 2 years ago.

our assignment in anger mangement last week was to observe the feeling of anger. in other words when you felt yourself getting mad resist the urge to "do" anything about it. the idea being that feeling angry is's usually what you "do" that's not okay. they compared the feeling of anger to a wave, like a wave anger rises, crescendos then eventually tapers off. i've often felt compelled to "do" something when i got mad...usually yell.....i was aware of feeling angry, i even counted to 10 sometimes...but i was oblivious to the crescendo and tapering off segments...the anger felt unending because i tend to fan the flame.

i was swept up in the crescendo portion and then would further escalate the situation by catastrophizing...feeding the angry feelings with thoughts like..."she's being disrespectful, if i let her get away with this she'll....., or at work, "their jerking me around, they have no respect for my time or effort, 'why is this person still on caseload, their so unmotivated........." dumping fuel to the fire so to speak.

i thought the whole wave crescendo taper thing was a crock of shit but still i wanted to be open and i knew that i would have opportunity to test the theory. m was happy to oblige the following morning getting ready for school and i made a deal with myself to not yell and just let the feeling of anger wash over me and resist the urge to "do" anything. i felt my heart begin to beat faster, my jaw started to clench as she dilly dallied getting ready i went into the kitchen and made her lunch instead of into her room to move her along and by taking my attention off of her i spared us both alot of drama.

lifestyle changes require time and quick fixes. right now i can't imagine not getting angry but i can imagine dealing with it differently.

baby steps.

i was talking about learning to swim in my group last week. how difficult it was and how pissed i got when my swim instructor suggested that it wasn't the end of the world if i couldn't participate in the tri4fun. while the instructors words were most likely an attempt to help take off some self-imposed pressure ...the implication that maybe i couldn't learn to swim in time for my race just pissed me off and made me work harder at it. and it paid off. proof that not all of my anger is necessarily unhelpful.

face it. i'm never going to be that nice quiet calm girl. i'm latin, intense and i feel things deeply. but that's not to say some changes aren't in order. change is hard and tedious. progress is sure to fluctuate....setbacks are inevitable. but i commit to show up everyday and that is half the battle.

i'm pretty certain i will always have to "manage" my anger, that i'll never be completly anger chronic pain. i will fill my life with activities and interests to take the edge off. if training for tris this summer has taught me anything it's taught me to appreciate the need for small consistent effort that builds slowly over time. a couple of years ago i just wanted to lose some weight. the weight of which i write about now is so much harder by comparison. but i think the same principles apply.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Old, Fat and Slow

This is exactly how I feel after this morning's tempo run.....if you could even call it a tempo run...probably more of a fartlek....except it felt more like speed-hell than speed-play.


On a more positive note, I had a great run at lunchtime on Wednesday. I worked on my day off and hadn't run since Sunday so I knew I had to fit it in somehow. I ran for an usual not sure of the distance but I found a not-too-busy street that linked up with the canal trail which intersected with the busiest street in all of Concord but it wasn't so bad. You don't see many runners around my work place...more moms pushing strollers.....I got alot of stares.

The weather is suppose to turn quite foul over the next 24 hours so I'm glad I got my run in before the storm hits.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Sunday Run

i love sunday runs. t and m are still asleep when i fix the coffee and go about getting ready. i usually don't know where i'll be going and will log onto the computer or refer to one of my local trail guide books for inspiration. sunday runs are restorative in nature. there usually my longer and hillier runs but their also slow...sometimes i'm gone for 3 to 4 hours. and i often leave the watch at home.

the weather took a turn for the better over the last 48 hours and it is was gorgeous today. i noticed a few new pains in my foot as i got ready for my run. a weird sharp burning sensation on the top of my left foot. i didn't give it too much attention. it didn't last too long and was a non-issue during the run. though i noticed a lesser version of it again later when i returned home. circulation problems?

sunday morning slow long run routine.



3 gu paks to put in hydration pak
set-up hydration

layed out the night before:

clothing options
2 14 0z bottles gatorade
hydro-waist pack
small cliff bar

lip balm

notice something missing from this list?

NO watch

i wanted to swim afterwards so i put together my swim bag. i should do this the night before next time

ear plugs

this turned out to be a long morning. i left the house around 8:30 and didn't return until 1:00

the weather was warmer and i reconsidered whether or not i'd need the gloves. i brought them just in case. as i parked my car and started collecting my stuff i realized that i had forgot the clippy case thing for my ipod...ugh..and i was doing so well up to now. i decided to wear the gloves and that this would make it easier holding the ipod....for awhile it worked and it was easier to fast forward or skip a song since it was already in my hand...but then my hands got too warm and i had to figure out a new system.

i wasn't sure what to do with the gloves once i took them off. i first just shoved them in my hydro-waist pak belt...but then i worried that i might lose 25.00 a pair i was i shoved them in the teeny tiny zippered compartment of the hydro-pak.

the crosswind up on san pablo dam ridge was strong and i was glad i had applied lip balm...but when i wanted to re-apply it was hard to get to with the gloves shoved into my hydration see what is happening here right? this means i have to buy that cool bigger hydration waist pack i saw at see jane run when i frugally chose the smaller one i have now.

so i skipped trying fish out my lip balm and had to figure out what to do with the ipod because my hand was beginning to perspire. i tried slipping it down my jog bra...again i slipped it in between jog bras. (i'm not busty at all but i feel too jiggly without the second one) this worked ok and i could still fastforward without having to take it out.
so, if you noticed a girl feeling herself up on the san pablo dam ridge today that would be me.

the run: 8-10 miles

i started out on wildcat canyon
rt. on Belgium
belgium turns into
San Pablo Dam Ridge
this eventually intersects with
Nimitz trail: follow back to parking lot and watch for a
a hairpin turn to the right...........

.........this is where i can't recall the rest of the trail names. i know my way and guess it's around an 8-10 miler. it's my 3rd time running this route and today i made it a little longer by taking the longer way back to Little Farm. i'm so ready for Tildens Tough Ten next year.
i never tire of running in this park, there's still so much to explore and learn.

wildcat canyon is basically a wide mostly flat firetrail that runs parallell the san pablo dam ridge

belgium is the hilly connector between wildcat and san pablo dam ridge

san pablo dam ridge meanders high above open cattle fields...
(one of the cows was so cute, it remided me of a big puppy. a big yellow lab puppy) i'm pretty sure i was hallucinating. by this point i had the beginnings of a dull headache that would last the rest of the run......i must've got dehydrated...the cool crosswinds were deceiving and i didn't drink as often as i needed to.

nimitz is a 4 mile paved trail

the end of the nimitz turns back to dirt and the hairpin turn takes you down into the valley, turn right and your down in 10 minutes
go left add another 10.
there both fairly steep descents in parts throughout....go right and it's an immediate drop...i chose to delay more knee pounding and went left. it starts fairly flat and gradually descends...though the bottom portion fucks with you a bit.

can't really afford to be as careless as i have been about taking supplements...most of my pill popping is in the form of ibuprofen. i use to carry my vitamins in my oversized hand bag when i was training this summer...i was better about taking stuff when i carried it around with me. towards the end of the summer i got out of the habit.

a short swim afterwards made all the difference in my recovery this afternoon...the pool at the Y runs on the cool side. normaly i'd complain about this but not today. i swam maybe 15-20 minutes, i took longer to prepare to swim than to actually swim but it still was a great way to come off the run. i sat in the jacuzzi for a few minutes and then hit the steam bath before heading back home.

we grabbed a bite to eat at Picante and then picked up a christmas tree. M and i will take our time decorating over the next few days. she's already banged out a couple of ginger bread houses.

i'd like to ask for a digital camera for christmas. i have to buy a second set of pictures on disk in order to use bloggers picasso to post pictures (which is probably not the most efficient way to go about it but it's all i know) ...i've put off the whole digital camera thing because of expense and lack of expertise. though it looks like their more affordable and user friendly these days.

Friday, December 01, 2006

a change of scenery

early in my career i spent alot time "facility hopping" in order to get hours. it was fun breezing in and out of buildings. none of the baggage associated with working with the same difficult pts. for too long. no office politics. traveling suited me fine. the only drawback was not knowing where i'd be working that day and not having a consistent paycheck....which became an issue once we decided to buy a house. i was offered a full time position right after we entered escrow and i've been at my building ....the same building...... for nearly 4 years ....a mortgage will make you do some crazy ass shit.

i worked at a different building this week and it was a welcomed change of scenery. i had a chance to work with "new" patients in a nicer setting and while the work was essentially the same i think working with a new batch of folks made it more interesting. i had to orient myself to a whole new caseload and for the first time in awhile i wasn't bored.....or frustrated. i'll be working there again for two weeks this month. so, while lastweek i was convinced that my job and i needed to break-up, i think were just gonna start seeing other people. lol.

wednesday morning was spent at the Y. first yoga and then weights . i was pretty conservative (or so i thought) kept things on the light side...10# hand weights and then 10# plus the wt. of the bar to do lunges....sore quads the next day reminded to avoid this before any long runs. i still haven't used my massage gift certificate. what's wrong with me!

went for a 45 minute run this morning.....i got too late of a start though and was rushed the rest of the day....but it was soooo worth it. i've been ditching the 6:30 track sessions...i'm a weeny when it's too cold.

i'm not even going to complain about how freakin cold it's been around the bay area lately. i'm a spoiled californian and anything below 60 degrees is well..... just nutz!! while some of y'all will be busting out the yak traks and snow gear enthusiatically.'ll find me heading towards the nearest dreadmill.

dressing for cooler weather is always a guessing game for me. lastnight i bought a pair of long asic running pants and some gloves. i was worried because the pants seemed too thin and i wasn't convinced that the gloves were worth the expense. luckily, they along with a long sleeved tech shirt turned out to be just the right amount layering for this mornings chilly run.

i went to my first anger management class this week. it's no coincidence that i signed up for this course during the holidays. ....don't know why i hadn't thought of it before. quite a few folks are there on their own me. some others were forced by there job or court ordered. some have gone through silmilar courses and are there for "maintenence". for the most part people seem sincere and want to be there.....with the exception of the guy i happened to be sitting next to. he ranted for 5 minutes about the jerks at work and that he was basically being punished. hopefully he'll chill the fuck out and get something out the experience.

at the end of class we were given a reading assignment and asked to complete one anger log during the week. i immediately thought "yeah right, just one?"

Monday, November 27, 2006

Are you connecting with the world around you?

"You cannot hope to build a better world without improving individuals"

i received this email today ....a Spark healthy reflection.......and it got me thinking about work and my ambivilent feelings. i was drawn to occupational therapy(ot) for the "can do" spirit of it. i get to help and work with people to reach goals of independence.

i believe in that old saying "give a man a fish feed him for a day, teach him to fish feed him for life"...most ot practitioners do.

realistic aknowledgement of limitations with an on emphasis on abilities and compensatory strategies make up the bulk of what i try to do everyday with my patients. it's great......... in theory.

getting old is not for sissies......the hard truth is the people i work with are among some of the most fearful...and rightly so. my patients report being most afraid of:

going blind
loss of hearing
loss of sight
loss of bowel and bladder control
loss of independence
inability to eat normal textured food or drink thin liquids

inability to care for another family member
being in the way
living too long
all of the above

it's a challenging population to work with to say the least. professionally and personally.

professionally i feel good about the work i do when i'm able to "connect" and see that an individual is at least invested enough to make an effort.....the slightest indication that they want and believe they can do for themselves.....because that's half the battle....i will give 100% to that persons rehab experience. despite being, scared,weak,in pain or tired. their invested in the notion that if they do their part things will get better.

personally i credit the population that i serve with motivating me to get off my ass and start taking better care of myself. seeing first hand how very wrong things can go when health and strength give way to disease and weakness. all of my patients are a wake up call everyday to be thankful for the abilities i have and to thrive to not just exist. still, it's hard and i wake up in a bad mood more than i care to admit some days.

about 30% of my patients make an effort. their pleasant, (often pleasantly confused) but sweet and cooperative. they have good days and bad days and sometimes need a pep talk to get going but in general are motivated. the other 70% aren't so sweet or cooperative. i've never been particulary skilled at handling difficult pts...i do ok ...up to a point...but then my patience wears thin with the daily ritual of coaxing a person into working on whatever it is that landed them in rehab in the first place. sometimes my skin is too thin and i take it personally when i shouldn't.

i've been accused of pushing too hard. never by a boss or peers but by's funny how the ones who bitch the most do the least and the troopers just plug along....not w/o complaint but they do what they have to do to get home

i think like alot of people in my profession i entered in with the desire to help people help themselves. . more of my time is spent on trying to tap into whatever is meaningful to the individual and when a person has lost hope or even desire it's all up hill.....and Big Bertha is a cake walk in comparison.

i like to think that this path that i'm on will lead me to a greater capacity for compassion. getting fit and striving to thrive and not just exist has given me hope and desire. i am very attached to the theory of occupational therapy.....helping others help themselves... the question is whether or not i have the capacity to give unconditionally. it's easy to serve cooperative patients but then there's that other 70% to consider. the majority, void of hope that need from me what is most difficult to give. non-judgement and compassionate detachment.

so how do i go about it? how do i remain true to the plan of care, goal driven within the medical model i work in and at the same time remain non-judgmental and compassionate independent of an outcome focused industry?

now that's the million dollar question.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

silly and hilly

except for last weeks race i haven't hit the hills much. in fact my running has been on roads moreso lately in preparation for my feb road race. i headed over to strawberry this morning feeling sluggish and not too motivated yet grateful for the chance to run without time constraints because T is off today.

I pondered ...briefly...running a double but decided to wait and see how i felt. the first half was uneventful..... just keep moving forward...i even stopped for second or two once i reached the top of Big Bertha....the nasty bitch that she is.... always has to have the last word. onward towards grizzly peak. around this time things started to get better and i felt light on my feet....finally!
it's usually only after some serious climbing that the endorphins decide to show up!

i was sure that i wouldn't be doing a double today but i did veer off to the right of the main trail and did some more hill work. at the base of hill i usually assess the situation , looking for the top ...only then...once i've commited i keep my head down and don't stop till i've reached the top. i was rewarded with a pretty nice view of the oakland, alameda, and the san francisco, gray and windy....which was fine by me cuz these hills were frying my ass.

i looped back around towards the main trail, as i did so i noticed a small fire truck ambling it's way down the face of another steep hill.....i couldn't even see the top of that sucker...for a minute i contemplated how ridiculous i would look trying to run up the face of this thing....perhaps another day. instead i turned left and proceeded to fly down the rest of the way...i even practiced a little fast backwards action on Big Bertha.

all in all this was a good solid run with hills. building up to more consecutive days running is coming along. my joints are achey though and i should get to the pool this week and use my massage gift certicate!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Blogging for myself

lately i've been wrestling with a few things. things that are personal and not so easy to think about much less write about. this blog was initially a place to record my attempts at running. a place to record my efforts and get some feedback from others who happened upon my site. like the running, the need to write has evolved too. the need to "get out" the thoughts bottled up has been growing, yet i've often felt too self conscious to share all of me here.

the holidays do have a tendency to get me in a reflective mood...sometimes good .....sometimes not so good. it was good to get together with folks this week, folks i would otherwise avoid. why? i guess a little goes a long way, and limiting get togethers to once or twice a year suits me fine.

i called my sister in arizona earlier in the week, we have a strained relationship at best. still i feel compelled to keep in touch....despite all of it's one-sidedness. I listened to her complain about my cousins wayward teenager for over an hour. sadly, this was the bulk of our conversation and i didn't feel anymore connected than i did the last time i spoke to her this summer.

while preparing empanadias my brother from utah called my mom on her cell phone and she stepped out onto the deck to talk. later after the call, she passed along his "have a nice thanksgiving".....we're not so close either. my mom has these seperate relationships with each of us. it's always been that way.

as for my husbands family despite their quirks and general oddness...they really seem to enjoy one anothers company and define the meaning of family. M will have a healthier outlook on family gatherings as a result of them too. three hours of intense family time is a small price to pay just for that alone.

so, back to the earlier feelings i've been wrestling with. i've been toying with the idea that maybe there are alternative ways to deal with stress. to say i'm an impatient person would be a gross understatement. i'm generally a fast paced person (except when i run), i want things done yesterday and can not for the life of me understand why hell other people don't get it. needless to say this pace doesn't always serve me well. i butt heads...alot...with everyone.

next week i'm starting an anger management class (AMC).

the only redeeming aspect of this is that NO it wasn't court appointed, i'm doing it under my own volition. i'm tired of being a slave to my emotions and generally pissed off at everyone all the time. i attended the AMC orientation a month ago and the facilitator said a few things that never in my 40 odd years occured to me. she said that anger sometimes can be a manifestation of another feeling all together. the idea that i use anger to express other feelings never really occurred to me. i am intrigued. this concept alone has knocked me off my self righteous high horse.

it's funny because i don't think of myself as an angry person. i am quite capable of finding delight in some really mundane shit. i think a big source of dissatisfaction stems from my current work environment. like the wrong relationship can bring the worst out in a person, my job, it's like that. we need to break up. which is kind've depressing when i think of all the time invested and the reality that i don't have alot of options......none that i can see at this point. i feel stuck, focusing on limiters and not sure where to start making changes. hopefully the next 10 weeks will shed some light on my inner workings and lead to some answers.

i've opted to close the comment box. i have this tendency to rely on the feedback of others to validate my posts. i often feel "jilted" after putting myself out there only to find "0 comments". suffice it to say that "jilted" feeling has distracted me from the real purpose for writing at all. yes, i've been guilty of "comment envy" which is really the last fucking thing i need. insecure? perhaps, i'm just being honest.

closing the comment box is also another way for me to deal with the preoccupation i have for what others think. too often i am overly concerned about appearances and pay less attention to the stuff that counts. i want to be real here. so why not use a private journol? i take some comfort in knowing a few folks out there check-in from time to time..... you know who you are....i want to feel free to write for the sake of writing, making my thoughts public might or might not strike a familiar cord with some of you....either way this blog along with running has become a part of me. it has the potential to be a valubale tool, unfortunately i've let the lack of comments detract from that fact.

i'm sure the time not spent "editing" my posts might lead to more authentic entries. i'm as equally sure that the time not spent "checking" my blog might actually lead to getting a few more productive things done. for starters, a resume.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Presidio 10k Race Report

as i suspected the race would prove to be a tough one but i stuck with my plan and it payed off. standing in line at the porta-john i chatted with a woman from the city. she had to drop off her four kids at various points before even getting to the race, talk about a pre-race event!

overcast and cool, it was not going to be clear like last year. the 10k course was a double 5k and i was careful to not blow my wad on the first loop...32 mins (2 mins off of last year:D). they were true to their word and the route was very well marked, but i swear they added some harder hills, maybe it just felt harder ...especially on the second loop. I walked the hills off and on ....we all walked in the beginning....6 minutes worth of walking at the start due to bottlenecking.

I caught up with mom of 4 on the second loop and hung with her for a bit as we approached the last aide station she made a water stop and i kept going. ( the gu in gatorade mix was working well) that was the last i saw of her. a little further along the trail i started messing with my ipod and had to remind myself..."uh, hello, your in a race here... stop dicking with the ipod".

on the final push uphill, runners started to pump eachother up with hoots and hollers, i love this about trail races the commaderie is so infectious. as i approached the base of the final hill , i called out to a small group of women in front of me "come on ladies dig deep" more hoots and hollers on the fast downhills.
later while milling about for schwag one of those ladies placed her hand on my shoulder and thanked me for getting her up that last hill. that felt good. i ran into Jess from the BART trail...he's an older guy i see on the trail sometimes, he and i swapped stories and reveled in our fantabulousness.

so no sub 1.0 hr, i'll need to check the official race results when there posted....but according to my stopwatch (1:05:56)it was a great day at the races! i took home some fun schwag: a gel/water bottle, a fuel belt ankle reflector band and a cool red technical weave hat. T got a picture of me at the finish line so I'll try to post that later this week.

my bib #13 brought me good luck. as always at the end of a race i am overcome with a great sense of gratitude and satisfaction.....grateful to have my health, satisfied in a good effort put forth, thankful for family and friends.....a nice segue for the holiday ahead!!

Pre-race day morning Presidio Trail 10k

I was looking back on last years Presidio race report and trying to remember the route. There are 3 big hills and that last one was my first taste of checking the ego at the door and just walking. I received a race day detail e-mail from the director describing the route and reminded of the "bottlenecking" I (we) were warned to resist the urge to go off trail as we will be deep in poison oak territory.

Per my usual I have 3 outfit options layed out. I chose my new 3/4 running pants...(with a draw string - an important detail I overlooked lastyear, are ya feeling me?) and the same technical shirt i wore the first time i ran this race. In a letter from the race director he stated that if while on the course you decide to switch from the 10 to the 5k (and many do) just head towards the 5k finsh...........hmmmmm, could this be a tougher race than I expect? I've trained and I'm ready. Bring it on. They've also made a greater effort in marking things better this year (we'll see) as it was a tad bit confusing towards the finish.

I'm still not cool enough to show up at a race without support and T and M (still sleeping) have agreed to drive to the race with me, how cool is that? On Bay Cafe a chef was asked as she prepares for the whitehouse thanksgiving dinner if she was nervous. She replied, "if your not a little nervous, your not on your toes" How appropriate, no?

If the weather is anything like yesterday it should be a spectacular day at the races. See ya at the finish line!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Please Spit Responcibly

Don't get me wrong, I'm highly tolerant of the occasional hawker........been known to hawk some serious lugey myself on occasion, actually i take great pride in my projectile spitting abilities......HOWEVER...........thorough observance certainly is in order......... a quick scan of your surroundings........before deploying said lugey is in fact the right and decent thing to do.
Look than spit....not the other way around!!! That said, listen up BART trail dude and consider yourself schooled.

Aside from the near collision of bodily fluids on the BART trail this morning, the easy 3 miler was tasty....the weather: sunny, cloudy, cool and seductive....but i restrained myself from going further.
Brandy was pissed that i didn't take her and when i got back she was halfway down the block
(i wonder who left the back gate opened?)...she is voice trained and did come after a little coaxing and now i need to take her for a walk.

Friday, November 17, 2006


Rest day today after running 3 consecutive days (first time ever) i will run an easy 2-3 miles tomorrow and then my 10k sunday. i was sleeping and eating well the first part of the week...i kinda slipped lastnight ( stayed up way too late) and i ate a ton of food ALL DAY today.

Right now i am hydrating with a second margherita!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Taper Week

Took Brandy on a short run yesterday and since I'm in taper mode (hehe) this morning, I jogged over to the donut shop near my house and bought banana's (fruit for M's lunch). I'm sure I looked silly jogging with a banana in each hand. I then mosied on over to the track for a few laps with A & K then continued on through the neighborhood back home. I've been getting good sleep, hydrating and eating well. Now if I could live the way I do a week before a race ALL THE TIME that would be some serious progress.

Yoga at the Y was sooooooo good. It's a restorative yoga class the emphasis being floor work, which my tight lower half greatly benefitted from. Between the light run yesterday and yoga this morning things (kinks) are working themselves out.

Speaking of lower halfs.....yesterday under strict orders per M to not purchase another pair of "mom jeans", I fit into a size 10 pair of Levis 501's. (yeah, I'm old school) I think I was 18 the last time I wore a pair of these!

The weather is great today and I'm tempted to go for a bike ride, it's been far too long but I'm not sure I should push my legs too much more before Sunday. The plan calls for another light run thursday and saturday, so I'm going to hold off.

I have no predictions, but a sub 1.0 hr would be cool. Last year I remember the route bottlenecked so bad in places that we walked for what seemed a long time. There was confusion among the 5 and 10kers too due to the poorly marked course. Nevertheless, I had a blast at my first 5k trail run and I'm excited to revisit this race this year as a 10ker.

Question: If I add a GU to my water bottle, can I sip from it like I normally do (every 20 minutes) and still benefit or is it better to take it all at once and wash it down with water? I realize this is highly subjective, but was curious if anyone has tried this.


The Halloween boxes that occupied the corner of my living room have been replaced by 3 times as many Christmas Boxes! We're having Thanksgiving at our house this year and M is convinced that we'll need name cards....(we eat off paper plates and sit on picnic benches, it's very casual) I redirected her enthusiasm and suggested she make a center piece. You can give that kid a ball of string, a Q-tip and a roll of tape and she's sure to come up with something fantabulous. She hasn't quite tapped into her athletic self yet (I'm still hopeful) but she's her father's daughter and is quite artistic.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Worth the Effort

After reading a few blogs....I'm still not feeling it....I hate to admit it but I really don't feel like running...I haven't since's run will fall under the "just get 'er done" catagory...god, I hate that just smacks of redneckedness ....still run I must...I know this feeling will pass after the first mile or two.....................


With no solid plan in place I headed towards the BART trail and worked my way towards COSTCO. I then went left on the Bayside Trail towards Golden Gate took me about an hour to get this far and it was another 1/2 hour before the run started to feel less forced.......the whole time prior I just plodded along.

I circled Ceasar Chavez once and then headed over to the mile pier near was at this point I started to remember why I love to run.....the sun was out and the Pacific Ocean sparkled as far as the eye could see. Fisherman, families and dogs collectively groovin on the pier...Now I was feeling it!

I then headed over to the Sea Breeze Cafe for a few Cliff Blocks and hydration. I thought...briefly...of continuing on the Bayside Trail towards Chevy's but once I approached the Bicyle Bridge that spans Hwy 80 I veered right and headed home. The pounding on concrete was beginning to take it's point in pushing it too far.

So, a 2.5 hour run for not feeling like running ain't too shabby. If nothing else, it's another confirmation that while it's nice to feel like running it's not necessary. and that more often than not ....with a little extra effort you can tap into good run. A few things to do differently this week will include eating and drinking better and going to bed earlier.

Next weeks little 10K in San Francisco should be fun.....I know shopping at the Sports Basement afterwards will be!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

It's All Good!

When I peeked out the window this morning it was all misty. Stepping outside I was expecting there to be a chill and was surprised by the almost balmy feel to the air. I harnessed up Brandy intent on getting my sorely neglected pooch back in shape. While I'm not advocating letting your dog get out of shape I must admit it was nice not having her pull my arm out of it's socket. We were on the BART trail....hence on least favorite type of run, even still better than no run at all.

I'm in hurry and I need to vote before heading into work.....get out there and do the same!

Peace Out!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

1st Negative Split!!

No bike ride far that could still happen later in the day with the family. The truth is I need to go longer in order to get a real workout on the bike and I'm not that confident in my "emergency roadside capabilities" to venture too far from home on my own. The group rides are just not happening. I seem to be a flake magnet....whatever people are busy, I know. I should spend time practicing how to change a tire and using the Co2 cartridges......last attempt didn't pan out so well....again whatever!

I headed up to Redwood this morning... a bit later than usual, so the by the time I arrived in the parking lot it was evident by the warm temps. that I wasn't going to need my long sleeved shirt. I brought a short sleeved one just in case and I changed in the parking lot.............also made sure to lube up in all the right places!!

I took it pretty slow the first half....I even stopped to void and take off the my shirt as I was getting overheated by this point. The trail had been recently groomed and it was pure pleasure to run on. I'm pretty sure they reduced the incline on some ...because it felt...less steep. Just to clarify this was in no way an easy run it just felt a little easier at times.

I cranked it up the second half and knocked a minute off my time. 40 mins out and 39 mins back. Not bad for 8 miles, woohoo!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Incremental Progress

The flat BART trail near my house was perfect for a bit of speed work. A cool gray morning lent itself to going a little faster out than I normally do. I spotted Joel in front of the bagel shop and caught up with him for a bit. It wasn't long before I knew I wouldn't be able to sustain Joels pace to get to Richmond so I bid my farewell and eased back into a slower pace.

I wanted to try running faster again somewhere in the middle than taper off at the end. I did that until I got to Richmond. On the turnaround I would pick 2 fixed points that I knew would challenge me and sprint than either jog or walk until recovery. By the end recovery felt less recovered and I was tired. I definitely made up for Wednesday's not so speedy track session. Speedwork is still very hard........ but less dreadful for sure.

This route is roughly 7 or so miles and usually takes me an 1.5 hrs. going slow without walking. Today it took 1.o hr doing a combination of tempo, fartlek and walk breaks.

Afterwards I zipped over to the Y for a short swim. Leaky right goggle got me off to an annoyed start........I'm sure I annoyed the woman sharing the lane with me when I stopped part way to adjust my goggles....dumb move on my part I know...shortly after that I slipped into a nother lane that I didn't have to share with others and fucked around with my goggles for the remainder of the swim. I mostly enjoyed the long hot uninterrupted shower before and the soak in the jacuzzi afterwards.

I saw Coach Jack from triclub. I let him know he'd be proud to hear I was doing speedwork at the track. He asked if I would continue "triing"and I was suprised a little by my response. I said "you know coach, my main goal was to learn to swim and to get into road biking." The thing I said next surprised me even more. I said "I think it(tri) was a summer fling." Coach was generous to add that now I was benefitting from all the cross training and that would only serve my running. My thoughts exactly. I did add that tris are fun....the feeling I experienced during and after a race was unlike anything I had ever known before. I mentioned the 1/2 in SF....he's done it in the past and agreed it is a beautiful run...though a bit tedious along the Great Highway.

Coach Jack is an older gentleman with a broad smile and a glint in his eyes. Kind and sharp witted he seems to really love his life. He underwent shoulder surgery over the summer. He squirmed under the strict orders from PT ....when I said "so you knew to take it easy,right?" He was quick to add "No!....PT layed down the law to keep me from going overboard"...Coach Jack is the CAL triclub Coach ...a bit of jock,uhuh yeah.....anyways, he's competing in the Treasure Island Tri this weekend.
Go Coach!

Not sure if I'll be riding solo or with others this weekend....Sunday is supposed to be nice. Either way I'm getting out there before it rains again.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I got up earlier then I intended this morning fell back asleep and re-awoke late the second time. By the time I was adequately caffinated and dressed for my 6:30 wednesday track workout it was already 6:45. I decided to just run to the track from home and meet the others and catch what ws left of the workout. I wasn't feeling too "speed worky" and planned on just cruising along....better than a "no show" in my book. When I arrived I saw only one of the two girls I run with and I was happy it was Anna, she's slower than me :D

Having others to be accountable to really does help on days like these that's for sure! As easy as it would of been to blow off the track this morning, I rewarded with the feeling of wellness that lingered all day. Light, springy and energetic. It still trips me out how I'm one those people that feels "off" when I skip a workout now.

I worked today in order to take friday great 3 day weekend plans...just another teacher development day hence no childcare on friday. T and his brother do Holiday Windows this time year. M and I wont see much of him over the next 8 weeks.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Trick or Treat smell my feet give me something good to eat!
Speaking of feet.....mine are getting uglier by the run. My second toenail on the left foot decided to fall off...and boy oh boy do I have blisters from that last run...the hot spot was the first sign....but did I stop to tighten my laces? nooooooo. I actually take a sick sort've pride in the deterioration of my normally not bad looking feet....they are getting tough...which is a good thing. I think trail runners everywhere would be proud.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Happy Birthday M!

On this day in 1995 M arrived....late I might ad..... a whopping 9.8 lbs and silent as a mouse. A C-section delivery her eyes where wide and she didn't make a peep...I honestly don't recall her ever crying.....though I was pretty doped up, exhausted after 32 hours of attempted "natural childbirth." T say's she was alert and looking around but never cried...not a single peep! Only when she was cleaned up and left alone in the nursery did she cry. T recalls hearing her wail and being a new nervous dad pointed this out to a nearby nurse and she said "oh, she's probably hungry".

M is not so silent anymore, chatter fills every space, nook and crany. She definitely prefers being late to being on time. She's obvservant as hell and still get's cranky when she's hungry.
I am challenged,blessed and inspired by this child everyday.


I took off from home at exactly 8:38 today and headed for Strawberry Canyon. I want to give theses Adidas a chance to grow on me, they are a hybrid touting to perform well on and off the trail. I need to mix in more road running to better prepare for the my 1/2 marathon in San Francisco.

I took an hour to get from home to the first bench along the Strawberry trail. I considered going further but I promised M I'd be back before 11 am so she could open the rest of her presents (I did open a little one with her before heading out, plus she had the ones to check out still from lastnights party with friends...eleven 4th and 5th graders, a Sponge Bob jumper and lots of sugar!!)

On the way back I felt the more twinges in the knees, especially on the road. It's obvious that I prefer trails and will need to approach longer runs on the road carefully. I felt a few hot spots along the right arch and I'm pretty sure I didn't tie my shoe laces tight enough , my feet shifted around alot. So before I can justify dropping a bunch of cash on the coveted new Montrail or Asic. I will give these shoes chance. Poverty is the mother of patience!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Temptation Resisted

I popped into La Foot, a running store that specializes in helping the injured athlete....not that I'm injured but I was curious about the goods. I drooled over the new Asics and was fairly impressed by their Montrail selection. I don't really need new least I dont think I do. This wasn't a planned visit otherwise I would've brought in my current shoes for some additional assessing. They analyzed my gait and confirmed that while my arch is low I'm not flat footed and that I over pronate. The gal helping me could only come up with my size in the new models aka NOT the ones on sale.

I must've spent close to an hour there trying on half a dozen different pairs but in the end I decided to return with my current shoes and perhaps get some orthodics as I've noticed funny twinges in my knees.....nothing consistent and it seems to jump around from leg to leg...I'm guessing my Montrails are ready for retirement. I bought them right before the Presidio trail race last year in November.

I recently picked up a pair of Adidas Supernovas on sale. There kind've ugly , being a stability shoe they feel a little clunky compared to my other shoes but I took them on a short run this morning and guess what? No twinges. I also like the roomy toebox when going downhill. I'll need to break them in slow before going long but aside for ugly factor they may be all I need for now. I can wear gaiters to hide how ugly there are anyhow!

I did find a couple of cool long sleeved technical shirts and a pair of shorts at Marshalls for way cheap proving that you can afford to look and feel good without breaking the bank!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

San Francisco Summer

I met Kelly at Inspiration Point and we did the run I did last weekend. She was impressed. The weather was ALOT warmer this 7:30 am the usual morning chill was absent....we were in for a warm run. This was my first long run with a partner. I have to admit being chatty the first couple of miles did make it go by faster.....we we're alot less social during the hilly portions.

The visibility was glorious. The Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco Skyline were crystal clear, just stunning. Again Kelly was impressed , as this was her first time on this part of the trail. We spread out over the course of Belgium Trail...I forged ahead on the hills Kelly would catch up and pass me on the flats. We managed to find the right balance of social and alone time.

We finished in just under 3.0 hrs.......I walked and stopped to stretch more often this time. I headed over to the Y for a quick dip ....once in the locker room I realized I forgot my cap and goggle...GUH!!! So the swim was super short and I hopped over to the jacuzzi before showering.

I notice a few twinges in my left knee. I pushed harder on Wednesday's track session and I think that might of had an effect on the fatigue factor.....and the warmer weather certainly made things more challenging. I was way more tired today compared to last week.

So for any of you guy's here in the bay area....enjoy the good weather and get outside now!!!!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Why Race?

I 've been on the fence about what to focus on.

I'm getting in good workouts.... mostly running. I'm showing up for work earlier these days making it harder to get to the pool before work. It's just easier to throw on the running shoes and head out from home. Swimming and riding require more time and preparation.


I finally signed up for a couple of races.

I'll be doing the Presidio 10K Trail Run in San Francisco for the second time in November. Last year I got a ton-o-schwag.

I've also signed up for my First 1/2 Marathon with Kaiser Permanete in San Francisco, February 2007.

Mia had lots of good things to say about it when I mentioned it last week....I think I might have her convinced to do it with me:D

I'm feeling better and am looking forward to my early track session with Anna and Terry tomorrow morning.

I haven't had any trouble getting the runs in lately, it's been nice getting back on the trails.
Sometimes during a run I feel so great and I wonder why do I pay to enter races.

I guess I sign up for different reasons.

I signed up for the sprint tri's this summer to force myself to learn how to swim.

Having a race to train for through the winter should help keep the holiday weight gain at bay.

Knowing I have a race on the horizon makes it easier to stick with a training program.

I get the chance to compete....... mostly with myself....and it is fun to catch the rabbit once in awhile.

It's fun most of the time.

I think I enjoy the sense of accomplishment following a race even more than the actual race.

So, why do you race?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Belgium Trail

I had no intention of running hard today. The plan was a flat 8 mile out and back along Wildcat Canyon. I downloaded new tunes into the ipod (third eye blind and sting) and well let's just say I got my groove back. Instead of following WC to Alvarado, I noticed another runner coming from the opposite direction turning left onto Belgium Trail. I learned about this trail when I hiked with the Sierra Club on Labor Day, I don't know if it was Sting or the other runner that spurred me on but I knew once I hit this trail I was in for some kick ass hills....lots of 'em.

As I worked my way up the hill my fellow runner was quite a ways ahead, it wasn't long though before he started to head back. He was an older Filipino man and as he passed by I could smell the Downey fabric softner on his sweat clothes. I gave him a big smile, he seemed to appreciate it and smiled back. I proceeded towards the first of several tough climbs.

There's nothing gradual about this particular trail either, you just gotta hunker down and keep going forward. I was able to keep this up for quite a while....all the time knowing that the Beast layed up ahead. To add a little perspective, the monster of which I speak puts Strawberry Canyon's Big Bertha to shame, twice as steep and long. I knew I would be walking soon, I was mentally prepared to walk. No ego issues today. I need to learn to be ok with walking if I want to continue races with the PCTR. There races are rugged and the idea is to conserve energy and not waste it on ridiculously steep terrain. My 20K with them taught me that much.

About 2/3 the way I was done and I tried to power walk the last bit of climb but could feel the burning start so I walked. If I had a heart rate monitor, I suspect I would of been out of the optimal training zone, my heart was pounding and my chest rattled with congestion...but I felt so ridiculously alive. In that moment as I hedged towards the crest of the Beast I felt invincible. Up and over I started to build momentum and the running came easier. I felt tired and exhilirated all at once. This was turning out to be a really good run.

Eventually I reached the Nimitz, from there it's another 4 miles to the next connecting trail. I flew down the hill and another 20 minutes I was back to my car. My nose was runny, my breathing labored but I felt great. I was overcome by endorphins...several times .....I'm sure I looked like a dork smiling as I bopped along . I was out there for a total of 2:40. I don't know how far I went maybe 8-10 miles....but considering this lingering cold I felt amazing. I know the music and my surroundings had alot to do with it, but I also know that I've achieved a certain level of fitness and that's what got me through this run despite having been sick the last week.

Lastnight M and I had some spooky fun Mia and her boys. Fright Fest at Marine World. Not even the late night theme park madness (hot dogs and nachos and zombies, oh my!), put a damper on this run. Mia Goddess has promised to take me on a kick ass 35 mile bike ride in her beautiful neck of the woods around Thanksgiving. So it's time to saddle up!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Curve Balls

I'm an unusually healthy person. I'm not prone to colds or the usual bugs like most. I work in a veritable germ pit...i.e. a nursing home and well, for better or worse my immune system is pretty solid. I was just saying to T last week, "you know, I haven't been sick in like over a year!"

Lesson#1 Count your blessings yourself!

I might as well have rolled out the welcome mat to illness because two days later I kid you not I felt the beginings of "something". It hasn't helped that I've been stressing too much and not sleeping enough. A couple of days I was in a plain old funk and couldn't get my butt off the couch as I watched the entire second season of Gray's Anatomy on DVD. As we all know increased stress and decreased activity is just asking for trouble. T and M have been battling a cold and this time the nasty bug latched onto me too.

The worse part of a head cold is not sleeping due to lack of oxygen. I tried propping up the pillows to sleep upright but couldn't get comfortable. The sore throat wasn't helped by breathing through my mouth all night. I sound all raspy, like that annoying newswoman on CNN.

I considered bailing out on my track workout today, I e-mailed Ana that I'd probably make it depending on how I felt. I have to say though, knowing that she would be there on top of having to be accountable here(the blog) weighed heavy on my mind. As I mentioned I seldom get sick.....but when I do I can be a bit of a wimp and I'm pretty confident I would of blown off running at 6:30 this morning if it were not for the accountability issues. Ana has a half in San Luis Opispo this weekend and is tapering and Terry's ankle was bothering her so all of we were all on the same page...TAKE IT EASY. I felt good afterwards.

I thought M and T would be gone by the time I got back, but she needed to stay home another day (don't worry Mia we're still on for Friday) I picked up her homework and she should be fine by tomorrow. Having a sick kid is never fun and the guilt you feel never gets any easier...guilt if you send them back to school too soon, guilt for not pulling your weight at work, guilt for being annoyed at the said sick child for being sick in the first place.

Somedays you just gotta roll with it, ya know?

Quote from Acts of Faith
Daily Meditations For People of Color

You don't own the future you don't own the past. Today is all you have.

-Les Brown

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

New Training Friends

Ana responded to my craiglist post and we met up this morning at the King Middle School track along with her friend Terry who led us through a speed training session. It went like this:

1 mile warm up
2 miles intervals at 85% alternated with an easy pace
1 mile cool down

Ana's email came late in the evening and I waited until the last possible minute to commit.....none of my attempts to wimp out were letting me off the hook. Not the fact that my period started and I had cramps, not the fact that it was volunteer in class day, not the fact that Ana and her friend were 13 years younger than me.

Then in a last ditch effort to thwart my plans my mind really stretched and the seed of worry set in. What if Ana is not Ana and I'm being lured to the track on false pretenses? That last thought lingered as I hadn't met this person yet....I raised this point with T before heading out he just said "hmmmmmm, don't get out of your car until you see someone that looks like it could be her"

Well, that wasn't too helpful on account of the fact that I had to get out of the car to see the track entrance. I parked and walked up to the track and was happily surprised to see quite a few people running laps in the dark.........I asked a couple ladies if the were Ana...........then I noticed a car and a young women walking up to the field. Again, "Hi, are you Ana? oh good, my name is Chris......." A few minutes later her friend Terry arrived. They were both quite nice and we settled into a nice warm up . Ana is the newest runner, having lost major wt. with a walk/run program over tha past year (just like me) and ran the bridge to bridge run last Sunday. Terry is returning to running post ankle surgery.

It was easier than I thought it would be...........challenging but not nearly as complicated as the track workouts with coach during the triclub trainings. Next time I'll keep track of time, today was focused more on just doing it and getting to know my my new running friends. I'm so glad I went and I commited to meet them again same time same place next weds.

Monday, October 02, 2006

3 Bears

Here in the eastbay, 3 Bears is a legendary bike route. This ride has daunted me all summer. Today would be my first time tackling it. Tracy arrived at my door all little past 8 am and I have to mention that she was a little hungover......however despite this fact she was ready for a long ride.

As we mosied down my street we debated on Old Tunnel Rd. or 3 Bears. Being the considerate training partner that I am I let Tracy decide ....I was sure that she'd pick the easier ride....but the girls is a ravenous rider and 3 Bears was on the menu .

From my house we rode to Cedar turning left on Spruce toward Tilden Park. Spruce is a decent climb and was a sign of things to come. Easy ride through the, if you don't count my wipeout. As some of you other heavybottomed cyclist have noticed, we're fast on the downhills. I was quite a ways ahead of Tracey, and when I lost site of her for too long I slowed and turned I attempted to do this I cut the turn too sharply and landed in the ditch....a stellar landing I have to say, I managed to land in a nice pile of leaves avoiding tree branches, rocks, glass bottles or other potentially dangerous debris. Quite a bit of laughing ensued as Tracy pulled up "are you okay?" All that falling as kid has come in handy, my shoulder is a little sore today but nothing remarkable. After regaining my composure we continued down the backside of Tilden then left on San Pablo Damn Rd....yes that would be the same rd. my AAA driver got lost on a couple of weeks back.

Grey and cool the ride along this rd. was still quite nice. the resevoire on our right and fairly wide shoulder for the most part traffic was sparse at 9 am. We noticed quite abit of road kill on this ride, the usual possum, skunks, and two large deers over the course of the morning in fact....pew! Despite roadside carnage the ride was revealing to this newbie what all the hoopla was about.

I want to say we turned right off San Pablo Damn Rd...was it Creekside Ranch? This rd was residential and intersects with the more rural Alhambra Rd. At this point Tracy said, "this is where it gets interesting" The first of 3 consecutive hills, Tracy said that each climb would get harder than the last....I wasn't asking too many questions...I wanted to avoid dreading anything and to be surprised...Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

We saw a few TNT riders, their sag wagon reminded me to Gu and hydrate as I was riding on an empty stomach so far. As we approached the first hill, I began to trail behind, Tracy is a commuter cyclist, lugging her 3 y.o son around in a side cart daily to school so this hill sans the kid was cake ....albeit soaked in rum!

I'd catch up on the downhills and then we seperate again as we approached another hill. Briefly I found myself struggling to keep up and than I told myself to STOP! I needed to find my pace and settle in. This was a hard ride and pushing too hard would not be smart. I let go of trying to keep up and that's when I started to enjoy myself.

I remember at one point my legs felt like rubber as I pressed on....holy crap this was a long hill....with no end in site! The shifting problems I always seem to have continued and I had to work on finding the right big ring little ring combo....this ride gave me plenty of practice for sure and towards the second half I started to see some improvement.....though I still think I need a tune up.

We took a break at the crest of the last hill on Bear Creek Rd. and then were rewarded with a long killer stretch of downhill. Just when you think your home free the ride down slows and turns into a nasty little reminder of what lies ahead on the otherside of San Pablo Damn Rd....the backside of Tilden!

That nasty little climb out of Bear Creek Rd. fatigued my legs to the point of pain....yet another sign that I was reaching further. The climb up the backside of Tilden was taking it's toll....even Tracey who had confessed to feeling "queasy" during the break on the crest was begining to slow...abit....I could see her up ahead still...whearas before she was mostly off in the distance. Her cell phone rang and I could hear her saying .."the zoo?...COME GET ME!!" She's amazing, tired, hungover and talking on the phone while riding up the backside of Tilden. Do I know how to pick a training partner or what?

The climb up Inspiration Point was harder than it had been on previous rides. Usually I come from the Moraga/Orinda way and it's a long flat ride before the climb. Today the climbs were much closer together and I could feel the lactic acid build-up and fatigue at the start of the climb towards IP. At one point I attempt to psyche myself up...a little auditory motivation if you will. IP felt further away than normal, in fact this ride was taking on a "Twightlight Zone " seemed like we would never get there. Finally will arrived at the parking lot and I let out another "woohoo!" and was greeted by that knowing smile of other riders in the vicinity.

I waited with Tracey until her ride showed up, I declined the ride home and continued on down the rd. Total saddle time 4.0 hrs and I'm sure we covered 35 plus miles....long hilly miles including the portion from my house.

Got home, fetched T and we hit the fleamarket and a couple of yardsales . I got a good deal on some small loaf pans...perfect for gift giving. I want to make cherry chocolate bread this I sense a Goldilocks metaphore?