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 shoes...at 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 morning....at 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 ....to 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 park....er, 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 around...as 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 howled...in 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 " feel..........it 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 year....do I sense a Goldilocks metaphore?