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?"