Monday, December 31, 2007

On the mend

when deciding to write this final post for 2007 i knew i had my work cut out for me. i methodically went over all the crappy things that happened and really didn't see the point in this post at all. getting ripped off during what turned out to be a very stress filled vacation, aging family members and the onset of pre-teen angst. 2007 was literally a string of unfortunate and unruly events.

it was looking through my archives that things started to turn around.

Running Life

2007 was filled with lot's of firsts. my first 20k, my first half-marathon and my first full trail marathon.
when i decided to do a trail marathon, once i found the right one i was rewarded with some of the finest trail running terrain i'd ever encountered. discovering east bay regional trail system was by far a highlight in 2007 and while my actual race performance fell far from what i had hoped i had an amazing day.

Family Life

we lost our beloved matriarch, Grandma Tillie in March and then Papa Taylor 10 days before Christmas. My daughter M was closest to Papa and was quite literally a pillar of strength when it came to helping her younger cousins grieve. her capacity to comfort and nurture is amazing.

Personal Life

training for a marathon gave me lots of "me time" i feel truly grateful to my family for this.
i'd been thinking about returning to school for some time but it wasn't until after my marathon that i actually committed to it.
i registered for classes at berkeley community college. i start next month. i strongly suspect that there will be days when my brain will refuse to compute one more mathematical operation or i'll tremble at the prospect of yet another draft for some benign paper due, but knowing that i covered 26.2 miles of hilly ass terrain one Fall day not long ago will give me the steam i need to forge ahead.
my mantra will be: Relentless Forward Motion

i'm glad i took the time to reflect, looking back i have a less grim view of things. it seems i've been functioning in crisis mode for far too long. i have allot to be thankful for, possessions in the end are just things, Grandma Tillie and Papa left us the tools to build on a strong foundation. My daughter has her grandmas flair and her papas kindness.

so that's about it. we'll be ringing in the new year quietly on the mend at home, sipping ginger ale, hot tea and no doubt crashing long before midnight.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2007


i'm sooooooo sick right now. my head and chest feel like they're in a vice. a hot shower offered temporary relief but it's going to be a rough next few days. can i just tell you how old "rough days" are getting? M is a good nurturer, bringing me tea and water. i usually get a flu shot but this year i just never got around to it.

christmas eve was spent with T's family. we had a quiet meal with my mom here christmas day. M was happy and that made us happy.

2007 was a bumpy ride. I'll need to take a more thoughtful look back on things once my heads stops pounding. i just wanted to say Happy New Year to my blogger friends and wish you all the very best in 2008.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Funeral Food

i knew following up 2 glasses of wine with a beer was questionable at best. what i didn't take into consideration was the lack of food in my body. i'll spare you the details but i will say i started with the spins and ended in the bathroom.

getting drunk on a tuesday night isn't a common occurrence around here but with funeral planning in full swing (my father in-law passed last saturday) a few drinks have been in order.

i hadn't intended to get drunk, it was the mixed beveraging and no eating that got me in trouble. i blame my misfortune on funeral food.

My husbands parents are Catholic and when their youngest son (T's little brother) converted to Mormonism it about killed them. It was a festering sore spot for YEARS. As time went on and my brother in-law eventually married and raised Mormon babies of his own. his parents while they loved their grand kids have never fully accepted their son's decision to convert.

i met with my husbands sister and my mother in-law and discussed food for the reception. we don't have any idea on how many people to expect and my sister in-law said she'd rather have too much food than not enough. so, we settled on planning for 60 people. a few deli trays from costco, some sweets and drinks seemed easy enough.

later i called my mormon sister in-law and asked her if she could bring some kind of dessert. she mentioned that some friends were wanting to do something and i said that was nice and if she could farm out brownies or something that would be cool. A little later i get a call back from her and she says that their Relief Society President offered to organize and setup all the food, just needed to say when and where.

Needless to say despite the generosity being put forth I was hesitant to accept given the circumstances. I said that it was a very generous offer, and that i'd want to be sure everyone was ok with it, T walked in at that point and i put him on the phone with her.

the conversation turned abit heated with our sister in-law getting defensive and insulted. she proceeded to say that she didn't think that their should be any problem with her friends offering to help. we agreed it was a generous offer but were hesitant to turn the entire reception over to the Relief Society, given the circumstances.

By this time i had drained my second glass of Pinot Noir and foolishly decided to mix things up with a Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale. obviously i don't drink well under pressure.

T suggested that they could prepare some of the food and we'd do the rest, but my sister in-law was insulted and said "just forget it" by then her husband (T's brother) got home and was on the phone with T and when T said he suggested splitting the food prep and that his wife was insulted, my brother in-law being the dutiful husband covered for her.

Now let me just add this, a few years ago my sister in-law had a bout of encephalitis. i'm pretty certain that the part of the brain that governs her inhibitions was affected. she's not all Tourett's but she has on occasion said some pretty off the wall shit. on more than one occasion she has said things that have made me want to punch her in the head.

in the end we agreed to let the relief Society sister's crank out the desserts, though i was kinda curious about the legendary mormon funeral potatoes.

still keeping up with my short runs. lately i've taken to running solo around town sans any electronics and then walking Brandy afterwards. since the oil spill in the bay, point isabel dog park has been off limits for us because unless i keep her on-leash she wants to go in the water, i always let her before and now it seems cruel not allowing her to be off leash in dog park....she's a selective listener. so i'm trying to take her on a trail at least once a week so she can roam freely.

things will probably be quiet around here for awhile. this was crazy ass year for our family. i don't know about the rest of you but i'll be glad to bid 2007 adieu.

Peace to you and yours.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Kids and Dogs

Progress is progress, incremental and or otherwise. as i spend more time with my kid and dog i've noticed that we're all getting along better. Brandy is better behaved on our runs and M is going with the flow more.

M and I spend allot of time together this time of year as this is T's busy season. we've been getting out together more and i've found that if a can just accept the requisite whining and general lack of enthusiasm that preceeds any destination other than the mall, if i can just get through the transition were good .

sadly, my kid does not share my love of the great outdoors. she'd rather have her teeth cleaned than go on a hike. good oral hygiene aside it's a little weird.

and it's all my fault.

getting her outdoors has alway's been a colossal hassle. she'd put up such a fuss when she was a baby, the Burly kiddie trailer on the bike was disaster. projectile vomitting and screaming all along the canal trail pretty much sealed the deal that we were not going to ever be that family you see on a leisurley sunday ride on their way to a picnic.

occasionally, i'd get a sitter and go out by myself for a ride or walk but for the most part, especially this time of year we'd stay home. with each passing year i'd gain a few more pounds and more embedded in that damn couch because i just couldn't deal with the hassle of getting her ready to go. i never accepted that she wasn't into going and i got stuck with the idea of how it should be rather than accepting things for how they are. this has blocked me from figuring out a way to make it work. for years!

the trick seems to be not taking things too seriously. as with my short runs with brandy the focus is purely recreational. when she needs to sniff or explore i'm more relaxed vs before when i was trying to workout. going solo is a must from time to time.

with M little things like parking really far from the mall and less discussion about plans seems to work best . when i try to get her on-board with an activity she's not into, like the body world expo or taking Brandy to the dog park, she'll resist and startup with excuses, now i just say "this is what we're doing" and afterwards we can do_________.

giving her too many choices hasn't always worked out so good. now i just sign us up for stuff, she doesn't alway's like it but now that i don't expect her to want to go and just accept her attitude she's starting to come around. go figure.

i've been feeling a little guilty over the lack of focused workouts but on the other hand things are allot more peaceful this time of the year for the taylor household and that's pretty amazing. we're cooking and crafting more. taking brandy for walks, the other night we even sang christmas carols...badly...but we're laughing and enjoying eachother's company more this year. we're both high strung and there's never going to be a lack of drama but things are getting better.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Quick Bread

Two trails runs in one weekend, Brandy is beside herself.

i wasn't so ambitous in the kitchen yesterday and the scratch cake was replaced by a box one. M was beside herself over that and went hogwild decorating it with every sprinkle she could get her hands on.

today however i redeemed myself and baked four loaves of banana bread. i've been experimenting with quick bread recipies all week and this one called for 1 cup vanilla pudding along with 2 mashed nanner's. i added chocolate chips and walnuts.

i also made an apple cranberry and walnut bread. the recipie called for 1 cup of fresh cranberries. the end result was a bit tart for my taste. i plan to try it again with cranberries in a sugar brine and those ocean spray sweetened ones.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Up and Running

so, for all the complaining i've been doing regarding my computer woes. it seems only fair to say: MOBILE COMPUTING ROCKS! i can blog from anywhere in the almost seems naughty.
i'm a little sleep deprived from all-night surfing and on-line
x-mas shopping..just like when i had my first computer 10 years ago, i'm such a dork.

we're having a last minute "november birthday's" party here tomorrow. my mom, sis-in-law and sweet little nephew, i love love love that little guy and i'm pretty sure it's because i can buy him big plastic dinosaurs, grown-ups just aren't as fun to shop for in my opinion.

i'm looking forward to the smaller gathering(12 vs 21 if i had hosted thanksgiving) and we're having it catered (hawaiian bbq, yum!) and i'm going to try to make a pineapple mandarin orange cake from scratch...yikes!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A work in progress

  i'm actually further along than this , it's sandwiched and waiting to be quilted. It was intended to be for a twin size bed and it's closer to a queen.
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Running with Brandy

 break time.
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Dolphin Quest

 M made a new friend
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Green Stuff

  not sure where on the island this was taken, pretty though
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Rainbow Fall, Hilo

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Volcano Park

  M had a really good time despite the fact that she hates to hike.


me after a hot and humid 14 miler. yowza!
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Hilo, Hi

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self portrait

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Hilo, HI

i found this beach while runing
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Hilo, HI

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It Works!

i found this beach while running in Hilo
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Back-Up Plan

i'm feeling deliciously sore from sundays run up in Strawberry. it's been awhile since i ran up there. it was good to run on dirt again. on the second hill repeat a woman stood off to the side and "said, wow your an inspiration" i kinda grinned and said "not really, just a masochistic" parking up there is limited and on the weekends nearly impossible so i parked a mile away from the trail head and jogged in. i was feeling pretty agitated about a few things that morning and getting away from the computer and back on the trail did me a world of good.

i've been waiting for 3 weeks for a friend to come over and help with some computer stuff and they've had to cancel twice. i'm learning that with some friends it's a good idea to have a back-up plan. at least i knew better than to cancel the geek squad appointment for wednesday.

so after my run, i took the laptop back to best buy and they explained that i needed to activate the computer within a week otherwise everything freezes up. whew, okay good i hadn't accidentally kicked it into some weird mode. it was a good thing i took it back to best buy since i'm not set up on the internet yet and they were able to activate it for me there in the store.

while they were servicing the laptop i wandered over to the camera dept. and explained to the sales girl in very untechnical terms "i just want to get the pictures out of the camera and onto the computer" she said i needed a memory card reader. cool and it was only 16.00 bucks. i left best buy anxious to get the started with the memory card.

i plugged the usb cable into the computer and waited for something to happen. well after 30 minutes nothing seem to be happening. i left for the movies and when i got home nothing seemed any different. so either it's extremely slow or i just bought another useless piece if crap. good thing it was cheap.

it's gonna come together eventually just not in the way i envisioned it.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Technology is not for everybody

i usually have a hard time running when i'm disturbed about something.
totally weird, i know. you'd think the logical thing to do would be to run to let off some steam...but being more driven by my emotions than logic i'll usually bang my head against the wall until it's raw and bleeding before going for run.

until today.

i was so frustrated today that i actually did hill repeats at Strawberry this morning. THE AGGRAVATION SERVED ME WELL ON BIG BERTHA, I KICKED HER ASS. TWICE!

i have surrounded myself with all these new gadgets laptop, digital camera, fancy phone all with the potential to transport my life into a technological nervana.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

as if my dog didn't already love me. these regular runs in the neighborhood have her following me around well like a lovesick puppy.

so like some of you i suspect i'll be putting in another day at work today but then i have 4 days off, yay!

today my father in-law is being released from our facility, a medication change and some new feeding strategies have made a grim situaton a little more hopeful. he's declining but definitely improved during his stay in rehab and is well enough to return to his board & care facility.

i'm making 2 pumpkin pies from scratch (canned) i'm not brave enough to use real pumpkin, despite having quite few lying around still from our "crop" this year.

i haven't set-up the internet for the laptop yet. will be in place soon though. i've been goofing around with microsoft home vista. it's weird and very cool at the same

enjoy the holiday and being with friends and family...even if you can't stand 'em.
come on now it's the right thing to do!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

x-mas comes early

i forgot that the gym wouldn't be opened till 2pm today. i was hoping to catch my usual restorative yoga class. so i took brandy to a smaller neighborhood dog park instead. she wasn't very friendly to a few of the other dog's while she had her ball in her mouth, but got on well as far as chasing and being chased.

i met the most obnoxious old lady there. have you ever had a conversation with someone who was totally contrary? i could not connect with this woman on even the minorest of points. after about 5 minutes i politely excused myself and we took a slightly longer route home.

when i got back, T surprised me by asking me if i was ready to go laptop shopping. the gateway was on sale and honestly i didn't really have much more than what i wanted to do with it on my criteria list. anticipation is making me nuts! as i type this the geek squad is setting up it up with software.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

keeping it simple

my laundry room is located right off my kitchen. in the center of the kitchen is a large island. i've been transferring running clothes from the laundry room to the island and just leaving them there. shoes are in a cubby under a coat hook where brandy's leash hangs. i don't have to even think, it's all right there, taking brandy also takes the pressure off, i leave the garmin and watch at home and just do it!

i'm starting to like this low key form of exercise with my dog. seems like my running is evolving again, not in the faster further kind of way but in the "it's just what i do kind of way" i was beginning to resent the rigorous training schedule and then i shut down for a couple of weeks, now building back up without any races on the horizon, i needed something to get me motivated. running with my dog has really gotten better now that we're going on a regular basis for shorter distances.

i'll get back up in mileage eventually, but i'm totally fine with how things are going. cross training at the Y and putting more thought into meal prep has me feeling pretty good about things.

have a great day!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

oh oh oh oh M an i have tickets for Body's 2 exhibit at the san jose tech museum this coming saturday. M is a little on the fence about it but i downloaded the student study guide and she's had her nose in it for few days now.
a few folks from work have gone and i think it's going to be awesome. i once sliced into a human brain in a cadaver workshop, isn't that the coolest thing ever? i can.not.wait. until saturday!
i'm a little sore from the yoga class the other day. guess there is a difference between the restorative yoga i usually (using the term usually loosley here..) attend and yoga II.

i hadn't been feeling too festive about the pending holidays so when i started feeling a bit of holiday cheer in the decorations section of Target i was pleasantly surprised.

the animated village scenes, sparkling tree toppers, even the tacky over sized lawn ornaments brought a sense of warm fuzz all over.

too soon for this sort've talk? ba hum bug!

Monday, November 12, 2007

i didn't even bother to wear my garmin for the run with brandy this morning. we ran the same route from the other day.

we encountered a few folks and their dogs, or rather avoided a few folks and their dogs. i'm very careful to reel her in when i see another dog approaching. depending on the other dog and their human i can tell if it's a good idea or not to let them "check in" with each other. often times it's just a benign "sniff, sniff ok, see ya around". it's usually some yippy ass midget dog that seems to want to stir up shit, and at the other end of the leash is a brain dead human allowing the dog to go on end of the leash and lose it's mind. it's a toss up as to which is more annoying: dog or human. i'm leaning towards the human.

don't get me wrong, brandy is a sweety pie. she's just easily mislead. she's seldom the one to instigate an altercation, but if another dog gets in her face she'll throw down and it seems to be moreso on leash, she NEVER gets in a scrap off leash, hence the condition leash aggressive. right now i just want her to focus on what we're doing, she'll have plenty of chances to socialize at the dog park. passing by a house a dalmatian charged at us from the other side of her white picket fence giving me a slight coronary.

running around the neighborhood is convenient. it often means the difference between running or not. it's not my favorite place to run but it's something. home with M today, not sure what were going to do with ourselves. the house is cleaner than it's been in ...a really long time. i can actually see the top of my dining room table. i've been checking out allot of craft and quilting blogs lately and am starting to feel inspired again to return to M's quilt.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

sometimes i hate this blog...

i can't write for crap.

i'm not currently training for anything, just running and exercising for fitness, personally very satisfying, but not so fun to write or read about, hence even less activity on this ghost town of a blog.

don't even get me started on posting pictures.

can you tell i haven't run yet today?


i ran 2 miles to the Y, did 1 hour of yoga, when they started "playing around" with balancing sideways on your arms i slipped out and ran back home. the bright sunny day is a welcome change from yesterday's gray drizzle.

i'm tired! as one level of fitness gives way to a lesser one, i swear to god i can see my arms starting to pudge out. this may or may not be true and i really don't need to start obsessing about that now.

Friday, November 09, 2007

it's a start

i hate to admit it but i don't like taking my dog brandy with me when i run around the neighborhood. she's wants to go all over the place, tugging the leash as she feels compelled to sniff every bush or dog ass along the way. she's definitely leash aggressive.

we went for 3 miles along residential streets. i left the ipod home along with any thoughts of getting in a quality run. by paying attention to her and being firm without getting angry the whole experience was actually pleasant. we bonded and we both got some exercise. a few times she tried to stray but i just reeled her in until she relaxed. by the last mile or so she was calmly trotting along my side, zero tugging or running on end of the leash. a mix of fatigue(no doubt)and better leadership (i hope). ceasar, the dog whisperer would be so proud.

i plan on taking her with me allot more of these shorter runs. she got a good workout w/o over doing it and she's been pretty mellow all day since. now if i could just get M out there....though she did at my suggestion ride her bike out front for about 20 minutes today. it's a start.

i went over to berkeley city college today. the new campus located in the heart of downtown berkeley was quite impressive. i had no idea it was even there. i filled out an admission application and scheduled my assessment and orientation. i have about a month to brush up on my basic math skills. this is kind've a big deal for me. i've been thinking about doing this for a very very long time. today i took action. just acknowledging this baby step towards going back to school makes it more real. it's a start.

ebb and flow

a lighter caseload at work has made pre-work not-running-in-the-dark runs doable again. i ran 4 miles in 41 mins yesterday. these 4 mile runs are not to be downplayed. they remind me of the runner i am. they keep me in the here and now. they are an oasis in an otherwise hectic and trying time.

my father-in-law was admitted to our facility ...again...and it's evident that things are taking a turn for the worse. decisions need to be made, answers are slow to come. my sister-in-law is in hawaii and for the first few day's we tried to avoid calling her, but then the hospital did...she's so desereves this time-off, having devoted every weekend for the past year with either mom or just sucks her trip being spoiled, she's not coming home early but the trip has suffered, hard to relax when the wheels are falling off at home. she had 3 good day's before shit hit the fan. she's coming home monday and we're just hoping for the best, whatever that may be. speaking with her on the phone yesterday from work, i once again found myself torn between the professional me and the family me. trying to maintain an objective front it was all i could do to hold back the tears. he's 87, has lived a good life. still the appropriateness of it all doesn't make any of the decision making easier.

as the holidays approach, i'm feeling less festive this year. i have stood my ground regarding thanksgiving and M and i will spend the day with my aunt and her daughters in hayward. truth is i can only handle a few hours with this relative and i've not been returning calls all year so i need to make-up so to speak. i haven't seen her since grandma tillies funeral in march, so it's time.

i need to secure a spot for berkeley city college orientation and assessment, i called twice and left a message yesterday but haven't heard back yet. i'm off today and will follow-up. it's kinda like registering for a race, i need to have a date and a i can crack open that pre-algebra book and start training or rather studying. LOL

for the past week my boss has been doing our annual reviews....everyone even the per diem staff have been seen and after a week rolled by i still hadn't been. i finally asked on monday and my boss said "come in" with a serious look on her face, i immediately stiffened up and braced myself for the worse. if you had seen the look on her face and had to watch all week while 9 other staff members were reviewed and then had to finally ASK when you were going to be seen...that might all add up to some uneasiness.

as it turns out, my bosses boss wouldn't approve the 4% raise my boss requested for me, so she went over his head and that person hadn't gotten back to her yet....hence, she was holding out for word from above before seeing me. she wasn't suppose to review me until then, but wanting reassure me things were good she did and for all intent and purposes i've demonstrated growth and competency in all sectors...proof that you don't necessarily have to like all that you do to be good at it. now we just had to wait until the BIG BOSS got in touch. luckily, that happened yesterday and i got my raise.

parent-teacher conferences didn't go so well. M's excessive absences and lost homework really dinged her grade wise. we're not too worried though, this has been a rough transition for her. she's getting real life lessons in personal responsibility and time management. the less than stellar marks are more a reflection of her struggles with that than her knowledge or understanding of the material. i've seen her work she's a solid student, math is shaky but were getting help.

seems a good stratedgy is in order. everything i know about running seems to apply. i just need to pace myself, keep my eye on the prize and my nose to the grindstone. any sudden changes need to be met with a deeper breath, a slower stride, a walk break or two. it doesn't really matter how fast i get there, relentless forward motion is the key for me.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

gym day

i made it to the gym today before work....haven't done that in geez i dont recall when. my routine is a bit rusty and i only got 2.45 miles ( i warmed up and started out at SLOWWWWW) of actual running on the treadmill....30 minute cap on cardio machines at 6 am isn't that easy to enforce...still being the upstanding citizen that i am i followed the rules.

a bit of stretching and 2 sets of 30 crunches...i know ...i'm so hardcore.

off to work, have a great day!

Sunday, November 04, 2007


six miles of pure running bliss. the long slow distance run is back. ooooh yeah!
i bought another camera yesterday, the same model so i can share the usb cable. only trouble is i still can't upload the software due to the messed up cd-rom.

i'd really be interested in feedback regarding laptops, mkay?

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Gutless Wonder

as in where the hell did my abdominal strength go?

i went to a pilates class this morning. it was kinda like yoga ...on crack.
of course my newbiness didn't go unnoticed when my mat was the only one facing the wrong direction and the instructor asked me to turn it around and then asked if there was anyone new to pilates(uh, wasn't it obvious?) i just grinned and nodded my head and said "uh, yeah" which seemed to amuse quite a few people. once a class clown always a class clown.

this is the second time i've attended a pilates class, the last time was like a year ago. it's similar to yoga but not. the tempo was quick and by the time i figured out one move she was onto the next. surprisingly i wasn't annoyed and i just hung in there trying to keep up.

at times it felt like nothing was happening at all, i felt like a dork during the "pulsing" arms part but that quickly turned into feeling like a complete wimp when trying to curl back up from supine to sitting without lifting my feet off the floor.... and don't think my rock and swoosh move went unnoticed by the instructor who humorously pointed out it wasn't a gymnastic "stick it" kind of move and suggested i place my hands on the back of my thighs.

after thursday's lunch time run i did 20 measly crunches on the physio ball.
20 not 30 or 50 or 100 ... 20! i'm still slightly sore.

so this pilates business has me intrigued. it's very subtle and it really challenges me to pay closer attention.

Friday, November 02, 2007

it's time

am i ever glad it's friday. i need to catch up on some major zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz's
i've been in zombie mode since well before halloween.

and i need to run. i need to run long. it's time.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

november already?

i ran twice this week at lunch. it seems easier than trying to squeeze it in before work. it's turning out to be a good way to unwind and get out of the building for awhile.

you may have noticed that i changed the appearance of my blog again, i was going for more of a fall theme. i think it needs help.

so i finally got someone at samsung to admit that the usb cable i need to charge my camera isn't out of stock but is no longer available. a tech guy said they were working on another compatible option and for me to call next week.

this has officially become the most boring blog on earth.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


so the party was a hit. despite a rocky start with middle school this year M has found herself a nice set of new friends. good girls, polite and fun to be around, a mothers dream really.

speaking of mothers, mine should be blowing in soon ripe with vacation lore as she just returned from Ensenada yesterday.

thus far i've had a few short exploratory runs. it really feels like fall running through piles of leaves along the quiet neighborhoods. i spotted more than a few runners this morning and i felt so good just to be running, not training. just running for the joy of it.

i've been interrogating colleagues all week about their schooling. i've had mixed reactions but mostly positive about my recent interest in not only returning to school but my interest in getting my "R" which distinguishes a certified occupational therapy assistant from a full fledged registered occupational therapist.

it's no secrete, my frustration with the medical model, the nursing home mentality and futility of it all at times. for a few years now i've grown less and less enthusiastic about my chosen profession and increasingly frustrated by the limits imposed on assistants.

i think i had a bit of an epiphany this week. for years i denied ever wanting to be an OTR. i was quite content in the assistant role. OTR's have way more responsibility , not to mention paperwork. as an assistant i just had to render treatment outlined by the OTR. i have my share of paperwork and required documentation but for the most part am free to provide direct patient care.

the last few years i've had this unidentifiable malaise. this lack energy or enthusiasm for what i do. i just attributed it to general burn-out and hoped it would be fixed with a vacation and maybe working less hours. still no matter what i did to the schedule it always feels like i'm just a worker bee, a mindless drone billing minutes.

it never occured to me that i was experiencing a change. it never occurred to me that i wanted more say, more impact on the way i did my job. talking to my boss, i asked her about going back to school and what kind benefits are available for that. she responded immediately and showed me in the handbook the dollar amount provided by the company for job related coursework. my interest in getting that R shot up tenfold.

now i have ALLOT of work ahead of me before i can even be considered a candidate for a masters ot program, uh uh a MASTERS. lots of undergrad to complete. i spoke to an admissions person at samuel merrit last week and i told her my storey and where i am academically. she is familiar with PACE program and said that was very good place to start but to go ahead fax her my western career college transcript, sam merrit is a private school and their board is more likely to consider my ot assistant coursework at a non accredited school more so than a state school.

so back to the epiphany. it struck me like a ligtening bolt. seriously, moving up in my profession could quite possibly mean a whole new approach to my career. i'd have so many more choices. not to mention the pay increase. i'm just keeping it real ya'all.

i took a peek at what the masters program entails, and i'm not even going to lie. i didn't know what a thesis was. still don't really but it looks really hard. they say running is a good metaphor for life. never was that more true than now. looking at the master program requirements, was like a non-runner dreaming about ultrarunning.

but the truth is i'm not a non-runner and i do have some schooling under my fuel belt. i know a thing or two about self pacing and energy conservation. breaking down big tasks into smaller more manageable bites. i know that i've gotten this far not by looking too far ahead but by keeping focused on my immediate surroundings and by looking up periodically.

getting off the couch is always the hardest part. i have so much to do but i know one step at a time has never ever once failed me. at dinner the other night this was what my fortune said:

You have the ability to plan a practical course for yourself and follow through.

i can recognize a good sign when i see it.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


i woke up around 6:30 am with a headache and cramps. i went about making the coffee pondering whether or not i had time to go for run before work and then it hit me: "oh shit!" i forgot to call last night about jury duty. i scrambled to find the summons and called. i was to report in HAYWARD at 8:30 am. i went from groggy and foggy to frantic in about 30 seconds.

why the hell it's called rush hour is beyond me because NO ONE but me seemed to be in a hurry on I880 this morning. fortunately i had mentioned jury duty to my boss last week, and i was suppose to call her the night before after i found out if i was suppose to report. but since i forgot to call the night before i had to leave a message and then i called work again while stuck in traffic....naturally, they were swamped and could i come in the afternoon if i was dismissed? "uh, yeah ok, i'll try." crap! that meant i had to go home and change first. my head already exploded yesterday and what little brain matter i had left was now oozing out of my ears.

i raced to the courthouse. got lost, got through security, got lost again and managed to look pitiful enough for an attendant to escort me to where i was suppose to be.

and then i waited.

and waited.

and waited.

this went on until around 10:30 when those of us who were trying to get out of serving filed off in a separate area and waited (some more) to meet individually with the judge.

it was a civil trial and was expected to run well into employer only pays for the first five days of jury duty so i was dismissed on a financial hardship.

i raced back to the parking lot that by this time was a sea of other dismissed jurors trying to get on with the rest of their day and i waited

and waited

and waited.

earlier, on the way to the courthouse from the parking lot i lost my parking stub and when i finally reached the exit booth the girl had to get special instructions on how to deal with me, good thing i stamped my employer verification form that proved i was at court so i was able to exit for $2.50 and not the all day fee.

I880 merges with 80 which takes me straight to my house. it should've been so simple. how the hell i ended up crossing the bay bridge is any ones guess. and when did the toll fare go up to 4 bucks anyway? good god i suck...this was redonkulous (my favorite new word, heard it on Dexter the other night). i'm literally counting dimes and nickles trying to come up with 4 bucks, much to the dismay of the drivers behind me i'm sure, though at the time i couldn't have cared less.

so i turn around at treasure island, haul ass to berkeley, change, grab food and race to concord for 5 hours of work. i'm glad to report that no other drivers or patients were harmed in the making of this day.

Monday, October 22, 2007


i haven't let more than 4 days go by in between runs for over a year. after 7 days off my 4 miler on sunday was challenging. drinks on friday and saturday, rich food, less sleep and poor hydration didn't help either.

when i was training i often thought about how nice a non-training run would be. no pressure no plan just run to run. now here it was a week after the race and i was thinking how easy it was getting to keep putting it off. by the time sunday rolled around i finally laced up and headed for the nearby baytrail. as i stepped outside the bright sunny sky and the right itune had me all "what was i thinking?" sure i started out a little too fast and the second half felt harder and longer, but i was happy to be running again.

miagoddess truly is a goddess. she graciously offered to keep M over so T and I could have a little "aaalone time" on saturday night. it was heaven, we had drinks and dinner at jack london square, and listened to David Sanchez, a young hot talented Brazilian saxophonist at Yoshi's jazz club.

so seriously i need to rethink this post marathon non-training run running mode i'm trying to enter without being too much of a slacker. i have a few balls in the air, running will keep me grounded just nothing too structured or long for awhile.

i can't help but wonder how the southern cal bloggers are all doing. the elements are fierce right now. my thoughts and prayers also go out to the fire and law enforcement officials. be safe and well everyone.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


it's been a week since the race and with the exception of scooting across the street before the stale yellow light turned red i haven't run a single step.

other than cut and color my hair, paint my nails and shop i haven't really done much in the way self-care (exercise).

seems life is no less busy now that i no longer have a training schedule looming over head. there's always a million other things vying for time and attention.

i will NOT be hosting thanksgiving this year. getting this house in shape for M's party next week has only served to strengthen my resolve on that one, though my weakness for guilt induced gatherings is trying to have the last word.

i've been thinking about going back to school. i called berkeley city college the other day and spoke with the assistant clerk at PACE (it's basically a curriculum set up for working adults who wish to obtain a liberal arts degree) and she sent me their assessment schedule and i think with allot of hard work i could get around having to take algebra over and register for classes in the spring.

i'm not exactly sure but i'd like to major in english. i think i have some potential and it seems to be where my interest lies. i have few classes on my trascript that may transfer over but the bulk of my general ed. was on a career college level and aren't transferable..

i've been thinking about this for a long time.

career college was an easier choice, i had years of experience as an rehab aide and it seemed like the natural progression. it was only 18 months and i had a good paying job immediately upon graduation and a pay boost when i passed the state boards. that was nearly 8 years ago and while i'm good at my job i'm not happy.

i long to do something truly meaningful. i long for a more in depth understanding of the world and my place in it. i feel unfinished. maybe i'm being too idealistic, thinking that a college degree is going to miraculously transform me. maybe i'm going through a midlife crisis, ya think?

all i know is that life is too short. i have bills, a mortgage, a family that relies on my benefits. i know on some level that this is a ridiculous proposition. the timing is horrible. lifestyle changes and midterms won't be easy that's a given, but the marathon was a good lesson in "hard" and i think i could do it.
and it has been my experience that once i get that thought in my head i usually follow through.

i guess that phone call was a different kind of step. a baby step, but one in the right direction.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Golden Hills Marathon Report 2007

i awoke feeling well rested and headed toward the kitchen for my usual pre-race ritual of coffee making. to my horror i was out of coffee and after bitching at T about it for a few minutes i walked over to the donut shop and bought a cup, grumbling and feeling guilty for getting so annoyed.....hmmmm, this day was getting off on the wrong foot already. i guess i had a few pre-race jitters after all and the upset to my routine kinda threw me.

i'm so glad i picked a race closer to home, i was able to leave the house at 8 am and be there in plenty of time for check-in, which essentially meant walking up to a woman at a picnic table and saying "hi, i'm here" T hung out with me for a little bit, i met catra's friend jolynn, and after awhile T sensed that i was settled he took off for home. he would be spending the day with M shopping for birthday party/halloween decorations. btw, M's had a change of heart regarding a home party and assured me that she's still my little girl, yeah!

the air was cool and crisp, and while in line at the porta john, an extremly fit young man, a real cutey patooty with a brazillian accent was shivering and hopping around to keep warm. i looked him over and said "yep, with zero percent body fat it's gotta be hard keeping warm." he smiled at that and wished me luck as we headed over to the start.

one of the first things i noticed at this event were all the western state shirts. quite a few really. i thought to myself, yeah, this little race is a recovery run for these folks. the 50 miler's had a 6:30 am start from the opposite end, and carl one of the directors reminded us to share the trail. at times when jolynn and her friend and i were together we would see the 50 milers coming towards us, and we'd exchange "good job, looking strong, yeah!"...but whenever we saw the ladies they got the biggest props. these women are my heroes!

as i predicted the trail was good and muddy, i carefully selected just the right stick to scrape off the mud and then found my place way in the back of the pack. as usual i didn't hit the garmin right away, throwing me off a bit for distance. not allot but enough to mess with my gu schedule. i forgot to shut it off as i crossed the finish too and it still read me!

despite the mushy trail conditions everything pointed to a good race day. the weather was sunny and cool. the vibe was mellow and charged at the same time. i felt so at home, so good that even when i noticed my ipod was hadn't rec'vd all the new tunes i just purchased. it didn't phase me a bit. i was ready to do this thing.

as was the plan i walked the majority of the hills, flew down the downhills and plodded/shuffled/walked along the flats. i played leap frog with jolynn and her friend (i'm so bad with names!!) for quite awhile we'd run some together and either i would stop, they'd stop. jolynn's friend and i caught up with each other several times over the course.

now ya'll know i love me some fast downhill. it's one time i'm truly appreciative of my ample backside and thighs. the wet conditions did little to temper my enthusiasm and it was during these sections that i felt best strength wise. i have to wonder though if holding back more would of left more gas in the tank towards the end.


function wise everything was holding up well. i decided against the camelbak, and chose my big fanny pack(mistake) and a another handheld. this race was so well supported that i could of easily taken my smaller waist pack with two bottles and been set. oh well, live and learn. i wore comfy shorts and a singlet. the only chafing i experienced was a tiny spot on my left ribcage where the pack rubbed after doffing my singlet (i had a sports bra on!) feet were all good, not a single blister or hot spot.


the one pain that showed up fairly early on and would remain with me the entire day was a tight left lower calf. i'd stop to strech it out perodically. it didn't feel like a cramp, as it was duller in sensation, but i wasn't too sure. i hadn't experimented much with electrolyte supplements and was wary of trying them now. the pain persisted like i said so i gulped a handful of salty sunflower seeds and when that didn't seem to help i did take one e-cap by mile 20. the pain wasn't causing any real problems just distracting and annoying.


hills and more hills. the start was pretty mushy like i said, which was a good thing really as it guaranteed a nice slow start. i'd walk for a while until my shoes got too heavy and i'd scrape the mud off with my carefully selected stick. once i got to the top of the first serious section of seaview, i found my running legs. this part was in pretty good shape a little wet in places but for the most part totally runnable. it wasn't long before the next climb though. i kept to my plan and slowed to walk. this pretty much describes the entire day. i have to say the toughest part of the day for me was Bort Meadow, that fucking climb was the longest hottest stretch of the day.


as i mentioned this race was very well supported. i never felt more cared for. you could tell these folks really wanted us to have a good day. people were just so nice and helpful. when we got to the first of several road crossings each time i felt like a baby chick be carefully escorted by the mama duck, our cross guards were on the J.O.B no doubt. for the most part i didn't linger too long at the aides stations. (hey kinda like you olga!) at sibley i did use the restroom. at bear station i filled up my bottles, and casually glanced at the array of food, a volunteer teasingly said, "hmph, turning your nose up at my pbj's huh" i assured her they were lovely, but that i had a plan and didn't want to mess with it, being this was my first marathon. at the second to last aide station, a man said "it's all downhill from here" i smirked and said "uh uh". at the last AS i stopped for bit to stretch my calf, boy that drew allot of attention "here hon, get in the shade" "you want a pretzle, fluids??" i was a little embarrassed by all the attention to tell you the truth. i assured everyone i was okay, and then i saw jolynn's friend pull in and go. i had to keep moving. she was my rabbit.

The Final 10k

this is were the reality of my lack of training really sank in. another women at the last aide station cruised in and asked how much further, a volunteer shouted out 3 miles, the fit older gal, perked up and said "oh, see ya!" and was gone. i could only wish for that kind energy at this point. according to my garmin i was at mile 23:84 when my fantasy of 6 hours came and went. remaining consistent with the rest of this course that last 3 miles were hilly too! jolynn's friend and i played leap frog for a good bit, at one point we hung together , but she was much stronger than i on the flats and i once again was looking at her from way behind. i'm pretty sure she came in a minute or so ahead of me. when i saw the finish line i tried to look less like how i felt and with a huge smile on my face and quick glance at the clock i crossed the finish in 6:29.

i told T to be there by 3 o'clock, even though i wasn't overly confident about finishing within 6 hours. i didn't see them anywhere and i kinda just walked around for abit . i was done. no big wave of emotion, just happy to have done what i set out to do. i wonder if i had been greeted by a familiar face at the finish if i would of lost it, so maybe it was better i got to the finish on my own. i was able to cheer jolynn in and not long after that my peeps arrived with chocolate milk. M even made me crown, so sweet.

and so there you have it. my first marathon report. i did what i set out to do, not exactly how i envisioned it but i can live and learn from it. it was really great meeting jolynn and her friend, they made a long hard day fun and added a friendly element of competition that made me work harder. i do hope our paths find eachother again. they are my heroes too! i'm sorry i never found #551, randy i hope you had a good day!

i already had a mad crush on trail running when i set out to do this race. i'm totally smitten, head over heels in love now. i want to be that gal at mile 23 that say's "see ya!" i want to get better, i want work harder. also, i want to thank everyone who followed along and wished me well on this crazy trip. i have even more respect and admiration for you guy's now that i've towed line myself. but right now i want to clean up this house and get ready for a birthday party at home. life is so good.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I did it!

6:29 is the unofficial time. it was awesome hard and i totally want to do it again.
i'm too tired to report now, i'll share all the gory details tomorrow.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Training: A Look Back

training for my first marathon was obviously not going to be easy but with a few halfs ( 1 race, a few runs) i felt with proper base building and the right plan i could do it. i had almost a year to train really well.

i knew it had to be a trail race. so i got on-line a found Bizz Johnson. it boasted fast times on a mostly flat route and i impulsively registered giving very little thought to susanvilles change of elevation. after a few restless weeks i decided to cut-my lossess and look for another race, one closer to home for sure. damn, that lesson cost me 70 bucks. to be honest i was more focused on finding a race, not necessarily the right race for me that i didn't really appreciate what it was going to take to actually train for a trail marathon.

i don't think i've bitten off more than i can chew, it's just gonna take allot longer than i thought. i have to be okay with that otherwise why even show up tomorrow.


i 've had a few conversations this week with people regarding my race. it's funny the different perspectives there are. some folks are very numbers oriented, others ask if it's a charity race...and seem a little disappointed that it's not, and still others plain wonder: why?

i've wondered all those things at one time or other myself. i think i've come to the conclusion that there were allot of reasons but probably more than just finishing, i wanted to train and do well.

i scoured the internet. my initial plan was an intermediate one, at coolrunning and by week 10 i was burned out and skipping runs bouncing from plan to plan, making it up as i went. training well had become training hell.

in hind sight there was nothing wrong with just wanting to finish, and wouldn't training have been more enjoyable without the added pressure of an intense program? training at an intermediate level, given my personality and lifestyle was a bit of a mismatch. why not just begin with being a beginner?

still, it wasn't all bad. i had a solid base building period. and i FELL IN LOVE WITH TRAIL RUNNING, discovering this race route. all those training days on the race route, getting lost and finding my way. spring was the most amazing time for me as far as breakthroughs and pushing limits.

so many times in the midst of an especially gruelling session just as heat and fatigue threatened to take over a gentle breeze would lift my spirits and i swear whisper to me that i was exactly where i needed to be in that moment.

so much of the time i'm so far down the road. nowhere near "in the moment" training really keeps you there, in the moment. as galloway describes,"positive behaviors and internal connections", i was beginning to understand.

summer is when the training started to really lose momentum and i went into party mode for a month and then vacation mode for another month. then it was back-to-school mode, which for the past month has been HELL.

still, i'm not going into this thing totally unprepared.
under trained and wildly enthusiastic would be more accurate.

my longest run was 21 miles and i ran 2 other 20 milers. i had my share of sucky workouts too. i often thought , usually afterwards, that they maybe were some of the most valuable runs because they hurt or just sucked so bad but i kept going anyway. deposits in the mental training account, right? while on vacation in hawaii, i got 30 miles of heat and humidity training, the longest run at 12 miles,or was it 14?

i didn't mention it at the time, but while on vacation our car got broke into. the shithead(s) got my 2 month old just got it for my 44th birthday 1st designer bag ever! dooney & bourke purse, damn! cell phones, M's shuffle, double damn!!. but it was the realization that my GARMIN was gone that reduced me to tears. all that data, poof! i learned a little bit more about my values that day.

galloway run/walk method was put to practice right after vacation and i tweeked it quite allot before settling into my current plan of attack. we shall see.
walking early and often is the only way i'm gonna finish, my training was for shit as far a time goal goes, not to mention the lack of cross-training or mindful nutrition. still, 6 hours would be thrilling for me. it's kinda of embarrassing ...taking it back and settling on just finishing. i'm more competitive than i think i guess, at least with myself. i ran well but i didn't train well.

i'm planning on walking(most)all the tough hills up to the first 20 miles and i'm counting on all my hill training to kick in during the last 6 miles. at least that's the plan, we'll see how it plays out.

i have no regrets other than i wish i would of been more realistic in my choice of training plans. had i settled on a beginner's program from the start, i would've stuck to it and had fewer missed sessions and i would have skipped burn-out.

i WILL have a good day out there tomorrow. the best advice i've received tells me not to focus on time but to just have fun. the weather appears to be cooperating, their predicting highs in the 60's. it's been raining on and off today, hopefully it won't be a major factor tomorrow.

so that's a look back on the training that has got me to here.
nerves haven't kicked in yet. actually, i'm feeling relieved that it's finally going to happen. letting go of the training phase and looking towards embracing the race day experience. it's been months since i've run in an organized event. i'm looking forward to the "buzz" and meeting new folks.

oh, and how cool is it that my first marathon would be under the direction of ultrarunning's legendary anne trason? i had read an article about her a couple of years ago when i first started trail running, she was a triathlete for awhile and a local gal. i had heard of golden hills marathon but i hadn't put the two together until after i decided against bizz johnson and started looking for a race closer to home.

so that's it for now. it's gonna be a helluva ride!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Hump Day

last week, M witnessed a rather vicious school yard fight involving 5 girls. the fight apparently was over a boy. the end result was pretty ugly, and M was obviously shook up. just this morning on the early show there was a segment on Mean Girls...a girl fight in the bathroom was captured on video and shown on YOU TUBE. the intensity in which the girl attacked the other was disturbing...even more scary was the fact that the girls barely knew each other.

i remember being the new kid and being singled out by bullies. i have no fond memories of the 6th grade. luckily things did turn around and i was never a victim again, but i have strong sense memories of that kind of fear and i know it's causing me anguish beyond what it should now as i watch my girl struggle to find her place in middle school. she has a group she hangs out with at lunch, girls a grade up that she knew from her grammar school so it's good there, she has friends. she's just having trouble with a couple girls in her class.

kids in our school district come from all walks of life, you've got the privileged berkeley hill kids, the urban kids and then the middle of the road kids. M has had her first taste of snobbery. girls interrogating her about where she shops, if her parents are college educated, even questioned about how many levels her house is. for the first time she is experiencing social and class distinction and it's really doing a number on her confidence. we're hardly well off nor are we poor, we have a modest home in west berkeley, a desirable address but by no means lavish or stately.

M's 12th birthday is coming up and she doesn't want to have home party...i think she's embarrassed about our lack of stateliness to tell you the truth. i'm a little sad, we always had so much fun decorating and planning her parties at home. bleh! i think i'm just in mourning over the loss of my little girl and terrified of what lies ahead. ok, enough mama drama!

we got a bit moisture dumped on us last night and i could not be happier. the gunked up trail will help me keep to a slow start on saturday. only the first few miles is out in the open, much of the course is canopied so unless it gets really wet in the next few day's trail conditions should be ok. there is one slightly steep AND rocky section that could get treacherous, but i take my time on that section anyway. ok, off i go to bang out a little 4 miler before heading to work.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Because I'm the Mom

Dear M,

i will alway's feel guilty for the lack of sit down meals in our home

i will alway's have a pain in my heart for all my shortcomings and my lack patience

i will alway's want to beat the crap out of those snotty little bitches at school.

i will alway's want to protect you from the mean girls.

i will alway's worry about you, holding my breath that we'll get through this current "phase"

is there anything harder than being a parent? it's like holding a giant magnifying glass up to one's own flaws and imperfections.

i wish i felt more joy and less angst about parenting you right now. i wish i was the solid rock you need. i want so much to have the right advice, enough patience, the ability to stay neutral when every fiber of my being wants to scream. it's been a rough year and middle school hasn't exactly been a smooth transition.

i really need to get through this weekend and focus more on my parenting skills.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Last Long Run

i'm getting ready to go. i just wanted to capture a few of my thoughts before heading out for a twelve miler in tilden. i was looking at my galloway book last night and studying the walk break section. the 5 run 1 walk method seems smart i've played with variations and have found it helpful but i have to tweek it on my trails runs due to the hills. i have put in a good amount of hill training. i'd say overall this has been my strength. my plan is to apply the 5:1 method where i can and to walk most of the hills.

as i mentioned most of my training has been on hilly terrain, not always trail terrain but my neighborhood and that surrounding. as mia aptly put it "girlfriend has her work cut out for her" and work is what i'll do, but i'll also remember to take in all that is unique about this race.

it's my first marathon

it spans some of the loveliest trail systems in the bay area

while my training in the last couple of months lost some momentum, thus far i've accomplished what i set out to do. physically and mentally i'm ready to take on 26.2

i really have come a long way.


it was questionable whether or not i should of taken Brandy with me on this run. i decided to take her on account of all the walking i planned on doing. we got a late start and i decided to walk ALL hills. this meant very little actual running for the first 2 miles.

by the time we reached the first point vista on seaview i was feeling really fresh still. this walking tactic was paying off in huge dividends so far. i trotted down at a good clip and got to my next climb pretty quickly. more walking not to mention hydrating me and the dog. we'd already crossed two roads so far and i decided to cut the run a tad bit short(.5) to avoid having to re harness brandy to cross another road.

brandy would plop herself down in a shady spot from time to time or just lag behind which meant quite a bit of backtracking and running in place for me.

by the time we reached the home stretch she was really pooped and i just had to wait for her to get going this resulted in a looooooong almost 12 miler some 3 hrs plus.

she was toast by the end of the curran trail and layed prone with her nose buried in the water dish. eliciting lots of "oooh's tired pup!" and "poor baby" from passerby's. i think i pushed her too far but nothing a good nap and extra kibble won't fix.

so that's it for long training runs. now if i can just keep race day adreneline at bay and keep to my walking stratedgy i think i'll be alright. i don't really have any time goal for this race. if i could break 6 hours that would be alright by me, but i don't think that's in the cards. i didn't train for that but i have worked hard to get where i am and irregardless i've pushed through some tough barriers and am looking forward to a great day at the races.

Golden Hills Marathon
my bib# is 548

Sunday, September 30, 2007


last week started out so well and then M was home for 2 days sick and T was out of town and well my lazy ass just doesn't need much to go into sloth mode. i missed 2 runs and i had to work yesterday. today's 12 miler turned into a brick work-out instead: 10 trail miles plus 3 more on the mountain bike. riding was actually harder then running . i had to walk most of the steep stuff but what goes up must come down and i love me some fast downhill.

this bay area weather keeps me guessing as to what race day will be like. out on seaview today, this section is some of the most exposed part of the route and it was warm at 9 am. i used my camelbak and i think i'll be going with it and a handheld on race day. the handheld used to bother me because my hand got so slippery but a bandana wrapped around it helps.

soooooooooo, since i've been in taper mode since like july...i'm not even going to stress. my stratedgy is pretty simple.
take walk breaks early and often.
gels every 4 miles
drink a little allot
have fun...and don't break anything

when i'm feeling low and struggling i'll remember these pearls of wisdom i came across once in a race report..."fun doesn't have to be fun to be fun"

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

All is well

on sunday i met Mia and we scoped out on our bikes (illegally in some parts i might add)the last 6 miles of the course...actually the last 4, we didn't get as far due to time constraints. it is as beautiful and gruelling as the rest of the course.

today i got up extra early and had a really good run at Tilden. i added a coffee extract packet to my coffee before heading out, i picked it up at some race i volunteered at earlier in the year. i really got the engines going, and i know that i will NOT be using anything like that early in a run or race as it is really intended to revive the dead....i was too amped up and had to work hard at slowing down in the beginning.

i was committed to 6 miles but flirted with 8 in the back of mind. things were feeling really good still as i approached mile 6 but due to time constraints i opted to head towards Lake Anza rather than a 3rd lap that would've stretched it out to 9+ miles instead. everything about this run served to remind me that i am a trail runner.

this route has some pretty rugged sections, you really need to watch your footing or your liable to go flying face first . i tripped once but recovered without incident. i did get a tinge of guilt though for not spending enough time on trails. i ran into one of my triclub mates from last year, Carlo and we chatted for a bit, it was nice to see him again.

the signs of fall are here. i felt soooooo good out there this morning. the fire has been rekindled. i was telling Mia i was anxious for this race to be behind me. the amount of time and effort required to get ready for this race has been more daunting than i expected. both sundays excursion and today's run reminded me why i was drawn to this race. i feel alive and whole and free on the trail. i am strong and powerful and most of all happy.

i knew i would have to really hustle at work to make up for the time off this morning but it was worth it just for this feeling of renewal and excitement for my race.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

we'll see

it's a little past 6 am and i can hear the soft pelt of rain. i have choked down my oatmeal and am dressed. batteries are charged, new tunes added to my ipod. there shouldn't be any technical issues. we'll see.

i can't think too hard about the distance i'm about to cover, but i have to cover at least 22 miles. this will be my last long run and my last chance to find out what 26.2 feels like before race day. we'll see.

the rain is starting to pick-up and instead of dread i feel relief. rain is better than heat...but not too much. we'll see.

The Run.

i did a loopy loop at Tilden that resulted in 20 muddy trail miles in 5:05 hrs.

i've been overdue for a long trail run. most of my longer runs have been on flat roads. Tilden has a good balance of flat and hills. i started out at Lone Oak (the race start) the soft rain i mentioned earlier was just enough to turn the topsoil all sticky and the clay clumps made me feel like i was wearing wedgies. i found a small sturdy stick and held onto it so i could scrape off the shoe goo periodically.

the short but slow section was a blessing in disguise. it forced me to go out REAL SLOW.

taking walk breaks early and often has made it possible for me to work this course, otherwise it would chew me up and spit me out.

the mud wedgies eventually gave way to the paved surface and gravely side trails of Nimitz trail. the rain slowly began to build...causing me to eventually pull on my rain jacket...i was cold earlier and thought my long sleeves would be too warm under the rain gear. i'd rather be wet than hot. which meant that before putting on said jacket i had to pull off the long sleeve and that meant dicking around with everything in the pouring rain. blah

i have a bad habit of not zipping my pack after fishing out a Gu or whatever. it's how i lost my car key at Briones. well around mile 16 after first only noticing that my lip balm was gone, that i sort've remembered my phone being in the pack.....and then at mille 16 it wasn't.

it's times like these that i know i'll be the one with Alzheimer's. i just blank and can't remember shit like "did i or did i not have my phone?" i was rushed this morning when i got to the trail head i went to porta potty back to my car . i just got a new phone last week at wanted to see if i would get a signal. i did and after that i couldn't remember if i returned the phone to my pack or if i tossed it in my gym in the back of the car.

i had another 4 miles back to my car. the thought of retracing my steps was out of the question. oh yeah, did i mention i was kinda hurting at this point. in my haste this morning i forgot to throw advil in my pack. this run is sucking big time right about now. compounded further as i kicked my own ass over the next 4 miles not being able to remember WTF did with my phone.

there is a silver lining however. this long run is officially ending at 20 miles.because if the phone is not in my car i have to get home and deal that bullshit OR if it's by some small miracle in my car after all, i'm still not going any further because i'm hurting like hell . legs just too achy and heavy, not to mention just mentally wiped out.

on the way to the car a small flicker of hope crept in and i wondered if maybe someone would find it and do the right thing. however, this was no match for the dominant darker thought that it was gone. besides, i already used up that luck with catra on mission peak earlier this spring, when i dropped my phone on the trail and her friend found it. what's the chance of me getting that lucky twice? i then wondered if it had insurance and if i should go to the phone guy on solano myself and not even tell T...just to spare him from more of my scatterbrainess...all these thoughts whirling in my head those last few fucking miles. blah blah

so i could live with only 20 miles (that just sounds absurd) i was dead on tired, in pain and in a hurry...not that you could tell. my mind was racing but my legs were in death march mode. i could not stand it, i just wanted to get to car.

as i approached Little Farm, the car wasn't too far off and this was as it turned out to be a bad thing. i had to walk away today with at least 20:22-26.2 miles and by the time i reached the car it was only 19:25. aaaarg. i had to run past the car and loop again to cover 20 miles. geesh, talk about a being screwed with body,mind and spirit.

i rip off my pack the key is attached to the keyring. i learned that lesson the hardway, and unlocked then re-locked the door...goddammitsonofabit....i finally get it opened and tear through the everything to no avail. i start to hyperventilate and have to sit down.

this has been one sorry ass year for me as far a losing and having to replace stuff. after a couple of minutes my breathing slows and yell out at the top of lungs fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck!!!!!! now before you judge me too harshly over the outburst, like i said i've had some rotten luck and combined with my own stupidity and an early signs of dementia it ain't been easy or cheap being me!

driving home in dread as i have to tell T i've lost my brand new phone. he's never as mad as he could be he's always really good natured ...i just was mad at myself for being so careless...again. i pull up to the driveway and i sit for another minute before entering the house. i am greeted by M, who is telling me in a teasing tone, mommy lost her phone, mommy lost her phone....ihuh? then it dawns on me that someone has found the phone and called and is DOING THE RIGHT THING. corny as it sounds it just renewed my faith in humanity.

we played a little phone tag but then about an hour or so later I was standing on her doorway. part of the lesson today was intent on reminding me to slow down. first a guy answered the door then he went back inside and i waited on the porch for what seemed a long time before the gal that called came to the door, we chatted a few minutes and she was still holding my phone, 2 Gu's and my lip balm ...i actually reached out before she handed it over...not my most gracious moment for sure despite a profusion of thanks you's before during and after!

then it was off to the mall. if ever there was day that i did not feel like being on my feet at the mall it was today. but i promised M and because of my covert rendezvous with Mia WITHOUT OUR CHILDREN (we[re gonna check out the race finish and find that last 6 mile section from reverse on our bikes...woohoo! but then again the title of this post is "we'll see" right? not sure how peppy i'll be)i wasn't getting out of it.

after bra shopping and manicures, M shopped and i searched for the next place to sit. i was sitting on chair in the food court, a prime seat i would soon discover. it's across from Claire's very least favorite mall store, M takes forever in there. an elderly man asked me if i was leaving. "uh, no i just sat down" he then tells me this is his seat and he sits here everyday to people watch. he wasn't rude about it. i could just tell he really liked this particular seat so i just moved to the one across from him and we chatted about kids these day's, babies having babies, what a shame it is, kids with nothing to do roaming the malls....he seemed sweet enough and it was no big deal to move...ironic ...but no big deal. deferring to elders is a my life. at 6pm i dragged M out of 21 Forever and we headed home.

i figure 20 miles followed up with a trip to the mall, i put in the required time on my feet today. pardon the poor grammar it's late and i have to get up again in like 5 hours, oh gawd.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


the past couple of months have been ...for lack of a better term...surreal. you know i've got this little race coming up in less than a month and i really should be freaking out about the fact that i've been so lax but i'm not. if anything i've become less interested.

bella commented on yesterday's post and i think she totally nailed the cause of my malaise: lack of cross training. i think as much i like running i burned my self out early on during base training. for awhile i swimming then that grew problematic logistically and i've really only ran all summer.

nevertheless, i'm looking forward to see what day will bring. i will LOVE being out there. eastbay regional trail offers some of the finest trail running in the state and while i may not be in top form i'm ready to give it shot and just enjoy putting in a good effort.

hopefully i'll get a chance to meet olga, she has been such an inspiration to me. she is the very essence of perseverance.

i'm just gonna do my best and have fun out there. it's liberating not to be stressing too much. though i still need to check out the last 6 miles of the route and there is a little fear now that i've been stung the last 2 times along the huckleberry section.

oh well come what may. it's definitely going to be an interesting not to mention long ass day!

Monday, September 17, 2007

4 weeks to go

i had my share of technical difficulties this week. plagued by malfunctions and dead batteries i grew agitated and impatient allot during training. even this computer has gotten on my last nerve.

ok it's not a serious issue when you compare it to REAL problems but still i have had to really dig deep not to abandon training and blogging about it all together. i wake up every morning with a stiff back. stretching and light running seems to help but i haven't really pushed myself since last sunday. with a handful full of easy runs and my last long run (26) this week this will be the last really tough week.

4 weeks to go

Saturday, September 15, 2007

this little light of mine

for me the hardest part about training is well training. as you know training is not the same as running. i've never been a hardcore athlete. not even in the midst of my hardest workouts did i ever love it. i know some people really like being in the zone, pushing their limits and leaving it all out on the course. i on the otherhand am more of the mindset: let's-see-how-little-training-i-can-get-away-with-and-still-do-this-thing.

i've been thinking allot about what kind of runner i am. i register for races to motivate myself to get the runs in but i'm not a "racer" per se. it helps to have something on the calendar to keep active. when i find it hard reconciling the different aspects of life training tends to take the back seat however not so with running. i'm quite content to substitute a training run with a shorter neighborhood run. any guilt i might have about it is easily soothed by the fact that something is better than nothing and i have taken the adage "do not be slave to the schedule" to heart.

does this make me lazy or uncommitted. a little i suppose, but i do like to run. i am totally converted . and while i may not dabble or be interested in some of it's deeper doctrine i have a testimony of it's power. i know i am happier when i stay active. i know i'm less so when i get off track. i am content with this little light of mine.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


i reached for a long sleeve shirt today...and my 3/4 length tights. i haven't needed them in awhile. the cool morning lent itself well to a little fartlek. it's by far my favorite form of speed work, totally suited for my preference of loose structure.

last week whilst showing off my handiwork to my sister-in-law i managed to strain my back...the right didn't interfere with running and seemed to calm down after a few days of ice and heat and motrin.

i re-aggravated it yesterday pulling out portable oxygen tanks at work...twisting and lifting, very bad body mechanics!!!!...i had to pull over with an ice pack for a bit before resuming work. i seem to have a knack for non-athletic injuries. my short run this morning didn't seem phased by it luckily, it actually felt better afterwards did the hot shower...shoulda followed that with ice...hmmm.

i'm loving this weather right now...if this can just hold out until after my race i may actually have decent time (for me) out there:) i still haven't checked out the last 6 miles of the course. i want to get out there this weekend.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

piecing it all together

training is going well. i had to switch things around here and there but for the most part i'm feeling pretty good about things. i started things off easy with a pre-work 5 miler on monday. i had a great run on wednesday, a double scoop of Strawberry Canyon, for a total of 14+ hilly miles in 3:26. yesterday i got about 16 seconds into my run when the garmins battery died. it must've got knocked off the charger while M was rocking out to Rhianna's "Breaking Dishes" on itunes.

i was unenthusiastic about a 20 miler to begin with and when the battery died i immediately started coming up with excuses to shorten my run. i know better than to decide too early how far i'm going to go...especially when i'm feeling lazy. i gave myself permission to "see what happens".

i found my groove somewhere between miles 4 and 5 and passed through the cattle gate at the end of Nimitz and continued on towards san pablo ridge then wildcat canyon. this eventually looped back top my car . i know this route well and it's 11 miles. i finished in 2:46.

this morning the weather was PERFECTION. i slept well but still had a hard time mustering up much enthusiasm for that overdue 20 miler. with my cup o'courage in one hand i jumped on the internet for blogspiration. i am remiss to omit the blog credit here but sara of hooked on trails and jack of running with jack both gave me a good dose of "get your ass out there and get in done" like sara my marathon is mere weeks away and like jack i didn't care how fast i was going i just needed to get twenty miles in.

i refuelled every 4 miles and felt pretty good the whole time. by mile 16 i was looking 3:26 it suddenly dawned on me that i was well under 5 hours i had given myself for this run. i pulled off 20 miles in 4:13. yeah, i know road miles are faster than trail miles but still it was a boost to my confidence for sure and a major deposit in the golden hills account. boo ya!

on the quilting front i am super happy with how M's quilt is coming along. over the labor day weekend i finished the quilt top and have it sandwiched. my fingers are still a little tender from all the pinning involved as this is by far the biggest project i've ever tackled. i know i know, pictures would be nice. i still need to get the cd rom looked at but i'm so disgusted with this computer i'm secretly holding out for a notebook....i

description: mostly flat paved urban trail, sandy along bayside section,
not allot of traffic

the route: BART trail to richmond
richmond to home
home to ceaser chavez park,
ceasar chavez(1 loop)to bayside trail
bayside trail to chevy's
chevy's to home


Saturday, September 01, 2007

Un-Labor Day Weekend

a minute or two ago i was contemplating attending the 9 am Pilates class at the Y....i'm now sitting here eating eggs and spam ...clearly Hawaii continues to wreak havoc on my "training".

truth be told i actually logged 30 plus miles during the trip. being a runner adds so much to travel. most of the my personal highlights of the trip were spent exploring red dirt roads and black lava rock coasts. pictures are forthcoming as soon as i can figure out why the cd-rom is jacked up...again.

T and M are off to Nevada for the weekend and i have the whole house and most importantly the remote to myself...

long run on the schedule tommorow

Sunday, August 05, 2007

A Really Long Run

Firstly. big shout out to Mia and guy's rock and we had the BEST time yesterday at Marine World. Oh, and let it be known that Mia is Cut-Throat on the Go Cart race track. we heart you guy's!

i've had one solid track session and several decent runs since my last post. i did everything right...mind you that's not the same as fast but i was happy and felt much more positive afterwards.

i'm starting to get back into the groove with my running. i stammered and struggled to explain to mia yesterday where my heads been with running lately. i've been a bit lax...for the last oh, month and really swamped by my life and my tendency to compare myself with people ... people typically way out of my league.

i got to bed so late last night and i was really dreading my long run today but i knew there was no getting out of it especially after blowing off yesterday's 6 miler.

it was kinda weird getting ready this's been so long since i ran on trails that i couldn't find my Montrails, it took me awhile to remember where they were. the schedule called for 9 miles plus the 6 i missed yesterday but secretly, i had another distance in mind and one look outside at the cool grey weather i knew today i just might hit 20 miles.

i decided to run my race route. i tried running a mile then walking but got annoyed as it would have me running hills and walking flats so i improvised. i had a plan and i was determined to get to Redwood with enough gas in the tank to get back.

i haven't been out here in awhile and i even got off course following some girl we both realized we got off track( it was really foggy up on the ridge) and backtracked up to the main trail about a 1/4 mile. we chatted briefly, i got the impression she preferred her own company...just as well she was moving faster than i was, running all the hills. i felt that twinge to try to keep up but i kept to my plan.

as i entered Huckleberry Botanical Preserve i remembered that this was were i got stung by that mean fly lastime. well i was a little freaked when i got to the narrow single track and had to brush up against allot of foliage, it was then i felt a sharp my left quad. was it the stinging nettle that flanked both sides of the narrow trail or was it a bite? i didn't stick around to investigate and got the hell out of there fast. looking at my thigh now there does appear to be a small bite of some kind but it's a minor annoyance compared to the BEE STING i acquired later on down the path.

no shit, i arrive at Redwood all happy and pumped up about my progress so far when while farting around with my pack i feel another sharp sensation on the back of my neck...high up on the hair line. luckily i had my gloves on and i was able to pull the little fucker out of my hair without actually having to touch it. i then removed my gloves to pull out the stinger. that's when i made the decision to deviate from the route and i ran on Skyline until i got to Sibley again.

so a combination of good weather and strategic planning (wink wink) and some 5 hours and 21 minutes later this gal rocked her first 20 miler (20.70 for the record)

i think things are starting to turn around. woohoo!!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Taking a Break

i'm seriously beginning to question the wisdom of planning a vacation at the height of my "training"...if you could even call it that these days. i've been working fact going in today for a few hours to help pay for this trip and it's leaving precious little time for much is suffering.

i'm also questioning the helpfulness of this blog. in fact it's become more a source of irritation than inspiration. i find the act of writing to be helpful when sorting out my thoughts that hasn't changed. i just don't know if i need to do it here.

it's no coincidence that as my training started to stall so did my enthusiasm for blogging.

a training buddy would be helpful but apparently it's just not in the cards for me.
maybe my expectations are too high. maybe i have some serious social flaws that i am oblivious of. maybe i have bad breath. beats the hell out of me but i'm just so over trying to connect with people who can't commit. so sick of doing all the work.

if i sound a little bitter...i am.

so i will be taking a break for awhile. try to regain some of my training momentum and get through the next couple of weeks of working overtime with the Kona Coast as my inspiration.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I'm in transition

i'm a little stiff from yesterday's misguided track work-out. seems i need glasses. the (8) 100 meter "sprints" in reality should've of been "strides" followed up by 200 t0 400 meter intervals at my 5k race pace (ideally 9 mm)....

oh well, i got a little taste of the's been awhile....despite my moaning and groaning about it...there is something about the track that makes your training more legit. it definitely get's you out of your comfort zone...and misguided as it was yesterday's effort wasn't a total bust...i've got a taste for it now. there is definitely a methodology to it.

i hit the books lastnight (runners world book of running for women) and it was a good touchstone for reality...i tend to be impulsive with my speedwork...too much too infrequently...if i approached runnning that way i'd still be wondering why running never sticks.

making the transition from mindless recreational runner to becoming more concentrated on what i'm doing will take patience and time...i'm not as far along as i "ought" to be but hell, i'm basically a self-taught runner. as with quilting, mostly self experienced family member to guide me...i'm a trial and error kin've learner and while it may (usually does) take me longer the satisfaction of learning and finishing is just as profound.

my trainig has been far from stellar, i've lacked serious focus and have mostly focused on endurance rather than speed...which is fine as i have no illusions of "racing" in october. i understand the need for track work at race pace as it pertains to shorter races, i'm not so sure how it relates to a trail marathon, the the terrain is so much more erratic.

i'm curious how much time trail runners spend on speedwork.