Sunday, February 25, 2007

Storms and other barriers

bad moods can wreak havoc on training.

an emotionally draining phone call from a distraught relative.

hustling a less-than-cooperative child out the door.

other things like foul weather, or plain old laziness can pose a barrier too.

i can usually work through the weather and the laziness...but the mental hurdles are the real training threats.

i find it most difficult to get out the door when i'm in a bad mood. my whole attitude is completely in the crapper and i am too irritated to focus on running.

most people don't get this, for me the anger is physically draining and i shut down and i usually

a) want to hash out the problem or
b) be left the fuck alone.

completely contradictory, i know.

that said, it would be reasonable to assume that i'd want to go for run, blow some steam off, right? not! i'm not really sure why, but the minute i've "lost it" all of my concentration and focus is tuned inward. i feel trapped in myself and negative thoughts lead to inactivity.

the anger management classess were helpful in reminding me that the anger comes in waves and if one can be STILL long enough to ride it out , eventually it passess.

being still in the mind is fine but perhaps i need to reconsider it on the physical level...

it's as though some degree of harmony with my surroundings, my relationships, my world is required for me to FEEL ready and able to care for myself.....which is really not that out there....when you think about it.

despite the current stormy weather i'm lacing up and heading out soon....but this mental hurdle of mine has cropped up too many times ....not just with running....with just about any good pursuit. it has me thinking what has my anger cost me?

running in bad weather is damn near easy compared to taking on a black mood....riding out the storm is all i can do. i keep thinking if i do so long enough i'll be able to break through the real barriers.

Saturday, February 24, 2007


being productive ranks high on my list. today i cleaned the kitchen, loaded the dishwasher, did 2 loads of laundry ,grocery shopped and ran 5 miles...with Brandy all before 10 o'clock.

M is still snoozing, seems she is her father's daughter...stayed up late doing art and wants to sleep till???

my grandma T has been put on hospice and is home now. multiple health issues have taken there toll and she's essentially riding it out. my mom and other family members are convinced "it'll be anyday now" and are already discussing arrangements...almost to a morbid detail...what she'll wear at her burial, where the reception will be...i know these things need to be worked out and that it's about what's best for grandma...still it just feels premature. hospice doesn't necessarily indicate 2 weeks till the end. at work i see lot's of patients on "comfort care " or hospice...that thrive beyond the doctors expectations.

i need to go see her's been 3 weeks since i saw her in the hospital seeing her will be a reality check i suppose.

i have a jar of brandy in my cupboard, see grandma T was sure to bring her own hooch wherever she went...not one to risk the chance that her brand would be unavailable. the hooch is contained in a 10 oz GOYA Spanish Capers jar, mostly full. she even took care to seal the opening with a torn piece of plastic so it wouldn't leak. it's been in my cupboard for nearly 4 years when she came for Easter. we had just bought our house and had BOTH sides of family come for the holiday.
i remember she was so happy for us and proud that her grandaughter had done so well for herself.

i feel good from the run but a little sad as i prepare to see grandma T.
change is inevitable, this i know so well. M is starting to stir. time to shift gears.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Change of Plans

so it would appear that i was a tad bit hasty when deciding on the venue for my first marathon. Bizz Johnson sounds like a fantastic race but i'm feeling anxious about the altitude....not to mention logistics. given how stressed out i can get just travelling a few miles from home, i don't think i'm ready to take it on the road yet.

my research on the altitude has been confusing at best. my only experience with running in altitude was a couple of years back when i was visiting up in garderville, nv. hiking around up there never phased me but 10 minutes on the treadmill was surprisingly hard.

a marathon is a BIG DEAL, especially my first. i think it's ok to cut bizz johnson loose and am now looking at another local trail race to be my first. the golden hills trail marathon is held oct. 13 right in my own backyard and makes way more sense.

i was really excited about the bizz johnson, i just hadn't thoroughly considered all the details...being somewhat impulsive. the last few nights i have tossed and turned not at the prospect of covering 26.2 miles but of bonking at altitude. i was too quick to register for the bizz johnson and will lose the $70.00 fee but in the end i would've spent even more on travel and accomodations.

oh well live and learn.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Sequoia 20K Trail Race Report

as i left my house this morning alone (T and M didn't come this time) the sun was bright and there wasn't much of a chill in the air...the kind you expect at 7:30 in the morning. i started to worry a little...but since my flat 9 mile road run in the midafternoon on weds didn't kill me i was reasonably optimistic that i could handle the elements today.

i've been to Joaquin Miller Park many times....just not in awhile and i missed my exit. at least i gave myself extra time to get there. luckily that was the last time i got lost today. i left two things behind. my sunglasses and the garmin...

i charged the garmin along with the ipod the night before, it was ready to go.
i think it was when i remembered i had to gas up before heading to oakland that i got hurried. plus spending too long looking for my sunglasses before settling on a lesser pair. as it turned out i never even needed sunglasses since the trail was mostly covered. i paid extra attention to my solid pink and striped flags and didn't veer off course once. i just wished i had the garmin to gauge the miles....12 hilly, windy, trail miles is very disorienting.

i was adequately warmed up by the time i walked from my car up what would be the first of many hills that dropped down into a cool pocket in the valley where the registration area and start line was. the sun filtered through the tall pines and you could see people huddled in bands of light on the grass to keep warm.

i arrived a little after 8:00 am, grabbed my bib, hit the porta john than stashed my bag before finding a place to loosen up and stretch. i had plenty of time and mossied up when the 20ks were called to the starting line at 8:45 am.

in usual pctr fashion it wasn't long before the first monster hill showed up.
i walked. i walked ALOT. though technically, it was more like hiking. a heart rate monitor may be next on the gadget list. in the end, walking proved to be a good stratedgy and helped me shave 3 minutes off my last pctr 20k time.

the weather has been good all week and the sun was able to dry the trail up , other than one or two mushy parts it was pretty dry. one fellow runner commented on liking more mud. i prefer the drier conditions, as they make for faster funner not too mention safer descents.

pctr event's welcome both runners and hikers. there designed to be less competitive, and are more directed at personal achievement. the trails are as challenging as they are beautiful, and offer a variety of terrain and technical stuff. sequoia was no exception. it had it all. steep rocky rooty descents, merciless climbs...that willed your ass to walk before you even got to the foot of it, well groomed single track, nice wide flat duff covered trail that snaked it's way through the canopied forest.

the downhill portions were knarly. i LOVE fast descents. you can't hesitate on the steep downhills. i just go (as much as i can) with gravity's pull, eyes fixed on the terrain ahead searching for the next footplacing. eventually the fast descent slows to a slow jog or shuffle and i try to hold steady until i see the beginning of another hill before starting to walk again. with 1.7 miles to go after the last aide station. the final stretch was an awesome narrow and fast, it flattened out as i approached the last 400 yards or so. the final descent did me in and i half walked and ran the rest of the way for a semi-strong finish.

my time was 2:35:??...i pr'd a whole 3 minutes! not bad for a last minute decision to jump into a pctr event...which if i do say so myself is kinda a middle aged wannabe trail diva kind of way.

oh and i save the best for last . today i got meet a real trail diva known in blogland as Catra the DIRT DIVA. she was just as sweet as i imagined she would be. i spotted her at the first aide station..she was working the race. we hugged and chatted for just a brief moment...but i know our paths are gonna cross again soon...

while i didn't miss the hassle of getting M out the door this morning, i did miss not seeing she and T at the finsh line. i didn't stay around very long afterwards, i even left before collecting my t-shirt...needed to get home so T could work for a bit. after i showered M and i headed out to lunch then to the mall for peddy/mannys and a little retail therapy. i found out a pedicure after a 12 mile run isn't such a good idea. i was mostly looking forward to a foot and leg massage plus i have 2 grayish toenails. there all pretty now though. i was wiggling and making a major spectacle of myself as the pedicurist attempted to exfolliate my tender feet much to the delight of M...until it was her turn.

Friday, February 16, 2007

PCTR Seqouia 20K

At the last minute yesterday I registered for this race being held tomorrow at Joaquin Miller Park, one of my most favorite places to run locally.
no plans to PR this one, I haven't trained on hills or trails in awhile but i have free entrance for volunteering for PCTR so it makes sense to get my hill workout in a beautifully supported event like this. plus i have access to a few hundred ultra runners and i'm sure a few my have some tips or advice regarding my altitude questions for Bizz Johnson

have a great weekend all!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Hello Lover

anyone will tell you i run for the buzz. the buzz, other terms of endearment include runner's high, the rush and so on. the buzz doesn't show up with a box of candy and flowers everytime either. it's elusive and makes me work for it .

just like a good lover when it does decide to show up your mighty glad it did. today my "lover" brought candy, roses and did this thing that had me grinining ear to ear. it was infectious too, every person i came upon was smiling back at me as i rambled along the marina trail.

Happy Valentines Day, make someone smile.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Starting Over and Other News

went to the track today and started over with speed work. i'm straining to remember the apparent enthusiasm i had for it when speaking with mia awhile back.


i jogged 2 miles to warm up and then headed over to the track around foootball was too soggy in i switched over to the blacktop's shorter track. the 3rd lane all the way around was approximately .17 miles

there was a couple playing basketball and they had their vehicle parked across the "track" so i would (gratefully) slow down when i got to that part. i don't know if what i did was technically speedwork but any pace that leaves me gasping for air is speedwork in my book.

i kept altering the pace and the distance either running a full loop at 7-8 min pace then walking a full loop...sometimes i'd run half a loop then walk until i caught my breath before running again. it was all pretty random but a good workout. i was too pooped to jog the whole mile and half home!

i signed up for a race in Oct '07.

a BIG one

and it's far away.

i'm sure the magnitude of this decision has yet to set in but i have plenty of time to prepare.

any suggestions on how a bay area resident and first time marathoner should go about training for the Bizz Johnson Trail Marathon in Susanville, CA with an elevation factor of 4200 feet?

Monday, February 05, 2007

San Francisco Half Marathon Report

As we entered the Panhandle I noticed lots of runners walking towards the park. I had T and M let me out a few blocks along and I walked up to a guy wearing a bib who later I learned was from New England...and asked him if I could walk to the start with him as I wasn't quite sure where it was. The chill in the air and the orange sunrise made me glad I layered clothing appropriately. We walked briskly towards the starting line.

Once we were in the registration area we bid our farewells and I headed towards the sweat check area and then to the porta-john line. I was still in line at the start of the race. 5 or so mins after the official start i jockeyed for position among the masses.

The race started at stowe lake and looped around the Panhandle then back through golden gate park. mile 9 is where we left golden gate park and where the great highway began. the surf on my right was visible through spaced out partitions but i was more aware of the wave of bodies in front of me. this section was rather tedious and seemed to just go and go and go.....every once in awhile a surfer would scoot across our path to get to the beach.

i stopped to pull off my long sleeved shirt ...instead of wearing 2 sports bras i wore one plus a tank top with a bra built in. this turned out to be just the right amount of layering. because of my change of clothing T didn't see me right away...he was looking for a long blue sleeved shirt...not a white tank top, but M saw me and T says he got pictures of me crossing the finish line. if i ever get around to removing the jammed cd in the tray i might start posting pictures again.

miles 10 to the finish are a bit of a blur. i knew i had reserves still just wasn't sure how long they would last.

the finish shoot was a first for me and i was startled when the runner in front of me stopped abruptly while the race volunteers collected the bottom half of his bib number. even as i watched this taking place it didn't occur to me to stop and they had to call out to me...i was concentrating more on not puking...having pushed running faster than i was fit too many times this race... i left it all out there.

2:27:00 official
2:22:00 garmin

13 miles is a good stretch for me still. this is a good distance to continue to train for. i like the idea of a marathon in the fall...but this race was a reminder to respect the distance and train properly.

I'm ready for spring and cross training.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Pre-race S.F.Half Marathon

The alarmed sounded off at 5am. I leaped out of bed to get the coffee going. I can hear M stirring in her room and T is out like a light. I like to savour this pre-race alone time.

Today is just another long slow Sunday favorite kind.....except I'll just have alot more company.

M was cute lastnight as she cautioned me not to let the other runners force me to run too fast. I love that she knows that. I love that she's proud of her mama. I love that T is willing to haul me into the city at 6:30 am giving up several precious hours of sleep to support me.

I love that Mia loaned me her Garmin......knowing that I have a way of tracking my distance puts me at ease.....I'll be thinking of you running the same course when you were pregnant with Scotty getting choked up at the KP wellness messages......girl I get choked up too and I'm not even pregnant.

I have come a long way since my first 5k race. That little race taught me so much and I have been learning ever since. I will run my own race, I will be strong and when fatigue or pain sets in I will remember I've been there before and I will succeed.

13.1 here I come.