Friday, March 30, 2007


it's weird.

last week in the midst of everything i was able to stick to my schedule.
this past week has been a struggle.
i guess lastweek running was a matter of stress relief...this week i just feel DRAINED.
taking care of my mom, dodging a few family dramas and dealing with the pain in my neck that's been going on for a month ...i guess it's catching up with me.

on wednesday i had a most unsatisfactory sweet husband got me a gift cert at a sports rehab clinic in oakland. upon entering the place the wall was riddled with KONA triparaphanalia....a good sign...that these folks worked with athletes....or so one would think. sitting in the waiting room i filled 4 forms explaining history and current level of activity. i waited for my cmt. after waiting a few minutes, she arrived and i watched as she greeted every other client asking them if they were me. i finally had to introduce myself.
her appearance was not congruent with a studio that worked with athletes. overweight, and a bit too hippy dippy for my taste. i know that sounds so mean...i know image isn't everything but we sought this clinic for a very specific outcome.

cmt's like her are a dime a dozen where i live...often skilled but in a different way...more "energy focused" and less knowledgable of the mechanics of running. so i gave her a very detailed account of my specifics and hopped up on the table. the only time she touched my legs...was at the very beginning ...through the sheet...just to say "hello". the next 90 minutes was spent on my neck and shoulders....and she never really "dug in" i could feel her get close to a trigger point occasionally but she never lingered. it was the most annoying 90 minutes of my life!
i kept hoping things would get better...but they never did. let me just say i HATE having to guide a massage therapist once i'm on the table. i provide very detailed specifics emphasizing areas that need extra attention....once i'm on the table i don't want to have to give further direction. while i emphasized the pain in my neck i never occured to me that she would devote the entire seesion to it.
my neck still hurts and it's really putting a damper on the mornings. i slept with an icepack lastnight and it seemed to take the edge off.
T and M take off Sunday for their annual daddy/daughter spring fling to Gardnerville, NV. they come back on thursday and M and I will finish off her break.

i'll be hosting Easter this year so i'll be busy cleaning my house but will get some good early workouts in .

Play Date anyone?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Dance Sister Dance

Grandma's send off was beautiful. she always had a way of bringing people together and this time was no different.

in the midst of everything this week i still managed to get in most of my runs. yesterday i spent a couple hours in Redwood getting to know it's trail system better. i wanted to get in somewhere between 8 to 13 miles. not knowing where or how hard the trails would be i would rely on the garmin and keep an open mind.

i'm not the most methodical trail runner and find maps to be unnecessarily confusing. i prefer to keep things simple, use sticks and stones to mark the path and take a few mental notes along the way. my observation skills seem to be keener on the trail....though, i lose my car keys every other day, go figure! later, i refer to the map and it seems to make more sense this way. in the neuro-re-education field this type of learning is known as "backward chaining" basically remembering things backwards.

i usually stick to the main trails in this park but i was feeling adventurous and wanted to get more familiar with the more technical trails. i started out on West Ridge. this was mostly flat for the first 3 miles then it was a steady 1 mile drop towards Stream Trail than onto Bridle Trail. it was at this point i lost the garmin signal. i had a vague sense of familiarity, i recognized random points from the PCTR 20K last brightly colored tape to guide my way this time though.

i wasn't sure where i was going but i knew where i came from and could easily find my way back. i followed Bridle to French until i was able to pick up a signal on the garmin, 5.55 miles. deep in the canyon, i knew i had enough daylight and energy to get back the way i came if i had to, but i wanted to see where this trail would lead. i made mental notes of a few off shoot trails that i noticed earlier on West Ridge ...this came in handy later...when French Trail turned into a monster climb....which wouldn't of been bad, i just wasn't sure where it led. i decided at that point to double back and take Madrone, a steep rocky climb back to West Ridge.

the first time on a new trail is always a bit jerky. no fluid movements, lots of stopping, checking and looking down at my feet. it's kinda like dancing. as i make my way through, i'm a little anxious, not sure where the path will take me next but countering this uncertainty is a sense of wonder and peace and an occasional glimpse of the dancer in me.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

La Borinqua

After my run Sunday I headed over to grandma's. i sat in the car for a bit before going in. as i approached the house i could see my family milling about. i was greeted by uncle pete, who said "hi, honey. go on it's okay, she looks like she's sleeping". the hospice nurse and priest had already come and gone and grandma looked like she did on many a visit, sleeping peacfully.

grandma tillie was no ordinary grandma, she was the ultimate party girl. she loved good food, music, family and friends. she was certainly a lady ahead of her time. she retired after 30 years with Greyhound in reservations and she was the first female president of the Puerto Rican Club in San Francisco. her legacy includes 7 children, 17 grandchildren, 27 great grandchildren and 11 great great grandchildren...and still counting.

grandma had her share of pain and not being able to dance or cook or care for herself took it's toll. she instilled in us a love our Puerto Rican culture and she wanted us to enjoy those things for her by having lots of family, music and food around. which we did for the last 3 weeks she was home.

the funeral is this afternoon. afterwards there will be one big party at the Puerto Rican Club as she requested. she loved life and made it very clear that we were not to stay down.

as i approach the final leg of this trip i am not so much sad as i am so proud to of had this woman in my life. despite being only one many many grandchildren, grandma had a way of making me feel special. she will be missed but never forgotten. every time i try to cook gondule rice or empanadia's every time i dance salsa or hear hawaiian music i know my love for these things came from her.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Call

I heard the phone ring at 7 am this morning. initially i though it might be my friend tracey calling to join me for a run this morning. she and her friend kelly and i went for a decent bike ride yesterday first ride of the year! tracey's entered in Wildflower which is a mere 7 weeks away....and she hasn't done any brick's yet....a single mom juggling job and the kid...she's an endurance athlete everyday.

over green hefeweizen we talked about going down to the event site in a few weeks and doing a big brick. i haven't trained like that in awhile...but i'm not signed up for Wildflower either, but i offered my support and told her i'd do a few smaller bricks to help her along.

as i layed in bed i heard the call go into voicemail. i rolled over to assess the situation. i was sure to drink tons of water after drinking 2 big ass beers. there were a few tough climbs during the ride, but the legs felt good no new sorness to speak of. i felt good. and then i didn't . i realized in that instant that it wasn't kelly calling but most likely my mom with news of grandma. i rolled out of bed used the bathroom and put on a pot of coffee before checking my voicemail. and sure enough, grandma had passed away only moments earlier at home with my mom, aunt and 2 younger cousins by her side.

i spoke to my mom briefly and she said alot family was around yesterday and grandma listened to her hawaiian music and seemed content. i had my one on one time with her 2 weeks ago without a housefull of people. i was able to tend to some basic needs get her up in her wheelchair and eat a little lunch. i know we connected and for that i am grateful.

i don't feel compelled to rush over there just yet. a few relatives are headed over to spend some time with her before she's taken away but i don't want to see her like that. she's already gone and all that left is tired broken body. grandma and i had our time together and i want to hold onto that for awhile longer.

i'm going to go for that run now.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Base Training

The training is going well. for the next 5 weeks the schedule should go like this:

mon off
tues 4 mi
weds 6 mi
thurs 4 mi
fri 6 mi
sat 3 mi
sun 8 mi

this may not look too challenging but consecutive days running and sequencing could be tricky. i'm tempted to switch fri and sat, so we'll see.
took brandy along yesterday to Lone Tree in Tilden. this is where my marathon will begin. i needed to run 6 miles and that turned out to be 2 and a third hilly loops. i'm not fast but that's not the objective at this point. getting out there more frequently, keeping to the program and getting a good base before starting the actual marathon program is.

in the past i've managed to get by on little training for certain events...often i've gone into an event feeling undertrained. my goal for this race thus far is to train well. to invest in the program and really give 100%. short of a major life altering event or natural calamity i have a solid opportunity here to really step up to the plate and make this happen. i'm not overextended and things are relatively "normal" around the homefront.

spring is in the air and it's got me feeling renewed and excited about all the possibilities.

Saturday, March 10, 2007


Body Image

i've been struggling with this lately. for the most part i'm pretty aloof with how i look. my job doesn't require that i pay too much attention to fashion or image. my sport while initially spawned by desires of weight loss has evolved into a love of the activity and i tend to focus more on how i feel and how i perform and not so much on how i look when i'm doing it. still, every once in awhile my lofty thoughts drift down to my thighs and buttocks and i cringe over their hugeness.

training alone, i was never self-conscious. i didn't worry about keeping up or looking good. i need to be careful to not let the opportunity to train with others distract me.

when looking at that photo of catra and i on her blog, the thing i noticed first wasn't the amazing green lichen on the summit, nor the beautiful view of misty mountains in the background......but my huge hips, thighs and lack of rack!

when i get like this i immediately consider drastic measures. knowing all the while that any impulsive decisions are unlikely to stick and lead to nonconstructive becoming a vegan ultra runner is not the answer at this time.

it took me a long time to build my running endurance. while weight loss was a motivator, BEING able to run beyond 10 weeks was the bigger picture and i vowed to take the seriously slow steps necessary to ensure that my desire to run would lead to lifetime love affair and not another 10 week fling.

i'm in a pretty good place and hopefully this "distraction" can be seen for what it really is, a shadow of that short, stocky insecure girl that compares herself only to the tallest, the skinniest, the fastest.......funny how that goes.

i just want to eat whatever i want. i don't want to count, measure or plan my meals. fine, but i don't want to live with fat thighs either. a bit of a conundrum you see.

keeping it simple seems like a good place to start. i know i can't just eat whatever i want. i know i need to introduce some structure into my diet. i know it's got to be gradual if it's going to stick.

i've tried various "plans" and they've always ended up badly. they required too much of my limited attention span. not to mention usually lacking in taste or satisfaction. things would be alot easier if i didn't LOVE food that's for sure.
when confronted with the need to change. i have had some success with implementing small ones. the switch from low-fat to non-fat milk. seems small, but one i didn't think i'd ever tolerate. same with low-fat mayo and cheese. i've even flirted with soy products.

i think an important factor in revamping the diet would be to focus less on weight loss and more on performance. sure thinner thighs will look better but they'll make me faster too. problem is being faster is not what motivates me. feeling better, performing better(which isn't the same as being faster) does motivate me. nutritional information is pretty god damned boring, not to mention contradictory and ever changing but when i can put it in the context of "when i eat this, it helps me do this better...."it becomes more meaningful.

so i have an inkling of what might motivate me to change.

okay, enough writhing in agony. time to make some educated choices. time to refocus and see the big picture and stop being so distracted.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

mission peak

met up with Catra this morning and we hiked to the summit of Mission Peak, aporrox. 3 plus miles up and than ran down. afterwards we went to REI where i used my dividends dollars to buy a new bigger waist hydro pak....cuz i'm gonna need more room for nutrition on the upcoming 20 milers!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

1st Time Marathon Advice Needed (please)

so i've found my race. i have a plan. now what? i'm approximately 30 weeks out from my race. i found a 20 week intermediate (the beginners seemed too easy...) training plan at cool running. what do i do for the next 10 weeks? i've been running approx. 15-20 miles a week for the past month, long runs 7-13 mile range. am i correct in presuming i'm fit enough for the intermediate plan or should i back off?

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Trials on the trail

yesterday i asked M if she wanted to go for a bike ride and well let's just say she was less-than-enthusiastic. rather than bicker and cojole. i dropped it and proceeded to get dressed for a run instead. T was expected back soon and i could than go for a short BART trail run.

as i proceeded to get ready M announced that she would go for a ride. wanting to run now, i convinced her to ride her bike as i ran with Brandy in tow. after i hauled her bike out of the tent in the yard, i spent the next several minutes looking for Brandy's leash...only to be further delayed when Brandy bolted out of the front door...(she was anxious to go too!)i didn't have to work too too hard at getting her to come back and soon the 3 of us were headed for the trail. needless to say i was in a bit of a "mood" by the time we were underway. to have to work this hard just to get a measley little 3 mile run in seemed asinine.

the BART trail is split in two. pedestrians have their own lane and cyclist and runners keep to the main trail. our little band of 3 stayed to the right side of the main trail. i keep Brandy on a leash at all times on this trail and am very conscientious with on-coming traffic. keeping to the right as much as possible a cyclist from the rear can pass on the left around us no problem....except for this idiot woman on her bike who plodded past us grumbling that my dog was in her way and that it was safer for us to stay in the pedestrian lane.

any other time i would of blown this off but as i mentioned i was in a "mood". the idiot woman was barking up the wrong tree today and received a less than nice response to her suggestion that i switch lanes. i curtly stated that i had complete control of my dog, thank you very much.

so while not the most enjoyable run, i did manage to get the girls out for a little exercise. i knew i'd be getting my long run in the next day so it was all good.

armed with Mia's garmin i set out this morning to wildcat canyon. i've been guessing it's in the 9-11 mile range. had i not forgot to restart the garmin a couple of times i could say for sure. i made it a point to really work on slowing down. the first mile was 12:30 and i tried to go even slower. the weather was perfect and it took me a good 5 miles to warm-up enough to shed my outer layer. i followed Belgium all the way to San Pablo....this was even harder than my usual detour (2 big ass hills) that i usually take ...i walked off and on...which is what tripped me up with restarting the garmin, that and hydrating and guing......i saw a few hiker's with some of the sweetest little doggy's and even fewer runners along this part. it was a nice change from yesterday's busy urban trail.

once i reached the Nimitz it was still pretty much just me on the trail until i got about halfway. i spotted a women from my personal training studio...she and i have chatted a little and have our sessions on the same days with different trainers...i'll have to talk with her about maybe running together sometime.

i'll be meeting up with Catra on wednesday, were hiking in Mission Peak, another beautiful bay area trail system. it's been years since i've been there.

i'm pretty confident the run today was over 10 miles. i need to remember to turn the garmin back on after a rest period, guh!

i came home to a quiet house and have the luxury of blogging uninterrupted for a change. i just showered and feel completely refreshed and fatigued at the same time.

life is good:)

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Little Queen

this has been a long ass week....whew one more day to go.

personal training is going well. the trainer herself is a bit lacking in personality but she's reasonably knowledgable and i'm getting the desired results.
next time i spend this kind of money though she'd better have a running background and know how to swim. i'm afraid this studio despite it's small intimate environment fell short in a few key areas. still i've made progress and my arms and abs a looking pretty hot!

M and i saw Dream Girls last saturday and promptly purchased the soundtrack afterwards. we listen to it in the car and usually drive around the block or sit in the driveway singing along with Jennifer Hudson as she belts out "And I'm telling you I'm not going" being the divas we are. love it love it love it.

i picked up a few other cd's too. Heart, Fleetwood Mac and Led Zepplin. I remember, being 13 and sitting in my best friend, Tricia's bedroom listening to Hearts "Little Queen" album and playing "Love Alive" over and over. god, i loved that song especially the really cool guitar rift in the middle...Tricia was the youngest of a large family, 4 older sisters and 3 older brothers. she always had access to the coolest music. i was motown and she was a rocker. i was sensible and athletic. she was wild and a partier. we made no sense but were the best of friends.

the first time i smoked pot was with Tricia out back of the old Spruce Drive In theater in South San Francisco. Her sister Christy would take us to the drive-in in her Datsun, ditch us for a few hours to hang with her friends and we'd drink beers and smoke until she came at the end of the movie to drive us back home. i haven't thought about that in years, funny how music can tap into old memories.

Tricia's parents both drank heavily. her mom would be seen downtown stumbling out front of some dive bar just wrecked. my home life wasn't exacly "Leave it to Beaver" but by comparison i had it easier...alot easier. she had alot more material things than i did and often i was envious. it took me a long time to appreciate the fact my mother was at least sober most of the time.

i caught up with Tricia back in the early 90's. time had not been good to her. she was heavily addicted to alcohol and had been in and out of recovery for the past several years. when we first reconnected she was heavily into John Bradshaw, a recovery and addiction self-help guru. she had a couple kids, one the unfortunate victim of fetal alcohol syndrome. she was pregnant with her third and appeared to be clean but was struggling. we tried to keep in touch but after she fell off the wagon again it just got too hard. the last i heard she had moved up north somewhere to be with the kids dad. i like to think away from the city and all it's trappings that she found peace up there in the redwoods.

rock on Little Queen