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Posts tagged ‘life’

Dead trees tell no tales, but wives do

I’m stepping away from training, running and other talk to write a homage to something I held very dear: the cherry tree in my front yard. Why? It’s my blog and I can write what I want to.



More than three years ago when my husband and I signed our lives and incomes away on a 30-year mortgage, we did so when a beautiful house became available thanks to short sale. I was conflicted by the notion that we were getting our dream house because someone was losing theirs. But I was so very much in love with my four bedroom, three bath home.

We closed on it three days before my 26th birthday. The moment was the result of two years worth of saving our pennies while paying $1,450 in rent at a three bedroom, two bath house on the other side of town. That rental was the first home we shared together. While we were sad to see it go, we were happy to have a place where we could 1) Paint the walls whatever color we damn well chose and 2) Tend to the property how we saw fit.

I’ll back up to 2008.

We moved into the rental house two days before we got married. My husband and I had never lived together before then. It wasn’t for a religious reason or anything like that. It was because finances told us it would be cheaper to pay for our wedding while he lived with his parents for a couple months and I lived with my grandmother.

We were one of more than 20 people who applied for the rental, the only one we looked at. And we got it.

Fast forward to move in day when we discovered two unsettling things.

The first was that the house, unlike advertised, didn’t come with a washer or dryer. Great.

The second was the glaring dead tree in the front yard.

“Do you have any other questions?” the property manager asked us.

“Is that tree dead?” I responded, apparently when we walked through the property a month before I didn’t realize that there were no spring blossoms or leaves or any other sort of indication that stupid tree was dead.

“I’m not sure,” she responded. “If it is, let me know.”


I knew it. My husband knew it. Neither of us wanted to say it.

Then fall came. No foilage. Then winter. At least then it looked normal. When spring rolled back around and the stump started attracting unsavory bugs, I knew it was long past resuscitation.

“We have to do something about the goddamn tree!” I said about six months into our two-year stay at that house.

Finally, as it got colder outside at the beginning of year two, my husband cut off the dead branches. Then, with approval from the landlord, he rented a chainsaw and took that sucker down.

Words cannot describe my excitement about getting rid of that dead tree. I would stare at it everyday while I ran on my treadmill. EVERY. DAMN. DAY.

Too bad Google maps has been updated, otherwise I would have been able to show the monstrosity of a the dead tree. Instead, here’s what it looked like, without the tree in the planter in the center of the yard, the day we moved out.


Grainy photo courtesy of my old school BlackBerry Curve. Well manicured front lawn by me (after I fired the teenage gardeners, but that’s a completely different story). Camaro by Chevrolet.

The day we moved into our new home, I remember saying to my husband: “LOOK, NO DEAD TREE!”

Except my husband decided that at the new house, he would take over the gardening and landscaping duties.

He had “grand plans.”

Those plans included landscaping the backyard, which he has done a beautiful job with. But he also ripped out a set of bushes near the front door because they smelled like “tree sperm” and has threatened, repeatedly, to tear out a massively amazing Juniper bush right at the front of our yard.

We bought a 20-year-old home, with beautiful landscaping, folks.

The curb appeal sold me first. I grew up without sidewalks in front of my house. WITHOUT SIDEWALKS. I didn’t even live in the country.

Not only did I have sidewalks at my house, I had bushes and plants and pretty flowers and trees! Wee!!! Exciting.

A year in, my husband decided the trees needed pruning. Fine. Cut them back a little, I said. I didn’t realize he’d hired professionals who wouldn’t just cut my trees back, but would take away the privacy that I so loved about my house. I’m not kidding. I couldn’t see my neighbor’s backyard from my bedroom window when I moved in. Then my husband went and had the trees cut and NOW I SEE EVERYTHING.

It was a Friday when he had it done. I wasn’t home. I was at school in the morning for newspaper distribution for my students. Then I went and worked a 10-hour day at the newspaper. By the time I got home, after 8 p.m. I drove up to both my apricot and my beautiful cherry tree looking like nude models. And not artistic ones.


That’s what it’s looked like for two years.

I’m not one to hold my tongue when I’m upset. I try, but it’s not in my nature. In fact, I’m told it’s better for me to let it out then to let it build up. My neighbor caught the tail end of my tirade. I was pissed.


That’s the tame version.

And you know what? For two years I’ve told him repeatedly that the tree is dead. That one act of eco-violence killed it. I knew it then.

He had denied it every chance he gets. Nope, the tree isn’t dead. It’s “getting there.” He told me to “give it time.”

Now, I’m not a “tree hugger.” I went to Berkeley. I own Birkenstocks. I even bring reusable bags to the stores on occasion and when I travel. I have a can in my kitchen solely devoted to recycling even. I once floated a lavaliere microphone up a 50-foot Redwood tree near Cal Memorial Stadium, much to the dismay of my master’s project adviser, to interview a “tree hugger.”

But that’s about as far as I go. I wouldn’t chain myself to my cherry tree.

I did love it though. I loved the privacy it gave my yard. I loved it so much I once threatened a teenager who I caught up in it (seriously) with police action if she didn’t get her butt down and “get off my lawn.”

It was only THIS WEEKEND, after my half marathon in San Leandro, that my husband confessed what he did two years ago had finally taken its toll. Those little leaves you see? Those sprouts were the only remnants of the tree “coming back.” And now those little leaves, the only signs of life, are dead.



I have words. None of them are good. But I also know the dead tree isn’t staying in my yard.

My husband was surprised I was more upset about this than some other bad news I received lately. I felt more vindication when he admitted the tree was dead, though, than anger. I KNEW THE TREE WAS DEAD. I’VE COME TO TERMS WITH IT.

After I did the “I told you it was dead!” dance about 10 times, I calmly (calm for me, I raise my voice when I get excited) said: “You will cut down the dead tree. You will take out the stump. And you will replace it. But not with a stupid, small ass tree that you can get for cheap at the nursery. No, you will find a well-established cherry tree or something comparable and you will plant it there. And there will be shade. And it will be beautiful again. But I will not live with another dead tree in my front yard.”

You wouldn’t know by that assertion that my husband and I operated on an even keel around our house. I’m thankful that even know he’s been the “breadwinner” in our relationship since we got married, we both have equal say. But the tree leaves little room for negotiating.

Kill my tree, I also get to keep my Juniper bush.

The bright spot in all of this is that our front lawn, which had been neglected for months when we moved in because it was a short sale property, is thriving with more sun. I also don’t have to look it while on the treadmill anymore. Instead, my treadmill faces the nicely landscaped backyard where a newly planted Japanese maple is thriving next to a hand-laid cobblestone porch. But really, that doesn’t make it any better.

You’re a runner when …


I had one of those “you know you’re a runner when” moments yesterday while my husband was stranded on the side of Interstate 80 above Colfax, more than 100 miles from our home in Tracy, an exburb of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Nevermind the fact that his 1998 Toyota Camry had likely climb its last hill, I was staring down a major sloped incline and all I could do was think about how instead of running out the door as quick as possible in my running clothes with sandals on, I should have grabbed my Nikes.

Well, I did grab my Nikes.

Just not the right ones.


Those are not my running shoes. And lucky for everyone who reads this blog, my black toenails aren’t showcased in this lovely photo.

My husband waited more than two hours for me to make the journey up to get him. I had to drop my freelance work after solving a particularly messy navigation issue with a more-complex-than-I’d-like CSS hack. I was about to celebrate when I noticed a call on my phone went straight to voicemail.

Then I had a text message from my husband that said: “Call me!”

1) My husband rarely leaves voicemail or calls twice to get me. 2) My husband doesn’t text often. I’m still not quite sure he knows how. He owns an old-school Samsung flip phone. We talk about moving him to a smart phone, which I’ve had for about five years now, but he never seems too motivated to do so. He just usually borrows my iPhone.

It’s with that knowledge that I present his poor, 1998 Camry.

He bought it five years ago. It’s his commuter car. He puts roughly 120 miles on it every work day (he works 9/80s, so he gets three-day weekends every other week from his engineering job in the Bay Area). He’s put 200,000 miles on it since he purchased it from a private owner.

We’ve known for awhile that it likely was on it’s last leg. But it was a good car and measured good gas mileage.


Photo editing note: I blurred the license plate. Because no one needs to see that.

It’s a little heartbreaking. Not a lot, though. He’s more heartbroken that he won’t get to go camping this weekend like he had planned. Instead, I had to bring him and all his camping equipment home, which barely fit in our Jeep. The car is being towed to my parents’ house in Stockton (closer to our AAA 100-mile tow coverage) and we’re going to decide what to do with it.

But it’s not going to hit the freeway again.

We bought our Jeep last fall when my Camaro started giving me problems (ever seen a V6 on fire? I had a moment, or twenty, with that car on the way back from the Bay Area after the Nike Women’s Half Marathon Expotique last year, smoke, losing power, all the things that make a person freak out, on the Altamont of all places).

We ended up getting the Camaro repaired for less than we thought it would be, so we decided to “garage it” and baby it a little more.


Unfortunately for me that means I’m turning over my Jeep keys to my husband for awhile. The Camaro, which gets amazing gas mileage for a 11-year-old sports car, can’t handle the extra miles. It would end up in the same position as the Toyota.

We’re looking for a used commuter car, but not quite in a rush to get one yet. I’ll be driving my Camaro again, which won’t be nearly as much as I was driving it before. My full-time job as a journalist meant that I was racking up mileage on my car every time I did an assignment.

Sure, we got paid for the gas, but the wear and tear on a car isn’t compensated. Now I drive to work and am there all day. I come. I go. That’s about it. I even walk to lunch because it’s pointless getting in my car to go somewhere.

My husband, while sad, did make sure to grab his Chico State license plate frame from the car. To me, that marks the point where you know your vehicle is really gone.

And I’m still regretting not bringing my running shoes to get in hill repeats. For real.

Juxtaposing the negatives with the positives

Some days you wake up and just know that it’s not going to be a good one. The day just takes on a certain “air” to it. Today was one of those days, for various reasons.

Today was the first day since I left my full-time newspaper job that I was genuinely frustrated. More frustrated than I can even relay. See that face? That’s what I looked like at 6 a.m. this morning when I realized that a name server propagation that I started the day before still wasn’t showing up for me. The good news is that my boss could see it.

So could the client. But any necessary changes would be completely unseen by me.

Head. Hits. Desk. In. Frustration.

The site turned out to be fine, a beautiful culmination of four-months of work. It was one of those issues, the first in a long time, I had to admit was completely out of my control. I couldn’t make anything happen faster. I did everything correct. It just wasn’t showing up for me. Hence the 6 a.m. wake-up call for me.

And, yes, those are my running clothes. And my husband has a Samuel Adams mirror. My new “schedule” lately has been waking up early, working for about three hours, then heading out for a run before it hit the triple-digit temperatures we’ve been getting in Northern California lately.

As I was trying to navigate through all of that, I also remembered that today was the day I should be checking my email for word from Nike about random-draw entry into the Nike Women’s Half Marathon. A huge group of ladies from my running club signed up, and a man or two. I’ve mentioned before my luck over the past two years.

In 2011, I didn’t get in through random draw. But I got to run as part of a sponsored team. In 2012, my running club group was accepted through random draw.

This year? Not so much.


As much as I wasn’t surprised and slightly relieved that the $175 race fee wouldn’t be deducted from my American Express, I was really sad for the women in the running club who wanted this to be their first half marathon.

And it’s still kind of a bummer. But it, essentially, solidified my race calendar for the rest of 2013.

But as much as I wanted to rebel against the Nike random draw and say “buy all the Lululemon things instead” (one of my friends did that, apparently, I like that idea), I realized that the positives in my running life and my life in general are completely outweighing the negative.

Sometimes you need to be reminded about things like that. These are the things I’m thankful for right now:


A year ago, I felt like I was fighting never-ending battles and getting nowhere. My creativity was hampered. I just felt like I was going nowhere in my profession anymore. There was no growth personally or professionally.

Today marked the fourth (or fifth?) site that I’ve helped launched that I’ve worked on. And this one was MASSIVE. I spent an enormous amount of time on it over the past few months. When a site finally goes live, there’s just a feeling that encompasses both relief, but also great satisfaction that I did something amazing.

I’m thankful that I’m back to growing in my work and learning new things every day.



I didn’t make mention of it here, because I was still a little unsure of making a commitment, but about a month ago, I decided that my husband and I were no longer eating quick-pasta meals, frozen pizzas or anything that came out of a box in our freezer. At least for dinner.

I’ve had some severe stomach issues in the last two months, thanks to my missing gallbladder (which I still, for the record, don’t miss). I’ve had to trim down even more from what I was eating even two months ago. My body is rebelling.

Since I’ve cut out a lot of processed things, that’s stopped. Unfortunately I can’t cut down on ALL processed food. My husband doesn’t support that diet. He should, but he’s a spice-it-up-and-cook-it-to-taste-good-even-if-it’s-not-all-that-healthy guy. That said, I realized in the middle of my site launch last night that I hadn’t yet eaten dinner.

I buckled and went to McDonald’s. I immediately regretted it. And my stomach made me very aware it was not happy. Back to real food.



Ignore my slightly-dirty running clothes. That’s my ever-offending left hip that’s been giving me problems. On Wednesday, I ran seven miles in the morning. Then I went out to Mountain House and ran three with my running club. I even kept pace with the lead runner.

goodbad1My leg wasn’t screaming at me at all. In fact, it felt nice to get out and run a faster, stronger pace. That was my longest-distance day of the week. I realized that I’m oh-so-close to 100 miles, which I’ve told myself repeatedly isn’t my goal each month.

But with two days left, I’m eight miles away. I’m not feeling bad. I’m running well. And the stupid hip injury may have just been a symptom of pretty significant overuse (someone remind me not to book five races in a two-month period), instead of something more permanent.

I’m keeping my paces mostly slow, but if I can keep going at this rate, I should be able to pick the pace back up in a week or so.



Most people run Nike for a necklace. I’ve run it the past two years because I wanted to challenge myself. It’s a tough course. It’s a beautiful course. But it’s not the only San Francisco-based run that goes along that route.

In fact, the first half of the San Francisco Marathon covers nearly an identical route, except in the last couple miles.

The necklace is a nice touch. It’s a beautiful gift. But both my Nike Women’s Marathon necklaces aren’t exactly my favorite necklaces ever. I have a roman numeral 26.2 necklace that I love more. I’m more afraid of losing my Nike necklaces than anything. So I don’t wear them often.

I would have been excited if I got in. But the price increase this year kind of turned me off.

But you know what? I’ve run five marathons. In August, I’m running my 20th half marathon.

“I didn’t get in,” I pouted to my husband earlier.

“Boo hoo,” he replied back.

As much as I’d love to get a reprieve entry and, maybe, run it, I’m good with the wait until next year. No running over to the Nike Facebook page and complaining about how unfair it is. No crying. No regrets.

It’s just another race. Two years ago it meant the world to me, because it was the one race I saw myself doing that crazy first-year of running half marathons. I’ve been lucky enough to run it.

I’ve mentioned before how I’ve cut down on races year after year. I think 2014 will include even fewer. I think most people will think it’s for financial reasons, but in reality it’s not. It’s because I’m running better, with not as much stress weighing on me. That’s making embrace running more and really want to put 100-percent into a race. I can’t do that racing twice a month, even if one race is a 10K.

So I’m cutting back. I realized when finishing the San Francisco Marathon that after five marathons, I’m finally understanding 26.2 better. I don’t think 2014 will be the “year of the marathon” like this has turned into the “year of the PR,” but I’m becoming less anxious about the goals I once considered “unattainable.”

Now everything is a little bit more within reach.

My week, in photos

Because it’s been a long, crazy week. And I only ran 10 of my 15 miles on Saturday then worked all day. So I present, my week, in photos.


I woke up late Tuesday because I had turned down the ringer on my phone for some reason. I literally threw myself together to so I could be at school by my student’s 9 a.m. lab start. I was greeted, just before 9 a.m., to this site right outside my building.

Fire alarm.

We waited outside for about 20 minutes before getting the all clear.


Speaking of school, college students are a much more lively bunch than high school, middle school or elementary school bunches. Why? They are funny, in a subtle way.

I found this gem of a posting right outside my office. It speaks to my inner dork and brings me back to my original Nintendo playing days.

Who didn’t love The Legend of Zelda? I remember walking into the little caves to get the all impressive sword. With final weeks coming up soon (we finish the semester in mid May), I thought this was rather appropriate.


My Boston shirt came in the mail today. It’s HUGE on me, but I don’t care because all proceeds go to One Fund Boston. It’s also a crazy bright yellow, which means everyone will see me wearing it a mile away.

It’s cotton, so I won’t be wearing it at night when I’m running. But I love this shirt, if only because it represents runners helping runners.


I went to a spaghetti dinner hosted by my friend’s daughter’s school. It was only $5 a plate and it benefited all the cool things elementary school’s do for children (which essentially means I’m not 100-percent sure what the money is going to, but it’s a good cause I’m sure). The lovely item above is the centerpiece for the tables.

My trip to the small adjacent town next to where I live also included visiting my friend’s severely burned home. She’s not living there currently. But a cedar chest she was partial too was damaged pretty significantly in the fire. She was told to call it a loss.

I saw it and realized it wasn’t. In my ample spare time (ha!), I refinish furniture. Mostly all my own to this point. I told her all I need was some time with it and I could make it as good as new. Maybe better. New stain, new finish. So after we ate a plate of spaghetti each and stayed for a raffle/silent auction (she took away a nice entertainment-based basket for her children) we headed over to casa-de-crisp and picked up the chest.

I backed my Jeep onto her non-existent lawn. My husband got it in the car.

The good news is construction for the rebuild/renovation of her house started this week. The bad news is that it won’t be done until October.


My husband is back to working normal shifts at his job, which means he has more time on the weekends to do things like cook. And vacuum. And generally not be a zombie.

He’s pretty excited to go back to 9/80 schedules (five days one week, four days the next, making every other weekend a three-day weekend). I’m excited to have him back too.

He made steak and corn on the cob on his grill on Saturday night. It was delicious.


All that work I was doing Friday? It carried into Saturday. And will carry into today.

One of the things on my to-do list is FEMA-based training for school. In order to continue to be “eligible for employment” in the community college system I work in, I have to finish this mandated training. I’ve put if off a long time. It’s due May 9. I took a test for one of two lessons tonight. I’m waiting for the response in my work email.

I took a photo of this because the first “action” talks about “planned events” such as “First Night festivities” and “Fourth of July celebrations.” Both are really specific. In the middle of that it says “the marathon.” I know it has to be applied to all municipalities (this course focused on the National Incident Management System), but “the marathon” is so vague it’s funny.

What I wish someone would have told me then


Today I had a student come in and tell me she had to drop my class. It was heartbreaking. This wasn’t her first semester on the newspaper staff. I was sad to see her go, but understood her reasons. We talked about life and responsibility.

Today, I told her it was OK to fall apart. Today, I told her it didn’t matter what other people thought.

Today, I believed it.

“Fall apart. Just do it. It’s fine. Don’t feel bad about it, if you have to do it, just do it,” I said to her. “I learned more in the time I spent putting myself back together than I ever did holding it all together.”

Today, my words rang true.

Today, after that, I knew the decisions I’ve made didn’t break me. I knew the mantra “tough times don’t last, tough people do” was true. I knew that everything that happened was supposed to, from gallbladder surgeries to falling down on my run last week.

Because I’m happy. I’m surrounded by amazing people. I’m doing awesome work for someone I respect greatly. All because I finally walked away from something that was tearing me apart from the inside out.

Today, though, I wish someone would have told me it was OK to fall apart six months ago.

And so today, I came home and went for a run, bad little T-Rex style arm and all. And despite only getting four miles, today it felt amazing.

This week

If I ever thought I’d have more time to myself after trading full-time employment for freelancing and a part-time job, I was crazy. This week has proved that I will likely not have any more free time, especially during my student’s production weeks.

My newspaper staff has nearly double this semester. I’m having to create spreadsheets and sign ups for lab and one-on-ones. It’s amazing and a little overwhelming. We held three stories this issue because we sold out on ads weeks before. Sold out. On ads. As in, we can’t take anymore because we have too much content.

That’s a great problem for a college newspaper. That’s a great problem for any newspaper.

So between freelancing and my students this week, I probably worked 50 hours. Meaning little time for running.

Here’s a look at what I’ve been doing:



Mega Super Bowl party day. With lots of food.

I’m not a fan of any specific football team. I appreciate a good game for a good game. So I was kind of bored the first half. But then, when it got interesting, I was invested. I love games that go down to the wire.

But really, I go to the party for the food.


Oh hey pansit, where is your homeboy adobo? Oh, right next to you? Don’t mind if I do?

Wait… what’s that?


Pulled pork! This photo doesn’t do it justice. My friend’s husband is a culinary genius with the pulled pork. But really, the potato salad up top was the amazing part. I didn’t know she made such a great potato salad. (I’m a bit of a potato salad aficionado, really.) I took home a ton of it too. And ate it for two days. I’m not even going to lie.

And I bet your Super Bowl party didn’t feature animals.


Our friends live in the country. Sorry about the blur, Joleen the goat didn’t like the paparazzi.



We were still thinking of names for this little pup. Last night, we finally agreed on one: Cassiopeia.

We’re calling her Cassie for short. And her name fits our theme. We name our dogs after songs. Our oldest female is Sky Midnight Blue after Peter Gabriel’s Sky Blue. Our male is Hey Beau Diddley after the song Hey Bo Diddley.

Cassiopeia’s full name will be Winter Star Cassiopeia. If you love Third Eye Blind as much as I do, you know the line comes from the original version of Campfire, a song that made it to Ursa Major with a lot of tweaking. It was retitled Bonfire.

It’s appropriate, for many reasons.

These lines:

And there’s all these winter stars still flying


Everything’s changing now


Into one thousand pieces

I had broke into over you

Nightshade will soon be gone

But I keep burning on and on and on

I’m a bigger fan of 3EB’s less popular tracks than the band’s big hits, including God of Wine. But this song seems appropriate as nearly everything in my life is changing now. And I really feel a connection to the “burning on and on and on” line right now. And lately? Into a thousand pieces I broke into over journalism. Very fitting.

I’m not sure what it says about me that my love for a band transcends all the years it’s been out of the mainstream. I’ve seen them three times in concert, most recently at a day-long music festival where I swear I was the only one singing every word to every song. The song I most wanted to hear that night? Campfire.

We toyed with Page, for Mumford and Son’s White Blank Page. I also offered up Storm for Mumford’s After the Storm.

I think my husband agreed on Cassiopeia because he didn’t want me to name any of our future children that. No kidding.


I spent my morning clearing pages for my student’s first issue of the semester.


It included a spread, the first ever since I’ve been adviser, on gun control. The stories were well reported. The editors did a fine job on this. It looks even better in person. I’m really proud of the work they did on this issue.

But Tuesday, it’s on to the next one. Always on to the next one.


I had my worker’s compensation evaluation that I’d been dreading for months in the morning. I took my mom. I think if I hadn’t, I would have fallen into all those pieces all over again. She, at least, made me feel more comfortable as my heart sped up and I was forced to remember everything that led me to where I am right now.

The appointment lasted so long that my mom went with me to a dress fitting for my December bridesmaid duties.


This was the first dress I tried on. They were all cute, but I think the bride now knows which one we’ll all be purchasing pretty soon here. On the list of things I didn’t know: Bridesmaid dresses take 10-12 weeks to get.

I knew wedding dresses took a long time, but wow.

Confession: I bought my wedding dresses at a bridal discount store in Roseville. To be fair, my sister bought it for me. I didn’t have a credit card that would charge the $500, so my mom put it on hers and my sister paid her back.

My whole wedding was planned on a similar modus operandi. It cost $15,000 at the end, but was paid for over three years of engagement. To be fair, I was only 24. All my savings were pumped into my wedding. I came out of it with a husband and no money left in a savings account that one had $8,000.

Would I do it differently now? Definitely. I’d go to Las Vegas. Just saying.

My husband, though, a couple months ago said our wedding day was one of the best of his life. That makes it all worth it, since he’s not a man of many sweet words.

This is the first time I’ve ever been a bridesmaid, so I’m learning a ton of stuff. (Jenn, if you are reading this, I promise not to mess this up.) Yesterday, the woman at the bridal store mentioned fabric swatches and making sure dye colors matched. I’m like: “Whoa, slow down.” And I know the decisions are even harder for the bride.

Planning a wedding is hard business. I’m extremely fortunate that my bride friend is a really down-to-earth woman with a great sense of humor and a love for life. She doesn’t even mind me sending her a ton of photos of me with awkward faces in dresses (Some of the colors were crazy!).

I treated my mom to lunch after at a sandwich place I love. So a not-so-great day actually turned out better. When I got home another friend came over and ate pizza and junk food with me.



After weeks of feeling as if my legs were going to fall off, I realized I should maybe switch out my shoes, especially with a half marathon next weekend.

I’ve had this pair of LunarEclipes in my closet for about four months. I bought them on deep sale for about $80, marked down from $140.

I ran five miles this morning in them.

And you know what? I needed new shoes.

I had little pain. My feet felt more supported. It was like running on cushions.

Anyone who tells you that you can run 400+ miles in a pair of shoes is an idiot. Seriously. I ran 600+ on my oldest pair of shoes. They sit next to the treadmill. Now I know they are only good for walking and housework. I should have known.

But I’m been trying to preserve my shoes for a bit longer and longer each time, if just to keep down the costs.

In January, Nike launched the LunarEclipse +3. It’s the same shoe, with new upper design. Now the +2’s are on sale for $79.16 at Road Runner Sports. I’m considering buying two pairs, which should get me through the year before I have to buy the more expensive +3s.

The best part of all of this is that I’m excited for my 10-mile run tomorrow morning. I haven’t said that in awhile. At five miles, I wanted to keep going, but I didn’t.

I’ve been avoiding the treadmill all week (I did run six outside this week), because of the pain my legs have been in.

So, if anything, take away this tidbit for the week: If you’re in pain, it’s likely your shoes. Change the shoes.

Sometimes I disappear

I hate to say it, but this is the time of year when I tend to disappear. From family gatherings. From social outings. From blogging. I just get too busy. That’s not a bad thing (because I’m busy making money).

Unfortunately I also seem to disappear from running too.

Not this year, though. This week already I’ve logged 25 miles with a long run scheduled for Sunday morning. I’m hoping to have 35+ by the end of Sunday morning. I’m hoping to gradually step up my mileage as I really start to prepare for California International Marathon on Dec. 2.

Because it’s that time.

My students published the first issue of the campus newspaper for the semester on Friday. At my full-time job, I’ve been busy with the high school football season taking off. That means I’ve been logging some serious time sitting in front of the little monster above. (For those who don’t know him, that’s Domo He’s one of many monster-types at my desk.)

I’ve been logging serious mileage lately in general, both slow and fast. And, outside from a down period a couple weeks ago, I’ve been feeling really good about my running. So much so that I’m really excited about a 5-mile race I’ve decided to do next week all about women empowerment. It’s actually one of the races I had to forgo last year because of a nasty Achilles strain that put me on crutches.

I was feeling great about running until I started hitting the road/treadmill this week. That’s when I noticed a slight twinge in my calf. I also noticed that my shoes were looking a little more beat than I remembered.

That’s when I knew. It was time to buckle down for a new pair again.

After only 300+ miles. I honestly thought the LunarEclipse +2’s would last a little longer, but I’m the same runner with the same weight, so this shouldn’t really surprise me too much.

These are the “Breathe” edition of the LunarEclipse’s. Kind of pretty looking in person. I’m going to do another outdoor run in my old shoes (the long run Sunday) and then start moving through the process of retiring those. Sigh. I really loved the hot pink. But these are my first “pretty” running shoes in general, and the new ones are pretty nice too.

So about that disappearing? I literally have to make time to blog now with school and video shoots more than twice a week. I’m busy. But I’m also working on balancing everything better this year. That’s why I pushed myself to run days in a row. It’s why I stopped everything and started blogging today.

It’s why you’re reading this, basically.

But it also means I’m working 70+ hour weeks when my students are in production for their newspaper. So I’m also a bit whipped out by Friday, especially after a 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. shift, which in reality tends to be a 2 p.m. to 12 a.m. shift. I’m trying to get over the fatigue, though, put my mind in an active area and just run.

Today that meant five miles. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

But if my blogging is lacking into the next month or so, it’s because life gets crazy busy this time of year. I’ll only worry about it if I start slacking on my training.