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Posts tagged ‘Mountain House’

Gift idea for a runner: The $5 headlamp

I may buy Lululemon running clothes, but I know a bargain when I see one. And, especially with money tight right now, I’m always on the lookout for one. My running buddy Jennie is the same. She has a family, including teenagers. So Jennie often lets me know about great deals (and couponing!).

I’ve written before about running with a headlamp. I love my Princeton Tech headlamp. And while it came with an unconditional REI guarantee, I was a little turned off by the $32 price tag.

I know some people pay a lot more for headlamps. The ones on the REI site run up to $70. I’ve seen them at expos for $50.

My husband, as a poor college student, paid only $14 for his. He now steals mine all the time because it’s much brighter. Believe me, it gets really annoying when I get out to Mountain House for a run and my battery light starts blinking (the advantage of having a premium headlamp).

In any case, during one of my “I-only-came-to-Target-for-my-prescription-and-ended-up-buying-a-bunch-of-other-stuff” trips I found a $5 holiday deal at the end of an aisle.

Next to glass coffee mugs and gimmicky key chains, was a simple headlamp.

Jennie has been in need of a secondary headlamp for our runs, specifically since it’s now darker outside because of the time change. (Though it’s been pretty dark since the beginning of October in general when we run at night.)

I sent her a text with the above photo:

Hey, these are $5 at Target. I’m picking one up for you. Now sure how good it will be, but can’t beat the price, right?

She responded with a thumbs up so I grabbed one.

I prepped it for her since I figured she wouldn’t want to mess with a blister pack when we were trying to set out on a run.

I read the back of the package and knew it was a sign when it suggested use for running. I got it home and used some creative scissor technique to get it out of the plastic.

The best part of the deal? It comes up batteries!

I’m not entirely sure what “Greenergy” batteries are (something environmental?) but they work all the same. I popped them in and checked out the little light.

It has two modes, one using two of the three LEDs and one using all three. It also has a flip down to point the light in whatever direction you want. In our case, that would be the sidewalk. It’s not ridiculously bright, but it adds nicely to a light array with my headlamp.

Plus, it’s really lightweight and has an adjustable head strap.

It’s the perfect little headlamp.

I tested it out in my closest to see how bright it was after initially seeing the vast difference between my headlamp and it. It actually was pretty good.

It works really well and provides a decent amount of light and it’s pretty comfortable. There’s even a little pad that keeps it stable on the forehead.

Plus, it was $27 cheaper than my headlamp. Great in a pinch. And a good deal all around.

Where the sidewalk ends

Not even kidding about that title.

The community I run in is not yet finished. It has around 10,000 people. There’s one, small convenience store. There are a couple schools, but the school district only recently put up a building for its administrative office. A new high school is being built.

And there are a lot of roads to nowhere. There’s even a bridge to nowhere.

But my favorite part about Mountain House, not to be confused with Mountain View further into the San Francisco Bay Area, are all the sidewalks that just seem to end. That’s apparently what happens when construction isn’t yet done.

I always feel as if the conversation between construction workers goes a little something like this:

Worker 1: “Well, we’re almost out of concrete.”

Worker 2: “Ahhhh, we don’t need anymore. We’ll just end the sidewalk.”

Worker 1: “But what if someone walks off????”

Worker 2: “No worries, we’ll just put up a barricade. No danger in that.”

It’s not as if people can’t walk around the orange and white barricades. The bridge to nowhere I mentioned early (in reality, it will take the community over a main road once the area is completely built out), has a fence in front of it so no one will dare go up or on it. In reality, the bridge makes a great place to train with hill repeats. So people go around the fence. It’s not that hard. Let’s face it, people often ignore warning signs anyway.

It’s kind of humorous though when you get to one of these barricades. What exactly is it protecting me from? My run turning into a trail run? My feet hitting a hole? (That’s actually a serious concern, but I watch out.)

Funny thing, near one of the newer buildings, sometimes we actually run to where the sidewalk ends and turnaround.

Why do we not keep going? There’s no sidewalk. But there’s no barricade either.


Believing in the run

It’s been some time since I went for a run in Mountain House. A really long time. Between other obligations, school ending and work being crazy, I haven’t been able to venture out there much for a nice run.

I’ve missed it for some time.

So when Jennie asked if I wanted to head out there for a run I was really excited. Today has been a really nice day in the valley, but as we got further into the day it started to get a little windy. Then a lot.

It was windy at my house when I left. Mountain House sits right along the Altamont, a part of the Diablo Range that separates the valley from the Bay Area. So if it’s windy in Stockton (where I work), it’s even windier in Tracy. And then it’s even crazier in Stockton. I shot some video of today’s crazy wind.

The little fountain at the main park, where we meet, was blowing every which way. It as crazy.

I sent a text to Jennie: “Crazy headwinds!”

And I knew we were in for it, which meant that by the time we hit the backside of the community, we were being hammered by the wind. We talk a lot when we run, which means we were kind of yelling at each other throughout part of the run where the wind was really hammering us.

Our “warm-up” miles for two and three were both over 12 minutes. Our best mile was 10:23.

More crazy wind for your viewing pleasure.

But we kept putting one foot in front of the other. Moving along. Into mile four. Then five. And, finally as the  wind came back to hitting us again, we got to six and I turned off  the Garmin.

A good run. By definition? Not so much, but by my standards, yes.

In six days I run my second marathon: 26.2 miles of insanity.

The marathon is a distance that runners are taught, rightly so, to respect. It’s a distance that’s not easy by any standard. And it’s one that some people, myself included, struggle with. My first marathon was a 5:20:41.

I’ve trained harder since then. I’ve run more. I’ve had two longer-type runs in this  training cycle. (One of them was the Big Sur 21-miler, hills and all.) I’m also on track to hit 100 miles for May, including an 18-miler a couple weeks ago.

I’m ready. I’m also hesitant.

The run is long. It’s also hard. But I feel better going into this race than California International Marathon in December.

Then I had only done a 15 and a 20 miler. I also didn’t average nearly as many miles as now. I feel like a stronger runner.

Does that mean PR marathon magic next weekend? I can’t say.

A couple years ago Nike had a campaign with a simple slogan: “Believe in the run.”

I had to say I give marathon training a “let go and let it ride” approach, but the three weeks before the day of a marathon if you haven’t busted your butt in training runs and made yourself a suffering mess along the way, there isn’t much you can do at that point.

I have. More eight milers than 10, yes. But more longer runs too.

More focus on recovery. More focus on building strength. And, since I had to give up swimming a couple months ago, more focus on putting one foot in front of the other.

My ugly feet, yes. And the wrapped baby toes. I’m still getting used to my new running shoes. They wear my feet a little differently than the Nike Equalons.

It’s now time to believe in the run. The run I’ve prepared for. The one I’ve come close to in training.

Today’s six-mile taper run was without Gu. With little water. I survived. I didn’t push too hard, but I made it work.

It’s just time to work on relaxing now, until Saturday when I wake up early in the morning and head to San Diego. Then wake up earlier the next morning for a 6:15 a.m. start (though my wave will likely start much later.)

So my mantra, worth repeating, for the week starts now.

Believe in the run.

37 miles and then the letdown


So, last week was a banner week in my running. I’m not even 100 percent how I pulled it off either. I ran a half marathon on Sunday, which isn’t counted in the numbers.

Then I ran two miles because I was really tired. I made it a mission to run further the next day. Five miles worked for me. Then I just kind of kept building, outside of my no-run Thursday.

I was slated for 15 miles on Saturday. Jeannie and I got 10, which, for our first run outside in a good while, was good enough for me. We’re hoping to do the full 15 this weekend. It’s kind of my last chance for a long run before taper for the Big Sur 21-miler on April 29.

I even had enough energy to go to San Francisco on Sunday night for a social media workshop.

We stopped and ate, quickly, at Pier 39. Then we spent twenty minutes trying to drive less than two miles. And then Thomas had to drop me off at the bottom of a hill, only we didn’t know it was a hill then.

I took a picture of it as I was leaving because walking up it was nothing for me after a 10-mile run on Sunday.

I was so proud.

I even took a photo of myself with more of the hill behind me.

Then the week started. It’s technically spring break for me from school. So I have a little more time to devote to my 40-hour which turns into 50+ hour a week full-time job. Well. It’s weeks like this I forget how I’m able to do both.

I’ve had some personal defeats this week. I ran only five miles yesterday. I’m hoping for eight tonight.

But I found out earlier in the week that my swim school had close, permanently. That means no more swim lessons on Tuesday and Thursdays.

As much as I want to say “well, I can devote more time to marathon training” I know that I also really enjoyed the swimming and I had come incredibly far in a short time. I’m trying to figure out a gym membership to keep going.

But I’m not 100 percent sure I want to do that before the marathon.

It doesn’t help that I’m tired. In the too exhausted to do anything way. When I was paying to swim and someone was actually there waiting for me to show up, I was, well, more inclined to show up.

A pool at the gym? Alone? I’m not sure I want to take that route either.

So I’m not sure where I stand right now after last week’s stellar performance. I need more consistency in my workouts and in my running.

I just don’t know if I have the time for that. Or the will.