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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 we take from Boston


I know there will be a lot of posts about Boston this week. I know that I’m also behind on being relevant with this. It’s amazing what happens when you are no longer tied to the day-to-day life of a journalist. I’m still in the mindset of a journalist, though. When I see a to-do list, I bust through it like there’s no tomorrow. Because in news tomorrow is too late.

This week, I’ve been bogged down in catch-up projects that got pushed aside during my student’s journalism conference.

But I’ve also been watching the news.

A lot of news. It’s basically been on auto play behind me for four days.

On Monday, I told my husband that this hits close to home in more ways that I could even comprehend as I watched the events unfolding in front of me Monday. This was an attack of unspeakable horror. At a public event. At a marathon.

I run marathons.

Once upon a time I was accused, by a newspaper reader, as making a horrific event all about me. The problem with events like what happen in Boston, a lot of people start asking themselves questions about how it could impact them, or if it could.

What I knew before Monday: The start line used to be what caused massive anxiety for runners (especially me).

What I know now: Now the finish line takes on a completely different meaning.



The start line has always been a source of fear and trepidation among runners (the photo above is the Oakland Half Marathon start in March). It’s when your heart starts racing. When every doubt you can think of crosses your mind. If you’re anything like me, the moment you get past the start is actually the minute you feel any sort of relief.

The finish? The finish brings mixed emotions, depending on how a runner does. The first marathon? The finish is the goal. The PR run? The finish is the moment to quit the push. The bad run? It’s the moment it’s finally over.

Consider what the Boston Marathon represents to those who run it. It’s the crowing glory for the everyday runner. It’s a tough race to get into. Runners have to qualify. I likely will never qualify for Boston. Many runners won’t. For those who do, it’s not just about those 26.2 miles. It’s not about Heartbreak Hill. It’s about the journey.

Seeing that finish line? It’s the finish line of all finish lines.

Now it means something completely different. Joy and accomplishment have been replaced with sorrow.


On Monday, one of the talking points that kept coming up was that of how to make “large public gatherings” safe.

Have you ever considered any marathon you run a “large public gathering?”

Think about it. Because until this week, I never did. Instead, I lumped running events into “you either have to be crazy enough to do this or love someone who is” to be here. I think about the smaller races I’ve run, where people not involved were annoyed at our presence when streets were closed down. The bigger races? Well, even those didn’t really seem all that big.

Then I think about the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon. I ran the full 26.2 last year (it sucked, I cried, I’m over it).

According to, the “Epic Summer Run” is one of the top 10 runs, according to finishers, in the United States.

The ING New York Marathon (43,660), Bank of America Chicago Marathon (33,701), Boston Marathon (22,843) and the Marine Corps Marathon (21,405) are the top four. Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego includes 13,361 finishers. I was among those finishers last year.

This year I’m signed up for the half marathon with my friend Sam. She’s running all the Rock ‘n’ Roll events she can this year.

Yes, the suspects were apprehended (one died, the other was taken into custody earlier this evening). But there are so many twisted people in this world (what you learn from 10 years in the news industry is that humanity, while there are good moments, is full of bad people), that I wonder if this could happen somewhere else.

I’m running San Diego before I run the San Francisco Marathon this summer. Both are large events.

I’d be lying if I said thinking like this didn’t trigger my anxiety.


This is kind of a given, but you don’t see it really, truly in action until something like this happens. On Sept. 11, 2001, very few people had their smart phones out. Facebook wasn’t invented. Those initial images we received on the attacks? More often than not, they were from news photographers. Not a lot of people were pulling out their smart phones.

Today? The finish line at the Boston Marathon was literally the most photographed public place that day. From the moments before (captured by a Boston Globe videographer), to the moment of (captured by an Instagrammer flanking the race path) to the aftereffects (including the YouTube video of people pilfering the Adidas booth).

I ask my students in my first lecture of every semester the same question: Where do you get your news?

Where did you find out about Boston?

I was knee deep in code and curriculum writing on Monday. A Facebook status post alerted me to Boston. It was from another runner friend. That’s when I turned on the television. I tell my students all the time that the best ideas for stories come from Facebook. I can name about 10 ideas that I’ve found on Facebook in the past year.

Twitter is also good for that. This obviously was a breaking news event. Still, social media played a huge role in conveying messages to the masses. I teach mass communication. Unfortunately a really bad headache kept me from my class and more talk of the Boston Marathon on Thursday, but believe me, we’ll be digesting this story for weeks to come.

Why? There is just so much more now out there. We are seeing every side of this story, good, bad and indifferent. Consider, too, that the photos also played a huge role in the identifying of the suspects. The FBI was asking for photos and video.

Say what you want about being in a wired society, in this case it helped crack the case.



This may be the most obvious lesson from watching the bomb blasts in Boston. The videos show the dazed reality runners were heading into after the blasts. And 468 just kept running. That’s right, nearly 500 people finished the 26.2 mile journey AFTER the bombs blew.

“They had no idea what was happening,” one of my Facebook friends wrote.

True. But if you’ve ever run a marathon you know that in those last few miles, you are basically on autopilot. Your legs feel like they are going to collapse under you. You can’t remember exactly why you signed up. You are tired.

The moment you see the finish line, you just run. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve missed seeing my husband at the finish line because I’m just running and not thinking about anything else.

Runners are a tough bunch.

Runners are also part of a tight-knit community.

And we come to the aid of other runners in times of need. Members of my running club were posting links on how to help, whether it be racking up charity miles or donating to campaigns.

On Thursday, Adidas introduced Boston: Stand as One shirts. The first ones listed, including the yellow one above for women, sold out. I was able to grab up a yellow one before they were all gone. The $26.20 goes to One Fund Boston to support the victims of the attack.

Runs have been scheduled across the country for people to show support. This is an amazing community to belong to.

“You will run again,” President Barack Obama said to attendees of a prayer service on Thursday. The truth, though, is that runners never stop running. Those 468 marathoners kept running. There were people running for Boston that evening. There have been all week. This weekend, the London Marathon will go on as planned, though with more security precautions.


Hours after the second suspect was apprehended alive, what we take, at least right now, is the realization that it only took law enforcement four days, less than 100 hours, to catch the the two allegedly responsible. That’s fast.

We also take away a sense that we may not be as safe on the marathon route, that once exposed in those 13.1 or 26.2 miles, the finish line is not a guarantee.There’s no promise we’ll make it to the end. As runners we know that going in.

But we also take a sense of community, of knowing that we are not alone because there are people out there who want the good to outweigh the bad. And that’s the real lesson in this week.

Hitting 1,200 miles


A lot has happened in the last week, including a huge milestone for my running. I set out this year to run 1,000 miles by Dec. 31. I had missed the number by 70 miles last year, when I had no real goal.

I reached the 1,000 mark in October, with an average of nearly 100 miles a month. And it’s not even because I’m torturing myself. My longest run lately has been seven miles. It went well, but I’m also not training for a half marathon until February, so this is more “downtime” for me. This month I’m at 75, hoping to reach 100 in the next week or so before New Year’s Eve.

This number is a huge milestone for me, for some pretty obvious reasons.

The first is all the problems with anxiety and depression I’ve had since October. I could have stopped running completely, just given up. I didn’t. I kept going because I had a goal with the marathon.

I think, if not for California International Marathon, I might have given up.

The second is that I feel like a stronger now.

I’ve read recommendations that say a runner shouldn’t take on a marathon in the first year of regular running. I went totally against that. I ran my first half marathon in March 2011. That same year I decided, in June, to run California International Marathon. And I did. It was my first.

I felt stronger this year, but the rain and wind threw me off balance pretty significantly.

In any case, I’ve now run three marathons. I’ve also done a six-hour endurance run.

Many things paved my way to 1,000. But my crediting resilience for getting me to 1,200. By the end of this week, I’ll likely have run 300 more miles than I did last year. I’m excited to get there too.

I mentioned that a lot of things happened this week, including me going back to work.

I’ll sum up the first two days with one word: tough.

It was really, really hard to be back. When I first walked in the building my heart beated fast, my body got tense and my head pounded a little. But I seemed to get through it, even when it was uncomfortable. There were many points when that was the case. I felt unsure. I felt threatened. Waves of paranoia hit me.

People keep telling me it will get better. But I came home crying on Friday night, frustrated and tired, feeling more ostracized than ever. I knew it would be hard. I didn’t know it would be this hard. I go back again tomorrow. Another day to try. Another day to challenge myself to be present, to pull my confidence together and get through it.

I don’t know a lot of things right now, but I’m sure of one — I’ll keep running this marathon-like race to get better.


What I’ve been up to, in photos, from the past few days…


For Christmas, my grandmother gave me some money (early) to purchase a desk from World Market. I found out, a couple days later, that the desk was no longer available. So I searched for something similar and came up empty.

So instead, I opted to finally get a painting I was given from my maid of honor and best friend for my wedding framed. It had been in my bedroom for the past few years. It was supposed to be done on Dec. 8, but the craft store was running a little behind.


My friend’s daughter had her sweet sixteen birthday party last night. I haven’t been to a birthday party that big since I was in high school. I found some photo booth props online for download and printed them out and put them together for the party. My favorite was the Batman-type one.


I got a hair cut the other day, much needed, and realized I also needed an update on my hair color. I went to Target, where all cheap chicks buy their hair color. Too bad I couldn’t find the “chocolate cherry” that I had used earlier this year.

Instead I found a mahogany color. It’s a little darker, which looks awesome.

And only $7.99.

A big plus was this time around, I didn’t get hair dye all over my clothes, or my towels. I didn’t even get any on my running clothes the next day. I normally go a brown color similar to my natural color, but figured I’d try something warmer these past two times.


I bought shelves some time ago for one of our guest bedrooms so that I could put up my collection of “monsters” from the past couple years. I kept waiting for my husband, though, to put them up. On Friday, I decided that it was time for me to take matters into my own hands.

So I did. I grabbed the level and had these shelves up in about 20 minutes. The monster collection is no on display.


To cap off the past couple days, we headed to the sweet sixteen. I’m lucky I’ve been feeling a lot better lately, especially with the anxiety and depression plaguing me. I have an appointment Wednesday to, potentially, go back to work later in the week.

While I am relieved on one hand, I’m also incredibly scared.

I’m trying to put together a training plan in the next day or so for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Pasadena Half Marathon. There’s a pretty significant hill right at the beginning. Last year, I ran a horrible 2:48 race. It sucked. I was tired and pissed off for most the race.

Before that, though, I have a January 10K.

I was considering signing up for another 10K, one I’ve done for the past few years, but decided against it. I just can’t right now. I need to take some time off to reconsider my training plans, including what I’m going to do to train for the San Francisco Marathon.

I’m also still toying with the idea of signing up for the San Luis Obispo Marathon, which happens in April.

So a lot is still in flux. But, I’m running again. I’m feeling good about my runs. And they don’t feel labored. So I’m over the post marathon slump. Finally.

Cancellation of NYC Marathon brings mixed reactions

In case you’ve been under a rock over the past week, a lot has happened in New York City and along the East Coast. This not so little weather system called Hurricane Sandy (yes, my sarcasm is coming back, a little), hit the area and left widespread devastation.

Most of Lower Manhattan was flooded. Power was out everywhere. And the surrounding boroughs were just as bad. That was just that area too. In the running community the big news every early November is the New York City Marathon. It was scheduled to be run on Sunday, Nov. 4.

Today, it was canceled for 2012.

An official announcement was posted to the marathon’s Facebook page only a couple hours ago:

The City of New York and New York Road Runners announce that the 2012 ING NYC Marathon has been canceled. While holding the race would not require diverting resources from the recovery effort, it is clear that it has become the source of disagreement and division. We cannot allow a controversy over an athletic event — even one as meaningful as this — to distract attention from all the critically important work that is being done to help New York City recover from the storm. New York Road Runners will have additional information in the days ahead and we thank you for your dedication to the spirit of this race. We encourage runners who have already arrived in New York City to help with volunteer relief efforts.

To say there are a lot of bummed runners would be an understatement. But there are also a lot of pissed off (for lack of a better term) people who thought the marathon should have been canceled days ago, when the storm first hit, when Manhattan was flooded, when Staten Island (where the race starts on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge) was asking, but not getting help and when people were still surveying the damage.

Let’s get this out of the way: I agree with the decision.

But, I also didn’t make the lottery this year. With what’s happened to me recently, I doubt I would have made the trek this week anyway. Still, as someone who has trained for a marathon and lined up knowing the nerves that come at the start, I can’t help but be a little disappointed for the runners who will not be making the 26.2-mile journey through the city’s five boroughs.

The reactions online, in countless articles and Facebook specifically, are very mixed.

Some are glad the run was cancelled.

Some are upset they won’t be running.

Others are urging people who are already in town to volunteer to help victims of Sandy.

In any case, people aren’t being quiet when it comes to how they feel.

The question is: How should people feel?

To train for something that long and not be able to run? To have spent a lot of money on a hotel room and flight and not be able to participate?

I’m tempted to say get over it.

But I also understand how sad it is to not be able to take on a goal.

I think, though, that race is about showcasing the beauty of New York City. In recent days, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and race officials said, instead, it would showcase New York’s resilience. I didn’t buy that.

And yesterday, when Katie at Runs for Cookies wrote about the cancellation of the Saturday 5K event. I figured the marathon would be next. I didn’t think it would take this long, though. I figured it would have been before people started getting into town.

How can you showcase the city when people are without power? Or water? How can you showcase a city when so many need help?

Yes, I’m glad the race was cancelled.

Not because I didn’t get in. But because I think the natural thing to do was cancel it. But for all those who were scheduled to run, letting go of that dream, I’m sure, isn’t easy.

I’ve DNSed several races, specifically when my body was too tired to do anything except sleep, but the races were small. I didn’t have a lot invested into them outside of fees (which for both was in the $40 range).

I feel for race organizers, who can’t please everyone with a decision like this. At the same time, I think the best thing for everyone would be to move on, find a new race if possible, and just be thankful. After all, some people on the East Coast no longer have anything.

Some bad news, some good news

Today didn’t go as well as planned at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon. I finished nine minutes over my PR from last year at 2:36:13.

My problems started at mile three. By mile eight, I was keeled over on the side of the street throwing up. (Sorry for the blunt honesty right there, but there’s no real easy way to say it. Maybe, expelling all my Gu on the streets of San Jose?)

At mile ten, I had another episode. I honestly had a moment where I didn’t think I’d be finishing the race. Then I pulled it together and pushed my hardest.

Today was bad, because I didn’t reach either of my goals for the race.

It was good for a completely different reason.

I don’t write about my job(s) a lot, mainly because I’d rather not get into too much about work on my running blog. But today, I want to share a link to a story I wrote.

It started as a blog post in response to Wisconsin anchorwoman Jennifer Livingston’s on-air response to a letter from a concerned reader about her weight. I had something very, very similar happen to me in 2009.

Full time, I edit a newspaper website. But I’m also a writer. I was a writer before I learned how to code HTML, interpret CSS or shoot and edit video. Today, I revealed a very personal part of myself in an article in the newspaper.

It’s here (with a wedding photo of me even! Another thing I don’t often share because my husband and I have different last names professionally and I typically like to keep that aspect of my life private too).

It’s kind of nice that the story ran today, if only because today was one of those bad runs I address in the story. From each run, we learn something not to do for the next. (For this one, I think having an upset stomach for four days is probably not the best thing to run a half marathon while dealing with.)

Either way, I wanted to share it with my readers. It’s more revealing than I am on here sometimes, though I aim to be candid on my blog as well.

I’ll post a full race recap later this week. Just to warn: it won’t be pretty.