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Posts tagged ‘runs’

Reasons to be thankful

Eventually I’ll get around to my Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay recap. But today is Thanksgiving. And, despite my recent turmoil, I’m finding I have a lot to be thankful for in my life.

There are people who are and continue to be amazing to me. There are certain events that have happened that I am incredibly grateful to have been part of. I have food on my plate every night. I have a warm home. I have a nice car to drive. I have a lot.

Here’s a short list of reasons I’m thankful today, just because it’s that time of the year. And this is in no particular order.

My grandmother: I’m 28 years old and my grandmother still makes the best Thanksgiving dinner ever. Hands down. Her pies, too, are to die for. My grandfather used to love having family together. After he died in 1996, my grandmother continued to host Thanksgiving. She has done so nearly every year. I’m glad I’m still able to enjoy the holidays with her and she’s still able to host. It gives me a lot of joy to be with her at Thanksgiving.

My brother’s girlfriend Ashley: For making the amazing Rice Krispie treat turkeys seen above. She handed a holiday with my family. And she did so with grace. I think that means she’s a keeper.

My mother: We just finished spending three days and two nights together in Monterey for the half marathon. I’m glad she was able to get away with me on a much needed little vacation. She’s been a constant through all the crap I’ve been dealing with lately. And I’m incredibly thankful for all the support.

(Wo)man’s best friend(s): Our dogs Sky and Beau spent most the day knocking over nearly everything on the first level of our home, but I don’t think I’d be able to make it through some days without them. Beau just seems to know when I need someone to come over and give me a kiss. He puts his head in my lap when I’m sad. Sky gives me her paw to tell me she loves me too. It’s comforting to have my two Chow Chows with me.

Lasting friendships: My best friend and the maid of honor in my wedding came from Stockton last night, where she is visiting parents. I made lasagna and we enjoyed apple pie she brought for dessert. We had a great conversation that lasted more than two hours. That sort of love, especially right now, is amazing to me. I can never say enough thank yous.

My husband’s humor: I’ve had a lot of moments lately where I’ve just wanted to stay in my room and have a good cry. My husband is an amazing man who makes me laugh, even when I don’t want to. He’s good at pulling me out of the darkness and giving me a reason to want to smile again.

My home: Two years ago, we purchased our house in Tracy and quickly went about making it a home. I’m thankful that we have the resources to make it a comfortable place to retreat to and continue to be here for a long time.

Our backyard: My husband worked his tailbone off to put our beautiful backyard together. We can now enjoy it, even in the winter, just by looking out the window. It’s a little overgrown right now, but it’s plush and green and I love looking at it.

Running: It’s my saving grace right now. It’s where I can think. Whether it’s one mile or 20, or 26.2 in less than two weeks, it’s helping me figure things out when times get tough.

My Nikes: Yes, my LunarEclipse’s are on my list. Best pair of running shoes I’ve ever owned. Worth every penny of the $150 price tag. I’m thankful for them every run.

Racing: It makes me feel like myself. It tests my ability. It challenges me to be better. I’ll likely be narrowing down my list  of runs into the next year, but I’m hoping to do some volunteer work to earn me entry into some Brazen races too.  Hopefully I can continue to do races, but cut back on costs too.

My phone not ringing: I never thought I’d be so glad that few people are calling me or reaching out right now. (For those of you who have, yes, I’ve received your words of encouragement and emails, I’m just not quick to respond as of late because I don’t know what to say, how to thank you. I will, though, at some point.) Right now it’s nice not to be on anyone’s immediate call list.

Netflix and Hulu: For being my entertainment on my treadmill. It’s rare I venture out for a run these days and never without Jennie, so I’ve been doing a lot of speed work and distance on my treadmill.

Chocolate: I don’t think I need to explain this. But I really need to eat less of it. I’m getting a little more round than I should be.

Diet Coke: Everyone says it will kill me, but it saved me from my five Pepsi a day habit. Plus I’m no longer drinking my calories.

Lululemon: Luxtreme is smooth. I love smooth. The one day I go without a Lululemon Run:Swifty shirt during a race, I came away with horrible chafing on my arms. Four days later and it’s still healing. I’ll never do that again. There’s a reason runners stick with what they know. That’s it.

My own turkey trot: Six miles on the treadmill this morning. I also donated $10 to the Red Cross. I’m more relieved that I skipped the local one than not now, especially since I was able to do some good (by donating).

Hopefully I’ll be able to blog my Big Sur Half recap before the weekend ends. I’m looking forward to talking about what went right and what went wrong. So much more went right than wrong.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Reasons to run on Monterey Bay

I’ll be writing a detailed race report of my nine-minute course record experience at the Big Sur Half on Monterey Bay, but realized I have a ton of photos from the two nights I spent on the Central Coast with my mom.

First of all: It was just what I needed. It felt good getting away. (It didn’t feel good coming home, realizing I had to face reality again, but that’s for another post at another time.)

My mom and I did this trip last year too since my husband isn’t a fan of traveling for races.

We had a good time. So when I signed up for this race in May I invited her again. We had a really good time again. We walked around, we went on a whale watching tour and explored the Monterey peninsula.

It was a beautiful weekend.

The weather was rainy when we left the Central Valley on Saturday afternoon. It poured for the first 20 minutes of our ride down Interstate 5. But then the skies became clear, for the most part. When we got to Monterey Bay, it was partly cloudly with a 30-percent chance of showers on Sunday morning.

It was a perfect weekend to take in the sites and relax. I was tempted, numerous times, to cancel this trip in light of what happened a few weeks ago.

I didn’t because it was $115 to register for the race. I had a $348 hotel booked as well. And my mom was really looking forward to it. So I was.

I was affirmed by my husband who told me it would be good for me to leave. He said it would be nice to get away from everything and be somewhere else.

I’m glad I went now.

Because it was an amazing weekend.

We even walked Cannery Row, which I ran on Sunday, before we left to come back home.

There were workers painting the candy cane-colored fence around the tree, which we ran by, and prepping everything for Santa to arrive in his coastal getaway from the North Pole.

Everywhere we went, there were waves crashing up and down the coast. The weather was perfect. Conditions, overall, were just beautiful.

Perfect running weather.

I figured I’d share these images after my gross chafing post. These are much easier to look at.

A one-day weekend

I once heard that one in every four women sweat more profusely than the others. I’ve always been one of “those” women. I sweat pretty easily. I’ll start shooting video on a relatively nice day and within 20 minutes beads of sweat will be rolling down my back. This is probably too much information, but it’s true.

In nearly every race photo, I look like a sweat factory.

The photo above is my shirt from today’s run. (No, I didn’t run the marathon last year, only the half, but nearly ALL the apparel for the Nike event is “marathon” related. I only ran five miles too.

Today is Sunday. It’s also my one-day weekend.

Yesterday I had dreams of relaxing and even going wine tasting with my husband. He mentioned it last week. Last night he sent me a text saying his family was having lunch for his nephew today. I didn’t go.

I can count pretty high up on the things I haven’t gone to lately. Ask my parents. Ask my grandmothers. They haven’t seen me in what has been months. Why? I’m tired. And I stay home when I get the chance because every single day Monday through Friday I’m working nearly 12 hours between my two jobs.

What’s that you say? I did this to myself. Yes. And I should be thankful to even have one job let alone two? I am, believe me I am. My second job helps pay for races. And let’s face it, that’s really important to me. Seriously.

But I flat out refuse to do ANYTHING on my days off sometimes. I mean, outside of doing the laundry because if I didn’t no one would. (One time, I’ll tell you about when I went out of two for nearly a week, came home on a Sunday and my husband didn’t have any clothes because he didn’t do his own laundry. It happened.) I’ll be fair, he did vacuum yesterday.

I worked on Saturday launching an annual project at work. I’ll end up switching my day off for Tuesday, which I would have taken as a vacation day otherwise to teacher. So on weeks like this, I do a day switch that results in me having one day off in a 13 day period, because on my day off from my full-time job, I’m at my part-time job all day.

Understand? Yeah, my husband gets lost with my schedule too.

I ran eight on Saturday before work. Today I got up, showered and went to Target early. Because Target early is better, when no one is there. Also because something amazing happened at Target today.

The Shops at Target debuted. It’s like a mini boutique collection. Items from five different shops were put out today. I love it when Target gets fancy.

I score a great navy eyelet skirt for $29.99 from The Webster collection. (No photo because it’s in the washing machine since it’s a very shrinkable 100-percent cotton).

And candy.

The tragedy is that the candy assorted is available in San Francisco, only about 60 miles from me. Not even a long drive considering I lived in Oakland, right across the bay, for two years.

Then I started watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Both movies. One right after another.

I realized a couple hours ago it was time to get my run in. Usually if I wake up, take my shower and start my day, I forget the run. It’s a success when I come back to it and do it.

It was also the perfect time to test out two new items to make my left IT band, the one that rages at me (I imagine it giving me the middle finger when I run), a more happy IT band.

Look! My carpet isn’t a disaster! And I had to tighten that band up quite a bit to prevent it from slipping down over my Nike retro capris, which are longer than most of the capris I’ve been buying lately, a good thing if you ask me. One day I’ll write a side-by-side of the Nike retro capris and the Lululemon Run: In the Sun capris. Same premise, different execution.

I hoped on my treadmill. Which is right next to a window. Which was receiving the bulk of the sun. At nearly the hottest time of the day. Fail.

But I pushed through, watching “Don’t be Afraid of the Dark” with Katie Holmes. I’m usually not a fan of her. I became less of a fan when she married Tom Cruise. Because I’m really not a fan of him. But it was a decently scary horror movie.

I’ve been picking up the pace lately, turning the treadmill to a higher speed. So I averaged a 10:54 mile.

At 54:34 I hit five miles. And, rather than pushing it for a couple more, I decided that was enough.

Then, I tried out my second new running-related item.

It’s the Trigger Point Quadballer. And it’s a little like Heaven.

I immediately rolled out my left IT band, which didn’t have any pain  probably thanks to the new band. It’s much firmer than the Trigger Point Grid roller that I love as well. This puts nice pressure where I need it.

Now I’m rounding out my one-day weekend by watching Netflix on the couch while waiting for clothes to dry for me to fold.

And hanging out with Beau.

Who needs to be brushed. Pretty badly.

A good day? Yes. I know I still need to/want to run outside and not resort to my treadmill. I really want to hit the trails and sidewalks of Mountain House, but my schedule has prevented it lately.

I only have two more weeks of teaching for the semester. Then I’m planning a summer of running. Lots and lots of running.

Training off track

I spent Saturday at a journalism conference with my students, after a very long week and three runs totaling 20 miles.

I was tired when I woke up on Saturday morning. Way too tired. But I kept on, because I need to be “on” for my students all the time. I’ve learned working two jobs that calling in sick isn’t useful or even doable most days.

So I spent Saturday at Sacramento State University listening to journalists and industry professionals educate the future patrons of the industry. That included a talk by Sacramento Bee reporter Jon Ortiz, who is the lead contributor on The State Worker blog.

That’s Ortiz talking to the student. The organizers of this conference have on-the-spot competitions. The students swarming Ortiz were competing for the photo category. They kept it up the entire time, which caused me to question why some kind of rules weren’t put in place allowing photos for the first 15 minutes only.

But I digress.

The day went by quickly. Everything went fine. My students got back to campus at a decent hour. I got home by 8 p.m. And I was out, literally, before 10 p.m.

During the early part of Saturday, my chest started hurting. It was sore. I was tired. I chalked it up to just not being at 100 percent.

By the evening, I was kind of heaving while I breathed. I woke up three or four times in the night. My throat was sore too. I’d gone to sleep early to make sure I wouldn’t miss my run with Jennie. I wasn’t even waking up too early with a 6 a.m. alarm time.

Plus, I had a new toy to try out on my run.

My iFitness belt that I plan to wear during the California International Marathon arrived on Saturday. I stuffed it in my bag and got pulled my clothes to the side.

I missed my alarm. I was actually awakened by a text from Jennie. By 6:15 a.m. by body was sore and my chest hurt bad. The run would be a no go. It sucked because I wanted to run. It sucked because Jennie was already getting ready. And it sucked because this was literally my last chance to redo the 20-mile run that we tried a couple weeks ago.

Instead, I went back to bed. I’d let myself down. I’d let Jennie down.

I slept for another four hours before finally waking up. I’ve been on the couch all day taking cold pills. I want to run. But I can’t. My husband says no. But I’d love to get on the treadmill and at least get in six before the days ends.

The problem with training for my first marathon is that I don’t know when I’ve pushed myself too hard. I don’t know when to ease back and when to push harder.

I run more now than I did eight weeks ago. The distances are longer. But will that sustain me through 26.2 miles? I don’t know.

And that worries me.

My training plan called for one 20-mile run. I did it. I also did a 15. And I’ve done several 10-mile runs. I’m tired now. My body is rebelling, even with rest days.

I keep saying that happenings like today put my training off track. I read somewhere that the marathon isn’t one day. It’s a reflection of training over many, many months.

I hope that comes through on Dec. 4 because I’m not feeling confident right now.

A glitchy Garmin

I noticed something a couple weeks ago when Jennie and I ran the 20-miler on a Sunday. Actually I didn’t notice it as much as I heard it.


Small, little beeps.

I looked down and my Garmin had a message that was coming more and more predictable: “Low battery.”

The 405CX had been in “training” mode for a little under five hours. It is supposed to last eight. It was dying.

I kept pushing forward because I really wanted to display to say “20.” How could I run 20 miles and NOT have the proof? How cruel would that be? And then it died. I had to boot it back up. I ended up running 20.09 miles because it didn’t track some of my running for some time.

I had to face a kind of horrible reality: The Garmin wouldn’t be able to hang with me for an entire marathon, particularly because I’m not fast. I average 10:50 to 11:30-minute miles during my long runs. I’m just hoping to finish my first marathon in under six hours. Garmin would die before I got there.

I also had to realize that there were warning signs.

My Garmin has been malfunctioning a lot lately. It would freeze. The battery was suddenly in dead zone, despite charging. It was getting more and more glitchy. During the Nike Women’s Half Marathon it didn’t even pick up a signal until I was somewhere near mile two. Then it started beeping at me and giving me no indication why at mile 10 of the same run.

It was time to face the truth: I had to open a ticket with Garmin.

I did. The first response was to update the software. I did. Then I went on a 10-mile run with Jennie. The battery drained 39-percent. It would, again, only last five hours.

I contacted Garmin again. They set up a “ticket.”

On Monday, I packaged my faithful running companion up and send it to Olathe, Kansas.

It’s blurry and sad. I had to basically strip Gertrude down to her bare bones. She left without even the wrist bands attached. Just the body. No accessories. I packed it in a box with care. I taped it up. I walked it over to the post office near where I worked. And I sent it on it’s way, overnight express.

I knew, from reading other blogs, that I will likely get a different unit sent back to me. I’m hoping that’s not the case. I love my Garmin, especially since she was with me for my first half marathon. I wanted her to be with me for my marathon. I’m sentimental like that.

I considered the sendoff kind of like a viking funeral. I sent Gertrude off in style.

And now I’m checking the myGarmin website to see where the progress is on it. It says “awaiting shipping.”

I’m not sure what happens from here, but I ran 10-miles this morning and definitely felt a little lost without my constant running companion. Jennie and I have another 20-miler scheduled for this weekend. I know the route, yes. But it’s not the same without Gertrude. Not at all.