Got up at 5:45 am to run before work. More on why later. Did pretty good. Click the link below to see the route. Heather loved the part where we were in the field. We both got really wet since it had rained the night before.
When my husband and I started getting ready for this ride this morning there was no wind. By the time we started riding (30 minutes later) the winds were blowing strong! Such is the life in Santa Maria CA.
An advantage of starting late is that I caught up to the walkers and started passing some of them. That is a boost to the ‘ol ego.
I wore my Organic Athlete singlet that says “Go Vegan!” on the back. So I was motivated to run as much as I could and when I did walk, I tried not to look wore out. The last thing you want to do is wear something that promotes Veganism and then look tired!
Less than a mile in, I hit the first ‘inlet’. It was not deep at all. But I was definitely going to get my feet wet! Just a head of me was a man and his girlfriend. I said, “OK, you carry her over first, then you come back and carry me next.”
He smiled at me and said sternly, “No one carries anyone. You carry yourself!”
Before the second mile marker we hit our first rock climb. The stroller people were awesome! They just picked up the strollers (kid in them and all) and hauled them up and over and then down the rock. Daaaaaamn! And they would be doing this several more times before the finish line.
At one point, I think it was well after the half way point, an inlet was so deep they had to install a temporary bridge. This fine fellow had to stand at the ready with a shovel to ensure the bridge wouldn’t get washed out during the race. He did a bang up job!
The race was tough! It was on sand the whole time (except for when I was scrambling rocks). I had to walk a lot of it.
It occurred to me that I should start watching for Kris on his way back to the start line. Some day I’ll be able to do a half marathon.
I was plodding along when a gal a little bigger than me came running by me. I have never seen a girl as big as me running in a race. I was excited.
Those of you who know me well know I hope people of all sizes get out and do what they feel like. I don’t want anyone to not try something because thy don’t think they can.
I wanted to call to her “You go fat girl!” But there’s no way I could possibly say it in a way that she would know I meant it in the best possible way. So I just stepped up my pace and ran next to her.
I caught a look out of the corner of my eye and I caught her looking at me out of the corner of her eye. She had a smile on her face as if she was thinking, “Run fat girl run!” and I knew she meant it in the best possible way. :)
We ran next to each other for a few minutes until I saw Kris coming toward me on his way back from the finish line. He looked great! No sweat! Literally. He stopped long enough for us to exchange a mid-race kiss and off he went.
I knew I would make it to the end of the race. But it seemed like it was a long way off. That’s what running in sand will do to you! But there was one more big obstacle to cover before I could ‘bring it home’.
There was one very long stretch of rock to scramble over in the last mile. The tide was rolling back in so the rocks were wet and slippery. And the waves would crash in. So you had to time it right. But the participants were bottle necked. So there was no room to get out of the way most of the time.
I found myself next to a senior couple. The husband was trying to help his wife around the rocks. It made me nervous because I could picture the lady slipping and landing on the jagged rock points. Not cool. She reminded me of my Mom. So I positioned myself right next to her and anchored my feet tight. If she slipped, she was going to fall on me which was fine by me. I have a lot more padding than the rocks do.
So we worked our way through the rocks relatively unscathed. Then at the end, there was a drop. So I went first and dropped down from the last drop and SPLASH! I didn’t realize how much water was at the bottom and I splash that poor old woman up to her waist! I apologized profusely and ran as fast as I could so she couldn’t see the “Go Vegan” on the back of my singlet. I didn’t mean to give vegans a bad name. OOPS!
I made in past the finish line. I was sore! My hamstring was yelling and I had earned a blister from running in wet shoes. However, it was totally worth it! Not only was the endorphins rush great but I got a free post-run massage while listening to Laks play happy post-run music.
Kris had made it back to the start line, picked up the car and had driven it just a block away from the massage table. So all I had to do was roll off the table, walk a couple feet and I was chauffeured home in style!
This Saturday I ran a 10k event for the first time in almost a year. I have ran some 10k routes here on my own this season. But this was my first organized event of the season.
The one thing I’m not fond of in running is that races are always scheduled in the morning. I prefer to sleep in. But the fun and excitement of an event is enough to get me out of bed....at the last minute.
The race was to start at 8:30 and we made it to the registration line a little after 8am. That normally would have been plenty of time. But today, was different. When we showed up, there was an unusually large mass of people lined up at the registration table.
Knowing that most of the registrants must already be through the registration process, I was stunned at the number of runners who must have signed up for this race! I couldn’t even find the line for my last name because the lines were so thick they were just melding into each other.
I also noticed that the lines weren’t moving at all. Luckily, it was a chipped race. So it didn’t matter what time we took off.
Word spread that the computers had gone down and they would start the race late. I managed to get through the line before Kris did. So I had my timing chip and race bib in place which allowed me to be ready with safety pins and zip ties to help Kris with his as soon as he made it through the line.
While I was waiting I watched the activity. There were a ton of people here! All levels of fitness. There were centipede groups that ran tethered together and many families pushing strollers. This was a super hard course not only because it was on sand the whole way. But there were several places you had to climb over rock out-croppings. I couldn’t imagine how the stroller brigades were going to make it through!
People started to congregate near the start line ready to go. There was a Coast Guard patrol boat sitting just off shore which was poised to start up the coast with the runners. I knew it would make it from the start line in Morro Bay to the Cayucus Pier before any of us.
Also, there was a CHP helicopter hovering above us. You can see it above Kris’ head in the picture above. I was comforted to see that as I knew help would come fast if I collapsed halfway through the course.
They started the race while Kris was still waiting to get registered. So I took off without him. Just kidding. I hung out until Kris got his chip and bib. I helped him get them on to save time so we could get started.
Then he needed to find some sun block. Then he had to put some on. Then he had to go to the bathroom. Then he decided it had gotten too hot and had to take off his jacket. Then fold it up and put it in its pouch to clip onto his belt loop. THEN we finally started our walk down to the beach and the start line.
OMG! I run slow, I had to get started soon or else I wouldn’t finish until after dark!
We stepped over the starting mats together and Kris was off. It took 2.6 seconds until he was so far ahead I could no longer see him. I am so proud of him! He is a great runner. In fact, a 10k wasn’t enough for him. Once he hit the finish line, he planned to turn around and run the course back to the start line. This would be a half-marathon for him today.
I knew I could expect to see him on his way back in about 10 minutes. Kris runs fast. He’s 6’2”, 160 pounds of pure muscles (all in his legs). Even the Kenyans are afraid of him.
More on the story tomorrow. I’ll tell you how the stroller brigades did on the rock climbing, how I swam across two inlets and saved a senior lady from drowning. Be sure to check back!
So I had my regular acupuncture appointment today. Boy my practitioner must have sensed I was messed up!
First, we spent 30 minutes in what seemed a counseling session. She always asks what is going on with me physically and then about work and I get the feeling she’s trying to assess what specifically she should do to me any given day.
I don’t know what I said, but it must have scared her because she had me on the table for an hour and a half!!
I think my bike is jinxed. I have fallen on my new bike more in the first 30 days I’ve ridden it than I did the whole eight years that I rode my old bike! What is up with that??
Luckily my falls have been minor. No major slips, skids headers or crashes. Mostly simple tip overs. However, one specific corner seems to be problematic for me.
The first time I was riding with my biker buddy Barb. We had headed out just after work so the traffic was still heavy. We turned onto a busy road in front of a school. Cars everywhere. I don’t get too nervous in traffic. There’s usually plenty of room for the cars and a bike on the side.
This day, a large SUV was next to me. The traffic was going very slow because there was a stoplight a few yards away and again, traffic was heavy in both directions. So the SUV and I were rolling along at about the same speed.
There was only about 6 inches between me and the SUV and I felt crowded. I looked over near the curb and I didn’t think I should move over any closer. This street has a true gutter where the road slopes down to the curb. Also there was a inch wide seam between the road and start of the sloping gutter. Too easy to catch a tire in. Besides that there was some standing water in the gutter left over from recent rains. Add the debris that settles in the gutter and you are just asking for a flat tire. No it was better to stay put.
So the SUV and I kept crawling toward the stop light and I was feeling like if I wobbled just a bit I would bump into the SUV and that wouldn’t be good. So I looked over at the gutter one more time.
I have experience mountain biking which I think sometimes is detrimental to my road riding. I looked at the gutter as if I was on my mountain bike. Ah, I can hit that seem head on and make it. Then I’ll hug the left side and I’ll be fine. There’s not much water. My tread should hold me on the road.
So I hit the seam head on and get over it fine. I straighten out right away and I’m rolling fine......for ten seconds.
All of a sudden, my back wheel is sliding out toward the curb.
I remember thinking, “Why the hell am I sliding?!!!!” I should have been thinking “How can I straighten out fast?”
Road bikes don’t have tread like mountain bikes. When my wheel hit the slimey standing water in the gutter, there was no tread to hold me to the road.
I was falling into the lane. The moment I moved over the SUV sped up and was no longer next to me. Which in this case was a good thing. However, all I could think of was that there was a long line of cars behind the SUV. I couldn’t help but wonder if I was about to be hit.
So my plan was to jump up and get me and my bike out of the street as fast as possible. I started unclipping on the way down. As soon as I hit the street I jumped up grabbed my bike and headed for the sidewalk.
The fact that I didn’t hear any car tires squealing was a good sign. As soon as I made it safely to the sidewalk and I knew I wasn’t going to get hit my ego kicked in. “OMG! Did anyone see that? I must have looked like a dork! No one saw. No one saw. No one saw.” I chanted in my head.
“HEY! ARE YOU OK????”
Damn! Someone saw. I looked up and across the street was a runner. In true runner fashion she hadn’t stopped running but called to me as she went by. I gave her two thumbs up and she waved and went on her way. I looked in the street and all the cars were stopped! EVERYONE saw. The car I fell in front of was a good ten feet back from where I fell. The driver must have seen my tire start to slide and just stopped their car to give me room to fall.
Or the driver is also a biker and stopped his/her car when they saw me ride into the gutter, knowing I was being stupid and there was only a matter of seconds before I’d be going down.
Barb by this time had came up on the sidewalk too.
“OMG! I have never seen anyone get up so fast!”
“Yeah. I didn’t want to hang out in the street too long.”
Barb, a typical biker asks: “Is your bike ok?”
I had thrown my chain. But that was all. Not even a scratch on my bike!
That the first ‘go down’ on that corner. The very next weekend Barb, Kris and I were riding again and at the same spot. This time we were going around the corner. My head was turned looking at a really cool car when out of my peripheral vision I saw Kris suddenly stop. I was following too close and bumped into him and down I went. But this time I fell onto the sidewalk instead. No harm no fowl.
Incidentally, on our way back in from that same ride, we had to come back through that intersection. This time doing a left turn. I hate left turns. But we made it through safely this time. Hopefully, the bad mojo of the corner and the jinx of my bike has been broken!
As I was packing up my desk today I decide I would go on a long run tonight. (A long run for me is 4 miles). I had done the four mile route last week and enjoyed it and thought I’d do it again.
By the time I got home I decided that I would do a long, hard run. I felt I needed it. So I decided to try to cover the four miles in 45 minutes. Which, for me, is super fast. I knew when I set that goal it wasn’t terribly realistic. But why not shoot for it? So often you find you can do amazing things you didn’t think you could. So fine. The game was on. Four miles in 45 minutes.
Heather and I left a note for Dad and took off.
Heather is a great running buddy. She (almost) always run at my pace and she cheers me on as I go. But she usually poops once on every route. No problem really. We have those cute little bag holders attached to her leash. So usually, it’s super handy to stop quickly pick it up and move on. The other unusual thing about Heather is that she pretty much always poos very near a poop station.
A poop station is one of those garbage can and bag dispenser combinations you see at dog parks. My neighborhood has a million of them. They can be found almost every half block which is great! You don’t have to carry poop too far in my neighborhood!
But even when we’re outside the neighborhood Heather has this knack for pooing near a trash receptacle of some sort. Good Dog!
So as we were heading out of the neighborhood I had no poop concerns at all. Then Heather decides to stop and poo. In a place she’s never used before. Go figure!
I was still walking for my warm up so I didn’t have to lose much time picking it up. But my warm up time was about over and I would have to start running. I didn’t want to run with a bag of poo in my hand as it’ll swing back and forth and bounce against my arm. Ew! Not to mention how it’d look to be running down the street with a bag of poop!
What will people think? That I stole it and am now running away? That someone is chasing me to get the poop??
“Hey yoooooou! Give me back my POOOOOOP!!!!!!!!!!!”
Besides, I wasn’t even one mile into the run yet. I really did not want to be carrying this poop for three more miles!
Luckily, we hadn’t officially left the neighborhood yet. So I knew I would find a poop station nearby. I looked up to the corner which is the official end of the neighborhood. No station. So I looked behind me to make sure I hadn’t passed one. Didn’t see a thing.
Oh well, I think there is one near the bus stop around the corner and we’d be running right past it anyway. So warm up was over. I started running. Heather’s leash in my left hand; Heather’s poop in my right.
When we turned up at the corner, I looked toward the bus stop and I didn’t see a station! Oh, I forgot, it’s not at the bus stop, it’s at the next corner. Ok, one more block of ‘poop’ running. I can manage.
We make it to the corner and no station!!! Did I dream this?? There are so many stations in my neighborhood. Where are they now? I guess the stations are concentrated in the center of the neighborhood. So here I am standing at a busy stop light with hundreds of cars whizzing by and me standing there holding a bag of sh/t.
All I could hope for is that the cars were full of my neighbors so they could see I’M not the one who has been leaving poop around the neighborhood when walking my dog.
We ran across the busy street (I waited for the light to turn green Mom, don’t worry) and headed out of the residential area into an industrial zone. So I didn’t have much farther to run before I spotted a super-sized dumpster. Yeah dumpster! Poop dumped! Running poop free. Oh I felt so light now!
Now I could focus on beating my goal of 45 minutes. I felt like I was making good time. I was running pretty far without a break and I felt my pace was a little faster than normal. I had a chance!
My Nike+ will give me status updates along the run. I had already heard my Nike+ tell me “One mile completed.” I was waiting for the “Halfway point” notice so I could check my pace and see if I was on target. I was expecting it any minute now. But it was not coming.
Finally, I hear “Halfway point” and I check the time mark. I needed to be at 22’5” to be on target. I was at 26’05”. Crap! I was more than four minutes behind target. But I knew I had a down hill piece coming up where I may be able to make up some time. Also, I could do a few fartleks during the last mile and maybe make up some more time. So I pushed hard.
Heather kept trying to stop and smell things and even SAT DOWN and itched her back at one point. The last two miles was filled with “Come on! Let’s go! Move! Move!” She rarely slows me down. She is usually happy to run as fast as I do. I wonder if her long run with Dad yesterday wore her out and she was trying to take a break.
There is a short piece of single track on the way back into the neighborhood and she was running in front of me. I had to keep yelling at her to keep her moving. She even stopped dead once and I about tumbled over her. Yikes! I bet she wondered what was up with me tonight!
When I hit the last mile I started the fartleks. I only managed one good one. I was spent! I kept trying to do short sprints but just didn’t have any juice left. I actually had to walk the last quarter mile. Disappointing, but I knew I had pushed hard on this run. So I felt good anyway. I doubted I made my time goal but still held on to a sliver of hope.
When my Nike+ announced “Goal Attained. Four miles completed”. I checked the time immediately. 50’26” almost six minutes short of goal. But it was a solid two minutes better than my last time on the route. So, you know, life is good! :)
My husband is on the far left. I am in the front row on the right.
My husband and I are so surprised how many people quickly claim “Oh, I can’t run.” when they hear that we run.
I don’t understand why so many people are so sure they can’t run. Especially after they hear I run. My goodness! If I can run anyone can. I am not built for running. I am 5 foot tall and quite thick. When I say ‘thick’ I mean I weigh about as much as my husband who is 6 foot 2 inches. He, by the way, is built like a runner. There are two big secrets to running, that if everyone knew these secrets, no one would think “I can’t run.”
I remember before I started running I perceived running to be quite a feat. I had heard about people who were runners to the point that they claimed they can’t live without it. That they HAVE to run and when they don’t they feel terrible and even the people near them can tell the difference.
I thought something was wrong with these people. That they were rare, and special and very very lucky to not just enjoy something that burns up so many calories but NEED it.
I felt terrible when I had run in the past. When I look back, I never really ran unless I had to. For instance, in gym class. I have never heard of any gym program teaching people how to run. For me, it was always, “Ok class, we’re starting our running unit today. Run around the perimeter of the gym for 40 minutes then hit the showers.”
The skinny and athletic girls would take off running chatting to each other as they made lap after effortless lap around the gym. The rest of us girls, (the over weight, the unexercised and the druggies), would plod along gasping for air and hoping the stitches in our sides would go away. Forty minutes later, the gym teacher would blow her whistle indicating the torture was over for that day and it was time to shower.
The ‘runners’ would trot into the locker room while the rest of us would collapse in individual heaps. The strongest of us would crawl to the locker room under our own power while the rest just laid there until the air came back to their lungs and heart beats finally regulated.
The gym teacher would bark at us, “Come on girls! You’ll have to do better than that! You’ll have to run a six minute mile by the end of the unit to pass. That’s only six weeks away. You’re going to have to pick it up!”
“Oh my God! We have to do this for six weeks???”
Every class was more of the same. Run run run. Just run. No coaching. No starting at the level you were at. We were just expected to run. I mean after all you can’t teach someone to run right? You just put on shoes and go run. Either you’re good at it or not.
Well, high school is many many years behind me and I hope they don’t still treat running in the same way. I learned that while running is incredibly simple. You do need to ‘learn’ to run in a sense.
If you decide to become a runner one day and just take off on run, my experience is that you will not likely stick with it. Let’s face it; running is a high impact sport for sure. It is highly stressful on your joints, muscles, cardiac system, and some times psyche. Unless, you break it in slowly you’re going to be overly tired, sore and feel like here is one more thing you're not good at. If you break in slowly and work up to running for significant times or distances, it can be just the perfect medicine for your joints, muscles, cardiac system and psyche.
Through my childhood, college and most of my adult life (ok, all of my adult life to date) I have struggled with weight and body image. I kept trying to take up running because I thought it would burn off the most calories in the shortest amount of time (which is for the most part true). But I could never stick with it. How do people do this?? I hated running. It hurt, it was hard and I was so sore the next day it just made it harder to run.
I felt like crap mentally too because I knew I couldn’t run like all these other people I saw at the gym and on the road who actually seemed to enjoy it! I was never much good at anything remotely athletic. So why should I expect to be good at running? It would just have to be something I forced myself to struggle at or just simply give up trying.
So I just gave up trying. But I was always intrigued. And one day I ran across the book “No Need for Speed” by John Bingham. I read the description on the back and decided to give it a read. I believe that book is what opened the door to me to become a runner.
Mr. Bingham didn’t start running until he was in his forties. In fact, he became an “adult on-set athlete” at age 43 when he was 80 (that’s eighty) pounds overweight and....get this...a smoker!
If this guy could run why couldn’t I? What was his secret? How did he get past the pain and the fatigue and soreness etc?
Unlike my gym teachers, Mr. Bingham did not recommend going out and running for 40 minutes at a time. In fact, depending on your fitness level at the time you want to start running, Mr. Bingham suggests you might not run at all!
Huh? If you haven’t so much as taken a walk since Howdy Doodie was on the air, he suggests you start out walking only. Once you do start running you still don’t just run. You warm up by walking five to ten minutes then run for one minute (maybe 30 seconds) and then walk for five minutes (or ten or fifteen).
That is big secret number one of runners: None of us (with very few exception) started out running full miles. We typically run a little bit at a time and then run a little further on the next outing.
In fact, Mr. Bingham cautions not to do more than his prescribed program directs. Even though you will feel like doing more, don’t. Because if you do, you’ll over do it and be too sore to do your next ‘run’.
Even now that I have a couple solid years under my belt as a runner, it is a rare occurrence for me to go out and run my full distance without any walking breaks. In fact, elite marathon runners often use walking breaks and find their overall time to be better for it.
So that leads us to big secret number two of runners: When we say “Had a great run today!” We likely walked part of it.
So if you think “I can’t run.” I reply with confident “Yes you can.”
There are many books on the subject of running out there today. It's easy to find many with beginning runner plans in them. I invite everyone who has entertained the idea of running to check out these walk-to-run plans and give it a try.