Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I Will Keep Running

So I’m working with my trainer at the gym this morning and found out she has had breast cancer three times and was just diagnosed last week with a type of cervical cancer. It happens to be the same type of cancer her mom died from.

Why do some of us seem to go through repeated suffering when others seemed blessed to ‘sail’ through life?

I will never know the answer to that question. But I do know I will keep running.

I will keep running
Because when life’s devastating injustices threaten to crush my spirit, running keeps me encouraged.
Because when my inability to make sense of these injustices drives me crazy, running keeps me sane.
Because I can use my running to raise funds to help people.
Because many people would like to run but can’t.
Running hides my tears in my sweat.
Running keeps me healthy. (Though it’s no guarantee).
I will run because I can (and it’s wrong to let an ability be taken for granted).
I will run to encourage others to run.
I will run to show strangers that I care and support them.
I will run because no one minds if at the end of a marathon you just sit down and cry for awhile.
I will run because to stop will allow the demons to over take me.
I will run until I can’t run any more.

And I will slide into the next realm used up and finished with my race.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Destined to FailDestined to Fail by Samantha March

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If I was a high school English teacher this book would be on my classroom reading list. What a great book for girls to learn the trappings of abusive relationships, how to protect their self-worth and how to keep going and even thrive when things never seem to go your way. Great debut Ms. March!

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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Have been plagued with injuries since my marathon. After the marathon I had an over use injury on my achillies tendon. I went to physical therapy and during the second week of therapy, I pulled my calf muscle! And, just for fun, my plantar fasciitis started acting up. But they all got under control and my husband and I were off to a fun weekend in Carmel where we were going to enjoy some fresh trail running! :) 

I am so disappointed! I was so excited to trail run in a new place after my injuries seemed to be completely healed. My physical therapist said to let loose on this run to test my injuries as he and I both felt they were healed and I would go in for my last appointment tomorrow to tell him how it went. As far as I could tell, all the injuries were healed up. But only about two miles into my run on a beautiful downhill piece, my ankle rolled to the side, down I went and I heard a big crunch!

I sat there in the middle of the trail and I was scared! I knew I was hurt. But I didn't know how bad. My first instinct of course was to call Kris who was somewhere on the same hill range. But I didn't know where. I didn't think I should call him until I knew how bad I was. But at the same time, I was afraid to try to move until I talked to him. I think talking to him gave me the comfort I needed and the motivation to get up and move toward him.

So I called him. It probably was a stupid sounding call because I told him I hurt myself and I didn't know if I could walk. But I would meet him at the ranger's station and if I found I couldn't walk, I'd call him back. At least I had a good idea of where I was so if I had to wait, he'd be able to find me. 

But luckily I could walk though it hurt and was scary. I was so glad to have Heather with me. Her presence kept me calm. She was totally unbothered which she showed by chasing quail and other small animals that scurried in the brush on our way down to the RS.

I made it to the ranger's station and Kris was there shortly after that. I was feeling better since I made it all the way to the RS by myself. I thought it couldn't be that bad of an injury.

We got back to the Inn, iced it for awhile. Then it was time for lunch. We had a really nice lunch and did a little shopping. Bad idea! After the first shop, the pain was getting worse and worse and it started swelling up.

Back to the Inn for more icing. It hurt to have ice on it and I couldn't get in any position that was comfortable and I couldn't put any weight on it. We decided we better get it looked at. Urgent care was closed so to the ER we went. I was out in 1.5 hrs which I thought was pretty good for an ER visit. X-rays showed no fracture. Thank you God! Bad sprain and an air cast for a week. Crutches suck. They make my arms hurt. But at least I won't be on them for long.

I am not looking forward to going back to physical therapy tomorrow. I know I am going to catch hell!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Chick Lit Challenge 2012

 Calling all bibliophiles! (Especially of the Chick Lit genre). Samantha is doing her Chick Lit challenge again in 2012. The 2011 challenge was so much fun! (I won something for like three months out of the challenge)!

Running out of books? It's a great way to get leads for new authors, books and debut authors! So jump on board and get ready for some good reads in 2012!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Phone KittenPhone Kitten by Marika Christian

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Phone Kitten. Yep, it's about a girl who ends up working on a phone sex line. I wasn't sure how the author would handle the phone sex scenes without being too graphic. She handled it perfectly!

The opening scene was catching and the characters were fun! I wasn't sure if the "History Hottie" was a good guy or a bad guy for most of the book. (I'm not telling. You have to read it yourself!) ;)In fact, the whole mystery was intriguing and I was kept guessing until the end.

The book was full of action, comedy and a little bit of romance!

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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Test 1

TNT Marathon 2011

Wow! I am really behind in my blog posts. I never finished blogging about our mini-break to Yosemite or the last part of marathon training or the 20 mile training run.

Oh well, at the tail end of marathon training the priority is the taper and the mental as well as physical recovery/recharging for the big race. So if I have to slide on the blog, I have to slide on the blog.

But now, not only is the marathon over, my vacation that I attach to my marathons is over, and..... I’ve started training again. For a marathon in April. Ok. maybe it’ll be a half. But I’ll have to explain all that in another post.

For now, I wanted to talk about this year’s marathon. I had a great time and am so happy to do it again, but..... it was much harder than last year. On a few levels.

First, our friend Robb was not going to be in town this year. Twenty years after college (Ugh, like I have to let people know how old I am!!!) I found out he was living in San Francisco and went to see him. He was just as fun and sweet as I remembered him in college! So I was excited at the prospect of seeing him each year when I went up to run the marathon.

Kris really enjoyed hanging out with him too. So we were both looking forward to seeing him. But alas, he decided to run off to Palm Springs with his buddies instead. Can’t imagine why he’d choose that over staying at home! Oh well.

I think that was an omen as few things didn’t go right this trip...

I take the team bus up to San Francisco and Kris follows in his car. He parks at the BART station in Melbrae and “BARTs” it in from there and meets me at the hotel.

So I made it to the hotel well before Kris. The hotel clerk asked if I’d like to upgrade to one of the tower rooms. It has an ocean view and is higher up so it is quiet. I knew Kris and I would really appreciate the quiet and the price difference was reasonable. I thought it’d be a nice surprise for Kris. You know, make him happy.

But he was not happy when I saw him.

Apparently, things did not go that well at the BART station. We thought you could buy the long term pass at the station. You could not. So Kris couldn’t leave the car there. So he had to drive into the city and put the car in Valet for the night.

We already had a packed schedule for the rest of the day and the next day at that. So it was going to be tricky as it was to get everything done and make it back in time for the pre-marathon dinner.

The BART fiasco would haunt us further later.

So off we went on the first order of business, getting my race packet.

I went up to the bank of registrars, a girl waved me over to her and I gave her my name.

“Oh, you’re with Team in Training.”


“Oh, then you have a special place to check in at.”

“Oh, where’s that?” It was the first I had heard of a special check in.

“Uh, over there I think,” she said, as she vaguely waved to her left.

Kris and I walked to the left. Didn’t see anywhere for TNT registration. So we were standing there looking ill-informed. A volunteered walked up  to us and asked, “Can I help you find something?” Which roughly translated means, “It’s crowded in here and my job is to make sure people don’t stand in one place to long and jam up the traffic ways.”

I explained what we were told and the guy just looked confused. Then brightened up and  said, “Here, they can help you at the ‘Solutions Desk’”.

So the gal at the solutions desk was stuffing swag bags. I told her the deal.

“Oh, I can check you in right here. Name please?”

I told her my name and I noticed she didn’t say specifically that she was the person to check the TNT participants in. Also, there was no computer screen for me to see that all my information was correct and that the timing chip was entered. At the original registrar I went to, they all had a computer screen facing out so the people registering could see the information that was assigned to the bib # they are given and that their timing chip was entered and activated.

This is very important as you want to be sure your name is spelled right so you can find it when the results post after the race and that your gender and age is correct so that you are placed in the correct division, again for accurate race results. And most importantly, you want to see that your timing chip is entered and assigned to you so you have an official time.

This went wrong for Kris one race. His timing chip didn’t register properly. So he ran the full race (kicked but as usual) but there were no results for him nor evidence that he even ran the thing!

So when she grabbed the next bib from the top of the pile, scanned it and said, “Here you are.” I was nervous since I couldn’t verify my info or that the timing chip was entered correctly.

I’m a little hard wired for anxiety. I get a little antsy about certain things. So before I left the table I said, “So, the timing chip is all activated and everything?”

Which by that I meant, the timing chip is assigned to me and is activated properly.

She responded, “Oh, those chips just stay on the whole time. They’re never turned off.”

Because she didn’t respond to me in the exact verbiage I wanted, I remained unsure of the status of my registration. I didn’t want to ask her again and seem like I was arguing with her. One, because I didn’t think she’d understand what I am getting at and two, she was super nice and I didn’t want her to feel like she was being hassled.

So I smiled, said, “Thank you so much” and walked away.

As I was walking toward the exit, I couldn’t shake my unease. I mean what if my timing chip doesn’t work, what if it’s assigned to someone else or no one at all? I think I was muttering out loud my concerns. I saw another volunteer and I walked up to her to plead my case:



I tried again a little slower this time and less frantic sounding, “I went to register and was told to go someplace else. But she didn’t know where. So I went to the solutions desk. But she didn’t have the computer monitors that face me. So I couldn’t verify my information. So I’m not sure my chip is activated. I was hoping I can still check it somehow?”

Just as I finished, another volunteer was walking by and the lady said, “Hey, Mark, can you take this crazy lady to a computer and let her verify the info on her bib?”

“Oh yeah, no problem. Come over here.”

Actually I don’t think she said “Crazy lady”. But as I followed the volunteer to a computer I did hear Kris tell her simply, “Six months of marathon training.” She replied, “I understand completely.” 

The guy scanned my bid and the timing chip was there and all my info was correct. (Except it showed I was from Santa Monica. But oh well. I couldn’t care less about that!)

Mission accomplished! On to the next bit of fun.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Post Marathon Psychosis

The marathon was two weeks ago. It was an amazing experience again this time. Yet so different from last year. Once I've re-gained my mental capacity I'll blog about it. However, this small observation is all I can write about for now....

In the middle of my first season's marathon training I thought, "It'll sure be nice when this intense training is over so I can actually do some things other than eat, sleep and run." By the end of the first season's training I was thinking, "What the heck am I going to do when I don't have to run all the time?"

Well, last weekend we were still on vacation and my husband was doing a half marathon in Oregon. So that weekend was still full of early mornings to go run. No problem.

This weekend was the first weekend we didn't HAVE to get up early and run. In fact, I'm just starting my recovery and I have an over-use injury I'm nursing. So I'm not running much at all right now.

It was a weird weekend. I spent it crafting and reading. Two things I really miss when I am devoted to training. So, I expected to really enjoy it. I did. But I had this nagging feeling like something wasn't right. Also, my body was cranky about not moving or exerting much. I just felt heavy and slow and clumsy. Just kind of icky.

It's so interesting how we get entrenched in the status quo, what ever that may be, and feel 'off' if something changes. Even if it's for the better.

I really thought I would relish in the 'laziness' and time to pursue my hobbies. But no, instead, I felt bothered and a little agitated. But I know it'll be short lived. It's just typical Post Marathon Psychosis! :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Jade RabbitThe Jade Rabbit by Mark  Matthews

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Though the Jade Rabbit is not a story about marathoning, you can tell Mark is an experienced marathoner. The details about running and racing were dead on.

The story is about a social worker who helps lost kids find their way while she is still finding her way through aspects of her life as an adopted child.

The stories of Janice, Sharlene and Hailey were interwoven so smoothly. The parallels between the stories dawn upon the reader like happy surprises. Scenes where Janice's thoughts were moving back and forth between present and past were done well and easy to follow. The story lines were compelling in their own right and they were brought together to create a book that was hard to put down!

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Spying in High Heels (High Heels Mysteries, #1)Spying in High Heels by Gemma Halliday

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fun read! I love Chicklit Mystery and Spying in High Heel delivers. It's a fun fast ready that will have you laughing along the way. There's tension between which male she'll side with and the secondary characters are fun. I kept guessing 'who done it''til the end. Don't expect it to get too deep. It's definitely a 'for fun' read. I'll be checking out the rest in the series. :) 

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Sunday, October 2, 2011

My husband is training for his first Ultramarathon. He did a 25k trail run at Montana de Oro while I was running my measly 14 mile road run in SLO. Here's his video.

Yeah, my husband doesn't just trail run insane distances, he shoots pics and video while he does it. He's amazing!

"The PCTR MDO run scheduled for Sunday was canceled at the last minute, so I decided to follow the 25K course on my own. It was a beautiful day, and a challenging run. This is my longest trail run to date."

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Michael Vick - Cry Baby

I can not believe that after he got away with multiple murders and his multi-million dollar career handed back to him that he is complaining about anything! Proves he hasn't done any reflection about his life or choices. He's still just a sad little man. Click here for article

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Every year we go to Mammoth Lakes to meet with our mountain biking friends for a long weekend of fun. This year my husband and I decided to take a couple extra days off and make it a mini-vacation.

My first two days weren’t so great. I wasn’t feeling good. On Saturday I could barely do anything. What a waste of a day. Sunday I was feeling a little better and I dragged myself out to do a short hike to Parker Lake. I was happy to be out and about in such a beautiful place!

On Monday, we left for Yosemite. Luckily, I was feeling pretty good by Monday because we had big plans! We were going to climb Lembert Dome.

It was at altitude, but lesser. The trail was one of those that takes you away from the target and wraps around the back and then up to the dome. It’s always strange when hiking and you know you are going in the opposite direction or past the target you are aiming for to get there. But that’s the way it is sometimes. You can’t just draw a straight line there. You have to go around other geological features to get there. (You can’t get there from here).

That’s how the route was to the dome. But after much circling and climbing we made it to the side of the dome. Then a strange thing happened. I got scared.

I’m not afraid of heights  and I’ve enjoyed a lot of scrambling rocks and small ‘faces’. But as we started climbing up the steep rock to the top of the dome I suddenly found myself really fearful.

I saw other people crawling up the side like were were and knew it was ok. But for some reason I couldn’t make myself go up more. What was that about?? I knew I would eventually go up. But I had to find a way to manage the fear or else I wouldn’t go anywhere.

So I told my husband what was going on and I think he was surprised as I was. So of course he tries to talk me up. It wasn’t working. I told him “let me take a breather for a second.”

I turned around and sat on a tiny ledge and looked down. I could see how the face sloped. It looked totally do-able. I looked up the face and it did look like it sloped to. But I swear, when I was climbing it, I felt like there was no slope and I would slide down with every step. How weird.

I sat and reflected for a few moments. I knew logically things were fine. I knew I would climb to the top because not doing so, would solidify the fear more. Besides, that would really tick me off to not go to the top. Would I be afraid the next time I wanted to hike to the top of something and the slope got steep. Nope. Not letting that happen. Besides, it’s probably just because it has been too long since I’ve done a hike like this.

So I pushed my logic in front of the illogic fear and started up the slope again. My confidence grew with each step as memory dawned on my body and it said, “Oh yeah, I remember this. This is how we do it.” And soon we were on the top enjoying incredible views!

Hiking down of course took half the time and it was time to head to Curry Camp and check into our tent cabin.

Ok, I don’t like camping. I used to. But now sleeping in the dirt and cooking raman noodles over a tiny one burner camp stove is less appealing than having a root canal. Seriously. My poor husband. He loves camping. So we compromised by renting a tent cabin with showers and above ground ‘plumbed’ toilets near by. Also, there were several restaurants and a market right on site. I’m sure my husband hated it.

But it was right in the Yosemite Valley and within hiking distance to a million cool places.   And we had planned an awesome 12 mile trail run for the next morning. 
A Life That FitsA Life That Fits by Heather Wardell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a great book! The protagonist navigates tricky relationships in unique ways. She takes leaps where the rest of us would stand on the edge biting our nails. But she takes these leaps with all the fear we would have which makes her real and easy to identify with.

All the characters are intriguing and necessary. I cared very much what happened next. I was on the edge of my seat the whole book and satisfied at the end. I’ll definitely read this again.

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Season 2 - 20 Miler

Untitled by anjil1206 at Garmin Connect - Details

Route and stats from yesterday's 20 miler. The weather was great!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

August Book Review

Here, Home, HopeHere, Home, Hope by Kaira Rouda

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What a nice story! I love a story that depicts a woman growing in strength and sense of herself. Though she doesn't always make perfect decisions, or always knows what to do in each situation, it shows how we don't have to be perfect to have the life we want.

And I loved the protrayal of her husband! I was happy to have a story where the husband is a loving supporter. The tension and intrigue was from another source. Certainly a worthy read!

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

14 Miles of Bliss

I got up at 5:30 on yet another Saturday and drove 45 minutes to the park in SLO to run with the team. I didn’t expect many of my girls this weekend as I have two on the injured list and two other who were scheduled to be out of town. But I wanted to be there in case even one showed up. I don’t want any one on my team showing up expecting me to be there and be missing. I’m in this as deep as they are.

When I arrived our manager reiterated a small group was expected. “In my experience, this is the biggest out of town week of the season for some reason.” So as expected there were a small group of half-marathoners and I was the only full marathoner that day. The half marathoners were also on a rest week. So they were only going 5 miles that day. I had 14 miles to run.

This meant the half marathoners would be in after about an hour and the coaches would have to wait an ADDITIONAL two and a half hours for me to come in. No way! I wasn’t going to make them wait that long for one runner. So I told Coach April I was going to go back to Santa Maria and run with my husband.

I wanted to stick around for a couple extra minutes just in case we had any late arrivers and thought I’d call Kris to let him know I was coming back in hopes I could catch him before he went out on his run.

I like to make up little songs on the fly just for fun. So I quickly whipped up this little ditty and sang it to Kris when he answered his phone:

Hello my honey
Oh how are you?
No one is here
What am I to do?
I’m coming home now
to run with you
So my darling
Put on your shoes! 

I was happy when he laughed with my song. Not so happy to hear he was already in the middle of his run.

On my drive back to Santa Maria I lamented running in Santa Maria AGAIN when I realized I was driving through Shell Beach. I used to a ride 30 miler with my cycling club around that area. It’s a beautiful place. So I dived off the freeway and parked at our old meeting place.

I only needed to run 14 miles. So I quickly guessed at an abbreviated version of the old bike route and made sure it took me over Cave Landing road so there’d be a good hill to climb. I figured if I was off on the mileage I could walk back to the car if I was too far out at the 14 mile mark or run extra if I made it back short of mileage.

I started from Shell Beach and headed to the Bob Jones trail where I stopped for a bathroom break at the pit toilet in the parking lot. I hate pit toilets. Especially, when you have all your running gear. I was SAGging myself so I had a well-stuffed waist pack. I performed magic to stow it in a place where it’d remain uncontaminated while I took care of business. All ladies know you never sit on a pit toilet. We all have perfected our version of hovering for just such occasions. Thankfully, I have hover a technique that puts the special effects from “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon” to shame.

After the pit stop I was strapping my waist pack back on when I noticed a text had come over my phone. “Hi Jill, I’m at the spa and see I have you on the book for a massage today at 4. C U then.”

“Yes!” No matter how hard the run might be today, it was confirmed I had a nice treat to look forward to. I continued onto the Bob Jones trail will a little extra spring to my step.

The Bob Jones trail was a lovely as ever and the weather was still cool and overcast. Just how I like it. I was remembering the last time I ran on the trail. It was for our 20 mile training run from last season. It was a lot hotter. But I remember enjoying this piece just the same.

Before I knew it, I was coming out near the golf course. I looked at my Garmin and I was pretty sure I could run out to the end of the pier and back and be about on target for my mileage. So I did.

I don’t enjoy running on the road out to the pier. There are a lot of cars and I feel like it’s hard to see runners. So I had my head up and was being extra alert. Which was a good thing because a driver decided to have a little fun.

He wasn’t going fast at all but he was driving toward me and kept creeping over to my shoulder as he approached. I scooted over and he creeped over more. So I knew he thought he was being funny. I looked at the driver and saw he was looking over at his passenger and laughing. I stared at him until he looked me in the eye. Then he stopped laughing and got back on the road. What a schmuck! That is not even remotely clever.

On a happier note, I was wearing my TNT top and I love wearing it because people will cheer you on when they see you are running for a cause. And today I saw a group of three serious looking runners. As they approached me the guy on the outside saw my shirt and yelled, “Yeah team!! GO!” and he stuck out his hand for a ‘high five’ as he passed.

I eat that sh/t up. If you ever need me to accomplish a big feat, just cheer me on. One “Go Jill you can do it!” will get me over the next mile. My favorite cheer is “Go you Badass!!” :) (I also like “Run Fat Girl Run!” But it upsets my husband when anyone calls me “Fat Girl”. So I don’t promote that one.) For the record, “Fat Girl” is not an insult in my book.

Anyway, my favorite part of the run was running out to the end of the pier. I love running on the wood planks, and the birds will let you run right next to them. The smell of the ocean is lovely and the breeze oh so refreshing!

When I got to the end of the pier I took a good stretch break and this nice big family that must have been vacationing asked me to take their picture. I was trying to line up the shot but I noticed there was this weird oblong blob along the top corner of the view finder. I was trying to figure out what it was and move the camera around to see if I could get rid of it when one of the daughters said, “Your finger is over the lens.”

Oops! That explains it. Even though my hair was totally covered under my hat, I think she figured out I am a blonde. :) But I managed to get a couple good shots off and it was time to turn around and run back.

I stopped to get a few pictures of the birds hanging out on the pier and this time I was able to keep my hands off the lens.

Back on the road out from the pier I had no other face offs with cars. But I was heading into what I knew to be the most dangerous part of the run. To get to Cave Landing road and the featured hill of this route, I had to run on the piece of Avila Beach drive between Avila Village and the Avila Hot Springs resort. It has narrow shoulders and blind curves and from biking on it all these years, I knew cars like to use it as a speed way. As I approached this section, I kept looking for signs that read, “No pedestrians” or “Bikes and Cars Only” just in case it was restricted. But I didn’t see a thing. So off I went.

I ran in the bike lane facing traffic and kept my head up. A CHP passed me by and I figured if I was illegal he would have stopped. But he kept going and so did I.

I knew there was a bit of a hill on the way to Cave Landing road and sure enough it lumbered ahead of me pretty quickly. It actually felt good on the way up. Hard but totally doable. My weekday hill training this season is really paying off!

I saw the CHP pass me from the other direction this time. Again he didn’t stop. So I was feeling pretty confident now. Until I got to the bottom of the hill and I was running toward a blind curve.

Blind curves are so dangerous because no one can see around the curves. So I can’t see the cars until they’re already coming around and they can't see me. Also, because cars like to drive fast on this road, they would swing around the curve and consistently come into the shoulder as they came around.

I stayed as far to the left as I could and prepared to bail off the road if I had to. I made a mental note not to run this piece again. And here came my friend the CHP AGAIN. This time he came around the blind curve and like everyone else he swung a little into the shoulder and passed me within about two feet. I thought for sure he was going to pull over now, get out of his car and yell, “Get out of the road already!” But he kept going.

I made it around the blind curve safely and was running along the edge of the golf course. I could see the Cave Landing road entrance up ahead about 100 yards. I was almost off this dangerous piece. Thank goodness! Then a golf ball came sailing through the air right in front of me! I saw it appear out of the sky and hit the road three feet in front of my shoes!

I had been dreading the nasty Cave Landing hill for most of the run. But now I couldn’t wait to turn onto it to get out of this danger zone! Yikes! Bring on the climb!!!!

At the entrance of Cave Landing road, I paused to rest and get myself psyched up. I had climbed this many times on my bike. So I knew it was a bear. And it’s long. I was in for it. But I wanted it.

I started plugging away tapping my feet in short strides up the hill. Taptaptaptaptap. Oh! It was as tough as I remembered it. I know there are places were it is less steep than others. But there are no real flat areas where you can rest. So I just told myself I would run as much as I can. Taptaptaptaptap.

Tap tap tap tap tap.
Tap         Tap           Tap        Tap    Ta-

Ugh. Must stop. I started walking so I could catch my breath again. I held my hands above my head and breathed deep. Aaahhhhh, air feels so good in your lungs! That’s the stuff!

I walked to let my heart rate recover and  I heard a car coming up behind me. Why do they have to come by now?? Why couldn’t they have passed me as I was running and looking cool? Oh my ego! What a complainer. I was the only one out here trying to get up the hill without the aid of a car. No one is thinking, “Look at her WALKING up the hill! What a wimp! If I wasn’t driving this car, I’d be RUNNING the hill!”

But still, ego can be a good motivator. I got back to running and I could see the crest from where I was. I made a pact with myself that I wouldn’t stop running until I got to the trees at the top of the hill. No matter how much my lungs started hurting I would still run it. I knew I could do it. I just had to believe it.

So I’m fighting my way to the top without stopping and here comes the car I saw on its way back down.

“Yeah!” my ego cheered, “They can see me running now.” 

And they did see me. In fact, the wife on the passenger side rolled down her window, stuck her fist out, held it up in the “power” position and yelled “Don’t stop! You can do it!!! GO! GO!”

I looked over at the driver and he was also pumping his fist and yelling “GO!GO!GO!”

That’s all it took! I smiled and gasped “Thank you! Thank you SO much!” and that’s all it took for me to fly to the top! I slowed down under the trees, caught my breath and walked to the trail head that would lead me back to the Shell Beach neighborhoods.

Oh I love running.

But I was tired!!! I felt my legs were starting to fatigue and I was feeling overall tired. I needed a nap! I knew there’d be benches along the path near the neighborhoods that over look the ocean. It would be tempting to catch a little snooze on one of those!

I made sure not to look at the mileage on my Garmin. I was afraid that if it was close to 14 miles I’d start walking more. And if it was far from 14 I’d become too discouraged. So I told myself I wouldn’t look at the Garmin until I got back to the car and if I ended up doing more than 14 miles well then that’s just bonus!

I worked my way along the walking path through the neighborhoods as best I could. I had to stop for a good stretch as my legs were trying to cramp. I remembered on the half marathon I did a few weeks before, I was feeling this way at about mile 10/10.5. I prayed I was farther out than that because I believed I was only a couple miles away from my car and I was good and fatigued already. I didn’t think I could add any mileage once I made it back to the car when mentally I would feel like I was done.  

But I couldn’t think of any of that. I just had to keep going and worry about the mileage only when I got to the car.

There were nice little rollers all the way back and happily the piece that led to my parking spot was a brisk down hill. A good way to end the run. And as I promised myself, I didn’t look at my Garmin until I made it back.

As I approached my car I prayed, “Please God let this be 14 miles. I don’t know that I can run anymore. Please please please let this be 14.”

At my car I finally looked at my Garmin and it read......13.93 miles!!!!! Yes! Technically I could have called it a solid 14 and no one would have faulted me. But I am quirky and I just had to go run another block up and back. When I officially ended the run my Garmin  displayed “14.01”.

Mission accomplished.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

14 On My Own in Avila Beach.

Untitled by anjil1206 at Garmin Connect - Details

I didn't map this on the computer before I went. I just mentally plotted the route and hoped it came close to 14 miles. When I made it back to the car my Garmin said, "13.93 miles". Damn close! So I ran a block and a half more to make it a solid 14.01. :)

Full blog and pictures to follow.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

To the Pub and back!

Untitled by anjil1206 at Garmin Connect - Details

So I had 12 twelve training miles to do today. So I thought I would run to the pub that is exactly 6 miles from our house and back again. Luckily the pub is closed on Sundays. Otherwise, I'd be tempted to stop in for a pint.....then the 12 might not have been finished!

Took my first ice bath of the season too. Brrrrr those are COLD!!!!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Davis Moo-nlight Half Marathon

Several months ago we saw an ad for a half-marathon in Davis CA. In July. Marathon in July in DAVIS??? Are you kidding me? That’d be like running Badwater! No thanks.

But we saw, it was ran at night. When it’s cool. Cool! Hhhhmmmm.....Then my husband pointed out, “That’s your birthday weekend!” Hhhhm. Maybe....then we saw the medals glow in the dark! We signed up. Kris said he’d run the whole route with me for my birthday and we’d even cross the finish line hand in hand.

We run races ‘together’. But that means Kris and I start at the same time, we run our own paces and Kris waits for me at the finish. I love coming in with him there to cheer me on but we’ve never actually ran a whole course side-by-side. This would be the best b-day ever!

I continued training with Team In Training for the full marathon in October. The half marathon came a little early in my training. But I consulted Coach April and she helped me adjust the training to best be prepared for the half marathon.

So my birthday weekend finally rolled around. I felt ready! It was nice to have an evening run. The day of the race we slept late, moseyed to breakfast, shopped around downtown. Then went back to the hotel and took a nap until it was time to catch an early dinner and get ready for the run.

I spent a bit of time contemplating my race outfit. Yes, a lot of us runners plan what to wear to a race. I’ve only worn my running dress on short runs since I wear my TNT singlet when I run with the team. So I thought this was a great time to wear my running dress. At the race, I saw a few skirts. (I don’t know why more ladies don’t wear them. They’re great!) But I was the only one in a dress! I felt very cute.

In the starting corral I was having fun making friends and then the gun went off!

The race was a 10k loop that the halfers run twice. It was cool because the first time around the course the sun is still up. So you got to see the scenery. They ran us through beautiful parks and neat neighborhoods.

As we passed a walker she said to me, “I love your Sheila Moon!” (The brand name of my dress). I was impressed she knew it by sight! I replied, “Don’t you love their stuff?!”

I didn’t look, but I could only imagine Kris rolling his eyes. You never hear guys complementing each other on their running outfits. That’s a shame.

Up the course about a mile or so we were running through a neighborhood and it reminded me of my sister Julie’s neighborhood out in Kansas. Along the path that wound through the neighborhood were the neighbors sitting out there in their lawn chairs cheering us on holding up there pitcher margaritas. Oh yes, just like my sister’s neighborhood.

We exited the neighborhood on a small uphill climb. There was another neighbor lady standing at the top. I saw her well before I reached her at the top. She called down to us, “Good job! Way to go!” I smiled and said “Thank you!” Then when we were passing by, she said, “I LOVE your outfit!” I called over my shoulder, “Thanks! I swear it makes me run faster!”

I have got to wear this dress more often! :) I think I’ll make it my official racing dress. :)

So we completed the first loop and we passed the “5 & 10K this way” sign. I had to close my eyes as we passed so I wouldn’t be tempted to take the short route. Right after passing the sign there was a mile marker. Kris checking his Garmin said, “We’re going to be short a mile.”


“That sign’s wrong. We’ve only gone six miles and that sign said 7.”

“They’re going to loop us an extra mile later.” I didn’t realize at the time that my reply didn’t make much sense. But when 99% of your blood is in your legs, it doesn’t leave much for your brain to work with.

“No Love, we’re going to be short.”

“Don’t worry about it. Just run!!!”

He shook his head. But we kept running. The sun set as we worked to run down the second loop.

Running in the dark was really fun. I ran in the dark several times last season. But it was neat to be in a new place and running through parks without the city lights. I forgot my flashers and left my headlamp (on purpose) back at the hotel. But I think it was nicer without them.

We ran over the interstate on a catwalk. It was cool in the day time because there were a lot of cars on the interstate and they kept honking at us. It was cool at night because it was quiet and you could see the flashers and glow sticks of the runners in front of us and you couldn’t see the interstate in the dark below you. But you could see the lights of the few cars come toward you and then disappear under your feet. That may have been my favorite part of the run for me.

My favorite part was definitely not mile 11 -12. That’s when the pain set in. My feet and my glutes were upset! I started talking to my body, “Come on, we got this.” My body talked back, “Yeah, we know. But it’s going to hurt!”

So I started chanting in my head the mantra of my favorite spin class instructor Mitch: “Don’t worry!!! It only hurts!”

That didn’t help. Sorry Mitch. So I reverted to my own latest mantra I used to get through tough training runs: “I am light, I am fast, I am strong!” That worked better. But it still hurt.

I was pretty happy when I realized we were in the last half mile of the race. I was ready to be done. I was disappointed as I was pretty sure I missed my target finishing time (3:00) by a lot. But I ran my plan, I didn’t wimp out (I never do) and I had fun (I always do). So I really had nothing to be disappointed about. I was happy with what I did.

So when a gal slowly passed me in the last quarter mile, I thought, “So what. Let her have the spot.” Then I saw the finishing clock. It said “3:00:23”. Holy cow! I was doing much better than I thought. While I missed 3:00, if I hauled to the finish I’d have a chance of getting in only a couple minutes past my goal time. So I did!

I took off in a sprint and passed the gal who just passed me, the crowd started screaming and I thought, “Whoa! What happened? Why are they screaming??” Then I heard, “Yeah! Way to finish strong!” and I realized they were screaming for me. How funny!

Kris and I came across the finish line in 3:02:48. I was ecstatic!!! That is, until Kris said, “Um I don’t want to ruin your fun, but...” he pointed to his Garmin.


Damn! No wonder my time was so good. We didn’t run a whole half marathon. We were a full mile short! Thank goodness my endorphins were hyper-active at this point otherwise, I may have cried. Instead, I shrugged. Oh well, I had fun, sprinted to the finish, and Kris and I got to finally run a whole course together. I had nothing to complain about. It was the best birthday ever!

PS. The race organizers sent an e-mail to all the runners post-race explaining how the mistake happened, offered an apology, and a huge discount to next year’s race. I know it was a pretty big mistake. But mistakes happen. And while runners hate not being able to compare their time from course to course, it is not the end of the world. I think they handled the mistake in the most professional way they could and I plan to run it again next year.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Passion, Betrayal And Killer Highlights (Sophie Katz, Book 2)Passion, Betrayal And Killer Highlights by Kyra Davis

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed the first Sophie Katz mystery and her second book was just as satisfying. I'm going to work my way through the whole series.

In the second book, Sophie's pinhead brother-in-law is murdered. She calls on her hot detective friend to help her solve the case. She finds there are many who may have done the deed!

View all my reviews

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Davis Moonlight Run

Untitled by anjil1206 at Garmin Connect - Details

Course appears a full mile short. But was a fun run for sure! Beautiful course and I enjoyed running at night.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Running Partner Mystery Solved!

Last season my running partner was a lot faster than me and I always wondered why she ran with me. I read this in an article titled: '27 things your running partner won't tell you'
#27. Even if a training partner is faster than you, don't discount yourself. Chances are very good that person admires something about you: Your positive attitude, your ability to make compression shorts look good, your persistence…whatever it is, keep it up. There's a reason they're still training with you, you badass.

Nice. :) 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Hello Radcliff

Untitled by anjil1206 at Garmin Connect - Details

First time this season to hit the Radcliff hill in Morro Bay. We'll visit it again a few times before the marathon.

Click the link above to see the course profile. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Monday, July 4, 2011

So Much for the Start of My Taper!

Untitled by anjil1206 at Garmin Connect - Details

Technically, my taper for the half marathon coming up started yesterday. So I'm not supposed to do hill training or speed work. But I had to sneak in one more hill training session before I taper. I really think they are helping. So it's hard to give them up for awhile.

Here's Heather and me in a clover field after the run. We both were pretty warm. We got a late start and the heat was climbing! But it still was great!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Shame on Nike!

First of all I want all my TNT donors to know that every cent of your donations go the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Not one penny goes to Nike.

Here is a post I left on Nike's Facebook page when I heard they signed Michael Vick. (If you are a humanitarian I urge you to voice your feelings as well to Nike. Let them know this is not acceptable!)

Nike - What are you thinking signing Michael Vick??? You think dog fighting is a sport??? It doesn't matter that your press releases state you don't condone dog fighting. Your association with Vick sends a message that you do. Any company that has such poor judgement to partner with one who participates in inhumane treatment of others is not a company I will do business with. My Nike+ will no longer be used, I will not wear your logo and I will not run any more NWMs. I will speak my mind regarding your poor corporate judgement to all I can reach. After all these years as a loyal customer, I am sorely disappointed. Shame on Nike!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fear of an Eight Mile Run

Do you ever worry about something only for it to turn out no big deal? Do you do it over and over? Me too. Here’s another example.

Last week on my four mile run I was feeling so tired and slow and heavy. I was so worried about having to run twice that distance with the team on Saturday. Also, I knew our weekend runs are always more hilly than my neighborhood runs. So I really wondered how I was going to run 8 hilly miles when 4 flat miles just kicked my butt.

But I remembered last season and how the Saturday runs were always challenging and always doable. I never cut a Saturday run short; even the hills. Also, I reminded myself that I have completed several endurance events. It’s not like I don’t know what to do. So I told myself to calm the hell down and went to sleep Friday night.

Saturday morning I was up and running. :) The route was hilly but they were the fun rollers that I like. “Fun” not because they were easy, but because they were challenging yet gave you a treat of a downhill piece after you worked your way up to the top.

On the scariest hill, I was really psyching myself up. “You can do this! You’re not going to stop. You can pass out at the top. But your going to run the whole thing.”

Just as I stepped foot on the bottom of the hill, I heard “Go Jill! Go! Jack and Jill went up the hill!”

It was our campaign manager Barb. She had snuck up on me and was several yards behind.

I yelled back at her, “Where the hell is Jack now????”

“He’s on the couch!” she yelled back.

“Lazy bastard.” I thought.

But knowing Barb was behind me, I definitely wasn’t going to stop and let her see me wimp on a hill!

I made it to the top by the skin of my teeth! I was really sucking air! I wasn’t feeling dizzy . But I had to stop at the top to catch my breath. I looked at my Garmin to see what my heart rate was. It had to be way up there!!! But all I saw in the heart rate field was a big X.

“OMG!” I thought, “Does that mean I’m dead?!” I checked.  All observations indicated I still existed on the physical plane.

I made sure my HR strap was still in place. It was. I checked my Garmin to verify all other functions were working properly. They were. So I concluded the HR monitor function went out. Well, I’ve had my Garmin for several years. I wasn’t too disappointed in the prospect of buying the latest model. So I shrugged it off and kept running.

I had been tired the whole run! But you don’t get ready to run a marathon by taking naps! :) So I worked my way through the course run/walking my 9:1 ratio. When I was about half a mile out, I checked my Garmin to see if I was going to make my goal time.

Lo and behold I noticed my HR was displaying 171. Huh. The HR monitor was working after all. This made me think I had maxed out the HR on the Garmin! Holy cow!

My heart rate has been naturally high for as long as I’ve been tracking it. I even went to my doctor a few months ago and showed him my stats from the last few years. He saw how I often when over 200 on my HR. He didn’t freak out or anything. He said, “What matters is how fast you are recovering. Do you notice how fast your HR recovers?”

“Um I guess.” I never really thought about it. Which, to me, means it must be recovering quickly. If it wasn’t I would know! I usually don’t need to walk too far or even stop after a big exertion like that to get my breath back. So, that means my recovery time is good.

My doctor ended the conversation with, “It’s just fine. In fact, I wish I could do what you do!”

So, I couldn’t wait to get home to see what the graphs on the Garmin site would tell me about my heart rate from that hill climb. The Garmin chart only went up to 248. And as expected, when I compared the HR graph to the hill profile you can clearly see my HR go off the chart at the top of that hill!! I maxed out my Garmin!!

Wow! I am amazed at how much my body can do. My heart can pump that fast for an extended period of time and not give out. I don’t even get dizzy. Imagine the amount of oxygen my body must be moving in those hard efforts!

It’s not that it feels easy. But the fact that my heart can beat fast enough and long enough to get me up those hard hills and across the long courses amazes me. I keep telling my husband, “If you hear me say anything negative about my body, tell me to shut up!”

I mean really! I may not be tall and skinny but dang I am a healthy chick! I’m sure I could out run all those model with the low BMIs that are half my age. I would rather be a short, thick marathon runner than a tall, skinny person who gets out of breath walking up a flight of stairs.

Am I alone in this opinion? I’m curious. What would you choose if you could either be a tall, skinny model-type (while still eating anything you wanted) but have no strength or cardio fitness or be five foot-nothing and let’s say 150 pounds but had enough strength and cardio fitness for any activity, sport or hobby you pursued. What would you choose?
I just checked the stats and I was FASTER on the hill tonight!! FTW!!

The View From the Top!

Monday, June 27, 2011

June Book Review

This story is about a young lady who goes to law school for all the wrong reasons and stays in a relationship for the wrong reasons. When her boyfriend asks her to marry him and she is harassed by a sadistic professor will she change her perspective for all the right reasons?

I wasn’t sure about this book when I started it. But I quickly gained interest. The characters are interesting and the plot lines move at a nice pace. I liked how it ended though I wouldn’t have minded if the sadistic professor got a little more of what he had coming to him!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

On a date with hubby! :)

Eight With The Team by anjil1206 at Garmin Connect - Details

Eight With The Team by anjil1206 at Garmin Connect - Details

Hilly route! Wanted to finish it in under 2 hours and I did! :) I maxed out the HR on the Garmin on the biggest hill! Holy Cow!

I think my previous hill training sessions are paying off! :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

On Top of Pt. Sal

This is me when I reached the turn around point.

And this was the view!...

Monday, June 20, 2011

Hill Training #2 by anjil1206 at Garmin Connect - Details

Hill Training #2 by anjil1206 at Garmin Connect - Details

Back to hill training at Pt. Sal. It was hard! I felt a lot slower this time around. Turned out I was. I checked the stats from my last time at Pt. Sal and I was a full minute slower tonight. Oh well. I still did it. And I went farther this time than I did last. Yeah!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fast Four!

Untitled by anjil1206 at Garmin Connect - Details

I ran four miles with Team In Training. I was tired but ended up with a fast pace (for me). :) (Click the link above to see the stats).

Sunday, June 12, 2011

7 Miles With the Team

Untitled by anjil1206 at Garmin Connect - Details

Ran seven miles with Team In Training in Atascadero yesterday. The course had nice rollers that challenged me. But I handled pretty well. My pace was good. I ended up with a sub 14:00 average moving pace even with the hills. That is good for me. Especially this early in the season! :) (Click the link above to see the route and stats).

I love rollers because when you go up a hill you get to recover on a downhill piece. I knew the course was an out and back so every downhill piece would be an uphill piece on the way back. On the way down a long piece, I realized it was going to be a bear of an uphill on the way back. So I looked across the road at the side that I would be running back up and said out loud, "I'll be back for you! You wait here I'll be back to do you soon!"

This is why I don't mind running solo. I imagine people would think me odd to see me talking to the road. But that's what I do. I will talk to myself, the cancer patients I run for, the road, a tree along the route. Whatever. Speaking out loud is motivating for me. Don't worry, I do understand these are inanimate objects and they never talk back. Well, usually. If they ever do talk back, I know I am working too hard and I slow down. :)

So on the way back, I saw that bear of a piece looming in front of me. "I'm baaaaaack!"I said as I stepped onto the base of the hill and began pounding my way up. I did my best with my posture, pumping my arms, and breathing right. I did pretty well, but half way up I felt the hill winning. I did my best but I had to stop and walk a few steps. As soon as I could, I started running again to the top. In my book, if I can't get up a hill without walking then the hill wins. So that hill got me. But I only walked a few steps and kept going. So it's not like it won 50 - 2. It only won 50 - 49. Not bad. Besides, we'll be back another day and I'm confident that hill is going down next time! :)

I'm working hard to raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. These funds are used for research into better treatments for cancer as well as important patient support programs. I sure hope you can make a donation! It keeps me motivated to know I am helping an important cause. You can help by donating.

I run; you donate. Deal?

Please click the "Donate Here" link in the top right corner of my blog. Thank you so much!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The guy in front of me at grocery is buy a 40 and case of Raman noodles. Drunk or college student?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

First Run After Breaking My Thumb

Untitled by anjil1206 at Garmin Connect - Details

Kris ran with Heather today. So I was free to run on my own. I ran in the park near work. It was my first run in a week.

My bronchitis was still lingering and I wondered if I should take a break from running and see if that helped. But wasn't sure I should in case it didn't help. But then I broke my thumb. So that sealed the deal. Running makes your blood pump hard which hurts where your injury is. So I knew I was taking some time off. It came at a good time because we're going through a conversion at work which means you work 12 - 14 hr days for days on end. Which wreaks havoc with my training schedule anyway. Plus, we didn't have team training this Saturday. So I wouldn't even miss a team run if I took the time.

So all the powers of the universe was aligned to have me take a week off running. So I did. And today I felt great!! My bronchitis is much better and I felt strong on the run tonight. Yeah! Rest is good!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Reading a bottle of Iowa wine hubby asked, "Is this pronounced 'Du Bak EE'?" I thought "Dubakee? " It said the vineyard was in "Dubuque!" My CA boy! :)
My husband just told me to "Cork it!"

Monday, May 30, 2011

Kris' Link to His High Trestle Bridge Pics

Another test.
Why do long weekends feel short?

Running With a Broken Bone

So every season I pray for no illnesses or injury. This season I got both in the first couple weeks of training! There’s some good news though. First, it happened really early in training. So I have time to recover and still make my training goals. Second, the injury is not running related.

I broke my thumb! In a really stupid way. I slammed it in a car door! No exciting story about climbing a face or down-hilling a technical route. No glorious wipe out on my bike. I just slammed it in a car door! ugh!

There is actually more good news. It’s my left thumb and I am right handed. It’s only broken above the first knuckle. And it’s not a toe.

I think it’s going to be a couple more days before I can run without it throbbing and hurting more. But a few days off won’t hurt me. Especially this early in the game.

My biggest issue right now is that it still hurts (though less than the day it happened) and the pain wears me out. I am so tired! Also, we are heading into another conversion at the bank. So not only can’t I take a day or two off to rest up. I need to do file input all week. And I only have nine fingers to use for that now. Grr.

I guess the second biggest issue is that I can't craft. Crafting keeps me calm & sane. I think I may use this as a learning opportunity. What do we do, when we can't do what we usually do? What happens when our pacifiers disappear? Guess I'll find out.

I hope the rest of the season goes without mishap!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Day After Tomorrow

So I was right, the kitchen and laundry didn’t get done. We did get back late from the Tour of California. But the second day at the tour was less work and much more fun!

Monday was a crazy day at work and it was also my first day of hill training.

This season I vowed to actively pursue hill regular hill training. I made it over the hills last year in San Francisco. But I want to fly over the hills this year. I’m trying to cut a full hour off my finishing time this year. So being strong on the hills will really help that.

So after work Kris and I took Heather and drove 20 minutes or so to Point Sal. The wind was gusting like a tornado (it is always windy in Santa Maria. But some nights it gets really bad. This was one of those nights).

We got out of the car and the wind was not only gusty but FREEZING cold! I wanted to say, “Let’s do this another night.” But my schedule is tight. I’m not sure I’d be able to make it up this week.

Besides, I’m a firm believer in “Whatever doesn’t kill me will only make me stronger”. So, every time I train when it’s extra hard, I am increasing my mental strength and believe me, mental strength is more important than physical strength when running a marathon! Ask any marathoner and they’ll agree!

So we start up the trail and I turn back to look at Kris and ask, “Can I change my mind?”

He grinned, “Sure.” (He knew I wouldn’t change my mind).

So I take off jogging and I am freezing! The wind is blowing cold and hard right in my face. Ugh! But I knew I would warm up fast and I knew if I just got to the top of the first big switch back, I’d keep going. So I told myself that if I made it to the top of the first big switch back, I could stop and go home.

See, it’s all mental. All I had to do is make it to that one point and I knew I would finish the rest of the run.

And I did. I climbed and climbed. Or should I say I ran the steep parts and walked the flatter parts to catch my breath. But I pushed myself hard and started running again as soon as I got my breath back. I repeated this until my Nike+ said, “Half way point”. Yeah!!!! That’s when I got to turn around and run downhill!

I FLEW downhill! I was able to stay in control even though I really let the stop out! I was working almost as hard on the downhill trying to go as fast as I could and stay in control. It felt so good to run so fast! I rarely get to experience that feeling. I was really pleased how easy it was to stay controled and that my knees and feet didn’t feel like they were being pounded. Like on my bike, I kill on the downhill!!! :)

But I have a lot training to do yet to move past my ‘hill slug’ status! See you next week Pt. Sal. It was fun!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

It's Week Number One and I'm Already Killing Myself!

It’s my first week back from vacation and the first week of marathon training. And I am wiped out!!!

You know how it is when you get back from vacation. It’s seems like two weeks worth of work is piled up on your desk and it takes at least a full day to get through your e-mails alone!

On top of that, the Tour of California is in full swing and I volunteered to work two days of it leaving me with a shortened work week. That may sound great. But when you are trying to catch up from your vacation you really need all five days of the week. So I ended up working 10 -11 hour days. Then had to wake up early on Friday to get to the Tour of California. And the worked entailed standing on my feet all day in the sun. I was wasted by the end of the day!

My feet hurt so bad it was hard to walk back to the car. I was worried about the team run the next morning. So I tried to keep my feet up as much as I could when I got home. But again, I had so much to do at home, I’m afraid I didn’t get much rest. But I made it to the run and through the run.

It’s fun to see everyone on the first day of a new marathon season. People meeting each other and it’s fun to see where people are starting from.

I have a relatively small team for the Nike Full marathon. There are seven of us. It’s early yet. So we may pick up a couple more runners in the next few weeks or so.

I was feeling pretty tired all day today. I tried to keep drinking because I could tell I was dehydrated. (I got a little sunburned at the tour yesterday too and I’m sure that contributed to it). But I had so much to do. I ran around too much and got to feeling really ‘punky’ as my mom would say.

So the kitchen didn’t get cleaned, and the laundry didn’t get finished. But too bad. I can’t run myself into the ground and there’s always tomorrow. (Though I won’t get home from the Tour until late. So they won’t get done tomorrow either). Oh well. There’s always the day after tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

This Article Really Freaked Me Out - So I Posted it Here For Your Consideration

This was posted on the "End Fat Talk" page:

You, too, can’t have a body like this

To get the abs, male models have to starve, binge, booze, suck sweets, slap on fake tan and be Photoshopped
Peta Bee

Daniel Martin regularly puts his body through hell. For days at a time he restricts fluid intake so severely that the resulting dehydration causes headaches, haziness and overwhelming fatigue. Having trained for weeks like an Olympian with high-intensity circuits, running and weightlifting, he then cuts out exercise for 48 hours and opens a bottle of red wine to drink alone. A six-day carbohydrate-depletion diet, in which he eats little more than chicken and broccoli, leaves his muscles weak and his brain so starved of glycogen, its source of fuel, that he feels dizzy and disorientated when he stands up. He can barely walk, let alone hit the gym. And the reason for this torturous ritual of self-deprivation? Martin is preparing to bare his abs in a photoshoot for the cover of one of Britain’s top-selling men’s magazines. At 33, Martin is a veteran of the fitness model circuit, his finely etched torso having gleamed from the pages of Men’s Health, the market leader, more often than that of any other cover model. He has the body and looks that epitomise what men (and women) have come to perceive as the pinnacle of masculine attractiveness. Part of the allure is that this Adonis-like beauty is seen as somehow attainable through hard work and a sensible diet. While female models are criticised for fuelling the rise in eating disorders by looking underweight, their male counterparts have largely escaped such adverse scrutiny. By and large, we have collectively assumed that those rippling abs represent the result of the kind of gym-dedication and healthy living that can only be admired. Behind the abs, though, is a far from wholesome reality.

Last week the male fashion industry was criticised when one mannequin manufacturer brought out a super-skinny model with highly defined abs and a tiny 27in waist. According to Beat, the eating disorders charity, such unattainable images pile on the pressure that can cause low self-esteem, body-image issues and eating disorders in vulnerable young men.

Yet Martin’s modelling career depends on the pursuit of that ideal. Two days before a photoshoot, he says, he begins to dehydrate by restricting the intake of water and other fluids to a minimum. After almost a week of carbohydrate avoidance, he also begins to “carbo-load” by eating pasta and sweet potatoes for 48 hours. “That forces the muscles to fill up with glycogen so they look bigger,” he says. “Being dehydrated makes your skin shrink and become taut so that it sticks to the muscles and gives a dry, vascular appearance, making your veins stick out, which is what the magazines want.”

Many male models drink alcohol — brandy and gin are favourites — to speed dehydration. “I open a bottle of red wine the night before, and on the morning of a photoshoot I have another glass of wine and some wine gums,” Martin says. “The sugar in the sweets and the alcohol draw more water from the skin, leaving you looking as lean as possible.”

Among models and many others in the industry, Martin says, there is an unspoken acknowledgement that the pre-shoot regimen is standard. “There is definitely a sense that magazines expect you to turn up dehydrated and dizzy,” he says. “I’ve been on castings for fitness magazines where there are six or seven models who are so groggy and out of it that they need to grab a chair to sit down and literally can’t speak.”

James Fricker, a 22-year-old sales executive from London who has also modelled for several magazines including Men’s Health, agrees that the expectation to arrive at a shoot in a hypoglycaemic haze is immense. “Everything you put in your body immediately before pictures are taken is aimed at making you look as lean and muscular as you can for the camera,” he says. “Before a shoot I would often eat jelly beans, as the sugar improves blood flow and vascularity. Having your veins stand out is desirable because it makes you look as if you are in the best shape you can be.”

Such techniques have been used by bodybuilders for years, and many claim that they are highly effective in achieving a temporarily “pumped up” appearance.

“Depleting carbohydrate in this way is a process known as ‘cutting’,” says Dr Stewart Bruce-Low, a sports scientist who has researched strength-training approaches at Southampton Solent University. “Allegedly it helps the muscles to increase in size, as stores are replenished with carbohydrate two to four days before a competition. As every gram of carbohydrate, or glycogen, is stored in the body with around 3g of water, the likelihood is that muscle fibres would bulk up even more if someone was dehydrated, although no research has been conducted to prove this.”

But taking the body to such extremes carries a risk. Lose as little as 2 per cent of body fluids after a workout and the result can be a drop in concentration and a rise in body temperature. More severe dehydration triggers electrolyte, or body salt, imbalances that can cause cramping, chills, nausea and clammy skin as well as putting a strain on overworked kidneys. There are potentially fatal consequences. “Any imbalances in sodium or potassium levels can cause heart arrhythmia,” says Dr Martin Sellens, director of sports science at the University of Essex. “If fluid levels drop too low for too long, then potassium becomes concentrated and that can cause the heart to stop.”

Bodybuilders have died as a result of self-imposed dehydration before a competition. “One man’s potassium levels had been raised by this kind of approach and when he ate bananas, which are rich in the mineral, as part of his carb-loading phase, it tipped the balance and caused heart failure,” he says. “It can be highly dangerous.”

Jon Lipsey, the editor of Men’s Fitness magazine, says that he is unaware of models going to such lengths to hone their physiques. “That’s just not how the people we use do things,” he says. “Everyone who appears in our magazine is in very good shape — they train hard and pay attention to their diet to achieve that look, but not to that extreme.”

Fricker says that tricks are sometimes used to create an unrealistic illusion of abdominal perfection. Last year, one publication featured him in an article entitled “Scrawny to Brawny” in which it was insinuated that readers could transform their bodies into something resembling his rock-hard physique in eight weeks. “But the ‘before’ picture they showed of me was one from five years ago, not two months previously, so it was misleading,” he says. “Quite often, ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures are taken on the same day. Models are asked to slump their shoulders and un-tense their abs in the ‘before’ shots, then art directors use lighting, better posture and Photoshop to get the ‘after’ effect they want.”

Fake tan is popular, as the darker skin tone achieved makes muscle definition more obvious, and photographers often ask models to perform what is known as “the coughing technique” — an action that increases tension in the abdominal muscles just as a picture is taken.

Yet the fitness gains are often aesthetic rather than functional, says Fricker. “I took part in a Men’s Health ‘survival of the fittest’ event with four of their cover models who looked really fit but weren’t. “They finished at the back of the field, behind ordinary members of the public.”

But the pursuit of that perfect six-pack shows no sign of slowing. Recent research by the Harley Medical Group, the largest cosmetic surgery chain in the UK, revealed that the number of men aged 35 and over choosing to have a tummy tuck has risen by 55 per cent so far this year, compared with 2009. And a University of Florida study suggested that changing perceptions of the ideal male physique have triggered a wave of body-image problems among men striving to achieve a muscular look. Professor Heather Hausenblas, the exercise psychologist who carried out the research, said: “If you look back at the ideal male body, 50 years ago it wasn’t this hyper-muscular physique that we see now,” she says.

“We have seen a significant rise in the number of men who are dissatisfied with the way the look and want to be more muscular.”

As long as we continue to buy into the dream that such bodies are attainable, cover models will flaunt their ripped midsections on magazines proffering the irresistible notion that chiselled abs are up for grabs. “But it’s impossible to look like that seven days a week, despite what the magazines try to tell you,” says Martin. “We can’t achieve that look. Nobody can.”

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Vacation's Over!

Well the TNT Kick Off meeting was today. The training for my 2011 marathon is officially underway!

I had a huge scare a couple weeks ago. It started when I was wrapping up the work week to go on my two week vacation. Thursday of that week I felt a cold coming on. By Friday I had a full-fledged cold.

I flew out to visit my parents early Saturday morning. When I arrived at my parents place I felt dreadful. But I figured it was jet lag. After a good night’s sleep, I woke up feeling worse!!

My parents are quick to medicate. Me, not so much. It felt like the worse cold I’ve ever had. But as we all know, you can’t medicate a cold. It’s a virus. So, extra rest and extra liquids is the best I knew to do.

But the coughing was so bad that I was getting a relentless headache and my throat hurt so bad I couldn’t talk. I spent the whole first day lying in bed in a lot of pain. My parents begged me to go to urgent care. I kept declaring “You can’t do anything for a cold.” But when I woke up Monday morning, I hurt worse than the day before. So I thought it couldn’t hurt to see the doctor. Worse case scenario, she’d tell me, “It’s viral. Can’t do much. Just get lot’s of rest and drink lots of water.”

But my worse fear was that I had to start official marathon training two weeks from then. I had to get well and fast! So off to urgent care I went. ...and waited for over an hour.

The doctor took a blood sample to determine if it was bacterial or viral. She told me, “It’s viral.” But she went on to say she could give me some steroids to get my body from attacking itself so hard and that should relieve some of the symptoms. Great. At least I could do something.

I was worried about not being in good shape in time to start the marathon training. So I asked the doctor if I was ok to run when I started feeling better. She paused for a moment then said, “Yes. ... But stay hydrated!” No problem.

I didn’t run at all that week. In fact, I spent the WHOLE first week in bed. I couldn’t talk so if I had to respond to a question or convey a communication, I had to type on my computer. It was very quiet in the house that week!

I was so paranoid about my training that most days I dragged myself outside for short walks just to stay on my feet and try to keep my strength up. I think it paid off in the long run.

By Thursday, I was feeling only marginally better. My husband was flying out on Saturday to join me on my vacation and I had been looking forward to going on runs with him. I was worried that wasn’t going happen, but also that I might not be fit enough to do anything with him!

By a miracle, I was feeling on the mend by Friday. By the time my husband’s plane landed, I had use of my voice again, though my husband hardly recognized it! We went on three different runs that second week and I felt darn good!

We had great runs. The first one was on a piece of the high trestle trail that runs from Hawkeye park and out of town. It’s lovely and treel lined. Dad dropped us off at one end and picked us up three miles down. We appreciated that since that meant we could run the trail without doubling back to the start.

Next we drove out to the high trestle trail bridge which was about 25 miles from Hawkeye park. It spans the Des Moines river and is a pedestrian trail. So you don’t have to worry about traffic at all. They also sculpted beautiful pillars at each end of the bridge and cool squared arches across. At night the sculpture is lit with blue LED lights. Just beautiful!!!

We timed our visit so I’d have just enough time to get three miles in just before dark. Then we hung out so Kris could get pictures. He got some spectacular shots!

Then we hiked the 1.5 miles back to the car in the dark through the trees. It was so fun!!!

Our last run was in the morning. (I don’t like mornings!) I routed a course that took us through my old neighborhood and past three of my alma maters and brushed by the park. I knew Kris would enjoy the course.

We lost each other though as I got stuck for 10 minutes at a light on HWY 69! Ugh! I knew we were in a tight time crunch so I short cut my route a bit and ended up in front of Kris. (I still got in a solid 3 miler though).

But the best thing, is Kris had wanted to run in the rain while in Iowa and he did! This was our last day to run and as luck would have it, it was raining! And WINDY!! Especially on the last mile in, we had to run against a stiff head wind. It was really hard but a good run!

We had to hurry home though because we had an the spa! All four of us.

Every time we visit Iowa, Kris and I and my parents go to the spa at the same time. I say, “The family that spas together, stays together!”

A great time was had by all. But vacation’s over, tomorrow, I start training!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May Book Review

The Hating GameThe Hating Game by Talli Roland

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I do not like reality shows in real life, all. But I loved this book. The characters were fun, funny and  believable. And you're kept on the edge of your seat wondering what's going to happen next.

It was a super fun read!

View all my reviews

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Nothing Like a new pair of shoes!!

Yesterday was a big day!

I got up at 0:Dark:30 (5:30 am) to drive for an hour to Atascadero to support the San Diego TNT team. They were on a 'Rest Week' this week which meant they only ran 12 miles yesterday. Up and down rolling hills.

The route takes them past a state mental hospital. When we want to give the runners sprint training we have a couple of our coaches hide in the bushes by the side of the road dressed in pajamas. They jump out as the runners come by. I tell you, they run like Kenyans then!

After supporting the runners I met some of my most favorite people for a nice lunch! My best friend's mom was visiting from Colorada. I hadn't seen her for years! It was so nice to chat with her a bit. And she looked so good too!

Then we went to.....the shoe store!!! There is nothing like getting a new pair of running shoes! When shoes are 'fresh' they feel like you're running on luxurious cushions. As you keep running in them, the breakdown occurs in such small increments that you don't always notice they are getting wore out. How a lot of runners tell they need new shoes is that they start getting shin splints or other aches and pains that they normally wouldn't otherwise.

There's a better way to determine when you need new shoes. First, if you are infrequent runner make sure you get a new pair at least every six months. If you run regularly and/or are a high mileage runner, I'd recommend going by 'mileage' when determining when to switch out your shoes.

When you get a new pair of shoes, note that in your training log. Then no more than 500 miles later, you should get new shoes. If you are a heavier runner or your running shoes are lighter in the mid-sole, replace them earlier. As early as 350 perhaps.

I try to replace my shoes before I really need them. This time I missed. I was on a weekend run and found that I was getting shin splints and I did a quick calculation and realized I was well past the 500 mile mark. Oops! I had to wait a week so I could get to my favorite store over the weekend to replace them.

So now I only have one pair of 'good' running shoes. Which will be fine as I am doing low mileage on all of my runs right now. But if you are deep into your marathon training get a new pair of shoes before your current pair breaks down. If you replace your shoes right before one of your long runs, you are cruising for a bruising. It's best to do short runs in new shoes until they are 'broken in'. So if you are in high mileage in your training, use your new shoes during your short weekday runs and use your old 'broken in' shoes during your long weekend training.  Then, when the new shoes are broken in, you can use them exclusively and retire your old runners into your everyday casual shoes or...

There are many people who can use your old shoes. Like kids in third world countries that need shoes to walk to school or homeless kids in our own country that can't get new shoes as they grow out of their own. While our shoes may no longer have the support we need for running, they make great everyday shoes for non-runners. They still have 'life' in them. So why not pass them on to people who will keep them going?

Check out to see where you can send your shoes where they can continue to serve.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I did my first speed workout...and survived!!

Untitled by anjil1206 at Garmin Connect - Details

This is what a track workout looks like on a map.  (Click the link above).

LOL. Look at the hill profile. It looks really funny!

I was so nervous about my first speed workout. I did virtually no speed workouts last season as my focus was solely on covering the distance. But as I shared previously, I have lofty goals this season. So to the track I went.

I expected to suffer ....a lot! I was even worried about not making the pace goal at all. Phfffft! As it turns out, it looks like I underestimated what my pace should be. Not that I didn't work hard I did. But I was able to keep the pace without any suffering. So really, it was probably perfect for the first time out. It gave me confidence and a base line to start with.

Next week, I upping the goal pace a bit. Can't wait!

Monday, April 18, 2011

April Book Review: Easily Amused by Karen McQuestion

I accidentally downloaded this book to my Kindle. Really. It was an accident. But I read the description and thought I'd give it a read.

I enjoyed every page! There were several characters and you care about each one. It was the usual story of girl meets two boys and who is she going to end up with? There were a few sub-plots and twists along the way.

I usually don't like books that finish with an "open" ending. However, this time, it was perfect.