Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Love this exchange. Forward to 1:35 to see interview with professional athlete Cheryl Haworth.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Where is THAT Girl!! Mayor's Marathon Part 6

I did not see the girl in blue for a long time! I thought I had lost her. I figured to catch her, she would have to take a long break at one of the rest stops or I'd have to hope she went out too fast in the beginning and would gradually run out of steam at the end. As it turned out, she did the latter.

We were at about mile eight and a half when I finally spotted her! She was way ahead of me still. We were on a bike path along the ocean side and going through a beautiful park land. I realized rather quickly, she was slowing down! Woo hoo! Here was my chance!!

I still had to be careful. We were still five miles out. That would be plenty of time for to catch me again if I sped up at this point to pass her and then ran out of steam myself at mile 11. She could totally rally and pass me on the finishing stretch if that happened. 

So instead of passing her now. I vowed to keep her in sight and follow behind. Then I would over take her in the last half mile and come in ahead of her. 

That was the plan. 

But as I followed behind, she kept slowing. I realized I was going to have to pass her. Which is ok as long as she doesn't rally. So the pressure was back on to stay in front of her. 

As I passed, I gave a little greeting about how nice the weather was. She turned to look at me and I was stunned!! This was the first time I really saw her face and she was just so pretty!!! Her eyes were so big and blue and her perky ponytail was just bouncing behind her. She smiled back at me and I melted at the sweetness like sugar in the rain! Such a totally barbie cutie! 

I must come in before now! My ego demanded it! (Ego is such a b/tch!)

So I pumped my arms and kept pressing forward hoping my steam would hold out!  

Saturday, July 14, 2012

On the Trail - Mayor's Marathon Part 5

I love running on trail. I also love racing because in the back of the pack you meet so many nice people. The ones in the back of the pack are slow. We are not in any hurry! And so it is common for people to talk to you as you go by. Some of them go further than the quick greeting like "beautiful day eh?" or "Keep it up!"
I was running at a good clip and did not want to stop to chat. As I passed a man he saw my team singlet and asked, "Where are you from?" I, as chipperly as I could, replied "Santa Maria. In California."
He kept talking. I didn't want to seem rude and not reply. But I did not want to stop to chat. The girl in blue was God-knows how far ahead. I already had to knock down to the half course from the full; I did not want to suffer another disappointment in not coming in before the girl in blue. So I saw only one option.
I ran backwards.   

This way, I could keep running in the right direction and chat a little with the guy thus preserving the camaraderie and friendliness known to us "back of the pack-ers".
It's really stupid to run backwards. Especially on a trail with uneven surface as well as rocks and such. But I was also hoping that my running backwards would also cue the guy into the fact I wanted to keep moving. It helped. He asked a couple more questions which I answered cheerfully. Then I was able to gracefully turn around and kept moving forward. 
Something scared me though. I still hadn't caught sight of the girl in blue. "Damn!" I thought, "She's probably a 'dirty girl'". (A dirty girl (or boy) is someone who likes to run on dirt.) This was bad news for me. Some runners don't like trails and actually slow down on dirt. The fact that I love trail running was a small advantage I had in this race. But if the girl in blue is also a trail runner, it didn't matter. Crap!
It was afraid to push my pace because I knew the critical factor would come down to who had enough juice in their tank at the end. Especially because I knew the toughest hill on the courses was in the last mile. I needed to be sure to get to the top of that hill first if I was going to have a chance at beating her. And I would need juice to tackle that hill. Ugh! I wasn't sure what I should do. 
So I just made sure I pumped my arms and checked my form to try to be as efficient as I could. Then I made sure my pace stayed just where I could keep it up without running out of breath. The only other thing left to do was to keep scanning ahead praying I'd see a flash of blue!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Introducing Kenai. Heather's new sister we just adopted. You can tell she's going to be a great little runner!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Mayor's Marathon Part 4 - Where is the girl in blue???

So, I knew I had my work cut out for me in trying to catch the girl in blue.  I knew if I ran too fast at this point in the race, I would burn out and lose any lead I gained late in the race. So now the plan was to keep her in sight and try to make small gains on the hills if I could. 

I knew I couldn't fly on the downhills which is often a strategy in my races because I'm pretty good staying in control during high speed downhills. But fast downhills are horrible for your knees. So I knew I couldn't use that weapon in this race. 

Luckily, there was a hefty hill climbing away from the last rest stop. I noticed the girl in blue slows on the hills. So I tried to see if I could gain some feet on her there. As luck would have it, she stopped to retie her shoe at the top of the hill. Yeah! Oh, that didn't take her long. She's off again and I barely gained anything on her!

How far in are we? Halfway? Almost. Six and a half miles is a long way to go to keep her in sight without making a mistake on pacing and lose her all together. But that also meant there was a long time to reel her in slowly and, if she doesn't pace herself right, I had a good chance she'll slow down in the end giving me a chance to over take her as long as I don't use up all my juice before then. 

And it's getting hot! Why is it so hot in Alaska? It's near the North Pole for godness sakes! That can sap my energy. But it's likely to sap hers too. So maybe that isn't such a factor, unless she is visiting from Arizona or some other place where heat is the norm. I hope that wasn't the case and tried to hold on to my current pace.
Soon we made a 90 degree turn directly into a head wind! Ahhh it felt so good. This may be the only time I've been happy to be running into a head wind! It felt great. However, we weren't running into a head wind for long as the route turned again into a wooded area. 
Which got me thinking about the mosquitos. And when I ran passed the next rest stop and a volunteer was wearing a beekeepers hat with netting completely covering her head and neck, I knew I was in hostile mosquito territory. 

I fished the herbal insect repellant I had bought after Kris and my first trek into the Alaska wilderness out of my fuel belt and sprayed it over every inch of exposed skin I could reach while running. I know Mosquitos sometimes bite through clothes and didn't know what to do about that. I just hoped the smell of the repellent would be enough to keep them away from me.

I did really well over this piece as we were now running on trail and fire road. I usually do well on dirt. So I tried to make up a little distance here since I had actually lost sight of the girl in blue. She was no where to be seen. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Go Girl Go!

Race Goals (Mayor's Marathon Part 3)

Step One: Catch up to her

That was the first goal I had for the Mayor’s Hal Marathon race. But the gal in the bright blue top did not make that easy! Shortly after I decided my goal in the race was to come in ahead of her, we hit a hill. I do ok on hills. And I was able to pass her almost right away. I thought, “Step one. Check.”
Then, after the loooong slow climb was over and I had been on the flat for only a few yards, a see a flash of blue out of the corner of my eye and I see she’s passing me! 

And so it began. The game of Leap Frog. 

This happens in every race. Over the first couple miles, all the racers sort of fall into position. Everyone spreads out and the field is sorted by pace. While racers may change their pace over the course, you’ll always find a few people that you basically run the whole race with because you are so closely matched and may have similar race plans. Often, you’ll leap frog. You’ll pass them, then later, they’ll pass you and so on and so forth over the whole race course. 

In this race, this actually happened with a few runners. But more on that later. 

So step one, wasn’t quite accomplished. So I kept plugging. 

Working over the course, I was worried  that when we hit the park I’d be eaten by those monster mosquitos that made such a meal of me only two days before. But  I didn’t really notice them. Perhaps because Kris wasn’t there to smack me when they landed on me! But I felt like I got through that piece relatively unmolested. 

Then we headed toward the airport. I was not excited to run the perimeter of the airport. I figured it would be ugly and industrial. While on the left, there was a big ugly airport, watching the planes take off and land was pretty interesting. Besides, on the right was beautiful woods! I kept well distracted by the airplanes on my left and watching for wildlife on the right. Not bad. 

Back at mile two, I realized I needed a potty break. I should have made one more pit stop back at the starting area after waiting an hour and half for us to be sent off. But I didn’t want to miss the start. So here I was, running over three miles of the course with my legs crossed. 

That’s horrible running form! Plus, you look like a serious dork. So I was thrilled when I saw the rest stop at mile five had porta-potties. I hated to take the time off the course. That would give the girl in the blue shirt a big lead on me. But I really didn’t have a choice. So I vered off the course and saw that one of the two johns was in use. So I started to take off my fuel belt. 

I NEVER take my belt into johns with me. It's too hard to be sure it doesn't touch anything in there. Ew. Someone came up behind me. It was the girl in the blue shirt! (Or as I call her in my head 'La Belle  Feme Bleu'). Yeah! She's taking a break too! Phew! 

I told her to go ahead and take the john in front of me as I was still working on my fuel belt and I didn't want her to have to wait when there was a free loo. Come to find out, that was a big mistake. Because as I came out of my john later and I got back on the course, I saw La Belle Feme Bleu was almost half a mile ahead!!