Sunday, May 31, 2009

It's Hard to Find Your Friends in A Sea of 20,000 Marathoners

I was going to title this post "Dirty Girls" but lord only knows who would find my blog using those search terms...

Anyway, Betty, Mik and I had planned to meet at 6:30 to ride our bikes into Mission Valley to cheer all our friends who ran the San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon this morning, but Walter and DramaGirl played musical beds last night,* so I overslept, and so I didn't get to Mik's house until about 6:50.

I hate being late...really I do.

Once there, I unloaded my bike and gear, while Betty and Mik, who are so patient, waited for me to futz around with all my paraphernalia (gotta have the phone, and some cash, and my ID, and the Garmin, and the gloves, and the bike lock...and oh wait, I need to get the CAMERA FOR PETE'S SAKE!!!!)

And of course cow bell...we had to have more COW BELL!!!

Betty, at long last, got horn for her bike...Also, she rode with clipless pedals today like a champion. Didn't fall once (bitch...)

Finally, geared up (hahaha), we headed toward Mission Valley to watch the race. Our start included a descent down a pretty steep road (for locals, we went down Montezuma from SDSU to Mission Gorge)...two miles that drop from about 500ft to sea level...

See the gray "elevation" line...that's the decent. Pay no attention to the part at the end that says our speed was suddenly 45 - 50 mph...we were on the trolley then and I forgot to stop the Garmin)

This is where the Dirty Girls headline comes into play. As you'll read in lots of RnR race reports, the morning was misty, which meant that the streets were wet...and muddy...and so were we. The ride down Montezuma was, to say the least, SCARY (Me speed on wet, muddy road? I think NOT!)

I never get that dirty running, but I have to say that I liked it.

Mik and I...we were pretty clean by the time I took this picture...but you can still see all the mud on my neck and shirt...dirrrrrrrrrrttttyyyyyy. Also, on Saturday, I bought some new sunglasses for riding. They're getting kinda tinted in this picture, but they were almost clear earlier in the morning...which was sooooo cool.

The marathon route goes up the 163 freeway, then the runners head down Friars Road for miles 11-14. When we got there, it was still pretty early, so there weren't any crowds yet, but we did get to see some of the leaders (who run just freekin' fast BTW). Then we rode over to the Friar's Road out and back (for the RnR - miles 21-23 or so), just to see how we were going to be able to get around. There were lots of road closures (of course), but getting around on the bikes was amazingly easy.

When it was getting close to 8:15 (about 2 hours after the gun time), we headed back to the Mile 14 marker, just where the runners were turning onto Napa.

I saw a runner with a monkey on his back.

This is where I KNOW NOW that I should have seen Lisa and Irene and my friend Kim (who owes me because we were at a neighborhood birthday party on Saturday night, and I shamed her husband into dropping her off in the morning rather than letting her drive herself down to the start...which is just WRONG for pete's sake...).

BTW...on Friars Road, I learned that it's really difficult to find your friends in a sea of runners...

First we saw Santiago (who did a 2:04 1/2 marathon split), but I was probably taking a picture of the monkey-guy, so I missed taking his photo, and I know he's heartbroken... Santiago finished in 4:08:26.**

Then we saw Kat (who finished in 4:53:17)

BBJ...who took his hat off to us (and finished in 5:02:57)

Kat is in this photo...can you spot her? Are any of you in this shot?

This is why I had a difficult time finding you all...that and it makes me dizzy to watch runners run...all that movement...Again? Anyone in this shot?

We hung around on the corner (nice...huh?) for a few more minutes, then Mik decided to ride home, and Betty and I rode back up Friars, spotted LOTS of SDTC peeps along the way, including Irene's husband Michael. Then we headed back to around toward Mission Bay again, looked for more peeps. We ended up riding around East Mission Bay with the runners (which was cool)...all the while Betty and I chatted about what we remembered about our long run a year ago.

By this time, it was about 10am and we were hungry, so we stopped and had some breakfast. Then we rode back over to Grand Avenue (near mile 18 which is where I saw Doreen from the SDTC...and probably should have seen Irene...GAH!). We got separated and almost lost each other on the Friars Road out and back (It was the third time we'd ridden through there). I probably should have been able to spot Sara and another non-blogging friend Sandy (who I didn't even know was running the marathon until she told me about it at Turbo's Little League game the day before), but I didn't see them either ((sadness)).

By that time, we'd ridden almost 30 miles, so we headed back to east county. BTW...there was lots more traffic at 11:30 than there was at 7am...

We also decided to NOT ride back up Montezuma (we'd gone about 30 miles at that point), so we went as far as it was flat(ish)...(and for those who are not from San Diego, flat is a relative term here...nothing is really flat). Then we took the trolley two stops to SDSU (which getting the bikes on the Trolley was another adventure, mostly because it involved lifting my bike up narrow steps, and I'm a klutz, and I have no upper body strength).

Betty and I at the trolley...a long-ass ride (which is what my ass was saying).

So...what a ride! No falls. No flats. I wish I'd seen more of you running peeps, but I was cheering you on whether I saw you or not. Congrats to all of you! I can't wait to read your race reports!

* This is what happens in my house when one of the kids can't sleep...Both DramaGirl and Turbo know that I am a sleeper, and have learned that if they try to wake me, I am entirely unsympathetic and just tell them to go back to they wake Walter, who is a light sleeper, and who gets up to deal with them...sweeeeeeeeet how I've worked that out, isn't it?

** I'm only posting times for my non-blogging friends...I won't steal any of my blogging friends thunder...although I completely stalked all of you and that's how I KNOW that I should have seen you, but somehow missed you in the sea of humanity.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Bullet Point Week/Weak Report

The week's news
  1. School is out for me! Hooray!!!!! Graded my last finals on Wednesday. I haven't posted final grades yet, but I will shortly.
  2. Had a lovely 4 mile run with Elsie on Wednesday (followed by wine and pot stickers) to celebrate the end of said school year. Here's the path we took :-) I'm going to call it profile of me reading a book on the 'mill.
  3. Got the scoop on Elsie's weekend with the PB (practice boyfriend), who is now the RB (real boyfriend). (The reason Elsie was missing all weekend)
  4. For the first time in a long time, I have no plans for a long run this weekend, and to be honest, I'm a little flummoxed by it. I keep feeling like I should be making plans for a long run, but I'm not.
  5. I do need to make a plan for cheering on BBJ, Kat, Santiago, Lisa, Irene, Sara, and all my SDTC friends who are running the Rock and Roll Marathon on Sunday. I think we're going to be on bikes and we'll be at least two or three places on the course...I'm thinking anything after mile 18 is good (it would have been for me!)
  6. I haven't signed up for the SDTC 1/2 Marathon Training Program yet, but I'm pretty sure I'm'll help keep me in shape for both the fall 1/2 marathon training season, and for the long haul up 6th Avenue for the AFC 1/2
  7. Yesterday I bought new tubes (two for me, one for Clarence), a patch kit, a pump, and a new bag to carry it all in...
Some clarifications
  1. Yes! I think some of the herd will be in Vegas in December for the RnR 1/2 Marathon.
  2. This doesn't mean that we won't do the Long Beach 1/2 in October... Long Beach is the first of the California Dreamin' Series and I'm all about the hardware.
  3. Regarding the flat-tire, tire changing adventure on Monday. It's completely awesome that Mik, Clarence, and Betty jumped in and changed both tires, but really, none of us knew what we were doing....which is why it took 45 minutes to change the tires (well...that and we were laughing a lot)
And a video
  1. DramaGirl and Turbo study for algebra (where do my kids come up with this stuff...and yes, that is a cup)...It's not a still photo for NikeMom's Foto Friday, it a series of still photos...all run together that approximate movement.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How Many Heffers Does it Take?

Question: How many Heffers does it take to change a flat tire?

Bonus Question: What if its TWO FLAT TIRES?

Answer: Four (well three...but one has to take pictures and add commentary)

Yep..on Monday on about Mile 12 of our 23 mile bike ride, I got not ONE but TWO effing flat the same effing time. (I'm THAT GOOD). I learned to not hit an effing crevice head on...

So, Betty told me that I should forgo the "boring" details of our ride, like that we rode from PB to Torrey Pines State Park and back in less than 2 hours riding time...but it took almost three hours total time due to the flat tire incident...that we tackled some pretty good hills (sea level to 450 ft above), that we decided to go to the restroom at the state park where Elsie famously ran into the PB (we were hoping to find them, this time, in the bushes) last time we ran there.

I could write about how on Sunday, I'd mentioned to Walter that at some point I probably needed to buy a patch kit, or learn how to deal with a flat because it was just a matter of time...

But I'll hold off on all that and just let the pictures do the talking

Before the flat, Clarence and I enjoyed the view of Sorrento Valley from the top of Torrey Pines. Thank God for father-in-law for setting her up with the patch kit, pump, and spare tube.

The restroom stop. Where's Elsie?

More restroom stop photos

We think this is the path where Elsie and the PB rendezvoused

Creative photography by Clarence...

Moments later, we decided to head back to PB...we'd gone only about 1/4 mile (or less) back on a REALLY CRAPPY ROAD and "pop...pop."

"Oh Shit." I said.

"That's not good," said Clarence.

So after about five minutes of us looking at each other saying...well, what should we do now? We decided to fix one tire with a spare tube that Clarence had, and try to patch the other...So, off the tires came.

Tire one is off...Betty is a master with the tools

On effing flat tire

There's your hole (yes, it get's worse from here)

Clarence looks for the other hole

The Pump from AkaAlice on Vimeo.

This is what makes it hard. You gotta listen to the video...

Mik asks me to check if it's hard enough yet

It was...

A nice biker who stopped to see if we needed help. We were having some issues getting the pump off the tire. She suggested we had to get rough with it. God I love bikers now...

Clarence, Mik, and Betty did all the work. Really, I just stood there the whole time taking pictures, adding color commentary, and being relatively useless.

More pumping to find the hole in Tire 2

Mik successfully patches a tire

The patch

Here's what I learned.

  1. I need to get a patch kit and a spare tube (or maybe two...but seriously, who gets TWO flat tires).
  2. I will always ride with my friends because I still have no idea how to change a tire since they did it all.
  3. Clarence's FIL is THE BEST!
  4. If you pump, it gets harder
  5. Water and air make it easier to find the hole

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Reflections and a Skirt

A year ago, I was a week out from running my first marathon. In my week-out post, I reflected on some of the bests and worsts of my marathon training season (from January to June). One of the things I love about blogging, is that now I have an actual diary of some parts of my life. Tonight, it's been nice to go back and re-read some of those posts. Mostly I sounded optimistic, scared, and in some regards, incredibly naive about what I was about to do.

Seriously, what a crazy thing it was for me to run 26.2 miles. Me. A confirmed couch potato, computer nerd, book worm. Someone who was So. Not. An. Athlete.

And yet, I ran a marathon. I'm not sure I'll ever run another, but it will always be something that I can say that I've done. I still enjoy the look of surprise I get from people when I tell them I've run a marathon because I seriously don't look like a marathon runner.

Living proof that anyone. Really anyone. Can run a marathon.

When I signed up for the SDTC Rockin' and Running training program this year, I wasn't planning on running the marathon. I joined (and convinced some of the herd to join) to train for some 1/2 marathons...and good thing, the injuries I've dealt with this year would have just made marathon training just futile and depressing.

All that being said, I was a little wistful yesterday when Mik, Betty, Kat and I went to the SDTC's last long run before the RnR Marathon. We ran for about 1:30 (about 7.6 miles)....which is the longest I've run since the La Jolla 1/2 marathon. I felt great through about 6 miles, then the PF started to really bug the left foot this time...GAH!

Saturday's Stats

7:55 miles

At the end of the run, Coach Paul had all the runners take their Marathon Oath (pretty much swearing to do their best, have fun, and know that they are ready). It's a nice touch to the end of the RnR training season.

So...even though I'm not running the 26.2 next Sunday, I thought I'd end this marathon training season with some track club photos of the herd (and friends) from this Saturday and the past few weeks.

Mik from this last Sunday

Kat took the oath and will be running next Sunday

I love this picture of Betty and I because it also includes Irene's husband Michael in front of us...I still love the expression on people's faces when he yells out "HEFFERRRRRS" whenever we are running nearby.

Yep...I wore a skirt...not sure what I think of it yet.

I think this picture is from a long run from a few weeks ago (up in Oceanside). Santiago seems to be saying, "Get that effing camera out of my face"...he sooooooo loves to have his picture taken! Santiago will also be running next Sunday!

Another long run picture from a few weeks ago...I have no idea what BBJ is referencing, but he seems to be making some gesture about size... hmmmm... No doubt BBJ will make up for what he considered a disappointing marathon run last year (he was hurt...)

So...even though I won't be running next weekend, much of the herd will be out on the course cheering our running friends on! I'll keep everyone posted this week about where we'll be.

Oh, and of course, after Saturday's run?

Those mimosas were made with fresh squeezed OJ, at a little place in downtown La Mesa called Centifonis... Amazingly YUMMY!!!! They also fresh squeeze their pomegranates (something that we had to verify with the waitress). We were happy to learn that there's a machine for squeezing juice from a pomegranate, because squeezing one pom at a time seemed really labor intensive...

Up for tomorrow? A 2.5 hour bike ride...I'll keep you posted...

Someone should ask where Elsie has been...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Plan C

Plan A 

The herd runs the Nike Women's 1/2 Marathon...

Then this happened...

So....we had to come up with ...

Plan B

The herd runs the Long Beach 1/2 Marathon in October

Flat run, but not very sexy...It's close, but it is Long Beach...not much of a road trip there...

So...I'm proposing 

Plan C
Las Vegas - December 6, 2009

Anyone with me?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

100% Chicks

Today's Route...I have no names...Fetus with a balloon perhaps?

Betty, Clarence, and I did another two hour bike-ride this morning. Elsie stood us up as she was on DAY 2 of her Friday date with the PB... We harrassed her via text-message for awhile this morning about giving up the bike ride for, well, another ride... (She is so NEVER letting the PB read the blog now. I already know that). Somehow Mik didn't find out in time that we were going riding this time, we'll have a better plan ahead of time.

This morning, we started at DeAnza Cove, then we took the Rose Canyon Trail to La Jolla Colony, then (by mistake) to UCSD, then back to do the Fiesta Island (the Fetus) loop, and back. The May/June morning marine layer is holding strong, so it was cool, and misty for the whole ride.

I won't keep you in suspense over the stats..

24.01 miles
2:00:56 hours
11.9 mph - average speed*

Some things I learned along the way...
  • I thought I'd run just about EVERYWHERE in San Diego County (I mean, I know I haven't, but sometimes I feel like I have), but I'd never been on the Rose Canyon Trail. It was a great bike trail. I do enjoy a bike trail with no cars.
  • I've also never really ridden around La Jolla.
  • La Jolla has hills.**
  • It is REALLY SUPER IMPORTANT to make sure that the front break is properly connected. I rode the first two miles this morning with the front break no connected correctly, so it was rubbing the whole time. I couldn't figure out why I was pedaling so hard, and moving so slow.
  • There are men who WILL stop to help you figure out what's wrong with your bike.
  • If I don't do anything stupid, I won't fall.
  • At 12 mph, it takes three attempts to figure out where to aim the camera in order to take an over-the-shoulder that includes what I am actually trying to photograph.
First try - nope

Second shot - no Clarence

Third shot - There she is!
  • I'm getting pretty good at taking pictures and riding (and not falling) at the same time.

Betty - who can't believe I'm taking pix and not falling (she has so little faith in me)

Clarence, on her pretty, new, road bike. I am having an extreme case of bike-envy right now.

Self-portrait w/Clarence

Over the shoulder shot of Betty, who talked shop for about a mile with a school colleage we almost ran into on Fiesta Island.

100% Chicks at the end of the ride...

See...the bike says it must be...

Some questions I have include...
  • 24 miles on the twat is does one built up muscle and endurance down there?
  • Does anyone make windshield wipers for sunglasses? La Jolla marine layer = misty rain.
No mimosas today, we all had places to go...

Most people who are unfamiliar with San Diego may think it's all beaches and sand, but really, it's mostly built on and around canyons, hills, and swamps. On local running message boards, there are always messages posted by newcomers who are looking for a flat place to run (hahahahaha). Truth is, unless you area running at the beach, it doesn't exist around here. If you live in San Diego County, be prepared to run (or bike) up hills, into canyons, and around swamps.

One such swamp is actually the San Diego River (betcha you didn't even know there was a San Diego River). Way back in the day, before I ever lived here, Mission Valley had a river that ran through it. Over the years, developers and city planners have built two major regional shopping malls (seriously, two of them, within about two miles of each other), loads of condos, hotels, car dealerships, and a professional football stadium. They bicected it with a major Interstate that runs east and west, and several other major freeways that run north and south all of which cross the valley via these enoumous bridges.

To make a long story short, the river ended up with the short end of the deal.

Today, Walter asked DramaGirl, Turbo and me to go to a San Diego River Park Foundation event. The Foundation is something Walter is involved in. They do restoration projects around the San Diego River trying to restore the habitat (as best they can) to it's more natural state, where they can and generally to just care about the river. Anyway, today they had a ceremony to announce the donation of about 17 acres of land where they are going to build a new park that will include a visitor, discovery, learning center kind of place. Amazingly enough, it'll be the only park in Mission Valley.

Right now, it's just an open area on the corner of two relatively busy roads, but San Diego is sort of like that. As I stood listening to the (thankfully short) speeches and thank yous and acknowledgements, I thought about how cool it was that DramaGirl and Turbo were there. How this will be one of the things that when they grow up, and when they have kids, they can look at the park and tell their kids that they were there when it first started...nice

Walter helped to serve organic, non-dairy, ice cream (interesting...but not likely to replace the real stuff in our house.)

DramaGirl, giving her thumbs up to the event

Turbo, being, well....Turbo

Have a great week everyone. I am woefully behind on my blog commenting. Actually, I'm pretty caught up on the reading part (go ahead, quiz me, I really do know what's going on). It looks to be another really nutty week. One week of classes, then finals, then I'm done...WOOT!!!!
* includes the brake engaged miles...which were really, really, slow....but completely hard work...GAH!
OK win! I can completely see how hills can make the nice guy a bad boy!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Week That Was...(not that interesting)...

Ya gotta know that when it takes me a whole week to post ANYTHING...It's been a heckuva week...or I died.

But the real truth is that I really didn't have much interesting to blog about this week. I've got two weeks until the end of the semester...lots of grading to do (again)...too much drama in the English department to think about...and most depressingly...I've got running pains (again) to, because I don't wanna bore you all with the tedium of it ad nauseum, here's a VERY brief weekly rundown of some running (and nonrunning) new from the week (boring...boring...boring...boring...).

DramaGirl and Turbo do math homework together...a moment of non-bickering so I took a picture.

A moment of parental bliss...

Track workout...a really good run we did 6x800 repeats. Elsie was there. I still can't keep up with the skinny biatch. Still, I ran faster than I have since before I got hurt. My 800 split paces were:

1 - 10:04
2 - 9:50
3 - 9:53
4 - 9:41
5 - 9:40
6 - 9:32

The result...major Plantar Fasciitis ...this time in the left foot...GAH!!!!! WTF is up with that?

DAY. FROM. HELL. First class started at 8am...last class ended at 9:30pm...a non-stop day. Wouldn't have run anyway since my effing feet were on effing fire all effing day....

Thank goodness for the Real Housewives of New York City (what a train wreck) to make me feel better about my life. (yeah, it was on Tuesday, but I didn't get to watch it until whatever...)

Despite PF pain, had high hopes of running, but went to happy hour with Mona and South Dakota instead ... a decision that took me two days to recover from. Drank waaaaaaaaaayyyyyy too much wine. Really shouldn't do that. Discussed at length how Jorts* and a tie on a man is soooooo NOT HAWT!!!!

Major hangover, so no running.

Still slightly hungover from THURSDAY, but got up early to run with the Track Club anyway. They were running 12-14 miles, as they are tapering for the Rock and Roll Marathon. But, I'm not running this year...and I had to go to a paper-scoring session at school, so I ran five miles instead.

I left a little before the fast group (all of the pace groups in the Rock and Roll Marathon have rock and roll names. The fast group (7 min mile and faster) is called "The Untouchables," The pretty fast group (7 t0 9 minute milers) is called "Cheap Trick," and those of us at the back of the pack are called "Air Supply" a label which I find rather insulting to be honest.

Anyway, I left a little before "The Untouchables" which means that at a certain point they all roared past me...but in truth, they're all really nice and supportive, so I didn't mind too much...

I ran for about 30 minutes, then I turned around and headed back a little past the first water station, which is where I saw Irene...lookin' awesome!

I really enjoy this run through Ocean Beach and Point Loma. This morning was humid, but the marine layer never lifted, and the ocean breezes were cool. I wish I'd had enough time to run the whole 2 hours, but I had to be at the college by 8:30 (BTW...apparently 8:30 is an estimated time to start at the college. We ended up waiting until about 9:15 to actually start the meeting, which really ticked me off cuz I could have run for another 45 minutes...I HATE meetings that start late....especially when I'm on time!)

It felt great to run, although I ran pretty SLOW!

5.02 miles
56:59 minutes
11:21 pace

Unfortunately, PF is back tonight with a VENGEANCE!!!! Been icing, stretching, and tennis balling all day.

OK...So that was the boring week. I'm glad it's over. Going on a bike ride in the morning with the herd. Maybe I'll have something interesting to say after that. My goal for the day is to not fall on my ass.

Finally, good luck to Shosh and Cyndi (Cyndi is doing her first 1/2 Mary!), and to everyone else who is running this weekend!

(WOOT! WOOT!...Walter just came home with PIE...The week is not a total waste after all...)

*Jorts = Jean Shorts and yes, I am channeling G with all the likes...