Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Alone For the Week

It's spring break...and I, for one, couldn't be happier...

So while I am reading FB accounts from the herd about being in Hawaii, or Washington DC, or Mexico, or Texas (?), I am at home...

In fact, as of this morning, I am at home alone

DramaGirl went to San Francisco yesterday to see some cousins. For the very first time, she flew on an airplane by herself! Yesterday I was pretty nervous. Of course, the flight into SFO was delayed (aren't they all?), but eventually it left and she managed to meet up with her aunt, and she spent the day helping to cook for a Passover celebration she'll be attending.

DramaGirl helping prepare for the feast...I know she's thrilled because I NEVER let her use The Big Knife!

This morning, Walter and Turbo took off to go to Spring Training in Phoenix, with another set of cousins and my father in law. It's a boys trip (there were 7 of them in the van this morning!)

Now, I have the whole house to myself...for three days!

In my family's absence:
  • I get to make salads for dinner and have nobody complain.
  • I get to watch whichever TV show I want on whatever TV I want whenever I want.
  • I don't have to listen to any cartoons or Disney channel screaming or video game chatter.
  • I'll also get lonely, and I'll miss them lots.
So, I have three days of "Me" plans. On deck...
  • Going to my office and grade a stack of papers that are sitting there. I know this sounds dreadful, but getting it done will leave me not thinking about it for the rest of the week.
  • Shopping (for me).
  • Actually going to go to the SDTC track workout tonight
  • Dinner with the herd after the SDTC workout
  • A bike ride on Wednesday morning with possible brunch plans afterward
  • A pedicure
  • Run Thursday morning
I think I'll be busy enough...

On the workout/running/biking front...

I didn't post this weekend because not much really happened due to Play Week. I missed the SDTC long run, which I am really bummed about because it is one of my favorite runs (through the beach communities and to La Jolla's Wind and Sea beach and back), and it was a beautiful morning, but I overslept (up late the previous night...Play Week). Also my parents were in town for the play and I wasn't sure what time they were going to drop by the house on their way back to Vegas.

Nana, Papa, Nibs (DramaGirl) and Captain Kidd (Turbo). Yes, he was supposed to look mean and angry. I wasn't much of an acting stretch because he HATED the fake mustache.

And because all I have this week are loads of pictures of pirates and lost boys...here are a few more...

Opening Night!

Closing night...by the 10th performance (yes, they did 10 performances over the week...8 live and two full dress rehearsals), he got drawn on facial hair and was a MUCH happier pirate. 

I did get down to the beach that afternoon (before the evening performance) and got in a quick 18 mile bike ride in 1:05...not too shabby. There was a pretty mean headwind on Fiesta Island, but it was a beautiful afternoon on the beach.

Mostly I've been trying to settle into some kind of routine with this P90X thing. Here's my take on it so far.
  • Tony Horton is not nearly as annoying as some video-workout-dudes are, but I can see how at some point, I'll get tired of hearing him say: "I'll drop back in here and lift." I'll also want to listen to my own music. Is it just me, or does the background workout music sound like porn music?
  • There's certainly some hypocrisy in his admonitions to "not let your ego get in the way," and how he either shames some of the background peeps to do more or how he "ooohs" and "aaaahs" when one of the background peeps really pushes it.
  • The weightlifting routines are easy to follow, which I appreciate, and he does give really nice directions about what to do. It moves a little fast, but it's easy enough to pause and rewind.
  • I like how he "monitors" the crew. Inevitably when one of the background peeps (BPs from now on because I have no idea WTF to call them) is using an incorrect form, or has bad posture, so do I. The corrections, for me, seem spot on.
  • I am using bands for the pull-ups because I don't have a pull-up bar in the house and have no intention of installing one. 
  • I couldn't do a pull-up anyway.
  • I still cannot do a reasonable pushup, and I think I'm back to arms today.
  • I'll probably regularly replace the Kenpo and the Pylo workouts with some other cardio. I don't have the coordination to follow the routines...and where Kenpo is concerned, my arms are just flailing around. 
Hope you all are having a fabulous week. 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

In which Alice writes very little about running...

It's Three Things Thursday (or so I've read)

Item 1 - Writing Instruction
As you all know, I teach developmental English at the local CC...Developmental English is code speak for "Bonehead" or "Remedial" English. Really, I don't judge... There are lots of reasons why people get through public school, and heck, through life, and don't know how to write very well. Some might even say I would be among them... Have you seen how many times I rely on parentheticals and ellipses to make a point. What kind of lame-ass writing is that?

So, this past week, I was teaching students how to use specific and vivid examples in their writing,* and I was using a model essay from the textbook to illustrate how to use effective examples.  This particular model is from an article that was, according to the textbook, published in Health Magazine in July/August 2001.** It's about how scents have a psychological effect. The first paragraph is about how scents can boost confidence, and it gives some examples of how athletes who were given something to smell had measurable changes in heart rate and blood pressure, which led to better performance.***

The second paragraph in the article reads:

Other scents have the effect of calming us down. When you're anxious, sniff something that you will associate with a more relaxed time in your life, suggests Will A Wiener, PhD., a psychologist and director of the Institute for Performance Enhancement in Manhattan.

Seriously... WILL A. WIENER?  Director of the Institute of PERFORMANCE ENHANCEMENT?

I think the textbook company is just effing with me.

I am so ready for spring break.

Item 2 - Comedy Workout
A few months ago, Irene loaned me a set of P90X CDs, and they sat on my bookshelf. This week I started (with much, much, much help from Mel, who swears the workout, and has been really happy with the results, 'so I figure, why not) to workout with them.

They're good comedy. I started on Monday with the "Back and Chest" CD, which required me to do pushups of various kinds--regular; wide stance; military; inverted (feet on a chair); hands together in a diamond; and one particularly elegant one which is sorta a combination of the yoga position, downward facing dog, to a pushup, to a cobra stretch.

Would you like to know how many "girl" pushups I can actually do.

I can do 2...sorta...but it's not pretty.

Mel promises me that I'll get better, but for now, I'm glad that there was nobody watching me.

Item 3 - Play Week
My kids are again in a youth theater production. This year they are doing Peter Pan (I think I've written for the last three years about my kids participation in this), which pretty much means our lives are upended this week and our total existence revolves around getting kids to the theater, picking them up from the theater, and being at the theater to watch them perform.

The whole cast...that is a kid hoisted up on wires playing Peter Pan. It's a pretty amazing production.

DramaGirl after opening night last night...Turbo was OUT OF THERE so fast, I didn't get a photo of him as a pirate...but no fear, there are more performances this weekend. I'll get a shot eventually.

* To be honest, I never really get why making up examples is so difficult.

Thesis: I had a crappy run

Examples: Let me describe to you through endless concrete, specific, and detailed examples, the complete and total extent of that particular crappiness****.

What's so difficult about that?

** Even though it is full of excellent and entertaining examples, I could never use examples from Glaven's blog because he uses lines like Fuckety, fuck, fuck, fucking fuck, and even though this is a college class, that would still probably not fly. 

*** So, if we all start sniffing ourselves or each other before a race, does that mean we will run better? I think someone should test this hypothesis this weekend. I would, but I'll be at the theater.

****If you need a model really good examples, look at Glenn's blog in which he thoroughly and convincingly details his experiences running the LA marathon. I'm thinking of using it as a model for future classes. Can I Glenn? And yes, I just footnoted a footnote. What of it?*****

*****GAH! (for you G)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Lies, Lies, Lies...

Running lies I told myself this morning....
  • If I sleep in 10 more minutes, I can still make it to the long run on time.
  • It won't matter if I miss the warm-up.
  • Since I missed the warm-up, I'll just start running with the group for a few minutes, then I'll stop and stretch.
  • I feel pretty warmed up. If I don't stop and stretch, I'll be fine.
  • I feel pretty good, maybe I'll run 10 miles this morning!
  • That tightening in my calf would be happening even if I had stretched before I started running.
  • That tightening in my left foot is probably plantar fascia tendon, but if I keep running, it'll stretch out.
  • That pain in my ass? Oh that will go away too if I just keep moving.
  • I can keep this 10:30 pace for 8 miles.
  • 7.82 miles is the same as 8 miles (it is, right?)
The path on the San Diego river...two miles up looking at this, two miles back, two miles up, two miles back.

Other random notes from the morning
  • This is the third time I've done the "Marathon Pace Run"...which for those training for the RnR marathon a 2 hour training run that is supposed to be run at marathon pace. My decision this morning was to make it a 1:30 hour 1/2 marathon training run. We started at Hospitality Point and ran inland on the San Diego Riverbed for 2 miles, then turned around and ran back 2 miles, then turned around - 2 more miles, etc, etc, etc. In the past, the most exciting part of the run would be to see "friends" on the turnarounds.
  • Despite the lack of heffer-runners to keep me entertained, the run was nowhere near as difficult for me this year as it has been in the past. The first year I did it, I think I went out far too fast and struggled after the 4th mile, and got lapped by a guy in an Elvis suit. Last year, I was on the injury circuit and had a pretty bad cold to boot, so although I was happy with last year's run, I do remember it being a challenge. In fact, this year I thought that the two mile turnarounds came up pretty quickly.
  • Irene demanded Percoset (or some other pain killer) as I ran past her. 
  • Although I had no pain killers, I did have some bandaids, which I gave to Michael (Irene's hubby) for some blisters he felt he was getting from his new Asics.
  • After 8 miles (OK...after 7.82 miles), I decided I'd had enough, although for the most part, this was entirely mental. I had decided pretty early on that I'd do only four laps, so when I got to the turnaround, I walked down to the toilets, did some business there, and then walked back to the car. I mostly feel bad about this because I didn't say goodbye to Irene.
 Proof that I was on the riverbed...and WTF am I doing with my right hand? It almost looks like its poised and ready for a mimosa doesn't it...
    So...no breakfast or mimosas this morning (sorry to disappoint). I've got a day filled with little league (yes, it's started already here) and sleepovers, and getting ready for Play Week. (DramaGirl and Turbo are in another PPJT production. This year, they're doing Peter Pan. Stay tuned. I'm sure I'll have pictures about that this upcoming week).

    BTW...Nike announced this week that the lottery for the Nike Women's Marathon and 1/2 is opening April 5... The herd is making plans to enter as a group again. Hopefully we'll get in this year.

    I do want to send some shout-outs and mojo (not that he needs it) to Glenn who is running the LA Marathon tomorrow morning and to Penny (who had a tough week, and who may need it) who is running the NYC 1/2 Marathon tomorrow also...and to everyone else who is running in either of those (or other) races. Have a great time!

    Tuesday, March 16, 2010

    A Perfect Monday at Lake BP

    Once in awhile, all the stars align, and an impromptu plan for a gathering actually, perfectly, comes together.

    Yesterday was one of those days that (as Lisa so aptly said on her blog) makes me "remember why my mortgage is so high." Yesterday afternoon was in the upper 70's*. Spring has sprung here. What a difference a week makes!

    Earlier in the day, Betty had sent me a text message wanting needing either a run or workout at the gym at 5:15. Since the gym is an absolute ZOO at 5pm, and since the weather was perfect, I suggested a run at Lake BP.

    As I was driving home, I was thinking about how it'd been awhile since Mik, Elsie, Betty and I had run together, so at 4:30, I called them both and luckily neither had plans and both were ready for a run.

    By the time we all arrived and parked, it was close to 5:45, but thanks to Daylight Savings Time**, there was still plenty of light. We ran for about 2 miles up the path, and 2 miles back (four miles on a Monday was enough for me). We ran slowly; we complained about our jobs (well...Elsie and I did); we talked about boys (we got the latest on Mik's new BF); we got caught up on family business (Betty's been dealing with her brother who has some health issues the last two weeks); we made jokes about long and hard vs. short and stubby (not related to the new BF talk though); we compared various aches and pains (Betty hadn't run for a couple weeks due to some foot pain and a possible small stress fracture; Elsie had started using some new orthotics, which started causing some PF issues for her.***)

    Despite the flies on the back side of the lake (I think I swallowed a few), that seemed to have bred overnight and came out of nowhere, it was a perfect run. I really needed a good, hard, run. Here are my splits. (Check out the negative splits...woot, woot, woot, babee)

    Elsie...running it in

    Mik, at the finish. I have no idea why the picture is so hazy. My iPhone was in my back pocket (because I never learn) and I think I fogged up the lens...GAH!

    Afterward we went back to Mik's house for some wine and food and to get caught up some more.

    Just perfect.
    * Not to make Keith feel bad, but today was in the 80s.

    ** I'll admit it...I LOVE Daylight Saving's Time. I LOVE having the extra light at the end of the day. I my perfect world, it is ALWAYS Daylight Saving's Time.

    *** I am dubbing 2010 the year of the freakish foot injury. Me, Betty, Elsie, and now Irene. WTF is up with the foot injuries? From here on out, we are taking it easy, building mileage slowly, not trying out new shoes or new shoe inserts! No More Foot Injuries...GAH!

    Saturday, March 13, 2010

    Run, Cycle, Work, Repeat

    But first, some random notations from the week...
    • Logging 41 miles of cycling and running in a weekend = RAGING HUNGER on Monday. This is why I never lost weight when I trained for the marathon. Yeah, sure, I'd burn a bunch of calories, but then I'd eat even more because I was STARVING!
    • Finished grading a load of papers Monday night and was able to return them to students on time on Tuesday. 
    • Wondered all day on Wednesday if I'd made the biggest professional mistake in my life by leaving a high school where my work was appreciated to teach at the community college where I am pretty much ignored. Not a fun story, just feeling rather unappreciated.
    • Ran three miles on the 'mill Wednesday night, which made me feel better.
    • Flew to Oakland again on Thursday for a meeting. On the way back to San Diego, the flight was delayed, so I went to the bar to get a glass of wine with a colleague; therefore, I almost missed the flight. They were calling my name. I told the flight attendant it would have been their fault if I missed the flight.
    • On Friday, I got some new kicks! I stuck with the Saucony Hurricanes. I wasn't sure I was going to. I tried on a pair of Saucony Paramounts, which felt wonderful on my feet, but last time I changed shoe style, I got PF, so I chickened out. I ran in the new Hurricanes this morning. It was so wonderful running with some cushion and support again. 
    • Shopping in the middle of the day on Friday made me remember why I chose to teach at the CC.
    • Mailed my Nike sunglasses to the repair shop again because they won't send me a new nose-bridge piece to replace the one that fell off last weekend and was lost, but they will replace it if I send them the glasses ($5.00 to mail and $10.00 to cover their shipping and handling...GAH!).
    • Did the shortest/fastest bike ride ever on Friday at Lake Boy Part - 6 miles in 24 minutes. Hardly even worth mentioning.
    • As I was moving my bike out of the garage, I lost my footing and fell back into a rack of hand weights. I now have a really pretty blue and purple calf.
    • DramaGirl and I are going to see GLEE with Penny in May! Woot Woot Woot!
    • And I ran in Coronado this morning....
    Only Mik, Kat and I were the only members of the herd to show up for the run this morning. Everyone else missed absolutely perfect running weather. Betty had to work. Elsie was on Grandma duty. BBJ decided to do a St. Paddy's Day 10K that included a beer garden at the end. I'm not sure where everyone else was.

    There are many good things about running in Coronado, mostly there are plenty of visual distractions. We get to run under and around this...

    Coronado bridge, the bridge Mik and I rode OVER in the pouring rain last weekend...on a side note, the guy in the foreground was sitting in what appeared to be an inflatable lounge chair (camouflage pattern) and was fishing. BTW ocean temperature is currently about 54 degrees.

    And beautiful homes like this...

    Rows of homes that I'll never live in...but nice to run by

    One of the challenges of running in Coronado is that the streets have a pretty steep cant to them. I tried to find and stay on the most level part of the street, but at points it was just impossible. I felt really good through most of the run although at about the 7th mile I could feel a familiar tightening at the bottom of my left foot. I don't think it's the dreaded PF yet, but I certainly used plenty of ice when I got home.

    More stretching, lunge matrices, and single leg 3-way squats to follow...

    In all honesty, I didn't start the morning thinking I would run almost 10 miles. Actually, I think I told Mik that I'd do one loop around the island (about 7 miles) and be done with it.

    Problem with that is that I was finally warmed up at 7 miles. At 7 miles, I felt good enough to continue running, so I ended up running not quite 10 miles. The last 1/2 mile was pretty tough, but it felt good to get out there and run.

    Other highlights of the morning included:

    Clearly the guys waiting at the aid station had some time on their hands. I told them I really admired their fabulous display.

    I told Irene I hadn't put a picture of her on the blog recently...Here she is in her fabulous Newtons

    It was another great running morning - cool and comfortable during the run, then the sun came out...which was good because as stylish as these sunglasses may be, they were not stellar running glasses and stayed on my head the entire run.

    My goal is to get caught up on your blogs tomorrow...but it's time for bed now.

    Today's stats

    9.75 miles
    11:18 pace

    Sunday, March 7, 2010

    Noah was smart enough to use an ark

    The website says that Gran Fondo means "Big Ride" in Italian. This morning, it was one big WET ride.

    Really Wet.

    I lived in sense of semi-denial all day yesterday...thinking/hoping/believing that it wouldn't REALLY rain ALL MORNING. I mean, it really doesn't rain that much here. The weather Gods were messing with me too...when I woke up at 5 am, the sidewalks were dry.

    However, by the time Mik and I left at the butt-crack of dawn, it was raining. 

    O'Dark Thirty...and it was raining

    The ride (The Gran Fondo series are advertised as "mass participation riding events" and not races) started in the "Little Italy" neighborhood of San Diego. We parked at the office building where Walter works. Which was covered and dry.

    Mik and I before the race. I went back and forth about wearing the clear sunglasses...I am SO GLAD I DID!

    The street as we left the parking garage. Yes, it was raining still.

    We headed a couple of blocks up the street (Walter's parking garage was the PERFECT location as it was only a few blocks away from the start...and did I mention it was covered and dry?)

    As we headed to the start, it really started POURING, so we joined some other clever people who had taken cover under the awning of a restaurant called Indigo Grill (figure since I used their awning, I should give them a shout out).

    More rain....

    About this point, I checked my phone and my office-partner, Tate, was calling me. He was also doing the ride (and was talking about backing out), so I suggested he come wait with use under the awning. Once he got there,  Mik and I shamed him into riding with us. His text message to his wife was something like "Alice is riding." He knows he'd never hear the end of it if he'd wussed out.

    Tate, not looking especially thrilled about the ride...I'm just sayin'

    The ride had a wave start, which began about 7am, by about 7:30 or so, the downpour had slowed to more of a misting, so we headed out to the street. Of course, I dropped my glasses on the ground near the porta potty, so I had to look for them...it clearly was my weekend to have sunglass issues.

    Race start...absolutely amazing that so many people showed up. They must have started 15 waves at least!

    The Three

    At 7:52, we were off. I quickly decided that I needed to have the glasses on as it had started to rain again.

    The wave start was an excellent way to begin. It was never crowded. One of my biggest concerns about riding in the rain had less to do with the rain, and more to do with riding around 3000 other people in the rain, but since we left in groups of about 200, we were pretty spread out. Although the rain had started up again, it wasn't too bad, and pretty soon we were at the foot of the Coronado Bridge. You don't often get to ride a bike over the bridge, and to be honest, this was pretty much the whole reason to do this event.

    Top of the Coronado Bridge...I'm sure that's the Strand in the distance...even further would be Tijuana...on a clear day.

    Mik and I...we are shiny but not because we are sweaty.

    That's Tate in the distance...and also Coronado. You may have to trust me on that.

    The climb up the bridge was not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. In fact, I know that I passed a lot of people. On the other hand, the ride down was scary.  First, it was a pretty steep descent, which was WET. Second, The bridge has a bunch of metal dividers that help the bridge sway in high winds and (probably) in the event of an earthquake, but they must be hell on bicycle tires as there were lots of bikers on the side of the bridge dealing with flats. Although to be honest, this was the scene throughout the entire ride. LOTS of flats today. Luckily, none of them happened to any of us. Fixing a flat in the rain must really suck.

    As we headed into Coronado, we were definitely on familiar ground as we have run and even ridden on the island plenty of times...although to be honest, at about this point I started to notice how incredibly wet my feet were. Everyone once in awhile while pedaling, I could just feel the water squishing underneath my foot. NOT COMFORTABLE.

    Eventually, despite the wind and the rain, we got to the aid station in Imperial Beach. One side note about the aid station. There was a HUGE difference between this cycling aid station and the running aid stations I'm used to. At a really deluxe running aid station, you might find an energy beverage, and maybe a Gu. The Nike Women's 1/2 is notable because at Mile 11, they offer you a Ghiradelli's Chocolate.

    This aid station was DELUXE and then some one had donut holes, cookies, drinks, Gu, PB&J sandwiches and Lord knows what else. I don't know if this is because it was an ITALIAN BIKE RIDE (and being 1/2 Italian, I know the importance that food has at any event) or if this is true of all cycling event aid stations, but if it is, I am SO DOING MORE OF THIS...I MEAN THEY HAD THOUSANDS OF FROSTED DONUT HOLES. We ended up stopping for about 10 minutes, partially because we were soaking wet and cold, and partially because we were waiting for Mik to eat 5 donut holes and 3 cookies (I ate only 2 donut holes, but that's because I didn't want to be burping up donuts for the last 15 miles). Tate told me he got his money's worth.

    I took a couple of pix at the aid station on my iPhone, but none of them saved...I think I was trying to take them and post them as updates on Facebook, but it wouldn't upload and I didn't save the pix. ((SIGH)). Needless to say, they weren't fabulous pictures of us. We were soaking wet; so were our bikes.

    The rest of the ride could be summed up as follows:
    • Seeing more cyclists with flat tires.
    • Complaining more about the rain...it let up a few times, but it NEVER EFFING STOPPED
    • At the aid station, something happened to my brakes, and I kept having to reach down to adjust them because they were rubbing against the tire (very frustrating...like it's not difficult enough just riding in the rain, I had to battle breaks too).
    • Deciding that the interesting, squiggly street repair/patch work around the Chula Vista Harbor looked like abstract art.
    • Getting REALLY annoyed by the rain
    • Getting separated from Tate and Mik at a light, then pedaling like hell to catch up with them.
    • Almost wiping out when my back tire went into a divot I didn't see
    • Two people wiping out on the railroad tracks
    • Catching up with Tate and Mik at the Convention Center
    • Finishing together
    And we're done...VERY COOL finisher medal

    We made an on-the-spot decision to hang out at the expo and get some pasta, but didn't stay very long because we were wet, cold, and (most importantly) we THOUGHT we were promised Prosecco but discovered that Prosecco was offered ONLY in the VIP area (and even though Tate tried to tell the guy that we FELT important), we were left (alas) without.

    In any event, the pasta was quite good, but I was really too cold and wet to enjoy it (and I was pissed about the Prosecco...let's be honest here.)

    So, we said goodbye to Tate, and Mik and I rode back to the parking garage which was covered and dry, where we:
    • Of all silly things, almost crashed and fell going UP the parking lot ramp.
    • Hope there was no closed circuit camera since we stripped down out of our wet clothes and into dry ones for the ride home...or if there is a closed circuit camera, Mik and I hope that someone enjoyed the show (you're welcome), because after all, what is hotter than two women in their 40s, soaking wet and cold, changing out of soggy bike clothes into warm, dry clothes in a public parking garage.
    So, now I'm all warm and snuggly on the sofa and ready to watch the Academy Awards...oh yeah, those papers I was whining about grading earlier in the week? They're in my briefcase and are VERY dry.

    Saturday, March 6, 2010

    9.3 miles down, 32 to go

    This morning Mik, Elsie, BBJ and Kat and yours truly were the herd members who ran at the Sue Krenn 15K, not a typical distance for a race, but the track club uses it as one of the Marathon training program runs. It's a pretty flat race that starts on East Mission Bay drive, does one loop around Fiesta Island (big news is that there was almost NO WIND as we ran on the Island this morning, which is a pretty big deal), then runners head back onto the running/walking path alongside Mission Bay Park for a couple of miles, then the turnaround to the finish.

    It's a pretty small field. The starter started the race by ringing a cowbell. My biggest complaint about the race is that the mile markers seem to be just randomly placed in an area near the mile they are marking. That and the first aid station is about 3.5 miles into the race, but I've run this race three years in a row, so I'm mentally ready for it now. In the past I was more like "WTF is the aid station?" Also, in past years, it's been much warmer than it was this morning.  This morning is what I would call Perfect Penny Weather...cloudy and cool.

    Me, Elsie and Mik before the run...Mik said she was cold. I started off with a long sleeve shirt under the day-glo green, but removed it after the warmup. I was glad I did. Note the missing nosepiece on my sunglasses...yep, lost it this morning. GAH! Hopefully, Nike can replace it.

    There were some random conversations bits that took place before and after the race. Out of context, they all sound dirty, but in the context of running, quite normal. In fact, the first two don't even need any clarification. I did have to promise a certain tall, male, who runs in black, and who teaches Math, that I wouldn't attribute the first or second comments to him, but I have to share them anyway...
    • Do you want my Hammer?
    • Please don't write in your blog that we exchanged Gu!
    • You are my only G-friend*

    I was not expecting much from myself in this run. Since the debacle that was the Surf City 1/2 Marathon last month, I've been running only twice a week, and have been to the gym only a handful of times, so my overarching goal was just to finish and not hurt myself as I still have a 32 mile ride scheduled for tomorrow morning.

    First things first...I did finish in (unofficially) my second best 15K time (1:43:29); not only that - I am thrilled to report that I ran pain free. It was not at all what I was expecting as my knee has been sorta twitchy and stiff lately (yeah, another dirty sounding line, whatever), and the 2nd half of the run is on a concrete walking path, and that always seems to bring a flare-up in the PF, but neither of those things happened today.

    I knew I was doing pretty well, and my inclination when I'm feeling good and running well is to push myself too early in a race. I kept telling myself that this wasn't really my race, just a training run, and that I needed to take it easy. It was quite a challenge, especially as I knew that a PR was within sight. Apparently, it's taken me almost five years of running to learn that lesson (or at least to have actively applied the learning to actual practice...)

    Here are my splits

    So, to what do I credit this performance?

    You got me? But it could be...
    • Strength training-I am becoming more and more convinced that, even though I am have done minimal strength training these past few weeks, my legs and body is stronger. I noticed, especially, after the 6th mile when I would have expected my legs to start feeling heavy, and they didn't.
    • Carb Loading - I also think that proper nutrition played a part (and by proper nutrition, I mean that I drank loads of water yesterday and I had pasta for dinner two nights in a row). I'm not a big carb eater ordinarily...too many carbs = too many lbs for Alice, so I tend to limit them. For some reason, I didn't do that this week. I felt the result of it today when I didn't even need a Gu until about Mile 7.
    • Peer pressure - (or at least the pressure I put on myself by running around my peers). Starting about Mile 6, the faster runners, who have already turned around and are headed back to the finish. Some people (Betty for example) find this depressing. I, on the other hand, LOVE seeing my friends who are headed back. With every high five, and thumbs up, and good job, I hear and give, the better I feel. So, I gotta credit everyone ahead of me today including Irene, BBJ, Elsie, Mik and Kat, and a whole lotta other peeps from the track club. I do love an out-and-back for this reason (another dirty line, right?)
    That's it...because a reasonable performance certainly couldn't be attributed to actual training as I've done so little of that, but I'll take it nonetheless.

    After the run, we gathered at La Casita (Elsie's place) for Mimosas and pancakes. Even though Betty wasn't able to run this morning (slight stress fracture, I swear I didn't give it to her, and some other family shiz she has going on), she joined us for breakfast. We are such creatures of habit, we all have our tasks. Betty makes the pancakes; Mik gets the fruit ready; Elsie makes the coffee; I am in charge of the mimosas. We sit in the same place, every time...we are such dorks.

    And I completely missed our dorkiness this month.

    At our usual places...ready to get all caught up about each other's business...

    So, it was a fine run and now I have to go take care of my bike. I wonder where I put the lube? (Another out of context dirty-comment).
    * The actual context of this comment: Two women were in front of Elsie and me as we picked up our bibs. One woman was telling her friend that she was the only person on her cell phone whose last name started with the letter G (oooooh...THAT G...I know what you were thinking!). Of course, once she said "G friend" we all started giggling. I saw her at about Mile 8. She hadn't yet gotten to the turnaround yet, and didn't look like she was having much fun, so I shouted out to her "HEY! G-FRIEND!" and she smiled... Just doing what I can to spread the cheer!

    Thursday, March 4, 2010

    Heffer Announcements

    It's been a few weeks (what with regular ole life an all interrupting my regular plans) since the herd got together, but that's what we did tonight. It was Madge and Wilma's birthday so we all got together for Happy Hour.

    And what a night. It seems like we're all growing up.

    Clarence announced that she was with calf (well...actually momma did the announcing). But still, a heffer having a baby. It's awesome and we all can't wait.

    Daisy has a new fabulous house (even if it is in El Cajon) and I can't wait for the first wine party (which is, from all reports, the whole reason she bought the house). Seriously though, it's an awesome place!

    Madge has a boyfriend. I'd met "the boyfriend" a few weeks ago. I was mostly impressed when he walked into the bar and didn't "SQUWEEEEEEEE" upon seeing the corner table filled with the herd (we approve!).

    Mona and I finished the evening by lying in bed, drinking wine, and talking smack about the ridiculous "real housewives" of OC and NYC. I have nothing but thanks for the herd, a group of women who are way too real for Bravo.

    In other news....

    SoCal weather this weekend says rain on Saturday morning (NOAA says rain won't start until after 10 am, which is superb since I'll be done running my 9 miles well before 10 am). In any event, I've got no real trouble running in the rain. I mean, all things being equal, I'd prefer to NOT run in the rain, but it's doable, and lord knows, we've done wet runs before.

    But cycling in the rain? That's a whole 'nuther animal.

    So, I'm planning to do the Gran Fondo 32 mile ride on Sunday morning. NOAA says 40% chance of rain on Sunday. Riding in the rain, to be frank, scares the living begeezus out of me, not to mention the wardrobe issues...

    What should I be thinking of wearing?
    What should I be thinking of doing?
    What should I be thinking?

    Any and all wet-cycling advice is welcome. Lord knows I need it.

    Monday, March 1, 2010

    Getting back on track

    I am a training slacker.

    This isn't a recent development, but for the last year or so, slowed by injuries of one sort or another, my training has really gotten off track. In fact, I don't think I've really been truly ready for a race since last April's La Jolla 1/2 Marathon.

    My latest foray into slackerhood is duly recorded on my Daily Mile log which shows that I logged a pathetic 49 miles in February...that's total miles BTW and includes "elliptical" miles. In total, I ran 33 miles last month and I haven't been on my bike since January 6.

    My ass is one victim of this slackerness. My evidence? I did a four sets of lunge matrices at the gym on Saturday and today, I could barely sit (FYI - a lunge matrix consists of six lunges, one going forward, one to the side, and one back at a 90 degree angle, then one back, one cross over to the side, another cross over to the front at a 90 degree angle - One set is 5 rounds of these and actually consists of 30 lunges, per leg. I usually do these with hand weights, on Sunday I used 10 lb weights).

    At one time, I was the QUEEN of the LM, but that wouldn't be the case now.

    This has got to change. I've got to get back into training shape...I know I can't run more than three days a week, but I've been doing only two days for the last couple of weeks. I must continue to do strength training, not only because it makes me look more toned than running alone ever will, but because consistent strength training leads to fewer injuries.

    I really need a plan and a focus since I do have some events coming up:
    • This Saturday - Sue Kren 15K. I'm not expecting much. I haven't run farther than 6 miles since the Surf City 1/2, but I'd still like a respectable finish. I ran 6 miles at a very respectable (for me) 10:46 pace. That'd be a PR if I could do 9 more miles.
    • Sunday - The Gran Fondo 32 mile ride. It's not a race, but 32 miles is still 32 miles.
    • April 11 - Carlsbad 5000
    • June 6 - Rock and Roll 1/2 Marathon - There's a new course this year and (thankfully) it doesn't involve the San Diego Riverbed. It's a pretty flat course with a lovely downhill ending. I'd really love a nice PR there...something around 2:15 would be nice.
    Amazingly, that's all I have planned for the year so far. I wonder if the lack of a larger plan is the reason why it's been so difficult to keep to a training schedule. If I'm going to PR in June, I really need to stay healthy, which again, leads me back to the need for a consistent training plan.

    So, there you have it. Alice is in search of some serious training mojo. I know it's out there somewhere, I just need to re-locate it.