Sunday, August 29, 2010

I Do Love Fire...

To be more accurate... I love the End of Summer Fire Run. It's become somewhat of a heffer-tradition to run this end of summer event that starts at the foot of all the chi-chi shops on Girard and Prospect in La Jolla and ends at the PB Bar and Grill, which will always be Diego's to me. It's a little four mile jaunt...with a LOT of downhill.
So, in a completely appropriate ending to the crazy-ass weather of this summer, and after a really exciting morning of waking up late, some furious texting, and maybe the fastest drive to La Jolla ever, we gathered on a coolish and overcast, yet humid morning in La Jolla.

Alberta and Elsie - surely they are discussing race strategies
Betty and Walter examining her hairdo
Me and 1/2 of Walter (still working on that self-photo thing. Geez - I really suck at taking pictures of two)
About 2500 runners. When we ran this race for the first time three summers ago, I think it was less than 1/2 that. I know that there were two porta-potties at the start and for the bag check,  I handed my gear to someone in a Minivan.
I'd asked Walter before the race if he was going to try to see how fast he could run, or if he was going to take it easy. He said he just planned to run with me.

Now really...WTF does THAT means...does he think running with me is pushing it or taking it easy?


So I decided to just go all out. I even stopped at the second glass of wine at dinner last night. He should have seen that as a clue.

In any event, within moments of the above crowd photo being taken, and my last minute discovery that because my iPod Shuffle had a dead battery (how did THAT happen? I charged it last night...GAH!), and my switch over to the iPhone for music-motivation, someone must have said "go" and we were off.

Elsie and Alberta took off like someone was chasing them. I know that starting off too fast is trouble for me, and I wanted to have something at the end, so I settled into what I thought was a reasonable pace. Walter was beside me or slightly behind the whole way.

All I know is if this race gets any larger, they're going to have to close more than the south going lanes of La Jolla Blvd. I spent most of the race either running on the pylons or a little bit to the left of them, so that there was room as it was pretty crowded. For the most part, the crowd was polite. A guy with a double-wide stroller was cutting a pretty good path, and I thought about just following him, but he was running pretty fast, so I stayed back. I did almost trip over a dog, because his/her owner decided to go the the right of the pylon and the dog decided to go to the left and the leash decided to go through the pylon.

Sigh and ah well...

In any event, the morning was a bit muggy, but overcast and we pushed along.

Here's the mile by mile.

Mile 1 - 9:52 - I was thinking OMFG...that is FAST for me. This may not be a good thing)
Mile 2 - 9:36 - Still running strong, but waiting for the other shoe to drop...or my legs to fall off... Walter was still with me, so I clearly wasn't running fast enough to lose him, but I was hoping he was, at least, having to work to keep up with me.
Mile 3 - 9:46 - At 2.5 miles was the water station, and I just had to have a quick gulp, so we ran over to the end of it, I snatched a glass from in front of some guy, and took a couple of gulps, handed the last of it to Walter (he looked thirsty, but hadn't taken any water) and started up again. I told him that I thought we were running a pretty good pace and he nodded....
Mile 4 - 9:20 - The last mile of this race is my favorite, and today certainly illustrated why knowing the course is such an advantage. I knew when we turned from La Jolla Blvd on to Mission Blvd that there was only a 1/2 mile left, and that most of it is downhill, so even though I was breathing hard, I knew I could just suck it up and run in.

Unofficial finish 38:55 and PB for me and for Walter!

Walter and I high-fived (he was a sweaty mess). Elsie finished right after us, and Alberta (who has had a heck of a week including a car accident - she was rear-ended, and who ran the AFC 1/2 two weeks ago) and Betty finished just a bit after that.

We grabbed our t-shirts and decided that the line to get beer was just a bit too long. So we went to the High Dive for...yep, you guessed it...breakfast and mimosas.

This is Elsie and'll have to take my word for it. (grrrr no-flash on the iPhone)
Happy Heffers
Irene and Michael met us there and Irene posted photos on FB, which I have you can see from my mad photo skilz this morning, it was necessary.
The Herd
Good friends
Our photographer
After the race, I asked Walter if we'd run fast enough, and he gave me an enthusiastic "yes." Because I am a glutton for punishment, I asked if he could have run faster at the end.

His remark was something like "oh yeah...I could have sprinted at the end"

Huh? I WAS sprinting at the end!!!! (According to the Garmin, I ran the last 1/2 mile doing about a 8 to 8:30 pace)


Ah well... I really am very proud of him and of all of us for that matter. Everyone ran really great races and we had a fabulous morning. I have no doubt we'll do it again next year!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Classes started this week and (at the risk of sounding really lame and boring) this explains my absence from the blogosphere which will probably continue until I settle into something of a routine.

I really have no idea how the everyday bloggers (or even the every other day bloggers) do every day I mean. I can't. A few of my favorite bloggers have taken breaks. I know of lots of others who quit, but then reconsider, and then some others who take "unofficial" breaks but then return with a different blog.

That being said, I completely get it, the quitting blogging thing. I often feel guilty when I haven't checked in and posted some ridiculous update about what I am or, in this case, AM NOT doing. I feel even more guilty about ignoring your blogs or not commenting or missing important events or races in your lives.

BTW...I don't delete anyone from my RSS feed, even when you say, "I quit" and "I'll never blog again" (Marcy - last post one year ago* and Missy - last post two months ago).

I guess you could call me a blog-hoarder.

In any event, I can make this brief (shocking for me, I know), but I am NOT quitting the Hefferblog. It may not be a work of great literary merit, but I will continue writing, even if for the next month or so, it's rather sporadic.

Of even greater concern to me is WHEN THE HECK AM I GOING TO RUN?

My current teaching schedule is making running during the week a bit of a challenge. My first class starts at 8am, so I like to be on campus by 7ish.

I know some of you have the ability to get up at 4am to run before a long work day. I bow to you in admiration...but I don't have it in me.

I've been getting home around 5. Then it's all about cooking dinner, checking in with the kids, ask nagging about homework, listening to DramaGirl tell Field Hockey practice stories. (She made the JV Field Hockey team and is loving every minute of it, but she is 14 almost 15 and is therefore complaining bitterly about being SOOOOOOO SORE from practice (thanks Edith), but does have the energy to design a custom birthday party invitation...)

In any event, it's now it's almost 10pm and I'm NOT running at 10pm because this kind of marathon will start all over again tomorrow morning at 6 and if I run at 10, I'll never sleep.

Like I said, I'll settle into a routine soon and I'll stop with the whine (wine is so much better!) and get back to blogging and running.

Until then, more whine please?

* yes, I can stalk you on the Daily Mile, but I've been pretty lame there too, haven't I?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Oh Yeah...I'm Alive....Randomness...Something for everyone!

Classes begin on Monday. This should expain my virtual absence from the virtual world this week.

However, despite my LASER-LIKE FOCUS on getting ready for the first week of classes, I am guilty of frittered away minutes this week by shiz like this.

Exhibit A - Entertainment
Betty's fault...she drives a swagga'wagon and sent this out as a point of pride... I spent the rest of the week singing "where my kids at? where my kids at?"

Exhibit B - Thought
Contributed by my office-partner Tate. It's a little long, but as an English teacher,my favorite part is when he calls out the dangling modifier in the line "I stopped an old man along the way, hoping to find some old forgotten words or ancient melodies..." LOL (OK...Only the English teachers and anal retentives are laughing right now...I know that)

Exhibit C - Inspiration
Anne posted this earlier this summer, but I've told a few people about it, and they've suggested I post it on the blog. It reminds me to not be afraid of doing what I think is right.

Exhibit D - The Herd
And how much of my happiness would not be possible if not for my family and the herd.

I managed to get in two runs this week (MEH) and am planning on running with the herd in the morning. It'll be our first group run (I think) since San Francisco!

Hope everyone is enjoying the summer. Mine (such as it was) is over now. Back to work on Monday!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Aftermath...

Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes and commentary about how old I am (or how old I am not, depending on your POV).

When I was younger, in my wild-party-girl days, I came up with the idea to celebrate my birthday for the entire month of August...and dubbed August "Birthday Month." I rationalized that since August has no other recognized holiday (trust me on this), it must exist in honor of MEEEEEE!!!!

So during "Birthday Month" whenever I would go out with my girlfriends, our goal was to find someone who was willing to "sponsor" us because, IT WAS MY BIRTHDAY!!!! and we'd do this all month long...You'd be surprised at how well it worked! There was always someone who was willing to buy a birthday girl a drink during Birthday Month...

Yes, one can be this self involved when single and can recover from it with age and wisdom. At least that's what I keep telling DramaGirl.

Of course, once I became a mama, birthday month sorta fell to the wayside and it's really better that way. This year, since my BD fell on a weekday, I celebrated with my family, and tonight Walter and I are going out to a nice dinner, so I get two days this year (well...I'll get three, but I'll write more about that later).

For the family celebration Walter and DramaGirl cooked a fabulous dinner and then afterwards we went to Extraordinary Desserts.
DramaGirl's roasted red potatoes
Me and my top chefs!
The desserts at Extraordinary Desserts are truly amazing. I posted a few pix on FB of some of the extraordinary-ness that was displayed in the front cases.
Some frosted scone-thing
A meringue filled with fresh fruit and a peach custard (I've had this IS as yummy as it looks)
DramaGirl says there's no such thing as too much chocolate
We ended up ordering...
A hot fudge sundae (with white chocolate bark). There's a brownie mixed in with the hot fudge...decadent!
A chocolate cake/chocolate mousse/chocolate frosted piece of goodness and some hot chocolate (again...DG says, "there's no such thing as too much chocolate)
A multi-tiered napoleon with lemon curd and raspberry sauces

And the aftermath...
Stuffed...the four of us (Walter was there too) couldn't finish it all, but seriously...YUM!
Dealing with the aftermath meant that I needed to get some running in to somewhat counterbalance the number of calories I consumed. I ran a little bit on the 'mill yesterday, but I got bored and overwhelmed by OMG...I HAVE TO GO BACK TO WORK ON MONDAY AND I HAVE SO MANY THINGS TO DO... so I stopped at two miles and went to run errands instead.

Then last night Betty and her husband and my BIL and his GF came over to watch the Padres beat the Giants (sorry NoCal folks) and to eat some of the five pounds of steam mussels I'd prepared (I was at Costco...and you can only buy the ENTIRE BIG EFFING BAG and I wanted them, so the obvious answer was to buy the WHOLE SHEBANG and invite a few friends over...right?)

BTW...I can steam up some pretty serious mussels in a white wine broth. We almost finished the whole bag.

Anyway, somewhere during the second bottle of wine, Betty and I decided that we should run in the morning!

Hmmmm maybe opening that third bottle wasn't such a good idea?

So, we have the Aftermath Part II

This morning Walter, Betty and I met up with Kat at 7am at La Jolla Shores and ran part of a route that we do during the SDTC Rockin' and Runnin' program...from La Jolla Shores, to Torrey Pines. The SDTC loop includes a run up Torrey Pines, through the park and down into La Jolla from the east and  is about 12 miles. We were nowhere near that ambitious, we ran three miles up the beach, and three miles back.
There are several of the cool features of this route, including getting to run on a part of the coast that few people get to because it is inaccessible from a road or parking lot. You have to walk (or run) to get there and part of the rock/run includes climbing up and over some boulders and rocks. You also have to be mindful of the tides. During high tide, it would probably also require getting wet to get to the best part of the beach, but the tide was low this morning at about 6:30 (we checked), and it is so worth the effort to get there.

For example, this morning we got to see...

Plenty of jellyfish (I know it looks like a turd and a messy one at that)
Someone's beach house that has a funicular, which is something that you just don't get to see every day.
Underneath the Scripps Pier
The boulders and rocks we got to climb over and we could almost see La Jolla (through some pretty serious morning mist) although the misty-ness of this photo may be because I was "misting" on the camera lens...
Walter...who looks THRILLED to be up and running, doesn't he?
What we didn't see was any smelly whales (that's for you Marcy...if you're still reading :-))

Speaking of that mist, we all commented on how LUCKY tomorrow's AFC 1/2 runners will be if the morning marine layer hangs on as long as it did this morning. By the time we finished our run and stopped to have some coffee, it was close to 9:30 and the marine layer was still pretty thick. People setting up for their day at the beach had sweatshirts on and were lighting huge bonfires... Maybe not great beach weather, but it will be PERFECT RUNNING WEATHER. Betty and I whined and lamented that it FIGURES that this is the year we DON'T RUN and the weather will be PERFECT! GAH!!!

So...shout-outs to all you AFC 1/2 Runners out there tomorrow morning (especially Alberta...I'll be thinking of you!) Have a great race!

I'll be dealing with third aftermath this week.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Here's What I'm NOT Doing

I am NOT running the AFC 1/2 Marathon this weekend.

I have some mixed feelings about this.
On the other hand, I'm a little wistful and sad.
  • The AFC Half was my first 1/2 marathon; it was the first 1/2 mary Betty and I ran together. And while we (the herd) had run several 5Ks by the time we got to that first AFC 1/2, it really was the race that turned the whole casual-let's-consume-10X-more-calories-in-breakfast-and-mimosas-than-we-burned running into something slightly more serious (although we still do the breakfast thing!)
  • The Neon-DayGlo-Lime-Green race shirts made their first appearance in that 1st AFC Half and I feel like I'm letting my racing shirt down.
  • I've run it for the last three years in a row including last year's miracle run.
  • Lots of local running peeps are going to the race expo today or tomorrow, and as crowded and crazy as they are, I do love me a good race expo. 
  • This year, the weather promises to be almost summer race-perfect with the never-ending May-Gray, June-Gloom that has permeated through July and now into August. 
All that being said, I am nowhere near ready for a 1/2 marathon this weekend. I'm really still recovering from the San Fran 1/2. So I'll have to just live the race vicariously through those who are running (BIG shout out to Alberta, who is running this weekend!)

I am NOT finished with any of my course syllabus

I have no idea what else to say about that, other than I still hope to have them all finished by the end of the weekend. I've never managed this feat before (having syllabi finished before our professional development week begins), but it would be nice.

I am NOT worried about DramaGirl starting high school

Really, I'm not. Betty is her principal, why should I be worried?

I am NOT turning 48 today

OK...that one is a lie. I am. I'm pretty much OK with it, but the last day or so I've been thinking about what it means to be 48 years old. I don't feel 48. Lord knows I don't act 48 (or maybe I do, and I just have some old-fashioned, media-manipulated conceptualization of what I should be acting like as 48 year old mother of two teenagers.) did THAT happen?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Bets, B52s, Bikes & Beach

Friday night Walter and I took the kids to the Del Mar race track (cuz we are really good parents and want to teach our kids about probability and statistics in real world situations...yeah, that's it).

DramaGirl, Turbo & friend, waiting for the winning horse to run by.

We had a very good time. When we first arrived, i ran into Meg! We hugged. I have no idea how she spotted me. There were a ton of people there.

Walter and I eventually managed to place one really good bet that resulted in winning enough money so that we came close to breaking even. Unfortunately, it wasn't in this race

I made $2 show bets on the 3* and the 5 horses. Unfortunately those horses ran like Betty and I do and finished at the back of the field. "Cindy" first and Betty right behind her...

After the race, the B52s were in concert in the infield. I LOVE the B52s and have since Rock Lobster. I may have been their only fan in Reno at that time... To say the least I was really, really excited to see them.

What I hadn't really considered when I decided to take the kids to a concert was the, well... The cloud of smoke that emerged around us as the concert started. Some of the conversation went like this:

DG: MOM! What is that smell? Is it from the horses?
Turbo (who has an explanation for everything)...yeah. The cigarette smell must be mixing with the manure.
Me: uh...yeah
DG: (later...and with a certain amount of accusation) Mom. That is NOT "regular" cigarette smoke is it?
Me: (not one to lie in the face of the obvious) No sweetie, it's not

Yes, it was a very educational experience, for all...

Saturday morning Mik, Elsie and I met up for our first heffer bike ride since April! Wow...had it really been that long since I'd ridden? Would I still know how? More importantly, would my tires be ok? (I have a history of flat tire episodes) and even more importantly. Would I still be able to clip out of the pedals and not fall over, like a tree...(timberrrrrrrrrrrr).

The short answers are:
Yes, yes, yes, and no.

Still, we rode about 25 miles on what we call The Five Cities Tour. We start in San Diego, on the Bay.

National City

Chula Vista (Mik and Elsie did NOT suddenly become Smurfs, something weird happened to the exposure on my iPhone camera)

In the interest of fairness, one more Smurf shot that includes me. Best comment of the day came from Elsie at this point. She had left her bike shorts at the BFs place, so she rode the whole way in regular Capri-length running bottoms. She noted that she understood why Lance Armstrong got testicular cancer... Something she called "environmental insult."

Unfortunately, I didn't take any shots in Imperial Beach. You'll just have to take my word for it that we were there.

On the Ferry, from Coronado back to San Diego,

On Sunday, Walter and I ran 4.75 miles at Lake BP in about 50 minutes.

And since the sun finally came out this week and since DG and turbo go back to school later this week. We came to the beach first trip here this summer.

Turbo, taking a reading break.

*As many of you know, Alice is a pseudonym. Here's a subtle hint about my real name.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone, thus there are no backlinks or special formatting like caption fonts or centering...GAH!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

How the heck did THAT happen?

I know that for many of you, summer is still in full swing, but for many members of the Herd, as well as for my kids and for me, summer is winding down and school is starting up within the next week or so (in fact, I think Betty was back at school today, but she is an administrator, so maybe that doesn't count). I report back to work on August 16, so I have one more week off. My kids start school on Wednesday (DramaGirl's FIRST DAY OF HIGH SCHOOL) AND Thursday (I'm not sure why the middle school is starting on a Thursday. I guess they're easing their way back into it, so that's when Turbo will be back at it.)

So, even though it feels like the middle of summer (although to be honest, the weather here was so lousy for so long that it doesn't even really feel like it's started yet), I'm going to take a moment to look back and reflect on these past few months. They've been quite full of fun, family, and friends.

So, here's my list of things I've learned so far this summer....
  • Do NOT mess with flight attendants. True Story... I can't believe I neglected to tell it earlier. On the way UP to the SF 1/2 Marathon, Elsie, Mik and I had a front row seat for watching a belligerent guy be escorted off the plane because he wouldn't stow his carryon items completely underneath the seat in front of him. I don't know if he thought this was some kind of NEW RULE or what, but he decided to be just a complete a-hole about it. We'd pulled away from the gate when he started getting all mouthy with our FA about her repeated request to push his bag under the seat, and then in a moment of complete idiocy, he raised his hand as if he was going to strike her. Like a blackjack dealer at the end of her shift, our FA wiped her hands of him and said she was DONE... Shortly thereafter, the pilot returned the plane to the gate and the guy was escorted off... People clapped.
  • A corollary to #1 is "Never mess with a black woman with her hair swept over one eye!"  This is what our flight attendant, who had an AMAZING voice and who had EFFING SUNG the FA drill (you know the oxygen-masks-dropping-from-the-overhead-panels, and help-the-children-first, and your-seat-cover-may-be-used-as-a-flotation-device-in-the-unlikely-event-of-a-water-evacuation thing that you never listen to...) told us after B.A.D (belligerent a-hole dude) had been escorted off the plane. I don't know if this is going to translate well but after B.A.D was escorted off, those of us sitting around his empty seat were a little unnerved. He caused a scene! He was beligerent. I felt REALLY bad for the two women who were sitting on either side of him. Our FA made light of it and in addition to singing, she was hysterically funny and did a whole comedy routine about never messing with her...LOVED IT!
This was NOT our FA, but it was her hair-style.
  • The coldest winter is a summer in San Francisco. Although this quote (or something like it) is often attributed to Mark Twain, it isn't his. I know because I looked it up once...anyway, I have spent 4 of the last 10 days in the Bay Area and neither time have I packed appropriately for it. I shoulda packed a winter coat, both times. GAH!
  • A race in SF is going to be far more hilly than I think it will be. I thought I'd done SOME hill training in prep for SF, but it was nowhere near enough. My legs are still recovering from the hills.
  • Plantar Fascitiis never heals completely. It always needs to be managed. I spent most of last summer trying to deal with some pretty major PF issues...and due to the hills, they're back, not as bad as last summer, but i REALLY need to get back to stretching and strength training, or else... 
  • It is vitally important to take time to recover after a race. Part of the PF problem I'm now having is that I've run three times since returning from SF. I probably should have taken the whole week off, but I didn't. Then earlier in the week, Walter and I ran five miles in our "hood," which, in retrospect would have been a really good thing to do BEFORE running SF due to the fact that we live around some pretty wretched hills. The next day, my heel said "OUCH GIRL! WTF?"
  • A good limo driver know his size and exactly how much room he has to fit in there. 
An amazing parking job...what were YOU thinking?
  • Never bet on horse races based solely on the horse's name and expect to win. Walter and I really do need to go to the track more often with Mona and her husband Darryl. First of all, they are Ken and Barbie adorable, but we shouldn't hold that against them. Last weekend, I lost money on horse-races at Friday's Twilight racing (first post is at 4pm instead of 1pm), but had a GREAT time anyway, enjoying margaritas and dancing to Common Sense. I also made a new friend in Leah (Mona's friend from OC...who told me the SADDEST running story about how she was walking to the start of the San Diego RNR 1/2 Marathon in June, tripped on a crack in the wretched sidewalks downtown, blew out her ankle, and couldn't race!). This is something I fear before every race, that I'm going to trip over the sidewalk and hurt myself. Leah is living proof that it CAN happen.
Me, Leah, and Mona at the "after race" concert last Friday. Our mantra for the evening was "I LOVE TODAY!"
  • A one hour flight from Oakland to San Diego is really NOT enough time for me to complete a  an entire post...I started this one as I was flying home from Oakland.
  • Pre-flight preparation...perhaps this slowed me down? Nahhhhhh
  • I really need to figure out a way to say "no" to extra projects during the summer. All those extra projects have really cut into my blogging and running and family time. I cannot believe it's August and I have not been to the beach once! On the other hand, it was the coolest July on record in SoCal, so even if I'd had the time, I probably would have skipped the beach anyway.
I took this during my flight home from Oakland last night. That's the Sweetwater Reservoir in the foreground and the ocean (and this summer's ever present) fog bank in the distance
  • I am still a runner. After last summer, I wasn't so sure this was going to be true, and I'll be honest, I always have a certain amount of anxiety before I start running - every single time - that I won't be able to. That it will be as difficult and painful as the first time I ran more than four years ago. And to this day, every time I start running, and I find it enjoyable, I'm a little bit surprised and very relieved.
  • I agree with Meg, it's really not about drinking and running, or running and drinking. It's about hanging with the girls, our friendships, how we support each other and make each other laugh. I don't know if there's a book about the adventures of the herd or not, (but thanks Meg for thinking it would be fun to read, or that I could write it!). I do know that I would have never caught the running bug if it hadn't been for the herd. I am pretty sure that I would continue running if they all decided to quit, but I know I wouldn't have nearly as much fun. The other thing I know is that apparently word about the fun The Herd is having has spread. I received a text message from a group of younger-than-the-herd teachers who gathered this past weekend in Palm Springs. They're calling themselves The Udders. I wonder if they have Udder-names yet?
Presenting "The Udders....
Anyway, the summer isn't entirely over yet. There's still a few events on the horizon including the End of Summer Fire Run on August 29. And even though my calendar has many more empty days in August than July did, I know that things will happen and I'll book up!