Thursday, April 28, 2011

What the heck?

Oh hell...

WTF is up with Blogger auto-posting?

For those who were counting and wondering how this morning's post somehow, mathamatically counted as "Three Things" and also pondered the relationship between my injured hand and the Nike Women's 1/2 Marathon entry, please know that stoooopid blogger ATE about 1/2 my last post. It was a post I wrote on Wednesday night and I had in on "Autopost" to be magically uploaded at 6am on Thursday...but somehow it only uploaded only about 2/3 of the post (which made the 3/3 thing Thursday sorta incomplete)

Anyway, here is part of what you missed, and an update...

Item 1 - Made but somehow, completely lost to the internets... 
TA DA - Pretty, new, colorful, lightweight, tester shoes. 
Clockwise from top: Irene, Walter, Michael (Irene's husband) and I model our new and (Michaels) old shoes. Walter, Irene and I are testing new shoes for Runner's World.  
I've run in my new New Balance REVlites twice now. I think I like them. They have far less cushioning and support than my Saucony Hurricanes, but they are WAAAAAAYYYYY lighter. I thought I'd have HUGE problems with my knees or my feet, but so far NADA...

I'm nervous to take the out for a long run though...Advice?

Item 2 - Partially made and partially lost to the Internets.
My yukky palm...
Cuz you wanted to see THIS again!
Oh yeah...the pretty picture of my hand. That's from when I fell last Saturday trying to run over a bump in the road in Ocean Beach. It hurts like a MUTHA.

Item 3 - Made in total, and not lost to the Internets, but seemingly out of context due to items 1 and 2 being missing, so I will make an update!
Nike Women's 1/2 Marathon - October - San Francisco

I was on that announcement like white on rice...I've already made reservations to stay in the city near (but not on) Union Square.

I swear...it's like they KNOW we are coming! All hotels in the Union Square area have a three night minimum AND are semi-not-inexpensive. The hotel where we stayed last summer for the SF 1/2 marathon for $140 a night was up to $300 a night. One hotel I looked at wanted FULL PAYMENT FOR ALL THREE NIGHTS up front, non-refundable...

Uh yeah. We are not staying in either of THOSE places.

Anyway, I booked two rooms for for the herd for three nights, so I'm a happy camper/meeting planner. OK stalkers...this is where we will be staying, because as the herd knows I am a hotel snob/diva and will NOT stay at anything less than a 4-star, but I will NOT pay five gagillion dollars a night for my diva-dom.

So that's sorta/kinda what you missed and I know, I know...two mid-week posts is an ENORMOUS drain on your time, s you should go back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Chao!

Three Things Thursday - Not a Regular Feature

It may not look like much, but it hurts! It also makes clapping difficult...
  • For the first time since 2008, the herd is going to SF in October for the Nike Women's 1/2 Marathon! I squeeeeeeeeeeeed like a pre-teen girl seeing Justin Beiber when I got the email!
Nike Women's 1/2...here we come! I'd have clapped and screamed when I opened the email, but it would have hurt too much, so I just cheered and jumped up and down like a dork.

That's it...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Wipeout!!!!!!

You know those shoe reviews you read in Runner's World? Lucky us...Coach Paul from the track club is one of the people who rounds up people to test out shoes.

One of the many advantages of belonging to this particular track club.

So, this morning, I hauled myself, Mik, and Betty to the track club workout at 5:30 am because  Coach Paul had mentioned at Tuesday night's track workout that he'd have some shoes for "testers" to try out and write up a review for Runner's World...and he said he'd have a couple of women's size nine (my size!), but we'd have to be there by 5:45 to get a pair.

For free shoes? I can get to a workout early.

So, I got me a pair of New Balance RevLites. I think it must be a new model, because there's nothing that looks like it on the website...but pretty cool huh? I haven't tried them out yet in a run yet, but I spend most of the afternoon walking around in them. They are a super light shoe, and are very comfy. DramaGirl is coveting them something fierce.

Walter scored some new shoes too...so we'll see how these super-light shoes work for us. In exchange for the shoes, we were asked to run in them for the next 20 days, then send a review to Runner's World. I'll keep you posted.

Once the shoes were scored, we set out for our run.
This is one of my favorite routes...from Hospitality Point, through Ocean Beach, and out to the end of Sunset cliffs. It was a spectacular morning, and at the risk of just pissing off my north and midwest and east coast readers...here is what I had to put up with this morning.

I know. I know.  But someone has to live here
But karma's a bitch you know.

Running through Ocean Beach is always treacherous. The streets are uneven and after all the rains this year, they are pitted, and pot-holed all over the place.

As I neared the third water station, I took a little spill...

At 28 - 31 seconds is a pretty accurate representation of what I think I did...only I'm not a dude, but I'm pretty sure I bounced like that...

A lesson I learned from all my skiing years is that once you know you're going to fall, don't fight it. Just try to roll with it in order to minimize the damage. You can hurt yourself a lot more trying to STOP a fall than from a fall like this itself...

Basically, I tripped over a pretty big bump between where the road turned into a parking lot. The sun was coming out and it was getting sorta warm, and having run 7.5 miles, I was probably dragging my feet a little bit. I was excited to be nearing the water station, was thinking of something clever to say about the off-shore breezes and the distinct dog-poop smell emanating from dog-beach (locals know where this is), so I wasn't looking at the road, and before I knew it, I was stumbling over the bump.

I took one hard step and realized in a nano-second that I was going down, so I stuck my hands out to break my fall and slid as if I was stealing second base. Sadly, instead of a smooth slide, I bellyflopped and bounced a little, which isn't such a bad thing. In fact, I guess it helps to have a little bit of a jelly roll at times like this. Then, having slid to a stop, I quickly rolled over onto my butt and started assessing the damage.

Knees?  - Seem OK.
Expensive NEW CRX compression pants?  - All in one piece, no holes. That's good.
iPhone? -  In back pocket, so I didn't land on it and crush it...that's really good
Hands?

Hands?

Oh SHIT that hurt!

So the heel of my left hand was pretty torn up, and the right one, just a little bit. I'll spare you the photographic evidence. You can just take my word for it.

I don't think the guys at the water station saw me fall because as I was completing my acrobatics, a car passed by and blocked their view of me. Their actual view may have been a glimpse of me as I neared the water station from across the street, then I disappeared as the car drove by, then they saw me on my ass. (because yeah, in my mind, they were watching me run...because, yeah, doesn't EVERYONE).

What I know for sure, is that the guy behind me DEFINITELY saw me fall. In fact, when I was telling Betty and Mik about my fall when I finished the run, he was standing nearby. I asked him, "Did you see me fall?" He looked pretty sheepish and confirmed that, yes, he's seen it and yes, I bounced. He didn't say much else, but I could tell he was very kindly trying not to completely LAUGH OUT LOUD, because, seriously, once you know that someone isn't hurt from a fall, it is sorta funny.

In any event, after the fall, I pulled myself together, dumped a bunch of cool water over my bloody hand, and ran the last two miles back to the finish, where, for the first time ever, I got to break the tape at the "finish line."*

After reliving the events of the morning,** Betty, Mik, and I headed to Elsie's. She decided to run in her 'hood this morning, but sent me an email that we were welcome to come over for breakfast...so of course...we did. No mimosas this morning, but we had a a great time catching up.

Elsie also provided me with a bandage, some Neosporin, and some ibuprofen.

Best line of the morning?

Betty: So the first thing that my husband will say to me tomorrow morning is "He is risen; He is risen indeed"***
Alice, Mik & Elsie: REALLY? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Happy Easter everyone!
Happy Easter!
__________________________________
* The marathon group ran their 20 miler today, so it is a SDTC tradition to give everyone a chance to break the tape because "everyone is a winner!" This may sound really lame, but as someone who would otherwise NEVER be breaking the tape at a finish, I have to say that I LOVED it! 


**Betty's best story is that she had a close encounter with a rastafari who tried to convert her, or something like that, I wasn't paying attention because my hand EFFING HURT...but having a close encounter with a dreadlocked dude would not be an atypical event for a morning run through Ocean Beach...it's a rather eclectic place that is sorta, permanently, stuck in a time warp of peace, harmony, and probably way too much weed.


*** yes, I know this may border on blasphemy and I hope I don't offend as this is, in many Christian churches, the way the priest or minister announces that Christ has risen on Easter morning, and yes, I took it out of context, and yes I may be going to hell for this...but it sure was funny because Betty almost NEVER slips up like that.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Springing into...

While lots of you were out running the La Jolla Half Marathon or Boston, the Walter and Alice family took a different route for spring break. We went skiing.

So, without further ado...here's a recap of the weekend...in photos!
Mandatory boredom photo on the long drive to Mammoth. 
Before the first run...see that swath of forehead that is uncovered...it would get scorched that day because although I will yell at my kids endlessly to PUT ON SOME SUNSCREEN. DON'T MISS A SPOT! I must have neglected to cover my forehead. OUCH! 
video
The video should give you an idea of the conditions by the end of the day...can you say slow and slushy?

Several runs, no falls, and lots of sun later...end of day 1 necessity. 

Day 2 - note the covered forehead and use of goggles over sunglasses (and no, I typically don't wear a helmet. I know. Stupid. Call if force of habit. I started skiing before there were helmets and such. Until recently it never occurred to me to wear them. Of course I do REQUIRE that my children wear them, but they snowboard, which is, in my opinion, a much  more dangerous thing to do) 

On day 2 we decided to go to the "TOP OF THE SIERRA!" I've been to Mammoth several times and have ridden the gondola to the top to see the view, but hadn't skied down. Walter had skied down earlier in the day, and I certainly wasn't going to let him be the ONLY one who did it!
At this point I'm pretty sure I was thinking "What was I thinking?" but as we know, I am unlikely to EVER publicly admit defeat...
Spectacular views! 
At the bottom of Cornice Bowl...I skied down THAT! TWICE!
The next day, Turbo and I drove home (Walter and DramaGirl left the previous day to get back to work/school, but Turbo and I are still on SPRING BREAK! so we took an extra day to drive back and go to Magic Mountain!) While we were driving, Turbo took this photo...
In Lone Pine, I parked next to a car that was THE PERFECT COLOR! 
It took us five hours to get to Magic Mountain. Once there, Turbo won a superman cape. They were all the rage at the park on Monday. EVERYONE was wearing them. Tre' chic, no?
In line for The Batman Ride (I love me a good roller coaster)., but geez we look tired...also see the red forehead? Pretty, huh?
We ate dinner behind a moose's ass in one of the restaurants. There was a cowbell under the animatronic moose's tail.  Not really sure what THAT was about. Magic Mountain is a really odd place.
Another in the annals of a whirlwind weekend. I love skiing and I was really happy to get one more chance to ski this year before the ski stuff goes back into storage. Time to focus on what's ahead...and what's ahead includes two half marathons...the San Diego Rock and Roll half in June and the Napa Valley half in July (we are still hoping to score a bib for Betty who is planning on being there anyway and would like to run...if you know of or hear of anyone who has an extra, please email me!)

Congrats to Chris and Irene and all my SDTC friends who ran and conquered the hills of the La Jolla 1/2 this weekend and to Petra and Meg and everyone else who I'm sure conquered Boston. I'm going to go trolling your blogs to find out how you all did!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Quite the Ride!

60 miles is far.

And yet, not so much.

Let me explain.

On Sunday Mik, Alberta and I participated in the San Diego Gran Fondo Colnago bike ride. Gran Fondo is Italian for Big Ride. The website describes a gran fondo as a "mass participation cycling event - not a race..." Quite frankly, I'd say that my participation in every athletic event is done in this spirit since there's about a chance in hell of me ever "winning" the race, whatever that means.
Alberta and I got to lie on a red Ferrari at the expo
 Anyway, the three of us did the Medio Fondo route (60 miles) on Sunday morning, and I'd be the first to say that we did this with some pretty minimal preparation. My goal was just to go, to finish, and to have as much fun as one could reasonably have while sitting on a bike seat for 5 hours.
Alberta, Mik and me... morning of the ride
Here's the route we took!

The Medio Fondo took us south to National City (The Mile of Cars!), then out to the Olympic Training Center, then out to Jamul and back. Far.

Someone did a video and posted it on YouTube. Check out the kids riding at about 2:15...they did 45 miles of the ride. 45 miles on a friggen BMX bike. That is HARD CORE!


The first 20 miles literally flew by. Speedy Mik got ahead of us and we didn't see her again until the aid station. Alberta had a pretty bad cold and was coughing up a lung, but she is so bad-ass, she hung in there anyway. Alberta and I rode along, chatted, laughted, and got frustrated when someone drafted off us going up a hill when we were only doing 9mph. (Really? you're drafting off us?) Other than that momentary frustration, the one "big" hill at mile 15 was doable.

Around mile 21, we hit the first main aid station at the Olympic Training Center. It was super cool riding by the five rings, feeling like a real athlete, thinking about other great athletes who have trained there. Cycling aid stations are way different than the quick run-by-and-grab-a-cup-of-water-and-try-not-to-wear-it routine.

PB & J Sandwiches! It was the best PB&J I've ever had!
Alberta found the perfect man
Clearly, the man of her dreams...and a good listener too!
with the Olympic flame in the background...I mean SERIOUSLY COOL!
OK...Clearly we probably spent too much time at the Olympic Training Center. Probably about 25 (28 actually) minutes or so. Poor Mik! She'd been waiting for us for at least 15 minutes already...by the time we took this picture, she was ready to go! She said she'd had enough cookies. (Did I mention that the aid station had cookies?)

Back on the bikes, we took a back road to a small town called Jamul. I'm not sure I've ever been to Jamul before. I do know that I've never been to Jamul on the road we took. In Jamul we stopped quickly at a local grocery store. Watched Alberta cough up a lung again (actually, I was getting quite worried about her), and headed back.

A stop at the blurry country store
The ride back took a slightly different route which included some downhill where I got nervous about going too fast and by 40 miles, I realized that I was really running out of fuel (gee Alice, you'd burned about 3000 calories at that point, and had eaten, essentially, a couple of cookies and a 1/2 a PB sandwich...duh). I had a GU in my back pocket...and felt much better.

I texted Betty and Elsie a couple of times along the way to let them know how close we were and our ETA.

I won't bore you with the tedious details of the challenges of the last several miles, other than to say that they were difficult, and I was regularly thankful that I run and that I do a little bit of weight training. These two things got me through.

The last five miles were brutal, but not for the reason you're guessing. There was a Padres game on Sunday and the last five miles took us back by Petco Park so there were about a gagillion people around, and cops and lights, and the last few miles took. just. forever.

We finally got back to the finish where Betty, Elsie, and Betty's D2 were waiting for us with flowers and mimosas! How cool was THAT?

D2 and Betty

Mik came in first (of the heffers!)
Perfect!
It was like we were famous, and I PROMISE we were just drinking orange juice from those champagne flutes in front of the county administration building!
So, it was a spectacular day. I'm ready to do a century now...maybe I'll even train for it. Long rides such as this are certainly different than a long run. Afterward I was tired, but I didn't have that 100% spent feeling that I tend to have after a really long run. On Monday, I didn't feel sore or achy at all, and I almost always feel the effects of a long run the next day.

What I do know is that no matter what, I won't do this...
This guy rode the whole way with his dog in a backpack. The dog had goggles on too! This prompted Alberta to note that she knew she was going slow when a "dude with a dog strapped to his back passed me!" Actually, she talked to the guy who told her that he rides with his dog all the time, and whenever there's a park, they stop so the dog can play. The bad thing about this ride is that we passed A LOT of parks, so he rode the last 10 miles with his dog whining in his ear. Yep...that's something you NEVER see at a marathon!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Shoe Tags

The Plan
From: Alice
Subject: Train Run
Date: April 1, 2011 9:09:56 PM PDT
To:  Mik, Betty, Kat, Elsie
CC: Walter

5:30 am - Meet at Betty's house
6:05 am - drop off at the Solana Beach train station. Whoever get's dropped off finds a parking spot and saves it. Elsie gives Alice her parking pass for the state beaches :-)
6:13 am - Alice meets Kat at the South Carlsbad Beach parking lot that is north of La Costa Avenue (see maps below). I am about 98% sure that this is the same place we were at in week 2 or 3.
6:23 am - Alice and Kat find parking in Solana Beach
6:45 am - train leaves Solana Beach
7:01 am - train arrives in Oceanside (this is what the Amtrak schedule says)
7:30 am (ish) everyone runs
9:00 - 9:30 - everyone finishes running/walking/wogging 9.1 miles and stops running at Water Station 3 (near Chair 21), then heads to Alice's car in the parking lot
9:45 (ish) - Breakfast (NOT IT!*)
Did I miss anything? 
*despite being NOT IT, I do suggest that we go somewhere that serves a mimosa!
Alice 
Yes...I included both the overhead shot and the map in my email to The Herd...can you say "control issues?"
The Reality
3:00am - Wake up - Unable to go back to sleep - GAH!
4:45am - Get out of bed. Make coffee. Get dressed. Ready to leave the house at 5:20.
5:30am - Arrive at Betty's house, even before Mik who ALWAYS gets to Betty's house before I do
5:45am - Call from Kat - she's already at South Carlsbad!
6:00am - Meet Kat at South Carlsbad (Five minutes ahead of schedule)
6:15am - Arrive at Solana Beach train station, in plenty of time for the 6:45 train to Oceanside
And this is where our story starts...We were SOOOO flippin' proud of ourselves! We were early. We were at the train station. We headed toward the loading area and could hear Coach Paul on his bullhorn welcoming the track club members. As the 6:45 train pulled into the station, we saw a group of runners (one has a stroller...interesting. Usually nobody on the track club runs with a jogger stroller on our Saturday long runs, but this is THE TRAIN RUN, so maybe someone decided to bring the kid along for a 16 mile stroller push...not a choice I'd make, but whatever), anyway, we saw a group of runners cross over the tracks and descend the stairs to the loading platform.

Funny that nobody looked familiar, and upon closer observation, none of them had the tell-tale green shoe tags. We overheard someone saying that the other track club was taking the 7:39 train, but the 6:45 train was boarding, and Betty, Elsie, Kat, and Mik were on it, and they were looking at me, the rule follower who made up and, yes, emailed the above itinerary to everyone the night before like, "Whatcha gonna do Alice?"

So I got on the train, much to the delight of Betty, who was gleeful at getting me to sway from "the plan," even though it was "the plan," but the plan was wrong...

Oh whatever.

So the ticket lady says, "Do you have your tickets?"

Well of course we don't because we're supposed to be with the track club on THE NEXT TRAIN, but we do have the next best thing...
Shoe tags...apparently this and a smile will get  you on a train to Oceanside on a Saturday morning...or at least they did THIS morning!
So...we tell the ticket-taker-person that we are with the track club and were told that all we needed were our shoe tags to ride the train, and she said, "OK."

Who knew?

So, after 15 minutes of teasing because I'd deviated from the Track Club Plan, we were in Oceanside.

Good thing about being at the Oceanside train station sans 300 SDTC members?

No line for the restroom.

And so it begins
I do love this run. For the third time that I've done it, it's the same weekend as an Rhoto Ironman, so the streets are already blocked off (I will only assume that since it was only about 7:30 at this point, the Ironmen were still swimming). The four of us ran for a bit, then Mik and Kat took off, then after while, Betty and Elsie dropped back and by the time we left the south part of Oceanside, I was running solo. Not a problem. It was a perfect running morning. Cloudy. Cool. A bit windy, but not bad. Perfect.

Blurry photo taken as I was running in Oceanside. Blurry things on the left/center are Mik, Betty, Elsie, and Kat...trust me on this
Bad thing about starting the Oceanside Train Run an hour before 300 SDTC members?

Limited aid stations on the course

By the time I got to Carlsbad however I was realizing two things. One, I'd forgotten to bring GU, and two I was really thirsty and the first aid station was nowhere to be found. Not a huge issue because there are drinking fountains in Carlsbad, but I find it difficult to get enough water from a fountain, and water fountains do not contain any electrolyte replacing fluid (although THAT would be a great invention! I'd carry quarters for that kind of drinking fountain!)
Pretty Carlsbad State Beach
Mile 7 - Sending a photo to a friend who'd texted me to see if I was awake...LOL
Around the 6th mile, the second water station was already set up and I LOVE THOSE WOMEN! I was starting to get pretty thirsty and that part of the route is through some residential areas, so there are no water fountains.

I eventually got to Mile 9, which is where Kat had left her car. Kat was already there. Mik, for some crazy reason, decided to run some more. Overall, I kept a pretty good pace. I walked a bit in the 7th and 8th mile because I have having some technical difficulties (for some reason, my shuffle died, even though it still had power...odd) and because I was texting...I know.

While we were waiting for Elsie and Betty to arrive, Kat and I walked down to the ocean and stuck our legs in the VERY COLD SURF...nice ice bath. By the time we walked back to the car, Betty and Elsie (AND water station 3!) were there and ready to go.

So we smushed into the back seat of Kat's car and went to find Mik. She texted me a few minutes later saying that she was in Encinitas, so we went to pick her up.

I have no idea why we all sat in the back seat.
With all of us gathered up, we headed off to breakfast at a place called The Naked Cafe. Awesome food, somewhat slow service, but the waitress understood our priorities and brought us coffee and mimosas first. Excellent!
Gotta love a place that devotes a whole page of their menu to various types of mimosas. I had the Amen. It was luscious!
Perfect ending!
In summary...leaving on the early train was probably a good idea (there Betty, I said it), and even though I suffered having to drink from a water fountain, we did finish running at a relatively reasonable hour and waiting for an hour in the cold at the train station would have really sucked.

This afternoon, my knee is a little achy. Clearly, I'm favoring my right side because my right PF tendon is also a little creaky...none of these things are good things. I'm going to have to consider my next training/running/resting steps wisely. I am signed up for two 1/2 marathons this summer, the Rock and Roll 1/2 in June and the Napa to Sonoma 1/2 in July. I do want to make sure that I'm in reasonable health to do both.