Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Who is Evolet?

I'm borrowing this non-running thing from Irene...just because I thought it was funny. Who is Evolet? Apparently my ultimate Halloween Costume requires that I wear a sheet. 

I've really got nothing else to write about. I'm waiting for the washing machine repair-person to show up to (hopefully) fix my ailing beast which burst water all over the laundry room floor over the weekend. It's a tough call...do we fix an 8 year old washer that does about 10 loads a week or get a new one? In the end, we are opting for repair (if the repair-dude ever gets here) mostly because a house-call repair is far more convenient than having to do all that buying a new one entails.

As soon as Walter gets home, I'll get on the treadmill for a quick run...and because I know you turn to this blog for my frequent weather/humidity report and accompanying whine...

It's almost November and it was 91º today/18% humidity. As opposed to Saturday night's drip-fest, today was dry, dry, dry. For those not in SoCal, we get these fall heat spells brought on by the desert winds, the Santa Ana's. The wind switches course from the lovely off-shore, tropical ocean breeze, to a dry wind that blows from of the dessert. The winds and the heat makes everyone restless and cranky. I've had sinus issues and a headache from the high pressure for three days... Currently, it's 4:00 pm and it's still almost 90º...again I ask...WTF?

Joan Didion (one of my favorite writers) wrote of the Santa Ana's, "...that the Indians would throw themselves into the sea when the bad wind blew.... and one woke in the night troubled not only by the peacocks screaming in the olive trees but by the eerie absence of surf. The heat was surreal. The sky had a yellow cast, the kind of light sometimes called "earthquake weather."  

In another essay, she writes of a California "...haunted by the Mojave just beyond the mountains, devastated by the hot dry Santa Ana wind that comes down through the passes at 100 miles an hour and whines through the eucalyptus windbreaks and works on the nerves. October is the bad month for the wind, the month when breathing is difficult and the hills blaze up spontaneously. There has been no rain since April. Every voice seems a scream. It is the season of suicide and divorce and prickly dread, wherever the wind blows..."

Raymond Chandler wrote of the Santa Ana's that "every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husband's necks."

Both Didion and Chandler have it right. Everyone is cranky. The heat is oppressive and the threat of fire is very real...I'm hoping it passes soon. It seems like it's gone on forever this fall.

Now...where is that repairman? And where is my knife?

Sunday, October 26, 2008



Light the Night Against Crime 5K...
Cool thing about the race? It started at 7:00 PM. I've never done a nighttime race before. Also, all the proceeds go to Crimestoppers (AKA good citizens who snitch on bad people)...seriously, it is a good cause. I wish someone would snitch on the losers who broke into our house last February...but I digress...

Not so cool thing about the race? It certainly wasn't cool. Temperature at race time was 68º and a balmy 76% humidity (by 8pm - the humidity was up to 81%...GAH!)...WTF is up with the weather around here?

Betty, Elsie, Edith, Alberta, Mic, and yours truly joined LMPD officer Stoney for the race. First we needed a warm-up..and what better way to warm up than to climb a dirt hill out of the pit where we parked in Balboa Park, rather than taking the road. Betty led the way, and like sheep, we followed. Alberta worried about snakes. I worried about twisting my ankle in a gopher hole. By the top of the hill, we were already winded and sweaty. Nice...love that humidity...

Our warm-up

Once we got to the start, we found Edith and Stoney waiting for us...Edith was bummed because we all wore the required neon-green shirt, but she did look fabu-fabu in her pink running skirt. I also had leftover glow-in-the-dark necklaces left over from DramaGirl's birthday party...so at least we looked HAWT!

hmmmm...guess the woman who took our photo decided that Stoney didn't need to be in it...

This was a pretty small field (about 1000 runners), no chip timing. Only 3.1 miles, should have been a breeze, right?

Here's the rundown:
  1. Start - We started pretty far toward the front of the race...about as close to the front as I'd ever been, but as this was a big event for walkers, and there were tons of strollers and dogs...and we wanted to be in front of all that. We all set lofty goals for ourselves. Edith wanted to finish in under 25 minutes. My goal was to finish in close to 30 minutes, but Stoney shamed me into thinking I could finish in under 30 since the end of the race is all downhill...
  2. Mile 1 - After the gun, I followed Stoney and Edith for about the first 100 yards, then tried to settle into what I thought was my 10 minute mil(ish) pace. Alberta was beside me for maybe the first 1/4 mile, then she just took off (she told me later her first mile was under 9 minutes...8:30 or something like that...Wow...you go girl!). The good thing was that since we started pretty far forward, and since we started (for me anyway) pretty fast, I didn't have to dodge in and out of people too much. I did almost trip over one of those stupid reflector thingies in the middle of the road...I hate those things. I saw Mic sprint past me at about the half mile point. All I know is that I was running as hard as I could...and when I passed the 1 mile mark, the timer shouted out something like 10:20. Since I have almost no ability to judge how fast I am running, I wasn't surprised to hear this...but I was surprised at how hard it was to catch my breath...
  3. Mile 2 - I was thinking - OK...I should be able to settle in a little bit, but I couldn't. I'd try to slow down to catch my breath, which I was losing rapidly , but then all these people would pass me (including some incredibly small people), and I'd start running faster. Before the turnaround, I saw Edith and Stoney and waved at them. Then at the turnaround, I was just thrilled because I knew that most of the run back was downhill. Running at night is OK. Alberta, who was nowhere in sight by the turnaround, told me later that she loved running at night because she was awake and had eaten. All I knew is that I was mostly concerned that I was going to twist my ankle on something. It sure felt surreal. At two miles, the timer shouts out 20:18...which I though was an OK time...but I knew I wasn't going to break 30 minutes, cuz there's no way I can run 1.1 miles in under 9 minutes.
  4. Mile 3 - I made a really short walk-through (about 7 steps) at the water station because...can you say "SWEAT?" I was dripping...and thirsty, which I know is a bad thing, even in a pretty short race...so I gulped down some water that tasted like it came from a hose (yuk) and headed downhill...I was finally starting to feel warmed up...so I tried to pick up the pace again...but mostly so that I could pass up a kid who looked to be about 6 years old (shameful, isn't it?). As I came to the three mile timer, I could hear her shout out something that was less than 30 minutes (29 minutes and something seconds).
  5. End - 30:20...clock time. I was huffing and puffing more than usual (certainly more than the 1/2 marathon) and I am literally dripping from the end of my nose. Oveall, I'd call my time around 30:15. My iPod read 30:17 and I didn't stop it until I crossed the finish line and pulled it out of my back pocket ...in any event...I didn't break 30 minutes, but did set a new 5K PR! Walter kept asking me this morning why I was so dissapointed? I ran a good race. I set a PR. What is wrong with me? I blame Stoney, who planted the seed that I should be able to break 30 mintues with no problem...GAH!
So...here's what I learned:
  1. I really do prefer longer races where I can settle in. I never felt settled until I was almost done.
  2. A 5K is a sprint...I had to run hard the whole time. I'm not so sure I'm built for that kind of race. I always felt winded and never comfortable.
  3. If I'm going to run some shorter races this winter, I'm going to have to train differently. Anyone know how?
  4. Running in humidity stinks (oh yeah, I knew that already)...
Not all was lost...we still had people to gawk at. I wish I had gotten a picture of the two guys who dressed up as Michael Phelps and who ran in speedos wearing fake Gold Medals...priceless... We got lucky and while walking back to the car, Stoney took our picture with the crossing guard...who had just the BEST Elvi-Mullet EVAH...really!

AND Look...that's two photos where Alberta decided to show us her braces!

After the race, we went to a fabulous local bar called Nunus and had beers and burgers (I had chicken wings and Amstel Light, since I have a weigh-in with Viv today). Awesome dive-bar with red- nagahide booths...with some, shall we say, rather air-y seats? I learned about this when I sat down, and Mic and Betty literally almost blew me out of the seat by sitting at the same time...it's hard to explain, but I literally felt the air in my hoo hoo.

I just love that the palm trees are fenced in...Is this just in case someone exiting needs an emergency tree?

Which led us to the evening's vocabulary lesson...Betty surprised us all by sharing with us that she called it a "biscuit."

A biscuit?

With gravy?

Butter that biscuit?

I won't share the rest of the jokes we came up with...you can only imagine...cuz again...we are just so mature that way.

Lovely evening with the herd. We have two more 5Ks lined up in the next couple of weeks. Next weekend, I'm run/maybe walking some of the Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure with my husband's family. Walter, DramaGirl and Turbo are also run/walking with me, so I'm pretty sure that I won't be setting any land-speed records there, but it'll be a nice morning. We are all walking as a family in support of my mother-in-law and sister-in-law who are both battling breast cancer.

Then the following week, I'll be running with the herd and Irene and Anne at the Shelter Island 5K...it's a nice flat, hopefully cool morning run, where I'm hoping to break that 30 minute mark.

Hope everyone has a great week...and a really scary Halloween...I'll leave you with these two goblins...just in case...
Turbo and DramaGirl...aka "Spook" and (I'm not making this up) "Ring-lee-dah"

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Race Report - Nike Women's 1/2 Marathon

The Bling

I'm still basking in the after-glow of the Nike Women's 1/2 Marathon. I think it may be the first long race I've ever run well. Maybe that's because I've run enough races and long runs and now I know how my body is going to react, when I can push myself, when I need to ease off...or maybe it was just not having to run in the heat (because it really was NOT hot), or maybe it was some of the residual hill training...

Maybe it was that San Francisco is just an entertaining place to run.

Maybe it was running with all the chicas.

But it WAS MY BEST 1/2 MARY EVAH...(the afterglow, really it lingers...)

But before I get to the race, I do need to recap two events that occurred the day before we even got to the start line...both of which involve Edith.

First, she calls me from her room in a state of semi panic asking me if I got my bib when I checked in. The conversations went something like this:

Edith: Hey, when you checked in, did they give you your bib?
Me: (thinking WTF?) Yeah? I got a bib. It was in the bag.
Edith: Really? Shiz, I don't think I have one. I'm going to go back down and tell them they forgot to give me one.

So she goes back to the Expo again, convinces the bib-volunteer dude that she did NOT get a bib in her bag (although she does have a shoe tag), he gives her one, she get's back to the room, calls me and...

Are you ever just a little bit worried that we are teachers?

So, of course, Edith being the ethical person that she is decides to NOT put up the second bib on Craig's List, and returns it to the Nike Expo Tent (yes, it was my fifth, count 'em, fifth time in the expo tent!) because she'd bet the Nike Volunteer a dollar that she had NOT received a bib in her bag...so she paid up.

Bib-volunteer dude with his winnings

Then...after two days of completely beautiful SF weather on Friday and Saturday, Saturday evening started to get colder and the morning promised to be even colder still, so Edith decided that although she had intially planned to wear shorts, she really needed a pair of capris to run in. Soooo back to NikeTown we went AGAIN. I had completely lost count of how many times I'd been in there (maybe five or six times...there were salespeople who started to recognize us...sorta like Norm in Cheers). In fact, Edith and I had already been in there once earlier in the day and they were out of the really cool "Shop Like A Girl" bags that you would get if you spent over $125. Edith spent well over that, but since they were out, didn't get one. So on our way out of the store, I got the security guard who was standing by the front door to take one off one of the displays (I figured the manniquin wasn't REALLY using the bag). It took three walkie-talkie calls to get someone in "visuals" to give permission to take the bag... I think it also started a minor stampede toward the other last-remaining bag on display, but we left (quickly)...

That night, we had to get the salesperson undress a manniquin so that Edith could have the last size small capris left in the store.
It took two lovely Nike salespeople to disrobe the display.

Alberta and Leslie make a new friend

Finally, we went to bed because we were up EARLY for the race...and the weathermen were correct. It was COLD. I was glad that we ended up staying at the Hyatt Grand and were less than a block from the start because it was beyond crowded, but everyone was calm and unbelievably polite. There was a little confusion when we were checking in our bags (not enough direction) at the bag-check school buses and I managed to get myself separated from the rest of my herd, but luckily there are cell phones and we found each other.

Those who started running in front of me

Those who started running with me

Edith in the disposible part of her warm-wear

Elsie and Alberta, before the race...We are ready!

Me and Elsie...I'm also ready...although I don't look quite awake yet.

As for the race...I have nothing but happy memories of it, including the hill parts. Here's the rundown (which I'm going to do in 5K splits)

Start to 5K - An easy wave start to the race. I was surprised that I started running right away because of the wave start. What a great way to start a race. There was none of that run, and then walk, and then run, and then walk to start the race (when you start at the back of the pack, this is often how it is) Edith, Elsie and I pretty much ran together the first 3 miles. (Edith left us before the race to run with the faster pace group). The first two miles were pretty much downhill and easy. I actually ran by the first water station because I was distracted by a building, didn't notice that I'd run past the last water table, and decided to not cross in front of 30 people, and double back...although I was surprised that in a race of this size they didn't have water on both sides of the street. Luckily, it was a cool morning, so I just skipped it and figured I'd get water at Mile 4. Alberta and I checked our watches at the 3 mile mark and were happy that we were pretty much on pace.

5K split - 34:34 (11:07 pace)

5K to 10K - Around mile 4, I realized I had a little pebble or something in my shoe, which was a bummer, but I didn't want to stop to take it out, so I just kept kicking it to the tip of my shoe...sort of annoying. There was a steep, but really short hill around mile 5, which Alberta and I ran up without too much problem. As we crossed the 10K mat, we could see the first big hill which headed into Precido Park. There was also a foot massage station around Mile 6. I wonder, who stops for a foot massage in a race?

10K split - 35:56 (11:33 pace)

10K to 15K - Yikes...the hills. They were steep, steeper than 6th Avenue, and looooonnnnngggg, but I felt like I'm doing OK. The worst part was that the path was pretty NARROW and lots of people were walking. It was frustrating (not to mention exhausting) trying to jockey and navigate around walkers as I was also trying to run uphill (GAH!!!). At one point I was able to follow a woman who was wearing some incredibly small, bright red, skin-tight boy-short-looking brief, and who was also cutting quite a path. This got me up the first part of the hill, and part of the second, but then I got separated from her. This was the most dissappointing part of the race for me, even though I did pretty well. I ended up walking one time, just because I was behind a WALL OF WALKERS and there was no way to get around them.

Once we got through the park, there was a pretty long run downhill which went into a really (REALLY) nice neighborhood, but my overwhelming thought at the time was how badly I was probably burning my quads because I was trying to run fast and pick up some of the time I knew I'd lost on the hills.

15K split - 37:55 (12:12 pace)

15K to end - There's one more hill around mile 9 after we ran out of the nice neighborhood and into a less-nice neighborhood, but then we got to run around one more corner (I was still kicking the rock in the shoe) and down one last hill. This one took us to the coast in Pacifica, past The Cliff House restaurant. It must have been cold because we could see our breath as we ran, and my fingers were also getting cold, but I was still running and as I passed the 10 mile mark at the bottom of the hill, I could barely believe my watch which indicted that I was under two hours (1:55). I start believing that I might be able to finish in under 2:30, but only if I picked up my pace.

Because I was having some serious conversations with myself about whether or not it was too early to pick up my pace, or how hard I should run, and when, I missed seeing the Bison...which makes me a little sad. I'm told they were in the Golden Gate Park, but I didn't see them. Like I said, I was busy convincing myself that I could run 10 minute miles for miles 10, 11, 12 & that pesky last 10th of a mile.

As we ran out of the park, I grabbed some Ghiradelli chocolate from one of the last aid stations and pocketed it for later (who can eat chocolate while they run? I'd just get ill) as I headed into the last mile (all downhill...wheeeee!), and I just tried to run as hard as I could. As I crossed the finish line, I knew I was close to 2:30, but I'm also focused on this:

SF Firefighters and Tiffany...perfect (even if my focus wasn't)

13.1 split - 41:22 (10:56)...yes...for me that is hauling down that last hill

2:29:48 - under 2:30...Un-be-lieve-able!

I didn't know (of course) at the time that I'd come in under 2:30 (just barely, but I'll take it), but I was deliriously happy as I took my Tiffany necklace from the cute firefighter in his tux, and the mylar blanket (because sweet Jesus it was COLD), and a banana (which I never ate), a water (which I needed) and a smoothie (which I didn't drink) and a bagel (which I put in the Tiffany bag). There was just a TON of stuff being thrust my way. I could have also taken granola, and lord knows what other food they had at the end of the race. I was sorta interested in some chocolate milk, but didn't see any.
I also saw my friend Maurice and she hugged me (brave friend)...more lines, nice finishers t-shirt...another line and I make my way to the "H" area, which is where the herd (get it?) agreed to meet.

Although we are standing about five feet from each other, Edith and I yelled at each other on the phone for a couple of minutes shouting, "do you see me yet?" We find each other, grabbed our gear off the bus. I changed between two of the school buses that were doubling as gear check points using the mylar blanket (SoCal Beach Skills in use) as a wrap. Even though it was a little chilly, this SoCal girl still put on the flip-flops (soo happy to be out of the shoes)

We eventually found each other, got on a shuttle bus, and headed back to the hotel...all of us happy, happy, happy.

Shuttle ride home (yes, there was a table on the bus)...and the lime green shirts!

After that, of course, were hot showers, and then LUNCH!!!

After feeding our bellies with beer, Bloody Mary's and Burgers...happy, happy, happy. then we went back to the hotel room and napped until Betty called to tell us she missed us (and we missed her too!)

Here are the official times for the rest of the herd.

Alberta - 2:37:08
Edith - 2:06:26
Elsie - 2:46:58 (with a headcold!)

Again, a great day, a really nice race, a great weekend. I'm already registered for the Carlsbad 1/2 Marathon in January...it's a nice, flat course. I'm thinking I could get close to 2:20...

I'll definitely be in the lottery for this race again next year. It was that much fun!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Wow. Just. Wow.

Quick race report from the fogged-in, plane-delayed, San Francisco Airport, where we just are watching the Sox lose the AL Pennant. (Edith is from Boston...and she is beside herself with grief...I can feel it one airport away as she is in Oakland right now...what did we do to communicate such things before text-messaging was invented? Use telepathy?)

Race day today was just awesome. I'll have photos and stories later this week, but wanted to post a quick race report with our unofficial race times and a little bit of effusiveness for the great day I had. What an excellently run race. 20,000 runners, mostly women, race went off without a hitch (well...the bag check-in was a little bit of a circus, but that's pretty much splitting hairs), So, kudos to Nike and the organizers for putting on such a great race. 

I do own more Nike gear than ever. NikeTown had a very, very, good weekend.

Here are our unofficial times. 

Edith - 2:06 (PR)
Alice - 2:30 (PR)
Alberta - 2:35 (PR)
Elsie - 2:50 (PR)

Now if I could just get home, so that I can weigh in for Viv's weight loss challenge. I'm sure I did not help myself today having gorged myself on post-race fries, sammy, beer, and the BEST Bloody Mary EVAH at Jonny Foley's near Union Square. 

Great Race. Great Day. Wow. Just. Wow.

Thanks again for all your messages and positive thinking. It helped. It did.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

NYM - The Search for Gu

Someones ready to race in the morning!!!!!

You know how the airlines have all these rules about the amount of gel and liquid you can take on board with you? We'll, I decided to be a good rule-follower and leave my stockpile of Gu at home. I figure, I'm going to a major race, there'll be the Expo with the typical vendors selling Gu, and Glide, and socks, and sunglasses, and such.

Not at this race...no such luck...Nice expo...but no vendors. And Niketown, which I've now been in three (now count four) times, doesn't carry Gu...

So, most of today centered around the search for Gu.

Morning went something like this - Caught up with my friend Maurice, who I hadn't seen in about a decade. We spent about 45 minutes catching up on each other's lives in front of Niketown...which is when I discovered when EVERYONE WHO IS IN THE RACE HAS THEIR NAME ON THE WALL. I figured it was just the TNT names, but it is everyone.

Here's me (who is me? Do you like the new sunglasses?)

Elsie...had to stretch to get to her name, and thus is quite svelte in this shot

Alberta has braces and refuses to show her teeth for the camera

Edith found her name on the crack...which was somehow appropriate

Once we found our names and felt all special. Then we decided to go to the mecca of shoe shopping - AKA Macy's and look for shoes.
Edith decided this pair would be "fun" to wear.

After shoe browsing (because seriously...those boots cost $1095.00...and no matter how soft the leather was...just can't justify it...), the search for Gu began in earnest. Let me assure you, that if you are ever looking for Gu (or Shot Blocks, or PowerGel--which I HAAAAATE) in the city, it is not to be found at GNC (although to be fair, they had PowerGel), or at Walgreens, or at RiteAid, or at 7/11, or at Champs, or at Lady Foot Locker, or at 24-Hour Fitness... We visited them ALL because I really needed Gu. It's the only energy-substance I can tolerate. I can't stand the texture of ShotBlocks. They make me gag (Edith giggled everytime I said it). Elsie noted that she could never get the Gu out of the pack (I told her all you have to do is suck...yes...the taxi driver was no-doubt impressed with our maturity as we descended into a group giggle fit).

Finally, at 3:00 this afternoon, we found Gu at a New Balance store...and upon enterring the store, I got everyones attention because I shouted out, "GUUUUUUUUUUU" with such glee and enthusiasm that the four people who were in the shop were compelled to turn around and look at me.

Hooray! Gu and Glide...we're set.

So, I have more stories to tell, but it's late and I need to go to bed so that we can be up at 5am to get to the Starbucks across the street for pre-race coffee.

Thanks so much for all your good wishes!

Elise, Edith and Me at the SF Ferry Landing...are we lookin' ready or WHAT?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Tales of Margaritaville...

Hooray. Elsie, Alberta, and I have made it to SF for the Nike Women's 1/2 marathon (I think Edith is probably, here but I haven't seen her yet)... So far, I can tell you that there are waaaaayyyyy too many people here--mostly wearing green and purple, and I've already spent waaaaayyyyyy too much money at Niketown on running apparel that I didn't know I wanted or needed (but the new sunglasses I bought are HAWT!!! I'll have pix later).

I'll write more tomorrow about our adventures in The City. For now, we're settled into our hotel rooms. Apparently, the hotel overbooked double rooms (go figure...ya got about 20,000 women coming into town, and we all want our own beds), so Elsie and I are doubling up tonight. COZY!

In addition, the hotel employees are "empowered to tend to our every need..."

Nice that the Assistant Rooms Executive has given me his cell phone and says that he is available to make sure I am "extremely satisfied" (he says it twice)...heck I don't get that kind of attention at home. Still...he slipped this under EVERY WOMAN'S DOOR... I think he's a player...

So, here we are, but I can't lie to you... it was a tough trip up here following last night's Jimmy Buffett concert.

Walter and I have some traditions with Buffett...I make some completely Kick-ass Gumbo, we drink waaaayyyy too many margaritas, and it typically takes two days to recover (these may also be Buffet lyrics BTW). This year, since I was/am planning to run a little 1/2 marathon this weekend, I tried to take it easy....

For those who are not Parrotheads, or for those who have not been to a Buffett concert, there are no words that describe it...so instead, I will share some trashy photos that sorta sum it up.

The people next to us set up a bar...yes, we made friends with them.
The bar was crowded once it opened.

Random woman with a blender on her head.

I'm thinking he was bottle fed...just a guess.

The reason we go with friends who own a motorhome...lines for the porta-potty or...

There are always the hills...

Our seats (not as bad as it looks...but we were pretty far away)


Finally, Shosh tagged me last week, so here are 6 random facts about me. I think that I'll make them thematic...and make them all about being a Parrothead...I'll be out and about tagging as I can this weekend.

  1. I am a Parrothead.
  2. I've lost count of how many Buffett concerts I've been to, somewhere between 15 & 20 I think...
  3. My first Buffett concert was at the Hollywood Bowl in 1985.
  4. My favorite Buffett concert tune is "Fins." For some reason, I never tire of watching an arena full of people pretending to be sharks.
  5. Close second has gotta be "Come Monday" because Walter sings it to me. (everyone say awwwww).
  6. I was a little disappointed last night when Jimmy didn't sing "God's Own Drunk" which isn't a very well known tune, but I'd heard he might sing it since it was on the playlist from some of his other stops on this tour. Ah well.
Good luck to Shosh, Alissa, and The Running Knitter (who are here somewhere), Yas and everyone else racing this weekend. I'm sure I'll have more news as the weekend continues and a nice race-report sometime Sunday afternoon or Monday.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

iPhone Incident...The Second Episode

Maybe my iPhone has bad luck…or it’s cursed…or I’m not supposed to have a working iPhone…or the iPhone-gods hate me, but I am now in possession of iPhone 3 (iP3 for short). iP3 replaces iP2, which replaced the original iPhone, which had to be replaced because I dropped it in a toilet. (Really, if you've never read the iPhone incident story, I suggest you do...it really is the event that kicked off this blog).

So here’s the story of how I came to be in possession of iP3…a blog entry which was originally titled: “One big fat sucky weekend…” It also has almost nothing to do with running...

It all started with this email from my father, which I opened at about 9:10 Friday morning. It began with:

About 9:00 PM last night I took Mom to the emergency room at the Hospital. She is there now. I came home about 4:00AM. She had been developing high blood pressure and some chest pains...

There was more...but at that moment I was thinking WTF..."mom was in hospital at 9:00 last night, and I'm finding out about it NOW??? by EMAIL...GAHHHHH!!!!

So, the next three hours or so go something like this...phone calls to dad (mom seems stabilized, but is still in the hospital for observation)....phone calls to my two dear sisters who live in So Cal, one in Orange County, one in Manhattan Beach...We share and lament our incredible lack of information about what's going on, we discuss who's going to go to Vegas? Fly? Drive? Call. Call. Call. Email. Email. Text. Text. Text... DS1, the one who lives in OC, suggests that we drive together. DS2, who lives in MB, can’t decide if she should drive with us, or fly. All three of us have kid’s weekend plans for soccer, football, birthday parties, harvest festivals, you know the usual, to re-route, reorganize, and recoordinate the details of because, of course, this is the weekend that we are responsible for bringing the team snack...

Oh…did I mention that I had an appointment with my eye doctor? I was desperately in need of a new contact lens perscription...so I fit that in. My pocket buzzed the whole time the eye doctor is checking my vision. (which is clearer 1 or 2? 2 or 3? I hate those questions...but eye doctor is a runner, so we also chat about marathons and 1/2 marathons we've run this year).

Came home, packed, decided to take DramaGirl to Vegas with me (she begged to go, and I hoped that seeing 1st grandchild would make mom and dad happy...and I like having her with me because she makes me laugh...for many reasons, this turns out to be the best decision I made all weekend). Really my goal was to get on the road as quickly as possible because driving to Vegas from So. Cal on a Friday is a crazy thing to do...as there is wicked traffic. I was out of the door by 12:35.

Then, while driving to OC, I was talking to DS2 on iP2 (see…I’d get back to the iPhone story) and in the middle of our conversation, as I'm driving through Camp Pendleton, the screen goes white, and then black, and the call drops.

I have AT&T…I’m used to dropped calls, but this one seems especially bad because the phone won’t back turn on AT ALL...no combination of pressing the home button, and the restart button has any effect…AT ALL. DramaGirl plugs iPhone into laptop, and again...NOTHING. iTunes doesn't see my phone at all (and not a toilet in sight). It's a brick.


DramaGirl and I spend several minutes discussing whether it's funnier to call it a brick or a paper weight. I argue that "brick" is funnier because a single brick is almost absolutely useless and serves no purpose whatsover. DramaGirl asserts that calling it a "paperweight" is funnier because it's a word that has more syllables and longer words are funnier.

So in the midst of this family emergency, I am without cell phone. Luckily, DramaGirl has her cell phone. We call all family members to let them know that I have a brick/paperweight for a cell phone and that if they need to get ahold of us, they should call DramaGirl's cell phone.

By that time, I was in OC, moved bags to DS1's car, and I finally got to call Apple Tech Support to see if they have a magic cure that I could conjure that would fix my brick/paperweight/phone. Tech Support, of course, had no cure, but was able to call me back after the call drops on the 241 Toll Road (impressive) because, I was using DramaGirl's phone, and did I mention we have AT&T? Apple Tech Support girl did make an appointment for me to go to the Apple Store in Vegas to talk to a Genius there...an appointment that I rescheduled at least three times in the next 24 hours.

About this time DS1 mentioned that she really only wanted to stay in Vegas for one night (gosh I wish she would have mentioned this before I drove to OC to drive with her...as I'm not sure how long I'll want to/need to stay).

Unfortunately, my early-ish start to Vegas was not that helpful and the drive from OC to Vegas took almost SEVEN MORE HOURS so it was about 9pm by the time we got there. Mom had been released from the hospital though (which is good news) and was home, so we went there. She looked exhausted. We left, so she and my equally tired looking dad, could get some sleep.

My sisters, DramaGirl, and I got a room at the Red Rock. Ordered room service at midnight (because we really hadn't eaten much other than crackers, and DramaGirl was being such a trooper through all of this, and she LOVES room service). In the morning, I did get a short treadmill-run in, (if ever in Vegas, and you're really not into staying on The Strip, I really recommend Red Rock Hotel. Excellent beds and workout room...and isn't that the really important part of a Vegas stay?).

Of course, all sorts of other sister-drama ensued...which always happens when all three of us are together. I'm often amazed that the three of us came from the same parents, we are all so different in how we approach our lives. I guess the same is true of DramaGirl and TurboBoy. They have very different personalities, and maybe as they get older, those differences will become even more pronounced, but I hope that at the core, they'll have the same values...the ones that Walter and I have instilled in them. I love my sisters, but we are just so very different, it is sometimes hard to see how we all came from the same place.

We spend the rest of Saturday at my parents place. Mom looked much better, although was still rather shaky and tired. Apparently, there was some miscommunication, and my mom was told to stay on a clear-liquid-only diet for 10 days and was taking some pretty strong antibiotics for a second bout with diverticulitis, on top of having high blood pressure. The nurse swears she told my mom that her diet needed to include clear liquids and low-fiber foods, but my mom swears she was told clear-liquids only. So, the antibiotics on an empty stomach made her pretty sick and weak so her blood pressure dropped. My mother (the retired nurse, which is sometimes a dangerous thing) decided to not take one dose of her blood-pressure medicine because her blood pressure was so low. Her blood pressure spiked. Then because her elyctrolites were so off because of the diet, the blood pressure medicine stopped working correctly at all... thus, the visit emergency room.

GAAAHHHHH...It sucks that my parents live in Vegas, where I can't keep a closer eye on these things...

About 3:00 yesterday afternoon, DS1 decided it was time to get back to SoCal, and since she was my ride, and since my car was in OC, I had to go back with her. Other silliness ensued. DS1 had an errand to run in Henderson (about 20 minutes south of The Strip) before we left town, so we had to go there first, but she didn't think it would be convenient to drop DramaGirl and I off at the mall so that I could deal with my iPhone issue, and I didn't feel like fighting with her about it, so I just decided to go along (I hoped that I was modeling good...sometimes-you-just-have-to-decide-to-not-fight-with-your-sibling-behvior for DramaGirl). Then, when we were in Henderson, DS2 called because she left her backpack in the car, so we ended up having to meet up with her somewhere...which worked out for me because we decided to meet at the mall where the Apple Store is located... Yeah, you guessed it, the one that was too inconvenient to get to earlier (I call it Karma).

At the Apple Store, the Genius confirms that I do have a dead phone, probably due to the charging port, which we can see has parts that look completely fried. He mentions something about maybe there was some water damage, and I almost tell him that I have no problem admitting to water damage when it actually occurs, but in this case I was just talking on the phone while it was plugged into the charger and it died, but I decide he doesn't need the information about the previous phone and it's water damage.

I'm thrilled when he goes to the back and comes out with a new iPhone for me (not a new G3 one...that would have been SWEEEEEET, but a new/old iPhone nonetheless).

I dub thee iP3. It is pretty and shiny.

We leave Vegas at 5:00pm, get back to OC before 9pm and DramaGirl and I were back in San Diego before 10:30...5 1/2 hours back after the 8 1/2 hour trip to Vegas was a nice change...and I got to talk to Walter all the way home from Camp Pendleton to almost my front door.

I haven't run yet today. I do want to get at least a 6 mile run in this weekend. Luckily it's cooled off considerably, so I can go run in the middle of the day. I need to do laundry. Get planned for the week. Do some grocery shopping for the week. Start packing for SF because I'm leaving Friday morning. Oh...and did I mention that we're going to a Jimmy Buffett concert on Thursday night?

Just got off iP3 with mom...she's feeling even better today...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

I'm Not Good at...

I'm not very good at running 5.5 miles on Saturday, then another 12 on Sunday. I'm just really not, but I really wanted to get a good-longish run in this weekend, so when Edith called and suggested it yesterday, who was I to say no?

Not me...

All in all, despite my heavy legs after 6 miles, it was a fine run this morning at Balboa Park. My initial plan was to run the park a couple of times, and a loop that included the 6th Avenue hill a couple of times. That would have made it close to 12 miles.

Here's the map. I'm trying a screen capture shot this time instead of the embedded map from MapMyRun...I'm a little bothered by MapMyRun these days. I used to be able to print up route maps using it...now they want to charge for it. WTF? I mean, aren't they using Google maps to begin with? I'll use Google or Yahoo maps for that from now on I guess...GAH! The screen shot resolution isn't very good, and it might make you dizzy, but we pretty much kept running the same loop around and through the park

Although we had initially planned on doing two loops outside of the park, running down 1st Avenue, and then up 6th Avenue, one trip was all I had any enthusiasm for, so we re-routed around Mile 7, did an extra 1/2 loop around Balboa Drive, and settled for 10 miles.

Here are my stats:
10.02 miles

I know that Edith ran at least a half mile more than I did (in less time), because she kept running back and forth in front of me so that she wouldn't get too far ahead. She is a speedy girl. She's hoping to break 2 hours in SF. I know she can do it...
Edith and Elsie - clearly this shot was taken before the run...observe the level of energy.

Other highlights and comments on the morning run include:
  • Pre-run - As we started running, we had to stop and give two guys directions to Admiral Baker Park. Quite frankly, they weren't even close....and neither were we (Edith almost sent them to Point Loma). Luckily (for them) I had the iPhone, so I mapped it and had Edith give them proper directions. My favorite part was Edith asking the two guys who were wearing jeans and flannel shirts if they were going to a wedding...
We were in Balboa Park (Point A). They were trying to get to Admiral Baker Park (Point B). About 7 miles away.
  • Mile 1 - We decided that the run would be more entertaining if, in keeping with the Lake Boy Part theme, we looked for all the phallic symbols in Balboa Park. Elsie was the first to discover this.
Edith, posing with Elsie's discovery.
  • Miles 2-3 - This was our run through the park. It was another beautiful, sunny, crisp fall morning. There's not much exciting to report. Elsie decided after one loop through the park to continue running in the park...apparently she was not as enamored of 6th Avenue as Edith and I were...smart chica! Edith and I head down Laurel to first street.
  • Mile 4 - A BIG DOG ATTACKS ME! I'm not much of a dog person. This is probably because I've never been around dogs. I have allergies to just about everything that lives or grows, so we never had pets when I was a kid. We don't have them now. Truth is, I just stay away from them...they make me sneeze and more than a little uneasy. It works best this way (Yes I know that MANY of you have dogs and run with your dogs and love them as if they are your children. I get this...I just prefer to stay away them...call me a big ninny. I can deal with it...). Anyway, I get just a little wigged out when dogs are around, even those that are on leashes. As we were running down Fourth Avenue, one of my reasons for being nervous around dogs came true when some guy, walking his BIG DOG, let the animal have a little too much leash and the dog lunges for my leg. Truth is, that the dog was probably trying to sniff me, or lick my yummy-saltiness, but a BIG DOG, with jaws open, lunging toward my thigh is just enough to make me "YELP" at the top of my lungs...
  • Mile 5 - Edith gets her turn to scream in terror as we're running up 6th Avenue. Edith who is (of course) ahead of me, suddenly turns around and starts motioning like a flight attendant that I should move to my left as we are running over the freeway. I think "Is there something on the freeway I should see? (I look down and see nothing other than the usual traffic) When I catch up with her (or more likely, she runs back to me...). She asks, didn't you notice the transient guy sleeping in the back of that car? His arm was hanging out the window. I didn't see it, until I almost ran into it!" This is the first time I tell Edith that I'm really not paying attention to anything around me at this point. Pretty much only involved with my own aches and pains...
  • Mile 6 - Time for more Gu - which gives me gas... It's a good thing that Edith is running ahead of me...come to think of it, earlier in the morning, Elsie was running behind me...maybe this is why she decided to run alone...hmmmm...
  • Mile 7 - Edith and I wisely decide to NOT do one more loop toward downtown and up 6th Avenue again.
  • Mile 8 - I think Edith is trying to take my mind off my running as she keeps asking me if I am noticing different things as we make our third loop through the park (In truth, the Camp Fire Scouts camp sign that says "Adventure is Lurking in the Park," IS sorta creepy. Someone should re-think that marketing campaign)... Edith keeps asking me: "Didja notice...? Didja notice...?" Seriously...at this point, I notice nothing other than how much my ass hurts, how often my quad screams at me, how intensely my left calf is twinging. I've now run 13 miles in two days... In my mind, it's pretty much all about me right now. I'm not noticing much else. I think Edith gets tired of running back to get me, so for the last mile I see...
  • Miles 9-10 Edith's backside
See that tiny speck of blue in the center of the shot... Yeah...that was my view of Edith's backside. BTW, the askew perspective is due to the weirdness of the iPhone camera...although to be honest, my perspective at that moment was not much different.

So...that was it. Almost 16 miles in two days. Really looking forward to Nike, to our trip to SF, and to taking a little break from the long runs, and just doing some 5Ks and 10Ks for a little bit.

Have a great weekend everyone...and congrats to everyone who had races this weekend!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

I love fall...

Wow, what a difference a week makes. Ran this morning at Lake BP. Unlike last Sunday's debacle, this morning was lovely. Light clouds, fall sun...not the sort of sun that sucks all of the energy out of me, but the kind of happy-fall sun that smiles at me happily. (Note to anyone who doesn't live in so-Cal...Summers are often foggy and cool, especially at the beach. October really is the BEST month to visit).

Of course, my intention this morning was to run only one "lap" at Lake BP and not two, so that also made it a better run. I'm planning on doing the last long run tomorrow morning. This morning, I needed a good run and I ran the crap out of it too...

Mile 1: 10:15
Mile 2: 10.34
Mile 3: 10:09 (for those familiar with Lake Boy Part, this split is from the three mile marker, to the fence and back to the three mile marker...which is probably less than a mile)
Mile 4: 11:01
Mile 5: 11:20
Last 1/2 mile(ish...probably a little more, but makes up for the shorter mile at mile 3) 5:20

5:53 miles
57:39 total time
10:23 pace

So, that was the good news. The bad news is that I'd sent Betty a text the night before that I'd be at Lake BP at 7:30ish. Care to guess what time I dragged my sorry ass out of bed? 8am...GAH! Checked my cell phone & saw that I had a return text from Betty at 6:40 and a phone call from her at 7:38 (probably to say where the "F"are you?). Gah! Sorry Betty.

We did run into each other when I showed up at Lake BP at 8:45ish...but she was done running at that point

So, nice run this morning...even though I am a loser friend.

I did appreciate running with the cloud cover...and there were lots of interesting people walking and running at Lake BP, including one couple who were geo-caching...which I know about because I've done it before. I really wanted to ask the couple, as they traipsed through the brush, if they'd found their treasure yet...

In other news this weekend, last night Walter and I took DramaGirl and a friend of hers to Octoberfest...an event that, quite frankly, I just don't get. It's an unbelievably crowded street fair with 100's of street fair vendors selling the usual crap...in addition to some food vendors who sell bratwurst. In past years, there was a pretty good beer garden with an Oompah Band and people doing the Chicken Dance and all that, but this year, apparently, the beer garden was much smaller...which drove the crowds into the street fair and (probably) the downtown restaurants and street-food vendors.

Not that we were venturing into beer gardens last night, as our purpose was to escort 13-year old DramaGirl and friend who begged us to take them to Octoberfest. I was pretty surprised they wanted to go. It really isn't much of a kid, or even teen-friendly event...other than there are other teens hanging out there...AND there really weren't even that many of those. My "I'll make the best of it" attitude lasted about the first 42 minutes...then declined from there...especially when DramaGirl and friend decided they just had to go on cheesy, low-budget, carnival rides (there were three).

Of course, DramaGirl and friend just really didn't even want to be with us to begin with, but that wasn't an option. Call me an overprotective ninny-mom, but I'm just not ready to let my 13 year old and a friend roam the streets of the downtown area when there are 50,000 people (I don't think I'm exaggerating by the way), roaming about...and a trolley nearby.

So...to sum up...cheap street-vendor crap for sale, expensive street-vendor food, lines, lines, lines, and about 50,000 people walking the streets with strollers...and me with no beer...

Really crappy picture taken of the crowd with Walter's Blackberry, cuz I forgot my iPhone and camera at home...GAH!

Tomorrow morning is the last "long run" before the Nike Women's 1/2 (only 14 days away!) unless I figure out a way to get up to Long Beach for that 1/2 marathon next weekend (I'm still working on the details Southbay Girl). Edith and I have a good one planned with two loops that include 6th avenue...(da da da daaaaaaaa).