Friday, July 30, 2010

The Aftermath...There's More Running Involved

So...I crossed the finish line at the SF 1/2 at 2:38 with pretty sore feet and screaming calves. I waited in the finishers' chute pretending to stretch, but really I was leaning against one of the temporary fences which separated the 1st 1/2 finishers area from the 2nd 1/2 race area. Suddenly Elsie was in front of me, giving me the high five.

At that moment, I was thinking, "how the F can she be this damn perky right now?"

Now anyone who has seen The Herd at a race in the Neon-Day-Glo-Lime-Green racing shirts knows that when two or three or four of us are together, we practically emit a glow. This Neon-Day-Glo-Lime-Green-Glow has helped us find each other, and has helped other friends and family find us in 28 races (yes I just counted) since 2006! So, we spotted Betty pretty quickly and she started telling Elsie and me about how she was struggling at the end of the race and had started to walk when another woman went by and said, "run in with me honey" and held her hand for the last .10 of the mile.

I LOVE runners!!!
To hear Betty tell the story, this woman practically dragged her across the finish line. It really doesn't look like that to me, but can you see my point about the Neon-Day-Glo-Lime-Green
As I was listening to Betty's story, Elsie noticed that someone was calling my name. It was my cousin Emily! She was running her first 1/2 marathon and was nearing the 5th mile in the 2nd Half (which started at a much more reasonable 8:30). Emily is a local girl and lives in the Haight and probably walked to the start!  Yay! I am so happy she spotted me and am so proud of her for finishing her first 1/2! Score one more (to borrow Glenn's scoring system) for the Neon-Day-Glo-Lime-Green shirts!
Woot! Woot! My cousin Emily finishing her first 1/2 marathon! Congrats Emily. I am so proud of you!
After that Betty, Elsie and I went in search of Mik. Poor Mik...she's the speedy one and since she's the speedy one, she started somewhere in Corral 4 or 5, which meant that she started a good 30 minutes before I did. In addition, she's fast, so in addition to the 30 minute head start, she also ran a 2:08 half (which, BTW, she was not happy with....WHATEVER).

Mik's penance for being a fast-bitch with a head start?

She ended up waiting around for about an hour for the rest of us to finish. We found her pretty quickly by the Irish Coffee truck. Unfortunately for me,  the promised post-run-Irish-Coffee was no longer available. Luckily for Mik, she was early enough to have two.

By then I was starting to get cold. My feet hurt something awful and I just needed to sit down, so we stopped and just sat on the side of some road in the park. Luckily I still had my gloves, and they weren't too nasty, so I put those on. I took off my arm-sleeves (which by then were pretty much soggy snot rags) and put on my pink Zenza recovery socks and a sweatshirt, so I felt much better. (I'm sure I was quite the sight to see). I finished my water and (I think) ate a few pretzels. I really need to do a much better job of eating some of the post-race grub. I have a tendency to barely touch it. I suspect this is NOT a good thing.

As much as I would have sat on my ass in the park for maybe the rest of the day, Both Mik and Elsie (the thin ones) were starting to shiver. So I got up and we made our way out of the park to find a cab. We'd earlier decided to not take the shuttle bus back to the start, but to instead try to get a cab and go directly back to our hotel. I think this was a sound decision. It was 9:45 and the line for the shuttle bus, which was supposed to stop running at 10:00 am was still VERY LONG! I'm not sure if all those people were able to get on the bus or not, but we weren't willing to wait around to find out.
Elsie, Mik, and Betty leading the way down Cabrillo. I'd given Elsie my mylar blanket at this point since I could see her trembling. 
This is among the many reasons why I love Betty. She takes charge when nobody else can or will. Elsie and Mik were visibly shivering from the cold (and probably from some calorie debt). I was hobbling slowly along with my sore feet. But Betty decided she was going to GET US AN EFFING CAB, so she started running (well...wogging) down the middle of the street, mylar cape waving in the wind, like our own personal superwoman, because DAMNIT she could see taxis going back and forth on a cross street up ahead and come hell or high water, she was gonna get one of those taxis for US!

And she found one and got it to stop for us by practically throwing her body in front of it! Way to take one for the team Betty! I wish I had footage of the running wogging part, but I was too busy laughing to get my camera out.

Curiously, the driver was somewhat hesitant to let us in his cab.  I'm not so sure WHY he so was hesitant... I mean, wouldn't you have given four sweaty, giggling women wearing shiny mylar blankets a ride, especially since one of them had thrown herself in front of your cab? We do tip well.

Luckily, the driver took pity on us and agreed to take us to our hotel (that we told him that we'd give him a HUGE tip may have worked in our favor as well...oh and did I mention that we begged?). When we got back to the hotel, we took what we all agreed were the BEST SHOWERS EVER, then went to breakfast (and as you know, mimosas).
Elsie and I looking oh-so-chic in our sandals and socks. I'm wearing the black  recovery socks and flip-flop ensemble which gives my foot a hoof-like silhouette - tre chic, no? Elsie is sporting the daisy and blue sports socks/fabulous mandal duo. Fashion week icons. Yes, that's what we are... 
After breakfast we all sorta went our separate ways for awhile. Elsie, Mik and I took a nap. Betty, who had her teenage daughter and her daughter's friend with her, went to see Chinatown (yes, the woman went sightseeing!) I woke up when my niece (who was also in town) called me and I went to meet up with her and her boyfriend (who I hadn't met yet...and who I decided was very cool, or cool enough to date my niece). When Betty got back from Chinatown, she and Elsie (and the kids) took the ferry over to Tiburon to see Elsie's brother. Mik took a different Ferry to Sausalito to see an old friend of hers.

Got all that straight? There will be a quiz later.

After hanging with my niece and the BF for awhile, I texted Betty to see when they were coming back to The City and we made plans to meet at Pier 41 at the ferry landing. When they got off the boat, I got to hear their story of how when they went to catch the ferry, they went to the wrong Ferry Terminal and were dropped off at the Embarcadero (Pier 14 I think). Once there, they found out that the ferry they needed to take actually left from Pier 41. In short, they had about 23 minutes to get from 14 to 41...about 1.5 miles away from each other.

We'd already done that once that day. So essentially, Betty and Elsie ran the first 1.5 miles of the SF marathon again.

I am so glad I wasn't there. We all agreed that I wouldn't have run it.
Betty, Elsie and The Girls getting off the ferry
After they returned, we went to have some beverages at a really touristy restaurant on Pier 39. The girls got to enjoy the Pier 39 shopping experience.
Elsie with a margarita (she's not a beer drinker)
Then, since we were in The City, we had to ride the Cable Car back to Union Square so that we could meet up with Mik who was waiting for us at Lefty O'Doul's. Her friend, Carlos, had dropped her off there.
Betty's daughter and her friend on the Cable Car. They were so much fun to hang out with. Teenagers...who knew?
Are we looking tired yet? No? Good...because we weren't done
We dropped the kids off at the hotel and then went to find Mik who was the only woman sitting at the bar with a bunch of happy looking men. least the old guy sitting next to her looked happy! I get the feeling that not too many young women hang out at the bar at Lefty's... Someone told us that there was a really fun piano bar a block away, so we walked over to Johnny Foleys.
See...we are CLEARLY having fun!
About 10:30, at Elsie's prompting, we went back to the hotel because we were hungry and also because I suspect that Elsie decided she wanted to be closer to where she would eventually sleep. So we ordered a few items and laughed about our day.
Yeah...I think we're done now. I don't think it was Elsie's main goal to sleep on the Lobby Sofa...but it WAS close to her bed.
Finally, somewhere around 11:30, 18 hours after we started the day, we decided it was over.

So... what a great weekend in a great city. Even a week later, I'm still basking in the glow of it. I got to meet some great peeps...some for the first time (Willie, RBR, Meg) and some that I've met several times (Glenn) and of course, Penny who is, for all practical purposes, an honorary heffer. I got to see some of my family - my cousin Emily and my niece Amy.

And I got to hang with my herd for another weekend and we have some more good stories to share. How cool is that?

Next: Lessons Learned and What's Next!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Rest of the Story - SF 1/2 Race Report when last we met, I was on my way to the Golden Gate Bridge...running with RBR (and briefly with Willie and his friend, before they speedily took off, but not before I could be a wise-ass and ask him if he'd even broken a sweat yet).

But before I go on with the race report (yes, I'm killing some of you, aren't I?) I do have to take a moment to talk about the DAY BEFORE THE RACE, specifically, the fabulous dinner organized by Penny where I finally got to meet some of the fabulous peeps I've been stalking these past months/years.
Meeting Meg...and I'm hoping that her husband Steve is just trying to NOT be part of the picture
The herd at dinner (me, Mik, Betty, and Elsie). The BEST running/travel partners EVAH
Penny and Willie checking out the latest Tweet
It was so much fun to talk to everyone. Meg wrote in her race report that she could have stayed at dinner forever. I agree. I was afraid that I wasn't going to have the chance to meet in person some bloggers. I knew that on Friday night there was a Tweetup and I was super bummed because we weren't flying into SF until Saturday morning. Luckily, Penny organized a dinner for Saturday. Once again, I completely owe her.

Anyway, onto My Race Report

Pre-race - I made what would turn out to be a really good decision to wear a tanktop underneath the Neon-Day-Glo-Lime-Green race shirt with my arm sleeves. AND I decided the day before the race to purchase a pair of RaceReady capris to wear instead of the running shorts I'd brought. I'll be honest, I don't know WTF I was thinking when I packed for this event. What ever I thought I was  packing for, it was not for SF. I grew up in Northern Nevada. I have family in the bay area. I KNOW what summers are like in San Francisco (e.g. winter-like).

I love Race-Ready gear. Not only do they make the most unbelievably bright racing tunics EVAH, their running bottoms (shorts, skirts, capris, knee length shorts, etc)  have a whole lineup of pockets on the outside. I carried my iPhone, Gu, and some running gloves in my back pockets, and had pocket room to spare. So even though the sales people at the Expo booth were real A-holes*, I still love their running gear enough to overlook that aspect of their company.

Of course I took this picture at the Expo, because I am, you know, like 12 (he, he, he). In fact, the post that I wrote about The Dangers of Self Massage, still gets a fair number of hits every week. here's the really STUPID thing I did pre-race. I walked around all day in flip-flops...and we did walk. A LOT. By the end of the day, I could start to feel tightness in the Plantar Fascia tendon. Not. A. Good. Thing.

Miles 1-2 - The Start
As I wrote in my last post, Elsie and Betty managed to work their way into Corral 5 or 6, but I was off searching for water, so I got separated from them. So even though I started off by myself, I was surrounded by a bunch of new "friends" I made with the people standing around me including a group of women who said they'd keep an eye out for the rest of my crew wearing NEON-DAY-GLO-LIME-GREEN running shirts and another wonderful man who had run the race 7 or 8 times and was giving us pointers about how to run the bridge and the Precidio. He warned that in the Precidio, we'd run up a hill and then there's a slight curve and then more hill. I'll come back to that advice later.

Lots of others have talked about the race start, and it is fun. Lots of peeps. The run through Fisherman's Wharf, the smell of bread baking at Boudin, the first view of the bridge...all spectacular. I tried to settle into a nice even pace. The good thing about starting in Corral 7 is that I was running with my peeps. A bunch of people also trying to run a 2:30 (ish) 1/2 marathon, so in just staying with the crowd, I wasn't pushing myself to go too fast. Unfortunately, I could feel my heel twinge. It didn't hurt, but I could feel it. This I obsessed about repeatedly.

Mile 1 - 11:03
Mile 2 - 11:08

Miles 3-5 - Running With Stacey
Somewhere past the second mile I felt a slap on my ass and there was RBR! Now I have to admit, that as thrilled as I was to meet RBR, I was also kinda star-struck and sorta nervous when we met. She is fantastically funny and charming and ADORABLE. I'm sure she thought, who is this boring old woman? Can't even carry on a conversation with me...GAH!

Also, in answer to G's comments yesterday. I have no idea about RBR's anatomy, but I will say, the woman has balls...she was running the full marathon and pretty much left me in her tracks.

Anyway her presence was, for me, a Godsend because I forgot about my damned foot and just started enjoying myself.  We ran for about two miles together, then once we got on the bridge, she either picked up her pace (or she picked it up and I slowed down). Either way, thanks so much for running with me Stacey! I even got to run (sorta) with Willie for a bit and got to harass him about not even breaking a sweat.

I think we were somewhere around Fort Mason we had a clear shot of the Golden Gate bridge. I harassed some stranger, who was running with a big-ass camera if he was going to run with it the whole way!  See, this is what I do in the first miles of a run, harass people around me. No wonder people want to run with me so much!

OK...I posted this yesterday, but it warrants a second look. The bridge...
One of the first hills - Toward the Bridge
Mile 3 - 11:46 (pretty sure I stopped to take pictures, but clearly, I was slowing down about here)
Mile 4 - 11:31
Mile 5 - 11:20

Miles 6-9 - The Bridge
So, we got to the bridge and I'm not gonna lie. It was effing COLD! In the open areas, there was a good wind. In a moment of clarity, I pulled my gloves out of my back pocket and put them on in what would amount to be my BEST DECISION of the day.

On the bridge
Stacey in the pink feather boa...leaving me in her tracks (Happy B-Day Girl!)
To be honest, the uphill on the bridge, other than slowing me down some, didn't really feel like a hill. Maybe it's because I run over LOTS of bridges in San Diego, or I'm just used to a lot of gradual inclines like this, I was OK with it. It was cold, but once I put my gloves on and pulled my sleeves up, I was fine as far as the weather went. At this point, I was mostly looking for peeps I knew. I first spotted Mik, who was almost done with the I was starting...GRRR (JK). Then I spotted Penny and her sister and waved. I somehow missed Glenn (you need to wear brighter colors Glenn!). Then I saw Elsie around the 7th mile.

The biggest problem I had on the bridge was that it was CROWDED and maybe because I was in the 7th wave and there were a bunch of first time runners, I don't know, but seriously peeps. Isn't it good race etiquette to move to the right if you're going to walk? (See picture of me above, on the bridge? I am not so coordinated to run and take pix. I was WALKING at that point, thus I moved to the RIGHT.

Anyway, about mile 7 I started to feel the cold in my ears. I started getting a headache, and also felt sorta---well, wrong. I was actually quite worried that I was coming down with something and was starting to feel it. Despite the cold, I actually felt hot and feverish. I thought "damn. Maybe I'm getting the flu. Nice time for it to hit me).

I was also keeping an eye out for Betty. I figured she and Elsie started in Wave 6, about 12 minutes ahead of me, and that since I'd seen Elsie, I'd be spotting her shortly. When I got to the turn around and still hadn't seen her, I started to worry about where/how she was. I figured I might have passed her and she was in a PP, which would be a bummer. At the turn around I felt another slap on my ass (BTW...what is it about my ASS that everyone wants to slap it? Huh? Maybe BBJ has an answer for that).

I was Betty, who told me that she'd be holded up in a PP for the last several minutes. Good timing huh?

I shared with her that I pretty much felt like I had my "motor running" for the last mile or so.

We laughed. I needed that. So we wogged for a while further and I took a photo.

Yes, me and my excellent self-photo skillz - Me and Betty's shoulder on the bridge...GAH!
Mile 6 - 11:59
Mile 7 - 11:10
Mile 8 - 12:03
Mile 9 - 11:51

Miles 10-12 - The Park
I'd been told that the run up the Precidio was tough, and I'd looked at the elevations. It looked sorta like going up Torrey Pines at the La Jolla 1/2 Marathon, only shorter. So here's the thing. I pretty much psyched myself out about the hill. I'm not going to say it wasn't a good hill. It was, but I coulda taken it. I just didn't. I thought it was going to be a longer hill, so I walked. Then the hill was over and I knew I coulda run the whole thing. Not knowing the course killed me there. I was bummed.

Aside from that, this part of the run was, as everyone reports, brutal. It's not so much the uphill parts, but the downhill parts are just killer, on the toes, on the quads, on my calves (which are still recovering even today).

That being said, it is another breathtakingly beautiful part of the course.

This picture so doesn't do the course justice...
The other exciting thing that happened, as I was running down one of several hills, is that I spotted Stacey's pink boa. I tried to catch her on the downhill parts (which in the long run may have been an error) but couldn't. Finally, at about the 11th mile there were some porta-potties and I could see the pink-feather boa in line...I knew it was my last chance to say stalk and say hello/goodbye/ make an ass of myself and I knew I was NOWHERE NEAR a PB, so I ran over to the lines and took one last picture.

See...she's adorable. Thanks so much Stacey for putting up with me!
Mile 10 - 12:22 - Clearly uphill
Mile 11 - 11:25 - That must be downhill
Mile 12 - 12:35 - The last hill...or so I though

The last mile & fin
OK, I thought the two miles of AFC was brutal...putting a mile and a half hill in miles 11 and 12 of a 13 mile race is difficult, but here's the thing with AFC...the first 6 miles are downhill (some steep downhill, but consistent), then the next 5 are effing pancake-flat, then the next two are uphill, then the end is downhill. See...there's some consistency there.

This would be the opposite of AFC...The rolling hills of the last mile were just mean. My legs were wasted from the up and steep down hill of the previous five miles. Finally, I got to the park and saw the finish. At least there was that, once I got to the park, the race was over. Thank goodness.

Mile 13 - 12:29 - I got nothin' but GAH for that!
Mile 13.1 - 10:20 - Gettin' it done!

Garmin time - 2:35:24
Official time - 2:38:11

So, no PR, but I wasn't expecting one. In fact, I'm actually pretty happy with it. It is NOT by a longshot the slowest 1/2 marathon I've run. In fact, for most of the run, I felt pretty good (except for mile 7. I'm not sure what happened there). The 3+ minute difference from my Garmin and the Official time tells the story, I stopped and took pictures and I walked (to take more pictures and sometimes, just cuz I wanted to).

I've been scanning the blogosphere today and reading up on other's race reports and I'd have to agree with the consensus that the SF 1st 1/2 is an unbelievably beautiful, awesome, well-organized (makes the SD RnR Marathon look like it was run by amateurs) race, but it is NOT one where a PR is likely.  The course is extraordinary (if you want a real view of it Glenn has put together a really fabulous video of the highlights, and that can't be outdone).

Elsie crossing the finish line (One more THANK YOU PENNY!)
Next time: The aftermath...The Herd attempts to leave the race site!
* Really...the service at their booth was beyond terrible, if not downright RUDE. Both Elsie and I were going to buy some merchandise and the RaceReady people pretty much ignored us until Elsie waved her hands and shouted, "hey, we would like to BUY something from you!"  I mean, I KNOW the expo was a ZOO, but didn't they know that going in? In fact, when I mentioned to the RR-guy that I had a blog, and that on said blog, had mentioned their product on several occasions, and that our running group ALWAYS wore their freekin' running shirts in races, he just kinda stared at me. Not even a "Thank-You" or an "Oh, How Nice." OK...whatever, dude. I'm not looking for any free gear, or even a discount (although that would be NICE), but just a little appreciation would have been appropriate. I guess you sell enough gear without me, but still... I compare that experience with the one that Elsie and I had buying new Earbuds. The sales guy was funny, and nice, and joked around with us, and wished us well on our race, and was an all around decent guy. I'm saying nice things about him and his company. RaceReady? I like your gear, but your sales people were jerks. I might have bought more from you...but I didn't because of there!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Race Morning in Pictures

SF 1/2 race morning started early....REALLY EFFING EARLY! and so much happened over the whole morning, that I'll have to tell the story in parts... But for now, my official result was 2:38.11. Not my best 1/2 Mary, but I'll take it on a hilly course, on a cold San Francisco Summer Day where I used the excuse of stopping regularly to take some excellent photos!

We woke up at 4:15 to the sonorous "mooooooooooooo" alarm of Elsie's iPhone alarm. it was truly "The Butt-crack of dawn."

Breakfast... We'd gone to Sbux the day before to get instant coffee and oatmeal. In case you didn't know, Sbux will sell you their oatmeal sans water. Our room had a single cup at a time coffee maker, so we started running water through it constantly.

Betty made breakfast for us. YES! The neon-day-glo-lime-green running shirts are BACK!!!!

Good morning Sunshines!!!!

It's dark out"

We did the usual bag-check, which way should we go routine and as we made our way to the starting corrals we ran into Penny and RBR!!! I was so excited to meet you can see, it took us awhile to get used to each other!

off to the PPs. This is Betty, Elsie & Mik doing their bizz. (you'll have to take my word for it).

I could be wrong, but these Porta-a-potties could charge higher rents just for the view! That's the Bay Bridge in the background.

I was getting really thirsty, so I decided to do a little warmup jog on the bayfront path and hopefully find a drinking fountain. It was a beautiful Morning on the bay.

Unfortunately, in my morning jaunt, I got separated from the rest of the herd...I know that Elsie and Betty are up there somewhere... Ah well, RBR and Willie were close behind me (which turned out to be a really excellent thing)...and in no time at all, we were off.

Headed toward The Golden Gate Bridge. When I paused to take this shot RBR slapped me on the ass (Thank you) and we ran the next few miles together, which was awesome and fun and kept my mind off the stress I was starting to feel in the PF region of my right foot. we chatted about peeps we met, the joys of teaching high school summer school and lord knows what else.

OK...I'll write more later but my iBlogger ap on the iPad keeps crashing when I add more photos, so I'll leave you in suspense about the rest of the race and day...oh, wait a minute, I already told you how it ended. No matter, I have many good stories about the rest of the day, and rest assured, it ends with this...

And this.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Ready or not...

It's been quite a day. I'll post more details later, but I gotta go to sleep now. Until then, there's this...

And this

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, July 23, 2010

Some last minute fretting

You know it's what we all do...fret a little (or A LOT) before THE BIG RACE (TBR from now on).

It doesn't seem to matter how many 1/2 Marathons I've done, in the days before TBR, my brain is a constant stream of questions...all easily answerable, but since the questions flit around in my brain, like, oh I don't know...fill in your favorite flitting around metaphor...I have only stopped to answer a few of them... because my brain has moved onto questions like...
  1. What should I wear for the race?
  2. What should I pack for the rest of the weekend?
  3. What will the weather be like in San Francisco?
  4. Do I need to bring a coat? (for the weekend, not the run...but now that I'm thinking about it)
  5. Should I bring an old sweatshirt to the race, or just a plastic bag?
  6. Should I check a bag or carry it on?
  7. What electronic devices should I bring (What? I'm thinking about bringing my iPad...what were YOU thinking?)
  8. Am I prepared for running 13 miles?
  9. Have I done enough training to manage the hills?
  10. Should I run with my camera? My iPhone? Both?
  11. How should I carry those things?
  12. How much Gu should I carry?
  13. How will we get to the race in the morning (at the Butt-crack of dawn?)
  14. Where should we eat?
  15. What should I eat?
  16. Who's sharing a bed?
  17. Where will we eat after the run?
You know...that sort of stuff.

So tomorrow morning, Mik, Elsie and I are flying to SF and meeting up with Betty who started her drive up today. It should be a busy day...flying, expo. I'm hoping to meet up with some bloggers and NoCal friends and family along the way.

Thanks for indulging me the time to answer my questions (nothing focuses the brain like writing, right?)
  1. NEON-DAY-GLO-IN-THE-DARK-LIME-GREEN running shirt is making a comeback...The Herd has decided that while the Yummy Yellow shirts are nice, they are nowhere near bright enough to enable us to find each other in a crowd. So we are back to the NEON-DAY-GLO-IN-THE-DARK-LIME-GREEN!
  2. F if I know...I need to go do that next.
  3. Cool - probably about 55 degrees at race time. Perfect running weather!
  4. Who knows...probably a sweater, right?
  5. Bag
  6. Depends on the amount of product I end up packing. I have a problem with product. I know it. Whatever.
  7. Uh...yeah, and the Garmin, and the iPod, and a camera, and see why I have a problem packing lightly?
  8. I think so. I just need to start slow and maintain a consistent pace. My biggest challenge is always about miles 6-8, where I feel pretty good and tend to speed up. I need to wait until I get to the 8th mile to pick up my pace. I'm hoping that all the hills will actually help me out with this.
  9. Probably not.
  10. iPhone camera takes reasonable pix in daylight, so maybe that's enough. Still, having a camera over the bridge might be nice. But let's be honest here. If I'm anywhere near a PR pace, and I think I will be, I am SO EFFING UNLIKELY to stop and take pix.
  11. Spibelt...gotta remember to pack that...
  12. 2
  13. cab?
  14. Ask a concierge...that's my strategy.
  15. This is sooooo tough. I love SF. I love eating at local, little, unusual places and trying new foods. I will have to wait until AFTER the run on Sunday to do this however. I think tomorrow night has gotta be pasta night.
  16. LOL
  17. See #15...
At first, the SF 1/2 post-race info we received said that there would be a COMPLIMENTARY beer for all finishers, but it would be at the end of the Marathon/2nd Half Finish (at the Embarcadero). FYI...the 1st 1/2 ends in Golden Gate Park...even I (a non-local) can see that those two places are not particularly close to each other. I was bummed, but figured...ah well. 9:30 in the morning is a LITTLE early for a beer. I'd rather have a MIMOSA anyway.

Penny sent out a tweet last night that the end of the 1/2 Mary will have IRISH COFFEE for the 1st 1/2 finishers. 

So...thank you for reading through this REALLY BORING POST. I'm going to go pack now. Next update will be (perhaps) from SF!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

About those naps...

When last I wrote, I promised to continue with our ballooning adventure...I have no idea where last week went...oh's what I did last week:
  1. Compiled a 190 page manual for next week's reading institute.
  2. Revised two PowerPoint presentations and created a new one (for next week's reading institute)
  3. Wrote one measly post on the Hefferblog (with a promise of  more to come...uhhhhh).
  4. Played telephone tag with some colleagues who wanted some input on a grant they are writing.
  5. Drove DramaGirl and friends to and from various places.
  6. Ran hill repeats with the Track Club (and Walter, and Betty, and Mik, and Alberta) on Tuesday night. It was a great workout. Love doing hill repeats like that, which means that I am certifiably nuts.
  7. Had a REALLY LOUSY run on Wednesday night at Chollas Lake. Betty and I ran at about 5:00, which meant it was hella hot (Summer has, apparently, finally, arrived here in SoCal!) and HUMID. I barely eeked out three miles in 38 minutes (yep...I walked...several times). 
  8. Following the lousy run, Betty and I volunteered at the Chollas Lake 5K, which is a fun run sponsored by the SDTC.  It looked like a brutal run, heat, hills,, fun, fun. My role as a volunteer had me standing in the middle of the course, pretty much in the middle of nowhere, pointing runners in the right direction and also at a rather large boulder that was in the running path "ROCK!!!!  RIGHT!!!!" was pretty much my line. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera and iPhone in the car, so I don't have photos for you. I could have also used my iPhone since I ended up standing in a pretty isolated area...just me alone with my thoughts and nature for about 30 minutes before the runners came by. Yeah...that being one with nature and a having some time for solitude and reflection? Didn't work so well for me.
  9. Wednesday night, I helped Betty write some comments for a reading she did last night at Madge's WEDDING. I like to think that we found the right balance between being somewhat humorous and not downright offensive...a fine line.
  10. Went to a fundraiser on Thursday night for one of Walter's non-profit organizations called Sports for Exceptional Athletes.
  11. Went to ANOTHER fundraiser on Friday night for another non-profit organization, Home of Guiding Hands. This event was REALLY fun. It had a western-casino night theme. We played Texas Hold'em most of the night with fake money AND I won a prize (from a drawing, NOT from my Poker playing. I like playing poker, but I'm not really any good at it).
  12. Sweated profusely Saturday morning during my last long run before next week's SF 1/2 Marathon. At first, I thought I'd try to run 8 or 9 miles, but I decided about three miles at the first water station, to just turn around and head back. Did I mention it was HOT, well...not so much hot as really HUMID. Walter ran the last two miles sans-shirt because it was soaking wet! I don't have very good advice for him about what to do about this. I sweat a lot when I run, but Walter SWEATS!  Despite the heat, I managed a pretty good run of 6 miles in 1:04.
  13. Attended Madge's wedding last much fun. I am so happy for her and Cletus (a perfect heffer name BTW--one that we did NOT make up.) Seriously though Madge was a beautiful bride. Cletus looked just HAWT (and HOT) in his Navy dress blues. The heat broke last night and we had a great time at their reception. I wish them the very, very, very best!
Even by my crazy-busy life standards...that was a VERY BUSY week.

So...yeah...I never did get around to telling the ballooning story, but I really do need to share some photos from the day.

Dear lord it was early, but here is the balloon being inflated. Betty and Elsie look on.
I want to take a moment to have you examine the basket. 17 of us were in that basket...being held up by some two by fours and plywood. Since it was about 6am, it was still pretty cool outside, but the balloon pilot suggested that we dress lightly because it would get pretty warm in the balloon. I was surprised by this.
Ready to go...Elsie looks like she's hanging on for dear life. That's hot air being blown into the balloon.
Out over Vail Lake as the sun was coming up. Beautiful.
Getting some altitude
Good Morning Sunshine!
Another morning, sun over the lake shot. It really was quite breathtaking, and except for those moments when the pilot was shooting hot air into the balloon, very quiet and peaceful.

All smiles!
We didn't know it at the time, but we would be landing at a point on the left side of this photo.
This is where we what I understand, in ballooning, the pilot usually has a Plan A or B as to where he thinks the wind will take him. I think we were on Plan D.
Being towed to a "flatter" area so as to have room to deflate the balloon

Just in case you were wondering what it looks like to be in a balloon, being towed by a van...
Spreading out "Big Green" which I guess is the crew's ling for the biggest green tarp they have. Watching the crew work was part of the entertainment. Those boys worked hard. By now it was getting pretty warm and they were ALL OVER the hillside making sure that when the balloon was deflated that it didn't land on some brush and get torn.
Back on solid ground
As the crew packed up the balloon we were offered some breakfast an MIMOSAS. Betty immediately "volunteered" to take over the mimosa-making duties.
Mik, Betty, and I listened closely as the balloon pilot gave a lecture about the history of ballooning, and the importance of champagne, or at least that's what I took away from it. crazy week ends, another one begins.