Thursday, December 29, 2005

tax returns can be fun. and Happy New Year, of course!

A mere two days before my 2002 tax returns were to become rendered ineligible and timed out, I headed to H&R Block. Since I'd filled everything out two years ago, I simply had to sign and mail. Viola! Money arriving approx. 6 weeks. Life can be so easy when you just do things instead of put them off three years, you know? 2003, and 2004, well, they'll just have wait. Next year is another year...

And speaking of, headed to San Diego today, and Id like to wish everyone a new year. Thank you for letting me share your ups and downs, your struggles and accomplishments. I've met bloggers, read the lives of bloggers, and thought of how Id like to be friends with and live closer to some bloggers. You've inspired, held me accountable and best of all, had me laughing completely nondiscreetly at work and all alone in a quiet apartment. I hope this new year brings health, happiness, new friends and many, many, sprint tris, olympic tris, half and full ironmans, 5ks, 10ks, trail runs and marathons. See you along the way.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Running a marathon...or did you?

In response to a certain poster of this and Scott’s web site, i’m sharing a little tale that was begged of me not to share. But since said poster (who shall remain nameless...ljisaak) has threatened to take her comments elsewhere because of a lack of posts, all confidentiality agreements are off.

The following is a true story.

Girl wakes on a fine So Cal weekend morning and decides to go for a run. What to wear, what to wear, she thinks. Then, her eyes spy an orange top. Why, it’s her beloved RBF orange running shirt that says on the back "Fabulous Las Vegas Marathon 2005" (or something like that). Yes, that will work.

Two miles later and it’s time to stop for a Starbucks.

Man at Starbucks (in excited voice): "Did you run the Las Vegas marathon?!"
Girl: "Uh, ya."
Man at Starbucks: "My friend did that! Man, and youre already running?!"
Girl: "Why, yes, yes, I am."

Then, grabbing her hazelnut latte, off the girl runs, feeling an imposter and praying no one but she knows she has just told a half-truth truth: the girl did run the marathon. She just missed the first 25 miles.

Question for readers: Have you ever said you’ve ran a marathon when you haven’t? Why or why not?


1. Landlord gave me extension. Phew!
2. Have appt to do 2002,2003,2004 tax returns. Hope I am not taken to white collar prison. for not bothering to file the past three years.
3. Jeff's marathon is approximately 11 days away!

Jeff was the man behind the support crew in Vegas. Now it's his turn, as he heads to Orange County Jan. 8. He's breaking 3 and sis and I are gonna be there to watch it firsthand.

Ran Monday and Tuesday. I am never having another week in my life where I run only once. Ever. I now realize my sanity is directly related to whether I run or not. Since I'm borderline anyway you can see how I can't miss another run. Ever.

During the offseason I'm plannig to condition my body into thinking it's a natural 8-minute mile runner. I need to really pump up the volume (dance, dance) if I'm ever going to qualify for Boston.

I'm headed to San Diego Thursday for a nice, long winter break. Sis and I are gonna run every day along the shore. Oh beautiful West Coast, see you soon.

Monday, December 26, 2005

the post-partum holiday post

I believe my winter blues has to do with the fact that I only ran once last week and haven’t stopped eating in three weeks. Either that or the fact that my boy left on Monday. Or that it’s the day after Christmas and I’m working while my sis is with her boyfriend and his friends at the racetrack and my boy is in Minn. snowboarding. Or maybe it’s because it’s been dark and dreary for two days. Or maybe it’s because I had to work Christmas too, and because I work in a bureau, was the only one in the office all day long. Or that my family is 3,000 miles away and they didn’t bother doing anything because Christmas is on hold until the final member of the family is home. Or because I’m supopsed to move Jan. 1 and I don’t know where to, and I’m going to be out of town. Or that lately I’ve been so confused with the direction of my life, and have begun to feel strange in my skin.

In any event, I canceled tentative plans tonight to go see a famous little winter stop, full of lights and festivities because I feel I’ll go mad if one more day goes by without a hard run.

I read a post today, from boiled peanut, about how difficult her holiday was. That she was lonely and wouldn’t it be nice if all the lonely people come all come together and realize there are others like you and we all could enjoy each other and get comraderie? Yes. That would be nice.

I had two invites for Christmas dinner but decided early in the day I just wanted to go home and clean my apartment, which is as chaotic as my life. I was also planning in drowning my sorrow in hot cocoa. No booze, since stores were closed.

But Kim called and she sounded so cheery so I figured the company would be nice. I fought with her 12-year-old son over playing Ms PacMan and then we all played Family Feud, the DVD version. I kept yelling out misleading answers because I wanted to win. I lost.

Then we played Trivial Pursuit. It took about 3 hours. My dad brought home Trivial Pursuit one year. It was the genius edition. My poor dad, thinking his kids are geniuses. We’d get like 1 in 20 right.

I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays. I have told my boss I am simply NOT working a third straight Christmas next year. That i'm prepared to WALK if he even thinks it. That I will CALL IN SICK i'm telling you now. OK, so I didn't say all that but I have told anyone else that would listen.

And Im going to stop comparing myself to anyone else in the world, count my blessings and pray my landlord gives me an extension.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Holiday lists

Welcome to this holiday's lovable email copy and paste lists! I've added some running features and narrowed it to a mere 15 questions. I tag Mouse, Brit, Scott, Keith and Mia. Person most likely to do this: Mouse. Person least likely to do this: everyone.

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot cocoa, for shizzle my nizzle.
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? He puts them in plastic grocery bags (oh wait, is that me?)
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? Colored!
4. Do you hang mistletoe? No, but i hope to be kissed by several suitors this year under others'
5. When do you put your decorations up? Depends. Last year, weekend after Thanksgiving. This year, I didn't cause i have to work, my boyfriend just left and i ain't sitting at home enjoying my holiday decorations alone and depressed
6. What is your favorite holiday dish? Football.
7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child? Playing house under the steps with sissie, eating cheese, flying kites with sissie and watching Twilight Zone marathons.
8. What is your favorite 2005 run? There were so many, hard to choose. Maybe the first one with Kim, my running partner. It was just over one mile on a hot & sticky day, but Kim was instantly converted. Either that or the 5 a.m. run, my only early run of the year, with LM in the dead of February winter. So that's what early morning looks like.
9. What is your favorite 2005 race? Vegas. Because it was such a great, fun all-around experience. And come on, it's Vegas.
10. Snow! Love it or Dread it? Love it to snowboard, HATE It to drive!
11. What was your most favorite running purchase this year? My darling Brooks 5. I love you, dear Brooks.
12. What is your favorite piece of running apparel purchased in 2005? My black running shorts i wore in Vermont and Vegas.
13. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Not a big fan of dessert. So beer I guess.
14. What are you big traiining plans for 2006? Qualify for Boston, do a half ironman (or at least a few olympic tris)
15. Name one thing you like about blogging: Why, all the new friends i've made, of course!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Instant Street Cred.

When you live on the East Coast, driving a truck with California plates when weather strikes is like putting a sign up that says “Inexperienced Weather Driver.”

And frankly, that’s true of me.

But today, with difficult weather conditions predicted for PA – freezing rain, sleet, snow – my boy told me I should drive his Ford Explorer. His dad just gave it to him. It’s got Minnesota plates.

Instantly, I felt like drivers gave me props. I’m from Minnesota, mutha fukas! Two feet of snow? In my sleep.

Then reality set in. The driver of that Minn. vehicle is, alas, a Southern California native.

As soon as I got off the highways and onto back roads, I began slipping and sliding. I screamed. I promptly returned to the highways and back to the office.

No meeting coverage is worth my life. Thank heavens my editor is so understanding.

The small parking lot behind my office could have doubled as an ice skating rink.
I don’t know about this weather thing.

If it weren’t for snowboarding, I’d have to give this weather thing a thumbs down.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

French fries are like s--. um, ya.

You know when you’re getting a lot of really good s--? And it's so good and you're getting it a lot so that just makes you want it more and more often?

That's so me and french fries right now.

I tend to eat relatively healthy (cheese, chips and beer addiction aside). Fast food is a treat, a once a month/every six weeks thing. But oh how I love french fries! In particular, McDonalds french fries! And I had fries three times last week! And they were fresh and delicious and salty.

Then yesterday, like a dog in the woods having detected a squirrel, I smelt french fries someone else was eating. My stomach, having been fine moments early, suddenly perked up. It would have been fine had I not given it so many tasty treats last week. It started calling, asking...Please can you walk down the block to Mickey D's?

No, stomach, I can't.

P.S. Soon, very soon, you shall see a completely original design of a blog created by a completely original gal. Susan is in the process of giving me a Christmas gift (yes, Flatman, good will to mankind all over) of a new header. The first take looked amazing!

P.P.S. Oh, I've been tagged by Scott. I'll respond to tag, as soon as i think of five things no one knows about me, along with tagging five of you lucky folks, in a bit... (unless i ignore it)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Back to the gym

The week after, what I ate and drank. Note: This list is not all-inclusive:
Double cheeseburger meal
French fries (twice)
Pizza Hut (twice)
Egg McMuffin (twice)
Beer (too much)
Red wine

What I did when I walked past the mirror Sunday night: gasped in horror at how quickly a week of eating all I want and exercising not all catches up to me.

Monday night, it was back to the gym. I ran 1.5 miles and did 20 mins on elliptical. Feels good to be back.

Susan has volunteered to help me create a unique banner. I'm sure most of you have seen her site but she's extremely creative and i've seen at least one other lovely banner she's created for someone else. Finally! A non generic blog. I'm quite excited.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

A Vegas Primer

Some of you have expressed interest in running the Las Vegas marathon. So I’ve decided to offer a few recommendations. Some are Vegas-specific; others are applicable to any marathon.

1. Pay extra and stay in the host hotel where the race will start from. The Strip is designed for you to pass every possible slot machine, shop, bar, sports book and gift shop possible. So even though I was in the Excalibur, very near the Mandalay, I did tons of walking. Sometimes I felt like tearing a wall open to let me outside. I don’t want to walk 2 miles to get to the tram because I have to walk through the ENTIRE MGM floorplan!

2. Wear sunscreen, expect heavy winds. The wind was so biting and cold you could end up with a painfully red face.

3. If you plan on doing anything less than 4:30, line up near the front. It is there that you’ll find yourself elbow to elbow with those planning to run 5 and 6ers.

4. Spend the night before the race with runners or those who understand what it’s like to run a marathon. After returning to my hotel room around 9 p.m., I talked to my mom and grandma who assured me they were coming in soon. At midnight, I was lying awake worrying about them (oh, they were fiiine, just enjoying a little ol’ music downstairs!). It’s hard enough to sleep race nights before having to worry about where your MOTHER AND GRANDMOTHER ARE.

5. When you’re in a fun city like Vegas, your friends and family are probably anxious for you to run the darn thing so you can begin partying. Set up some ground rules for what you will and will not do after the race. (i.e. “I will hang out with you guys but I am watching the Chargers/Raiders game from 5-8 p.m. That is my time. You may watch the game with me or I can meet you after.”) Otherwise, you may find yourself in the unfortunate position of being nearly 30 and throwing a brief temper tantrum because you want to be watching the game (sorry sis and Patrick).

6. If your mother/husband/friend asks if an hour is enough recovery time for you after the marathon and then can you guys all go out, assure them that it is. Suck it up.

7. Send an e-mail before you leave to all your friends letting them know you’ll be in bed by 6 p.m. I received highly appreciated text messages and phone calls. One text came in around 8, which was OK, cutting it close, but OK. But a phone call at 10 p.m. when you’re on the verge of dozing off, well, let’s just say it’s difficult to go back to sleep because you’re too busy stewing. And then you may realize your mother and grandmother aren’t back.

8. Don’t wear 4-inch heels two nights before the race for your big night on the town. Or else you may wake up race day, notice a blister that came from the heels and wonder what the hell is wrong with you.

9. If you go out two nights before the race late, make sure you’re not sharing a room with your mother/friend. Because they may wake up at 9 a.m. and announce everyone has slept long enough and that it’s time to hit the streets.

10. Be creative if you're looking for a place to run. Tops of parking garages work well.

11. If the race falls on the same weekend as a big fight, walk with your head down and eyes averted. This helps avoid the men/women dressed in their finest and looking almost edible as they head for a big night on the town and you head to your room to sleep.

In conclusion, have fun! Vegas, for its flaws and distractions, is a city people want to go to. Susan said it’s one of the few places her mom and sis might actually go to. I had the pleasure of my family and friends joining me. I can’t think of anywhere else they would have gone.

Oh, one more thing. Didn’t wear the slinky dress. I was a bit delusional thinking I’d be able to hit the streets for a wild night out after the race. That’s a looooong way to run.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Longest 2.6 miles.

In my best fantasies in the weeks leading up to the Las Vegas marathon, I’d report back that the run went by in a flash. That it was over almost as soon as it started, that I experienced no wall, no major problems, and it was just a sweet, sweet run. Thankfully, except for a blip at mile 15 when I had to pull over to stretch an increasingly painful right knee, this seemed to be the case early on. Especially when half a mile later the pain was gone, never to return. So ya, that’s how it went until mile 24, when began the longest, most difficult final miles I’ve ever experienced in any race. But let’s start at the very beginning (a very good place to start…)

Race day dawned freezing and windy. The start was a mess of spectators and runners. There were no pace signs. So runners just lined up. Scott, Keith and I would complain after the race this meant the first miles were spent navigating through slow runners, and those who apparently intended to speedwalk the race. Props to those who intend to walk a race but LINE UP NEAR THE BACK OF THE PACK SO THOSE INTENDING NOT TO WALK DON’T HAVE TO WASTE ENERGY WEAVING AROUND YOU.

Still, fireworks lit up the still dark sky. And as Elvis sang “Viva, Las Vegas” we all set off.

5K: I see my first friendly face, Noel. She stood shivering on the sidelines in a bright green jacket. I gave her a quick hug and she ran alongside me for a bit, shouting encouragement. I smiled and thought of how much I just love her.

Mile 7: Brit, Natalia, Jeff and Scott’s cousin provide another welcome sight. I take two Advil, drink some water, proceed. Strong, biting headwinds mark most of this part of the race. After the race, my face is to be windburned, red and as painful as a sunburn. My pace is a little off because of the wind. At least, I think it is. The clocks throughout the race are all off. At one I’m on pace for a 4 hour marathon; at the next, I see there’s no way I can hit it.

Mile 15: Stop to stretch. Knee is flaring up.

Mile 18: Support crew once again. I get more Advil.

Mile 20: Jeff! I hand him two Gu’s I’ve picked up on the course. They’re slowing me down. I imagine each ounce is costing me seconds per mile.

Mile 23: Man, I’m feeling good. Ya, I’m feeling pretty good.

Mile 23.5: What’s going on. I’m not feeling as good. What’s going on

Mile 23.65: What the hell. I can’t breathe really. My thighs are filled with lead. What the hell is that popping in my left thigh.

Mile 23.75: More popping. What the hell is that?! Why is catching my breath so hard? I begin to panic a little. My time goal of four hours is within reach but I can’t slow down. Panicking makes my breathing harder. My throat tightens, I just can’t make my breathing normal. I had a pep talk planned in the event this should happen. I begin to think of those less fortunate, as planned. I need to put this race in perspective – there are more important things going on in the world.

Mile 23.85: Not too much longer now till I meet my sis, who is coming to meet me and take me to the finish! I can make it, I can make it. Im going to need her. I’m going to need something

Mile 24: Where is my sister. Can’t breathe. The less fortunate thing isn’t working, so I steady my breathing thinking of the beer I’m going to drink later, how I intend to have a shot of tequila, hopefully with the bloggers. This seems to work.

Mile 24.15: Where is my sister


Mile 24.5: I hear a man say according to his watch, he can break 4 if he maintains a 10 minute mile. This is extremely reassuring and helps to once again calm me down. If my sister doesn’t show, she’s going to be sorry, I think. I am getting angry. This causes my breathing to become even more labored. Tears threaten to fall. This also makes my breathing more labored.

24.6: I live for water stops. I live for water stops. I haven’t walked except through water stops. I begin to see mirages of water stops.


25: Well, lookie who we have here. Is that my sister? Why, yes I believe it is.

25.05: I use what little oxygen I have to yell at my sister. This has the effect of a. making sis feel really terrible and b. using up more of my air.

25.15: I’m still yelling.

25.25: I tell my sister to run ahead of me, not slightly behind. That she’s supposed to guide me vs. the other way around. I decide I’ll have to give her coaching101 for the next race.

25.5: We get into rhythm. My breathing is still not normal. I just can’t get it normal. I’m panting and I’m breathing quite loud. I give up trying to regulate it. The finish line at the Mandalay Bay beckons.

25.75: Ya, umm, still having problems breathing.

26: We see sis’s boyfriend. “Looking good Arlene!” I try to wave. This is the part of the race that now becomes the corral, meaning you can’t exit the course without climbing the gates locking us in. Sis asks if she can exit the course. No, I tell her, I need you. We are both wearing our orange blogger shirts. “Go orange girls!” people are yelling.

The finish line: There is nothing sis can do, no place sis can go but through the finish line. So together, we cross! Mortified, my sis hangs her head and tries to make sure she doesn’t get photographed. I finally slow to a walk and struggle to get my breath together. I take my medal. Sis is offered one, which she politely declines.

My time is 4:02:16.
I meet mom and grandma, who has tears in her eyes. Reese, my son (cabbage patch kid) is wearing his white mink coat. And the shirt his mother bought him two nights before. It says Vegas, little stinker and has a skunk on it.

I hook up with the bloggers. I discover Monday my final time is 3:58. I’ve taken 18 minutes off my Vermont marathon time. What’s that mean? It means 18 minutes more and I’ve qualified for Boston.

Going into the race, I knew a weakness would be my lack of long runs. I focused on increasing speed at the expense of endurance. That sounds quite smart for training for a marathon. So it’s no shocker the end of the race turned out as it did. Another 2 or 3 long runs would have been good.

Still, I’m quite happy with the result. I ran a very consistent race. I had a support crew anyone would envy. Post race, it continued. Brit handed me a nutra grain bar and Gatorade. I felt quite special.

And I loved seeing Scott and Keith after the race. I feel a special bond with all the bloggers and their families, making this race, more than any other, feel like a group achievement. Hard to believe I’d just met them, something even sis’s boyfriend remarked upon.

If you’ve made it through that, cool. If you skipped to the end, cool too. Thanks a million times for the support, fellow bloggers and friends.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, still never doing another marathon in Vegas.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

It’s not everyday…

One gets mistaken as the winner of the marathon. But such was the case Monday when it happened to me…twice.

The first time I didn’t get it. Bellhop, mom and I, along with grandma, are loading up the car when a valet guy comes over to me. He looks beside himself and has a huge smile on his face.

“Did you run the marathon?” he asks.
“I sure did,” I say.
“And did you win?” he says.
“Of course!” I say and laugh.

I’m running terribly late for my 11:30 a.m. flight. It’s past 10:30 and I don’t even know where the airport is. So I’m distracted, rushing to organize my mom and grandma’s 467 bags from their shopping.

Valet guy begins pointing to the other valet guys, who begin waving. I wave back, thinking, well, I guess it’s cool I ran the marathon.

We’re trapped because cars in front and next to us are loading up their cars. The valet guys quickly move several carts with luggage, creating a path for us to exit.

I still don’t get it until I take my seat on the plane. Cowboy next to me sort of takes a few quick glances at me, I note through my peripheral vision.

“Did you run the marathon?”
"Yes,” I say.
“For just a split second, I thought you were the girl that won. She’s from Mexico and her hair is like yours,” he says.
It all clicks. I begin laughing.

I’m 90 minutes slower and 30 pounds heavier than Adriana Fernandez, of Mexico, who won with a 2:31:54 time. But now I know how it feels to win the marathon. You’re like a celeb. People rush to move mountains (or luggage carts) out the way.

That $4 tip I left the bell hop now seems a bit paltry for someone who just won thousands.

OK, so Vegas happened, Vegas was awesome and Vegas was unforgettable. What will not be staying in Vegas is just about everything that happened all weekend – tons and tons of memories and good times.

I crossed the line at 4:02:16. Did I break my goal of 4? It took awhile to reach the start but I don’t own a watch and didn’t look at the clock when I started. And the darn web site which you could access at the race kept insisting my CHIP time was 4:02 and I knew that was impossible.

After insisting I’d take it STRAIGHT TO THE TOP if those times weren’t adjusted, I finally got my answer Monday night.

Final time: 3:58:26. Hurrah!

Right after I crossed the finish line, as I’m telling my sister it’s possible I broke four, this older gentleman says “It’s going to be close. I saw you at the beginning of the race and I tried my darndest to keep up with you the whole time.”

I am flattered.
I am so going to be a pace person in future races.

Just a warning, there will be several posts coming from Vegas. You don’t have to read them all, but I’d like to record em for my own use.

But in a nutshell: I am the luckiest girl ever. Brit, Natalia, Jeff and sis were the most amazing support crew anyone could ever have. It’s impossible to describe (but maybe not for fellow runners) how much seeing someone you know at mile 3, 7, 20 and 25 means during the marathon. Jeff came into town just to cheer us on.

Fellow runners Scott and Keith offered both comfort and inspiration, as I knew that as I finished mile after mile, they were too.

When we hooked up after the race, I was saying out loud that I thought I broke four.
Keith, despite not knowing where in the wide, wide, world of sports I had lined up, confidently announces: “I think you did too.” That was endlessly reassuring.

And Scott, who looked both proud and accomplished after the race, said this: “I came in to this thinking it would be my first, and only, marathon. But around the 10K I started thinking, I could do this again.”

Yes, Scott, you sure as hell can. And if you choose to, let me know which one so I can sign up too.

And we can begin discussing the design of the new shirt.
Brit will love to hear about it.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

it's off to the races

literally. bookie's picking me at the airport, 10:13ish a.m. Friday and we're headed to the Luxor. you can find me at the sports book from then on until the family arrives sometime later in the day. after watching some horses race, my race becomes just hours away.

i had planned several weeks ago to do a reflection-type post on my life, running and blogging. but here it is 10:45 p.m. the night before my 6 a.m. flight. i'm just getting off work and still have to pack. but first, meeting colleagues at our fave thurs night haunt.

terrible week, layoffs, people moving. an entire news division at my work shut down, including where my dear friend and running partner kim works. she's doing ok, considering. it's a been a difficult week. but it's over.

guess reflections will have to wait. i'm going to vegas. i'm going to enjoy being around my friends and family. i'm going to enjoy meeting fellow vegas bloggers, wearing my new orange vegas shirt. i'm going to try and run a sub 4 hour marathon.

thanks for all the support, advice and much laughter from your blogs and posts. not sure if i'll be able to post from vegas but if not, see you on the flip side. of the marathon of course.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Umm, i'm a total celebrity

Where do i start? I've started this post so many times! OK, so i'm surfing blogs and came across Shoreturtle, my neighbor runner (jersey) who picked up our extra Vegas shirt! Cool! Then, I get an email from Jeff re: Vegas festivities. Here's some excerpts:

"If you have any specific dietary requirements, please let me know and we WILL accommodate you, after all this is all about YOU!" (ps menu is spagetti with a billion other things)

"What I need to know from each of the runners is the following information: What miles do you need external support?What fluids/fuels do you need at those support points?Where would you like additional cheering? What do you want at the finish line? Food? Fluids? Clothing? Transportation?" (Um, hi. I'm not an elite athlete. BUT I SURE F'IN FEEL LIKE ONE RIGHT NOW.)

"Basically, name your need and we'll see to it that you're supported. Have a family member that needs to be dropped at mile 12? Done. NeedGU at mile 18? Done. Want to hand off your iPod at mile 20? Done. Need a ride back to your hotel after the race? Done. What's themotto? "After all, this is all about YOU".


i am in absolute love with our blogging organizers. it's like i'm an elite athlete but running hours slower.

wow, and to think i've been dreading vegas, even a little bit...

the big bad strip

Riona has generously agreed to blogcast Vegas, realtime. I explained to her it was a 6 a.m. start and did she know that?

But miraculously, she has agreed to do just that. Riona was gonna join us, then got quite injured. Then she was gonna get married in Vegas, since she just got engaged, but apparently has opted for a more traditional wedding. Why? Who knows.

So this Sunday, join all the fun, the drama, the pain, the laughs, the tears and the relief as several new and repeat marathoners take to the mean streets of the Las Vegas strip.

Details to come.

Soft, and tough, love

I’m dedicating this post to my two most loyal readers – sis and Kim. You may have noticed sis, who posts as ljisaak. Mostly, she just reads me and Scott’s blogs. Kim has never posted. She just reads it and emails me at work. I’m always quite flattered by their loyalty. Like, Kim usually emails within hours of a new post.

And therein lies a tale of this blog’s two loyalists.

There is Kim, as supportive a runner friend as you could have. She and my boy and I are doing dinner Wed night. She wants a final ‘good luck’ dinner en prep for my early Friday departure to Vegas. She has emailed every day asking how I’m feeling, am I nervous, I’ll be great, next year she’ll be there. And I believe she will. At Thanksgiving, her mom and her were discussing their December 2006 family trip to Vegas (her mom gave me a cool New Las Vegas marathon magnet!). I nodded like I’m going along too and I will….but not as a runner!

Then there is sis. One of sis’s best qualities is her loyalty. She can never be counted on to be subjective if, for instance, I send her a rough draft of a story. It’s always great or she loves this and she loves that. It can’t all be great sis! She is also my coach, has been for years. Through softball games, water polo games, swimming matches, sis has been there cheering right along. And she’s ready to put down whoever stands in her sister’s way. But as we head to Vegas, well, I grow uneasy...

During my first ever race, Carlsbad tri 2004, sis and mom were on hand to cheer me along. As mom fretted Id make it out of the ocean, sis no doubt fretted about not whether, but WHEN, Id make it out the water. A slow transition from the swim to the bike followed.

“Pick up the pace!” my sister yelled as I nodded in agreement, clenched my teeth and bystanders looked at horror at this supportive ‘fan.’

Sis called Sunday. Should she buy this matching track suit that reminds her of the ones Bela Karolyi used to wear during gymnastics competitions? And I better break 4 hours, she tells me.

So today I email her this: “Alright coach, if I don’t’ hit four hours or less it’s all on you!”

She responds: “Oh don't you worry sis, I know. No bear hug either if you don't do good. I'll pretend like I don't know you at the finish line.”

In life there is the necessary tough love and the times when you just need to be told everything’s going to be Ok.

Wednesday night, I will get the comfort of being told everything’s going to be OK.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

I love the Chargers

Vegas beckons…

I had decided earlier to post my planned marathon weekend itinerary in an effort to motivate myself. The marathon keeps getting pushed to the back of everything in my actions/thoughts, etc. Why, on Saturday, a planned 50 minute run got pushed after I decided instead to go bowling with a pal, thus beginning beer drinking on an early Saturday afternoon.

So, on an early Sunday evening, feeling unmotivated but on a high cause the CHARGERS BEAT THE REDSKINS SORRY A$# and LaDanian Tomlinson is the BEST THING EVER, I headed for the 50 minute run.

It felt awesome. My body has appreciated that I logged a total of 9 miles or so this week. Hmm, now that I write it out I’m not sure that’s a good mileage for the week. However, today’s run was the first that my body hasn’t felt fatigued. It was pretty tired heading into my final hard workouts.

Cool. So to stay in the mood, here’s my Vegas itin. Scott send me his and Brit’s earlier this week. He’s claimed he’s not going out Sunday evening. I plan to do my best to convince the two to go out.

Friday: depart 6 a.m. arrive 10:13 a.m. My pal Bookie (who scoped out the course with me during an August trip) is hopefully gonna get into town shortly after. If he picks me up we head to Luxor’s sports book to bet a couple horsie races as I wait for the fam to arrive. They’re leaving Fri am but plan to hit the shopping outlets. Ill drink non-alkie beverages and look for other runners to whine with, about having to be so very gosh darn good.

Evening: dinner with my dear friend, her hubby and a mutual friend I think highly of. They’re taking us to their fave restaurant. I can’t wait. I will drink up to two beers. Seriously.

Late evening: I’m in bed early, like a good girl would be. Sis and Bookie are painting the town red. I will try not to pout.

Saturday: Spend the day at expo and then checking out the town with mom, grandm and sis. Vegas has changed since my grandma visited in the 1970s, having become as of late rather upscale. The Venetian and Caesar’s are my faves, I’ll let the family check them out.

Evening: Get increasingly nervous. Pasta party with fellow Vegas bloggers (hurrah!).

Late evening: Into my room very, very early, attempt to sleep.

Sunday: 6 a.m. race. Ack.

Later Sunday: rest.

Even later Sunday: continue resting.

Even later: Get ready to go out.
I hope.

11 p.m: send grandma and mom to bed and go out with the grown ups.
I hope.

Monday: Leave at 11:30 a.m. Wear my medal.

So that’s what Vegas is looking like. Phew. I can’t wait, and I’m dreading it too.

Thanksgiving postscript: Thought I’d share another thing I forgot to thank, courtesy of my dad. My dad does the holiday pre-dinner prayer. His prayer is the same every holiday, for as far as I can remember. It’s generally rushed – ‘Blessed are these gifts we are about to receive..’ is usually all we can hear before he kind of mumbles the rest (it's roughly a 25-second prayer). Generally, we’ve yelled at him to stop because not everyone’s served or because he begins sampling early. This year, according to my sister, he waited patiently while everyone was served and seated. In fact, this time it was my grandma who people had to tell to stop eating. My dad then proceeded to read an editorial, I think from that day’s LA Times, about the true meaning of Thanksgiving. It was focused almost exclusively on the troops abroad, and their sacrifices during the war. My dad is an ardent opponent of the Iraq war, but as a former war veteran, understands the sacrifices those guys are making. I forgot to thank em in my previous post.

And on a lighter note, I found a hilarious blog. It’s called The author writes like as if the pope had a blog. It’s hysterical. From cardinals who chew too slowly, to another time where he recommends waiting to ask for forgiveness because his back hurts...well, i'm telling you, i couldn't quit laughing.

And there goes another week. Off we go.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Trophies and Turkeys

And so today, the day before my favorite holiday, I offer the requisite Thanksgiving blog. My paper’s competition does a weekly trophies and turkeys column, recognizing the good and bad local people or organizations have done.

Here’s mine:

a loving mother
a doting father
a strong grandma
a best friend that is also my sister
my brother (i guess)
my darling friends
my health and ability to run, bike, swim, dance, snowboard, twirl in the rain
that happiness and laughter fill my life
my job which also includes a boss i greatly respect and admire
the fortunate circumstances of my birth, that i never had to worry about the next meal, where i’d sleep or whether our lights or heat would be turned off
beer (i’m reminded of a polka song ‘in heaven there is no beer...that’s why we drink it here...’)
the mob, for creating Las Vegas as we know it
brooks 5

my temper
my impatience
the way i procrastinate
the way i sometimes let the little things get me all (unnecessarily) riled up
crashing into a guardrail earlier this week because i’m so distracted
breaking up
having to get up at 4 a.m. to be outside a large chain store at 4:30 a.m. because you’re covering Black Friday
male colleagues who do not flush the unisex bathroom
the mob, for bullying and killing people
Brooks 6

I’m headed to Kim’s for Thanksgiving with she and her family. There promises to be much food (my first fried turkey!), much booze (bloody mary, anyone?) much football (bring it!) and best of all, a house loaded with people!

May you all have a blessed holiday full of laughter, family and friends. And if you’re unable to be with family or friends, know that someone’s thinking of you and wishing you well...

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Hola, Abuelita!

Abuelita (grandma) arrived Friday. Grandma's coming to Vegas. It's been two decades or so since she visited the Strip. She's quite excited but as she explained to my sister, she's not exactly sure why we're going. I've translated the conversation between sis & grandma).

"Vas a ir a Las Vegas?" (you going to vegas -my grandma asks)
"Si, vamos a ver Bombi correr." (ya, we're gonna see arlene run -sis says)
"Oh que lejos?"(how far)
"26 mias" (26 miles)
"Va manejar?" (will she drive?)
"No, va correr." (no, she's running)
"Esta loca" (she's crazy)

And that sums it up for grandma. My grandma no doubt thinks running 26 miles is too bizarre for words. This is a woman who worked her a-- off for years and years, doing physically demanding jobs for little/no pay as she sought to secure citizenship.

I'm curious to see what it will be like at the marathon. My grandma will probably get swept up in the excitement even while she's like, these crazy fools, running 26 miles. Grandma, you see, rose before sunrise to clean people's homes, to work in greenhouses, to do whatever work she could find. And i'm her spoiled American granddaughter, who grew up not realizing what she had, not realizing how many opportunities were offered her.

I do now. It took awhile, but I do now. I realize how lucky I am to be able to run because I have the time and ability to do so, and the money to enter races. My job is not physically demanding so i have the energy to run. I can have one job rather than work the 16-hour days she used to work.

So on Dec. 4, day of the Las Vegas marathon, grandma will be there at the start. She'll wish me well while not really understanding what we're all doing there. Cause in her world and day, you worked too damn hard to train to run 26.2 miles.

I'll run. And grandma will be proud. She will be, even though it's like, run so long for what.

And I'll understand. I think about her sacrifices, her long days, her long hours...and how it's because of her discipline that I'm where I'm at in life.

Gracias, Abuelita. Because of you, I'm running a marathon. I'm healthy, can afford it and have the time to train.


Thursday, November 17, 2005

A little running tale...

Sit down, boys and girls, it’s time for a tale. The story is titled, “The Runner that Could.”
Could push off her runs that is.

She woke up and was too cozy in her bed? Perhaps tomorrow would be a better day.

Use her long mornings off to get in her workout? No, she’d simply decide to cram it in after she got off at 11 p.m. and her gym closes at midnight.

Those runs, one may guess, never happened.

Go out late at night, or until early in the morning? Running might not even be healthy being so underslept, she’d think, lounging on the couch watching football with a beer.

But as the event she’d been training for – all 26.2 miles of it – grew closer and closer she could no longer put off her longest run, that of 18 miles. A late start in her training meant she’d never hit the suggested 20.

The girl thought.

Perhaps she could call in sick on Tuesday to get the run done. The earlier the better, as the beloved taper loomed, and there was a 3 week suggested taper. A Tuesday run meant she’d fall just short of the 3 weeks.

Work was too busy. She could not call in.

Wednesday morning, then, since her shift began at 3 p.m. But Wednesday came and went and inexplicably, there would be no run.

Thursday arrived. It was now or never.

She made a half bagel with veggie cream cheese and tomatoes on top, ate a banana, a cup of coffee, drank water. Waited 2 hours.

She went through her usual race day prep feeling quite nervous, for some reason, even getting sick as she does on race days.

Yet when the run began she was mentally ready as if it were marathon day. That is, if the marathon started at 1:30 p.m.

But oh it was a bitter day! The girl’s first real winter run of the season. The wind nearly drew tears of cold as it struck her face. A strong headwind meant the girl fought harder and harder to move. And strong rains Wednesday meant the path was even rockier than normal, causing the girl to concentrate more than usual so as not to trip and fall.

It grew colder as the sun prepared to set. The girl, thankfully, had brought a thicker top, which she changed into. The coughing began. The girl could see her breath into the cold air as she pushed herself faster and faster.

Then, as dusk nearly fell, she began to tighten up. She was now having to stretch every half mile or her right knee began to cramp. Yes, her right knee, despite the girl’s stern lecture to her body that it’s her left knee that’s troubled.

She could not help thinking that none of this would happen had she done her run on Wednesday.
Wednesday, you see, was unseasonably warm, a record high in fact. At the time her run would have occurred the temps would have been in the low 70s, late 60s.

In a day, a 30 degree temperature drop.

The run ended. The girl went home.

The moral of the story, dear boys and girls, is not that one should do their runs on the scheduled/prescribed days.

No, the moral is this: Pushing off your runs may make for more challenging runs later, but adverse conditions test our bodies and make us better in the end. So put off that run. Cause tomorrow, it’ll be harder. And hard is good.

THE MO’ FO’ TAPER’S HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!
Let’s do this thing.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The finale...and Vegas - never again

Tomorrow’s my final long distance run, an 18 miler. But instead of blogging about that, and about how jealous I am that Scott and Drew completed their final long runs of 20 miles over the weekend, I want to blog about how, if friends and family hadn’t booked their flights and hotel rooms and requested the days off of work, I’d like to cancel the marathon.

Oh I know, I don’t really want to cancel the marathon. But life would be exceedingly simpler if I could. And if it were like Vermont, where just me and my boy were headed there and I didn’t have my family, friends and bloggers to meet, I’d do just that. Oh ok, I probably wouldn’t. But it sure feels good coming home and loudly proclaiming to my boy I’d do just that.

What I thought were settled moving plans have been thrown out the window like cheap garbage. The gal I was to move in with said it wasn’t going to work out; her friend will now be moving in after an unexpected breakup. It’s just as well I suppose. She has a cat which for some reason id forgotten about until this past weekend when all of a sudden I stopped in my tracks and said, “Wait. She has a cat.” I’m allergic to cats. So now I’m supposed to move only I don’t know to where or when. Obviously, marathon weekend is not an option. So it’s off to get an extension from my landlord. I have a completely easygoing wonderful landlord so thank heavens for small favors.

And I’m not going to think about how, if I didn’t have to spend money on flight, hotel, food that I would not have to lose even a wink of sleep fretting over deposits, first months rents, bills that would no longer be shared. OK, I would still think those things, but they would be less of an issue if this marathon weren’t coming up.


Had a rough last few days.

Two things have been constant the last few months. One, work. I love my job, am happy going into work each day. Then yesterday it’s announced our publisher has stepped down. This likely means layoffs. We’ve been immune thus far despite seeing layoffs up and down our chain. Now I must fret about my job.

The other constant has been my running. And despite me not exactly looking forward to my 18 miler tomorrow, running continues to be the stable force in my life. Oh I know I missed a couple workouts over the weekend but that’s hardly new. And despite some strange creaks in new place (right hip? Right thigh?) that remains my one true blue. Thanks running. Thanks.

You know how life is cyclical? Life has been rich for a great period of time, full of friends, health, parties, good times, laughs. No, the breakup wasn’t rich but since we’re not separate just yet, the impact hasn’t hit. Now, I keep looking over my shoulder, waiting for it to come crashing down. Signs have already appeared. I’m not particularly superstitious. I know everything happens for a reason, the one up there’s got a plan for me, and we must experience bad to feel the good.

Still, I think im near a downward cycle. But maybe, like when you write about something good you jinx it, I’m jinxing the bad by writing about it. Ya.

I have decided, however, through all this, I’m never again in my entire life doing a marathon in Las Vegas. I received great news my dear, darling friend and her hubbie are coming in for the race but I can’t go out with them. We will do dinner Friday night but I CAN’T GO OUT WITH THEM AND MY FRIEND IS ONE OF MY GREATEST BEER DRINKING PARTNERS AND I HAVEN’T SEEN HER FOR A YEAR.

So like I said, never again Vegas. Im choosing someplace boring, like, uh, Arizona. No offense, Az. Folks. I mean, my dad’s family’s from there.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

What else? Vegas!

First things first. Look to the right. I just found another Vegas-bound blogger. His name is Brooks, just like my favorite shoe! He’s got a sidebar that lists several handicaps. Among them:

I am a bad runner
I smoke
i drink
i weigh 220 lbs
my 30th birthday is nov. 1

Welcome Brooks to the Vegas coalition! Always thrilled to find fellow Vegas-ites and drinkers.

Guess how long little miss thing followed Perfect 10’s final cycle? Um, ya. I didn’t.

Confessional: I did not folo a single cycle perfectly my entire training program. End Confessional.

Start excuse: Bart Yasso never sent me Cycle 10! He musta forgot. But I’ve got a good thing going. I mean, I’m really just following his program, just unofficially.

I’m a guinea pig for the program, which Yasso has said will be featured in a soon-to-be Runner’s World. When I first heard I was selected to train, I had visions of magazine covers (what would I wear?) and more importantly, I thought i was getting my own, practically private, running coach! Alas, it was not to be. All he did was email me my cycles and alone I ran. No glamour, no personal visits, no magazine covers.

I had an excellent hard hill run on Tuesday. I hope I don’t mess things up by writing this, but I feel so confident and strong right now. I ran hard but even with tough hills I think I averaged 9 minute pace for the almost 9-mile run. Two more hard workouts, coupla easies and a coupla XT and viola! Taper!

OK so if you’ve missed (and you probably haven’t) check out Danny's NYC report. Danny’s been the unofficial RBF (running blog family) doctor. Anytime you’ve got an ailment -- too much sweat, under/over hydrated, the pros/cons of PT -- he’s usually got a helpful post. His grandma was there to watch him. Ah...

Seems a lot of RBF’s have done the big races, at least some of them. Yvonne's currently in the lead... I started to wonder, though, would I even enjoy a big race? I guess I’ll find out. Im running a Philly 8k Nov. 20. The marathon’s also that day so it will be heavily attended. First populated race.

Running partner Kim wants to match her 5k pace of 9:18 at the Philly race, a very quick time for someone in the sport all of two months. I’ve offered to pace her. I know, sounds like a generous offer but my motives are selfish. Knowing me, I’ll try something crazy like attempt a sub 7-minute mile (or die trying). Two weeks before my marathon, not smart. But I do non smart things like that. That’s just me.

Monday, November 07, 2005

The Final Cycle

Today, Monday, Nov. 7 is the start of el fin, Cycle 10, the final cycle before my taper for dec. 4 vegas marathon. I've mentioned before I've been following a plan called 'Perfect 10,' developed by Bart Yasso of Runner's World. It's based on a 10 day, rather than a 7 day training guide. The thought behind it is that one long run every 7 days is hard on your body and rest must be a crucial component of training.

This'll put my final long run, around 18 miles somewhere mid next week.

It’s funny I should say ‘following’ because yours truly hasn’t really been following it very well at all. Loyal readers of this site may have noticed I have not updated my sidebar that lists planned vs actual training for some time now. The reason is because sometime in mid October I went outta town for a mere two days which nonetheless served to throw me completely out of whack. So for two+ weeks I’ve been following something I call ‘arlene’s guide to running’ which sort of mixes and matches my speed workouts, my hills workouts, my easies, my cross training depending on how I feel for the day. It’s a variation of bart’s schedule. Only, well, not as rigid really.

But today Ive decided to folo the last 10 days of my cycle to the T. This challenge, should I choose to accept it, means this cycle would be the first time I’ve done so since I began in earnest training in August. I’ll give it a whirl.

Anyone catch the NYC marathon coverage yesterday? Ive decided I must do the big 5: Boston, NYC, Chicago, Berlin and London. That’s another new goal. Id like to finish all 5 by somewhere in 2009. who’s with me (Elizabeth who recently decided to tackle a half IM next year, probably is.)!?!?

in my non running life, things are plugging along. I’m moving in with a friend, I think, in December, right after the marathon. She’s my running coach LM’s old roomie. The timing worked out well. She’s got a darling little cozy house, which means I wont have come home to empty apartment around the holidays. My boy heads to Minnesota when I move.

And last but not least, I love week 9 (heard in the background on ESPN). The Chargers are ready to make their move, despite giving me a little bit of a scare in yesterday’s win over the hapless Jets. I love Sundays, I love football, I love the Chargers. I can’t stand TO.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

brooks, brooks everywhere and not a drop to...uh, never mind

Thankfully, my "wall" was less Berlin-esque than say, your average garden wall. Yesterday 15-mile run, at about a 9 minute mile clip, felt quite good. There's minor creaks, but they feel more related to shoes needing replacement than a signal of a larger problem.

I've got my new Brooks 5 on. They are not coming off. Ever.

if you share my fascination with Brooks, you'll enjoy this, courtesy of Goldenboy

My thoughts are in parantheses.

"Runners, retailers and the shoe’s designers all point to the signature comfort and glove-like fit as a key element of what makes the shoe special (many shoes companies would LOVE to make such a POPULAR selling shoe. SO WHY DO YOU WANT TO GO AND CHANGE SOMETIHNG WHEN IT WORKS. let me explain something folks, in business, if it works, you stick with it), and the Adrenaline GTS 6 has raised the bar even higher (NO IT HASN'T).

Zartman explained, “We added an Internal Support Saddle for better midfoot support on the medial side (So if you enjoy blisters on your midfoot, these are your shoes), so the upper doesn’t cave when the runner pronates.” With the saddle handling support duties, Zartman and the footwear team were able to remove the more structured materials in the forefoot area and add more mesh. “People want shoes to feel like socks (no sock-like feel in these stiffies!), so the more mesh the better.”

And thus, hopefully, concludes my Brooks saga. (why must you be such a finickied-feet runner?)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

letters to the editor

Have hit…training…wall. No longer want to run. Hate spin…
After weeks of successful training, I’m over it. There may be reasons for this. But at least my Brooks 5 have shipped, got confirmation email today. Hurrah! Mostly. I mean, now I have to break them in and get them ready to run 26.2 miles in like 2 weeks.

Hey, wait, what’s this. It looks to be a letter…

Dear Partyrunner:
It has been brought to my attention you have been partying like it’s 1999. There’s one thing a distance runner is taught early on – Respect the Distance.

Just curious, Partyrunner, is Respecting the Distance dancing and hanging out until 4 a.m. the night before a 15-mile planned run? Is respecting the distance going out as often as you did 8 years ago, before you began running and before you were practically 30?

No. it’s not. With just over two weeks left to taper, now is not the time to break down. You haven’t exactly followed your training schedule to the T but since you’re new to training programs and schedules and something called “discipline” I can’t be mad. But I can point out that you’ve come so far, gained speed, confidence and felt just overall good about your training that now is NOT the time to throw that all away.

From now on there’s a few things you must obey, Partyrunner, and I say this not to lecture or preach, but if I don’t call you out, who will? I’m sure you’ll agree there is wriggle room in the following commandments.

You may not go out both Friday and Saturday nights. You may pick one.

You may not yet begin giving out your phone number at costume parties and then when he calls you confuse him, the 70s disco guy, with the boy witch, thereby ensuring a rapid end to the conversation (though this turns out to be a good thing).

You may not skip any more long weekend runs or even push them from Saturday to Sunday to Monday to Wednesday. You may not do this.

You may not ever again spend a fortune in excitement on training clothes for the 2006 triathlon season when doing so leaves you too broke to buy a new pair or running shoes that you desperately need for a 2005 marathon. For then you may run into obstacles including
a. store is out of shoes and
b. stores order you the wrong pair of damn shoes.

You may not eat at 1 a.m. quesadillas, taquitos or bags of Doritos.

I say these things to you, Partyrunner, because I care. Because I want you to hit Vegas running (literally) and by golly if you can’t hit a 3:40 you sure better clear 4.

Because you’ve trained to do so.

Because you can.

So happy running, Partyrunner. Remember you are blessed to be healthy and able enough, and have the time enough, to run for pleasure. You don’t have to work 2 jobs to make it. You may run for happiness and health. So take advantage of that. Do it wisely.

Oh, and Rock Vegas.


Saturday, October 29, 2005

Brooks 5 and me go together like peas in a pod

OK, shoe situation = resolved.

Feeling empowered by the extremely helpful comments, I opted to return the shoes. The guy working the counter was neither the dude who ordered them for me nor the one who told me the Brooks 6 were just like the Brooks 5 only with different colors.

Totally untrue, I learn in my visit. I told the guy I'd heard the shoes were more narrow and maybe that was the problem. He pulls out a 5 (they only have small sizes left) and the 6 and we play with both. It becomes apparent the changes are actually quite noticeable. We bend both; the 6s are far stiffer, he points out. And there's more padding on the bottom of the middle part of the sole of the shoe, exactly where I blistered!

"He shouldn't have told you the changes are cosmetic. They're actually quite different," he tells me.

Aha! What a feeling of relief. I knew they seemed stiffer! I knew they were just not right! I thought it was really just in my head and I was like, 'get over it already!'

I walk out feeling a million bucks. Of course now I have no running shoes. But then...

I make a frantic, frenzied attept to find them online. Several missed hits later, I decide to go to the most obvious source -- brooks online. Minutes later I've got a new pair of precious Brooks 5 on their way for me to have and to hold and three pairs of running socks. With shipping I've still paid $1 less than I did for the 6s!

So here's the deal, my soon to be darling little shoes. You and me are gonna be together every second for the next few weeks. It's going to be me and you at work, me and you lounging in the house, me and you going to the mountains to look at the leaves, me and you at the bar. You will be my dear friend, darling, sweet Brooks 5. I will treasure my time with you, for you may be my last 5s ever. I cant afford to buy several pairs at once and I'm not sure you'll be around next time I need a new you.

Together, you and me will take on Vegas.

My training programs calls for a 3 week taper. But it'll be more like two and a half weeks because my last long run -- i'm only going to make it to 18 -- is on a Wednesday.

Today it's a 15 miler. At least, I think it is. May be pushed to tomorrow. I've got a gogo dancer costume to get ready....

Your advice and comments were not only much very much needed but much, much appreciated. Thank you guys! If you need any advice about Brooks 5 vs 6, you know where to turn.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Brace face heads to vegas/trouble in shoeland

Geez, what is it about braces and races? Days before my Vermont marathon I was supposed to get my bottom braces. But i decided to hold off until after the race. Didn't want anything additional to worry about. But now i've got the top braces scheduled to come on five days before Vegas. What a drag. No brace jokes, Vegas-bounders! (ok, fine. i mean, i'd make em...).

And now, dear bloggers, i unabashedly beg for your advice.

Dear runnners,
I'm very torn about my running shoes. I got Brooks 6 from my local running store. I'd gone in for Brooks 5 but they were out so they had to order them. When I opened the box the day I went to pick them up, I gasped when I saw they were different. I was assured the changes were cosmetic and yet...they don't feel right. They blistered me the first time and they just feel stiff and bulky and not right. Is this mental? ive run them twice, first time for hard hill workout (yes, not best idea) and once for two lite 15 minute runs in between a 50 minute hard run (i switched shoes for the 50 min. chunk).

Am I prematurely worried? Am honestly thinking of returning them. I've only worn them on the treadmill and never walked ground with them. Ugh. Thoughts? Suggestions? I feel bad returning them but i don't have any wiggle room to play with shoes with Vegas 40ish days away. And honestly I'm a bit annoyed I got shoes I didnt actually order in the first place. I didn't see any need to make a fuss cause salesguy said changes were unnoticeable. I just remember the second I put on my 5s it seemed we were made for one another. My soul-shoe.

Return? Give them a few more tries?

Cheating on my 5s

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I'm in a Vegas state of mind....

Today, I woke up thinking about Vegas. (so what else is new). I also woke up early and cleaned house. As I wait for waffles to digest to go do run, I've added some pics (techdummy actually figurd it out!) meant to inspire vegas bound bloggers as well as show off my darling son, Reese. Yes, Reese will be in Vegas.

Top left: me and sis on race day (her first ever race, a half marathon!) and sissie running in race.

Next: my mom (please note the orange shirt) with Reese. He's such a ham. Both will be in Vegas.

Next: The view from the Excalibur, where i stayed this summer and where I'll be staying again. Just over yonder is the start of the race! Then it's Reese in his bunny slippers and me this past summer in front of the new Wynn on the strip. It's pretty, but overall was not impressed.

I was pleased to see on the Las Vegas message board site that other runners are just as worried as I about having to be in at a decent hour despite VEGAS being right outside my doors. Both Susan and DJGoldenboy have written they could never do Vegas because of the temptations at every twist and turn, nook and cranny. I am begininng to wonder if I made the best selection...

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Peach Yogurt 5K report

Warning: way too long of a race report. But if you make it through it, you will see why. Or maybe you won’t. I wont be offended if you scroll ahead.

Because Kim become instantly addicted after setting out onto her first run less than 3 months ago, I find myself at just over 6 a.m. en route to Seaside Heights, N.J., for the “Marine Mammal Standing Center’s Harbor Seal 5K.” It will not stop raining the entire 2-hour drive. “I cannot believe we’re going to run in that!” I say about 6 times during the ride (I only asked, ‘are we almost there,’ once. really).

The starting point is Jumbo’s, this completely neon-littered restaurant/bar with giant statues of baseball figures, giant turtles and Charlie Chaplin, who we pose with, his arm looped through mine. Jumbo’s is right on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights.

“We’re here to race!” I announce to the sturdy looking man helping organize.
“And I’m here to cook!” Joe gaily answers.

We check in, stretch. “Help yourself to some yogurt or an orange or apple,” Joe tell us.
Great. I have not eaten and I forgot any nourishment this morning as I scrambled to get ready and had lost my wallet. I eat a peach yogurt. I don’t even notice till it’s gone that it’s 9:15 a.m. and the race is at 10. I try to give a 2 hour window. Shucks.

I’ve set a goal of 24 minutes, Kim a 10 mile pace. But it’s so windy and the boardwalk looks so slippery we wonder if we’ll hit that.

We line up. We’ve not been given time chips so we all get the same starting time. Non stop rain, wind and a chill in the air has kept runners away from this lovely little race. They’ve ordered 300 shirts but only around 70 runners end up here today.

Off we go. The boardwalk is not as slippery as I’d feared. The wind is worse than it looks.

First mile: “7:33” the girl at the water stand shouts!

Isn’t that great, that at a 5K there’s a water stop? I don’t know if that’s normal but that’s awesome.

Phew, I’m flying, I think to myself. But at least that will give me a little wriggle room. My pace is becoming hard for me to maintain.

I and two other girls are running around the same pace. I’m between them until around the 2 mile mark I decide to make a dash and pass the girl in front of me. I take a deep breath, and off I go.

The yogurt is threatening to come up. I swallow hard and keep pushing. The yogurt won’t quit it. Please don’t throw up in the middle of a 5K!

I’ve remained in front of the two girls. I see the finish line. 200 yards away. Girl I’ve passed makes a surge and passes me. I try desperately to keep my pace. Girl behind me passes me.

I’ve got nothing.

Second girl who passed me keeps looking over her shoulder. She needn’t bother.

I now am fighting the clock. The finish line grows closer but not fast enough. It’s 23:49, 23:52, 23:57...must…cross….finish…line. 23:59 is the last I see and I cross!

I keep running down the boardwalk, slowing to a jog as I try to settle my stomach. If I’m going to throw up, it’s going to be in private.

Then Kim crosses. We don’t know official times yet but we know she’s come in under her 10 minute pace goal. Hurrah!

We head into restaurant. Scrambled eggs, potatoes, bacon, sausage, bagels, coffee, beer, orange juice and a happy, excitable crowd awaits us.

The awards ceremony will happen soon, the guy over the loudspeaker announces.

I had completely forgotten about that!

The field is small, so it’s entirely possible I can get something in my age group. But those two girls!

For the next 10 minutes Kim and her hubby Bill are forced to hear variations of, “What if that last girl who passed me beats me out for a medal?” and “What if that girl gets third and I don’t get anything!” and “Man, if Id remembered about the medals id have made myself go fast” (like I could have).

I’m such a bore.

We listen, applaud as winners are announced. This little 12-year-old girl has won 3rd overall among females. I am trying to be polite and listen to Kim but my mind is waiting…waiting for my age category. Here it comes, 20-29.

“In first place, from Allentown, Pennsylvania..”


“Arlene Martinez!”


I hoot and holler and walk up to get my medal.
“Gold or silver,” girl asks.
GOLD!” I tell her.

The other two girls who passed me also medal, but both are in the next age group up!!

I put it around my neck. What I will remember with greatest fondness is my walk back to the table.

I’ve never won a race before. Ever, ever, ever, ever, ever. Never. I was always athletic, but never, never had any speed. It was my least valuable asset and one I’d always admired in others. And you know, I will never be fast nor quick but I can train hard and maintain a decent pace for a short while.

So I was smiling so big, my face must have been full of such sheer happiness, that everyone was smiling and laughing and congratulating me on the way back. At least that’s what it felt like. It felt like everyone on my way back was so happy for me. I mean, they looked so happy for me. Bless them.

“Joe, look!” I say to Joe, who’s manning the breakfast counter.
“Hey, first place?” he says.
“Ya,” I tell him. “It must have been the yogurt, even though I almost threw it up!”
He laughs.

I head back to table. Kim and hubby offer congratulations, high fives, yes!

I call my boy, who asks if I won any money. I call my mom, who asks if I won any money. I call LM, my running coach, leave her elated message. I call sis. During these phone calls, at times my index finger is straight in the air in the “I’m No. 1” sign. Twice, the table next to me, full of happy, laughing people, catch me and start laughing. The second time a girl at the table jokes, “Do you need a waitress?” Embarrassing. Shameless!

Final times are posted. My time? 24:01.

And if you made it to here, you are now, to steal from Scott, of dear reader status. Cause that was way too long for a 5k race report.

Friday, October 21, 2005

new shoes and jersey

Made a little mistake. In hard hill run i've taken my new running shoes, my Brooks adrenaline 6. It's an 8-mile scheduled hill run but turns into 6.5-mile run becuase shoes really bug on the insides of my feet up by my toes. It's what my old shoes did before I
a. started using better socks and
b. got inserts and
c. broke em in, i suppose.

I feel slightly betrayed, only in that my current adrenaline 5's and me are, well, in love.

But I will blame the long run. Tomorrow is the 5k at seaside heights in jersey. I'm sure it will be great even though tonight I feel like that's the last thing i wanna do. I've never done a 5K. It seems an awful lot of effort to just run 3.1 miles. Like, we're leaving at 6 a.m.! I'm aiming for 24ish.

I'm rather excited -- I found a fellow northeast PA blogger. It's Frank and he's linked to on the right. Welcome, fellow Lehigh Valley-ite!

Race report for 5K to come, likely Sunday. Me and Kim are doing it. Also Looking forward to reading a.maria's marathon report. Look for a good read.

Overheard (seen) at the funny farm

Girl wakes up, stretches, sighs that a new day has dawned. Wakes up and starts preparing for the day. She showers, dries, heads down to start her coffee. While it brews, she'll make her lunch. Today a chicken sandwich and a bit of fruit, yogurt with granola for breakfast.

She pours her now brewed coffee looks for creamer. It isn't there. Girl closes fridge, decides to look again. "But I knew there was creamer" she thinks to herself.

You see, girl cherishes her sweet cup of morning coffee. In exchange for not going to coffee shops, girl buys pretty gourmet brews and always makes sure there's creamer. Once it gets to about a day's supply, girl buys more.

Girl looks yet again in fridge. Weird. Boy does not drink coffeee. He wouldnt have taken it would he... hey, that looks like mac & cheese...and we have no milk.

Girl calls boy.

"I've looked and I can't seem to find my coffee creamer. Did you by any chance use it?" girls asks boy.
"Oh, no. I don't think so. I just tossed the milk cause it was bad."
"Ya but i'm not asking about the milk. I'm talking about my creamer."
"Um, i'm not sure"

"you're not? cause see, I always make sure I have a day's worth of creamer and if i don't i buy more" says the girl, as her voice begins to rise.
"hmm. well, maybe a couple of days ago...'
"ya?" girl asks, increasingly agitated.
"I think i used it to make macaroni and cheese a couple of night ago."
"Ya, that's what i thought," snaps girl as if uncovering watergate. "Cause i just made coffee and i don't have any creamer"
"Just drink it black, it's stronger" says 'helpful' boy.
"I don't drink coffee cause it's strong, i drink coffee cause it tastes good," says increasinlgy excitable girl.
"Oh, well, sorry, there was only a drop"
"There was NOT a drop cause i always make sure there's at least a day's worth!" cries silly girl.
"OK, i'll buy you a new one"
"Ya, and get it on your way home so I can have some tomorrow," says crazy girl.
Girl attempts to slam down phone, finds it far less satisfying to slam down cell vs. regular land line.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Vegas shoes, in the bag (box).

I am staring at my new shoes. One is on top of its box where it had sat for too long waiting for someone to love it. It's propped there on top of my coffee table in the middle of the living room. It wants some action. "Let's you and I run away together," it seductively coos to me.

Sorry, I've had to explain, have to leave for work in a little bit.

Rushed last Friday after work to get new shoes, which i desperately had to replace like two weeks ago so they're ready for Vegas. But my little running store was out. I didn't take the news particularly well.

"You're out!?" I cried to the (bless his heart) sympathic salesman. "But I'm running a marathon in less than two months! I have to start breaking them in!!!"

A quick call was made. They'd be shipped Monday. i'd get them Wednesday. Fine, I said. But if I find them somewhere else sooner, I was buying them, I told the guy.

I got a call Tuesday saying there were in. I was unnaturally BESIDE MYSELF that they'd come in early. but i was going out of town and wouldn't be able to pick them up till Thursday.

I again panicked when I saw the shoes. They're Brooks Adrenaline 6 and I thought I was getting the 5. Another kind salesman assured me the changes were cosmetic, sat me down, put them on my feet and let me walk them around. I grinned and loved their soft shoe feel.

I love the new colors, turquoise and a dark gray versue the deep blue of my last pair. My shoes and me belong together.

Too bad I've skipped yet another run. My posts are becoming hopelessly monotonous. "Well, missed a run today" and "Oh, i'm so, so sick, poor, poor me, must not run" and "It's raining so I missed a run" and "i got held up at work"


I just got back from work conference in NYC. I am thinking yet again I may move there. I just love the city. I am both a face in the ginormous crowd yet also a member of a thriving, diverse and interesting pulse-e city when I go there. Must begin hunting for job there...

Sunday, October 16, 2005

And that's the recipe for making lo-, i mean, pre-long run menus and cockails

Pre-10-mile run nourishment: cup and a half of coffee, cream and sugar. Slice of pepp. pizza. How can I lose?

And so with this in my tummy I began Sunday's long run of the cycle, a 10 miler, short because I'm on 'recovery' week. I decide I'm gonna push it, and go harder than i've gone in awhile. By mile 1 I'm already several dehydrated. I am panting, having trouble getting enough oxygen. But I dont slow down.

I mentioned several weeks ago my good friend LM moved outta town. With her gone our little summer party circle partially broke up. This is fine with me. I seemed to be getting into more and more trouble as summer went on. But LM moving was not so fine. Bye, running partner. Bye, my dancing partner. :-( So last night we all headed down to see her new digs. We begin the evening with cocktails and hor de voures. Jen mixes up divine little pink slushy martinis -- grey goose vodka, watermelon mixer and ice blended up. Perfectly mixed, not too strong.

Then Hummer decides he's gonna play bartender. I hand him my empty glass. He returns with grey goose on the rocks. I'd say there was a splash of watermelon mixer but that'd be stretching it. Another, and off we go dancing. They have Southern Comfort with lime -- IN THE DISPENSER!!! That emphasis is not mine. i don't like SOCO. Hummer, however, tipsy and rapidly becoming the life of the party is THRILLED.

"We HAVE to do a shot!" he practically yells in excitement.

I am not the type to let others drink alone. I'm just that kind of girl. Down it goes.

So back to today. I stop at water fountain around mile 2.5ish. I gulp down water. I dont realize how hard I'm running until i stop and begin gasping for air. I keep that pace for around 7 miles.

You know it's a good run when you've decided to ease up for final 3 miles but your body actually rebels.
"Why we slowing down?" it asked me today.
"Because," I explained. "We don't want any problems later this week."

Perhaps it went so well because it was just one of those perfect fall afternoons. Everyone was in a good mood, it was super windy but still not too cold. And red, orange and yellow everywhere. I love seasons!

Or maybe it was the SOCO?

Anyway, got final word my abuelita will be in Vegas. Hurrah! My grandma and mom are neither drinkers nor gamblers (i am my father's child), but they're saving their money for the other Vegas draw. That's right, the shopping!

Halftime report: Chargers up. Go blue.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Chicago, Vegas, T-shirts

I'm not going to bore non football falls with details of how I now owe my colleague a sixer because the Chargers - despite looking gorgeous in their baby blues (yes, goldenboy, best in football) and looking sharper than the Steelers except for the 3859 penalties in the first couple quarters - barely lost. I'll just say: off to Oakland.

I've spent the morning reading race reports from Chicago. Inspiring. I get kind of intimidated by the sheer size of the race (The shopping, however, as Susan writes about, doesnt scare me one bit...). Vermont was 3,000ish which I found to be a lovely little size, though the expo sucked. Vegas is capped at 14,000 I think (could be 16,000). That seems like it will be nuts but mostly cause I'm really thinking there could be charming little drunkies coming back from a night on the town eager to cheer runners on. But 40,000. Man. My girl LM, who did Boston, said there were people around her from the start to the finish. Never, she said, were there not people.

Anyway, Derek Rose did the rundown
Good stuff. Makes me both tingle in my tummy and get excited. I think what I like most about the posts is the feelings of accomplishment, confidence and everything else people feel when they cross. And also that I'm reminded things go wrong. and that's OK. No less inspiring.

Knee's acting up a little bit, but maybe that's cause of the rain. My portion of the state was again underwater Saturday after 10" of rain. Or maybe it's cause of the speed at which I'm training. Despite insisting I'm not trying to qualify for Boston, I figure I might as well keep training at said speed.

If you get a chance and want a challenge, head to Scott's blog. We're trying to get final input on our Vegas blogger's shirts. Thoughts? And a HUGE THANK YOU to Scott for doing that. You're a doll (despite some whiners who've commented, we're quite grateful).

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Runs and moves

I have decided to blog rather than look through the apartment listings sitting in front of me. My boy just handed them to me, and I instantly starting feeling sick to my stomach.

Vegas is in the 50s. That's right, just a little over 50 days away. I read a neat post on Yvonne's site. She's doing Chicago today, as are several others. She said she had lagged on speed training, fartlek but still felt she'd had good runs and just felt prepared because in her heart, she's a marathoner. I sort of feel like that. I've trained less than I should but I've felt good. I don't know what it is that made me so confident as a long distance runner but whatever it is, I'll take it.

Yesterday was a 6 mile hill workout. I did 3.5 miles between 9 and 9:22 pace on a hard hill set. Then, feeling annoyed that the guy next to me was running my exact pace, no matter how I sped up or down (it was like a drip drop leaky faucet to my psyche as our feet keep hitting at the same time...i'm not sure why it annoyed me fact my gym experience was rather annoying...if you want to be alone don't go to gym...the guy looking at me irked me...the tv wasn't working...i didn't like anyone around me...i felt fat...42 minutes of hard cardio and i was finally calmed down...) so i next hit the cross trainer for a hard 30 minute hill workout. I'm about to head out for easy 5. Need to be back in time to watch Eagles game.

But first I guess I'll look thru some apartment listings. After nearly 6 years, my boy and I have decided to part ways. I know in my heart it's the right thing to do. We're friendly and will remain so while we tie up our loose ends here and he moves back West. Still, feel sick to my tummy. We have not always been great but I do love him so.

On the bright side, maybe I can get a cute loft...

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Life meets running. Brunettes have more fun.

And so it was that yesterday's 15 miler passed in a blur. It was a bit humid to be sure but other than that I don't remember much. Well besides the ducks, chipmunks and beaver (groundhog?) that ran into my path.

Nothing like having so much on your mind your body automatically churns out 15 miles.

Looks like I'm gonna be moving around the turn of December. Gads. That's the weekend of the marathon. I'll try to move in early. Thought briefly about canceling Vegas, as move is rather unexpected and follows some life turmoil. But I want to do Vegas and body is really holding up.

And besides, sis already has reservations (unlike the actual runnner) and is more excited than anyone else doing Vegas, combined.

So ya, will try to move in early so I don't have to worry about it race weekend. Luckily I'll be tapering so I'll have more time to get in life stuff. Like moving.

but back to body: I've taken many breaks in my training. Colds, travel, missed workouts for no reason. But two things are going on. One, my body has complained next to nothing. It's happily running and cross training moderately along. Two, i'm not going fast enough. My time's not where it needs to be to qualify for Boston. But i've thought about it. And I've decided I'd rather get to Vegas injury free, run my own race and enjoy it. I'm simply not training hard enough to run a 3:40. And I'm cool with that.

In other news, my friend Kahuna (linked to on right) has decided I'm out of the running for tri diva 2005. I mean, I did three races so far - including one tri -- what more does he want? I left a msg on his blog explaining: kahuna, it's all about the brunettes. Blondes are fun for awhile pero para pasion, always choose cafe.

Monday, October 03, 2005

My Monday Ode to the Chargers

I cannot stop watching SportsCenter. But I only look up when highlights from the Chargers STOMPING the Patriots come on again.

I cannot stop standing up with my arms high above my head with both index fingers raised in a No. 1 salute everytime such highlights appear.

I could not stop standing with my arms above my head every time and index fingers raised in a No. 1 salute every time the Chargers made any play yesterday, even a 1-yard gain.

I am a long suffering Chargers fan. And I'm gonna walk into my office today with my fingers raised in a No. 1 salute high above my head. Luckily, I told my Massachusetts native boss and Patriots fan before i left for work on Friday: "I'm sorry your team's going to lose."

I love you LaDanian Tomlinson. I love you Drew Brees.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

An RBF Challenge

I dare you to look at the two sidebars that detail my most recent training. There is scheduled training, followed by actual training.

I'm six days into my 10-day cycle. The game is to find one scheduled/actual training day that match. Go on, do it. Only you, dear game player, (well me too i guess since I did it) can find it.

3 Eyes, none looking West

I've got one eye on my triathlon 2006 season, one on the slopes and the third on the turmoil of my love life.

You might note that's an extra eye. you might also note there is no eye directed at vegas.

so saturday kim and i head to local bike flea market. Bikes, wheels, frames, gloves, shirts, shorts as far as the eye can see. Immediately we are overwhelmed. I am certainly not prepared to drop a grand or two on a bike and even if i had it, what kind would i get? What kind should i get? How can two pounds of metal or whatever bike frames are made of cost $3,575?

"I wish this was for runners," i tell Kim.
"That's why they call it a bike flea market," she tells me back.

We wander around, thinking we've misspent a good $5 getting in till we find a spot where we are much more at home: fashion. And what great, fantastic deals they are! I spend approximately 45 minutes debating over whether i should get a dark blue or turquoise tri suit. It's my FIRST tri suit so this is a big decision. Not the color of course, but getting one in the first place. Why the hesitation? How will a bike shorts connected to swim suit look? Bike shorts are notoriously unflattering. Notoriously. I mean, i like the idea of saving time between transistions because I've got one outfit for all, but how will it look? Thus the 45 minute delay (there are no dressing rooms. holding up one suit after the other is quite helpful as you may imagine).

Meanwhile, Kim scoops up some running tights, a hat and a bathing suit ($15 for great brand. you can't beat it!).

So I buy the blue tri suit (by the way, it does'nt look half bad i discover when i model at home. phew), a few hats, a coupla shirts. And what do I see but a snowboard stand, the only one there. I model a tight olive green jacket and twirl and twirl using kim's sunglasses as my mirror. Another 45 minutes pass (i am not the quickest decisionmaker), and I'm walking out with a FAT new snowboarding jacket, excellent brand, for $50 smackaroos! What a great deal.

It's not until today that I discover I've depleted my extras budget for the pay period WITHOUT BUYING NEW RUNNING SHOES. Im really pushing my old pair. I've had them 7 months and I know they're near or just past the recommended milage. Now I'll have to wait 2 more weeks. That's how distracted, and rather unmotivated, i seem to have become in my training.

A little heartache, some confusion, a little cold, etc, can do that to you.

Tonight there are two things on my mind:
1. I love the San Diego Chargers. And the Eagles. Today they both did me right. It's such a treat to have a good Chargers team and such a delight to now be living in the home team of a fine run organization like Philly. San Diego is not known for its tighly run athletics. May it last.
2. Are we doomed to repeat our parent's mistakes? Though we have the best interests and strongest convictions in our hearts, do they simply fall by the wayside in the inevitable complications of life and years of upbringing?
I look for no answers or comments on the final thought.
Like I said, that's what's on my mind tonight.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Vegas is starting to go to my head...

I had a strange dream last night. Maybe it was because my bookie friend yesterday asked with some concern how I'd be in Vegas on a Saturday night and not be out partying. Maybe it's because Bart Yasso sent me this note (along with the next cycle of my training plan) "Vegas here we come. You need to bet your race number on the roulette table."

Or maybe it's cause I would wake up with a sore throat and slightly feverish on Thursday so my mind was under some duress. Whatever it was, I had a weird Vegas dream Wed night...

It is the morning of the marathon. I'm in Vegas, walking around with sis, looking for Vegas bloggers I had planned to meet. I start to think: "Werent we supposed to have had pasta together last night? Did they forget me?" then wander into a small, crowded room. On one side is Jeff, typing away on his computer. What he's typing I don't know. He doesnt look up. People mill in the background. I see Scott and Brit, immediately noticeable for their red hair. Brit is dressed in hippie clothing, her hair is in beautiful dreds (?). Moo is on her back. Both are full of energy.

We're having the pasta gathering now, I soon figure out. Um, ok, I think, puzzled, but the race is this morning.

I find myself next watching swimmers doing sprints in practice. I jump in and begin sprinting. Halfway through my first sprint I realize Im about to run 26.2 miles and shouldnt I be conserving my energy?

I am now in the middle/end of my marathon. I'm feeling strong but see no one i know throughout the race. There are no clear markings for the race. Volunteers are scarce. I've been running so long I know i must be near the end. And yet, there's only one water station throughout the race, I suddenly realize. I veer off the course to a water station I know to be near. I know it's near cause it's near the start of the race where I am now. But after, I can't find my way back to the path.

I find my family, my mom, sis, grandma (planning to be at race) and brother (not planning to be at race). They are hanging out. I see Scott again. I wait patiently for a volunteer to get off his cell phone so he can point me back to the course. Family and fellow Vegas bloggers are chatting, snacking on recovery foods. i want to finish so I can join them.

I get impatient. Why are volunteers so scarce? I'm told it's because it's VEGAS, and who wants to volunteer for a dumb running race in VEGAS???

I tap the volunteer on the cell phone. He motions he's on the phone. I wait more. Finally, "Excuse me," I say as loudly as I can. "You can have that conversation in a second, I just need to know where to go to get back on the course so I can finish this race! I've run 20 some miles!"

He gives unclear directions. I begin running on a courseless path.

The telephone rings. Dream is over. My throat is killing me. My boy says he's been rained out from work, will be home soon. Ok, I manage to get out.

I've a scheduled 8 mile hill run today. It's pouring out, I'm feverish, with sore throat. I skip it.

Just as well, I ran at least 20 in my sleep.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

My cool shirt and confessions

Confession: Last night at ski club we were having a tai chi instructor come to teach us a few things, explain how tai chi could help our skiing. So I had to dress comfortably. What to wear, what to wear...Oh, is that my brand new bright red with yellow print shirt I got at my recent tri? Why, yes it is. Though I'm wearing bright orange lounge pants I put the shirt on, look in the mirror. Interesting combo, nice use of color. Yes, I'll wear it.

After the meeting my buddy who invited me to ski club is introducing me around. 'She's a marathoner," he says. "and you can see from the shirt she also does triathlons.' Aw shucks. I dart my eyes modestly to the ground, shuffle my foot, blush. (totally embarassing but cool anyway. shameless!).

He introduces me to one girl who is member of local running club, a leader in it really. My buddy says maybe I can run with one of the groups. Girl is not outwardly welcoming, nor particularly pleasant. Does one of those things where she looks you up and down and her nose wrinkes in surprise (I am forced to write again that yes, runners come in all shapes and sizes). Asks how long i've been doing tris, says the idea of a tri seems hard. I excitedly tell her that anyone can do a tri! In fact, I don't even own a bike, I tell her. Whoa there, cowboy, did I just see a look of disapproval?

We discuss women's running groups, men's running groups. They meet every week, difft workouts, diff times.
"How come those aren't listed on the local runners web site?" I ask.
"They're informal," Im told.
"Oh,"i say "But wouldn't it make sense to put them on the web site so people looking for runners can show up?"
"They can post a message on the message board looking for runners," she says.

To me, there seems to be one word for that: exclusion, which of course is the opposite of inclusion, which is what it would be if the runing spots were listed on the local runners web site, where they would seem to make the most sense.

I'm given her business card and told I can email her for the top secret meeting times and spots. Gosh golly can I, can I? I'm honored! OK, i'll stop being mean. But I'm thinking I may not email.

Finally, I must make one more confession: last traning cycle was a hodgepog of exchanged runs and workouts. This meant rather than try to start up my new cycle on the heels of a 12 miler (a 12 miles that should have been done two days earlier), I bumped back the start date of my next cycle by a day. I keep thinking I'll have a Flatman-like cycle, but so far, hasn't happened. I'll keep trying.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Feed the birds, tuppence (twopence?) a bag...

Like Mary Poppins, I feel the winds are changing. Not just in the seasons, which today showed signs, evidenced by the slowly floating leaves that noiselessly landed in my path during the entire run, and the slight cool breeze that still managed to mix with enough humidity to drench my pigtails today less than 2 miles into my run

No, I'm also talking about the running winds. It's been a tough few weeks for runners I've been checking out. Hammies, ITB problems, inexplicable pain behind the knee. But this weekend, I seem to have been reading more 'Things have cleared up!' posts. I'm in there.

Today I had a 12 miler, longest so far. No pain. I mean, I can't believe how good the leg has been holding up. Maybe it's my gymnastics, the extra, extra, stretching or maybe cause somehow i always end up with an extra rest now and again (missed workouts. not good. but maybe good?). Anyhow, whatever it is I'll take it. And I'll even take the annoying chafing that happened on thighs today. Dumb running shorts!

couple questions, I'd welcome advice. Ive been having trouble eating before a scheduled long run. I practically gagged down a quarter balance bar today before deciding that was all i could eat. Same thing before my recent tri, when all i could manage was a 1/4 power bar. It's like, i chew and chew and chew and the pieces dont get smaller and I just get more and more nauseous. I've got a strong stomach, so I'm willing to try most suggestions. Any good liquid pre-long workout suggestions? oh, and after run too. I know i should eat right away, cause of the recovery thing, but again food is just the last thing I want. (Swallow whole, anyone?)

also, i'd love suggestions on running bras. I'm not small on top. i hope no one thinks i'm bragging here cause really, big ones suck for running. Suck. Id love a bra that has so much support it's like i'm a boy, that's how little movement there is.

While this is a few days late, happy fall! Snowboarding season is just around the corner...

Final Race Report - Patriot's Tri, Bath, PA

Blessed are those lucky enough to have friends that double as training/quilting/hobby partners. Having two of my girls with me in last Sunday's race helped all over. We giggled as we stretched and shouted each other along throughout the race. LM and Kim decided last minute to do the tri – LM did swim, Kim the bike and run. Here, in their words (edited for space) is how it went down for them.

By the way, if you haven’t already, check out Stephanie’s blog (linked to on the right). She did her first marathon Saturday. Her race report is a tale of one girl’s dramatic journey as she pushed her body to its limits and never, never gave up no matter what went wrong (and much did, from injury to dumb runner shop employee). Inspiring.

I find it odd that they feel the need to write all over your body (Ed note: took me a week to take off the 12 markings they put on. either that's too many markings or i don't scrub properly). I was mostly nervous about getting kicked in the face or swam on top of but as soon as I found out that they were starting us in waves I was immediately relieved. I couldn't see a thing so whenever I would swim to see where I was in relevance to the buoy I had to redirect myself b/c I was aiming way off! When I reached the halfway point my arms felt like lead weights but I knew that would happen which is why I took it out slow and sped up throughout the thing. I was very happy that I
2)didn't get kicked in the face
3) did well considering I haven't swam more than 5 laps worth of swimming in about 6 years except for one day at LA fitness when I felt really motivated to do 50 laps for some odd reason.

I kept swimming at the end to try and get a fast time and I swam right into the dirt!... I could barely run b/c my arms were just dead weights and didn't want to move but somehow I did and passed 6 or 7 people on the grassy hill up to the bike area where I passed my chip around my ankle to Kim and she tore off on the bike! I definitely have been bitten by the tri bug though and want to do the whole one next time all by myself!

Swim .4 mile 11:45 (zoinks!)

T1: 52 seconds (blaa-zing. That’s 14/157)

So at 34, and after barely doing anything that required more physical exertion than feeding twenties into a slot machine, I decide to start running. Sounded cool, and the idea of doing a tri as my first EVER event, much less two months after i started running, sounded challenging. I'll try anything once.

Thank God no one told me about the bitch-ass hills beforehand. I was pumped when I first started the ride. After hearing "Left", "On your left" for like the 100th time my brain said "You stupid ass idiot-what made you think you could do this? These people do this all the time, have cool outfits, and actual road bikes. (Ihad mountain bike) DUH!!" Then I thought, "I'm not out here for them-I'm out here for ME."

My spoken goals were to 1) Just finish, and 2) not finish last. No way I could just stop riding-I had to get to the finish, as no one would find my lifeless body lying on the side of a rural road somewhere in Bath, Pa. As I pulled in and saw LM and PR's boy standing there rooting me on, I uttered "F*** This" quite loudly.

Bike 15 miles: 1:08:32. try to top that in two months lifetime training!

T2: 46 seconds. (Wowsers. That’s 30/157!)

I was in no way prepared for the way my legs felt on dismount-as if someone tied them to the ground. I shook my head and I meandered VERY SLOWLY through the check point, seriously doubting I could continue. Remembering that I was there for me, I went on.

After mile 1 the circulation finally started coming back and I found a steady, albeit slow, stride. "Never again" was going through my head when I passed a cow I'll call Bessie-those moos came at such an ironic time-and i changed my attitude right then and there. I chugged along and 1.5 miles later, when I crossed that finish line (goal 1 complete!) and saw I wasn't last (goal 2 complete!) that was my vindication.

I was met at the end of the finish line by PR, who greeted me with a big hug and show of support and knew I made the right choice by competing. (The flashy finisher's key chain was pretty cool, too!) Ten minutes later I was actually talking about how I want to perform next year. I have been so motivated by this experience to really step up my training and run as many days a week as possible, even if it's only a mile run a day, and modify my eating even more. I truly know what a "runner's high" is now.

Bessie-I owe you a big bale of hay! And next year I'm even going to do the icky lake water. (Now-where the F*** is my victory martini...)

Run 3.1 miles: 33:45 (what a finish!)

Total: 1:58:39

Check back for 2006 Patriot’s Triathlon results next September. Three full race reports. One spot. Don’t miss it.