Running in the Summer…

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

IMG_0734Wednesday, 31 July 2013

At the top of Signal Hill, a little enclave that I think is probably surrounded on all sides by Long Beach, CA, is a street called Rose Avenue.  In the 2400 block of Rose Avenue there are three huge, old homes so gorgeous you can hardly believe it.  (Of course they are surrounded on all sides — but below the sight line — by oil wells pumping, but I digress.)  These are OLD California homes – like bungalows, but sprawling.  Wrap-around porches around the whole house.  Like you’d find in Pasadena/South Pasadena.  In Pasadena they’d cost several million dollars.  In Signal Hill probably less — except for one thing.  The view — it’s forever.  These houses sit on top what was (and maybe still is) a pimple of oil and there is nothing blocking the line of sight — from Catalina to Santa Monica to Newport Beach to the San Gabriel Mountains.

I was chasing the sunset this evening — after a wonderful, astounding, fabulous run — and I came across these houses.  Which I knew existed and have seen occasionally.  But tonight the amazingness of the location just knocked my socks off.  The sunset was pretty fabulous too, and because of the setting sun I don’t have a house picture, but I need to go back and get one.

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I spent the day, again, sitting at the computer working on contracts.  And at 2 PM I had had it.  I needed something sweet.  I made tasteless no-sugar-added tree bark — but with honey, too many raisins, and (organic $10+/lb) chocolate chips.   I got the recipe off of Facebook — where it was promoted because it has no added sugar.  Unfortunately, it was the consistency and taste of cardboard with raisins.  Instead of adding/changing one thing — I changed everything.  I don’t care all that much about a little added sugar.  To the recipe, I added a big squirt of honey, all the raisins that were left (a lot), and a handful of the choc chips.  I don’t know what I think.  At least it’s sweeter.

No Sugar Tasteless Pretend Sweet Bars

Then, because I was making a mess in the kitchen, I tried the chick pea cookies again…a can of chick peas, peanut butter (the kind that you grind for yourself at the store), and choc chips (same over-priced organic chips).  Last time I made this, I did it in the VitaMix and the chick peas never got mushed up enough.  The resulting cookies were gritty.  This time I used the food processor.  (I had no almond milk (I’m making more over tonite), so I used chocolate hazelnut milk.  It’s odd on its own.  But I think it’s only to add moisture.  My second choice would have been water.)  The resulting cookies are OK. I’m eating one now and they are very cookie-like — and based on a legume.  However, if I wasn’t into the hassle, just the peanut butter mixed with choc chips (and raisins) would be good, too.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites

However, here’s the food find of the week/month!  Annie Chun’s Rice Express.  Like dishes, ready to nuke, with cooked rice in them.  (Obviously I’m not Asian, or I’d have a rice cooker on the counter with fresh rice.)  I nuked one of these for lunch yesterday and it was a great add to a salad.

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Finally, my run this afternoon with Katherine Smith was wonderful.  Easy.  Fast.  Easy.  Quick.  At the beach.  Driving home I saw peep running all over less wonderful spots than at the beach.  (God knows I’ve done my share of grinding out the miles through industrial areas…but taking the time to drive to the beach makes SUCH a difference.)  She wanted to run 3 miles — and I got her to go to the Queen with me — 6.5+!  Yeah.

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Going into August — I have a full training marathon in 25 days.  And Berlin in 9 weeks.

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Food today:  recorded

Training Today:  6.5 mile run at race pace

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Still Resting

00 Ocean SunsetTuesday, 30 July 2013

An ode to Tuesday.  with random fabulously beautiful pictures of California from some link in Facebook.

Interesting day today.  I did nothing in particular.  I don’t think I left the house.  Or at least didn’t drive anywhere.  Very unusual.  I’m resting.  Work kept me hopping between 5:30 AM and 4 PM.  At which point I needed a nap!  I ate lunch sitting in the sun on my front porch and then had a nap.  (And so here I am still up at 10:30.)

00 Big Sur Bridge

I have been reflecting upon my experience on Sunday.  Running trails.  OK, really mostly walking trails.  I ran a bit and walked a bit for 6 miles — running the downhills.  But I walked the entire second loop of six miles.  (And still fell twice and twisted my ankle in a non injurious way.)  I would like to give it a go again next year when I have to be less protective.

The best thing about the Xterra Snow Valley Half Marathon?  It started at 8 AM.  That’s like noon to me.  And it makes for a great morning, in terms of getting up and getting going.

00 Bishop view of ierra

A friend of mine just finished a year of training and the successful completion of an Ironman competition (Vineman).  When you’re really focused on an event, there is absolutely nothing beyond that date.  Until you get close to it, and then it becomes obvious that the world will be turning the next day and the day after that.  I wonder if it diminishes the achievement.  A little, I think.  After a year a TRAINING and a day of extraordinary accomplishment, there are people within arm’s reach of this person, right now, who who don’t know what happened to her on Sunday.

This is the reason people repeat big challenges, because they’re all trained up — or they have the time set aside to go to school — or whatever, and what else are they going to do?  When I got out of graduate school I had to consciously stop going to school and find something else to do.  I had all the time set aside, and I was in the habit of going to school.  It would have been really easy to go get another degree (I keep threatening to get a nursing degree — how gookie would that be?).

00 Highway One

I think this picture, a curve at Big Sur, is my second choice for my blog picture — but I keep finding pictures with people in them to replace an empty road.

In 3.5 weeks I’m running a full marathon.  Getting ready for the big event of the year in 8.5 weeks.  Eek.

00 Yosemite

Food:  mostly recorded

Training:  not a damn thing

The Hardest Things…

IMG_0702Sunday, 28 July 2013

The hardest physical thing I’ve ever done is climb the Labyrinth at Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY, on  a cold Saturday all by myself.  The second hardest physical thing I’ve ever done is a 3-way tie:  climb Mt. Whitney, run a half marathon, and run a marathon.  Today I did something ‘way up there on the hard list, but not scary in the same way as those other things.

The Xterra Snow Valley Half Marathon was at altitude (6000+ feet), it was technical (rutted, rocky trails and roads), and it was hard.  It was also a concern to me because I don’t want to screw up my ankles 2 months before my big race.  (So I had the coach call and ask about the trails/roads.  We were assured that 60% of the route was fire roads, sorta implying not so rutted/rocky.)   It was two loops of a trail.  Running and walking along the first loop, I fell down twice, and three times my toe caught a rock causing me to pitch forward catching myself from falling.  It was very pretty, and a lot of shade the first loop.  I wasn’t terribly unhappy with the day, but as I worked my way along the route, I thought about my goals for the day (something I often do while running races).  Based on what was said before the race, how the race was going for me, and the day — I decided my #1 goal was not to be looped by my coach in his goal of finishing in 2:15.  Which means I had to finish 6.5 miles faster than 2:15.  Which I did, but just barely.

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My second goal was to finish as close to 4 hours as I could…and I finished in 4:08.  Not terrible, given that I walked the entire second 6.5 mile loop.  At another time I would have at least run down the hills on the second loop, but I was tiring and I don’t pick my feet up very high under any circumstances, so there was pretty significant danger of getting hurt.  Even with walking, I twisted my ankle walking into the second aide station — not in a serious way — but it reminded me that I had to watch EVERY step.

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So after the first loop, I headed into the second loop pretty anxious.  I was in a dark place.  I knew I had another two hours in front of me.  But, when I got to the second aide station on the second loop, had a lot of fluid, and left in such a buoyant state — I recognized the better state of mind — and it stayed with me the entire loop.  So much so I did something (the first picture of this post) that I NEVER do — looked around and took pictures of the pretty area.  Sometimes I’m surprized.

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So here I am doing this really hard thing, and feeling pretty good.  Now, the winners of this race finished in about 2 hours.  I finished in 4.  Nothing to write home about.  I wonder if life is, for awhile, trying variations of physical challenges?

On Saturday, I ran 6 miles with the Sole Runners (making this is 20 mile weekend), went to Aidan’s b-day party, and drove to Snow Valley.IMG_3689

IMG_0686And with this…I’m going to sleep in a real bed.

Food:  Not recorded but not outrageous

Training Today:  challenging trail half

Running at the Shore

IMG_0272[1]Wednesday, 23 July 2013

Via Facebook today, I agreed to meet a Sole Runner that I don’t know all that well at the beach to run together.  She wanted to run 3-ish miles and I wanted to run with somebody (WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO ME???), so I agreed to meet her.

We met at the Junipero parking lot.  The weather at the beach was glorious.  We ran towards Alfredo’s — because it’s a part of the bike path that neither of us runs very often (not being fast enough to get that far all the time).  And then we ran around to the end of the marina — someplace she had never been before — and back.  4.5 miles at my race pace.  Pretty good.  Not a long run.  Not a slow run.  (Which I used to do on Wednesdays – long, slow runs.)  But a short at pace run.  I wonder what that counts for?

I had a big deal meeting at work today, and I had to spend the first half of the day getting ready for it and the meeting itself thinking actively about what I was going to say next (a negotiation).  So I was pooped when it was over.

But I went off to see Mike Henderson.  Here’s my current ache:  the muscles in my right forearm.  It hurts a lot to do arm curls.  Or pick up anything and lift it towards me.  Like picking a cup out of the cup holder in the car and bringing to my mouth is really painful.  We’re going to assume it’s from holding my hands are the wrong angle while typing.  I’m going to concentrate on a better angle for a week and see if that helps.  Ice helped.

Mike is on vacation for the next two weeks and I’m on vacation the third week from now.  When I get back I’m going to start working with him 2 days a week until Marine Corps (end of October).  Luckily, I’m in the habit of going and working at the gym without him.  When I used to work with him 3 days a week (what was I thinking), if he was gone I didn’t go.

I’m edging closer to dieting.  I went to Sprouts this evening and purchased the items that I don’t already own (eggs, tuna) to follow Mike Henderson’s diet for athletes.  Since one of the items is fresh shrimp, I’m obviously going to have to follow the diet in some way for a couple of days to get that consumed before it goes bad.  I was surprized to see that virtually ALL the shell fish at Sprouts is previously frozen.  The filets were not marked in that way.

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Food today:  all recorded

Training Today:  ran 4 1/2 miles at race pace

Tuesday – Did You Know I Love Tuesdays?

IMG_0265[1]Tuesday, 23 July 2013

So it’s Tuesday again.  I love Tuesday afternoon.  (Tuesday morning and the day isn’t anything to write home about.)

Today I went to my semi annual face-to-face meeting with my financial guy — the brilliant Nick Nino.  If you’re looking for a financial adviser, I can recommend this guy without reservation.  (He has made me a ton of money over the past three years.)  If you’re even remotely interested e-mail me and I’ll give you his info.  Anyway, I love Nick and he’s going to run a 10k soon and I’m going to to run it with him.  Nick (and his firm) are always trying to lure clients into evening events — dinner with extravagant wines at the Getty — I don’t know why I’m on the list, he’s got my money and I’m happy with his work — but I can never be bothered to go to the events.  Note – I won’t go to a free, social thing, but I will drive to West Lake Village to run at the crack of dawn.  WHERE did I get these priorities?  Anyway, he’s planned something that sounds like it would be fun — famous trainer from The Biggest Loser, health/work out based evening, then healthy cooking with a chef — the weekend I’ll be in Germany.   Ah well.

After Nick, I drive to the Wilks and hang around holding a baby (they are like little burritos with knit caps) while Aidan wakes up from a nap.  The current baby set-up has Grandma sleeping in Aidan’s bed and Aidan sleeping with Joe and Kelly…so Aidan was taking a nap in the big bed, I go in and sit with him and Kelly, then Kelly wanders off and I lay down with Aidan while we wakes up.  (Warning Joe Wilk – random strangers are sitting and laying in your bed while you’re at work!)

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Keliegh baby is fussy, so I pick her up (like I have a clue what I’m doing) and hold her and goo-goo for about 20 minutes while Aidan gets dressed and organized.  Today is the day the girls were actually supposed to be born (which happened 5 weeks ago).  Keliegh’s head is the size of a grapefruit.  She almost (6.5 lbs) baby sized.  Addison is a little smaller and you can tell the difference between their sizes.

Then, I take Kelly’s car, parking my car on the street (because of the kid seat), and Aidan, and we go off to track workouts.  Surprize.  There’s CD in the player, and Aidan bosses me around until I can use the CD player enough to get to his favorite track (#6) and he sings along to “Oh, What a Night”.  He knows all the words.  I know the words.  How fun to drive along and sing fun songs with him!

We get to the track (early).  When the running started, Aidan went out and run the 3 warm up laps with the whole group.  He actually played with Paul Alto.  I was painfully shy when I was little.  How GREAT that he knows this group and can run with them.  After the warm-ups, and the exercises, he went off to sit with Vernon and play with little boy toys while I ran laps.

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We ran 800s — two laps around the track.  I ran three full sets — which is 6 laps — and that is 1 more than last week.  I really “tried” the last lap, although I don’t know at the moment, how the splits look.  And then Coach Steve called out “last lap” while I was doing the rest walking between sets.  He said specifically to me “do one more good one” and I said “the last one was the good one”.  He said, do another.  So I did.  Damn it.  I’m not guaranteeing that the last lap was the best, but I did do it.  I said last week I’d push and do one more.  I pushed and did one more.  I think you can never be sorry about doing one more, no matter how painful it is at the time.  The Coach even said to me, driving away, that he expected flack from me for that last lap and good for me for just doing it.

Coach Steve is the running coach.  I do whatever he says to do.  End of story.  I might complain (out loud or in my head).  But I do count on him to guide me to the goals that I set out.  So if I want to depend on him, I better do what he says to do.

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Food/Weight:  I had a great day food intake-wise until about 9 PM.  Then I ate a bunch of hands-full of this and that — almonds, watermelon. I would have been better without that.

Food:  all recorded

Training today:  Track workout

About the Weight, unfortunately…

IMG_0239[1]22 July 2013, Monday

If there’s anything on the planet I don’t want to blog about, it’s weight.  I do not want to be another person out in the ether yammering on about weight.  Unfortunately, I’m not doing what I need to be doing in that regard, and so, now I’m going to try public humiliation as a method of motivation.

To go where I want to go with my running I need to get rid of 20 pounds.  And I need to stop farting around and get rid of them (the pounds).  I am going to use a diet (don’t bother me with the crap about lifestyle changes) I got from my trainer (and god), Mike Henderson, built for the athlete who needs to lose weight.  Which means it has support built in around daily work outs.

Last night, when I was taking the menu from a xerox sheet to an excel worksheet I was appalled at the (small) amount of food involved.  And the cooking.  Not much but 10x more than I do now.  Ugh.  I have to go to the grocery store and buy eggs (for the whites) and a very few veggies to make this all work.

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I made these yesterday.  Very cool.

Today’s morning run was good (fast) and bad.  Before the run I lay down and did clamshells, and the coach poked my glutes showing me where I should be feeling the lift.  The difference between one point and another (on my butt) was a light finger poke and a needle sticking in to me.  “WHAT was that!”  He assured me all the touches were the same pressure.  So I have an assignment for the massage tonight…see what you can do about where the IT band connection.

About 3/4 mile into the run I felt like I was going to throw up (a common feeling at the start of my runs, these days).  After feeling quezy in my stomach for awhile, I tried to swallow to see if my throat felt like I was going to throw up.  Swallowing while running, unconsciously, is easy, but trying consciously to swallow is really difficult, and it made me breath rapidly and shallowly.  My throat did not feel like throwing up, so I settled down and ran on.  We had a good run all the way to the car.

I’m going into WEEK THREE of all good runs.  I don’t know how or why the tide changed, but it did.  Even Saturday’s long run was good.  Even the bad runs are good.

The coach has suggested I change the display of my garmin, so tomorrow I’m going to start working on that.  He thinks displaying the average pace would be better for me than the current pace.  I have not looked at that before because, like your school gpa, it’s SO difficult to bring it back up (i’m better off not knowing).

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Food today:  all recorded

Training Today:  Run 3.5 miles below race pace, lift weights, massage

Cookin’ in Summer

IMG_0212[1]18 July 2013, Thursday

I went to a cooking class tonight.  I really like the guy leading the class, Allen Arnette.  The food that we made was really good.  The thing I take away from the class is that I need to figure out a better way to steam vegetables.  I eat a lot of raw vegetables.  And I very rarely cook them.  But I really do like cooked vegetables, too.  It’s the cumbersome process of steaming.  I hate to buy another counter top appliance.  I need to go research stove top steamers — more than sauce pan, insert, and lid.

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This is Allen talking about making home-made sauerkraut.  This is the class making that sauerkraut.

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I’m not knocked over by the product…but it’s easy.  Finely chopped cabbage and water.  Ferment in a dark cabinet for 4-7 days.  Store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

It was fun, but not something I’d do again.

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Food:  recorded

Training Today:  rested (I’ll do something tomorrow)