There’s an Orange Bridge in San Francisco

11-24-13 ImPossible24 November 2013

Once upon a time, there was a man with a vision.  A vision that disease could be cured and the philanthropic landscape of the country could be changed.  He started with a new take on an old word.  And he changed virtually everything else around him.

11-24-13 Dan Pallotta

This is Dan Palotta.  A man who has changed (and continues to change) the world.  (I’m sure this photograph is by Paiwei Wei, from the web site.  I know Paiwei, so I’m guessing that full credit will suffice against a copywrite claim.)  Dan Pallotta had a vision that changed the landscape of this country.  Every person that rides, walks, run, or does any other physical activity in the act of raising money for a charity is following in the footsteps of the model that Dan envisioned and created.  \

I had the extraordinary experience and pleasure of working for PallottaTeamWorks at the turn of the century.  And to this day, there is a corp of people in my life from that that can bring me RIGHT BACK to a moment in time where I was making a difference, too.

This weekend, I went to San Francisco to see Eric Wallace.  A fabulous friend from Pallotta TeamWorks.  One of those life friends that no matter when I last spoke to him, the conversation picks right back up and we can dive into the deepest issues.  Most of my friends in this category date from college.  (Something about sitting in the hallway of your dorm at 2 in the morning eating white-bread-and-Miracle-Whip sandwiches.)  But somehow Eric is one of them, too, despite having entered my life a long time after those Miracle Whip days.

When Eric lived in southern California we loved, in the post TeamWorks years, to meet at The River’s End in Seal Beach after the lunch rush on a weekend and spend hours talking about the world while not sitting in the sun (he’s a red-head and I’m sensitive to too much sun), drinking gallons of ice team, and generally lolling around in my absolutely most favorite restaurant.


Yesterday I flew to San Francisco.  He picked me up and we went to a drag show in the Castro district.


We stayed up until 1 AM talking about everything and nothing.   His favorite color is orange.  (Clearly a developing theme in my life.)  And his second favorite color is green.  I walked into his home and said “you have an orange sofa”, (thinking “wait until I tell Aidan!”).

This morning we got up and went to brunch (did you know brunch was “the” thing to do in SF on Sunday mornings?).  We walked over to Dandelion Chocolate in the Mission District to sample chocolate without soy lecithin (a by-product of soy bean oil in virtually all chocolate that keeps cocoa butter and cocoa from separating).  I’m trying to eliminate soy from my diet and it’s in EVERYTHING.  Then we walked back to his house and talked literally for hours.

San Francisco is a completely different town if you’re there will a resident.  I’ve been many times, and I have never particularly had anything good (or bad) to say.  Today, all good.  I caught the 7 pm Jet Blue flight home and was in my house by 9.



Monday, 18 November 2013

I’m coming back.  Today I went swimming, probably for the first time since September (who can remember).  I wore my swim suit that has some style.  I made a decision that I’m going to change how I practice.  I’m going to do my 4 warm up exercise laps (50 yards each) with as little stopping in-between as possible.  And then I’m going to swim laps (1 lap = 50 yards) WITHOUT  STOPPING in-between.

In the past, I swam a lap, rested, swam another one, rested, etc.  I was up to 21 laps and I thought I’d get to some marker — like 1/2 mile — and then start stringing them together.

That was then, this is now.  Today I did the 4 laps of warm up.  Then I did 2 laps.  And I was completely winded and gasping at the end.  The rest of my body could have done a lot more.  But I couldn’t breathe anymore.  I panted hanging onto the side of the pool for awhile.  Then I got out and was unsteady on my feet.  REALLY unsteady.  But that went away after awhile (like 20 minutes).

What was good was that between the locker room and the pool it was cool, but the water was a little warm.  So it was pleasant being in the water.  If I can make the time in the middle of the day to go swim, during “lunch”, say, it should be OK.

Oh, the top of my left foot hurt on the down kick; who knows what that is.  It hurts when I’m barefooted and not in the pool.  It’s not broken, I’ve had a stress fracture.  I know how that hurts.  Whatever.

11-17-13 IRONMAN Swim

This past weekend was one of physical exertion by virtually all of my friends…I didn’t leave the house yesterday.  I watched the IRONMAN AZ race all day yesterday and into the night.  Watching the IRONMEN in the water before the race — I was so anxious.  Once the canon fired, I was completely relaxed.  All of the people doing the race could do the event.  It was the day all the hard work paid off.

It’s so wonderful to see someone work hard for something and get it.  Maybe running is like that (in the non-professional ranks).  Fate may screw you.  Physics or the physical may screw you.  But people or politics hardly ever do.  If you will do the training, and the fates are with you, you can do the event.  Interesting from someone against whom the fates and physical aligned this year.

I want to do an IRONMAN.  There.  I’ve said it.  But I don’t think I can.  I can’t run fast enough at the end of the day.  I have never swum anywhere near that far.  And I’ve not been on a bike in 20 years, and never ridden anywhere near 112 miles.  So I don’t come to it with a strength in any of the requirements.  Glass Half Full Moment:  In the above, the component that doesn’t throw me is the marathon.  I HAVE completed marathons so in at least one of the disciplines, the distances doesn’t throw me…the time is the issue.

Tomorrow I’m walking with Scott (if he’s recovered from the flu) and Kelly/kids.  Wednesday I may swim after work.  Thursday is spin and yoga.

My days are better balanced if they involve some sort of workout (no matter now lame and short).  I guess better days are coming (as my ability to work longer grows).

Not Piling on the Miles

IMG_283116 November 2013

My friend Monica is conducting a November challenge Piling On the Miles, in which peep commit to an amount of weekly activity.  The goal is, obviously, to offset the eating on Thanksgiving day with additional activity during the month.  I picked what I thought was a conservative number — 20 miles a week.  Not gonna make it.  I would like NOT to feel bad about missing this commitment (and goal).  And I mostly do (not feel bad).

(Good news other POTM participants, no chance I’ll win one of the prizes.)

IMG_0319[1]I have a complete lack of burning desire (let me stand next to your fire) (yes, I do crack myself up).  And it comes from not having a big race coming up.  Which is a good thing, I think.  I’m not pushing too hard to get back into shape for some exterior goal.  I’m just meandering into more activity, slowly.  This week I walked with Scott twice, did spinning (relatively hard), and yoga (stretchy).

I walked with Scott last night (probably 3 miles) and decided that I was not going to run this morning.  I fully intended to go to Saturday night yoga, but when it dawned on me it was the right time, it was 6:30 – and yoga starts at 6.  Oops.

So my plan for the coming week.  Run once, walk twice (once with Kelly and the kids), spin, yoga twice, and swim once.   Starting tomorrow.

IMG_0719[2]I was telling Allen Arnette about my lack of drive and he suggested that I am in “deep recovery”.  Which I like.

I am doing stretching exercises for my whole body’s fascia.  And I am thinking about what I’d like to be doing in 2014 — what I want to train for seriously.  I’m going to run a marathon in the Fall, so I have to train hard during the summer.  But the lesson I’m taking away from a year full of injuries, one after the other, is rest.  Not complete rest like I’ve been doing lately, but rest as a friend to activity.

One of my goals in 2014 is to work on my balance in yoga.  I don’t have good balance on one leg, never have had since I started doing yoga, and haven’t much worked on it.  (I know that’s a function of core strength as much as anything else.)

Runner set stupid, completely random goals for themselves.  I have a friend who wants to run 50 marathons by the time he’s 60.  Why?  Just numbers he picked.  Again, my friend Monica decided she’d run 13 half marathons in 2013, and I, for some unknown reason, thought that was a good idea, and sorta aimed for that too.  (Disclaimer:  I know Monica personally and adore her, but we aren’t like serious friends.  Just fun friends.  So, no I cannot get you a lock of her hair.)  And I would have really done that if I hadn’t had to miss two marathons along the way with this injury.   But I am scheduled for a half marathon (Santa to the Sea) on December 8th, and when I complete that — and I will finish if I have to walk the whole 13 miles — I will have done 13 half/full marathons in 2013.

IMG_0754[1]I don’t know what my goals in 2014 will be — weigh less to run faster, improve yoga balance poses, run a marathon in the Fall, do a triathlon.  (That last thing will only happen if (1) I get on a bike and (2) I ‘m not scared and (3) I don’t suck.)   I would also like to have as much fun doing events in 2013 as I had this year (which is why I did so many things to my eventual detriment, not that I’m complaining about the fun).

There’s an event coming in the Spring that I’m not going to do — the Catalina Marathon.  But I might go for the event.  That would be a super good goal for me — go to an event for the run, but don’t run the big distance.  (There’s a 5K and a 10K, so I could do the 10K while my friends are running all over the island.)  Actually, this would be a SUPER goal for me because it would get me out onto the hills of PV for the work, while not forcing me into the long distances immediately.

Another friend of mine (two, actually) is doing the Ironman AZ tomorrow.  I’m going to get up early to watch the start “live”.  (OK, 1 minute delay.)  On the computer.  I am so excited for Carlos to complete this journey.  What a great day.  (All the better because I’m not in AZ being tempted to sign up for next year.)

Rainbow Loom…

IMG_0749[1]10 November 2013

Don’t get me started with something new.  I’ve been asking about these rubber band bracelets for at least two weeks.  I was in JoAnn’s and Michael’s today and found out it’s a kit.

Remember when you wanted something when you were a kid and you had to save and save for it?  You don’t have to do that now.  I bought the kit and came home to make rubber band bracelets.  How much do these things well for?  How many do I have to get out of the initial box to recoup my investment?  ($16.99 plus tax — no coupons)

The instructions inside the box, although clearly written, I guess, were incomprehensible.  But the instructions referred me to You Tube.  Such a product of the era.  Don’t even bother to fully explain…just send it out to the masses.

Anyway, I’ve been listening to You Tube videos of 13-year-old girls this afternoon do a really good job of explaining how to make these bracelets.


I obviously have to make an orange one for Aidan and then I’m probably braceleted-out.  With like 400 rubberbands left over.

When my head says “no”…

IMG_0719[1]8 November 2013

On the road back to fitness, when my brain consciously says “no, I don’t want to do that”, I know to go do it.

Today I was in the car ready to head over to the gym for spinning and clear as a bell my brain said “no, I don’t want to go”.  I started the car and started to drive away from the gym.  Until I realized that when the decision was conscious (as opposed to doing nothing, continuing to sit in the house, and thereby not going), I have to push against it.

I went spinning for about 40 minutes.  Not at all-out pace, but at a “welcome-back-to-spinning-it’s-been-NINE-weeks” pace.

Then, on the promise it would be stretchy and not balls to the wall, I went to yoga.  Which was VERY stretchy and something I need to do more of at home.  It was really good on my bursa and hamstrings.

I am not good at balance poses in yoga.  Becoming better would be an excellent, non-impact (except in the event of falling over) goal to work on next year.

Finally, I accidentally took somebody’s television remote when leaving their house today.   And I live too far away to take it back immediately.  Which means (1) their house is probably a mess, as they looked ALL over for the remote and (2) they can only watch one channel for the night.  Think how after you’d looked EVERYPLACE, you’d think “WTF could have happened to the thing”…and really, only after a long while would you suspect the guest stealing it.


It takes about 9 weeks…

11-5-13 Couch5 November 2013

It takes about 9 weeks to lose your conditioning.

A long, underneath injury came to the fore during the first week of September (let’s say 9/3) and although I went almost immediately for examination and diagnosis, it took nearly 3 weeks to get that diagnosis and it was severe bursitis.  Prescription:  rest.  Nothing else.

For the three weeks I was waiting and the next two weeks I attempted to maintain my cardio base with brisk walking, swimming, and a little spinning.  That was apparently not enough resting, so the Universe sent me the curse of the kindergarteners and I was sick, sick, sick for at least two weeks and recovering for 10 days or so.

I know that the important thing is to be able to go into Ralphs on my own two feet when I’m 80 and do my own grocery shopping.  Or, as happened this weekend, maybe to finish a marathon at 87, time be damned.  (In the second example the woman died the next day, but I’m not sure that’s particularly a bad/sad story.)  So no single race or event is worth risking long term, serious injury.

Two weeks ago I ran and walked a half marathon — and that was really hard.  Virtually all parts of me ached and were swollen for a week afterwards.  Although the good news is that after it was warmed up, the bursa didn’t hurt.

Saturday I intended to run 5 miles, and again, once warned up, the bursa didn’t hurt, but after 1 mile, my hamstring was so knotted up that I turned around and walked back.

Tonight I went to yoga.  It’s unbelievable the strength I’ve lost.  Or, looking at it more positively, maybe, it’s unbelievable how strong I used to be.  I simply don’t have the core and inner leg strength to do the big poses.

I SO MUCH did not want to go to yoga tonight.  When I realized how much I didn’t want to go…that was the motivation to get me out of the house and to class.

For awhile, I trained for a big race, and then took it easy for a season.  In 2012 I trained all year for a big race (Berlin) and then attempted to maintain that high training level into a second full year of training.  Couldn’t do it.  Or, didn’t do enough cross training and muscle protective work to do it.

And now I’m starting from scratch.  Again.

There’s nothing to do but to do it.

Or to figure out the tv antenna thing and eat pizza.

11-5-13 Couch Potato

Not Even a Grape

11-4-13 Grape4 November 2013.

Got up at 6:30 today and it did not kill me.

I am a winter WIMP.  It’s the first day of fall weather, really, and I had space heaters under every desk ready to keep my toes warm.

Posted a question on Facebook about television antenna and got LOTS of good input about what I might to before I give in to the extortionist pricing of the various cable companies.

Went to see Lisa Fills and got my marching orders for this first week of health focus…

1)  Be super aware of what I eat between 7 and 9 PM (and don’t eat it)

2) Stop eating by 7 PM

3) Weight lifting 3x a week

Apparently Oprah did not eat after 7 PM the year she trained for a marathon — “not even a grape” — is the quote that everyone seems to know.  I have been told recently that (1) one should not eat within two hours of going to bed, because the body needs to perform “housekeeping” functions and it takes all the asleep time plus 2 hours to get those accomplished and (2) the body seems to do better with a 12-hour fast every day (back up 12 hours from whenever you eat your first meal).

All of this dove-tails into the directions not to eat carbs at night, don’t eat after dinner, and stop eating by 7 PM.

If I can incorporate something into my routine, I don’t have much trouble following my own directions.  So this week, I’m really focusing on not eating after 7 pm…