Saturday, May 31, 2008

Oh the pain

Did I say I'd be fine? Was that just yesterday? I underestimated.... the guy who said this course was flat was NOT a runner. He drives a car! He averages out the fact that there are the same number of uphills as downhills and says that equals flat! That does NOT equal flat. THAT equals quads, knees and hips. Ohmigod. It's been 8 hours since I dragged my sorry ass back from the race (up and down those short steep hills I wrote about yesterday) and up the stairs into my room to collapse into an ice bath... and it HURTS!

But you know what? That's okay. Because I made it hurt. The reason it hurts is because I tried. I set a goal, I worked my ass off for five months in ice and snow and wind, and I showed up on race day. I believed I could make that goal and I pushed myself through the pain, whimpering as I did it, but I did it nonetheless. I do have to admit that I was laughing a bit to myself at mile 24 where coach had said if you have anything left, give it a little push to the end the last 2.2 miles. HA! You're kidding right? I was into marathon shuffle mode at that point. Walk breaks at every mile marker and SERIOUS whimpering a few hundred yards past that when I started running again.

Now I usually cry when I cross the finish of a marathon, but this is the first time I was crying because I was in so much pain. This is the first time some strange volunteer at the end of the race put there arms around me and asked if I was okay, if I needed to be escorted out of the finish shoot. PAIN.

So, I didn't meet my goal, but it was a rather lofty one for me. I was trying to shave 26:30 off my best time for the marathon. A time I achieved in my first effort, but which had deteriorated significantly in subsequent attempts. I did, however, get a PR... by 11 minutes! And you know what? I have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, feel guilty over, etc.... I left it all out there on the course. There was nothing left. There is still nothing left. I'm not really sure about that long drive to Portland tomorrow. I wonder if they'd let me stay here another night :) It sure is peaceful. At any rate, I'm proud of my accomplishments today. Sure I'm disappointed that I didn't meet my goal, but you know what? There's always next time :) And I've proven to myself that I can run through the pain.

But does it have to hurt so much?

Friday, May 30, 2008


It is SOOO nice to be here, to be on vacation, to be THIS close to the race. I hear it's nicer today than it's been all year. It's lovely. The sun is shining, the ocean is calling, it's a beautiful 55 degrees. It's the first time I've been back to Oregon since I moved from California 4 years ago. It's just as beautiful as I remember. I've learned a lot about Oregon in the 24 hours I've been here. It's windy by the beach - good thing I've been running in the midwest all winter. (We know something about wind!) The marathon is "flat", but that is a bit of a misnomer. I'm so glad I drove the course today so I wouldn't freak out tomorrow. True there aren't any mountains, but there are some short steep little hills in the first four miles - then it's flat until you come back on the out and back - a slow, gradual incline most of the last mile or so. But I know and I've been training on hills so I'll be fine.

Now I know we aren't at altitude because if I walk down 90 short steps, I'm 100 yards from the Pacific ocean where the kite surfers are putting on a show, but seriously... NOT flat. There are mountains here (luckily we won't be running any of those), steep sharp inclines, but they probably don't get past 3 or 400 feet in height. I think of them as mountains when you drive along the road and there are rock slide signs on one side of the road and steep 90 degree cliffs on the other. But then I'm from the midwest so my definition of a mountain is a bit jaded. Let's just call it the coastal range, like they do in California.

You can't get anywhere fast around here because of said mountains and ocean, but that's quite okay with me. I'm on vacation. I stopped at no less than 3 overlooks and took pictures like a damn tourist. I could live here! I swear. At least I think I could. It is just so beautiful. I know, however, that there wouldn't be a lot to "do" - work wise or culturally, but who am I kidding exactly? I'm not exactly the opera going type. The biggest down side would be the distinct lack of shopping malls, but hey, maybe the local stuff would be cool. I don't know. I was too busy looking at the ocean and the birds today to really worry about retail.

I'm looking forward to the race tomorrow. I am confident I can reach my goal. I will have a good time. The weather is going to be perfect. The course will be fun. The people are terribly friendly and seem to be pretty well organized. I can't wait. Looks like it will be another beautiful day in paradise. Now it's off to bed cause breakfast is at 4am!

As Jimmy would say, the weather is here, wish you were beautiful!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

There's a race on Saturday

Race coming up on Saturday in Oregon so I don't know when I'll find a computer to post again. Hmmm... do they have computers in Oregon? :) I can't wait to just get on the darn plane tomorrow. THEN, then I will feel like I'm on my way and I can relax, nothing left to do, no more lists to make or things to cross off, just get on the plane.

I'm looking forward to the race for lots of reasons. I want to see if I can achieve the goal I have set for myself, the one I've worked so hard for the last few months, the one I've secretly held for years. I want to see how much working with a coach pays off. I know it has already - big time, but this will be the big test.

And then I want to take a break. I'm tired. I'm on the verge of injury. I'm eating really poorly. I'm sleeping poorly. I'm stressed. I need to relax. So I looked at my schedule post-race today - thinking I needed to write it down and take it with me cause I'm going to be on a much needed vacation for an entire week. And you know what it said? Day off, rest and recover, eat right, get plenty of sleep. Cool! EVERY DAY! WHAT? SEVEN DAYS OFF??? That can't possibly be right? What if I want to run? I know I'm going to want to run. I've already packed running clothes for at least a couple of additional runs. Maybe I'll pack a swim suit. Surely that would be okay... a good thing to do during recovery week. I mean, I know I need a break, but a whole week off without running or biking or ANYTHING?

I thought to myself, surely she doesn't mean that. Maybe she thinks I'm going to quit training cause I haven't told her what my next A race is. Then I read her blog. You see, my coach just took a week off herself - almost a whole week of doing nothing prescribed by her new coach. And she mentioned something in an email to me today about relaxing and not stressing out and you know, staying off my feet. But all week? Hmmmm..... I guess there's a reason I pay her. She might know what she's talking about, but I'm going to keep an extra pair of running shorts in my suitcase just in case. I'm going to listen to my body and my heart and mind though. If everyone is in agreement that ice cream or wine and cheese is better than running, I might just listen afterall.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Are we there yet?

Well, I'm in full on taper mode with the marathon coming up in just a few short days. For me, that also means I'm in sabotage mode. Spent the weekend eating potato salad, rhubarb crisp, hamburger... topped it off with chocolate mouse pie and potato chips yesterday. I think I'm officially done eating crap now though cause I FEEL like crap at this point :(

And just because I'm in taper, I can't seem to find enough to do to keep me busy. I find myself wandering around the house aimlessly looking. Looking for what? Cheese? Chocolate? Wine? My running shoes? No, just my mind! Gads! Does anyone know what I did with it? I freaked out a bit ago when one of my friends asked me what hotel I'll be staying at. That's easy, it's right here in my race folder. Hmmm... plane info, rental car info, maps of the Oregon coast.... no hotel information.... finally found it in the second email account I looked in. THAT was fun... zone2!

Not to be outdone by my mind, my body seems to be in sabotage mode as well... that's a new pain in my groin. Kind of tweaky when I walk, but it doesn't hurt when I run so it's not a problem, right? And my knee keeps seizing up for no apparent reason as I sit at my desk and try to fit four days worth of work into two. There might be just a wee bit of extra stress lurking around in my body trying to get out in new and exciting ways.

Hurry up and get here race! I don't know how much longer I can take it! I'm going to explode.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


I know I said I was going to be all good for the last month before the race. Eat healthy, cut out sugar and alcohol. Well, I have cut out the alcohol. No problem. I've been eating healthy for the most part and I've significantly decreased my sugar intake, but come on. A girl can't live on gels alone!

Last night I made cupcakes. These were no ordinary cupcakes. They didn't even have chocolate in them for crying out loud. (I had gotten chocolate for another recipe just in case these sucked cause how good could they be without chocolate!) They were fabulous. Lemon raspberry cupcakes. And they were easy - except of course grating the skin off my knuckles while I was zesting the lemons. Tasty! Bon Appetit, April 2008. I'm sure you can find them on the website someplace. Just one word of warning, when they say to wait 30 minutes while they cool - LISTEN. This recipe they aren't kidding. Not for flavor, but there's hot jam in the middle. And it's DAMN hot when it comes right out of the oven.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Time changes all things. Dislike something? Don't worry. It will change. Like something? Don't get too attached. It too will change. This is why the buddhists, the spiritualists, people in the know all tell us to live in the present.

Why is this important?

10 years ago yesterday... I was in a beautiful place with a wonderful man saying yes to the rest of my life. It turned out to be yes for the rest of his life. It turned out to be not nearly long enough. So while I have happy memories, sometimes these memories can turn against me - point out how different the present is, how lonely and sad compared to the past.

I've gotten better. I've made adjustments. I don't dwell on these things any longer. For the most part, these memories are happy and part of who I am, who I was. They are, however, not who I will be. So yesterday was tough, but today was better. Today is the present. Today there is nothing to worry about, nothing to dwell on, nothing to fear. Today there are no problems. Today just is.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Going for a run

I'm going for a run today. I'm so glad today is not a bike day. Today is my birthday and while I am getting to know the bike and appreciate it's efforts in keeping me injury free... I'm a runner at heart. So my birthday present to me... I'm going for a run. And I'm glad because I find the need to get out of my head today so after this first meeting of the day, I'm headed out into the crisp, sunny, and yes, windy day to take it all out on the road.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Days like today

I'm so glad I am a runner. So glad there is something to do with my body to relieve my mind of stress. Today there was an announcement that the very large company I work for had "entered into an agreement" to be bought by a much larger company. The opportunities are endless. The possibilities overwhelming. The unknowns very scary.

So, like any good runner, I went for a run. A run to clear my head, to think over the possibilities, the options, the "what ifs". And then to let that all go and just focus on the workout, feet hitting the pavement, arms swinging on that invisible track, breath regulated. Count the foot strikes, stay in the zone. It was supposed to be zone 1/zone 2 today. I figured zone 1 could wait for another day. I'm officially in taper so I didn't want to ruin other things like the fine training schedule the coach has me on, by overdoing it and going into zone 3 or 4. So I hung out in zone 2. Up the hills, into the wind, pounding the pavement, counting the foot strikes.... one. two. three. No worries.

And it worked. For a while. I have a hard time shutting off my mind, but I've gotten so much better at it this year with the training regime the elf has me on. I feel so much more connected to my body. I am able to get out of my head more. And it is such a relief. A relief to realize, I am not my thoughts, I am not my past, I am not the endless possibilities of the future. This moment, right here, right now... this moment is all that is. This moment is all that I have. I will make the most of this moment.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Running in the rain

Saturday was beautiful. Sunday, the day of my long run? Not so much. Why did I waste my Saturday on weeds???

I knew it was going to rain on Sunday, but not until the afternoon. So I got up early, ate, waited around for the requisite 2 - 3 hours, put on my shoes, the fuel belt, the gels, watch, sunglasses (purely for keeping the wind out of my eyes)... and headed out the door.

Temperature was perfect - in the 50's - so I was a little warm because I was anticipating rain at some point so I wore a long sleeve shirt. I was really happy about that shirt later on. The first few miles were great, pure bliss. Cool, no wind, pavement, no hills, not a lot of traffic. I love running in the spring.

Then I turned onto a dirt/gravel road. I've run this road before on my long runs. I like this road. It has a few rolling hills, lots of scenery. The horses were out. The farms all looking their Sunday best. None of the dogs chased me. People said hi. Oh, did I mention? They just gravelled the road. So this lovely surface that I was looking forward to? It was like slogging through a rocky beach. Okay, so that sucked, but I did it. It was only a zone 1 / 2 workout at that point so time was not an issue.

Turned onto the pavement again and, geez, where did all that traffic come from? Dodged potholes and cars intermittently for the next few miles, but in between that, just enjoyed the scenery. Then back onto dirt. Now, this was a good surface! Hard pack, not a lot of gravel, not a lot of traffic. Waved to the nice lady burning leaves. Chugging up the hill... hmmm... was that the wind at my back? Felt good, but it was getting a bit chilly and a little darker. I got to the top of the last hill I had decided to climb and realized the wind was going to be either in my face or a nice cross wind the rest of the way home. Well! Did I mention by this time I'd been at race pace for about 30 minutes and had another 30 to go? Race pace - up hill, into the wind, on dirt... and oh yes, it started to rain. HARD at times.

And you know what? I grinned. I laughed. I used to love running in the rain at college. Especially if I was upset about something. There is no better way to get over yourself than to go for a run in the rain. I have to admit though that running in the rain is a lot more fun when it's just for say 15 or 20 minutes. Not so much fun when it's twice that long and it's at the end of a LONG run. Oh well.

I got it done. And I kept telling myself that if I could run at race pace in these conditions, the marathon is going to be easy. I'm going to do it! I maintained close to race pace in crappy conditions so I can do it for the race. No problem! Can't wait! Oregon, here I come!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Trees and weeds

My arbor day trees came in the mail this week. I was so excited when I ordered them.... lots of different flowering trees, even a lilac. Memories of childhood abound when I smell a lilac. Playing at grandma's house with all the cousins, aunts and uncles. Running up and down hills, climbing trees and rock piles. Chasing dogs. Going to the river. Shucking corn. Picking peas. Summer!

Then this week I realized, holy cow! I have to plant these trees. Figure out where they go, dig holes, PLANT. I hate digging. But okay, I'll figure it out. So on my run this morning, I mapped out the yard and where all these cute trees would go. When I got home I thought I'd read the directions just in case. I'm no expert on these things by a long shot.

Hmmmm.... find someplace safe from critters and weeds and the lawnmower. Dig holes 2 feet apart for each of the 11 trees. Watch them grow for about 2 years. Transplant to the location you'd like the trees to live. 2 years? 11 holes? 2 feet apart? Without weeds? Who are they kidding?

I looked at the gardens. Well, let's just say weeding isn't my favorite pastime and you wouldn't be hard pressed to figure that out. So step one: weed. I spent two hours on hands and knees weeding that garden. I filled up 5- 5 gallon buckets with weeds. And it's still not done!

Maybe mom wants to plant the trees in her garden.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Things I've learned from the women in my life

1. Most women are tougher than most men
2. There is no cure for a broken heart, but a good cry, a good hug and good chocolate are a nice bandaid
3. Flour, sugar, and butter... the three major food groups
4. Smile at your enemy. It throws her off.
5. Experiment
6. Take care of the earth... plant a tree, or a flower
7. Take care of animals... they are frequently better companions than most people
8. Take care of each other
9. You can do anything you put your mind to
10. It is possible to be smart and beautiful
11. You can have it all... just not for very long
12. We don't glow, we sweat!
13. Sports aren't just for boys!
14. No one can pull you out of the abyss but you
15. Learn to say please and thank you in the language of the countries you visit
16. Learn how to read a map
17. There is a difference between smart and paranoid
18. Don't live your life in fear
19. Quality clothes are worth the extra expense
20. Quality ingredients make the best dinner
21. If you have to choose between fashion and comfort, choose comfort
22. Sisters make the best friends
23. Women hold grudges
24. Don't drink alcohol on an airplane
25. Treat yourself to a bubble bath once in a while
26. The laundry can wait
27. Always use sunscreen
28. And moisturizer - not just on your face
29. The most important tool in the kitchen is a good knife
30. Crying is not a sign of weakness

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Things I've learned from the men in my life

1. Don't sweat the small stuff
2. It's all small stuff - unless it's basketball season and my team is losing
3. There are such things as soul mates
4. Having the chance to share your life with your soul mate is an amazing thing - no matter how short lived
5. A soul mate can never be replaced
6. All men are NOT created equal
7. Ibuprofen is a vitamin
8. Skiing down a long steep is awesome - and scary as shit!
9. Skiing off the side of a mountain is NOT advisable - but it's really cool to look back at when you get to the bottom and say, look what I did!
10. Riding a motorcycle is the feeling of freedom
11. Wine and cheese is perfectly acceptable for dinner
12. Anything is possible if you want it bad enough
13. Computers are the answer to all your problems
14. Computers are the cause of all your problems
15. Cars are just appliances - really nice appliances, but appliances nonetheless
16. Always clean the kitchen before going to bed
17. Never get on the highway without a full tank of gas
18. Always say I love you when you leave
19. I have a hero complex
20. Beauty can be found in small, every day things - Every day!
21. Life is short
22. Life is an adventure
23. Try new things
24. Trying new things doesn't mean you have to give up the old things
25. Take care of your equipment
26. Anger doesn't solve anything
27. Work like your boss is watching
28. Do what you love
29. Play at least as hard as you work
30. Sex is good

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Now, I know all you hard core triathletes are going to laugh, but bear with me as I'm not even close to "there" yet. I took the bike out today for maybe the third time. Now, you must understand, when I say third time, I don't mean, just third time this year, I pretty much mean third time since I was twelve. Okay, it's a different bike - this one has GEARS! - but still you get the point.

Anyway, it was just a nice easy 30 minute spin out the legs ride after doing a killer hill run workout yesterday. I had a blast! I am NOT fast, but I was faster this time than last time. I am not super coordinated on the bike, but I didn't fall over at any of the intersections I had to stop at this time :) (Boy that was fun the last time, just stopped, got stuck in the pedal and fell right over - yep, there were people there.... lots of people!)

So why was today so fun? Today I practiced cornering. I've been reading all these blogs about people racing tris, kicking butt on the bike up hills and around corners, holding lines.... all these things that are not issues on the run, but on the bike... seems like these are things I should practice if I ever want to get into this awesome sport. So today I practiced holding my line around corners... then in the middle of one of those corners I let my mind wander to the way my husband used to corner when he was racing motorcycles. It was soooo cool... knee down, actually touching sometimes ... I have pictures and it's just the coolest thing. Well, I got to wondering... could you do that on a bicycle?

Mind you, I wouldn't do that on a bicycle... wouldn't even try it less than a month before the big race I've been training for months for, but it made me think just enough that I kind of freaked myself out on a piece of wet, sandy pavement. Whew! Another thing about the bike. you can't just let your mind wander off like you can while you're running. Better get my head in the game!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Willie's life lessons

I've learned a lot of things from my dog, Willie, over the years. Good lessons that would make us all better people and a better society in general if we could adopt them into everyday life. The newest one is this: carrots are not only acceptable vegetation, they are a very good treat for a job well done. You see, Willie is undergoing some physical therapy at the moment. He has a partially torn ACL (or so they think), but not torn enough to actually do surgery on. So being an active "mom" and wanting to know what I can do to help fix it, I asked the vet... and he said, physical therapy... and lose a couple of pounds.

So he has to do things like sit/stand exercises, figure eights, and walking up and down the stairs. For the most part, he doesn't understand why we are doing these things so I thought we'd make it into a game. Sit/stand is only something he'll tolerate 2 or 3 times before he gets bored and either starts jumping (bad for the ACL) or just walks away and lays down. "Seriously, Mom, why do I need to stand up? I just sat down for crying out loud. What is your problem today? You on crack? Forget you told me to sit down just 2 seconds ago?" So we've incorporated sit/stand into the walking up and down the stairs exercise. This seems to go okay. We're supposed to do 5-10 reps. He hasn't gotten past six yet. His attention span is worse than mine! But at the end? Carrots. He thinks these are just a wonderful treat. And you know, pretty good for you if you're trying to be healthy or lose a few pounds

So I ask myself. Why don't I eat carrots as a reward? Nice crunch. Not a bad flavor (kind of taste a bit like dirt, but not bad). Healthy. And I want to be healthy. Oh yea, I know why... they don't taste like chocolate. Now if they made chocolate covered carrots I could get all over that, but they make carrots that taste a little like the dirt you pull them out of. Okay for a snack, but not going to do anything for my sweet tooth.

Every day I think to myself that I need to be more like my dog. When he's tired, he sleeps. When he wants a snack, carrot is totally fine, even exciting. When he sees I'm stressed, he brings me toys cause it must be time to play or change things up a bit. And he really gets into his exercise routine... mind you he doesn't care for some of the physical therapy exercises, but if I make them into a game it's okay. What he really likes though are his walks. He wouldn't dream of missing his walks. He has a schedule. It's more important than eating or sleeping. He needs to get those walks in - twice a day, rain or snow or wind or sun - hot/cold. It doesn't matter. He's out there, putting in the time, doing his thing - not cause he wants to win some race or better his muscle tone (his is fine) but because he likes walking. He likes sniffing the grass. Watching the birds. Chasing the squirrels and other earth bound creatures.

And in the afternoon when it's not too hot, you can find him outside laying on the grass or rolling in the grass or throwing his ball to himself. Just enjoying the great outdoors.

So - go outside today, play, enjoy the weather - whatever it brings, watch some birds, get some rest, eat healthy, change the scenario when you get stressed out, make exercise a fun part of your everyday existence, don't worry about tomorrow.