Saturday, December 19, 2009

1k in 2k10

Four score and seven years ago, I ran a marathon and a few half-marathons...

Yeah- it's been a while. Since my last race (the Nike Women's Half Marathon in October), I've gotten custom orthotics and have rested the heck out of my stressed out sesamoid bones (those are in your feet). I think I'm ready to hit the road (or the treadmill, as the case my be) and I've set a new, and ambitious goal. I want to run 1000 miles in 2010!

This year, I ran a little over 500 miles. I also started as a beginner runner and I got hurt. I think hitting 1000 miles will be tough but I can do it! I am volunteering to be a pacer for the SF Marathong training program so that will certainly get to my goal! I'll use ths blog and to help track my progress.

Keep an eye on my blog- I'm sure my journey to 1000 miles will be entertaining- maybe moreso for you than for me!

Happy New Year!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Nike Women's (Half) Marathon- Enduring More Than Just The Mileage

As promised- here is my recap of the Nike Women's Marathon. Fasten your seat belts- this one was quite the roller coaster!!

On Thursday before the race, Hubby took me downtown to Union Square in SF to pick up my packet. I wanted to get there as the doors opened so we didn't have to wait in line BUT, little did we know, there was a conference going on, and the city was preparing for Obama's visit to the St. Francis Drake Hotel. It was a circus downtown! We finally got to Union Square and saw huge groups of people protesting as the President arrived. Hubby even got some pictures and sent them to CNN's ireport!

We did have to stand in a pretty long line at the "expotique" but once the Nike folks opened the door, it moved right along. I got inside, got my number, and walked around the expo for a bit. I have a Nike+ system (although I've abandoned it for my new Garmn 305- yet to be named) and Nike+ users got a few perks. As a member, I had to test out some shoes and vote for a "power song" and then I was entered into a drawing for some diamond earrings from Tiffany's! At the shoe testing area, they also analyzed my gait, telling me that I severely overpronate on my left foot (you think? Let's talk about all of my problems due to my left foot). I also was told to NEVER buy the shoes that I was testing out as they'd make my problems worse. Hmmm..ok, thanks.

That night, Safeway was also sponsoring Ladies' Night at the expo so there were snacks and drinks. These guys were blending margaritas powered by the stationary bikes! It was kind of cool. I also got my iPod engraved for free with 'Run Like A Girl". I was pretty excited! After the expo, hubby and I went to Niketown (as there were NO retailers at the expo) and he bought me the race hoodie that I wanted! What a guy! Before heading home, we decided to grab some dinner at CPK. I haven't eaten there in ages and it was delicious.

On Friday, I had an appointment with my podiatrist. I know it was stupid to wait until two days before a race to see her but, 1) I was in denial that anything was wrong with me and 2) I kept forgetting to call for an appointment. Anyway, I went to see her and explained that when I ran the San Jose 1/2 Marathon, I felt like I was running on broken glass sometimes or, that the bone under my big toe was going to come through the skin at other times. She then asked if I was training for something and I half-mumbled that I was running the Nike Marathon in two days. She wasn't very happy with me but said that if I wanted to do it, it would hurt, a lot. I also could end up with a stress fracture in my sesamoids (Google them!). She did fix up the orthotic in my left shoe and prescribed me some 600 mg ibuprofen to take a few times a day. She wished me luck and told me that the next option for me would probably be custom orthotics. Great.

Saturday, hubby and I just sat around the house and I iced my foot. I took my medicine and tried to relax before the race. Tried is the operative word because I basically couldn't calm down. I was so worried about hurting my foot that I considered not doing the race at all. Then I thought about maybe just running the half marathon but I worried that the race organizers would not give me my medal or finishers t-shirt or that I'd get a DNF (did not finish) since I'd be on the half-marathon course with a full marathon bib. I was so stressed out, in fact, that I did not sleep at all the night before the race. Well, maybe I got 20 minutes but, seriously, that was it.

At midnight, I got up (because trying to sleep was making me angry) and I started messing around on my computer. I noticed that one of my twitter buddies, @bicoastalie (or Julianne) was supposed to run the full marathon but had been issued a half marathon number. I quickly tweeted her and told her that I would switch bibs with her. Then, I talked to hubby and told him I wasn't going to run the full marathon but that I'd try the half. He thought that was a good idea.

I tried to go back to bed but then I just decided to get up at 4:30 AM. I got dressed and sprayed some biofreeze on my foot. I toasted a bagel and the proceeded to freak out again. Hubby got up and I told him I needed to call my mom for a pep talk. Luckily, mom lives in another timezone so it wasn't 5:00 AM at her house. Mom told me that I should try the half and if my foot started hurting, I should stop. She said she'd buy me a Tiffany's necklace (the race medal for Nike) if it meant that much to me. I felt a little better after talking to her and decided that the half was all I could take today. If the race organizers wouldn't "let me" finish the half, then so be it.

Hubby and poochie drove me to Union Square and dropped me off. I walked up to the starting area and was FLOORED at the number of people I saw there. It was PACKED. I don't think I've ever seen that many people at the starting line of a race before. I made my way to my designated starting area and then realized I had twenty minutes before the race began so I started walking around to take everthing in. While I was wandering, I got a text message from...Julianne! She got her race number corrected but still had her old one- for the half marathon. I met up with her (and met her for the first time!) and she was sweet enough to give me the number. I was so relived because I knew that no one would make a fuss since I had the appropriate bib on- even if it wasn't my number!

Finally, the race was about to begin and I went back to my corral. I met a really nice lady named Mary who was walking the race. We chatted a little bit and it turned out that she lives a block from Tom Brady's (the quarterback for the New England Patriots) parents! I told her my hubby would be jealous! We made our way to the starting line and Mary wished me a good race and off I went!

Even though I "said" (on Twitter and Facebook anyway) that I was going to walk the half marathon, I started running, while still promising myself that I would pull back or walk if my foot started to hurt. We made our way from Union Square out to the Embarcadero. These first six or so miles were flat and I felt great! I did, however, have to weave in and out of so many people who were walking four or more people across. I agree with another racer who said, as we made our way up a hill, "Come on everyone, let's be courteous. Walkers to the right, runners to the left!" No one really listened though. Hmph.

After running past Crissy Field, I came to the first of many big hills. This hill is not new to me- I've run it many times but today, I decided to take it easy. I walked up part of the hill and then ran the rest. I probably would have had to do that anyway, considering, again, all of the walkers on the course. Then, unlike the SF Marathon course, the hill just kept going- there was NO BREAK anywhere. Along this portion of the course, there were so many cute signs that said things like, "Laugh Like A Girl." I took a picture of the sign that said, "Shop Like A Girl."

So, to add to the weirdness of this entire race experience, I also had to stop and use the bathroom. I have NEVER stopped in a race to use the bathroom- not even in the SF Full Marathon. Anyway, I stopped and got in line for a port-a-potty. The strange thing was that even though there was a line, other people kept walking in front of me! Eventually, I was in and out of the bathroom and ready to finish the race.

The uphill portion of the course finally ended and I approached a long, steep, downhill segment. We passed the Cliff House restaurant and there was a huge video screen showing the runners. I was like twelve feet tall! At the mile 10 marker, I called hubby to let him know he could make his way to the finish line as I'd be done soon.

Following the treacherous uphills and long, steep, downhills, the course made it's way into Golden Gate Park where volunteers were holding signs with motivational comments about why the race belonged to us. One said, "Because you gave up sleeping in on the weekends" and another said, "Because you've nursed countless blisters." I wanted to see one that said, "Because you have sesamoiditis and running this race might leave you with a debilitating foot problem but you said, 'To hell with it' and ran anyway!"

The full marathoners and half marathoners split up in Golden Gate Park and the half marathoners approached our last mile. Mile thirteen was deemed "the Chocolate Mile" because volunteers were passing out Ghiradelli squares to the racers. I was kind of underwhelmed- come on, if you name something "the Chocolate Mile," we should get something cooler than one lousy Ghiradelli square, but I digress.

Knowing that this was my last mile, I kicked it into gear and started sprinting towards the finish line. As I approached, though, I noticed that everyone was just...standing there. There was a huge backlog of runners trying to get their Tiffany boxes from the tuxedoed firefighters and the line extended past the finish timing mat, on to the course. I had to step around the line so I could officially finish and then get into the line to get my medal! I took a quick picture of one of the firemen but another racer stepped in the way. Oh well- I didn't think they were THAT hot...I'm married, go figure.

I made my way down the finishing chute and got my half marathon finisher's shirt. It's a really cute dri-fit Nike shirt! Then, I got some cereal from a volunteer, a bottle of water, my foil blanket (you know how I love those) and a reusable shopping bag with the marathon logo on it. I called hubby and he was waiting for me outside the finish area. We met up and he gave me a BIG hug and kiss. A photographer saw us and asked if she could take a picture of hubby putting my necklace on me. It was pretty cute- hopefully the pictures are good!

We headed home and I called my parents, letting them know that my meltdown was over and I'd finished the race and I felt great. Mom was happy to hear that but told me that I NEED to take a break and get my feet issues sorted out before I race again. I agreed with her.

Hubby and I got home and I took my ice bath. Today, it was strangely colder than usual and it was hard to stay in! After showering, we got some food and then, it was off to bed for me. I slept for a few hours and then woke up for dinner. Tonight, I dined on a vanilla cupcake and it was damn good!

After all of the stress I put myself through, I'm happy that I completed the half marathon and earned my Tiffany's necklace. Now, I am going to take a few weeks off from running and look into custom orthotics. I am hoping to race in the Kaiser Half Marathon on Superbowl Sunday with hubby. As for my actual second full marathon, we'll see...I may only be a half marathon girl.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

So Much To Say...

I will try to put together a Nike Women's Marathon recap tomorrow...there's A LOT to report on! For now though, enjoy a pic of me with my "medal" (TIFFANY'S NECKLACE!!). Until then...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ready to run!

It's race week!!! On Sunday, I'll be running marathon #2, the Nike Women's Marathon here in SF. Training could not have been any worse! As I've mentioned a few times, I've had shoe issues, injuries, and illness to work through. Nonetheless, I'm extremely excited for the race and am planning to really enjoy myself on the course.

Tomorrow, I'm going to the Nike Expotique to get my race number and timing chip. I also am planning to buy this hoodie! On Friday, I'm headed to the podiatrist to see if she can at least fix me up enough to get through the race.

Cross your fingers- the next time I blog will be my Nike race report!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

I Owe You Big Time- San Jose Rock and Roll 1/2 Marathon Report

For several months, I've been trying to muster up the energy to blog about my continued marathon training. Clearly, I have not succeeded- until today!

Since the SF Marathon at the end of July, I've been on a modified training program to prepare for the Nike Women's Marathon and the San Jose Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon. My runs have NOT been great and I've been really worried about my messed up feet. I know that I have a Morton's Nueroma (Morty, as I like to call him) and I've been struggling to find running shoes that work for me. I even had to scrap a twenty mile run because my shoes were causing me to have Achilles pain. Finally, though, I think I'm on the right track with the stability shoes and orthotics combo that I'm working with right now!

Now- on the SJ RnR! Hubby trained for this race with me- the first half that he's run. We were really excited to run this course as we knew that it was fast and, even better, FLAT! No crazy hills here!

On Saturday, we drove down to San Jose and checked into our hotel. We stayed at the Marriott downtown, which is connected to the Convention Center where to Expo was and, literally, was a block or two away from the start and finish lines. We went into the Expo and got our race numbers, t-shirts, and goodie bags. The race t-shirt is a technical running shirt- I love it! The rest of the Expo was decent, although there weren't very many booths. I guess the economy is impacting everything!

We grabbed some lunch at Gordon Biersch (our first time eating there! YUM!) and then walked around San Jose. It was a pretty nice day but I, as usual, was really cold so I made hubby continuously cross the streets when we approached shade. Finally, we came upon the San Jose City Hall that was bathed in sun! I made hubby stop and take several pictures just so I could warm up!

After heading out to an outlet mall for a few hours, we ordered pizza for dinner and then it was off to bed to get a good night's sleep before the race! We woke up on Sunday, feeling excited and ready to run. I then realised that I'd forgotten my body glide, which is something I use on my feet to prevent blisters. I decided to substitute deodorant (because it provides a barrier from moisture) and, in the end, it worked! Anyway, I was also excited because my fuel of choice, Sports Beans, now comes in an easy open, resealable pouch. I couldn't wait to try it out on the course!

Hubby and I made our way to the starting line and looked for our corral. Argh- there were so many people trying to get in, there was a line! I don't think everyone actually got into the corral before the race started- they were just herded onto the course after the gun went off. Other than that, it was a really smooth start. We did the usual dance of weaving between people, trying to establish a good pace and get around people walking four or five across- ugh.

We'd set a goal of finishing in two and a half hours and had the mile times on wristbands to keep us on track. At the first mile marker, we were pretty much on track. We stopped for a few minutes to stretch and then moved on. At around miles three, hubby had to stop and use the port-a-potty and told me to keep running. So I did...and I didn't see him again until the finish. AH! This happened to us in Phoenix and it did not end well. This set me up for major anxiety for the rest of the race.

I kept a great pace for several miles and then, it happened. No, not Morty- my neuroma. He didn't show up today. I actually developed a new injury. I had an incredible pain in the ball of my left foot, under my big toe. It literally felt like someone was stabbing me in the bottom of my foot. The pain wasn't persistent- it came and went- but it was intense. A few times, I slowed to a walk but it actually made the pain worse. More motivation to keep running, I guess!

Eventually, I found myself at mile marker 12! I was really excited because I was on pace to finish right at two and a half hours. I teared up a litte thinking about getting a Personal Record (PR). I was brought back to earth, though, when a saw a really young girl on the sidelines, being worked on by paramedics! She was wearing a sports bra and shorts so I assume she was a race participant. I never found out what happened to her but I hope she's ok!

Due to my hyped up emotional state and my foot pain, I decided to get the race over with as soon as possible and sprinted my last 1.1 mile. I crossed the finish line two minutes UNDER my goal. I was ecstatic...and tired! Suddenly, I remembered that hubby was still out on the course so I pretended like I couldn't hear the race officials directing finishers to different stations (water, medal, etc). I walked over to a barricade by some spectators and tried to blend in while I waited for hubby. Luckily, I didn't have to wait long and I watched hubby finish his first serious race just a few minutes later! I was so proud of him!

We then moved through the requisite stations, getting water, medals, a banana, and posing for a photo. We stretched a little and then walked (slowly) back to our hotel. After a quick ice bath and shower, we packed up and headed out.

After the race, we spent the afternoon in Palo Alto, eating at P.F. Chang's (NOM NOM) and getting cupcakes at Sprinkles!! The day was deemed perfect when hubby said, "So which race are we doing next?"

So, as my post-race bliss continues, I start to look forward to the Nike Women's Marathon in two weeks. I know it will be challenging due to all of my injury woes but, really, I'm just hoping to finish. I REALLY want a Tiffany's necklace (that's the race medal)...what? At least I'm honest.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

I'm Back!

Ten days ago, I posted about feeling blah after running my first marathon. Well, I think the clouds have opened up and I have, once again, seen the light- at least when it comes to running!

This week was a tough week. I worked some crazy late hours and did not manage to log many miles. I did, though, make it to two spinning classes- I forgot how fun- and HARD- those are! Nonetheless, I wasn't really mentally focused on running until I set out for a twelve miler today.

Hubby and I are training together for the San Jose Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon which is two weeks before Nike. Last week, hubby did a great job and powered through six miles. This week, nine miles were on tap for him- twelve for me. We decided that we'd run the nine and then I'd do a quick three on my own while he went home to check on our separation-anxiety-ridden dog. Ugh.

Our nine miles started with a pretty steep hill leading up to the Golden Gate Bridge. If you remember, I "destroyed" this hill during the SF Marathon. It was just as difficult to run today as it was on marathon day! Nonetheless, up we went. Then we approached the bridge. I was so excited for hubby to run the GG Bridge as he never has and it is, literally, my favorite place to run in the city. Today was a perfect day on the bridge too because it wasn't foggy and there was a nice breeze. Awesome!

After crossing the bridge, we headed down in Sausalito. In order to get there, you travel down some pretty steep hills. Not a big deal until you have to turn around and go back UP the hills unless you plan to swim back to San Francisco. Ugh- once we turned around to come back, these hills were BRUTAL. They were steep and long and seemed to never end. Clearly, though, they eventually did. Thank God!

After crossing the bridge back into San Francisco, hubby only had one more mile left before he completed his longest run ever! I, on the other hand, still had four to crank out. No worries. We finished the nine miles and I dropped hubby off at our car after giving him a high five. I kept going down the road until I finished my twelve miles.

Overall, I felt SO GOOD on this run. It reminded me that I am am really strong and powerful! I love to run. Also, the twelve mile distance reminded me that I love half-marathons. I am very excited for the San Jose half..mostly because it's flat!

Hopefully this fabulous run sets the tone for the upcoming week. I need a little positivity in my life these days! Oh and check out hubby's first ice bath. I especially like the outfit!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


It's been almost two whole weeks since I completed the SF Marathon and I have officially entered the marathon blues! I really just want to jump back hard core into training but I'm tired and have some dings here and there. I'm not sad, so to speak, just anxious to get moving again!!

Over the weekend, hubby and I embarked on a slow and easy seven miler. I looked at my training routes from the SFM training program and, strangely, found one that I had not run. Huh. It began near my house, and was (apparently) supposed to take us along a nice, flat route down Haight street and then back into Golden Gate Park. We started down Haight and it was early enough that there weren't any crowds of tourists or hitchhikers. After some time, we hit Market street and turned around to head back. So- I don't know if the elevation chart I had looked at was incorrect or if I just can't read but a significant portion of this route was directly UPHILL. Poor hubby- his first long run and I put him through this!

After battling the hills, we made it back into Golden Gate Park and I thought I was going to lose hubby. He was concerned about his ability to complete a half marathon (we are running SJ RnR in October). I reminded him that this was his FIRST long run- EVER and he was doing great!

As we were about to complete our run, we came to an intersection where we had to stop and wait for a red light. A man decided to just mozy his way into the street, stopping traffic. Then, he stopped in the road, pulled out an issue of Playboy, and held up the centerfold for all to see. Man, only in San Francisco.

We finished our run and headed home. I was so happy to be out running a longer distance, although I was pretty tired at the end.

Last week, I also discovered, through the help of some great salespeople at a local running store, that I have been running in exactly the opposite shoes that I should be running in, taking into account my "issues" (like Morty!). I dropped a significant amount of money on some new kicks and orthotics. I've been walking my dog in them and took them out for a 2 mile trot the other day. We'll see if they can help banish Morty for good!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Let's Do This...

I figured that I've delayed this post long enough. It is now time to talk about...


So, anyone who is my Facebook or Twitter friend knows that, at minimum, I finished the entire 26.2 miles AND, I finished it the same day I began- which, in all seriousness, what pretty much my goal :o). Check.

My marathon training coach, Greg, gave us a pep talk the week before, reminding us that we were well trained for the race and that all of the hard work was behind us. Hmm...sounds like something I would normally buy in to, although, I was still skeptical. Traveling 26.2 miles still sounded like a lot of work! Anyway, after that last (bittersweet) group training run, my pace group (now formally known as Jackie's Pack) toasted our hard work with mimosas! This was, in fact, my first drink in quite some time. Yikes.

So, on to race week. My nerves were starting to go into overdrive on Thursday or so. Some of my most inspirational bloggers/runners/tweeters, @Marathonmaritza, @Hellasound, @TML26, @chicrunner, @bicoastalite, and @runnersrambles gave me awesome advice and helped me chill- a little. I wanted to go to the race expo on Friday but couldn't sneak out of work. So, hubby and I packed up our poochie and headed to the expo first thing Saturday morning. This is a pic of poochie and I in the car, getting ready to go to the expo!

So, although I'm new(ish) to running, I am a first class nerd when it comes to running gear. Going in to a race expo is like setting me loose at the Diet Coke factory- meaning, I go bananas!! I LOVE gear! I love free samples! I was so psyched. The only thing that kept me in check was the fact that hubby and poochie were taking a walk outside while I "did a quick walk through" (that's what I told hubby was my intention- he knew better).

I checked in for the race and picked up my goodie bag, packet, and race shirt. I was sort of bummed out because when I registered for the race, I was significantly larger than I am now so I ordered a larger shirt. I asked if I could get a smaller shirt but they didn't have any extra. Oh well, now I know! I started walking through the expo and was, strangely, underwhelmed by the various stands. I wasn't interested in buying sunglasses or signing up for another marathon so I bypassed a number of them.

What I was looking for, however, was the RECOVERY SOCKS stand! Really, all I wanted was a hot pink pair of recovery socks like the ones I had seen on another blogger's site. So, I got them and a free pair or running socks and a headband to boot! YES!! Later, I developed a super hero costume with said socks and headband. Check out the pics! I also picked up a Tiger Tail massage stick as I'd been coveting one since I started training.

Fast forward to that night. Everyone told me, with a high level of certainty, that I WOULD NOT sleep the night before the marathon. Huh...I slept so well!! Maybe I have some kind of marathon induced malfunction? Anyway, I went to bed at 8:30 PM and didn't wake up until my alarm went off at 4:00 AM. Ugh.

My pace group buddy, J was so sweet and asked her roommate to pick me up and take the two of us to the starting line. That was a lot better option than taking public transportation at the crack of dawn. Before they arrived, I ate an English muffin and some oatmeal with peanut butter. YUM-O! Then, J got to my place and it was off to the races!

Since we are part of the SF Marathon "official" training program, we were granted access to a VIP tent where we could store our gear, meet up with fellow runners, grab some Cytomax, and stretch. There was even a bouncer checking our names off of "the list!"We met up with the rest of "the pack" and took loads of pictures. Then, J an I made our way to the hellacious porta potty lines. Lucky J, she chose a fast moving line while mine took FOREVER. Oh well. Then, it was off to the starting line!!

As we were getting ready for our wave start time, one of my fellow pack members, S, LOST HIS CONTACT! Well, actually, we know exactly where it fell on the ground but he couldn't just pick it up and put it back in his eye so, he ran the entire marathon with one contact! This made for some entertaining moments when S couldn't really see what was going on. Eventually, though, he commented that maybe he could save half of his money and only buy contacts for one eye from now on! Good luck with that S!

So, the race began and we were successful in NOT getting swept away by the huge rush of people who went out of the starting area too fast. We kept our (slow) pace and I'm really glad we did. We stopped and stretched at the water stop at about mile 2.5 and then, we met our first hill. When we were training for the race, the coaches and pacers told us that this hill was where we found out who 1) trained in SF or 2) came from a flat state like Iowa. As we made our way up, we saw that most of the people around us slowed to a walk. We then (silently and humbly) thanked our coach C, who consistently made us run hills :o)!

After another few miles and another (steep) hill (that we destroyed, by the way), we made our way across the Golden Gate Bridge. Sadly, it was so foggy that we couldn't see the awesome view that I've learned to love so much while running across the bridge. We kept a steady pace and made out way across and back. Here's a pic from the water stop!

Coming off of the bridge, we had another steady climb and then a long, steep, downhill that would destroy your quads if you weren't careful. I was happy to see my friend, C, who had started the SF Marathon training program and then, sadly, got injured. I guess she kept on going and ended up running the half. Nice work girl! I also saw a woman who had a shirt that said "60 and still running" or something to that effect. I tapped her on the shoulder and said 'Go girl!"

I started to get really excited as we approached Golden Gate Park because I had told my friends that that was a good place to see me run, if they wanted to. As I came up to the park entrance, I saw my friends S and V and then, further down the road, B and B! I hugged them all, disregarding the fact that I probably smelled like a compost bin! B and B made me huge posters too that they were waving. I was so excited and it really helped me keep going!

In Golden Gate Park, we passed the half way point and I felt so great. I even asked my running buddies if they thought we could get a negative split (that means we'd run the second half faster than the first). Soon thereafter, though, the sun came out, my knees started to ache, and Morty (remember him?) came out to play. Ugh. I took some Tylenol and hoped for the best. As we continued through the park (the park seriously went on forever), I saw B and B again, this time with my friend F, on his bike. I have the best friends ever!

At mile 19, hubby was waiting for me to accompany me to the finish. I was still doing pretty good and thought I could finish the race in a reasonable amount of time. Well, I thought wrong. All of those stories and fables about the final six miles of the marathon, hitting the wall, and so on...ARE TRUE! Miles 20 through 26 were brutal. It was hot, the race course was desperately boring, and I just couldn't take it. Hubby and I walked a good portion of these miles and stopped to stretch every few blocks. Seriously, had hubby not been there, I may have considered just stopping!!

Finally, we saw mile marker 25 and I began to feel a renewed sense of excitement. Soon, we could see mile maker 26 and I just about jumped out of my skin. Hubby jumped off of the course and I literally sprinted to the finish line. As I crossed, I ALMOST started to cry but then I got wrapped up in the flow of getting a water bottle thrust into my hand, getting my medal, having my picture snapped, and getting my foil blanket. I found hubby again and we made our way over to the VIP tent. I had separated from "the pack" over the course of the race and I wanted to see how everyone had done. I also just wanted to get my SHOES OFF!!

Eventually, I found my buddy, J and we snapped a quick picture. I also saw S who was able to finish, one contact and all! After changing my shirt and putting on my awesome Recovery Socks, all I wanted to do was get home to my ice bath and some food. We grabbed a cab and headed home.

The rest of the day was pretty boring except that I took a nap and refused to take of my medal. I also wore my medal in my ice bath. I earned it!! I also found that marathons make you lose your mind because although I don't eat red meat, I really wanted a cheeseburger. So, hubby braved the traffic and drove me to In 'n Out. He's a good one, I tell you!

I was pretty sore on Monday and Tuesday and felt much better on Wednesday. Today, Thursday, I ventured out for my first post-race run, a short 2 miler. It was great to pound the pavement again.

Running this marathon has made me so excited for the San Jose Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon and the Nike Women's Marathon, both in October. I know, I know, how quickly I forget the pain and agony of those last 6 miles...

So, now I begin a new journey- Marathon #2 and 1/2 Marathon #5. Let's do this!

Monday, July 27, 2009

That's it? That's it...that's the melody to Funky Town!

So, as you know if you've read any of this blog, I trained for several long months to run the San Francisco Marathon. Well, this weekend, I did the darn thing. I'm still trying to get myself together to really figure out how to explain it all. Until then, please enjoy this excellent clip from a show that I NEVER watch, but frequently quote:

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I work in a field that requires me to offers me many opportunities to self reflect. Sometimes, it's a welcomed opportunity while other times, it's simply something to endure until lunch time or 5:00 PM, which ever comes first.

Today, I was asked to reflect on where I am from. Unfortunately, this opportunity for reflection came after an emotionally draining training session. What followed was a very raw and real experience during which I discovered some "disconnect" (a word that is desperately overused in my field) between who I am and who I think I am.

Confused? Let me get to how this pertains to this blog. Over the past thirty few years, I've been a person who has been defined (by me and, let's face it by others) as an overweight person or as a person trying to lose weight. Now, I'm finding myself in an exciting position as I've reached my weight goal and now, I'm needed to shift my perception of myself to include a healthy person who is maintaining her weight. This is extremely tough! I have no idea how to operate in the world as a person who is not, for lack of a better term, on a diet. Further, I don't know how to be a person who is satisfied, or, even better, happy, with her weight!

So, this week, I weighed in at Weight Watchers to see how my first week on "maintenance" went. I lost .4 pounds and was really struggling because I found myself to be disappointed. I secretly hoped to see a bigger loss, even though that's not where I'm at anymore!

I guess I really don't know what else to say about this except that I know a big part of moving towards a new self-image is to allow myself the same level of care that I'd give a friend in this situation. I wouldn't tell a friend who's met her weight goal that she should be disappointed in herself. I'd tell her to celebrate her successes and give herself some props!

So, I'm on a new journey and it's going to be difficult but, at least my workplace
makes me gives me the opportunity to have these "ah ha" moments. ;o).

Friday, July 17, 2009


Wow- there's so much to talk about in this post! Hopefully I can get it all in.

First, last night, hubby and I participated in the Sunset Run. A local Fleet Feet store sponsored this run to benefit a running program for the Oakland School District. For a couple dollars, we got to run five miles (I know, running is free, right??) BUT we also got really sweet Nike running shirts and we were entered into some drawings for great prizes. Although we sadly didn't win anything in the raffle, hubby and I both ran our fastest five miles, EVER. Our friend, A. came with us and for some reason, that was enough motivation to make me move my @$$ a little faster. I also got to meet fellow blogger, John from Slow MoFo. I wanted to meet Tara from On the GO! and MarathonMaritza but the run started and off we went. Hopefully I will get to meet these cool and inspirational runners/bloggers soon!

So- let's get to the real news. After almost three years of following the Weight Watchers program, this morning, I hit my goal weight (and, actually, I am .8 pounds UNDER my goal weight)! YAHOO!!!! Although I've been really close to my goal for a while, I didn't really know how it would feel to reach it. Trust me, it feels amazing.

Insert weight loss/gain background here:
I graduated from college in 2000 and I was quite heavy. I hit the beer and the pizza one too many nights and it definitely took it's toll. Promptly, I gained more weight because I lived alone and had zero cooking skills. In turn, I ate a lot of fast food and breakfast generally consisted of a few donuts on my way to work. Eventually, I weighed 265 pounds. The picture here is me at about 250, I think.

Around that time, the Atkins diet was gaining popularity and some of my coworkers were on it. I decided to try it (all the bacon you can eat? Yes please! Well, actually not anymore- I don't really eat meat!). That diet worked for me and I lost about 110 pounds. In this picture, I'm about 150 (also, it's Halloween and I was a Charlie's Angel- or something like that).

Ooh ooh, I bet you can guess what happened next!! Atkins is a DIET. That means that you eventually go off of the DIET and got back to REAL LIFE. Well, in real life, I still didn't know how to control my portions or prepare my own meals. Yikes. Also, I started dating my now hubby and most of our meals were, of course, eaten out! Eventually we got married, moved to SF, and I found myself at 214 pounds. This picture is from my very first staff retreat and my weight was around 210.

At that time, I worked with my good friend B. and we had these deep conversations about making change in our lives. After some thought, we decided to join Weight Watchers. So, in September 2006, we went to our first meeting and joined. I found the meetings to be very inspirational and I learned a lot of great things. After the first year, though my weight loss slowed WAY DOWN and I got discouraged. Then, I had a tragic string of events happen to me. My niece was killed in a car accident, my friend B and I got attacked by a women with a handgun, my mom had to have brain surgery, and my dad got sick! All of those things took a huge toll on me and I wound up gaining a little weight back.

It all turned around, though, when I started running- and, as you know, this blog has chronicled most of that journey. I've found an activity that helps me keep the weight off and that I really enjoy. It's a perfect fit for me!

As an indicator of hitting my goal, I got this star to put on my WW key chain. For those of you that aren't familiar with WW, when you lose 10% of your weight, you get a key chain. Then you get small charms for various milestones that you hit. I have a 16 week Stay and Succeed charm, a 25 pounds lost charm, a fifty pounds lost charm, and now, a star. I love my key chain, although, strangely, I don't carry keys!! All of my work and house doors open with a card swipe- like a hotel! The other picture is me- today- literally, like five minutes ago!

So- after losing 65 POUNDS, it's time to start maintenance. I'm honestly pretty terrified because I've NEVER EVER EVER been in a place when I wasn't trying to lose weight- except for the donut era post-college. I know that I've learned a lot of things about myself and about weight control and I'm sure I'll be fine. In fact, I'm sure I'll be better than fine- I'll be awesome!

Oh- and next week, I get to try for my next goal- finishing the San Francisco Marathon. Hopefully it doesn't take me three years ;o).

Monday, July 13, 2009

I'm Not The Only One

I was so excited to learn about this study out of the UK. Basically, researchers found the when people are in pain, swearing helps them endure it longer than people who don't swear.

Why am I so excited? Because this study proves that I'm not alone when I blurt out colorful strings of inappropriate words, especially when I take my post-run ice baths. Sometimes, I get really creative with my curse words. Sometimes I turn innocent words into curse words! For example, while in a particularly cold ice bath about a month ago, I started in with my usual @#$?& and *$@&!^ and then turned to some commercial jingles. Specifically, I started screaming "la la la la la la la la TJ Max!" Not sure why- it just seemed to be the thing to do.

So- if you find yourself in pain or discomfort, try a curse word or two. They f-ing help.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Marlene Is Celebrating Her 500th Post- Check Out Her Giveaway!

Marlene is celebrating her 500th post- check out her awesome giveaway!
Happy 500th Marlene!

Mission to a(nother) Marathon: Giveaway!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Mission To The Moon

In this post, I mentioned that Hubby and I were going to travel to Colorado for the 4th of July weekend. While we were there, we ran a four mile Liberty Run. Having never run in Colorado, I speculated that running in the "mile high city" may be akin to running on the moon (due to the thin air and lack of oxygen).

The run was scheduled to begin at 8:00 AM on Saturday, the 4th. We were visiting my parents and staying at their house so we enlisted my mom to come and cheer for us (and we needed to use her vehicle!). My bff also came to watch us as well. We have fans! Anyway, while on the way to the race, we inevitably got lost. Hubby and I have a knack for ending up lost- a lot. So, I got frustrated- I also have a knack for that- and demanded that Hubby use his fancy iPhone to get us unlost. He did- good job Hubby!

We made it to the race and checked in. I was really excited about this race because it was the first race in the United States that did not use paper cups at the water stops. Instead, included in our race fee, we were given a HydraPouch. You clip to your shorts and then fill it up at water stops. It's far easier to drink from than a paper cup- no spilling half of the water or sports drink down your shirt!

The weather was really nice at the beginning of the race but I could tell it was going to get hot. We started at a nice, steady pace but, soon, I could feel the impact of the altitude. I could hear hubby breathing harder than usual and was able to gasp, "It's hard to breathe, huh?" He said, "Uh yeah." We carried on in silence and, eventually, it got much easier to breathe. Soon, Hubby had to stop at the porta-potty so I ran on without him.

Although it was only a four mile race, I still played a few games to get me through it. I chose people in front of me that I wanted to pass. I got especially fired up when a race walker was ahead of me. I thought, "I HAVE to beat the race walker!" So, I did.

I continued running and realized that my husband had not caught up with me yet. I started to get a little worried that he'd maybe thrown in the towel due to the altitude. As I was coming around a corner directly before the finish line, I looked over my shoulder and I saw him! I yelled, "Good job!" and he waved me to keep going. I sped up and finished and he crossed a few seconds behind me. We were both extremely happy that we finished and maintained a great pace- for us, anyway!

After the race, my parents, my bff, my sister and brother-in-law (who were also visiting from Texas) and Hubby and I went out to breakfast. That night, we went to the Colorado Rockies baseball game- they lost *hmph*- but we saw some AWESOME fireworks. Check out the pictures! I wonder if they saw them from the moon...

Giveaway At Nikes and Ponytails

Here's a yummy snack giveaway over at Nikes and Ponytails! Check it out here!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Clean It Up

If you've followed my twitter or facebook status updates, you may have seen that hubby and I started getting Farm Fresh To You produce delivery. Farm Fresh To You is a company that delivers organic, and local produce to customers on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis. You can check out the website here .

I knew about FFTY through the University that I work for but didn't really consider it for my household until I read the book Harvest For Hope by Jane Goodall. Without launching into a full on book report, the book talks about the global crisis that is taking place because of factory farming. One of the things that will help address this problem is if people purchase food that is locally available to them, especially from small, independent farmers.

So, we got our first delivery on Tuesday and we received bell peppers, oranges, basil, cherries, blueberries, carrots, and a head of lettuce. We've been cooking some great, organic meals with our vegetables and we've thouroughly enjoyed the fruit for breakfast and dessert. I did have a sad moment when I put together a pesto sauce using the basil in order to freeze it for later use. Having never made pesto, I may have burned the pine nuts. I threw everything in the food processor anyway and now I think it's ruined! I guess I'll find out when I thaw it out to use it.

Overall, I'm so pleased that hubby and I have taken this step to clean up our diets and, at the same time, helping to clean up the planet.

On a running note, hubby and I ran a little over five miles today. I managed to forget my watch and my iPod with Nike+ died around the 2 mile mark so I was completely unware of our time. It was kind of nice to just relax with my thoughts and run without worrying about my time or pace. Certainly, I'm too much of a control freak to ever do this on purpose, though!

Hubby and I are off to Colorado for the 4th of July where we'll run a four mile race. Let's hope that we don't completely die from the altitude. Compared to SF, running in Colorado may be a little bit like running on the moon. We'll see...

Monday, June 29, 2009

A Contest Over At

Are you desperate for some new running gear? Check out this contest:

Chicrunner is giving away a $75.00 Zensah prize pack. Click here for the link. You can check out the Zensah website here. Good luck and Happy Monday!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Morty and the Big 2-0

Yesterday marked the BIG 2-0 for me! No, I didn't turn 20 (although my birthday is just a few short months away), but I did complete my twenty mile training run. Not only did I make it through twenty miles, I did so on one of the hottest days of the year in San Francisco. Holy moly!

My training group generally meets at 8:00 AM and we start our runs shortly thereafter. On this day, however, we were joined by our counterparts from the SF Marathon Training Program-East Bay, so it took a little longer to get everyone organized into pace groups. The coaches also wanted to simulate the start of the actual marathon so they lined us up by pace- my group was near the back- and released us in waves. With all of this circus, my group didn't leave until close to 9:00 AM.

We ran the majority of the actual SF Marathon course, minus a few miles on the Golden Gate Bridge and a few miles in Golden Gate Park. We ran our first seven or so miles on the Embarcadero. It's always pretty out by the water but on Saturdays, they have a farmer's market at the Ferry Building which leads to lots of weaving in and out of crowds. To make matters worse, Warped Tour was held near the Embarcadero at the same time as our run as well. I've never seen so many hipster kids in the same place, at the same (early in the morning ) time.

We reached Fisherman's Wharf and then the sun really started to beat down on us. I could tell that this run was not going to be easy- AT ALL. Looking out at the Golden Gate Bridge was a little trippy because, although it was so sunny and clear where we were, the bridge was COVERED in fog. I didn't have the energy to stop and snap a picture though- ugh. We finally made it to our first water stop before making the climb up to the bridge.

Miles seven through twelve took us up and partially across the Golden Gate Bridge, and then up a semi-steep hill. Around mile 13, I literally started to go a little crazy. I am pretty sure that the heat was really getting to me. I took a short walk break and ate some sports beans. This seemed to help a little bit.

At this point, I think I need to explain who "Morty" from my entry title refers to. When I first started my training program, the toes on my left foot often would go numb while I was running, and then the ball of my foot would start to burn. I went to a podiatrist who diagnosed me with a "morton's neuroma." Basically, there's a nerve between two of my toes that swells up and causes the numbness and burning. It also causes me to feel like there's a marble in my shoe. When I went to the podiatrist, she injected my foot with cortisone which seemed to take care of the problem. Well, yesterday, "Morty," as I like to call it, reared his ugly head. A few miles into the run, I started to feel the numbness creeping into my foot. Ugh. Later, the burning started and then the marble. Awesome.

We got into Golden Gate Park and my pacer and I stopped at a bathroom. I crouched down and then, on my way back up, got dizzy. My pacer saw that I was light headed and she mentioned that she'd gotten the spins as well. We were really going to have to work together to get through the rest of this run.

We took several walking breaks during the last five miles of the course, trying to run in the non-existent shade. A few blocks away from the finish, we spotted one of our group members who had run ahead. The three of us powered on until the finish came into view. Suddenly, we all managed to build up a burst of speed and we raced to the end! We'd done it! We completed twenty miles in a freaking inferno!!

Our start and finish spot was a local sporting equipment store. When we got inside, we basically planted ourselves on the floor of the store- who cares if people were trying to shop! Poor shoppers! I collected my stuff, and my thoughts and walked, in my socks, to my car. On the way home, I was still trying to figure out what had just happened. I really couldn't believe that I'd run twenty miles.

I was kind of concerned on my drive home because my hubby was texting me messages like, "are you on your way home yet?" and "are you almost here?" I was certain that something had happened to him, or to our dog! Well, in reality, nothing had happened. Hubby and our poochie were waiting outside in the parking area for me with a cute sign that said, "Way to go Mama!" Check out the picture!

I'm happy to report that several weeks ago, I anticipated that Morty would return so I made an appointment with my podiatrist. The earliest she could see me is Monday- tomorrow! So, hopefully on marathon day, Morty will stay home!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Book Review- Marathoning For Mortals

My Latest Read
When I start something, I get SOOO into it. Since I've been training for my two marathons, I've just been ravenously reading running blogs, websites, magazines, and books. My latest read was Marathoning For Mortals, by John Bingham and Jenny Hadfield.

Initially, I was drawn to this book because I'd heard John "The Penguin" Bingham speak at the Team in Training pre-race dinner when I participated in the San Diego Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon. He was such a great motivator, and extremely funny. Further, he was realistic. He talked about what it's like to spend five or more hours on the racecourse. He even quoted a fellow runner who said he thought that the slower runners and walkers were the real champions because they have the mental where-with-all to withstand that much time on their feet.

I picked up the book on a recent shopping binge at my favorite sports store, Sports Basement and started reading it that same day. The book includes chapters on Deciding to Train, Choosing a Training Program, Injury Prevention, Nutrition, Gear, Race Strategy, Goals, and Objectives, and The Post Race Party. It also includes a self-assessment so potential marathoners can determine if they are prepared to walk a full or a half, walk/run, or run/walk either distance, or run either distance. Finally, there are eight training plans included!

This books was a fun read. Both John and Jenny contribute not only content but also their voice to the book. John is very clearly a reformed couch potato and speaks from that perspective while Jenny lends more coaching advice. I found the book to be a quick read as well.

My only issue with this book, and it's pretty minor, is that it seems to be intended for people who are only now considering training for a race, or even considering running for the first time. The book even states that the authors want readers to complete the book first and begin a training program only after they've finished. In this sense, it wasn't as helpful for me because I've been training since January and will run a 20 miler in two days!!

I did find the chapter on setting goals and objectives for your training plan, but also for the race itself. The authors also caution that runners and walkers often need to rework their goals and objectives during a race- and sometimes minute by minute. That was good information for me as I tend to be pretty rigid in my goal setting and get disappointed when I can't fulfill them- even if the environment or circumstances prohibit it!

On the whole, anyone who is looking for motivation to start a training program, anyone looking for advice on gear, nutrition, cross training, or anyone brand new to running should pick up this book. If you've been running for a while and are well into a training program, you can probably skip it- or just borrow it from me!

Happy reading- and running!