Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Pawn shops and fingerprint dust

I spent today slogging around the area to pawn shops, jewelry and watch shops, anywhere I could think of with a list of my stuff in case anything gets pawned. And you have no idea how hard it is to clean up fingerprint dust. That stuff really seems to stick to things and I keep finding it when I touch things. I just opened my desk and voila! Black fingers! and somehow I've lost some really important paperwork that I should have filed and apparently didn't because it's not where it's supposed to be. I tore the house apart looking for it and when I was done the house looked almost as bad as it did after the break in. I probably threw it away.

I started the list for the insurance company and that's a wonderfully depressing task. I asked the adjuster just how I was supposed to put a value on something I've had for 20 plus years. She told me to just give it my best guess. It doesn't matter anyway because I'm not getting much back. Oh well-note to self-if I ever get nice stuff again, keep the receipt. And get a rider on the insurance policy to cover it.

I'm just in a horrible funky mood right now and I hope a good run tomorrow cures it. I ran 7 miles yesterday-barely. I think I just didn't eat enough to fuel the run and I ended up walking a lot of the last 2 miles. Tomorrow's run will be better-I can feel it and I'm really eager to get out there and just run.

I planned a funny little post regarding a comment left by my friend Bosco but I just don't have it in me right now. Maybe tomorrow after I run I will be back to my usual satirical, humorous self. This self indulgent pity party I'm throwing is getting old. If I had a friend acting like this I would tell her to get over herself and snap out of it. I think I need to take my own advice.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A better day

Thanks, guys, for all your kind words and commiseration. Laurel, your comment in particular about the treadmill did give me a chuckle, especially since I tried running on it last night without a tv to watch and it sucked like a Hoover. And Bruce, I'm sorry you had to go throught this as well. I managed to work on my list of stolen stuff without crying last night even though I had to add some stuff. I'm trying to figure out how to put a value on it-I don't remember what I paid for most of it, and I really don't know what it's worth. I know what it's worth to me, I just don't know what it's worth to the insurance company.

I'm trying really hard to be positive. They didn't take Garmie, and I had 2 runs in him that I haven't downloaded yet, so that's a good thing. They didn't take my race medals or the notebook with my race bibs and pictures. So we can surmise that the bottom feeding cretin is not a runner.

The very good news is I had a Dr appointment yesterday and I asked the doc if there was any reason, based on my medical history that I shouldn't run a marathon in December. He said "I think that's a brilliant idea!" And he wasn't being sarcastic! He's a cyclist so he gets what running means to me. We talked about my training plan and dealing with longer runs and he was very positive.

so, faithful readers-time to move forward. I'll do what I can to stay safe and keep the wolves away from my door; the loss I've suffered is only stuff. It was important, valuable stuff but just stuff none the less. I hope whoever gets it takes care of it and realizes its value.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Theft

I wish I could post something today along my more usual lines-something that's more in line with my weird sense of humor. After what happened yesterday, however, I won't be smiling or cracking jokes for a while.

Our house was broken in to yesterday while we were out doing some post holiday shopping. We came home in the late afternoon to discover our sliding glass door was shattered and the house was trashed. They took a lot of stuff; some pretty valuable, some just junky stuff we had lying around. They even took the time to clean out Hubby's small change stash that he uses to get a gallon of gas for the lawn mower-maybe 10 bucks in quarters.

They took my whole jewelry box. I had some pretty good pieces and lots of cheap costume jewelry. It's not the value of the stuff that makes me sad as much as the sentimental meaning behind it-most of it was things Hubby has given me over the years. There was a small pearl ring that can't be worth much, but it was the first piece of jewelry he gave me and it's gone.

These bottom feeding cretins didn't just steal my stuff; they stole my sense of security. Now I have to shop for an alarm system for the house and I have to keep the doors locked when I'm home alone and we'll probably lock the doors even when we're both here. I knew there was crime in my little town, I just never expected to get hit myself. I suppose that's pretty naive of me-I'm just as likely to be robbed as the next guy.

The jerks took a lot of stuff that just isn't replaceable. I truly wish they had taken the tv and the computer and the dvd player; I can replace that. I can't replace the victorian sapphire ring I bought in London almost 10 years ago.

I had planned a 4 mile run today but instead I will be talking to insurance people and visiting pawn shops and coin shops in the area and giving them lists of stuff just in case my things happen to show up. And running on the treadmill is going to suck until I can replace the small tv in my bedroom-they took that too. I know I should be as positive as possible-nobody was hurt; they could have trashed the house worse; they could have set the house on fire or something. It's hard to have a positive attitude after something like this.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I'm back!

I did an easy 5 miler out doors today and it felt wonderful! I loved every step. Well, at least my mind enjoyed every step-my body complained the whole way, as in "What the...I thought we were done with this whole ridiculous I'm going to be a runner thing. You let me sleep in, eat pie and sugar cookies, sit around the house like a slug for a whole week and now you expect me to start running again?" Why yes, I do indeed expect you to start running again.

I wonder what my body will say when it finds out it's going to train for and run a marathon next year?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Running hiatus is over!

My running vacation is over. I ran 4 miles today on the treadmill and I can't believe I'm saying this, but it felt really good-a run on the deadmill? Good?? Go figure!

I wanted to run outdoors today, but I stuck my nose out the door, felt the cold in the air, saw the frost on the lawn, and decided that an indoor run was in order. It was 43 degrees at 8:30 this morning! That's horribly, awfully, nastily freezing cold!

Now that all my faithful readers from the east coast and Canada have finished laughing their butts off, remember-this is California, and not even northern California where I believe the white stuff actually falls occasionally. You have to make an adjustment to calculate cold weather here-I call it the California chill factor. After living here for 45 years, I have come up with a highly technical mathematical calculation that clearly shows that in California, if the thermometer says 50 degrees, for a person who has lived here more than 10 years that actually feels like 25 degrees. So making adjustments for the fact that I have lived here so long, and the temperature was 43 degrees, the California chill factor was 19 degrees.

Now, those of you who live in colder climes would certainly not run in 19 degree weather, would you? I thought not. So stop laughing!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Be a child tomorrow

It's almost Christmas! My shopping is done-barely; I finished yesterday. I will be baking pies and tidying up the old homestead today, and waging war yet again with the ants who have decided that my kitchen is their new winter home. If I could find a roll of very, very tiny razor wire I'd put it up.

So, faithful readers, how do we celebrate Christmas? I propose that tomorrow we celebrate it like children. Not the perfect, well dressed and mannerly children we see on Christmas cards, but like we did when you and I were actually kids. Let's sing Jingle Bells as loud as possible with the Batman lyrics. Let's be horribly ungrateful for practical gifts like socks and sweaters and barely mumble "thanks" when we get them (unless, of course, they're very nice running socks!). I intend to pile as many ribbons as possible on top of my head and see if I can walk around the room, runway model style. I'm going to play with the boxes as much as I play with the toys. I'll insist on pumpkin pie for breakfast and I will squirt the whipped cream straight into my mouth and then show it to Hubby. I think that we should all, at least once, be a silly, ridiculous, over the top funny kid tomorrow. Consider it a Christmas present to yourself! And best of all, if you can possible manage it, run like you did when you were 10 years old. Leave the Garmin and the Ipod at home and just run. Don't think of anything but how good it feels to just run. Try to run as fast as you possibly can and imagine that you're racing with your best friend. It may be the best gift you give yourself. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Hubby is a genius!

My blog is fixed! Hubby, brilliant man that he is, fixed it for me-open a couple of windows, left click here, right click there, and voila! I'm back, baby!

So-as mentioned before, not much going on running wise, as I'm taking a couple of days off. I did a "30-30' yesterday-30 minutes on the ellipticall, followed by 30 minutes at a very slow pace on the deadmill. I really noticed the elliptical-I had sore muscles that I usually never get from running.

So, faithful readers, lets talk about some random, totally un-running related subjects:

Bruce-what the heck is up with your weather in Vegas? I saw the pictures on line and you guys had snow! Just how often does that happen?

I also heard that Drew Peterson, the "gentleman" with various missing and deceased wives, is currently engaged. So my question is not about him but rather about the lady that is his betrothed? I wonder what her thinking is-"Gosh, one wife died under highly suspicious circumstances, the other is missing; but he seems so nice...

Well, folks, that's all I have to ponder. Discuss among yourselves!!

I hate computers!

I haven't been able to access my blog for a couple of days and discovered it's my computer. I'm on a different computer; I'll try to fix the problem so I can stay in contact. I'm technologically challenged so I may have to move to a new blog sight if I can't figure out the problem. Anyway, not much going on running wise; I'm taking a few days off and using the elliptical to keep up the cardio. So for now, Merry Christmas and everyone have a happy holiday!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

1000 Miles-DONE!

I ran 5 miles today, and have now officially logged 1000 miles for the year-1000.5 to be exact. It was a freezing cold run, around 40 degrees, and very windy, but I didn't want to do it on the deadmill-it just seemed right to make this a real, outside run. Even with gloves and my warmest gear, I never felt warm-the wind was the worst of the run. But I did it and I'm currently celebrating with a nice glass of wine and a warm fire-woohoo for me!

Monday, December 15, 2008

I survived!

Well, I survived the weekend-the wedding, birthday party, Christmas party-I made it through it all, but I didn't run all weekend. My legs were really shot after the 10 miler on Friday; I'm thinking the hills did me in, even though I walked up them. So today I really needed a run. It's raining and I decided to wait for a window of opportunity between showers, and I managed to fit in an easy 4 miler. It started raining again just as I was walking up the drive to my house-how's that for good timing!

I'm glad I did 4 miles-that brings my total miles for 2008 up to 995 miles! Just a simple little 5 miler and I will reach my goal of 1000 miles for the year. I'll do that this week; I'm going to run my regular schedule, then I'll probably take a few days off from running. I need a break-I think I'll use the elliptical for a few days for a change of pace.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Rewards

Today, on a whim I decided to take a different route for my 10 miler and check out the new pavement on a formerly dirt road. My original plan was to do a 4 mile loop down the new road and then turn back to my usual running neighborhood. However, somewhere around mile 3 that changed. I've always looked up the side streets on this particular road, trying to figure out if one of them will lead me to the top of the mesa. I think that several roads will get there, but they all involve really big, scary, long hills and they've always intimidated me.

I noticed a side street that didn't look too scary and I thought, "why not"? If there are hills and they're too big, I can always walk up them. So I turned left and started up. I continued to climb gradually on a very nice, wide road with some truly beautiful homes tucked away in the eucalyptus. Then-no more houses. Just me, a perfectly paved street, and trees. I'm guessing the developer will eventually put in more homes; at this point, however, there's absolutely nothing up there.

I ran the road to the end, about 1 1/2 miles of seclusion. On my way back I took another little side street just to see where it went and that's when I finally reached the top of the mesa and the absolutely magnificent view. I could see all the way across the valley to the hills on the other side, with strawberry and broccoli fields below. I tried to find the route I ran for the 1/2 marathon I've done in the past; I know it's down there somewhere. The morning was cold and overcast; The hills across the valley were covered in a pale grey mist. After admiring the view I headed back down to finish my run. I'm going to add this route to my list and I intend to enjoy it as long as I can. I hope the developer takes his sweet time building the rest of his houses.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas season

Man, it's getting busy around here! I've managed to fit in a couple of 4 milers lately but not much more in the way of running. Even if I get up at the crack of dawn and slog away on the treadmill, I still don't have time to do a decent long run-remember, I'm really slow so long runs take a lot of time. Just as an example of how busy we are right now, this Saturday we have a morning drive and brunch with some sports car buddies, which we will cut short in order to attend a wedding and reception. We will leave the reception early to make it to a Christmas party. On Sunday, Hubby leaves early for a gun show while I attend a birthday party for a nephew. I'll have to leave the party early to get ready for the Christmas party I throw every year for some friends. And we still cancelled out on a party; I just can't figure out how to fit it into the schedule. Then there's the shopping for gifts-even with our gift list cut to the bone this year, we don't seem to have time we need to shop for gifts. Everyone is getting gift cards!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Today is not that day

I've blogged previously about the importance of a runner's mindset to the outcome of a run. Being a slow runner, my body is usually willing to throw in the towel long before I have the miles under my feet that I want. I have to use brain power to keep the body slogging away, step by step, to meet my goals. One of the tools I often use is personal mantras. They're more than just phrases, repeated constantly. My mantras carry a very detailed picture, almost like a mental movie, that will keep me occupied and thinking positively. My favorite, for many runs, has been " the more you run it, the sooner you've done it". The mental picture attached to this one is me walking in the house after the run-the glass of oj, the shower, the pleasantly exhausted feeling in my legs.

I discovered a new mantra yesterday during my 10 miler. I really needed to do 10 miles; my last 2 long runs were dissapointing and had to be cut short. I was determined to finish this one. I was thinking about bonking and just going home and giving up. Somehow, a battle scene from a Lord of the Rings movie came to mind. I remember the king gave a stirring speech to his warriors, something about you're going to die in battle someday or something to that effect. Then he said, "Today is not that day". So I started telling myself, you will bonk. You will have bad runs that you won't complete. You will turn left and go home instead of turning right and running 10 miles. Today is not that day. I kept running that battle scene in my mind, imagining myself as a warrior-a running warrior woman who would run 10 miles today, sword in hand, battling orcs the whole way (have I mentioned that I have a very active imagination?). And I kept running, one step at a time, and I did 10 miles, telling myself constantly that today is not that day.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Happy Anniversary

I'm giving you, faithful readers, fair warning. This post is going to be shamefully mushy. If you cringe at gooey, warm and fuzzy posts, you might want to wander on to your next favorite blog.

Today is my wedding anniversary. 32 years ago, at the tender and naive age of 21, Hubby and I stood before God, the state of California, and all the people in the world who meant the most to us and said I Do. We started married life with very little in the way of stuff-we moved into a tiny little trailer in a tiny trailer park with hand me down furniture given to us by family and friends. And yet, despite the fact that we were financially challenged at first, I didn't care one bit. I was living with a man who I adored and who adored me. And the crazy thing is-we still love each other just as much as we did on that Saturday afternoon when we said I Do.

A lot has changed for us over the years. We bought a home, got better jobs, and our finances gradually improved with time and hard work. It's been a pretty common story that lots of people can relate to; there's nothing really exceptional about my life with Hubby. There are some aspects of married life, however, that surprise me. I assumed when I was first married that at some point life with the same guy might get a little boring. I thought we would get to know each other so well that the excitement would fade into a different kind of relationship. That hasn't happened for me. My husband can still surprise, even shock me when I'm least expecting it. sometimes it's something he says that exposes some aspect of his personality that I never saw before; occasionally he will do something that is totally out of character for this staid, middle class, average guy that I've known all these years. And, amazingly, I still to this day find him to be just as devastatingly handsome and sexy as he was when we first met. He can still make me gasp for breath by kissing the back of my neck when I'm least expecting it.

So tonight, we will go to a nice restaurant for dinner. We will remind each other of how lucky we are to have found each other, and we'll look forward to many more years of love and surprises. I can't wait to see what comes next!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Milestone

I have a nice little 4 mile loop that's become my running course of choice. One of the advantages to this particular neighborhood for running is that there's lots of cross streets, giving me a lot of options on how I want to run the miles, and thus a feeling of variety even though it's the same old neighborhood. So today I planned to run 7 miles, no big whoop, but after looking at my log I realized that if I ran 8 miles I would make a milestone of sorts-more on that later. I thought about this for 2 miles, whether to just do the 7 or add a mile. I was coming to a point in the run where I would make a choice-go straight ahead and commit to 8 miles or turn right and call it at 7. So there I am, at the cross street, and I decided what the heck-go for it. I went straight and finished 8 miles.

And now, you ask-what was the milestone? Well, I'm pretty close to completing 1000 miles this year. And by running 8 miles instead of 7, I can report that my mileage for the year as of today is......950.3 miles! Yep, by adding just one little mile, I have a nice round number to report. I don't know what it is about us runners, but we seem to have an obssession with round numbers. We want to run 30 miles per week-29 won't do, and if we're up to 31, we want 40. A 10 mile run is much more satisfying that 9 even though it's only one more mile.

So, 50 miles to go, and almost a month to complete it. Should be a piece of cake!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Whew!

So one big holiday is over and I'm glad. The company has gone home (hi Mom!), the leftover turkey is in the freezer, and Hubby and I shared the last slice of pie straight out of the the pie tin at the kitchen counter. My house is a mess. I didn't do one bit of house work this week, and while I'm not a neat freak, I do prefer a tidy home. I realized my kitchen floor is a mess-that will be priority no. 1 today, then laundry.

I did manage to fit in a couple of short runs this week but my longest run was only 7 miles. I'm hoping to get back to 30 mpw in the next couple of weeks. I really want to focus on maintaining a good running base this winter. It's going to be hard this month; we have a lot of stuff going on in addition to the usual Christmas stuff. So I have to stay focused and keep running at the top of my to do list. I got a second pair of shoes this weekend and I can now rotate my shoes in an effort to make them last a little longer.

I'm done with turkey for a while. Today's menu will be lasagna with a nice spinach salad. And no dessert!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I did a nice easy 7 miler yesterday, today is a rest day. That's good because it's raining today and will continue to rain through the day. We desperately need the rain here; our fire season was terrible. And I only have 75 miles to go to reach my goal of 1000 miles for the year-woohoo!

Thanks, Dustie, for the virtual run Sunday-I won the women's division! That's definitely the only race I'll ever win.

Today I am baking pies for Thanksgiving. I have a crust recipe that never fails and is amazingly good. My kitchen looks like the Pillsbury Doughboy exploded by the time I'm done but the results are wonderful, much better than anything you would get from a restaurant.

So everyone have a great holiday; eat lots of turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes and pie, and be thankful for the good things in your life!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Virtual race

I ran a "virtual" race yesterday, thanks to Dustie-a 5 miler. I decided since it was a race I would watch my pace and see just how fast I could go for 5 miles. I surprised myself-I finished in 48:10 which gives me a blazing pace of 9:37 with decent negative splits throughout the run. The run gave me confidence that next spring I might even manage a 10k under one hour. I came home completely spent and very happy, and told Hubby I ran so fast and hard I thought I was going to throw up at the end. He commented that no one but a committed runner would consider that a good thing! I'm wondering if I can use my 5 mile run as a pace run, watch my pace carefully and keep it on the fast end rather than slow, and stretch the distance slowly until I'm running 6 miles at a faster pace.

The nephews came over yesterday and we had a blast. My front yard has a high embankment; so Hubby got big pieces of cardboard for them and they road the cardboard down the embankment, sled style. My older nephew even managed to stand up and "surf" down, and I even road down a couple of times! No batteries required; just a piece of cardboard and a hill and we all had a really great time.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Walk breaks, pt3

I ran an easy 10 miler today with walk breaks. It was kind of weird, though. I started the run with the intention of taking walk breaks at every mile. That worked really well; then at mile 5 I felt really good so I skipped the break. I didn't take another break until mile 8 when I was coming up to the dreaded hill; walked through that, then ran the rest of the 10 miles and ran it pretty strong to the end. My pace was dead on for me for a long run. It was weird because breaks or no breaks, I'm usually done in by mile 10 and this time I finished pretty strong. I'm definitely going to experiment with walking breaks and the best time to utilize them.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rules for weight loss

You are all, by now, familiar with my picture of me with Pugsley, who is now healthy and on the road again. I have another picture of me with the same car soon after I bought him. I'm standing behind him, he's blue instead of yellow, and I'm considerably heavier than in the current picture. I keep the older, fatter picture on my dresser so I have to look at it every day. It reminds me of one of the reasons I run.

I approached weight loss from the perspective that I wanted to be slender for the rest of my life; I didn't want to lose weight and then gain it back. So I decided that a diet wouldn't work for me. Instead, I had a set of rules that I started following, and that I follow to this day:

No food is off limits. If I decide I'm not going to eat bread or cheese or cookies, then those foods just become the things I would crave. So if I want a cookie, I eat a cookie. The thing is, I only eat a couple of cookies-not the whole bag. This is the hardest rule to follow, but the most important, and it's all about discipline.

I stopped eating fast food lunches, except as a once a month treat. The rest of the month, I brown bagged it for lunch. But you should have seen my brown bag lunches-they were truly works of art! There was tons of stuff in there-beautiful salads brimming with tomatoes, gourmet lettuce, mushrooms-every luscious veggie I could stuff in to it, then topped off with low fat dressing. I had fruit for snacking, any low-cal sweet stuff I found at the store; honestly, I actually had more stuff to eat at work than when I had fast food lunches. And once a month I had a cheeseburger. Refer to rule one! Now that I'm retired, this rule is easy to follow, and I now longer have a cheeseburger once a month.

I never set a weight loss date. I never said "I want to lose 20 pounds for my class reunion next month". If being a normal weight was truly going to be a lifetime thing, than it didn't matter if I lost the weight tomorrow or next month or next year, so long as I lost it. So I went to Hubby's class reunion heavier than I wanted to be, but I was ok with that. I'm thin now, years later, and there will be more class reunions in the future.

I realized that the discipline necessary to lose weight was more important at the supermarket than at home. If I didn't buy the 5 pound bag of chips at Costco, it wouldn't be calling to me, a siren song of calories and salt, until I devoured the whole thing and licked the inside of the bag. Seriously. Chips have always been my downfall, so I just never buy them.

No more "post dinner dinners". That was a huge weakness of mine-I would get up late at night and literally eat a "snack" that was as big (maybe bigger) as the dinner I had eaten just a few hours earlier. If I was really hungry late at night, I would drink water. If that didn't satisfy me, I had to make do with carrots or fruit, since that's pretty much the only snack food I keep in the house.

Exercise. Every day. A little, a lot, as much as I could handle. I discovered that I could not lose weight without exercise. So I got an elliptical machine and started using it every day. When I started, I could barely do 5 minutes-I was mortified by how out of shape I was. But I did it, and gradually I went from 5 minutes to 10 to 30.

So here I am, years later, slim and trim. My rules seem to have worked and they've become habit. I thought about posting the old picture of me and Pugsley; perhaps if you, faithful readers, really want to see it I'll put it on my next post. Trust me, it's bad!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Pugsley is back

I did a pretty decent 5 miler today, but I had to get out the door at 6 friggin 30 am to do it. It's been really hot, really early in the day. This isn't good right now, with the fire situation here. Hopefully the weatherman is correct and it's going to cool down .



We (meaning Hubby) pulled the rear end on Pugsley this weekend. Turns out, it wasn't the axle as we thought, but a busted spider gear. While this is not good, at least it isn't as expensive as a transmission; we got a new rear end for just a tick over $100 and performed a rear-endectomy and transplant. I'm trying to think of an analogy with the human body and I'm coming up blank. Maybe at a later date I'll think of something amusing for all of you, my faithful readers (Hi Mom!).

I took some really good pictures of the rear end, the busted gear, some pretty cool stuff. I downloaded it to the computer. I was going to add the pictures to my post. Only now, they're floating around somewhere in my computer and I can't find them. So of course, I tried downloading them 10 more times or so. So now there's probably 10 copies floating around inside my computer. If I ever manage to find them again, I'll show you what broke. Stupid computer!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Deadmill day

I had to do the deadmill thing today. I know, most of us call it the dreadmill, for me it's the deadmill because it just kills me to use it. Having said that, I'm glad I have one for days like this when I'm too busy to get out in the morning for a run and it's too hot and windy in the afternoon to run outside when I finally have the time. I did use a new feature on my deadmill-I can use a pre-set program that changes the speed and incline at varied intervals for a somewhat more interesting workout. It seemed to help, especially since I only have 3 TV channels and there's nothing to watch at 2:30 except Judge Judy. Seriously-if you saw my bedroom you would laugh; it looks like a cheap gym. I have my deadmill and my elliptical both in my bedroom. Lucky for me, when we built our house years ago before I was the diva of running hubby and I both wanted a really big bedroom. We have our bed, 3 dressers and the workout stuff all in the bedroom and there's still lots of room. One of the advantages of building a home-you get EXACTLY what you ask for!

When we built the house, we went to a very good friend who is an excellent contractor. I've heard lots of horror stories about builders who did shoddy work or went over budget; our experience was totally different. Everything I really, truly love about my house is due to suggestions by our builder/friend. Hubby and I occasionally joke that if we don't like our house, we have no one to blame but ourselves since we pretty much designed the house!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Back in business

I ran yesterday and today, and not even a twinge of back pain-yay for painless movement!

I think I have a marathon plan that will get me to the finish line in Las Vegas about a year from now. I know, I know-it's awfully early to be looking at plans but that's just the way I am. It's Hal Higdon's novice 2 plan, only slightly more advanced than his novice 1 plan, but looks very attainable. I will add a couple of weeks to stretch out the mileage buildup-there's a couple of points in there when the long run jumps by 2 miles and I would prefer smaller increases in distance. So for now I will maintain my 30 mpw base and play with the calendar to figure out when I need to start training. I have to keep in mind that I want to do the Disneyland half marathon in late August, so I figure that will just be a long run rather than an actual race in keeping with my marathon training. And my goal for the marathon? Honestly, all I want to do is reach the finish line before they close the course!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Go for it

Running a marathon was on my mind all day yesterday. I thought about Lisa's question that I didn't ask-the answer is yes, I do want to run a marathon. I thought about Bob's comment and I realized that's a key reason why I want to run one-I don't want to have years of regret wondering "what if I had at least tried a marathon?". At least if I make the attempt I will have the answer to the question of whether I can do it or not. And Bruce, it would greatly please me to meet you in person. You were the first person in our forum to welcome me to the running world. You've given me excellent advice and have been extremely generous with your knowledge and support. So after some conversations with Hubby (he thinks I'm crazy, but I have his whole hearted support) I decided to run the Las Vegas Marathon in 2009. Thanks, guys for your comments and support. I'm going to need more of it in the future!

The funny thing about making this decision now-I haven't been running for 3 days due to a strained back muscle. It's happened before and my back just can't take the pounding of running for a few days, but I'm much better today and will probably be back on the road tomorrow!

So no regrets. After all, I've always secretly regretted not buying the Eiffel Tower from that guy in the park years ago. It was such a great deal and I've always wondered how my life would have changed if I had been the owner of the Eiffel Tower-and it would have looked great in my back yard!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Pro/Con

I've been thinking about marathons a lot lately, thanks to my doctors visit and the kind and positive comments from fellow bloggers. The idea of running a marathon scares me-all the what ifs to worry about. So I decided to approach a marathon the same way Hubby and I have approached many other issues we've faced in the past, with the good old pro/con list:

Why I shouldn't run a marathon:
  • The training will take months of hard work, hard running and absolute discipline.
  • I could injure myself either in the training or running the race itself.
  • I might dnf
  • It will take a lot of planning and research to find the right race and the right training plan
  • I might crash and burn and end up walking most of the race-how embarrassing!

OK, those are the only cons I can think of at the moment; let's examine them. Yes, it will take lots of training for months to be properly prepared. But I'm already running on a regular basis, 30 mpw, and I've religously stuck to my training plan for half marathons, so where's the problem? Most big goals require hard work. This is no different. The accomplishment justifies the work.

Yup, I could injure myself. I could also injure myself every time I go out for a run, whether it's a 4 mile easy run or a 20 miler in preparation for a marathon. If I train properly, I can avoid injury.

Yeah, I'll have to do a lot of research. And yet, when I'm planning a vacation, I seem to have no problem spending hours on the computer finding just the right hotel, airline deal, car rental. So how is this different?

OK, the possibility of a dnf is a really stupid excuse for not trying a marathon. Yes, I might fail. I might end up walking most of the race. I might end up crawling across the finish line. I'll never know what will happen if I don't try. And I have in fact come in dead last at a race and I survived the embarrassment, so I can assume the same would be true for a marathon.

Why I should run a marathon:

  • Bragging rights. I'm all about the subtle, "last year when I did my marathon" kind of conversation.
  • I'm pretty stinkin healthy so now would be a good time to do a marathon.
  • I'm so boringly average, it would be nice to have something on my life resume that only a small portion of the population have done.
  • In the end, after all the training and work, it will be only 5 hours (probably 6) of physical and mental stress in exchange for a lifetime of knowing I faced the challenged and accomplished something really big.

The reasons to do a marathon speak for themselves and need no explanation or debate. I still don't know if I'm going to do one, but if I don't, I have no excuse.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Marathon man

I had an interesting Dr. appointment today. I went to a dermatologist, a new doctor for me, and the room I was put in had walls covered with marathon posters-Los Angeles, Portland, Long Beach, probably 10 different posters. I realized that one of the frames had 8 medals on display, and one was from the mighty Boston Marathon. so when the doctor came in, of course I had to ask him if he was the runner in the office, and he was. He's run Boston 3 times, every 10 years, and he said he already has his bib and hotel room for 2009 when he will run in honor of his 60th birthday. We spent some time talking about running and he encouraged me to try a marathon, telling me that if I can do a half, I can train for and complete a full marathon, and he even recommended the Long Beach marathon as a good first full mary.

It was an interesting conversation and he's the second doctor I've gone to that runs. I'm toying with doing a marathon in 2010, and I enjoy talking to people who are experienced marathoners and have such a positive perspective about running 26.2 miles. Somehow it makes it seem do-able, and not just a dream.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Vote!

I knocked out an easy, slow 7 miler this morning. Tomorrow is a rest day and I feel like I need it. At least after I finish this week I'll do a fallback week-yay!

Today is important. Please, faithful readers, vote. It does count; it is important; and if you don't vote you're not allowed to complain about anything that happens in the next 4 years.

Friday, October 31, 2008

The deathly hand

I did my now customary 10 mile long run, and (gasp) could it be that it's getting easier? Well, perhaps not so much easy, as that I'm getting used to it. I just know that my legs don't ache afterwards, no aspirin necessary, just a nice ice shower does the trick. I'm hoping that by keeping a 10 miler every week I'll stay within striking distance of doing an occasional half marathon now and then.

So, in honor of the holiday, I will share my one and only first person scary story, circa 1974. I was 19 and living with my family in a very old, very isolated farm house in the middle of a walnut orchard on the outskirts of town. Now, while I do in fact believe in aliens, the Loch Ness Monster, and zombies, I am not as a rule subject to fanciful or capricious thoughts. So I did not believe our old farmhouse was haunted. I knew that the doors swung open and shut on their own because the floors were uneven; and the sounds I heard in my bedroom closet were merely wayward mice.

Late one night, while the rest of my family was asleep, I was sitting on the floor in my bedroom trying to find Dr. Demento on the radio. There I sat, completely alone, fiddling with the radio, when I felt a hand on my shoulder. I remember it clearly; the weight and warmth of the hand, the fingers gently curled round my right shoulder, and I thought that my younger sister had come in to my room. I turned around, and....THERE WAS NO ONE THERE! My bedroom door was still firmly shut. the entire house was deadly still, and the hand on my shoulder disappeared. Was it a ghostly appearance, or merely the imaginings of a solitary teenager? You be the judge. As for me, I spent the rest of that night in my sister's room.

Sleep well tonight, faithful readers. Sleep. IF YOU DARE-BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

MPG

I did an easy 4 miler today, completely unplugged-no Garmie, no music, just me and the road. Sometimes simpler is just better.

Check out this website: www.thecarconnection.com/mpg-quiz. I'm getting 38 miles to the gallon-not bad for a '55 American model! Dang-I'm a hybrid. Those things are just plain ugly. I wish I got worse gas mileage and could be a Corvette. No, wait-why not get horrendous mileage, and be a Ferrari? Based on my year model of 1955, I could be a 410 Sport-a V12, 380 horsepower race car, worth somewhere around a gazillion dollars! That would be fantastic, until Hubby figured out what I was worth on the market..

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A reliable source

Today was a rest day and I took that literally. Not only did I not run, I also did not weight train, I did not do core exercises, and I only did the bare minimum requirement of house work, which means the bed got made. Barely. So this is what it feels like to be a couch potato!

My forum friend and fellow runner, Bosco, started a thread asking what source of knowledge we runners first went to when we started running. I was lucky in that I discovered that a friend was an experienced runner and I credit him with giving me some advice that probably kept me from seriously injuring myself as a newbie runner. I thought I was supposed to run every day, increasing my mileage daily, until I met some murky goal in the distant future. He bluntly set me on a more reasonable path, explaining why beginning runners don't run every day and why mileage increases should be gradual.

Soon I was also delving deep into the internet looking for that magic formula that would make me a runner-one of those lithe, lean, graceful people I saw occasionally running through the morning fog. It didn't take long for the information I found to become rather overwhelming. The number of plans, theories, diets, and schedules goes on and on.

It's taken me a while, but I've finally discovered that the best way to learn about running is to talk to runners. I have a forum I visit often and I still talk to my friend about running. I've discovered that all the scientific studies, running plans, diets and such just don't have the credibility of an actual runner who hits the road on a regular basis. Hopefully some day I will have running knowledge worth sharing with a newcomer to the sport. I can't think of many things more fulfilling than sharing knowledge gained from personal experience.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The need for speed

I had another good run today, 7 miles through the fog. I managed to actually think about my pace and trying to speed things up a bit and it worked. I was spent by the end of the run but spent in a good way. I'm thinking I'm ready to push forward and go at least a little faster. At least if I do that I'll be done with my runs sooner!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Avila Beach Concours

I had a very nice 4 miler this morning; our fog is back! I love running in the heavy fog. It's almost like running in a light rain and I'm usually soaked by the time I get home. I picked up the pace a bit and that actually seemed to help me get out of the running funk I've been in for a while. Maybe my problem is not that I'm running too much, but I'm running too slow?

We spent yesterday at the Avila Beach Concours d'Elegance. Thats just an upscale car show. Think Rolls Royce and Ferrari rather than Chevy and Ford. This one is a bit more easy going than your typical Concours; not many women in expensive dresses and elaborate hats or men in suits. The caliber of the cars on display, however, was outstanding. In particular was a hearse from around the 1920s, beautifully restored, with amazing woodwork on the body. Talk about "going in style"!

Hubby and I worked as volunteers, a great way to experience a nice car show. We worked crowd control, not too hard as most people that go to these events are pretty laid back and friendly. Then after our 3 hour shift we visited with lots of friends, walked around admiring the cars, and visited the food and wine tasting booth. Actually we visited the wine tasting booth several times. OK, I spent a considerable amount of time in the wine tasting booth. The proceeds from the event went to our local hospice program so I hope they made lots of money.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Pugsley is sick

I did my customary 10 mile long run today at a ridiculously slow pace but I finished the run and that was my only goal. I managed to get out the door early enough to take advantage of the cool morning and that helped; I also got to bed early last night and I think that helped even more. Tomorrow is a rest day-Woohoo!

Pugsley, my bug eye Sprite, is a sick little roadster. We were driving home Thursday night, down a very nice country road, and suddenly BANG-a very loud, very bad noise and we're coasting with no gears. So I'm thinking, crap, we've blown the transmission. Hubby coasts to the side of the road, and a cell phone call has my brother coming to our rescue. So brother and Hubby leave to get the truck and trailer and I stay behind to protect Pugsley from predators. I wasn't nervous at first about being alone on an isolated country road because it was still daylight and I figured Hubby would be back before nightfall.

It took longer than I expected for my rescue and after watching the bats come out at dusk and talking to a curious cow in a nearby pasture I realized I might be the one that needed protection from predators. So there I sat, clutching a fire extinquisher, ready to bonk the axe murderer on the head if he tried to kidnap me (we all know that axe murderers kidnap you first so they can take you to their old farm house and chop you up at their leisure). But neither the axe murderer or the bats attacked and Hubby and brother finally showed up with the trailer. Brother thought it was pretty funny that I was sitting there with the fire extinquisher in my lap; he said he felt sorry for anyone that might try to attack me.

So we get Pugsley home and the good news is it isn't the transmission. Pugsley broke an axle, which is easier and cheaper to fix. We already have the axle and when Hubby has time we'll replace it. That's what I like about LBCs*-they're so easy to work on!

LBC: little british car

Thursday, October 23, 2008

How hard can it be?

I ran a really good 4 miler today; it's the first run in a week that actually felt good. It may be because I managed to get out the door early enough to take advantage of the cool morning weather. I'll know if that's the case tomorrow, I'm going to try a long run and I'm going out as early as possible.

So, faithful readers, you've probably all heard by now about the debacle at the Nike marathon in San Francisco on Sunday. The elite runners started 20 minutes ahead of everyone else. However, a runner in the "all the rest of us runners" group actually had a faster time than the elite runner who was declared the winner.

The most common comment I've read on the blogosphere is that this woman should have declared herself an elite competitor and then she would have been in with the proper group. And yet, I also read that the elite group was by invitation only; you couldn't just declare yourself an elite and join in. And what's wrong with everyone starting at the same time? If the elite runners had been put in the first corral to leave, and everyone had started the race at the same time, wouldn't that have eliminated this mess? Isn't that one of the great things about racing-that anyone can give it a try, and if you happen to be the fastest person, you win? Isn't that what we all learned when we were kids, and we wanted to know who was the fastest kid in school? You all lined up at the start; you all ran a certain distance; the first kid across the finish line was declared the winner. It's not that hard.

And Nike blew it big time. This could have been an amazing promo for them. A 5th grade school teacher beats the elites-sort of a Rocky style running story for women. Instead, they originally stuck with their first ruling about the winner, then they gave this woman the same prize and declared her "a" winner.

"A" winner, indeed. In my book she's "THE" winner. Nike should be ashamed of themselves.

Monday, October 20, 2008

asics Nimbus 10

I ran yesterday in my new shoes, the Asics Nimbus 10s. These shoes rock! The cushioning is excellent; the arch support is excellent. The lacing took a bit to get used to-the laces are asymmetrical, running toward my big toe. I can feel the difference when I run, it's just a very slight feeling along the top of my foot but certainly not uncomfortable. The clerk that recommended the shoes told me I would feel it but that I'll get used to it pretty quickly. He was right; by mile 3 I really didn't notice it.

This is why I buy my shoes at a real running store. I don't consider myself experienced enough to make a good decision regarding shoes on my own. I can go to the store, talk to an experienced runner, and get practical advice on the shoe that's right for me. And he gave me a free pair of socks, too-I love free stuff!

So my plan is to wear these shoes to about the 100 mile mark and then buy another pair and rotate them. I'm thinking that I will get more mileage out of both pairs this way. Oh, the joy of new running shoes!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

New shoes again!

My legs have been aching from the hips down the last few runs. I went out for a 10 miler yesterday and called it quits at 7. The legs just didn't have any juice left. So I decided that maybe my shoes had lost their bounce even though the mileage is only about 270. I let the clerk at my FNRS talk me into an upgrade to Asics Nimbus 10s and I'm thinking they'll work for me. I pay a little more for shoes at this store; I could probably get them cheaper at a big box store or online, but I like supporting local businesses, and I like that everyone that works there is a runner and I trust their advice. And this clerk just finished a marathon in these same shoes.

I just discovered a great reason to rotate shoes. I've never done that, I just wear them til my legs hurt then get a new pair. However, I read on a runners forum that if you rotate newer shoes with older shoes you can tell if the older shoes need to be retired because you can compare the feel to the newer ones. Genius! That's why I love running forums. You just never know what gems of wisdom you can pick up! I'll know tomorrow if the shoes were the problem; we'll see how my legs feel after 5 miles in the new shoes.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Men in Kilts


I did a slow 7 miles today. Sheesh..I cannot figure out our weather; it's weird even for us. The last 2 days have been cold enough to break out the sweatshirts so I'm thinking I'll head out late for my run and avoid the cold. Then it turns out we're back to 80 plus degree weather after 2 days of cold and my run was warm.


Saturday we spent the whole day at a Scottish festival. Bagpipes are played, all things Scottish are sold (my favorite tshirt: "Items under this kilt are larger than they appear"), and there are many men (including Hubby) wearing kilts. My favorite event is the caber toss. Think of very large men and some not so large women throwing a telephone pole. They try to get the caber to flip end over end and land perfectly straight in front of them. I watched a woman not much bigger than me toss the caber perfectly every time. the contestant has to pick it up and balance the caber on one shoulder, take several steps forward and then hoist it up and over. It takes not only strength but balance and technique as well.


so we watched the games, enjoyed the pipers, I walked in the parade with my clan, and generally had a really great day. If there is a Scottish festival near you, I highly recommend that you go. You don't even have to be Scottish to enjoy it. Hubby has a great time, and he's French!

Friday, October 10, 2008

You know you're a runner..

I did a very slow 6 miles this morning; it was early and it was cold! I had a good run, though, compared to all the rest this week. I think I've been on the verge of a burnout with no enthusiasm for running this week. This was the first time I actually looked forward to my run. Perhaps the running gods have chosen to smack me down a notch after having so much success with my 10 milers in previous weeks?

The subject of "you know your a runner when.." came up on a forum I belong to. I discovered my own version:

You know you're a runner when you're driving somewhere with your spouse, and you're having a really important convo with said spouse; spouse is saying "Something something mortgage, something something call the bank and ask something something.." and you miss the whole conversation because you just passed a sign that said the next town is 10 miles and you think, "yeah, I could totally run that". And then you start imagining yourself running the road you're on to the next town. So you're running in your head along the road, still saying mm hmm to spouse so he thinks you're listening to him when you're not.

Now, all I have to do is figure out what I'm supposed to call the bank about.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

1000 mile year

I did an easy 4 miler today. It's been really weird weather lately; Saturday it was cool and it rained; by Monday we were into the 90's which continued into today. It makes planning a run hard; I got out the door at 6:30 and it was already a little warm. To say this time of year is unpredictable here is to put it mildly.

So, I'm looking at my running log and I realize something. I have 761 miles logged for the year as of today's run. That means I only have to average 24 miles per week to meet my goal of 1000 miles for the year-a first for me! I should be able to do that easily, even taking in to account my fall back weeks. I know, I know-it's only a number. But it's a BIG number!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Last Place Runner for President

No running for 2 days now. Not a single mile; not even a casual walk. The reason is I am TIRED! Hubby and I were up really late Saturday, what with pizza and beer and a movie with friends; I didn't hit the pillows until after midnight. So we took it really easy Sunday. Then we were up at 3 am this morning to see someone off at the airport. I came home with the intention of doing at least a short run, but you all know what they say about good intentions. I figure it's ok to add an extra rest day this week. It's a fall back week, so I'm just really falling back a lot!

I think I have never in my life been so unenthusiastic and uninterested in politics during an election year. I just can't get behind either candidate; I have serious issues with both. So, since I don't like either the "blue" or the "red" candidate, maybe I should run. I can tell you right now, I would certainly whip things into shape:

All running gear and exercise equipment will be tax free. Food is tax free because we need it, so I'm thinking since exercise is necessary it should be tax free as well. That includes everything from socks to treadmills.

If you don't follow your doctor's advise, you have to pay him double. That's to cover his frustration for all his patients who refuse to lose weight and exercise.

Entry fees for races will be tax deductible. Just keep the receipts with your tax records.

Any military personnel serving overseas don't have to pay income tax until they come home. Just send the IRS proof of your service overseas and you're good to go. I just don't think we do enough for these guys and gals.

If you have any health problems that you yourself caused by irresponsible behaviour, such as smoking or eating bacon every day for 20 years or trying to jump a skateboard ramp with an atv or refusing to wear a seat belt while driving a car, and you have health insurance, your deductible will automatically be increased by 200%. If you don't have health insurance, you have to pay the medical bills for your care even if it takes you years and years to pay the bills off. I just figure you should step up to the plate when it comes to your own health.

All politicians will have an implant that reads their vital signs and gives them a shock whenever they tell a lie. It would be enough to hurt at least a little and make them jump a bit so we can all tell when they lied (oops, I think the current PC term for this is "mis-spoke"). Of course, with some of them they would be jumping around like idiots with every word that comes out of their mouths.

I am Last Place Runner, and I approve this message.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Learning to cope

I did my usual 10 mile long run yesterday. I won't say it's getting easy to run 10 miles, but I am learning how to cope with the distance. I've realized that physically, my body can do a weekly 10 miler. It's the mental aspect that I'm still learning to cope with. Long runs are really boring when you're as slow as I am. It means running for 2 hours without stopping. my music will only carry me so far; mental games (counting white cars, composing this blog, working on sewing projects) will get me a little farther. But the most important lesson I've learned so far is that when I hear that voice in my head just screaming "you have to stop running-NOW!"-that's when taking a quick assessment of the situation is important. Are the legs ok? Are they tired but not injured? Check. How about the cardio picture? Still good to go? Check. Not overheated or dehydrated? Check. So that means the need to stop is mental, not physical. That's when the trick is to shut down the "stop running"message and replace it with the "you've done this before, you can do it again" message.

Easier said than done...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

It's all good

Today is a rest day. I'm going shopping for needlepoint supplies; I promised the Scottish Society that I would make a needlepoint tapestry for the silent auction at Burns Night in January. That means I need to get my butt in gear and get started-NOW.

I noticed something interesting just this week. My resting heart rate is definitely down. It's just a couple of points, mind you, but it is lower. And my blood pressure is WAY down! It's low enough that when I see the doc in December I'm going to ask if I can stop taking the blood pressure pill, just to see if it will stay down on its own. I'm thinking that I'm finally starting to see concrete evidence of the benefits of running and healthy eating. Aside from that ridiculously huge, monstrous meal I ate over the weekend, I've been really careful with my food choices; I may have finally kicked my salt addiction. And the other really totally cool benefit-you should see my legs. Seriously. I may never wear long pants again. Cuz my legs are hot.

And now, faithful readers, how about closing today's blog with the dumbest news story to come out of Matt Lauer's mouth? It's your classic vehicle vs. train in New York; the driver turns onto the track in front of a commuter train. While the passengers managed to escape without injury the car was DOA. And why, you ask, would a driver turn on to a train track? He turned onto the track because his GPS told him to turn. So... I guess if your GPS tells you to jump off a cliff...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I can't believe I ate the whole thing

Yesterday was an interesting run. Normally I would do a 4 miler, but I felt so good and the morning was so perfect for running, I decided to do my 6 miler instead. And dam if I didn't end up doing 7 miles! I hit the 6 mile mark, felt pretty strong, and decided to add a mile just for fun. I probably could have done 8.

This weekend we went to a harvest festival in a nearby town. It's the usual small town stuff, Boy Scouts selling shaved ice, Girl Scouts selling cotton candy, home made crafts booths and so on. We decided to hit our favorite restaurant for lunch, and I got a wild hair up my rear and ordered a chili size-you all know what that is, hopefully; a tasty concoction of chili, a hamburger patty, and toasted bun; all topped off with cheese and onions and a ginormous side of fries. This thing was huge even by current restaurant standards. The waitress raised an eyebrow when I ordered and gave me a look that said, "bigger people than you have tackled this one and failed." I figured what the heck, worst case scenario, I end up taking half of it home for dinner.

So I tucked into my chili size,and Hubby laid waste to his westernburger (anything with barbeque sauce on it has western in its name. It's a rule here in California). I kept eating and talking, eating and talking, and suddenly my plate is empty. The waitress came by to refill my iced tea, and now I received a look of shocked admiration. "You go, girl," she said. "You're so thin-how do you do it?"
"I'm a runner. " I replied. Hubby added "She runs a lot."

Mind you, I rarely do this kind of thing, I'm really extremely careful about what I eat. I almost always take in to account the "big 3" that are banned from my diet-sugar, salt, and fat. I'm thinking that I didn't have too much sugar to worry about in this meal, but the salt and fat are probably more than I eat in a week-seriously. But it's all good; we have to treat ourselves occasionally, and one huge over the top meal is ok if I have months and months of sensible, careful eating. And, I did skip the sugar in my iced tea, so perhaps that balanced out the chili size?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I'm Somebody!

Well, I have finally reached a benchmark in my running career today. I was on an easy 4 miler, nothing special, when two boys passed me on bicycles. I heard one yell "Yeah baby, you need to be running." Then just after they passed me, I heard the phrase every runner can look forward to. That's right, some kid finally yelled " Run, Forrest, Run!". I was absolutely elated. I've been waiting for it ever since I started running. I knew it would come eventually, it was just a matter of time. I even thought of asking Hubby to yell the magic phrase at me when he served as my water boy, but somehow that felt like cheating; it has to come from a stranger, preferably a young person. And the joke is actually on the yeller, not the yellee (meaning me) because we as runners expect it.

So I'm in the club. I truly am a runner. This ranks right up there with my first 10 mile run and my first race. I'm reminded of Steve Martin in the movie, The Jerk. He finally sees his name in the phone book, and he starts running around like a lunatic yelling, "I'm Somebody!".

Now, if I can just get someone to toss a cigarette at me from their truck...

Friday, September 26, 2008

AMGEN tour of California

I did another 10 mile long run today; I decided I needed a change of scenery so I returned to a course I haven't run in months. The good news is they've finished the paving project and the road for the most part is fantastic for running. The bad news is that because the recently built McMansion City opened a new access road that terminates on my running course, the traffic is terrible. I had a really slow run with a few walk breaks due to the heat; I got out the door really early and it still got too hot for me. This is what happens here sometimes in September, we have a mini heat wave before our fall weather starts. And yes, we do have seasons here in California, they're just very subtle.

I'm really excited about Lance Armstrong returning to cycling. He's going to compete in the AMGEN tour of California and one leg of the race terminates in Paso Robles, about an hour north of my home! And-they will have time trials in Solvang, about an hour or so south of me! I could see both if I wanted to! The AMGEN tour is a big deal. It's a Tour de France style cycling race encompassing 800 miles of racing from town to town. All the worlds top cyclist compete, and the cool thing is the local cyclists know where to go to see the competitors actually on the road. It's a great way to see them racing without having to deal with the crowds in town. I have a friend who volunteers every year as a course worker, and he has the best inside tips for where to go to see the cyclists.

So I know what I'll be doing on February 19 and 20-I already have it on my calendar!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Working with bimbos

Today's run was excellent. I just did 3 miles but at a very steady fast pace. After the running gods made me suffer throught a torturous 6 miler on Tuesday, they decided to throw me a bone and give me a good run.

I just discovered a new sign that you are truly a runner-if you dream about your long run, then yeah, you're addicted. I did the whole run last night in my sleep. I'm wondering if this means I can skip the run Friday?

Let's switch gears, faithful readers, from the depressing and perhaps boring posts of late regarding America's financial woes. Perhaps it's time to clear the palate; allow me to return to my usual lighthearted and upbeat posts of yore. My experience in business office employment taught me that every office has a bimbo. I'm wondering if it's some sort of California legislation that requires every office to hire one. If that's true and knowing how things work in California they probably require that offices have a bimbo to cubicle ratio.

The last bimbo I worked with would win a gold medal for stupidity. Some time in May one year she came in the business office with a check in her hand, and a puzzled look replaced her normally cheerful expression. "I got this check in the mail. I don't know what it's for. Should I send it back, or just cash it?" I looked at the check. "This is your tax refund. It's your money. Keep it". I replied. I always tried to keep my words under 3 syllables when I talked to this young lady.

Now she seemed really confused. "That can't be right, she said. My dad does my taxes, why would he send in too much money?" I sighed deeply and thought carefully about my answer. I didn't want to contribute to her confusion. How do I explain this to her in 2 syllable words?
"Your dad didn't send in money. You had too much money taken out of your paycheck to pay your taxes. When that happens they send the money back."

Her normally worry free and thus wrinkle free brow furrowed a bit. "They take money out of my check?" Oh, dear lord, this was much worse than I thought. I responded carefully. "Ok, you know how when you get your paycheck there's that other piece of paper attached to it? The one with all the numbers and initials on it? Like OASDI and SDI and 401K? That's money the company takes out of your paycheck to pay your taxes and social security and disability insurance."

Her response? "How long has this been going on?"

I swear this is a true story. It's yet another reason for why I retired early.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The blame game

Well, faithful readers, I'm going to do what I said I wouldn't do and post about this perfect storm of financial ruin we find ourselves in. I'm doing it mostly to help myself understand what happened and who deserves the smack down. Grab a cuppa coffee, I've got cinnamon rolls I'll warm up, have a seat and prepare to discuss.

The banks deserve a big chunk of the blame pie. First, they started bundling mortgages, turning them into securities, and selling them to investors. So they said, man, that was easy; lets loan out some more money so we can bundle up more mortgages! They got really, really creative with how to structure loans and who to give the money to. ARMs are just a tiny example of their creativity. There were interest only loans, negative amortization loans, zero down loans, you name it, they did it. And the thing is, the borrower didn't have to prove they could pay the money back! Anyone remember the "no document" loans? Seriously. The bank said "OK, Mr Borrower, you say you make X dollars a year? We'll just take your word for it". And why did the banks do this? They did it because if Mr. Borrower couldn't make the payments, he could either refinance or sell the house, since the values of houses were skyrocketing. In fact, most of the creative loan market was based on this assumption.

Then we have the investment bankers who are #2 on the blame list. They were just plain greedy. The took all sorts of profit from the bundled mortgages. So they said, man, that was easy; we want more of that! And they just could not pull themselves away from the trough; they had to gorge themselves right up to the bitter end. Greed, pure and simple.

Finally, let's look at the borrowers. I know, it's not PC to lay blame on some poor guy who's losing his home, but they do have some responsibility for this mess. We've all seen the news reports showing some poor soul who's losing his house due to unforeseen circumstances. He buys a house with every intention of repaying the debt, then loses his job or suddenly has serious health issues that make it impossible to honor that obligation. But the reporters seem very careful to avoid the other borrowers-the ones that bought a house that was way beyond their means. Or the people that got a mortgage with a balloon payment. In some cases, the borrower was given a ridiculously low interest rate with an adjustment to a much higher rate after a couple of years, and instead of planning on how to deal with it, they just ignored that huge payment looming on the dark horizon until it was too late to come up with a plan for dealing with it. These people were seduced by the siren song of low payments for x years. They probably had every intention of paying more than the minimum or saving up for the day they had to pay the piper.

Unfortunately, human nature being what it is, that intention was never realized. When you're walking through that new house that still smells like fresh paint and you're imagining your troll doll collection on the built in bookshelves, it's hard to imagine what will happen 5 years down the line when you have to come up with a balloon payment. A mortgage is a huge responsibility that lasts for years. It should not be easy to get. It should be entered into carefully and thoughtfully. Too many loans were given to people who just didn't think about that financial responsibility. It would not surprise me if some of those people who are losing their homes don't even know what kind of loan they have. So the borrower deserves at least a small slice of blame pie.

I apologize for this long post. I'm just so angry that I have to be on the clean up squad. I have a modest home, and live a modest middle class lifestyle, and now I have to pay $3000 to bail out someone who couldn't make the same reasonable financial decisions that Hubby and I have made all our adult lives. It sucks like a Hoover and I have no one I can smack in person.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A fine mess

I did a terrible, slow, sluggish 6 miles today. I'm pretty sure the running gods have a rule book, and the first rule is that no one is allowed more than 2 good runs in a row. They do that to keep us humble.

I was going to post about this financial mess the good ol US of A has fallen into, and I just can't bring myself to do it. It's too depressing and it would be a long, sad and sorry post. I'm depressed because I know that I, the taxpayer, will be forced to bail out huge banks. I know that the CEOs of those banks will take the millions they will be paid upon leaving the corporations and spend their retirement years blissfull and comfy in their well appointed homes while my fellow taxpayers foot the bill. I wish that I could personally smack every banker who approved a subprime loan to someone who should never have been approved for any kind of loan.

I guess I did post about the mess we're in, didn't I. Now I'll have to bake some cinnamon rolls from scratch to get myself out of this depressing mood I'm in.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Busy weekend

I did an easy 4 miler today, picked up the pace a bit just for fun. Yet again I forgot my gloves! We had 3 potucks this weekend! My favorite was our Scottish Society. Those ladies know how to potluck. The only way I survived it was to take just 1 bite of everything; sort of like a Costco style potluck, and calories be damned! And apparently, Mr. Garmie visited the Congo last night while he was on the charger, because that's the map that came up this morning when I downloaded my run. The least he could have done was to bring me a souvenir, at least a snow globe...

I had a doctors appointment today. My doc is a runner, and while we usually spend a little time talking about running, today was more so than usual. After discussing shoes, orthotics, training plans, whether walk breaks are worth it (we both think yes), the last race we both did, and his college days of running, it finally occurred to us that we hadn't talked about the usual stuff people talk about in a doctor's exam room! It was sort of like, "Oh, yeah, there's another reason we're both here...". I'm pretty sure he doesn't have many patients that share his passion for running. It pleases me that he'll never be the kind of doctor who will tell me, ya know, maybe you should cut back on the running.

Friday, September 19, 2008

A former fatty

I did a very easy slow 10 miles today, a pretty good run. It's getting colder in the mornings and I keep forgetting my gloves! I bought a nice pair on sale this summer from my FNRS* and have yet to wear them. I'm thinking I'll have to wrap Mr Garmie around them the night before my next run.

Sarah commented on my last post regarding my weight loss of 50 pounds, she thought I might be a life time running skinny person type. I was, indeed a skinny person for many years, even though I had a pretty terrible diet-fat, sugar, salt, didn't matter to me; I ate it all. The only thing that kept me from gaining weight was my fast metabolism and an active lifestyle. Throughout my teen years, I rode horses, which includes mucking out stalls, loading and unloading hay bales, and grooming and saddling a very big horse. My weight stayed down well into my 30s, then something happened. I took a sedentary job and my metabolism decided to take a permanent vacation.

I started to slowly gain weight and I didn't care. I thought weight gain in your 30s and 40s was normal and unavoidable. I stopped seeing a doctor regularly and just kind of stopped caring about my health. Now fast forward about 10 years to my late 40s. I had a very minor health issue that just wouldn't go away. I went to a new doctor (I went kicking and screaming and being nagged the whole time by Hubby). The Dr. immediately addressed the minor health issue, and then he said something like "Now, lets talk about your weight.". This led to a 15 minute conversation about things like heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and my current new health issue of high blood pressure.

The doctor told me the single most important thing I could do to avoid all these nasty problems was to lose weight, eat healthy, and exercise. I decided then and there to turn the whole mess around. I had great motivation-I knew that I would be in the doctor's office at least a couple of times a month to check my blood pressure, and I knew he would weigh me every time. So the blood pressure meds started working, my weight started dropping, and I started running for the first time in my life.

I still see the same doctor, and he seems pretty pleased overall with my healthy lifestyle. He's even told me a couple of times not to lose any more weight; it seems that now while I'm within the normal range I'm near the bottom of normal! I think I'll keep it right where it is. It's so much easier to gain weight than it is to lose it!

*friendly neighborhood running store

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Liposuction for a 12 year old

Does anyone else watch The Doctors? It's a new program featuring 4 doctors who will answer questions, show medical procedures on TV, that sort of thing. This is my new program to watch while folding laundry. So, yesterday, the docs featured a 12 year old girl who had liposuction to suck out a pretty large volume of fat from various portions of her body. Her parents both approved, with Mom saying, "It's no different than buying her a car", and Dad saying she was a pretty persistent girl who really wanted the surgery. Keep in mind, faithful readers, that while the girl was overweight, she was not morbidly obese.

the girl said that she had tried dieting and it just didn't work for her, she still couldn't lose weight. I have heard that so many times, and it just really kind of irritates me. Yes, losing weight is hard work. But it's not impossible, and it doesn't happen overnight. The problem is people don't want to put in the work required. Losing weight and keeping it off requires 4 elements: cut the calories, increase the exercise, make good food choices, and do this for the rest of your life. I guarantee you will lose weight.

The problem is, people like this girl don't want to do the work. They want a pill or surgery to do it for them. Unfortunately, this child will probably gain back the fat that was sucked out of her body because she hasn't changed her lifestyle to sustain the weight loss. And she probably hasn't even reached puberty yet-how will the surgery affect her body in the future? And what in the world were Mom and Dad thinking, to allow her to have the surgery? What about the surgeon? When he was interviewed, he talked about the maturity of the child, she was able to make a good decision, blah blah blah.

This girl is now 14. She will undoubtedly continue to have cosmetic surgery; she says she wants to look like Anna Nicole Smith or Dolly Parton-at 14! this is just messed up. Just do the work, people. Put down the Twinkie and have an apple instead. Lace up your tennies and go for a walk. It's way cheaper than liposuction and your body will thank you. And before I get comments from people who are going to tell me they tried all this and still can't lose weight and I'm just being mean to fat people, I've done it. It took me almost 2 years to lose about 50 pounds. I've kept it off for several years now, but I had to change some pretty bad habits to do it. Trust me, it can be done. It's hard but not impossible.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mileage-it's just a number

My rhr has been up several days in a row, and my legs felt pretty dead after yesterday's 6 miler. I'm not sure what's up with that. I've decided to take an extra rest day this week, so no run for today. I really want my mileage back up to 30 mpw, but if it takes an extra week to get there, so what? Will the big picture change if I don't run today? 10 years from now, when I'm still running, will I look back at this week and say, "Gee, I wish I had done that run on that one day"? I think not. So I'm giving myself permission to take an extra day off this week. I'll do some core stuff instead and work on a couple of projects I have in mind around the house. with 2 days off in a row, it will be interesting to see how my planned 10 miler for Friday goes.

I'm currently re-reading a favorite book, a translation of Beowulf by Seamus Heanley. There are passages that still ring true today; it just proves what I have always thought-that human nature has not changed throughout the ages-as an example:

Beow's name was known through the north,
And a young prince must be prudent like that,
giving freely while his father lives
so that afterwards in age when fighting starts
steadfast companions will stand by him
and hold the line. Bahaviour that's admired
is the path to power among people everywhere.

This, faithful readers, from an epic poem written around the 10th century.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Another slug run

Yet again I got out the door late, which never bodes well for me, I'm definitely an early morning runner. I did 6 miles at a really slow pace, but I did manage to do them. My legs have been really sore lately; could it be possible that I already need new shoes? It seems like just a month or 2 ago that I bought this pair.

I had a truly interesting encounter with a woman in a parking lot recently. I was getting in my little Mini Cooper (it's a real Mini, not the faux BMW modern Mini). The lady was a tiny little elderly lady, perhaps in her late 70s, early 80s. She just said "nice car" as she walked by. I get that occasionally with our cars, so I didn't think much, just said thanks. Then she said "I really like the Mini Lites-they look better than the originals". This stopped me in my tracks. This was not your average grandmotherly lady, this was someone who knew enough about cars to realize we have after market wheels on the Mini, and she knew what brand of wheels they are.

I talked to her a bit, and found out that she and her husband raced cars all over California in the 50s and 60s, the heyday of the "drive it to the track, race it, drive it home" era. She raced an Austin Healey Bug Eye Sprite, and her husband raced Corvettes. It turns out she lives in the apartments right next door to where I used to work, and often saw my little Bugeye in the parking lot. What a nice lady, with such an interesting life. She invited me to her apartment to see some of her pictures and momentos from all her races, and I'm going to take her up on the offer.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Car show etiquette

We spent yesterday on our fence project again, so today was an easy 2 miler on the deadmill. No big whoop. I've been doing crosstraining on Sundays, a combination of 30 minutes on the elliptical and 30 minutes walking on the deadmill, but I really hate the whole crosstraining thing. I know, I know-it's good for me, rests the old running muscles, yada yada. I still hate it. So, stubborn person that I am, I'm just not going to do it any more. I'll do short easy runs instead, sometimes on the deadmill, sometimes not. So there.

The car show season is winding down; here in California we'll continue to have an occasional show but for the most part it's a summer thing. I encourage those of you who have never attended a car show to go to one. Look at the cars as a piece of rolling art. Talk to the owners. They're generally a pretty friendly group. However, be aware that while a car show is lots of fun, you need to be careful around vintage cars. Don't touch, lean against, or plant your rear end on a car. Seriously. The last show I had a car in, I watched a woman plant her rather generous rear on the hood of my car to get a cheesecake picture. Fortunately a good friend saw the same thing and asked her to remove her ass from my car. I was too busy trying to get my heart to function again. You have to understand-this particular car has a really nice paint job that I personally hand rubbed, coat by coat (it's a lacquer paint job, done when lacquer was still legal in California). And keep in mind that some cars, like Hubby's Allard, have aluminum body panels; this means they're soft and will dent really easily. And no car owner wants a dent in the hood of their car shaped like your butt.

So along with the rule about not touching the cars, this obviously includes not opening doors so you can get your picture inside the car. You wouldn't walk up to a stranger's house in Beverly Hills that you admire and open the door and just walk in, now would you? At least I hope you wouldn't do that. That would be weird as well as illegal. So don't do it to a car on display at a car show. I'm including this in my post because I have actually seen people do this.

So a little thoughtful respect goes a long way at a car show. The thing is, if you happen to meet the owner of the car, and you're friendly and polite, and show an interest in the car, she just might let you sit in the car and have your picture taken. Hubby and I have done this lots of times. Have fun, enjoy the day, admire the cars. Just don't touch.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Fast pace 6 miler

OK, so I slept in late, then spent (translation: wasted) the morning on the computer, and finally got out the door for a 6 mile run. I felt really strong and had a fast pace, decided to see if I could sustain it instead of bonking around mile 3 like I usually do and then just slogging away for the last 3 miles. So my splits were actually pretty funny: fast, slow, fast, slow, REALLY fast, really slow, depending on where I hit the hills. But the good thing is my average pace was almost a 10k race pace, and I did a pretty good fast run. It made me believe that a sub 1 hour 10k is possible. Don't laugh, I know that for some of you a sub 1 hour 10k sounds kind of ridiculous. For me it's fast. Hey, we all have our goals!

I have a new favorite gadget in the kitchen. It was a birthday present-a magic bullet, sort of a tiny little blender. I've been experimenting with fruit smoothies, basically I just throw in whatever I have in the fridge with a little ice, fruit juice, maybe some yogurt. I've found that watermelon makes a great smoothie, especially if you put it in the freezer for a bit, then add vanilla yogurt. And nectarines-excellent smoothie material! And hummus-I love hummus as a dip, I make my own and it's much better than the store bought stuff. This is a kitchen gadget that actually works as it's supposed to.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11

There are those days of such historical note that we all can easily remember where we were and what we were doing at that particular moment. For my in laws, Pearl Harbor is one of those moments. My generation can easily recall the day Kennedy was shot. Now, sadly, we have another day to add to the list. Hubby and I were in London on vacation with our parents on this terrible day 7 years ago. I won't bore you with the details except for one event that actually took place a couple of days after the attack, when the entire city of London stood still in a moment of silence in honor of those who lost their lives.

My mother and I and my mother in law were in a huge square just outside the Tower of London, where all the tourist buses congregate. one moment it was your typical bustling big city full of noise and movement, then suddenly, silence. No traffic noise, no voices, nothing except an occasional birds cry. I couldn't see the busy street that borders the square, but the traffic must have stopped because there was no noise coming from the street-no engines running, horns honking, nothing. All the people in the square stood silently, enveloped in their own thoughts. It was a profound moment.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Heart rate monitor

I did 5 miles today, I'm in a fall back week; my blessed, blessed fall back week! So no runs longer than 6 miles, then I'm back to a 10 miler and I'll probably start tacking on more miles-gradually. The nice thing about being done with races for the year is I can add miles and build my base at a leisurely pace.

I finally got the heart rate monitor strap working again. I put in a new battery and still no read out on Mr. Garmie. So I kept playing with it, installing, re-installing, it finally started showing a reading. The trick for those of you who have yet to replace the battery-the battery has to be firmly seated in just the right position.

Monday, September 8, 2008

My new political affiliation

I did 3 miles today with a new battery in my heart rate monitor strap. I got no heart rate readings at all-zip, zilch, nada. This means one of 2 things: a) I'm dead, or b) I installed the battery incorrectly. I'm assuming the correct answer is b since I never saw a very bright light filled with dead people beckoning me forward.

I was reading some notes given to me by my grandfather some years back about his life growing up in west Texas. He commented that his father, and his grandfather, were politically very active in their small community and that they were both "Jeffersonian Constitutionalists". I don't know what that is, but I like the sound of it. It has a nice ring and I have decided that that will be my new party, a party of one unless any of you, faithful readers, care to join me. Feel free to use that affiliation if you get called by any pollsters who want to know what party you belong to. We can make up the rules and a party platform as we go along.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Antiques

Does digging post holes for a fence count as cross training? That's what I did all day Saturday, with a little concrete busting thrown in to the deal. I really felt it in my arms and abs. Sunday I was going to either a) do some easy cross training on the elliptical, or b) go for an easy 3 mile run. I ended up doing neither. Hubby and I woke up really late, watched telly a bit with my morning coffee, then decided to heck with our plans today, let's go to Ventura for some antique shopping.

We had a leisurely drive down the coast then split up in Ventura-Hubby headed for the gun show, I went to my favorite street loaded with antique and second hand shops. I ended up spending most of the day visiting with 2 of my favorite people in the antique world; Arthur and his wife Darlene run a very nice little shop filled with good quality antique furniture and old stained glass panels. I've purchase lots of stuff from them and we spend most of our time swapping stories about travelling in Great Britain and Europe. After wandering through their shop as well as a dozen or so others, I still managed to come home empty handed.

Sadly, so many "antique" shops around here are second rate. The merchandise is nothing special, and I have to dig through lots of useless stuff to find the gems I'm looking for. After years of combing shops for antiques I've become very particular about what I will buy. I considered a pretty decent bird's eye maple chair and a nice old serving dish; I finally said no to both and walked away with nothing more for my efforts than a Subway sandwich to split with hubby. You would think after going through that many stores I could have found something worth buying!

Friday, September 5, 2008

The running force

The running gods smiled upon me today. I did a really good 10 miler, no walking breaks except to cross a couple of busy streets. Otherwise, I just ran at a comfy pace, just let my body do what it's been trained to do. It was very cool and foggy and that helped; cold enough that I should have worn gloves. I wish every run could be like this. When I thought about taking a walking break, I imagined Obi Wan Kenobi's voice, telling me "Use the running force, Luke Snailrunner. The force is strong within you." That of course led to a whole Star Wars fantasy with me brandishing a light saber and saving the universe. I always imagine myself as a female Luke, rather than Princess Leia. I just don't think I would look good in a brass bikini.

I figured out my low heart rate thing. It's not me; it's the heart rate strap. I knew something was seriously out of whack when I saw my avg heart rate for this run-36! So then it occurred to me that I've never replaced the battery in the strap. Duh!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Running tragedy

I did 3 miles this morning, got up early enough that I could take advantage of the cool weather. I didn't really push the pace, but it felt about average for me, and I'm still seeing the really low avg. heart rate-it was a shocking 94. This is the 4th run with a low hr. Next week is a fall back week; after that I think I'm going to have to start doing speed work again. I'm definitely not getting much of a cardio workout.

A runner in Santa Barbara was struck and killed Saturday by a drunk driver. This poor woman was doing everything right. She was with a group of 30 runners, at 7:30 am, in the bike lane and running facing traffic. A drunk driver drifted into the bike lane and killed her. The group was with Team in Training.

I truly, truly hate drunk drivers. I have been forced to change my running routes because of them. I worry about Hubby on his daily commute, since he drives a tiny little Mini Cooper (73 vintage). I see these people on the telly, in court pleading not guilty, and I wonder about their choices. I know that your ability to make decisions when you're drunk is compromised. So, how about this-if you will need to drive home, DON'T DRINK! Just don't have that first glass of wine or beer or whatever.

I truly enjoy drinking wine, and occasionally beer. Hubby doesn't drink at all, so I have a built in designated driver. If I'm out with the girls, without the Hubster, I just don't drink alcohol, not even one little glass of wine.

Just be really careful out there, faithful readers. Stay safe.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Politicians, and why I don't like any of them

I ran a very easy 6 miles today, slow because it was hot and I didn't get my lazy butt out the door early enough to take advantage of the cool morning. You'd think I would know by now, I only make it harder on myself when I start late.

I am going to discuss a particular aspect of American Politics today; you are forwarned, faithful readers. This, however, will not be a rant, and it will not be partisan. I'm of a certain age that has allowed me to experience lots of election years and lots of politicians. They all, to a man (and now to a woman), have a nasty habit of believing that if I can relate to them on some elemental level, then I will vote for them. So they go to the local diner and eat the cuisine du jour, they bowl, shoot, swill beer out of the bottle, dandle some random baby on their knee, and generally engage in all sorts of activities that they are obviously uncomfortable with, all in the hope that it will make me, the voter, cast my vote in their favor. So I want to tell them all, every one, liberal or conservative, to just stop it. it doesn't work.

The problem is I'm not that stupid. I know that the typical politician lives a life that has no relationship whatsoever to my life. I see them stepping off a private jet with no carry on baggage, looking as fresh as if they just stepped out of a spa in Tahiti; they then ensconce themselves in the ample leathery comfort of a limousine and are whisked away to that diner where they eat a hot dog just like regular folks.

So, Mr Politician, you want me to relate to you? Well, let's see if I can conjure up the following fantasies:

Try to imagine either of the front runners in our current race for the White House mowing his own lawn. How about envisioning him in the garage with a few of his buddies (since this is a fantasy, just pop in your favorite Washington politicos here) changing out the starter on a 67 Camaro. Or how about picturing either candidate installing a new toilet in their Mcmansion? Let's look at their wives, shall we? How about trying to imagine either wife with her rubber gloved hand elbow deep in the above mentioned toilet, trying to scrub out a hard water stain? My point is that the lives politicians lead and my life are completely different. And it doesn't matter anyway, since that's not how I vote. I vote base on ISSUES.

So, to the politicans currently running for office, I have one piece of advice to offer. If you are encouraged by your advisors to partake in any activity that you are uncomfortable with, that you have never done in your life, that you really don't want to do, just say so. Just admit that you don't bowl/shoot baskets/play bingo, whatever the activity is, and you will get points from me for honesty. It doesn't mean I'll vote for you. I'm still voting based on issues.

Friday, August 29, 2008

10 Miler

I did 10 miles this morning. I skipped almost all my walking breaks, but I did take a couple, mostly just walking the uphill parts of my course. And I had to stop to chat with a neighbor and meet his new dog-a very pretty 6 month old german shepard. If she grows into her ears, she's going to be huge!

Open letter to the ants currently invading my kitchen: Your days are numbered; be forewarned. Take this message back to your queen. I'm done being all eco friendly. No more vinegar, bay leaves or lemon. I have a fogger and I'm not afraid to use it. There will be many, many ant deaths.

We went to the gun club BBQ yesterday and had way too much fun. It's held at a firing range with all sorts of targets-spinners, animal shapes, and stuff as far away as 500 yards. I shot Hubbys high powered 22 and managed to hit the targets at 500 yards; that was pretty cool. And I fired another gun, a 22 (I think) that is WW1 vintage and open sites (iron sites? not sure if that's what it's called, I just know it doesn't have a scope), shot that one at the 200 yard range and I have the sore shoulder to prove it. It's my own fault. I have a bony shoulder and it's hard for me to find a comfy spot to snug in a gun butt, so sometimes I end up snugging it up against my arm instead of my shoulder where it belongs. Everybody shot on the range until dusk, then tons of really good food and conversation.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Fantasy run



Yesterday I aborted my morning run, came home after about a mile, did some chores, then worked on a sewing project that was becoming a problem. I gave up in frustration and decided to walk on the deadmill. I ended up running 3 miles and figuring out my sewing problem! It's funny how running can allow me to work on a problem and find a solution.
And now we come to today's subject-my fantasy runs. I have 2. The first is something I've been thinking a lot about lately since we will not be taking a vacation this year. Yes, even retirees look forward to their vacations!
In 1998, Hubby and I took the first of several trips to Tahiti. My favorite island is Bora Bora. It has a road that circles the island encompassing just a tick over 20 miles and it's pretty flat, with one tiny hill. One year we walked around the entire island. My fantasy is to run around the island. I would start at dawn in order to avoid the heat, and Hubby would be in a rental car, waiting for me every few miles with Gatorade and bananas. I would do it on a Sunday to avoid traffic, but even on a week day there isn't much traffic to worry about. I think 20 miles is doable, especially when I'm doing it on one of the most beautiful islands in the world.

My second fantasy run, a new idea for me, is to run the Edinburgh marathon. Not that I'm saying I WOULD run a marathon; I'm just saying IF! I think it's the only way I could get the Hubster behind the idea of a marathon, since we would have a pretty nice vacation thrown into the deal. And Scotland is the home of my ancestors, since I'm a descendant of Robert the Bruce, thus his picture on this post. Yes, I have royal Scottish blood in my veins. No curtsying necessary at the moment, since I'm not currently wearing my tiara.

So, faithful readers, consider this: money and time are not a hindrance. You can run anywhere, any time, in the world. What's your fantasy? Run around the pyramids in Egypt? Up and down the Eiffel tower, perhaps? Along the great Wall of China? What would you do if the entire planet was your own personal running course?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Racing-why?

I went out for what should have been a 3 miler; the legs said no, we just don't have it today. I tried to tough it out, finally gave up. If it's not there, it's just not there. so maybe 2 days off and then I'll try a long run on Friday.

My blog friend BeachRunner posed a popular question recently-why do we run? I enjoy these posts; we all seem to run for the same reasons. It's good for our health, keeps our weight down; all the usual reasons. So this leads me to a second question-why do we race?

After years of competing in the show ring with my horse, I very suddenly decided I didn't like competing any more. I had lots of excuses for stopping; probably the only honest excuse was that I was a very mediocre rider at my best and I just couldn't take the feeling of failure any more.

Fortunately, with age comes wisdom and a more balanced perspective. I discovered that I enjoy racing very much, even though I still don't consider myself a very competitive person. I know I won't win any races; at best I might occasionally place in my age division. My goal with racing is to improve my time and physically push myself to find my limits. Those limits are pretty slow by most runners standards and I'm ok with that. While it's fun to reel in another runner, it's more fun to cross the finish line on an empty tank knowing I did my best.

I wish I could go back in time and have a conversation with my teenaged self. I would tell the younger me to just relax and have fun, and that coming out of the show ring sans trophy or ribbon does not equal failure.