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


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.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I did 6 friggin miles on the friggin treadmill; hated every second but I did it anyway. That's the longest I've done to date on a treadmill-blegh!

So, faithful readers, maybe we need some jokes to rid ourselves of the nasty faux run treadmill taste we are left with this morning.

A blonde refuses to sign up for her company's 401k. When her manager asks her why she won't participate, she says, "Oh, I could never do a 401k. Do you have any idea how far that is to run?"

A runner, new to the sport, is doing a few miles down a country road. As he runs by a pasture, he sees 2 horses, a white one and a black one. he hears a voice: "You're leaning too far forward. And bring your elbows in closer to your body. And relax your shoulders." He realizes the voice is coming from the white horse. The man runs into a nearby village and goes into a pub for a drink of water. He tells the bartender about the horses and that one talked to him and critiqued his running. The bartender asks, "Which horse was it-the white one or the black one?" The man answers that it was the white one. The bartender responds, "That's good, because the black one doesn't know squat about running."

Feel free to share your own favorite jokes. Keep it clean. Children may be present.

Monday, August 25, 2008


I did a very easy 3 miler today, really just a chance to stretch the legs a bit after the race Saturday. I'm still a little sore and stiff, and I have sore muscles in places I'm not used to-thanks to those blasted sand dunes! But the soreness isn't much worse than I would expect after a really long run, so it's all good.

I've been thinking a lot lately about my years of working, perhaps because Hubby has gone back to work. Fear not, faithful readers-it's only a temporary gig, and he only accepted the job because they offered to pay him a ridiculous sum of money.

I've been retired for a little over 2 years, and I have no desire to go back to full time work. I did the same work for about 20 years-I was a clerk in the business office for an auto dealership. My specialty was DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles for those of you outside of California) and contracts; I did the payroll for the salesman and all sorts of accounting type of stuff. In other words, I was a cubicle monkey.

I came to realize that I no longer fit in at the office where I worked. My coworkers were all younger than me and just starting their work careers; this job was just a stepping stone to something better. The chatter in the office was about boyfriends and parties and I couldn't relate.

And perhaps more to the point, I grew to hate the work I did. This was new to me. I had always gained some satisfaction from my job. Yes, it was boring and tedious; the customers could be complete jerks and I hated answering the phone. No one called me unless they had a serious problem and needed someone to yell at. But even on a really bad day, I could go home feeling that I had done something worthwhile for the last 8 hours. Somehow during my last year of work I lost that ability to see the value of my job.

I knew it was time to quit after a really bad phone conversation with a customer who felt I should be able to process her license plates and registration in less than 1 week. All the polite explanations on my part only seemed to anger her more. She became abusive and I had enough. I told her I was transferring her to a manager and that really sent her over the top. I finally hung up on her-a first for me after 20 years of fielding customer phone calls. She had the hutzpah to call back, ask for my manager, and complain that I was the one that was foul and abusive. Then she called back 2 days later and asked for my last name and home address, because her attorney needed the information for the lawsuit! What BS. I transferred her to a manager without a comment on my part. I think it was that phone call more than anything else that compelled me to retire.

I've never regretted my decision to retire at the tender age of 50. People told me I would be bored; that I would go back to work for something to do; that I was retiring to young. Boredom has not been a problem-getting everything done-yeah, that's hard sometimes. But there's always tomorrow. People who are bored with retirement just aren't doing it properly.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

No guts, no glory

So, faithful readers, here is the race report you've all been waiting for with baited breath-the Dune Run Run. Seriously-that's what they call it for reasons that will become apparent as you read the report.

I'm up at 5 am, eat breakfast, a cuppa coffee, gear ready the night before-all good to go. Weather-perfect-foggy and cool. We get to the start line in plenty of time to pick up my bib number and greet a couple of friends. I had trouble figuring out where I should be to start-the walkers, 5k runners and 10k runners are all mushed together and starting at the same time. I find a spot I'm comfortable with just before the gun goes off and we head down the road. I'm really feeling strong for this race, so I keep an eye on my pace and hold it back just a tick-don't want to go out too fast!

We're only on the road about 1/8 mile before we turn to the boardwalk and that was very cool for running. That's about 1/8 mile or so, then on the beach for the best part, about 1 1/2 miles to the pier on hardpacked sand-awesome run! We turn around at the pier and head back down the beach and the 5k runners turn off. At this point I'm feeling really good, just very strong, and I even manage to reel in some runners (take that, Mr White Hat and Ms Pink Shirt!). So we continue down the beach and I'm doing pretty stinkin good with a steady pace around 10:10 or so. Then at about the 4 1/2 mile mark we turn off the beach and into the dunes. Here's where it gets tough. The dunes are very hilly and all soft sand for almost 2 1/2 miles. There's me and 3 other runners and we're all really working hard but making progress. I resort to walking up the hills and running down. This works pretty good except I have trouble keeping my balance in the uneven sand and barely avoided a couple of face plants, but I managed to remain upright and moving forward.

Through the dunes there were pink markers for the course. And the other 3 runners gain ground on me but I can still see them. Then all of a sudden-no markers and I can't see the other runners. I think I was so focused on not falling that I stopped watching for markers. I got a little scared that I was off course, finally found a marker, but it's green, the color they were using for the 5k. What happened? Did I somehow get off the 10k and onto the 5k course? About the time I'm thinking I should retrace my steps and figure out where I screwed up, I see the other runners. So I'm still on course-whew!

Finally I can hear the course workers cheering on my fellow runners and soon I pop out on the road. 1/2 mile to go through town. I'm thinking at this point that I'll be really happy if I finish in 1:30. A short run downtown (ooh-shoe sale! Stay focused, this is a race...) I finally turn the last corner and there's the finish line-and the clock says 1:15 and some change! I am elated! Stoked! Thrilled! I did not finish in the medals in my age group. I was one of the last runners to make it in. And I didn't care. This was the hardest, most challenging run I've done to date. It will definitely go on my list of runs to do every year. It's a little hard to see, but that pile of sand in the picture above is what poured out of my shoes!

This race really kicked my butt. I ran in on gas fumes; the tank was completely empty. But oh, what an amazing feeling to finish so well!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Stuff they get wrong on TV

4 easy miles today. I came home to find ants on my kitchen counters-again. Honestly, I'm ready to go all out Caddyshack on them. I've tried the organic stuff like lemon juice and bay leaves; resorted to bug bombing the whole house which made them disappear for a few weeks. I didn't realize they were just pulling back and waiting for reinforcements.

So, faithful readers, we get to the subject of this post. There are certain things that movies and TV just don't get right. It's been a thorn in my side for years that TVand movie people don't realize that car tires won't make loud, screeching, rubber burning sounds on a dirt road, or that a tiny little british sports car with a 4 banger engine (think early MG, Austin Healey, and such) will not sound like a 12 cylinder Ferrari in race ready condition. They don't understand that if they are showing a person driving a car, and he is having a conversation with his passenger, then the driver should probably NOT be looking at the passenger the whole time with only occasional glimpses at the road, like "Oh yeah, I'm supposed to be driving a car here."

And please, oh please stop the ridiculous movie practice of someone dismounting a horse and just dropping the reins and walking away. Just stop it. Nobody does that.

Now to my point. Since I'm a runner now, I'm a bit sensitive about the stupid stuff movie people do with running. I just watched a TV cop/detective show, one of the gazillion or so currently on the networks. And they have a girl who is running a marathon. So they show her finishing the race. She comes in to view and crosses the finish line running like a ballerina tripping lightly across the stage. Her hair and makeup are perfect and-this is the part that gets me-there isn't a drop of sweat on her body. Her shirt is perfectly dry; no sweat dripping into her eyeballs; no armpit stains; nothing. She crosses the finish line, gives a couple of dainty little gasps and voila! She's done! So apparently she stopped off at a spa and got her hair done, got a facial, and changed clothes before she finished the race. I don't know about you guys but I always look like death warmed over after a race of any distance.

The least they could have done was spray her down a bit with some faux Hollywood sweat.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Olympics

I did a pretty good 3 miler at a fast pace (fast for me). This week is a taper so I don't know exactly what I'll do the rest of the week, I just know I'll be cutting back on the miles.

Hubby and I have been glued to the telly watching the Olympics. I have enjoyed the swimming and gymnastics, and we've been teased with bits of other sports like rowing and fencing. I just wish the powers that be would televise the more unusual sports. They could at least report on archery and target shooting and the equestrian events but we don't hear about an event unless the USA is a medal contender. I would like to see the event even if an American isn't competing. I remember years ago when the Hubster and I were on vacation in London during the Australian Olympics in 2000. They reported on all sorts of sports that my friends back home never heard about, and we could switch to a German or Italian channel and see even more stuff.

I understand that it's a ratings thing, and most people want to see Michael Phelps and the gymnasts. I'm just saying there's a lot more to the Olympics than just a handful of sports.

At least the coverage of the track events seems pretty good so far. I got a bit emotional watching the Romanian woman win the marathon. That was good stuff.

Friday, August 15, 2008


I did a 10 miler today, with my customary walking breaks. It was a tough run, hot and humid, and my pace was off a bit but I still finished the run, so it's all good.

I got my first horse when I was 13. While my peers were experimenting with makeup and attending dances and football games I spent every spare moment at the stables riding and competing in horse shows. Then I got older, got a job, got married and horses were no longer a part of my life.

Fast forward to 1995 when we moved to a new home on an acre of land. Hubby offered to build a barn for a horse, but I didn't think I had the time to care for a horse properly. All it took was a visit to a miniature horse farm to change my mind. I saw Daisy in a pasture with several broodmares and she piqued my curiosity. She looked like a tiny version of a quarter horse and after spending some time with her I was hooked; she soon went home with me.

So yesterday the vet was out for Daisy's yearly checkup and vaccination and he tells me she's too fat. Not MY little darling! I protest that she's not fat; she's Rubenesque. The vet doesn't buy it and tells me my little Fatty McButterpants needs less time on the pasture and more time exercising. She'll be joining me for my shorter runs, which poses a problem for her and me. She has two speeds-excruciatingly slow and race pace fast. She gets frustrated because I'm constantly either tugging on her to speed up or pulling her back and trying to slow her down. And she's only good for a mile, so I'll have to adjust my course so I can pick her up for my last mile then drop her off, since she lives with the in-laws now. And I'm pretty sure she doesn't stretch after her runs. You know how these newbie runners are-you just can't tell them anything..

I wish there was an equine Jenny Craig. I would sign her up.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Snappy retorts

3 miles today at a decent pace. I managed good splits, too. I'm improving my pace on the shorter distances, hopefully that will translate to better paces at longer distances.

I'm getting a little tired of people telling me why I shouldn't run. You've all heard these people, who don't run themselves, try and convince you it's bad for you. Here's some responses I use for these naysayers who don't understand my sport:

1. You shouldn't run because you'll blow out your knees.
Response: You're absolutely right; my knees could blow any moment now, so I suggest you
don't stand directly in front of me, unless you want to get hit be knee shrapnel.

2. Have you started saving up for your knee surgery yet?
Response: Nope. Have you started saving up for your heart bypass surgery yet?

3.Running is bad for your _____________(enter joint of your choice)
Response: Really? So...(allow your voice to drip with sarcasm) you're a doctor, specializing in
sports medicine? No? Then you're a physical therapist? You have a degree in sports
physiology? You've coached runners? You're a chiropractor, a trainer, anything? Because
you said that with such authority, I didn't realize you were just blowing it out your butt.

4. You could have a heart attack while you're out there running so you shouldn't do it.
Response: You're right. Much better to have the heart attack like you will, while sitting on
your butt in front of the TV with a bag of potato chips in your flabby lap.

5. I could run a lot faster than that when I was in high school. You're pretty slow.
Response: Really? Let's see how fast you are now. How about a six miler? You can pace me,
since you're so fast.

Feel free to use any of these if the opportunity arises.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The will to win

I did a really nice, easy 6.5 miles today. I was scheduled for 6 miles but the morning was so nice and I felt so good I just kept running. I figure it's a confidence run for my 10k in 2 weeks. I even managed a negative split by keeping the pace on the slow side for the first 3 miles then picking up the pace just a bit for the finish. It's all good...

"The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare". I don't remember where I saw that quote but it's one of my favorites. I think about it when I consider blowing off a run. Elite athletes don't blow off runs; they train daily and hard. I'm not an elite athlete and I don't mean to compare myself to them. But if I want to race and do my best, as slow as my best is by most standards, then I can't blow off the training. I learned that lesson the hard way at my 1/2 marathon. I know I was undertrained and I suffered for it.

I know I'm not going to win races. But I can improve my performance. I do have goals in mind-a sub 1 hour 10k would be nice; and a 25 minute 5k. I would like to complete a marathon-no time goal, just finishing would be nice. Wishing for it won't get me there. Training will.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


Today is crosstraining day. 1/2 hour on the elliptical, 1/2 hour on the treadmill at a fast walk and high elevation. It gets my heart rate up and rests my legs, and seems to be a pretty good workout. I just don't know when I'll get to it.

One of the oldest cars residing in my garage is Casper, the 53 MG TD. We bought the car 30+ years ago just before Hubby and I got married and it was my daily driver. For those non gearhead readers, an MG TD is not the most practical mode of transportation. It's a roadster and thus has no windows; there are funky window screen things that take forever to put up so no one ever uses them. And the convertible top is equally difficult and impractical, plus the rear window on Casper's top was ancient plastic that you couldn't see out of anyway so I cut it out.

Casper was wonderful in the summer months, even at 5 am when I was driving to work. Blasting down the highway under the stars, the scent of strawberries from the fields-magic. Winter, however was challenging. The floorboards are wood and not even remotely watertight. If I drove through town and hit a deep puddle, the interior of the car filled with steam from the hot exhaust. And since I drove with no windows and the rear window removed, I got wet when it rained.

Every morning on my drive to work I saw a runner at just about the same spot. Rain or shine, summer, winter, every cold, dark morning, there he was, running along the road. We started waving to each other. I used to think, sheesh, what a moron, out running at this hour. In the cold and rain. I realized that what he was probably thinking as he saw me drive by in my completely impractical, cold, non watertight sports car- sheesh, what a moron, driving a car like that. In the cold and rain.

I think about him sometimes now when I'm out running, early in the morning, in the cold and rain.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Six miles-pb!

I did a fantastic 6 miler this morning. I came THIS CLOSE to breaking the one hour barrier. My time was-are you ready for this: 1:00:47! The running gods smiled upon me today and my running mojo was through the roof! That's the fastest I've ever run 6 miles, and that, my friends, is a personal best. It's days like this that make me love this sport. It makes all those mornings of slogging away at the same old pace, of coming home with sore hips and black toenails and soaked in sweat worthwhile.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Race training, phase one

I'm sending the money to enter my next race today. So this means I will be entering the first phase of preparation for a race-the "holy crap, what do I think I'm doing, this is way too hard for me, I know I'm going to fail miserably" phase. It should last about 3 days..

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Trail run

I tried something completely different this morning. I'm considering a race later this month that involves trails and sand dunes. So I decided to run down to our local county park and run some of the trails there just to get a feel for something other than asphalt. And I just ran 3 miles that absolutely, completely kicked. my. butt. The first 1/2 mile or so was fine-some sand but mostly packed dirt; so far, so good. Then I hit the sand. Soft, uneven sand. I couldn't get a good rhythm going and with every step my feet just sank into the sand. And then I hit the hills. If you want a really hard workout, try running in sand-uphill. So of course, I walked a lot. It was still a good run. The park is very quiet in the morning, and I saw bunny rabbits, and quail, and even some deer, and it really is a pretty park. It's just so darned isolated.

Note to self-when you come back from a trail run, DO NOT take your shoes off in the bedroom. I couldn't believe how much sand I brought home in my shoes!

If I didn't have my obssessive fear of hockey mask wearing axe murderers, I would run there more often. And mountain lions. My fear of mountain lions keeps me off the park trails as well. And bats.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Just a run

I managed to get out the door at 6 am for a really nice 3 miler. No speed, no thinking about pace, just running. Maybe I need to do that more often. I was cruising the internet recently, checking out the gazillion or so running plans, and it occurred to me that while I could follow a complicated, in depth, scientific plan, maybe the best way to run is the easiest:
Run a lot; mostly slow, with just a little regular speed work.

There. That's my plan. Simple, to the point, easy to follow.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Warmer weather

I didn't manage to drag my lazy butt out of bed for a 6 am run; hit the road closer to 8 am and it was warmer today. I did finish my scheduled 9 mile run but I was pretty slow with an almost 12 min. pace. I figure it was still good considering the heat. I stashed a water bottle in the inlaw's mailbox, so every 3 miles I had a nice water break. I guess my beloved foggy mornings are gone at least until September.