Tuesday, December 21, 2010


It's rained here for 4 days straight. That's 4 days of continuous, every minute, 24/7 rain of varying intensity. If you saw the national news of the rain here in California where they showed someone in one of those fold out row boats, that was a video taken in the little town just 20 miles or so north of my home. 2 nearby towns have had evacuation notices. I am fortunately high and dry with no water in my home but I'm experiencing a serious case of cabin fever. I'm stuck on the treadmill until the rain stops. It's currently not raining but that won't last long enough for me to get in even a short run.

Since I have to use the treadmill (which I hate with the white hot passion of a thousand suns) I decided to run shorter distances, but bump up the intensity. I run hard for 1/4 mile, then recover, then another 1/4 mile sprint for 4 miles. If I'm feeling really frisky, I'll finish up with a quick 1 mile walk with the incline bumped up as high as my treadmill will go-12%. We'll see if this translates to better running out doors when I'm finally able to get in a real run.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Pub Night

I'm not a bar hopping kind of person. I don't feel comfortable in a bar and I think I've figured out why-but that's for another post. This is about a most interesting night in a a local Irish style pub when I did agree to meet some friends for drinks after a local parade. We got to the pub first (which I hate doing-again, another post...) so we hung around a bit and watched the parade participants wander in. The first group there was the belly dancers. A nice enough bunch of ladies, dressed in the usual belly dancing attire, who would occasionally break into a little dancing. Then our friends showed up, who happen to be a bagpipe band, complete with drums. So now we had belly dancers mixing with kilt clad pipers and drummers and the dancing got really interesting. I thought this was about as odd as it would get for the night until the roller derby girls showed up-yes they were in their derby costumes, circa 1950's, and yes they were on skates, with nicknames emblazoned across their rear ends like "Thunderwear" and "Black Bomber". So now we had belly dancers and roller derby queens cheering on the pipers who needed no encouragement whatsoever to play for the crowd. It was a very odd, very entertaining night.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Please Say Yes

I saw the doctor Friday and the only question I had for him was "Can I run?". And he said yes, I can start running again.

I hit the road first thing this morning. I felt awkward and clumsy for the first mile but I didn't care-I was running. I went out without a Garmin or heart rate strap or music; I just wanted to run again. By mile 2 I felt normal and relaxed. I managed an easy, slow 3 miles and I'm ok with that; it's been almost a month since my last run and I'm fine with building up a nice base over the days to come.

I decided that if my goal is to be a lifetime runner, then an occasional set back won't matter-it's only the big picture that counts, and in that big picture I'll be 80 years old and still out there knocking out the miles.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I'm on the "no running" list

I have not posted in some time now because, sadly, I have not been allowed to run since October 21st, 2010. This is because I had surgery on my left ear, and my surgeon is not a runner. I knew I would not be running for at least 2 weeks and I figured that was OK; as all runners know, you can go for 2 weeks of no running and pretty much pick up where you left off with no worries. It is now 3 weeks and I am still not allowed to run because I have a ruptured ear drum ( that's a tympanic membrane for your doctorly types...). I'm taking scads of pills right now-steroids and antibiotics, and I'm trying to walk a lot on my treadmill but it just isn't the same. I long for the wind on my face and the pavement under my feet.

If my surgeon was a runner, I'm convinced that while his admonishment against running would stand, he would at least be more sympathetic when he tells me I still can't run. He would understand what I'm losing. Cross you fingers for me-I see him on Friday and I'm praying for those magic words-
"You can start running again".

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Van:0 Runner:1

Well, we can finally score a point in favor of runners. I was out running my customary 6 miles early yesterday morning, and I had a really scary close encounter with a service van-this was probably the closest I've ever come to being hit by a vehicle.

I was running southbound in the northbound lane on a usually quiet, traffic free street. I noticed a service van across the street backing out and I assumed he would either turn into the lane closest to him and head south, or he might back all the way into the next lane and go north-either way, I figured it was a really wide street and he had lots of room without even coming close to me, so I continued running south.

I realized he had chosen option 2 and was backing in to my lane. OK, I say to myself, there's still plenty of room. What I didn't count on was that the driver would take a third option-he was backing into my lane all the way to the curb. He was well into the bike lane where I was running and kept coming, forcing me to jump the curb and land in knee high weeds. He was right next to me before he ever saw me-then there was a sudden screech of brakes and his tires hit the curb hard so I figured I must have startled him when he saw me in his side mirror. Now I was pissed, so I smacked the side of his van really hard with my hand.

The driver came running around the van to my side with a look of absolute, complete terror on his face and I realized that when I smacked his van he must have thought that he hit me. The look on his face told the story of his thoughts-"Oh crap oh crap oh crap I just hit that runner I'm gonna lose my license and my job and I'll be sued and thrown in jail oh crap oh crap oh crap!"

Seriously-I thought I was going to have to give the guy CPR and I'm trying to remember the BeeGees song that has the correct rhythm for the compressions (is it How Deep is your Love? No, that can't be right, it's too slow, oh yeah, Stayin Alive....) and all the guy could do was tell me over and over that he was really sorry and was I ok and he didn't see me until the last minute and where did I get hit?

I took pity on the guy and told him he didn't hit me, but that he should be a little more careful-there's lots of kids on that street especially in the afternoon when school gets out and they may not be as observant as I was. He agreed, apologized again, and we went our separate ways.

If I had realized sooner that he thought he hit me, I would have laid down in the street and played dead. That REALLY would have given him a heart attack!

Monday, October 11, 2010

My Favorite Quote

"A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even without any hope of doing it well."
Oliver Herford

I love this quote. It pretty much sums up my running addiction as well as everything else I've every tried to master. Fortunately, I've learned over the years that I can gain a pretty hefty sense of accomplishment from my best attempt at something even if that attempt falls short of being exceptional. I can revel in a mediocre outcome so long as I know I gave it everything I had. Running, shooting, playing a musical instrument-I'll continue to work very hard at everything I do even with the knowledge that average is the best I'll ever manage.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Edinburgh-the Good and the Bad

We returned from our vacation this week and overall, it was a really nice trip. We spent 3 weeks in Edinburgh with a couple of excursions to the countryside in a rental car, and the trip has left me with some observations about this venerable city that can only come from hours and hours of walking the streets both major and minor; I'm one of the few people who can go on vacation and lose 5 pounds.

I was organizing notes and maps and stuff to take on the trip and I found the notes a friend had made about places to visit for our previous trip to Edinburgh in 2007. At the last minute I tossed his notes in with mine and and I'm truly glad I did because that's how I discovered Dean Village. My friends notes said "Dean Village-feels like you've stepped back in time. Will seem like you've left the city and entered a tiny ancient village". That's exactly what it felt like. It was quiet and peaceful with no traffic or tourists or shops selling cheap kilts-definitely one of the highlights of the trip.

I found my favorite shop in the city. Royal Mile Antiques sells very nice Victorian jewelry and silver and a nice selection of Scottish pebble jewelry. Hubby and I befriended the owner (making 3 purchases didn't hurt...) and we had some nice conversations about the differences between Great Britain and the states.

There were only 2 aspects of the trip that were not enjoyable. We rented a car on 2 occasions to get out of the city and visit the countryside. A right hand drive car was not an issue for Hubby; he's been driving right hand drive cars for years and was quite comfortable with it. Driving on the left side of the road, however, was another story. He told me that he had to constantly think about every move he made because it just felt so wrong. As the passenger, I must say while just driving straight down the road was OK, every time we made a turn it was terrifying. I'm not even going to tell you, faithful readers, what I think of roundabouts. I only know that if I lead a very bad life and I am consigned to an eternity in hell, it will probably be an eternity in a roundabout somewhere between Edinburgh and Stirling.

The only other complaint I have regarding Edinburgh is how difficult it was for me to cross the streets. In the small town where I live, you could stand in the middle of the main road for at least 15 minutes, maybe longer, before you see a car and have to move to the shoulder. This is not the case in Edinburgh and because the streets are not laid out in a nice, orderly grid, the cars come at you from all different directions. And they drive on the wrong side of the road. I never did figure out what direction I should be watching for oncoming traffic and therefore I stood on the side of the road trying to watch every direction at once. We were in the city with another couple and they, as well as Hubby, caught on very nicely as to how to cross the streets. This meant that time after time they would scurry across the road and I would be left behind. Even at the lighted intersections I didn't feel safe and twice I almost got hit by someone who ran the red light. Honestly-would someone from Edinburgh please explain to me how the locals know to cross a few seconds before the light actually changes?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

My Beloved Camaro

This is the reason I returned to work earlier this year. This is Big Blue, my faithful 1967 Camaro. I bought the car 12 years ago; I needed a daily driver for work and I decided my replacement car had to be fun to drive; it had to be pretty, and it had be a pre-smog car. I've been fond of the mighty Camaro ever since I was a teenager and my older sister had one and refused to let me drive hers.
When I bought Big Blue, he was perfect in every way except for his horrible paint job. It was positively criminal to take a beautiful, straight, mechanically sound car like this one and put a $99 Earl Scheib weekend special paint job on it. Sadly, that is what I lived with for 12 years because good paint jobs are very, very expensive and I lacked the means to do a proper job. Then, the offer came from my former boss to return to work and I decided I would work just long enough to paint Big Blue and return him to his former glory. And that is exactly what I did. Since I worked for a car dealership, I basically took my paychecks and handed them directly to the body shop. They had Big Blue for 3 months. The color is Nantucket blue, an original 1967 color although not Big Blues original shade-he came from the factory with a Deepwater blue paint job but I fell in love with this color the minute I saw the paint chip.
It's almost like having a new car. Big Blue was always fun to drive-there's something about that big block Chevy engine that puts a smile on my face every time I roll him out of the garage. I even managed to earn enough money to have him reshod with new tires. So if you see a middle aged woman cruising around the central coast of California in a blue 1967 Camaro, grinning like an idiot, it's probably me...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A New Age Group!

Today is my birthday and being a runner it has a whole different and very special meaning that a non-runner just wouldn't understand. So, faithful reader, you might ask what makes this particular birthday so special? Is it a nice dinner in a fancy restaurant with real tablecloths and an actual wine list? Is it a gift that comes in a very small black velvet box or the delivery of flowers from the local florist?

Actually, none of the above examples apply to me. This birthday is extra special because this year I'm in a new age group for races! So all you ladies in the 55 to 60 group, especially at the Bull Canyon Run-there's a new kid on the block!

Oh, crud. I just realized that the lady that kicks my butt at every single race I enter is the same age as me....

Friday, August 6, 2010

A Good Run!

My runs lately have been lackluster, to put it mildly. I've had to force myself out the door and I haven't always been successful at that. Today, however, reminded me why I still love running. I hit the pavement at 8:00 am with a plan of an easy 7 miler and I wondered if I would even be able to accomplish that. I soon discovered that my mojo tank was topped off and at 6 miles I knew I would finish a 7 miler easily. At 7 miles I decided to tack on an extra mile just because I could. Running conditions were absolutely perfect-we're still enjoying our cool coastal weather with a heavy layer of clouds well into the afternoon; I could feel the moisture from the fog on my skin while I ran. I've always felt that the whole "runner's high" thing was a cruel myth; I've never felt a high from running. But today's run was pretty close to perfect and maybe my version of a runners high is just feeling a serious sense of accomplishment after a good run.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Weather Report

I feel the need to apologize to my faithful readers right from the get go for this post. I know some of you are going to be very, very jealous of my situation right now...

You don't need to watch the weather reports on the news to know it's been extremely hot across the nation lately. The national weather map is one big, humongous blaze of red almost from sea to shining sea-I say almost because there's one tiny exception to our national heat wave. When the weather guy shows that national map and you see all that red indicating hot weather, look closely at California. Almost dead smack in the middle of the coast is a little strip of green indicating an oasis of cool weather. That is where I live. It hasn't even made it into the 70's for several days and we've had a blanket of cool clouds that doesn't lift until the afternoon. I ran yesterday at 10:00 and it was perfect running conditions-cloudy, cool, and just foggy enough that I could feel the moisture on my skin as I ran.

To those of you living in hotter climates, if I could send this weather your way, I would share it with you.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Horse VS Bird

I'm back to a regular running schedule although my weekly mileage is still only 25 mpw. I'm building my base back up but dang, it's hard-if anyone tells you that you'll be bored and not have anything to do if you retire early, don't believe them; what I've discovered is that generally I'm so busy that I still have stuff on my to-do list by the end of the day.

So, yesterday I went out for an easy 4 miler and who am I trying to kid? They're ALL easy runs for me because I'm so slow. So I'm on my usual route and I round the corner at mile 2 and there's this really nice Palimino in a large pasture right on the corner. The horse was standing in the corner of his pasture with his butt up against the fence. I'm pretty sure he was scratching his butt on the fence post; this is a pretty common activity for horses.

So, there's the horse doing his thing, and between the horse and me was a crow worrying at something on the ground. The crow hopped into the pasture to avoid me and he startled the horse. The horse kicked at him and KILLED THE BIRD! Yup, the horse commited aviary murder right in front of me-Mr. Ed nailed the hapless bird right in the head. I checked on the bird, thinking maybe he was only stunned but he was absolutely, completely, without a doubt dead. No CSI crew was needed to make that assessment.

I happen to like crows because they're so smart and I felt badly for this one. At lease it was a quick death.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Best 4th of July-EVER!

I got to do something this 4rth of July holiday that was the most fun I've had in a long time-Hubby and I were invited to join the volunteer crew that sets off the fireworks display for a local beach community-my rule is that if someone asks you if you want to do something that involves fuses and requires a lot of safety gear and fire extinguishers, you always say yes. So there we were on the beach with our motorcycle helmets and eye protection and ear plugs around 5:00 pm. A huge section of the beach had already been cordoned off and most of the fireworks stuff was on the beach. We had to lug the mortar racks and the boxes of fireworks down to the shore then set up the racks and load them with the fireworks. It involved a lot of heavy lifting and shoveling so I decided to consider it cross training, since I skipped my usual run that morning. We got the mortar racks set up and now the fun part-loading them with the fireworks. The fireworks come in various sizes from 3" to 5" and look like small cannon balls wrapped in brown paper, with long fuses hanging out of them. My main job at this point was to make sure that the fireworks were varied, and that we didn't have a whole row of blue ones or magenta or gold, so I walked down the 5 rows of mortars, swapping out the fireworks-that part was fun. Then we carefully dropped the fireworks down the mortars with the fuses hanging out. After taping the fuses down we were ready for the show and the only thing left to do was to wait for dusk.

The crowds had gathered on the beach on both sides of our area and everyone was in a holiday mood. And here's the totally cool part-the guy in charge told Hubby and me that newbies always go first when it comes time to set off the fireworks, so I got to fire off the first row. We were given careful instruction on how to do it safely and finally I was handed a road flare and it was show time. I stepped up to the first rack of mortars, pulled of the paper guard on the end of the fuse, lit it and then turned away as I had been instructed to do. I heard a "ffffft" and then BOOM and the crowds of people on both sides cheered! With the guy in charge watching closely I continued down the row, lighting each one carefully. I really didn't get to see the ones I set off but every time I lit one I heard a highly satisfying cheer from the onlookers and I felt like a rock star each time.

Finally my row was done and it was Hubby's turn. He started lighting each mortar and I was able to enjoy the fireworks from a unique perspective, since we were directly underneath the display. We had embers and bits of burning paper raining down around us and it was amazing. After Hubby lit off all his mortars it was time for the more expert volunteers to light the cakes. These are large boxes full of fireworks designed to fire right from the ground, rather than being shot into the air and then exploding. They kind of fire in rows, and when these were set off we REALLY got showered with embers. It was an incredible experience, in which I felt like I was standing right in the middle of the fireworks display. And yet, through it all, I never felt like I was in an unsafe situation. The other volunteers had years of experience and several of them were firemen; and the guy in charge was extremely cautious.

Finally we had set off the rows of mortars with the more experienced volunteers setting off the fireworks in multiples rather than one by one as I did, and it was time for the grand finale. There was a flurry of activity and everyone had an assigned task except for Hubby and me; our task was to stay out of everyones way and enjoy the show. There were the last mortars and several cakes set off in quick succession and the show was over. Now, we had to clean up the beach and lug all the mortar racks and gear and trash up to the waiting van and get it torn down and loaded up. We didn't finish until almost midnight and we were exhausted but it was worth all the work.

Hubby and I were completely done in by the time we got home and we slept in Monday morning; and somehow I managed to jack up my foot when we were setting up the mortars and it's so sore I doubt if I'll be running for at least a week, and I now have an old jacket with some interesting holes burned in it, and the evening was totally worth it. I told the guy in charge that we'll volunteer to help again next year, and I have a new goal to aspire to-some day, I want to be part of the crew that sets off the finale!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Ahh, Retirement-again!

I seem to remember, several posts back, stating that I absolutely, positively, was not going to return to work after my last gig training a newbie. But....I got yet another call from my former boss and she wanted me to go to another location and do just a little training for 2 days so I said yes. I mean, come on, folks-before you judge me, remember that it was only for 2 days and I got paid travel time and I didn't have to drive (drove up with the boss) so how could I say no? Damn this work ethic!

So on Wednesday, we drove up the coast to a small business for training day. I spent about 2 hours in the business office, sitting in the corner and twiddling my fingers, watching the office staff work and give me the hairy eyeball because they knew something was afoot and they didn't know what my role in the drama would be. Finally my boss came in from her meeting and told me that one of the people I was supposed to work with was not there that day and I wouldn't be doing anything that day. So I sat for another 2 hours while she finished up with her meeting and we drove home-they paid me a lot of money to sit in an office and twiddle my fingers. I wish I had brought my DS. At least I got a really good lunch out of the day-a chicken and artichoke salad in a restaurant that I normally avoid because it's so expensive-it's the kind with a martini bar and real tablecloths.

So we head back up the coast bright and early Thursday and at least everyone is present for training. I sat in on a meeting trying to look attentive and intelligent; I've learned over the years that the best way to do that is to look at anyone who is talking and to keep my own mouth securely shut. There was one woman at the meeting that my boss warned me about-she's worked there for years doing the same work and she is very resistant to any changes to her job. She had a complete meltdown when we told her that her job would be changing quite a bit. Seriously-I thought she would start crying at any moment, which I hate. Women have enough problems in the business world without crying at the drop of a hat. So the meeting comes to an end and Crying Woman looks like she's about to have a stroke, then she looks just plain pissed off, and we return to the office where I have my little training session. It was very, very awkward.

Every time I told the staff about a procedure I wanted them to follow, someone would pipe in a nd say "we already do that". It got very annoying and I had to tell them that since I didn't know what their current procedures were, that I would probably give them a lot of advice that they didn't need; but my boss insisted that I follow a plan and go over certain specific items. I'm so glad it was only a 2 day gig because these people really did not want me to be there.

Sooooo...no more work for me-again!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Happy Runniversary to me!

I quit working yesterday. I imparted as much wisdom and common sense and accounting secrets as I could and my protege is now ready to fly solo. So this morning was my first run in over a week. I wish I could say it felt good but it didn't; my legs felt heavy and I was sluggish and slow, even for me. So the new plan is a week of easy 4 milers and then I'll start building up my mileage again.

May 30 was my runniversary. In my modest little first running log I wrote this entry:

"I did it! I ran the full length of Euc. (short for Eucalyptus street) without stopping. I can do this-I think I'll be running 2 miles soon."

That run was right at 1 mile and thus, the start of my running career. 4 years later, I'm still running. If you had told me on that day that I would someday complete a marathon I would have laughed and considered that just crazy talk. It's been an interesting journey, usually fun, sometimes painful, but always interesting. I hope I'll be celebrating my runniversary many years from now.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Soon to be Retired-Again!

I'll be finally winding down my current working gig, and next week will be my last week as a cubicle monkey. The last 2 weeks have been the worst-I've had to make sure all the work gets done as well as make sure my trainee gets properly trained and understands her role as a very small cog in a very large machine. So it's been 2 weeks of overtime and little running. I can't seem to get up early enough to fit in a run; I've been oversleeping (that means I get up at 5:00 instead of 4:00) and I think I've just really needed the extra sleep. I managed 4 miles yesterday morning and it felt wonderful, albeit slow. So I'm hoping I haven't lost too much conditioning and I'll be able to get back to running some decent miles soon.

I scored a very awesome treasure for my freezer yesterday. I was talking to a co-worker, and the conversation was about favorite foods. I mentioned that I loved lumpias-I call them Filipino egg rolls, but I only get to enjoy them at filipino weddings. My co-worker, whose wife is Filipino, told me he had about 6 dozen lumpias, home made by his wife's grandmother, in his freezer. So we arranged a trade-I made him a batch of chocolate chip cookies and he gave me 2 dozen lumpias. Now if I can just find a co-worker who makes tamales from scratch....

Friday, May 14, 2010

Work is a Drag

Sadly, my new work gig is putting a serious dent in my ability to run. I can't manage more than maybe 5 miles in the morning before work and trying to run after work is impossible, mostly because I hate running in the evening almost as much as I hate the deadmill. So I'm going to keep knocking out those pre-dawn 5 milers and try to squeeze in a longer run on the weekends. I'm thinking that if I can't maintain the kind of mileage that I want, maybe this is a good time to work on my speed. I've only been back to work for 1 week and already I can't wait for it to be done so I can go back to loafing on the sofa, watching Dr. Phil and eating bon bons.

As for my trainee, she's a very nice girl who is a quick learner. And-how about this-of all the gazillion or so people that I've trained to be cubicle monkeys, she is the only one that thanked me for training her! That's right, she actually said "Thank you for taking the time to train me. I appreciate that you're being so patient with me".

Give me a moment here as I wipe a tear from my eye....

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Bull Canyon Run

Yesterday I once again attempted to break the 1 hour 10k barrier on the mighty Bull Canyon Run. It's an out and back with a rather nasty hill just before the turn around point; my strategy this year (my 4th attempt) was to run a reasonable pace to begin, power walk up the hill, then run like hell downhill to the finish line. Alas, I didn't even come close, finishing with a time of 1:06 and some seconds. I was actually closer last year (1:01:something) and I'm wondering if I should just tough it out and run up the hill. It was still a fun day; Hubby and I know lots of people both organizing and running this race and I met a few new runners during the day. So next year I will try yet again...

And I'm returning to work next Tuesday. I'm hoping my newbie trainee catches on quick because I'm going to try and have her trained and ready to go in 2 weeks, 3 weeks tops. This won't be a fun gig because I can't make my own hours this time around and I'll once again be a slave to the deadmill.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Back to Work-Again!

I noticed some time ago that the title of my last post was "Obverservations". I almost corrected the spelling then decided to let it stand; for some reason I like the new spelling and the fact that I've invented a new word. Since one of the definitions of obverse is "constituting the opposite aspect of the same fact" this title seemed appropriate for the post.

And now, faithful readers, the real subject of this particular post-yes, I am returning to work, possibly as early as next week. Hopefully this will be a short gig of no more than 2 or 3 weeks; I'll be training someone for the job that I used to do. I enjoy training and with the right trainee it can actually be sort of fun, showing them all the shortcuts I learned after almost 20 years as a cubicle monkey. The bad part of returning to work is that this time I won't be able to adjust my work hours to accomodate my running schedule, since I'll have to be at work bright and early to work with the newbie.

After this stint, I am absolutely, positively, without question, done working (unless my boss calls me again..).

Friday, April 16, 2010

Some Obverservations

A few things I realized somewhere between mile 6 and 7 during a slow, tedious 8 mile run today:

  • The intensity of the need to scratch an itch on your back during a run will be in direct proportion to your inability to reach the itch.
  • The awesomeness of your muscled, toned legs after 4 years of running is in direct proportion to the ugliness of your feet after 4 years of running.
  • The importance of the run you want to do as early as possible on any given morning is in direct proportion to the number of issues that will come up that will prevent you from getting out the door and completing the run.
  • The more important and impressive your last race was, the less likely that you will meet up with any runner type people to whom you can brag and who will understand how amazing it was.

Seriously-if any of you, my faithful readers, could see my feet, you would understand the second point. I've considered posting pictures, but I'm pretty sure there's a law against it.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Shizo Kanakuri

While I vacillate on an almost daily basis between embracing my slowness and just living with it, and actually doing something about being so slow by-you guessed it-running faster, I've discovered a runner who has me beat all to heck in the pace department. Shizo Kanakuri ran the marathon in the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, that is, he ran part of the race, then stopped for a drink and a nap. Feeling great shame for not finishing the race, Mr. Kanakuri left Stockholm and returned to Japan without notifying the race officials; the Swedish officials considered him missing for about 50 years. Mr. Kanakuri was invited to return to Sweden and finish the race; thus, he has a finish time of 54 years, 8 months, 6 days, 8 hours, 32 minutes 20.3 seconds (in running terms, would it be 54:08:06:08:32:20.3) which makes my 6 hour marathon finish seem pretty dang fast. I guess speed is all relative after all-isn't that what Einstein said?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


A couple of weeks ago I opened my local weekly paper and found this little cartoon. I can really relate to the cartoon, being such a slow runner. I'm pretty sure there were a couple of buzzards circling above me somewhere around mile 18 when I was completing the Las Vegas Marathon. Not only is it a really funny cartoon, but the artist happens to be my neighbor and I pass him frequently while I'm running and he's walking his dog. Leigh is a heck of a nice guy and a bit of a celebrity in our small town, being a published cartoonist and all. Stop by his website and check out his stuff- http://www.rubescartoons.com/

Rubes Cartoon copyright 2010
by Leigh Rubin. Used with permission

Monday, March 22, 2010

Cashier Hell

I managed a pretty decent 6.2 miler Sunday; it was the first run in 3 weeks that actually felt good. My pace is still really slow but I can live with that.

I finished my last day in cashier hell today. Tomorrow I return to my boring little cubicle cluttered with contracts and post it notes and phone messages. I'm really, REALLY looking forward to being retired again, mostly because I can run when I darn well feel like running again instead of being at the mercy of my work schedule.

The Bull Canyon 10k is approaching soon and it's kind of a big deal around here; I just talked to a coworker who will be running it this year, her first race. She's not someone I normally talk to much, but we spent about an hour talking about the course and the killer hill that starts around mile 3 and goes on forever. She's a novice runner but should do well; she ran 6 miles this weekend and told me she actually felt like she could have gone farther. Today as I was leaving work I stopped by her desk and we were talking about the best time to run-we both agreed that running after work sucks and running first thing in the morning is the best. Another employee was listening to our conversation and asked us how early we get up to run; we both get up around 4:00 so we can hit the road at sunrise. Our co-worker decided we were both crazy and no one should have to get up that early just so they can run. My new running friend and I just looked at each other knowingly-we told him we didn't expect him to understand; it's a running thing...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

My Real Life Dwight

Well, Funderson, since you asked, I suppose enough years have passed since this incident occurred that I can safely tell you as well as all my other faithful readers about my worst Dwight episode at work without fear of a lawsuit or repurcussions from former co-workers...

My Dwight looked nothing like the TV Dwight but mine was just as weird as the TV version. He was a car salesman and not a very good one; I think his customers were creeped out by his demeanor as much as his co-workers were. He called himself a survivalist and apparently in his mind this meant that he would survive the end of civilization while presumably the rest of us poor schmucks would die lingering, horrible deaths due to starvation, radiation poisoning, or zombie attacks.

Dwight had a girlfriend and his girlfried had a young son; most mornings the girlfriend would drop Dwight off at work and then take the little boy to school. On the morning of the "Dwight incident", Dwight got out of the car and was talking to his lady friend before she left the dealership. The woman didn't realize that her son had decided to get out of the car (I'm thinking he probably wanted to switch to the front seat). The kid was halfway out of the car when Mom started to back out of the parking spot. Somehow the boy got caught by the back door swinging shut and it slammed pretty hard on his arm.

So now, the unfortunate child is screaming in pain, Mom is in a panic, and several dealership employees are trying to figure out what happened and what they should do. This is where Dwight steps in. He yelled at the little boy to stop crying, grabbed his injured arm and started to examine it, manipulating it back and forth and asking the boy "does it hurt more now, or when I do this?". Mom is watching, kind of confused, and Dwight turns to her and says "I don't think we need to take him to the hospital. I think It's broken, but I can set a broken bone. He'll be fine". Several employees heard what he said and realized what Dwight intended to do. The service manager told the mother that she needed to take the boy to the emergency department and have a doctor check the boy; I think the mother realized that yes, of course that was what she should do. An employee drove her to the hospital and the day returned to sort of normal. Dwight later told us that setting broken bones was one of the skills he needed to be a good survivalist. I asked him if he had ever set a broken bone before, and he said that while he had never actually done it, he had read lots of books about how it was done and he would have done exactly what a doctor would have done for a lot less money.

So there you have it-my real life Dwight was willing to set a child's broken arm. Dwight was fired shortly after this incident; luckily for the dealership we had a little rule that if you were a car salesman and you didn't sell any cars you couldn't keep you job. I never saw him again and I'm glad for that. And the little boy's arm was not broken as Dwight thought, but it was very badly sprained and bruised. I guess Dwight needed to work on his diagnostic skills.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Office

I've managed some pretty decent short runs outdoors this week; I've been going to work around 9:00 am and thus I can run in the morning which I prefer to evening runs. My boss is on vacation so there's no one at work to complain about my late appearances. Since I'm a short timer it doesn't matter anyway. I've been working at the cashier's counter these last 2 weeks and I really do hate cashiering-but only a couple of more weeks and I'll be free once again!

I've been a fan of The Office since the first season. The show used to make me want to cry a little because I could so easily relate to every character-I've worked with every one of those people at different periods in my career, including Dwight. While Dwight is really funny to watch on the show, he's creepy and scary to work with in real life. I could tell you about one incident with my real life Dwight but I'm afraid you might not believe me.

The office I work in now is not so much like the TV version; my co-workers are a pretty quiet, average group of hard working, capable women. My former work place, however, was the one that was almost exactly like the show. My former boss was a female Micheal Scott. She never did any actual work except at the end of the month when we were closing our books; then she put in a couple of days of actual, real work. One day, she came to work with a rubberband gun. She started pretending she was a Charlie's Angel (she said she was the Farrah Fawcett angel..)and she ran around the office, hiding behind cubicle walls, and popping out to shoot rubber bands at us. This was while I was buried up to my neck with paperwork for a fleet sale the dealership was doing that involved the sale of 200 cars to a rental company.

I was so angry and frustrated with her behavior and yet I knew there was nothing I could do short of finding another job-my boss, the Charlie's Angel wannabe, was the owner's daughter. This meant that there was no one we could complain to about her ridiculous behavior. The Charlie's Angel phase was only one incident amongst many-seriously, I could be a writer for The Office, and all my episodes would be drawn from experience.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

And Now, the Local News...

Open letter to the morning newscaster lady:

Dear Newscaster lady,

This morning on the 5:00 am local news, you reported that a man was rescued from our local marina by the Coast Guard, and you said that he was recuperating at a local hospital after being treated for hypothermia due to exposure. You said that the cause of the accident was unknown, and that he fell out of his dingy. Please note that when the word "dingy" is used in this context, it is pronounced "ding-ee", as in a small boat powered by oars; you do not pronounce it "din-gee" as in grimy or dirty as you did this morning. You sounded silly and even the a.m. DJ on the radio station I listen to on my way to work was making fun of you.

Ted Baxter would have been very proud of you.

Monday, March 8, 2010

I Quit

I gave notice last week-I will work through March, then I'm done. I don't enjoy it and I would quit sooner but my boss would like me to cover the cashier counter while the cashier is on vacation and I agreed. Funny thing is cashiering is my least favorite job in the office. Customers, as a rule, are never happy when they have to pay a bill for service on their car and since I'll be the last person they see as they leave the dealership I'll be the one that they will voice their displeasure to. And this will definitely wreak havoc on my running schedule since I'll have to be the first person there and the last person to leave. The only thing that will save me, running-wise, is there should still be enough daylight to squeeze in a run after work if I manage to hit the road as soon as I get home.

I finally got in a slow 5 miler today. The hips and legs felt better but I'm ridiculously slow-no, really, I'm slower than that. I've decided to accept my slowness and just focus on building up the miles; I wanted this to be the year that I saw some decent times at a few races but there's always next year...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Missing my Mojo

I'm trying to get back into running in a serious way and I'm somehow missing the mark. I've been forced to run almost exclusively on the deadmill because of the rain and the fact that I'm pretty much working full time again; and just when I was ready to tell my boss I'm done working and she doesn't really need me, she asked me to work through March to cover for a girl going on vacation and to help cover her vacation. So of course, I said yes. I just can't say no to the money. I don't need it; Hubby and I are pretty secure financially, but I just can't say no to an opportunity like this. But I am DEFINITELY, ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY quitting at the end of March, not matter what she offers me.

I've only managed a couple of outdoor runs this week and they were sucky in the extreme. The best I've done is 4 miles. The only thing that keeps me going is knowing I have a 1ok in May. My last deadmill run totally sucked; the only thing that kept me on the mill was to play with the pace-every time I wanted to call it quits, I bumped up the speed-as in, "Take that, legs-that will teach you to try and quit on me!".

So-I'm going to try and sneak out of work early tomorrow, and if it's not raining I'm going to try a 5 miler, slow and easy. I'm just going to consider this time as a little speedbump in my running life, a minor blip that I will overcome as soon as I quit work and can once again run any time the mood and the weather suits me.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Shoe Whisperer

Why hello there, my beloved running shoes...it's been a while. Remember me? We logged some lovely miles last year; you both carried me through the miles of training I needed to train for a marathon, and then we crossed the finish line in Las Vegas together, as a team. It's good to have you back on my feet and on the road. The 3 miler we did today was a little tough but we made it. I know, my legs complained a little and we felt a little awkward and clumsy but there's really nothing new about that-you both knew the first day I laced you up and went for a run that you hadn't been sold to an elite runner.

So here we are, together again, a little sooner than the dr. suggested; but what does he know? He's not a runner. And I am.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Thank You, my Online Running Buddies!

Today was a tough non-running day. It was overcast and cool; perfect for a run. We did some shopping in the big city and I saw several people out doing what I wanted to do and it made me want to cry a little. I started fantasizing that maybe the break from running was actually a really good thing and I would actually feel stronger when I finally start to run again.

Thank you Sarah, Bruce and Wendy for your support and kind words. I know you guys get it; I know you've all been there too! I did get something good in the mail yesterday-a race application for the mighty Bull Canyon Run. It's my favorite 10k and if I follow the ban on running to the first of March, then start running in earnest, I should be just about ready for a May race.

The problem with running and ear surgery is balance and dizziness, both of which I don't have. I'm doing a lot of walking on the treadmill to try and keep at least some level of fitness and I discovered a neat feature on my mill that I've never used before-it has a hill program that varies the incline and speed by quite a bit. Since I'm on the dang thing for about 90 minutes of walking it helps break up the monotony.

I'm thinking of sneaking out tomorrow for a really, really short easy run-like just a bit around the block to prove I can still run. You know, like just 2 slow miles. Maybe 3...

Friday, February 19, 2010

Still No Running...

I've been put on the Do Not Run List-again. The Dr. extended my running ban from 2 weeks post surgery to 1 month which will be my next little visit with him. He wants me to wait just to be on the safe side after my emergency run down to see him last week. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be on the safe side of, but being the compliant patient that I am and valuing my hearing means I will follow his advice. Sadly, he's not a runner (I always ask!) so he doesn't understand just what he's asking of me. I can feel the running mojo draining from my body even as I type this. There's a whole pool of it right now under my desk and I'm wondering if I can scoop it up and save it for later. Does running mojo freeze well? Would I need to drink it when I'm ready to return to running, or rub it on my lazy, soft leg muscles?

The Dr was so unconcerned when he told me not to run-like, well, you can just take it up after our next office visit; no big deal. Sure-no big deal for him. After a month of not running I'm pretty sure I'll be back to square one. He should have been more concerned, more kind and gentle, more Dr. Welby-ish. He should have patted my hand gently, and told me he understood what a huge blow this was, but it was for the best and he wouldn't ask me to do this if it weren't in my best interests.

So here I sit in a big pool of running mojo getting fatter by the minute. I have to remind myself it's all good, I can hear properly, the tv volume is half of what it used to be, and I constantly have to remind Hubby to please use his inside voice....

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Olympics!

My bionic ear is now working brilliantly. We made a bonzai run to the really really big city on Friday because my ear stopped working-as in oh my God, I've gone completely deaf; a quick call to the dr led to a trip south to find out everything is normal-it's all part of the healing process. I just wish I had a little warning before the surgery that this might happen. fortunately, my hearing returned to normal-no, wait, it's better than normal. Hearing is a very good thing!

I love the Olympics, both the summer and winter versions. My only complaint is that the networks usually don't air the more esotoric sports, sticking to the more popular figure skating, snowboarding and skiing events. I was pleasantly surprised when Hubby and I caught the biathlon-definitely a favorite sport to watch, being a target shooter and all...

I have a very nice little 22 target rifle that's an older version of the Russian biathlon gun. If you watched the sport on tv, you saw that the guns have a toggle rather than a bolt for jacking a new round into the chamber; thus, the shooter taps the bolt, squeezes the trigger, and shoots. You may have noticed that the athlete didn't look up as he did this, keeping his eye on his targets. I have yet to master this skill. I'm not nearly as smooth as these world class shooters, even on my best day under perfect conditions. I've tried toggling a round into the chamber without moving the gun or looking up and I just can't do it. This is why these people are Olympic athletes. You have to be a shooter to understand just how difficult this skill is to attain. And then, lets add a little high cardio cross country skiing into the mix-now, not only do you need to be a rock steady, robot accurate shooter, you have to be a fast skier. You have to control your heart rate and bring yourself back to the zen of accurate shooting a split second after a heart pumping ski trek. I noticed that a lot of the competitors missed their first shot, and this didn't surprise me. I'm convinced that no amount of training will teach the body to drop from a fast heartrate to a slow calm demeanor that quickly. I am absolutely in awe of the competitors in this particular sport, because in my own very small way, being a shooter and a runner, I can understand the difficulty in what they do.

The last few times that Hubby and I have gone shooting, we've mostly played with new black powder toys and I haven't fired my target rifle in a while. Watching the Olympics has inspired me to take the gun out and see how many holes I can poke in a paper target. I want to try, yet again, to fire 5 rounds without having to look away from the scope. Hmmm...we don't have anything going on this afternoon....

Friday, February 5, 2010

No Running for Me!

So, we just got back today from the really, really big city (Los Angeles) and the bad news is I won't be allowed to run for 2 weeks. This is because I had surgery at a very big fancy schmancy hospital that will restore my ability to hear in my right ear. I've been pretty much deaf on the right side for years. I always thought there was nothing that could be done about it and that someday when it got really bad I would just get a hearing aid and be done with it. I realized that time had come because lately I'm missing a lot of conversations. I've developed some good coping skills to handle the inability to hear but lately it just hasn't been working and I knew my hearing was much worse.

So I finally mentioned it to my doctor and asked him to recommend an audiologist so I could get a hearing aid. Being the thorough guy that he is, he wondered what kind of hearing loss I had and whether there wasn't something else that could be done for me; this resulted in a visit with an ent (ear, nose throat specialist) and a really, really in depth assessment of my hearing. So the bottom line is my hearing loss can be corrected with surgery which I had done this week. Now for the bad part-no running for 2 weeks; no weight training or exercising of any kind-for 2 weeks. The only thing I'm allowed to do is walking.

So, you may ask-why wouldn't I be allowed to run, since the surgery was on my ear and that's a long way away from my legs? The reason is because the surgeon took out a very tiny bone in my middle ear that stopped working and replaced it with a high tech doohickey that will replace the bone and actually work. I can't do anything that might dislodge or move the doohickey-so, no running, exercising, sneezing, coughing, burping, or anything that might cause pressure in my ear.

And-the surgeon prefers that I run on the deadmill since I may have dizziness (I don't.). Don't get me wrong-I'm very grateful for the ability to hear. I knew the surgery worked immediately when I could hear the nurses and doctors talking and I wondered why they were talking so loudly. Modern medicine is amazing-I'm truly blown away with the idea that after a one hour surgery I'll be able to hear again. I just wish it didn't cut in to my running...

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Work Still Sucks...

I haven't been posting much lately because I've been really really busy at work. The last two weeks have been spent on a big project and it's meant working full time every day of the week plus Saturdays, and it sucks like a Hoover. A big, giant, oversized Hoover vacuum cleaner-that's been my job the last two weeks. But the good news is I got it done, with one day to spare, and next week I'll be back to my customary part-time sneak out the back door at lunch time routine.

Yeah, baby-I am the data entering, schedule cross referencing, mistake finding and correcting queen of accounting! And how many atta-girl, great job, pats on the back did I get for my efforts? None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Yup, returning to work after a couple of years of retirement has truly taught me something-nothing ever changes.

My work schedule these last two weeks has meant more deadmill running even though the weather has been fairly nice. The only way I can fit in my runs is if I get up at the crack of dawn and hit the dreaded machine. Don't get me wrong-I'm glad it's right there in my bedroom so I can use it when I need to, but I still hate it.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ice Skating

When I'm doing housework I usually have the tv on, mostly for background noise and occasionally to listen to a movie or program I'm kind of interested in. I only have 3 channels so my programming choices are limited especially on Sundays because I'm not much of a pro sports fan. So today, while working on a sewing project, I have a choice of a football game, an infomercial for some kitchen gadget, or figure skating. I opted for figure skating, and I've come to a major conclusion regarding the male ice skaters. I watched them for most of the afternoon and my opinion is based on certain moves they make during their performances and their costume choices.

I have determined that the movie "Blades of Glory" was not a funny spoof of male figure skaters. It was a documentary.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Here Comes the Sun

So I wake up early this morning and what do I see? Is it possible? Could that be...the SUN? I mean I haven't seen that big golden sort of glowy thing in the sky for a long time but I seem to remember it vaguely-it's all warm and bright and it means I'm off the deadmill! I hit the streets for a 6.2 miler this morning and it was glorious. I felt like I was flying and my feet never touched the pavement. Let's face it, faithful readers-running outdoors beats the deadmill all to heck-there is just no comparison. And I had the lovely experience of dodging rain puddles through the whole run!

Friday, January 22, 2010

More Rain

Every run this week has been on the deadmill and today will not be an exception. I almost ran yesterday outdoors after work-the rain stopped for a bit and I thought I could squeeze a 4 miler in between thunder storms; but just as I was getting changed into my running gear it started to pour, then it started to hail and I knew it would be another deadmill run. There's more rain forecast for today and I will be on the deadmill yet again. I definitely have a love/hate relationship with the mill-I'm glad it's there, just in case I need it, but when I'm on it I hate every minute.

And here's a special message to my favorite co-worker-you know who you are. You're the one that gave me a huge project this week because you were falling behind and couldn't finish it. I did exactly what you told me to do; I pulled stacks and stacks of vendor files and started a spreadsheet and entered all that boring data and then I put all the files back in storage. So why did you choose yesterday at 4:00 to tell me that you forgot to mention that there's one vital extra piece of information that needs to be on that spreadsheet? Now I will spend all day today and probably all day Saturday pulling all those files so I can tease out that bit of information and add it to the spreadsheet. Thanks so much. You should know that I believe in karma and I believe that you will be punished-perhaps not soon and perhaps not by me, but you will pay for this...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

monsoon season

Our beautiful warm weather has come to an end; we now have weeks of rain to look forward to. This won't be the light, misty, yeah you can run outdoors rain. This is downpour rain with flooding and trees knocked down and power outages. I've been forced to use the treadmill all week and I'm dreading Friday's 8 mile run.

So, our power was off all day yesterday and do you know what my only real fear was? Let's see...what would scare someone about a potential power outage that could last for days as it has in the past-could it be the food spoilage because the fridge isn't refridgerating? Or perhaps no heat in the house? Or nothing to do but read books and play with a Nintendo ds for days on end? Nope, none of the above. What I feared most about a power outage was that I couldn't run outdoors because of the rain, and I couldn't use the treadmill because of the power outage, so how was I going run? I actually considered trying to run outdoors despite the weather and Hubby pointed out the lunacy of that plan. Fortunately the power came back on and the treadmill is again an option!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

70 Degrees!

I'm back on a running schedule and I've been hitting the pavement around 6:00 am-yes, I'm back to pre-dawn runs and I'm really enjoying it. There's something really wonderful about running in moonlight, just before the sun rises and well before your average joe has even had his first cup of coffee.

And why, you may ask, am I running so early in the morning? The answer is twofold. First, I do it because I'm back at work and I prefer getting my run in before my work day starts rather than after I'm done; and secondly, because it's been averaging 65 to 70 degrees here in the afternoon. That's right, faithful readers, 70 degrees! I don't mean to make those of you who live in a colder climate jealous, but it's been downright balmy here and Hubby and I have even taken the Bugeye out for evening drives just before dinner.

Hubby keeps telling my I should just treadmill it and skip the outdoor runs; but then, he's not a runner. While he's really supportive of my addictionhabit, he just doesn't understand. Unfortunately he'll never know what it feels like to be running under a full moon in a quiet neighborhood with only a stray cat and an occasional horse in a pasture for company. It's mornings like I've had this week that make me wish I was a poet, and could describe the feeling so that a non-runner could understand why those of us who run do what we do.

Monday, January 4, 2010

I'm Slower than Oprah

I found this website about celebrity marathoners and I was intriqued by the times of some of these people-dang, some of them are pretty fast! Most are faster than me, of course; but who knew that Will Ferrell is not only one of the funniest people on the big screen, but a pretty good runner as well? Meredith Baxter, Anthony Edwards, Lisa Ling-all faster than me. Al Gore is faster, too, and I wonder if he runs in organic shoes made with natural products that don't increase his carbon footprint? The one that stings a bit is Oprah-yup, you guessed it; faster than me. I mean really-Oprah? How is that possible? I guess if I had a personal coach and a nutritional expert at my side every day like she probably did I'd finish with a better time.

Happily, there were a couple of back of the packers in the list. I would be right behind Mario Lopez (5:41:41) and Freddie Prinz (5:50:49) and then we could all wait for David Lee Roth to cross the finish line in 6+ hours. I figure David Lee Roth is so slow because it must be really, really hard to run in spandex tights...

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

So, faithful readers, it's a new year full of promise. I kind of floundered a bit, running-wise, after I finished the marathon; now it's time to focus on new goals. I haven't been running as much as I wanted to this last month. I took 2 weeks off after the race and then I caught a horrible cold so it's all been very short runs. I just filled in my calendar for the next 3 months and my goal is to rebuild my base and achieve a 40 mile average per week with at least a 12 mile long run-a 15 miler occasionally would be lovely! I have a race in February so there's plenty of time to prepare and all I have to do is decide if I want to do the 5k or the 10k.

I just checked my log and last year I ran a whopping total of 1426 miles. My longest run of the year, naturally was 26.2 miles. Oddly, I seem to have slowed down last year-perhaps I sacrificed speed for distance? That's another goal I'd like to meet for 2010-get faster. It would be nice to finish a half marathon ahead of another runner.

I'm still working and I hope the decision to return to work wasn't a mistake. I'm going to talk to my boss and reiterate that I'll be coming in late because I want to continue running in the mornings. It hasn't been a problem so far because we're so slow at work that I can make my own hours; however this month I'll be busy with year end projects and I'm going to have to get creative with my schedule to fit in my runs. As much as I hate it, the treadmill may become my new best friend this year.

So Happy New Year, everyone! Keep running and I hope you all have a healthy, prosperous new year!