Sunday, April 29, 2012

Accept or Fight?

The other day, my friend Naresh (@iamarunr) posted a link to a youtube video on Twitter. He warned us that we would need tissues to watch this little video and I should have listened. So you've been warned too!
I swear I've teared up EVERY time I've watched this video. Darn you, Naresh!

The thing that gets me about watching this video is how sad it is that the Kiwi wants to fly so badly that he would make that kind of sacrifice. It got me thinking about how we deal with the hand we're dealt with in life. Do we accept what fate and/or nature has given us? Or do we fight like hell to achieve our dreams? Even if they may never come true? Even if they cause heartbreak? Or worse?

I say...fight like hell. Because you know what? We didn't see EXACTLY how that video ends. I choose to believe in happy endings and I think a miracle saved that little Kiwi. Maybe a trampoline? Something.

So I may not have long legs or a thin runners build which would make me a speed demon. But I sure am going to fight for as much speed as I can get! If it's the last thing I do! Well...probably not the LAST thing. ;)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Animals & Warriors

On my run to work today, I helped corral two very cute pups that escaped when their owner came out to get the paper. I planted myself in their path and sacrificed myself to keep them from running into the street. They were so happy and funny and I was laughing so hard, I wanted to stay and hang out with them instead of continuing on to work. But their owner arrived and gathered them up and I went on my way.

One of the things I like about running and riding to work is seeing all the regulars: bunnies, squirrels, birds, dogs, cats, and even a pig! Some of dogs are so used to me they no longer bark at me. Um, the pig never did. ;) But there’s this one gorgeous German Shepherd who waits for me at the corner of her yard and then when I get there I say “come on, let’s go” and she runs with me to the end of her fence. It's our little routine and I always look forward to it.

My biggest regret about living in my apartment is that I can’t have a dog. I’d love to have a dog that I could go running with! And they are just so much fun to have around. We had dogs our whole lives growing up. My little dog, Tiny, I had for 19 years. She was a mutt and crazy. She loved sunflower seeds & oranges, sitting in windowsills, and when she howled at sirens (which, sadly, she could do often because we lived behind a senior complex) her front paws would come off the ground because she’d give that howl everything she had. I miss her. Don’t get me wrong, I love my cat but if you put him on a leash, he lies there like a log so he’s no good for running with.

So, if you haven’t figured out yet, I love animals. All creatures big and small. Except fish…and I don’t appreciate spiders crawling on me…but I don’t want them to DIE. I just don’t want them looking at me. Yes, I know. I’m nuts. Hey, everyone has some quirks, right? Anyway, back to my point which was…oh yeah, I love animals and every month I give a monthly donation to the World Wildlife Fund and the Defenders of Wildlife. Sometimes I forget that we humans need help too. And that is why I was very happy to see that the Nanny Goat 12 Hour that I’m doing is raising funds for the Wounded Warrior Project.

The Wounded Warrior Project is a great way to say thank you to our service men and women who have served our country and have been injured. Last year the Nanny Goats raised over $20,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project and this year they are hoping to raise over $50,000. I hope to raise $300 by May 26th. If you can help even a little bit, I would greatly appreciate it!

My Donation Page

Thank you! I hope you have a great Thursday and good luck if you're racing this weekend!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Taking A Trip...Or Two

I tripped on my run home from work on Monday. Right in front of the office as everyone was leaving. I'd hoped no one saw but, of course, someone did. It just better not be on youtube, that's all I have to say!

Did I mention that I fell last Thursday on the run TO work? That time it was a stumble and I had a chance to land & roll in the grass. No damage at all except to my ego. Just one scratch from one of those stupid prickly balls that were in the grass. Luckily no one saw and my breakfast and lunch didn't get squished.

But this one...this one was a bad one. One minute I was running and the next I was flat on my face on the sidewalk. Hard. That quick. I have no idea what happened. I immediately stopped my Garmin (priorities!) and jumped up to assess the damage. The coworker who saw me said she was going to pull over to see if I was okay but I was up in a flash. I think part of that is from cycling. When I crash my bike, I am up in a flash to make sure I get out of the street and the path of cars. Preservation is highly motivating to get your butt off the ground.

There wasn't that much damage this time either. I have bruises and road rash on both knees and on my arms but not bad enough to keep me from running. The thing that hurt the most was my arm. Yeah, the bad arm. The arm that I was so happy was finally healed during the race. I'd even planned on finally adding weights back into my routine so I could start working on getting killer arms again. Try, at least. ;) I knew as soon as I landed that I'd hurt it and I felt like crying. But mostly, the fall shook me up and then pissed me off. And what do you know, the rest of it was fabulous. I felt strong and very, very close to my old self. It could have been the anger fueling it.

I AM accident prone. I know this and I usually am hyper aware of tripping. I have been tired and a little sub-par lately because of the stomach bug I had so maybe that's it. I certainly hope this isn't a trend for me! I mean, I kind of expect it on the trail. I don't mind falling in the dirt or mud (like at the Jackson Jackass 50K) but the sidewalk falls are the pits.

I DO NOT need to lose any more time running so I better stay upright! That's the goal anyway. It's supposed to rain again tomorrow so I'll be running to work. Wish me luck. I may need it. If not I may have to use one of the suggestions some smarta$$es, I mean, helpful people suggested:

*Letting someone know I'm going out so they can send an ambulance to follow me.
*Wear padding like the Pillsbury Dough Boy or one of those dog training suits.
*Wrap myself in bubble wrap.
*Wear knee/elbow pads & a helmet.

Ha! I'm not that bad. Am I? Other people fall all the time, right? No, I guess not. Do you fall?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Foxy Half Marathon Recap

I ran the Foxy Half Marathon at Lake Hodges in Rancho Bernardo today. It was the second race in Dirt Devil Racing's Half Marathon Animal Series and it was a lot of fun. I sucked but I enjoyed the run anyway because for once NOTHING hurt. Well, except for the quarter size blister I got on my left foot for some weird reason. But my foot, my groin, and my shoulder all felt really, really good. If only I could say the same for my stomach.

I knew going into this that I wasn't going to "race" it because I hadn't been feeling that great all week and I have been so SLOW on my runs. No speed at all. And then starting on Tuesday, I had some stomach issues. It was a little hot on my run home from work that day and I felt really nauseous after and dinner didn't stick around long. Wednesday I seemed fine but then it happened again on Thursday after my run home from work. So I thought it might be the heat. But then it happened again during lunch at work on Friday and that place is on icebox so it wasn't heat related. On Saturday I woke up feeling just slightly nauseous and decided to go for a run & ride and see how I did. Both actually went really well so I had high hopes it would be okay for today. It was mostly okay but I still have a lingering bleah feeling. Anyway, that's the back story going into this morning's race.

Rancho Bernardo is about 90 minutes away from me so I woke up at 3:30, ate, got ready, and packed. I headed out at 4:40 so I could be there about 6:15 to pick up my packet. Traffic was non-existent so I made good time. I did have one moment of panic when I looked in the rear view mirror and saw flashing lights but he zipped right by me. I found out why in a few miles because he was doing a break on the freeway. Luckily it didn't last long and I made it there about 6:10. I got my bib and chip and my goodie bag. It had a shirt and a hat in it for the race. I really like the logo. I was SUPPOSED to eat something before the race but I forgot. But it was too late to go back to the car so I hoped the Gu Brew I had in my little bottle would be enough.

The Race
There were 2 waves for the race: the fast people and the snails. I got in the second wave but they were still moving. It was single track at the start and I kept up with the line and went out at a 9:30 pace. I did okay in the first mile but my legs were already noodley and I decided I better back off so I could finish and not blow up. I had no energy going up the hills but only walked a very small portion of them.

It was a pretty interesting course. Some single track, some fire road, road, and bike path, lots of fishermen. Um, but they weren't running. The course took us around a portion of Lake Hodges and even across a cool suspension bridge. Since I wasn't racing, I was able to enjoy the views. It was foggy this morning and it was hanging over the hills and the lake and gave it a very peaceful feeling. Kind of reminded me of Milford Sound. Hey! A girl can dream (it's #2 on my list of dream run vacations behind Scotland). So that and all the birds made for an awesome run. I wish I had stopped to take pictures but I didn't want to get in anyone's way or step off the trail (we were warned repeatedly at the start about watching for rattlesnakes).

The only bad part of the run was that I started getting a blister on my left foot about mile 6. I wore my Peregrines because they are more protective than the WT110s and I wanted my foot to not have a setback. But I haven't worn them in forever and paid the price. :( I thought I might have to stop and take care of it at one of the aid stations but decided to wait and see. Well, I waited til the end. One thing that helped keep running was when we crossed a stream for the second time. The first time I crossed I hopped from rock to rock like everyone else. The second time I stopped and looked at the rocks and looked at the stream and debated whether getting my feet wet would hurt or help. I finally decided to go for it and plunged right in. The water was cold and felt so good! It definitely helped and I was able to finish without stopping. :)

So I just ran along at a steady pace, enjoying the morning, and happy I was going to finish my 9th Half Marathon. Then I was done and I got my medal. I WAS happy to be done but it was a little bittersweet. I wished I could have run it harder. There was a part of me in the beginning that was sad but once I let it go, I really enjoyed the run. I just bought Of Monsters and Men's new album last week and there's a song on the album which fit perfectly for today. It's called Slow and Steady and these are some of the lyrics...
My dear old friend, take me for a spin
two wolves in the dark, running in the wind
I'm letting go, but I've never felt better
passing by all the monsters in my head
I move slow and steady
but I feel like a waterfall...
Here's my medal, front and back. The saying on the back of the medal is also on the back of our shirt. I like the quote a lot. This was a fun race, the volunteers and some of the runners dressed as cats, foxes, and other animals. Everyone was very friendly and the aid stations were great. Bonus...Merrell was one of the sponsors so I got to check out their new trail shoes. I'm not sure how I walked away without buying any. I was in lust. :) Yes, I have a shoe problem! The only downside to Dirt Devil's races is no food at all at the finish. Not even a banana. What's a starving runner got to do to get some food in her! Actually, it was better that I didn't have any food before I drove home. I would have hated to get another speeding ticket because I had to hurry.

I went for a ride when I got home. No soreness at all but I just wanted to spin out my legs a little. All in all, it was a good day. I can't wait for the Cougar Half in June and then Raptor Ridge in October. I've never done a series before. If I lived closer, I'd do their Grand Slam Series too. The first one is the Coyote 5K. What do you think? Should I?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Shades Of Normal

The past week was closer to normal for me. As far as volume goes anyway. Speed...not so much. It's a little frustrating but I guess I can't expect miracles, eh?

I was really happy that I was in good enough shape to get back to run commuting since it poured on Wednesday and Friday. I took it slow and easy and shorter than I had been doing. On Wednesday, I ran as the crow flies and did 5.5 miles before work. I felt good after so ran the long way home - 7 miles. On Friday, I ran a roundtrip of 12.5 miles again. Because, you know, I can't knowingly leave my mileage at a half for the week. It's okay if each run is .1 or .2 over but .5 just bugs me. I don't know why. It's a thing.

On Saturday, I decided not to run trails because of the rain and snow so I rode my bike over to Bonelli and ran the path along the lake's edge. We called it Puddingstone when I was growing up and I always liked that name better. It was a cold day but pretty.

This is the route for the Turkey Trot 10K I do so I like to run it a few times a year to remind my legs what it's like. Bonus for the day was watching an osprey dive bomb the water and come up with fish right in front of me.

Stats for Saturday were 13 miles on the mt bike to Bonelli, a 10 K run, then 13 home (w/a bit of a bonk and stomach cramps that I could have done without) and then another 10 miles later in the afternoon to REI. A good full day that took the mile totals for the week to 111 on the bike and 43ish running. That's getting closer to my regular weekly totals and makes me so, so happy to see. :)

However, this morning I ran 12 miles and it was miserable. :( I am so out of habit for long runs that I didn't fuel properly for it. It wasn't so bad until after mile 10 and then I was kicking myself for:
-not eating anything before
-not bringing food for just in case
-not bringing money w/me so I could stop somewhere and buy something (this is often my biggest regret!)

It was iffy for a while and I was really tempted to head home early but I got it done. My legs and feet were achy afterwards like I'd run a 22 miler or something. What is up with that? How did my legs get so mushy in such a short time? I may or may not have cursed nature while I was running. It's just not fair that it takes so much hard work to get to a point where you can run long and then BAM, you take a little time off and your muscles decide to revert to pre-running days. If we are meant to run shouldn't it be the other way around? Come on! Life is so unfair sometimes.


Still, I'm running. That's what matters. I'll get back to where I was soon.

And so I don't end on a depressing note...I took this on my ride this afternoon. I rode the bike path and had great views of our mountains dusted w/snow from the last two storms. I kept thinking while I was looking at them "I'm going to have to run up there one of these days". Mt Baldy is about 10,000 feet. Lower Monroe Truck Trail (the one I ran a couple of times earlier this year) is only 3400 feet so it'd be a liiiiiittle bit more. Just a little. It would be a fun challenge! Want to join me?

Yeah, I'm a nut, but it's totally doable. Right?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Lean Mean Running Coyote

Operation Lean Mean Running Coyote (LMRC) started yesterday! I am focused. I've spotted my prey and I'm stalking it. Just like this coyote...

(I swear it looks like she was smiling at me. Don't you think? I think it was 2 kindred spirits recognizing each other. At least, I'd like to think so. :) )

So what do I mean by LMRC? I mean that I'm going to get serious about doing all the little things like strength training and eating properly and doing speed work again. I am going to work on getting my speed back! I miss it. :( I want to be the girl who did this just one year ago at the Lovell Canyon Love Me Two Times challenge (back-to-back halfs)...

"Why should I practice running slow? I already know how to run slow. I want to learn to run fast." ~Emil Zatopek

I didn't worry about speed or anything while I was training for the New Years One Day or the 50Ks. I was thinking finish not fast. Well, that's changed. I want to finish AND be fast! So tempos, intervals, hill repeats...they're coming back!

I have a Half in less than 2 weeks and I don't think I can do a whole lot to get speed back by then but I hope to by the next one on May 6th - the San Diego Safari Park Half Marathon. Not only do we get to run a half marathon thru the park but our registration fee includes entrance to the park for the day. I haven't been there in forever so I'm looking forward to hanging out with my camera after. It's also relatively flat so I'm wondering what I can do there. Hmmm.

I also signed up for the Nanny Goat 12HR at the end of May. Yep, another loopy course. This time with a twist. I can start at 8am or 8pm. The 24HR and 100 milers start at 8am on Saturday so I can run with them at that time or I can start at the later time and do a night run. Right now, I'm thinking night run. And not just because there will be a pancake breakfast on Sunday morning. Ok, yes that did have a little bit to do with it. Fine. A lot. What can I say...I run for pancakes! Or burritos. :D

The Nanny Goat raises money for the Wounded Warrior Project and I'm hoping to raise a little money for my run for it. We are supposed to be able to accept pledges per mile but it's not active yet. Right now, it's just straight donations. I have a late start since there's just over 6 weeks til the race so I put a goal of $300. I hope I can raise at least that much. Crossing my fingers. This is my page:
Wounded Warrior Project

2 weeks after the 12HR, I hope to do another Half and then do the Firecracker 5000 on the 4th of July. I want to be speedy for those as well. So, no more playing around. I'm bringing spreed back. At least til mid summer. After that, we'll see.

But by golly, I'm going to make wearing my Run It Fast shirt be a call to arms if it's the last thing I do!

Did I just say "by golly"? Sigh.

Do you have any big race plans? Anything big or fun on the horizon for you?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Trails & Peeps Weekend

Whew, what a weekend! AZ Peeps were here! Family, fun, and trail running. What more could a girl ask for?

My sister came over for Easter with my niece Madison & my nephew Max and when they come over, my mom's house becomes the hub for us and we all stay there. We packed a lot of fun into the weekend but the best part is just hanging out together. I keep saying this but they are growing up so fast. Madison is almost as tall as I am and she's not even 12 yet!

On Saturday, we all went to an Easter Egg Hunt and then I took the kids to a Car Show so the "Easter Bunny" could get some stuff done without prying/curious eyes. Madison wasn't too thrilled about it but once we were there, they both enjoyed it. Max, being a complete boy, was in heaven. I became his personal photographer as he had me taking pictures of him with all of his favorite cars.

They are both really good kids and I love spending time with them. A few more pics of them with my Grandpa...

I did have some running time this weekend though. Or, I should say I made time. My mom's house is just a 1.5 miles from Bonelli which, as you know, is one of fave places to run. On Saturday morning, I got up and drove to the trail head on the south side of the lake (I drove so I could go pick up bagels for breakfast after I was done). It was a gorgeous morning and I was so happy to be back running on the trails again. I'd brought my Merrell Trail Gloves and was anxious to see how my foot would do on the trails. I'd also brought my Garmin w/me to my mom's but walked out the door with it still left on the charger. Doh! So I just ran one of my favorite loops that includes some sweet single track. I was all alone out there and it was really, really great. I can't believe people wasted such a great morning but good luck for me! I ended up running for 1 hour and 15 minutes. I wanted to do more but was still being cautious so called it. Besides, I didn't want them waiting and hungry while I was out daydreaming & living the running life.

This morning, I waited for Max to get up so he could see that the Easter Bunny HAD found him in California and then ran from my mom's house to Bonelli for my run. Today's run was on the north side of the lake which just has rollers and no big hills. It was a mix of road and dirt and fun. I only did 8 miles because I wanted to get back & not miss Easter stuff.

Both runs went well. My butt was a little sore from yesterday's hills and my calves were tight so I've obviously lost some running fitness. Damn it. But overall they were awesome. Of course, part of it is probably that I missed being out there. No. No. They WERE awesome. :)

When I got back, my sister and mom and I were talking as we made breakfast and my sister said she didn't understand how I could be out there for hours on end and not be bored. She said she's bored after 20 minutes on the dreadmill. I said it was different outside. I have never been bored while running. I am bored out of my mind while watching TV but never during a run. Not even when I'm running in circles!

So, I feel like I'm back and ready to start building up my mileage again. Woo! Long run - I missed you so. :) Now the question I good to start run commuting again? It's supposed to rain this week. Hmmm...

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Back In The Saddle

I'm running again! It ain't pretty, but I'm running again! And finally back to being civil. I'm telling you it was bad. Even my cat was pissed at me for being stuck inside so much and so grouchy. Apparently I was disturbing his nap time/peace because on Saturday, I was sitting on my bed reading and he came up and attacked my legs. You know you've been annoying when even your cat is fed up with you. Well, okay, cats aren't known for their patience but you get the idea.

So...I ran on Tuesday, another easy 5K. It was better than Saturday's run and there was a glimmer of the old Lisa in that run. The only problem I had with that run was that I put my capris on inside out. Apparently, I forgot how to wear my running clothes. Luckily, they are all black and there was no tag so hopefully no one noticed. Of course at 5:30, there aren't too many people out anyway and it's still dark. So lucky me! <--And that's why I like to run pre-dawn. A lot less embarrassing when you have wardrobe malfunctions. I've had a few.

I ran again today. I planned 4 miles and this time got dressed with my running clothes on the right way. So far, so good. But when I went to turn on my Garmin, it said the battery was low. Normally, I'd panic. Because I need to know exactly how far I ran and how long it took me. Because I'm a numbers geek like that and I track everything-mileage, time, pace, & calories. But then a very strange thing happened...I just shrugged, turned it off, and left for my run. Huh.

So today's run was naked. No garmin and no music (also not charged) and it was rather nice. I spent the time running as quiet as I could and didn't worry about how fast or slow I was running. For an added bonus, I saw a shooting star! I'm taking that as a good sign that things are going my way again.

I really want to run tomorrow. And the next day. And the day after that. And the day after that. But I don't want to overdo it either. I'll just play it by ear. I have some distractions this weekend anyway. My sister and Max & Maddie are coming over for Easter. Yay! I'll be staying at my mom's in La Verne so I'll be running in Bonelli this weekend and the weather is going to be flipping awesome - 80's. I'm going to see if maybe the kids will go hiking with me there too. After Saturday's Easter Egg Hunt that is.

I just realized I'm going to HAVE to run this weekend...I'm going to have to "help" them with their Easter baskets. And by helping, I mean eating the good stuff. ;) It's my job as their aunt, right? Yeah, I'm going to need to run off a chocolate bunny or two. And those darn peeps.

Does the Easter Bunny bring running shoes to good little runner girls? ;)

Have a fantastic weekend! Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Not So Wordless Wednesday - Part 2

The photo in the earlier post was one of mine. It was from the Renaissance Faire and it was a photo of one of the Irish dancers there. If you follow me on twitter, you may know that I have a running shoe addiction. Well, let's just say I have a shoe addiction...period. :) Oh, I don't buy a lot of shoes. Mostly because I have a wide foot and I can't walk in heels to save my life. But I do love shoes. It's probably a good thing I can wear expensive ones or I'd be broke!

Anyway, one of my favorite things to photograph is dancers and I often focus on their feet. There is drama in the dance and the feet tell the story. I keep trying to catch the essence of that. I can't sing. I can't dance. I can't play an instrument. But I do feel that I can express myself artistically with photographs. Here are a few more of my favorite dancing shoes photos.

Spanish Dancer:

My favorite of that same Spanish Dancer:

My second favorite Irish Dancer photo:

The Faire will be starting in a couple of weeks here in So Cal and I can't wait. It's my favorite place to photograph and catch some colorful portraits and action. This is a gallery of my Faire images.
At The Faire

Have you ever been to a Renassaince Faire? Isn't it a blast? :)

Wordless Wednesday - Happy Feet

"Put on your red shoes and dance..."

Monday, April 2, 2012

New Trails

If you can't run, then hike...

This weekend, I got tired of waiting for my foot to get better. I've been feeling like a caged coyote and I needed to get outside! I did run on Saturday but only 5K. I decided to check out the trail at the North Etiwanda Preserve later that morning to get more time out in the fresh air. It's an easy trail and a short loop about 7 miles from my apartment. I've never been on it though. Saturday seemed like as good a time as any.

The day was gloomy and cool but it never rained so it was a nice hike. It's kind of a civilized, touristy trail in that it takes you by some of the historic/nature sites in the area. There is an old settlers ruin, a Native American site, an old water pumping station, a cool bog area, and it's right on the Cucamonga fault so there is interesting geological stuff too.

Because of the weather, there weren't too many people on the trail so there were sections were I was by myself. With the gloom and clouds hanging over the area, it gave me a feeling of being a long, long way from civilization even though I was just above a housing track. I ran across this cool, spooky tree that had been split by lightning too. What with the ruins and the tree, it made for a ghostly hike of about 3.5 miles. ;)

On Sunday, I went to my old stomping grounds...Bonelli. Even with all the times I've been there, I haven't hit all of the trails that are in the park. So I went with the goal of hiking some new trails and as many hills as I could. Sunday was a much more beautiful day and with all the rain we had, the hills were green and lush but there wasn't too much mud.

It was cool, with a slight breeze and big, puffy clouds drifting across the sky. Once again, I had the trails mostly to myself except for a few mtn bikers and a couple on horseback. Who I did have for company was birds. Lots and lost of birds singing their little hearts out. A veritable concert just for me. I also got to see a golden eagle, an osprey, and a bunch of turkey vultures. One of them circled me for a bit. Ok, I was going slow but not THAT slow. But I did stop and watch them circle around me in the sky. They can be mesmerizing, don't you think? I would love to be able to soar like they do.

I ended up hiking 5.5 miles yesterday It was a really nice hike but not very tiring so after going to the store, I took my mt bike out for an hour. THEN I felt like I'd done "enough". It wasn't as satisfying as it would have been if I'd spent the same amount of time running, but it was a good day and helped relieve some of that caged in feeling. Coyotes gotta be free! Seriously.

I still miss running though I ran on Saturday. It didn't feel...fluid. What I miss is my body moving thru the world effortlessly, over hill and dale, thru streams, and wherever I want to go. I miss feeling strong and powerful and sexy and free. I want that back. NOW but I'm willing to work back up to it as long as I know I'll find it again.

Until then, I have my Shark to feed the urge and keep me from going nuts. Mostly.