Monday, August 31, 2009

I Run for Ice Cream

Well we ended up cancelling our running today due to the smoke in the air. I have to say it was quite bad today. I was coughing just being outside and not even running. Then I began thinking...what if this continues and we can't run for a whole week or so? Then I started to get depressed about it so I ordered myself another pair of running shoes (I returned the last pair) and ate some ice cream. Eating ice cream was probably the worst thing to do since I didn't run and the last thing I need is to be consuming more calories, but it did cheer me up a bit and so did the thought of getting new running shoes (thank goodness for Running Warehouse!). I'm hoping this pair doesn't bother me. I decided on trying the Saucony Fastwitch 3 rather than the Nike Lunarlite racers. They both got good reviews and in fact I met someone in the marathon group running in the lunarlites this weekend. She loved them, but the lunarlites are sooo different than what I usually wear that I would like to try a pair on before buying them. I have to find a good pair of racing shoes for the marathon because it is now official.....Patty, C, and I have registered for the Santa Barbara Inaugural Marathon. What were we thinking?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The View From the Back!

This morning we ran the "Hilly Eight" course with the SCR's from Granary Square. Since I missed this run the last time they did it, and listened to the complaining afterward, I knew I had better show up for this one. The course fit the description perfectly and started off immediately with a long slow uphill, and pretty much stuck with that theme the whole 8 miles. Except for the last mile when we were running down Rockwell and then down Valencia, it was one hill after another! Well hills are not my thing and I have always lagged behind C and Marathon Mom on the hills, and today was no exception. I feel like I have improved my hill running, (I didn't walk, but I sure wanted to), but I haven't come that far because today I felt like a "newbie" just trying to get to the end. Since we will be running "18" miles next weekend, I feel a little guilty complaining at all but here I am doing what I do best. It was good to do that run with my friends, they truly pulled me along today, and both of them seemed to take the hills in stride! Marathon Mom did not bring her GPS, so we don't know for sure, but she felt, and so did I that we kept a faster than normal pace. I am glad that run is over, I just wish that since it was a shorter run, that it would have felt a bit easier!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Girls Night

We had fun last night. It is such a nice change of pace (no pun intended) to get away from the running and just hang out with my running friends. A group of us which included Patty, C, Mary, Sea N Sun, Bonnie, and myself got together for some good old fashion fun at happy hour. When you run together all the time you get so used to seeing each other with our hair up, hats, on, and no make-up that when we actually get together for other reason, we hardly recognize each other. It was really nice to chat for hours and learn that we have a lot more in common with each other than just running. It was a perfect end to a lazy week of running. Due to the smoke from the fires, we've been taking it easy, especially after that 16 mile run last Sunday. I'm hoping the smoke clears for our Sunday hill run. Unfortunately I know what's coming and I am really dreading all 8 miles of it. All I can say is that I'm glad I had fun Friday because I'm sure I'll be paying the price on Sunday morning.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Bad Air

As I looked out this afternoon, it didn't look good for our air quality. The fires in the mountains were casting a cloud of smoke overhead; however it was quite high and we couldn't smell any smoke. Despite the smoke and the heat, C and I decided to give it a try, each of us secretly hoping the other would cancel. We decided to start from Cheese Park, but ran to Copperhill and down the bike path avoiding the dirt trail altogether there and back. I had on new shoes, which I will be returning. I purchased a pair of Nike Marathoners hoping I could break them in slowly before our race, but I noticed the collar of the shoes were rubbing on the side of my ankles. I must have weird feet or low ankle bones because several brands of shoes do that to me, especially Asics. I've never had a problem with Nike, but these were not comfortable at all and I couldn't imagine running 26 miles in them. Oh well, I guess it's back to finding that perfect marathon shoe. Back to the air quality, both C and my throats were feeling scratchy and rather raw after our run either from the smoke or the hot, dry air. Since tomorrow will be hotter, we're thinking we will forgo the running and swim or try the indoor gym on our own.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

It Was Ugly!

My friends were nice enough to join me on a run last night, even though Marathon Mom and I were hurting from our long run this weekend, and C was exhausted from a weekend of moving her daughter into her dorm. I will not be able to join them the rest of the week, because my son has a basketball tournament in Pasadena for the next three nights. The only one who was really ready to run was C, and it showed! We started at Bridgeport Park and ran toward Lowe's crossed under Bouquet and ran the trail toward the newer homes on Newhall Ranch. After we had run for l.5 miles, Marathon Mom asked if we should keep going, I think I had tears in my eyes when I said NO! C did keep running for a half mile or so while we just waited and complained about our aches and pains. On the way back, we had a bit of a head wind which reminded us that fall is coming and the windy weather with it (ugh!) We managed a 3.3 mile run, and speaking for myself it was hard to get through, my legs were just lifeless. I do think that the run did me good, as later I felt like I was actually less sore than I had been, so maybe just getting the blood flowing was a good idea. I know my legs will recover and I am going to take today off and try to run on my own this week. I will be reading to find out how my friends do the rest of the week without me.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sweet 16

To be honest, it wasn't quite so sweet and it wasn't quite 16 miles either. It was more like 15.7, but Patty and I ran it at 10.5 pace overall which is pretty darn good considering how many hills were involved. On the 3rd mile we got to talking with another lady who uses the run/walk marathon strategy and she swore by it. Since she runs around our pace and her marathon times have been really good, we thought we'd give it a try with her today. I have to say, it worked really well. We ran 1 mile then walked for 1 minute. It made the miles go by faster and the short walking was just enough, but not too long where your heart rate drops. I felt much better today using this method running close to 16 miles than doing the 3 mile run/10 min walk strategy I did last time with my 14 mile run. This was a harder route too. Patty didn't feel the same way, but I think it was her stomach more than anything. At a certain point though, you feel so tired that you start to get giddy. At least I do. It's a good thing I didn't notice Patty's shirt problem until after we ran, otherwise I would have had trouble laughing and running at the same time. When we finally finished, all Patty and I could do was just sit on a bench in the shade for a while. It was too soon to get up and stretch; however, I finally had to when my calves started to cramp. I'm glad we did it and that's it's over. I think we had 38 people show up this morning for the marathon training. Toward the last 6 miles of our run, it was getting really hot and we were hugging what little bit of shade we could find. Running in Santa Barbara will be nice.

Friday, August 21, 2009


There is not much else to say about last night's run except UGH! Marathon Mom and I started from Cheesepark and headed toward Heritage Park. We ran for a mile and a half and turned around and came back. We both agreed when we started out that we were not in the mood to run at all, and just wanted to get it over with the easiest way possible. It just seemed hard the whole way, even on the way toward Heritage which is a slight downhill. At one point when we were running back Marathon Mom said we were running at an 8.4 pace, so we slowed it down and figured it would get easier, but it never really did. The hills at the end just killed me, but I would have rather run up those than the extra quarter of a mile it would have taken to just finish on the trail. All we could do at the end of that run was look at eachother and say "at least we are out here". Hoping for a better run on Sunday!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

It's Good for Us.

On another running blog, I came across a recent study linking running or strenuous activity and its link to a decrease in risk of cancer. The article mostly noted a reduction in lung and gastrointestinal cancer in their male subjects, but it also mentioned a reduction in breast cancer risks for women.

I started researching more sites on the Internet on running or strenuous exercises and it's possible benefits of reducing breast cancer risks in women pre and postmenopausal. I came across this article which I found interesting.

So I guess when we're bitching and complaining as we climb those hills, we should remember that it does our body good in more ways than just reducing our waistlines.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

We Love Hills, NOT!

I think it says a lot about our personalities that we continue to run those hills repeatedly at C.O.C. even though we really despise them. I think runners, especially long distance runner, have some type of personality flaw or mental disorder that keeps us coming back for more pain. The same is true of cross country runners. On average, they say cross country runners do better in school, not necessarily because they are smarter, but because it takes a very disciplined person to stick to something that is difficult, whether it be school, a job, or running. So today Patty, C, Sea N Sun, and I were very disciplined and ran the C.O.C. course not once, but twice. I didn't wear my Garmin, but I could tell that we ran it rather quickly. We were definitely feeling it by the second time around. I'm sure we'll continue to feel it tomorrow.

Patty and I were talking about our "phantom" readers. We can tell that others besides Patty and I read this blog by our site counter, but no one else seems to post much. We would love to hear from some of our "phantom" readers, just so we know someone is listening out there.

Monday, August 17, 2009

M,.O.R.E. of Us!

There were five of us tonight on our run from Heritage Park into Bridgeport and the energy was good! It is truly heading into fall with the kids are back in school and the park is full of running teams, soccer, and even football. This is the time of the year that I truly feel like I am not ready to start it all over again. The one thing I truly love though about this time of the year is the weather and by the time our run was finished the air was comfortably cool. We ran our Bridgport loop, around the lake, 3.3 miles and kept a very respectable 9.4 pace. At one point Marathon Mom sprinted up ahead and told us to "pick up the pace" apparantly it was a tempo run that we didn't know about. That really got the blood pumping and I was gasping for breath when we stopped just in time. Luckily we ran a normal pace back to Heritage, although when our friend Sea and Sun is with is the pace is naturally faster, I struggle to keep up. I am glad to be back running with the girls, and am trying not to think about the LONG run we have planned for this weekend!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Not Quite 7

Today was supposed to be our "cycle down" week and we were supposed to run 7 miles with our marathon group. I say supposed to because we were actually short by 1/2 mile. I knew we would be short when we stopped at the Starbucks for a bathroom break on Valencia and McBean and my Garmin said we only ran 5.8 miles so far and I knew there was no way that we were going to get another 1.2 miles to Granary Square from there. Just to verify, I checked with another runner with a Garmin when we finished and she got exactly the same as me. Oh well, I guess it doesn't matter too much that it wasn't exactly 7 miles since this is our low mileage week. Poor C had to use the restroom almost from the beginning and we didn't actually get to one until our very last mile. Here I am talking about bathroom stops again, which bugs Patty but then since she didn't run with us today I guess it's okay. As we were heading back, I told C how funny perspective can be. I remember not too long ago we would all get stressed out about having to do a long run like 6 or 7 miles and now 7 miles is considered an "easy" run. I have to say, it did feel rather easy, except for the first 2 miles when a nice hill was involved. That's another thing I noticed about the runs with the marathon group. No matter what distance, the trainer always seems to throw in a hill or two.
C, her daughter, and I opted to have coffee at the Starbucks near Corner Bakery, which was sort of a mistake. As we were sitting outside drinking our coffee, the slower runners and the ones that opted to do 10 miles ended up running by us and seeing us enjoying our coffee. We felt kind of guilty because we didn't stay for coffee with the group and also because they probably thought we just stopped running there and decided to have a coffee break in the middle of our run.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

On Our Own

With work, school, and sports in full swing we could not get our schedules to coordinate so we all ran on our own Friday. Patty dutifully did the 7 miles she will miss on Sunday, when C and I will be running with the marathon training group. It is our cycle down week and then we build up again to 16 miles. Patty is in Las Vegas and I guess she didn't feel like running 7 miles in L.V. I wonder why? I did my usual 3.5 miles on the paseos up the Helmers switchback and into Northpark. I'm hoping C got a run in too, even if its on a treadmill. The thing I dislike about running on my own is that I have to listen to my body more. It tells me about all the little areas of my body that ache and hurt.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

First Days

Today is the first day of school for some of the MORE kids. Today is also the first day or first time ever that I have not walked or driven one of my kids to school on their first day of school. Both of my boys left this morning for school without me. My older son is now driving his younger brother to their high school. As I hugged my youngest before he left, I wondered how my baby could be starting high school already? It's cliche, but time does fly and the moments of our lives leading up to the hugs good bye this morning seem like a blur. I realized as our children continue to grow up and enter new chapters of their lives, we also continue to do the same and have never stopped just because we are "grown ups". It is a scary and yet exciting time for us as our children start leaving the "nest" for more independence, whether it be high school, college, or a career. I am thankful for my friends who have gone through these times before me, to commiserate and to give advice. I think that is the greatest value of our "running" group, not so much for the running, but for all the things we talk about while we're running.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Running for the Health of It

I am always writing about the benefits of running and talking with my friends. It is obvious to anyone who watches us run, and to our families that our running is about more than running. We really never stop talking, and the amazing thing is that the more we run, the fitter we get and thus, the more we talk. I was thinking about how much fitter we are than we (or I) were when we first started out running together. Speaking for myself, I would try to join in on the conversation, but after a while had to just listen because I was breathing so hard. On our run today, Marathon Mom, C, her daughter, K and I started at Cheesepark, ran to the Albertsons trail and took that toward Decoro before we headed back up the trail to join up to McBean, and back to Cheesepark. It is a 4.3 mile route and we haven't run it in a while. As we were running down the Albertson's trail, we were really keeping a good pace, (we didn't have the GPS, so no numbers) but never broke stride with our conversation. I have to say, we really have come a long way, and I KNOW that all the running we do is benifitting us in ways we don't necessarily see. I know I felt guilty yesterday leaving to run with a sick child (even though he was asleep), it is not easy for Moms to spend so much time doing things for themselves, but I know that we are doing it for our families good also, because we are in better moods, and undoubtedly healthier for all our time spent doing something we enjoy so much!

Today was my oldest's 28th birthday, he is as much of a joy today as he was as the most adorable baby ever born (up until that day 28 yrs. ago). We ate a HUGE breakfast together as a family and watched old vacation videos that showed all the kids in their younger years. There is much to remember and much to look forward to, so I will keep up the running in the hopes of keeping up with my children for some time to come. HAPPY BIRTHDAY #1

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Hilly But Shady

Today Patty, C and I ran the paseos toward the Helmers switchback and back. It's been a long time since we ran that and I forgot how painful those hills can be. As we got to the bottom of the switchbacks, we stopped and debated on whether to run the water tower once or just add more miles by running around the perimeter of the school. None of us were feeling up to the tower so we opted for the longer route around the school. As we were on our way back, I mentioned how nice and shady that route is. I forgot that we often used this trail to avoid the sun. The only complaint was the heavy air. We couldn't figure out if it was the humidity or the poor air quality that was giving our lungs a hard time today. Perhaps it was a little of both. Just as we were finishing the last major hill climb, Patty echoed my sentiments exactly when she said her legs were just done. I could definitely feel the burn today. I'm hoping tomorrow's run feels better.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Monday Mourning

No the title isn't a typo, I do know how to spell morning as in a.m., but it seemed that we were all sort of in a mood. I think it's the realization that summer is almost once again over and the kids will be starting school this week or next and hence we will be going back to work soon. It was only Patty, C, and I at Central Park where we pretty much ran the xc course. I'm really not sure what they could do to that trail to make it more appealing. I'm not even sure if adding trees would help it. Perhaps a stream or a lake would help. I always feel like I'm running in a dust bowl. As I was running, I noticed how much sandier and looser the trail has gotten since the cross country training season has begun. If it wasn't already bad enough. If I could design it from scratch, I would put in more trees, pave the trail in asphalt with mile markers, put in bathrooms by the basketball courts which opened earlier, refrigerated water fountains at every mile, and of course a Peet's Coffee shop also by the basketball courts for when we finish. Hhmm, I wonder what the city would say if I sent them my suggestions for a new and improved park?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

I Survived!

I just returned from the American River where I went white water rafting with my family on the Middle and South Forks on some class III and IV rapids. I have to say, it was quite scary and cold, but totally worth the experience. Patty mentioned that she has always wanted to do this with her family and I think she should definitely go for it. I also suggested that we, the girls, should do it together. Then we could be called Moms Out Rafting Everywhere. We went with an excellent company (Earthtrek Expeditions) with guides that have been with them for 5-7 years that know the river very well. They also guide in New Zealand and Costa Rica the other half of the year. This is a huge benefit since we did actually see some people take serious spills in the river, including the tunnel chute that you see in the picture above. I think anyone of us could handle these rivers. Also as long distance runners, I think we all have some amount of adventurous personalities. Is it a date for next year ladies?

More pictures of our trip can be seen in my photo gallery under the "photography" gallery.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Fabulous Fourteen!

Ok, there was nothing fabulous about it except it is over! C and I met this morning to run 14 miles, as part of our marathon training. We had managed to get out of the COC race on Thurs. night, and both felt a little guilty, so there was no question we would be out there today, slogging through 14. Marathon Mom had already crossed this run off her list last week, so the pressure was on us not only to run, but to try and get the correct amount of miles in without a GPS. We decided that we preferred to run Sat. instead of with the group on Sunday, so we tried to duplicate (somewhat) her course from last week. We started out at the Decoro McDonald's and ran down McBean to the trail that runs behind the car dealers, we then headed to the South Fork Trail and took that to the very end. When we were getting ready to leave the South Fork and run under the bridge, we noticed that a guy that was running ahead of us (obviously on a long run) had dropped the water bottle that he had just filled at the fountain. We drop our bottles all the time, they have to snap or they drop as soon as you start running again, so we ran after him to give it back. I am sure he would have missed it a couple of miles later when he went to get a drink. He seemed grateful when I finally caught up to him (I am lucky he was running pretty slowly) and mentioned he was running another 6 or 7 miles, well we were too! We took the trail to McBean, crossed the bridge and followed the trail to Bridgeport Park. At Bridgeport we crossed Newhall Ranch and started working our way toward Copperhill, the only bright spot in this leg of our run is when we ran into our friend K who was out for her own Sat. run. I would say we were doing pretty good until we hit the Heritage Trail at Decoro, I did not want to run on the trail because McBean was so cool and shady, but was afraid that we wouldn't get our mileage if we didn't. We lost our shade and although it wasn't hot, we were now running in the sun, add that to the rude bikers (bite me!) and the steady uphill on wobbly legs and it was the part of the run we will work to forget. We came out of the trail and headed to McBean, crossed over the paseo to Cheesepark and gladly ran downhill, in the shade back to McDonald's. So glad that run is over, I tried to convince C that we would look back fondly to our 14 miler, in a couple of weeks when we were suffering through 16. I am going to start thinking of it as an awsome run, and count it as the "Half Marathon Plus" that we ran this Sat! We missed Marathon Mom, I am sure we would have been done sooner with her in the lead, and we missed her GPS!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wish You Were Here!

That is what we will be saying tomorrow night when we are running the COC race without Marathon Mom, and Sat. morning while C and I are blazing through 14 miles of marathon training. Marathon Mom is going away on a family vacation (what is that?) whitewater rafting, and somehow managed to plan it so she missed the worst parts of our running week! I wonder if she will be wishing we were there as she is paddling furiously through the rapids? It was a nice, but early morning run today, with C, Marathon Mom, and our friend K. The weather was cool, and we seemed to have alot of conversation to keep us going, it actually seemed to go by fast. We got in 3.3 miles at a 9.4 pace and other than the hill at the end was a very manageble run. It was only after the run that I realized that Marathon Mom was leaving tomorrow morning for her trip and not Friday, like I had been thinking, and she would not be able to join us at the COC race tomorrow night. Like I said, she is a master at planning. Have fun on your trip and think of us at least once while you paddle!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

C.O.C. Results

Well our results are in from last week's race. I don't think the times are entirely accurate because I race with my Garmin and they seem to be off by a couple of seconds, but we OWN those seconds, even the hundredths of seconds, so they matter to us. I had started my watch a second before the race, which would have added to my time and I stopped it as soon as I crossed; however, the "official" time shows me coming in two whole seconds later. That really sucks. Anyhow, good job ladies. We raced hard.

07/30/09 me 26:08.0, Patty 27:26.10, C 28:36.50, See-N-Sun 26:12.5

07/25/08 (last year)me 25.08.1, Patty 27:37.3, C 28:16.4

08/2007 (2 years ago)Me 26:07.5, Patty 31:33.8, C 31:41.2

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Loneliness of a LD Runner

I have the book "Loneliness of a Long Distance Runner" and I even tried reading it, but gave up because it was so boring. I suppose the book is a metaphor for what long distance running is like...boring and rather lonely when running by yourself. Even though I had my husband with me today on my run, it was still rather lonely because as Patty knows, the husbands don't talk much when running. I was determined to run 10 miles today because I will be missing next week's 14 mile run, but I also had it in the back of my head that if I was feeling okay, I would continue on and run more. My husband and I ran from our house down McBean to Newhall Ranch where we ran across the Bristol Farms shopping center to Grandview and into Bridgeport Elementary. From there, we connected to the Lowes trail and crossed the river behind the post office and headed towards South Fork. Once we got to South Fork, we stopped and refilled our water bottles and walked for about ten minutes. I wanted to try our walking/running strategy for the marathon and so we ran about 3.5 miles and then walked for 10 minutes. When we were running on the South Fork trail, my husband told me to scoot over more so he can run in the white line lane too. I pointed out to him that there was no one around so there was no need for us to cram into this little white lane. What is it about husbands and running in the white lanes? My husband stopped before the Wiley Bridge and I continued on to the end of the trail at Orchard Village where I turned around and met up with him again. On our way back we stopped at the South Fork water fountain and walked for 10 minutes again. This is when I started feeling the blister on my left pinkie toe and ran into Chris D. the first time. We continued back toward McBean and ran under the bridge to the bike trail side and ran to Heritage Park for a bathroom and water break. My husband stayed with me until Decoro when he turned off the trail and headed home for a 10 mile record for him. This was mile 11 for me and I was actually feeling "okay" energy-wise, but feeling a bit more pain in my feet. I continued up the trail to almost Copperhill where the last water fountain is and turn around at that point. As I was heading back down to Decoro, I ran into Chris D. again and she had this look of surprise like "what is she still doing out here?". Once I got to Decoro, I turned toward McBean and crossed the bridge, but I was still short 1/2 mile so I ran down McBean again for 1/4 mile and back up to my house to make it an even 14 miles. My overall pace was 11min/mi which included all the walking so that wasn't too bad. I have to say, this run didn't feel any worse than the 12 miles we did last week, in fact maybe a little easier because of the cooler weather and less hills, but there was certainly more pain. The bottom of my feet were feeling rather bad, not to mention the blister. I was also cramping up in my left forearm and my right groin. The worst part of the run was when I finally finished and stopped. My calves locked up and it was very painful just trying to stretch. Sorry this was so long, but like I said, husbands don't talk much on runs and I was running by myself for much of the run so there was a lot to share today. Now I am done with my 14 miler and can go away and play without any guilt.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Therapy Session

I have expressed the fact that running with my friends is very theraputic, not just because of the physical benefits of the exercise, but because we talk out our problems while we are running. Talking is just what women do, every man that I have talked to has said they would shoot themselves if they had to run with us (that was the jist of what they said). Today was no different, but we may have scared off our friend K with all our neuroses this morning as we chatted all the way through our 6 mile run, and continued on at our coffee break afterwards. It was a beautiful cool morning to run, and the bikers and runners were out in force. The bikers were "unusually" polite this morning (on your left, is all we need to hear), and the runners noticed right away that we were missing an important part of our group, as Marathon Mom, was on her way to pick her son up from camp. We didn't break any records, and don't have any way of knowing without a GPS but we figure we ran for about an hour. The coffee afterwards was just the best, but we will have to get on a more positive subject matter so we don't scare off the newer members of our group. I am seriously going to start "owning my candy wrappers". Good luck to Marathon Mom as she does her 10 miler tomorrow with her hubby!