Friday, June 29, 2007

Another night off

Oh darn, I didn't run last night. I think I'll blame it on Olivia. Hey, why take personal responsibility if you don't have to, right? We were scheduled to run at 5:30 pm but she wasn't feeling well and canceled. Did I go ahead without her? Did I put on my running gear and hit the trail on my way home? Did I use my treadmill? Did I cross-train? That would all be a big nope. I was really tired. My whiny tired brain voted against my healthy active brain and my sofa broke the tie by sucking me down. After last week when I ran 4 days after work, this week is pretty pitiful. I'll do better next week. No, really I will.

The Temescal Bag is definitely done, except for the straps that I'll learn at tomorrow's class. The colors in the picture don't really show up right, they're more accurate in the balls on the left. I do like how they came out and can't wait to see it felted.

Since that was finished and I had all that time when I should have been running I knit more of my multidirectional diagonal scarf. I know I was going to finish it with the skein I'm on, but I may just go into another skein and knit a couple more triangles. If it's just around my neck it's long enough but I'd like it a bit longer if I'm going to wrap it.

For all I was totally exhausted I managed to not sleep again (still) (some more) last night. I went to bed about 11 pm, feeling I was tired enough to sleep. I was very wrong. About midnight I got up and read for an hour, then went back to bed. I'm hoping that Sunday I'll be able to catch up a bit since tomorrow I'll be getting up early to run 10-12 miles.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Not on a work night

Last night I got together with an old friend for our dinner that was canceled last week. Knowing it was a work night we decided we weren't going to be drinking, just talking and eating. The original plan was for me to cook but -- c'mon now, me cook? I wasn't even in the mood to let Whole Foods do the cooking for me, I wanted to get out of the house.

I used to work with Yvonne before our company became Great Place to Work, LLC. When the company moved to New York and just a couple of people were hired to continue with the boss locally, she had to go on to other opportunities. We've become much better friends since then and try to get together every couple of months. Of course, that turns out to be about once or twice a year. So we have lot of catching up to do.

We met at my house and I started us out with a cocktail, a pometini. It was made with the Pearl Pomegranate vodka, Grand Marnier and Roses Lime juice. Yummy big time. Also, all booze. After we drank that I decided we'd better eat before having another drink because otherwise we'd fall on our faces. We decided to just go up to the corner and went to Applebee's. I wasn't going to have another drink but then Yvonne ordered a Cosmo and I just had to join her. No, I certainly couldn't be as rude as to make her drink alone! We split a salad and I had a surprisingly good piece of tilapia as my main course. Off their Weight Watchers menu since I had apparently decided to drink all my points instead of eating them.

After dinner we returned to my house since our conversation hadn't slowed down and we still had months of catching up to do. Yvonne convinced me we should have one more itty bitty pometini. Oh yeah, twisted my arm soooo bad. So we had one more, talked and talked and realized it was getting pretty late, so we said g'night and promised to do it again (with less booze) real soon.

Ow my head. And I'm supposed to run tonight??

At the rate I've been going lately I'm thinking of changing my feature to the Gratuitous Bear of the Week. But not yet, so here's a GBOTD. She's another marathon bear and had to wait a year after I got her to get a medal. I had planned to run the Honolulu Marathon in 2001 but my tibial stress fracture ruled that out. I had paid for the trip to Hono the day before I got the diagnosis so I ended up going with the team to cheer and watch (and feel ohsovery sorry for myself that I couldn't run boo hoo). I indulged in some major retail therapy while I was there and this perfect Hawaiian teddy was one of my purchases. In 2002 I returned to Hono and was able to run the race, despite a case of stomach flu or food poisoning. Not my most pleasant race (and by the way, running a half marathon totally hung over was very good training for running a race with the flu!) (don't tell my coaches I said that). This pretty bear has a long vowelish Hawaiian name that translates as Little Star.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Late again

I didn't get around to posting this morning because two SUV's on the freeway decided to have a close encounter and my 15 minute commute took me 50. I didn't mind while it was happening, which was a good thing since there wasn't squat I could do about it. I just drove 1-2 mph, stuck between a couple of big rigs, listening to KFOG and sipping my latte. I tried to be relaxed and didn't glance at the clock or my watch until I was finally off the freeway. I was actually shocked that I'd been sitting there for so long.

I forced my sleepy ass out of bed early this morning so I could do my workout tape. I hit the snooze button once but knew I couldn't do it again and still have time for exercise. I sleepily jammed my contacts in my half-open eyes, put on workout clothes, dragged over to the other room, popped in the tape and did the whole thing. I think I had a good workout and about mid-way through felt awake enough to know what I was really doing. Having done it 3 weeks in a row now my legs don't hurt. But morning workouts before work just leave me feeling a step behind all day.

Last night Olivia and I met for a run. Since Pam is still out of town and Olivia and Claudia can't run tonight we rescheduled. We met in Danville and I showed her the short short route that Pam and I usually run. My guess was that it was 3.2 miles; her Garmin (mine hasn't arrived yet) said it was 3.16. Pretty good. We ran a little too hard and were both out of breath and tired at a couple of points along the way. I tried to slow it down but my legs are still doing that thing where they're faster than my lungs can do.

I think I finished the body of the Temescal Bag. I ended up un-knitting out a couple of rows because I didn't like how the stripe worked and the join looked too sloppy even for felting. I have to recount the rows but I think it's ready for Saturday's class and learning how to do the straps. I'm looking forward to seeing a finished project!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Can I miss a day?

Oh, of course I can skip a day. I don't need to blog every weekday. It's not like I'd miss it. Not like it hurts. Not like clamoring hordes are waiting for it. Not like I have time for it today!

No, I'm still too new to this, I don't want to get in a habit of skipping a day here, passing a day there. Then it becomes a week, a month, all of a sudden I'm not a blogger anymore and I go back to talking to myself in my head instead of on paper. So hi y'all! Better late than never!

Things are busy here at Great Place to Work, LLC. I'm not taking breaks and I'm busy enough that I don't want to turn my computer on at home afterward. Things will get quiet again, I'm sure. I hope.

I didn't run last night since Pam was out of town. What, you say? That's a piss poor excuse for not running? Ok. I didn't run last night because it was really warm. Hmmm? Another crappy excuse? How's this: I didn't run last night 'cause I didn't wanna. And nobody could make me. I just wanted to collapse on my sofa with a big pot of jelly bellies. I managed to talk sternly to myself and I rode my exercycle instead, so I wasn't a complete blob. I actually felt like I got a good workout and as a bonus I got to watch The 4400. Now I just have to figure out how to not sweat so I can knit at the same time. Multi-task that!

I waited until after my workout to knit and managed to get a few more inches completed on my Temescal Bag. I'm not sure I love how the striping is working so I'll have to do some rethinking of the top of the bag. I'll worry about that tonight. If I have energy after my run!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Of cows and parties

To misquote one of my favorite bands, this weekend "I eat too much, I drink too much, I knit too much, too much!"

Oh right, I'm supposed to be dieting, aren't I. Not so much this weekend. Oh, it started off right. Saturday morning I ran 8 miles at Inspiration Point with Sandy and Anita. And a whole shitload of cows (uh, literally in some places). The bovine creatures were right in the middle the trail, ON the trail, at two different spots. As I've said previously my hate dislike of the walking beefsteaks is partly irrational. Meaning, there's not a damn thing I can do about it. I see them there, my heart rate increases, the adrenalin flows, my flight response kicks in. So I speed up, trying to cower behind my running buddies. Which is tough when one of them is half my size. Anita thinks I'm hilarious and she talks to the cows to get them out of my way. It doesn't always work and I still have to get around the things.

Sprinting uphill isn't always the best idea in the middle of a run. I ended up walking most of the hill to the 4 mile point, but then ran most of the run again until the last mile. I had wanted to just do 7 miles total but we decided not to wuss out and do the whole thing. I guess I know my body pretty well, by 7 miles I was toast. I walked all the uphills in the last mile, I just had nothing left. Stoopid cows.

The nice thing about starting a relatively short run at 7:00 am is that when you finish, the whole day is ahead of you. I went home, did a few things here and there, did some knitting on my Temescal Bag, and took a nap. A long nap. I didn't sleep much but just drifting in and out on the sofa for a few hours was fabulous.

Saturday evening was a celebration for Petra's birthday. Ten people met at Pizzaiolo in Oakland. We had wine, appetizers, salad, pizza, dessert, pretty much everything on the menu. It was all good, some of it great. My favorite was the pizza with anchovy, black olives, feta and, uh, something else. I also loved the fresh figs in the fig/pancetta dish, even though I passed on the pancetta itself. Great conversation, great food. Yes, I did not watch what I ate and no, I didn't count points.

Sunday I made up for slacking all day Saturday. I cleaned house, ran my errands, did some other stuff that needed to get done. Strangely, there's still tons of stuff I never got to. I didn't water the citrus trees which were starting to look so good with the extra attention and water. Whoops. In fact, I didn't do any gardening at all. My yard is almost at the point in the summer where it doesn't need any attention, but not quite. Maybe next weekend.

Last night Mrs. Claudia had the first Stitch n Bitch at her new digs. I'm pretty sure that all of us who hadn't been there before got lost or, I dunno, misdirected a little. Even though she texted complete directions to us. I must not be the only directionally dyslexic in the bunch. She has a great little condo, fresh and new. In fact just about everything inside is fresh and new too. So nice, and I covet much of her furniture.

Her new hubby was kind enough to bbq for us and I think we opened his eyes to what a group of women are like when they get together. Loud, raucous and not afraid to discuss anything under the sun. Or learn new words. And medical conditions. I'm not sure he'll be hanging around next time we meet there. Or maybe he'll just decide he has to drink more than we do. Join the knitting circle!

Claudia greeted each of us with a wonderful pomegranate martini in her pretty new martini glasses. Such a brave girl; dark drinks in long stemware to go with light new carpet. We were all on our best guest behavior and managed to not spill or break anything. This time.

While we chatted and talked (and yelled) (and ate-the food was delish) (and drank) I knit a few inches on my bag, going into the 4th color. I love how it looks and I planned to post the interim picture here. Except I got home too late and didn't feel like futzing with the computer. Pretend that THIS is a picture of a partially knit Temescal bag. Nice, isn't it? Thank you, I think I'm doing a good job too! Heh.

You're also going to have to pretend to see the picture of the lovely dessert Jeanette prepared. Along with the sponge cake (which was not, alas, homemade) were some wonderful fresh berries drenched in sweet wine or liquor. Plate-licking good. And no, I didn't say "oh, that piece is too big, I just want a sliver" because that would have been a lie.

Today is back on the program. The whole program. I'm supposed to be training for a race here, right? Training to breathe again, right? It's hard since the more running and cross-training I do, the hungrier I get. Somewhere there has to be the perfect foods that fix that but I haven't discovered them yet. My great quest!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Where is it???

There are certain rules in this world: you don't tug on superman's cape, you don't spit into the wind, you don't pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger and you don't LOSE YOUR DAMN CAR KEY INSIDE THE DAMN CAR!!

As impossible as it seems, I have lost my car key. I keep my car very neat impeccably clean. I keep a couple of things in the trunk, some papers in the glove box, a couple of odd items in the center console, the garage door opener, a bottle of water in the pocket behind the driver's seat and a bottle of water in the bottle holder. That's it. No loose trash, no little bits of stuff floating around. I like it that way, a little left-over compulsiveness from my anal neat-freak ex. So, if you drop something it should be perfectly absocompletelylutely clear where that dropped something is.

Yesterday after work I met Anita and Sandy at the parking lot of the Lafayette-Moraga Trail for a short run. I arrived, turned off the car engine and started putting on my shoes. I opened my car door and pulled the key from the starter to kill the buzzing noise. I put the key, um, either on the passenger seat or on top of the console. Anita walked over and we started talking and she handed me some money she owed me. I reached behind me to put it in the console and heard -- something -- a jangling-type sound. I realized my key had fallen. Obviously it fell into ANOTHER DIMENSION because it was gone. Missing. Absent. Departed. LOST.

We checked the car. Everywhere. I mean, everyfuckingwhere it could have possibly been, and everywhere else where it couldn't have been. It's not like it's a teensy weensy thing; it's the big car key on a ring with the remote door opener thingamabob. We pulled out the floor mats. Moved the seats forward, back, up, down, everything except removing them. Bent ourselves into shapes humans don't normally bend to try to see places that were just a little too hard to see. Looked into the trunk in case it had developed damn wings and flown there. Pulled everything out of the console and the glove box. It was not there.

I have a little emergency card key I keep in my wallet so I pulled it out, started the car, drove back and forth. It was not mysteriously on the ground where I had parked. We re-checked everywhere we had previously looked in case it had been jarred loose from some hidden spot we didn't know about.

Sandy arrived, checked many of the places we had already checked. She didn't find the key. Y'know, that whole different dimension-thing where it'd escaped to. It was completely gone.

We decided to just do our run, nice and easy and relaxing. Not so much relaxing. My legs were apparently in a big fat hurry to get back and look for my stupid ass key. Remember, I'm 13+ minute mile girl. First mile, 12:29. Slow down, slow down! Second mile, 12:21. Slow dow--- where is my key?? Third mile, 11:42. Oh yeah, that was relaxing all righty.

Oh dear little key, I know you were tired, having to run with me three other days this week. You've been so good, no complaints about the hours and the miles that you've spent running with me, opening and starting the car with nary a hint you were unhappy. I know, I've used you much more than your twin, the "spare," and maybe you thought I was taking you for granted. No no, I know how very special you are. Please stop hiding and come back to me, I promise to rotate you with your twin so you get some rest. Pleeeeease come back, no questions asked. When I get back in my car after work please be sitting nicely on the floor. Please .....

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Another day, another run

I'm tired. Well, that's a big shockaroonie isn't it? It isn't so much running every night, although I'm not really used to it. It isn't just that I seem to have given up sleep for the season. It isn't that I'm watching what I'm eating and may not be getting the exact nutrition that I need. It isn't the heat, although my own personal heat waves have been driving me batty. It's a little of all of these. Yawwwwwwn.

Last night was our regularly scheduled run with Olivia, Claudia and me. It was oh-so-very-much cooler than last week and was actually pretty pleasant for running. We only ran the 2.7 mile out-and-back on the Iron Horse Trail. Maybe next week we'll increase that to the next block. Oh, we're not running next week, they have another appointment on Wednesday. Ok, the week after we'll increase that to at least 3 miles! Claudia has discovered that she can't, in fact, run as slowly as I do. Lots of people find it wrecks their running form to slow down too much; she was hurting after our last run and that's more than likely the explanation. But it works for me to just have to meet up with someone even though we can't run and chat. I need to have a reason to make me show up for the run so that I don't just go home and eat bon bons on the sofa all night.

It's been old timers week at the trail. After Tuesday's run I saw one of my old running friends/former TnT teammates whom I hadn't seen for almost two years. I was the mentor his second and his wife's first TnT season and we ran Anchorage together. He and his wife are still running marathons, in fact they ran New York last year. He had a lot of information about that race that'll be helpful to us in November. He said it was freezing at the staging area and recommended tents and sleeping bags!

After last night's run I saw a guy that I'd starting talking with a few years ago because we always staged from the same parking lot in Danville. He's the fastest person I know, he's actually won a marathon. He started running elsewhere so I don't really see too much of him. We talked about the races I've run in the last year and what his plans are for the future. I think he really doesn't believe that he runs a marathon a tiny bit faster than I run a half marathon. I mean, he just can't conceive that anyone runs that slowly. Not that he's snobbish and "well then you're not a real runner" about it (like so many people are), he just literally can't get his mind around the fact that it takes me over an hour to run 5 miles. Pretty funny. It's interesting hearing about running from a racing standpoint. It's totally different from running to beat my own time, or running a marathon just to see the scenery.

Last night I continued knitting my Temescal Bag. I finished the bottom, which I did all one color, and started up the body. I've got almost a couple of inches of the body done. I'm trying to make up my mind about how I'm going to stripe the colors. I know what order I want, just not how thick I want each of the stripes. I'm enjoying now just knitting in circles, my favorite mostly mindless circular knitting. Very relaxing, very zen.

Today's Gratuitous Bear of the Day is my second marathon bear. I got her in Anchorage after running the Mayor's Midnight Sun Marathon. This was my third marathon (after two Rock 'n' Rolls). To date, the first 20 miles of that race were the best, absolutely best, run I've ever had, of any length. I have never felt so good running, it's never been that enjoyable or effortless. It's the closest I've ever come to a "runner's high" and I enjoyed every minute of it. Unfortunately, at mile 20 I hit the wall. Hard. The last six miles were a slow grouchy trudge to the finish line. It was a tough race and a beautiful race and one I'd like to run again some day. I hadn't initially planned on hanging my medal and chip and pin all over the poor little bear, I just thought she was cute. And red. At the time I didn't plan on running more than one or two more marathons, so I named her after the race, Marython, Mary for short.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Double workout day, a first

Yesterday evening I had plans to get together with an old friend, have dinner, drinks, talk all night. I decided that I really didn't want, on only my second week of intensive NY training, to skip a planned workout day. So I set my alarm for earlier than normal, planning to get up and do a cross training tape. In the back I my mind I expected that I'd turn the alarm off and go back to sleep, blowing off the workout.

I didn't. I wasn't fully asleep when the alarm sounded and figured I might as well be productive instead of tossing for another half hour or so. I got up and did my whole workout tape, the same one that caused my legs to ache last week. By the time I was finished, showered and dressed I was more than ready for my latte. And a nap, which wasn't too likely.

At lunch time I went over to Whole Foods to get something for dinner since I was "cooking." Yeah, that's how I cook, let someone else do it. I was starving and went just a touch overboard with quantities, since there were only going to be two of us there. But I stuck with healthy food, no dessert, and figured we eat most of it.

In the middle of the afternoon my friend shot me an email asking if I minded rescheduling our dinner. D'oh! No, I didn't mind, but what would I do with all that good food? I had enough for three people and didn't want to waste anything that expensive.

Earlier in the day Olivia had asked me if I wanted to run last night but I told her I had plans. After those plans fell through I emailed her and asked if the offer was still open, with the added incentive of a yummy dinner afterward. Yay, she was still available so we arranged to run in Danville.

It was warm, but not hot. Traffic was a bitch and people were driving like maniacs. I had thought we could do the street route that Pam and I normally run but decided that I didn't want to chance running in the street with all the idiots behind the wheels of massive vehicles. We ran on the trail instead. A little too fast. We made good time, chatting away (and gasping away for me) and were very happy to get our 2.7 mile run finished.

I was surprised that, although I was tired, I didn't feel any after effects of the tape in the morning and the run in the afternoon. Today my legs feel pretty good, but we'll see how they are for running tonight. Since I'm not sleeping these days it would be great if I could double up more workouts.

We went back to my house and had a delicious dinner. We also managed to drink almost a bottle of wine. Each. We were going to knit but except for showing each other our current projects, we didn't get any productive knitting done. We just talked. And talked. And drank talked. All of a sudden we realized that holy crap, it's almost 11pm! Damn, so much for a good night's sleep. Again!

Thank you to all of you who donated to Noah's Man of the Year Campaign which came to an end last weekend. He ended up raising over $62,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, a mind-boggling amount. He was the first runner up of the campaign, the winner raising $115,000! Amazing! The 14 candidates together raised $859,000. To put that in perspective, our last Team in Training season the entire East Bay Team raised about $380,000. Good grief, what amazing fund raising by a small group of committed people. I feel truly honored to have been a small part of that. Noah is my hero!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Visit with the Peanut

Sunday I got to spend some time with Ellen and Matthew. Ellen is my original running partner; we met in 2001 during our first season with Team in Training, training for our very first marathon. Neither of us was much of a runner when we started. From our very first 5 miler through to the finish line at the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon we ran side by side. We had the same pace, same stride, and ran with matching steps. We ran together at our buddy runs on Tuesday nights, at track on Thursdays and at our runs on Saturday. Needless to say we became very good friends! Hour after hour we ran and talked, about everything under the sun.

After we finished the race we decided to return to TnT for a second season, as mentors. We ran together until I was diagnosed with a stress fracture, then I was relegated to the cheering section. While I was recovering Ellen gained speed, so by the time I returned for our third season she was too fast for me. Also, she had moved to Alameda so we weren't in the same close area anymore. Then, to add insult, she joined the tri team. Hmpph! While I continued to run run run, she learned how to swim and completed the Treasure Island triathlon.

In the middle of all this, Ellen's life took a bit of a change when she got married. Then, as often happens, she got pregnant and had Matthew. [Ok, I'm skipping some time here, just go with it!] Even though her family moved back to San Ramon I saw very little of her, because our schedules just didn't match up too well. Visits became few and far between. Finally on Sunday we managed to visit.

I went over to their lovely (big) house where we chatted and talked and watched Matthew play with his toys, then eat a snack. Yummy, grapes. Look mommy, sticky hands! After cleaning up we decided to go to the park and let him run around. Saturday had been so nice and cool, we didn't realize that the cool-off had lasted only that one day.

By the time we got to the park the sun was blazing down and it was quite warm. None of us were prepared for that; we were overdressed and under-sunscreened. Matthew had his hat, we didn't. After running around on the swings, playing on the slides, rocking the horsie, digging in the sand and generally behaving like a normal toddler, Matthew was getting bright red and tired. I think Ellen and I were also getting red and tired. We didn't stay at the park as long as we had thought we would, it wasn't a day to be out in the hot sun for too long.

We've pledged that our visits will be more frequent. We're not going to wait until her kids are in college to get together again. Yes, kids, plural. Matthew's little brother is due in the fall. Although you really can't tell from looking at Ellen; she looks healthy, fit and slim still. After the baby comes I'm sure I'll see more of her, she'll need some females around to balance out all the males in her life. Heh heh.

Last night's run with Pam seemed harder than it should have. It was in the mid-90's when we started, high-80's when we finished. For some reason my legs wanted to go very very fast, but my lungs weren't cooperating too well. Even Pam felt like we were pushing the speed. We did the full short short run, all 3.2 miles of it, and were tired and worn out when we finished. Boo hoo, she's going out of town and I'll have a full week of trying to find someone else to run with. No sitting around just because she's gone!

Right now I'm in the initial planning stages for my next marathon. I know, I'm doing New York in the fall, but we're planning on at least one race before that as a tune-up. I'll let you know when we figure out where we're going!

Monday, June 18, 2007

I hate coffee. I love coffee.

Ow my head hurts because of coffee. Many many years ago I totally eliminated coffee from my diet because of a horrible caffeine addiction. I'd usually only have one cuppa day but if I missed it, or it got later than about 9 am and I hadn't had any, I'd get a raging headache that wouldn't go away until I (1) took lots of aspirin, (2) slept and (3) drank some coffee. So I went through several weeks of vicious headaches and declared myself a caffeine-free zone. And it worked, I didn't even miss it too much. The little caffeine I'd get from other sources, like chocolate, never affected me.

When I started running distances I discovered caffeine gels. That little bit of buzz helped my running by smoothing out my breathing and giving me a kick of energy. Since it was the only caffeine I'd have for the week I'd really get a jolt. That worked up until about a year ago. That's when I discovered how good I'd feel in the morning when I'd have a latte.

I find that lattes are the wonder drink. I wasn't getting enough calcium in my diet and a latte gives me almost half my daily needs. I used to eat yogurt for breakfast but that only kept me full for about a hour; I'm full all morning from a latte so that works well on my diet (yes, I'm still dieting even though I don't really talk about it here). The morning caffeine boost gives me energy for the day. So I started having a weekly latte, usually the morning of my weight watchers weigh-in.

That became a twice-weekly latte. Then 3 times weekly. It's been a Monday-Friday latte, plus weekend lattes, for the past few months and it's officially become a problem. Saturday it just didn't fit into my schedule to get a latte or a cup of coffee, so I didn't have one. By about 10:30 am my brain was getting tight, by noon I had a headache. I ignored it, but took a short nap. It wasn't gone when I got up and I had a headache the rest of the day.

So Sunday morning I got a latte and headache gone. Crap. The exact reason I quit in the first place has become reality again. I'm going to have to decide whether to totally quit again except for long run gels, try to ease my usage back down to just a day or two a week, or live with the headaches. Oh, what to do, what to do. Call me Scarlett, I'll worry about it tomorrow.

The weekend was good, except for that whole headache on Saturday thing. Sandy and I ran Saturday morning on the Lafayette-Moraga Trail. The heatwave we'd been having disappeared Friday night so the run was very pleasant, even a bit chilly. Funny how it went from upper 90's on Friday to about 50 when we went running in the early morning. We only ran 6 miles because I just wasn't in the mood for more. It was nice catching up, hearing about her vacation, planning our next running adventures.

Saturday afternoon I had my class at Article Pract. This was learning how to knit the Temescal Bag, a large felted tote. I finally decided to use some of my stash Cascade 220, in blues and greens. The colors aren't quite true in the picture; the bottom right yarn is greener than it looks, the center yarn is 220 Quatro and has a green strand in it. I ended up taking an armload of yarn outside to my deck to try to see the true colors and I loved how these looked together. Petra showed us how to knit with the magic loop method, instead of the more conventional double point needle method. It took us a while but we finally got the grasp and began our projects. Some of us began our projects a couple of times. Or even more. Every time I think I'm a true beginner I find people who know less about knitting than I do.

Time just sped along; I was shocked when I looked at my watch and realized we'd been there for 2 hours and the class was over! We have our homework; knit the remainder of the bottom and the sides of the bag before the next class when we learn how to do the straps. Our second class is in two weeks; I can't wait!

After class Petra and I went over to Mijori Sushi for dinner. I had been craving real sushi for a while, probably since I didn't have it before my last race like I normally do. The food and the company were good and the saki was enough to give me a buzz. Even with the damn caffeine headache!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Last Day for Man of the Year Campaign

Here I go, shamelessly begging for contributions to my nephew Noah's Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Man of the Year Campaign. Today is the last day to contribute, so please please please, even a tiny contribution can a difference, not only in whether he raises enough money to become Man of the Year, but whether the L&L Society can fund another researcher to help find a cure for blood cancer. Word is that the contenders are very close, so let's help put him over the top. I promise, this is the last time I'll ask for money for this fundraising campaign!

The heat wave here in Northern California continues unabated. Well, maybe just a little abated. Today's supposed to be a degree or two lower than yesterday. Last night Pam and I attempted our usual short short run and we managed to find a short cut even for that! We didn't get started until 7:00 pm because traffic was so bad. You'd think it would have cooled down by then, but you'd be wrong. It was still in the upper 90's when we got underway. I was worried that Pam would zip off and leave me puffing away, but I had forgotten that heat, as she said, is her kryptonite. She was even unhappier than I was to be out there trying to run. We managed a half hour, maybe 2-1/2 miles. Better than sitting on the sofa eating bon bons, but not by much. I'm hoping to get accustomed to this heat soon because training must continue!

I didn't feel like knitting again last night; too warm in my house. Tonight I have to finally decide which yarn I'm using for the Temescal bag class I'm taking tomorrow; I need to get it all wound. I'm pretty sure I'll use the Cascade 220 in purples and I'm hoping I can find another complementary shade to go with them. Otherwise I'll use black for the bottom of the bag so I won't have to worry if I set it down somewhere.

See you Monday!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Origin of my medal bears

We ran last night and it was everything we expected, and more. More heat. Lots of heat. Hot hot hot. Honestly, it was just a teensy weensy bit better than we'd thought it would be; i.e., nobody had to be taken to the hospital on a stretcher. Heh. Olivia, Claudia and I met at the Iron Horse Trail in Danville at 5:30 pm on our (hopefully) regular weekly New York training run. My car thermometer said it was 97 degrees out. Ouch. We decided to just run a half hour, anything else would just be pushing our luck. It was tough and I was soon huffing and puffing. My legs just don't understand that on a day like that my lungs can't keep up with them. For someone who was running only a 13+ minute mile a few months ago, I was going pretty fast. For someone who a couple of years ago was averaging more like a -12 minute mile, I was slow. I was our designated whiner last night and I apologize for the fantastic job I did. This was the first time I had run with either of them and I'm pretty sure I didn't give them a good impression. I'll be better next week; either it will cool off or I'll be a little more used to running in the heat by then.

We ran just under 3 miles (love that rounding up feature!) and Olivia had bought us presents for when we finished: little frozen ice packs. They were wonderful! We hung around the parking lot for a bit rubbing the ice packs all over until they (too quickly) melted.

Tuesday night I've designated as cross-training and toning night. I have a bazillion workout tapes and cds but my favorite is an old Kathy Smith video that's a lower body toning tape called Functionally Fit Lower Body Workout. It's about a half hour of various squats and dips and is the best workout you can get for hamstrings and glutes in such a short time. I've found if I do that tape weekly I hurt a hell of a lot less after a marathon, even a hilly one. When I do the tape after not having done it in a while, my legs let me know they're hurting. I could tell when I started running last night that I had had a good workout and by the time I sat down on my sofa a couple of hours later I was feeling my hamstrings big time. This morning when I got out of bed I actually hurt more than the day after my last marathon. That's not right! Advil to the rescue; tonight's run is going to be really challenging!

I'm close to finishing my multidirectional diagonal scarf, probably just one more triangle then I'll finish it off. It's getting pretty bulky to be my take-along no-think project so I 'll probably just get it done. Lots of end to weave in when I finish; it's Noro after all. I think I'll do the Noro hat out of the same yarn, I have so much of it. This time I'll swatch since my other Noro hat is big enough for a couple of people to wear at the same time. I haven't done any of the finishing work on my neverending superlong wrap, it's been too hot to work on that big pile of sheddy alpaca.

Today's Gratuitous Bear of the Day will be the first of my marathon bears. I never meant for this to be a trend or anything, never planned to display all my full marathon medals around the necks of bears. Of course, I never planned to run more than one marathon either! When I got to the expo of my first, the (then) Suzuki Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in San Diego, I saw the cutest bear. She had on a little running outfit with the race logo and I just had to have her. After I finished the race and got my medal and TnT 26.2 pin it just seemed natural to hang them around her neck. I put my souvenir timing chip on her wrist. I named her Zuki after the name of the race sponsor. A year later when I finished my second race, again the Suzuki RnR Marathon, I put that medal and pin around her neck too. For my next few races I found appropriate medal bears and a trend was started.
The next year I again ran the Suzuki RnR and pin and medal went to this bear again. Her neck was getting crowded!
I skipped RnR San Diego in 2004 (I ran RnR Arizona instead) and in 2005 I was back, this time without the team and without Suzuki as a race sponsor. I figured 4 medals was enough, if I ran the race again I'd need a new bear. Well, this year as we all know I ran it again, got another medal and pin, but I couldn't find another appropriate bear. Poor little thing, she got the new medal too! Next time, I gotta get a different bear!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Planning for New York

Yesterday was the big day; the drawing for the lottery of the New York City Marathon. I already knew that I was in, I had deferred for the past two years while waiting for a friend to be accepted. When you defer you actually have to pay for the year(s) you're not running in addition to the year you actually run. So far it's cost me well over $300 for this race so Sandy (who is in the same position) and I decided that this year we'd run no matter what, even if Petra didn't get accepted. Well, she didn't. Unbelievable that we were accepted our on our first try and she's been rejected three times! This was going to be her big running come-back, only not.

Lots of other people I know are going to NY in November, a couple of them didn't make it into the race but most of them did. According to the website 98,000 people applied for this race. Last year I think they had about 38,000 actually in the race. Yikes! I am SO not looking forward to those crowds. I looked at the results from last year and even at my speed it's going to be packed the whole way through. There were more than 30 finishers in the one minute between 5:59 and 6:00. I'm already feeling claustrophobic.

Why did I register for a race that I know will drive me batty? Uh, I dunno. I really want to run all the big races that I can (Boston being one I can't), and NY is one of the most important of those. Chicago's even bigger, more people, and I want to do that too. I think as long as I'm still running the little races like Avenue, where I get the road to myself, I can put up with the big crowds in a couple of races each year. Besides, it's a trip to New York. I mean, NEW YORK people, just having an excuse to go there is worthwhile! Yarn shops! Cheesecake! Real bagels! I think I can brave the crowds for that!

So now it's time to set up my training schedule. I'd like to do at least one training marathon in October, maybe a training-training marathon in September. I know I'm running a couple of half marathons this summer (Los Gatos and SF in July, Chicago Distance Classic in August) but I always prefer doing my longest runs as a race. Might as well get a shirt and medal if I'm running that far, right? But the idea is to be at peak condition for NY so that I can finish under six hours and feel like it was a cake-walk. I want to be able to feel like I'm taking it easy, play the tourist while I'm running, but still have a decent finish time. So the training marathons should be easy ones. Most of September's races are either hilly or mountainy or high altitude or trail or all of the above. None of those meet my standards for a training marathon.

Then Petra mentioned that the Baltimore Marathon is the same weekend as Stitches East. Uh oh. Houston, we have a problem. Now, if they gave a medal for attending all the Stitches events in one year the way Elite gives medals for running all their races in one year, I'd absolutely have to do it! But the only medals from Stitches you'd have to knit yourself. With hand dyed, custom silk yarn, in brilliant red .... excuse me for drooling. Anyway, I'm not sure that flying back east three weeks before NY is a good idea, and I'm not sure attending yet another fabulous yarn show is a good idea. It would certainly be cheaper and easier to just stay home and run Cowtown again but boring!

Oh, decisions, decisions!

Meanwhile we have our first heatwave of the summer, and our first Wednesday night run. Claudia and Olivia have agreed to run with me after work on Wednesdays, with the understanding that I'm (considerably) slower than they are. I think tonight we'll all be slow because HOT HOT HOT and we're not used to it. It'll be at least 90 and probably more like 95. Oy. Hopefully I'll be able to keep up with them, although I doubt I'll be talking at all because I'll be panting from the heat and running too fast!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Rock 'n' Roll Marathon San Diego, race report

Here, finally, is my race report:

Sunday morning, June 3, 2007 started for me at 3:30 am. I had set two alarms to go off at 3:40 but since I was wide awake most of the night I just turned them off and got out of bed.

I had gone to the race expo on Friday night after my mom picked me up at the airport. I figured I could beat the crowds that way, and I was right. I picked up my bib number, incredibly cheap white short-sleeved tee shirt and goody bag, then wandered through the race-branded merchandise. I think the Elite people give away such a crappy shirt in hopes that you'll buy a better one. This year I didn't, I have enough RnR shirts. I did buy a hat though, I've been wanting another white running hat and I like how their hats fit.

The expo this year, while still in the San Diego Convention Center, had been moved upstairs to the Sails Pavilion. This seemed a much smaller room than the one they'd used downstairs in previous years. It seemed like there was a smaller selection of vendors and exhibitors this year too. It's still one of the largest expos around though and for first timers, or those used to small races, is quite a sight.

We started to wander around and all of a sudden my mom started feeling poorly. We looked for somewhere to sit, then decided she'd go outside of the expo and I'd meet her there. I continued on my merry way and it wasn't until I returned to the side of the room we'd be on that I found her slumped on the floor, leaning on an information booth. Turns out there weren't any chairs and she couldn't stand any longer. We could have left then, but she insisted she was alright and I should just come back later. So I did.

I needed to get some shorts, body glide and Ultima and hoped to find them at lower expo prices. Yes on the first two, no on the last; nobody was carrying Ultima this year. See, I am the only person who likes it! I periodically returned to check on my mom and make sure she was ok. At some point someone got a chair for her so that she wasn't just a sad old woman on the floor. Each time I returned she looked a little better and she said she felt a little better. Especially after I brought her a sample of a drink the Starbucks booth was passing out. When I had seen everything and bought the stuff I needed I gathered her up and we left.

Our team was staying in the Handlery Hotel which -- ick. We had stayed there a couple of past years too and I had hoped, not remembering quite which one it was, that we were actually staying down the road at a different hotel. Too bad, I was wrong. I checked in Saturday afternoon (I spent Friday night with my mom) and I was in the last building, lower floor. I had been given a single bed room even though I had requested a double (for more space) but after carting all my stuff over there I decided to suck it up and stay there. The room turned out to be, um, well, filthy describes the bathroom best. I didn't realize it until my 3:30 am Sunday shower but it very obviously hadn't been cleaned after the last occupant. Oh gross! There was hair -- I'm not going into details, take my word that it was disgusting. Not like I could do anything about it that early in the morning, and not like I wanted to do anything after I had run a marathon, but they'll be hearing from me. ::shudder::

Anyway. Because the race expo was in the room at the Convention Center where TnT used to hold their pasta and victory parties, those had been moved. Rock 'n' Roll is a destination race for every TnT chapter in the country so tons of TnT'ers come to the race. They had to split the Pasta parties in half; part of the teams had a Saturday pasta party at lunch, part at dinner. We were with the later group. It was at the Town and Country Resort, within walking distance of the hotel. We met up in the hotel lobby and trotted over there together.

The TnT welcomers were the loudest, most exuberant I had seen in all my pasta parties. I don't know where they came up with all those people, but it was a pretty amazing gauntlet to run. The food was buffet style; rolls, salad, pasta, veggies and chicken strips. It was surprisingly tasty for such a bland choice. The tables inside had bags of pretzels, bananas and oranges to take home. The speakers were the usual, including John "The Penguin" Bingham as MC and speaker. There were the funny speakers, the touching speakers and the heart breaking speakers. Tears ran freely in the audience, including at our table. Including me. We found out that the almost 4000 TnT runners and walkers for this event alone had raised -- get this -- 12.5 million dollars for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Wait, what?? Twelve and a half MILLION DOLLARS for this race alone!! In the ten years of San Diego RnR Marathons, Team in Training has raised $122.1 million. Wow. WOW!

Finally the program was done and we met for a couple of minutes with the coaches, planned to meet in the morning in the lobby at 4:30 am. Thus the alarms being set for 3:40 am. I walked back to my room and got my gear set for the morning, knowing I'd have no brain and would forget anything that wasn't in one little pile. I decided to wear the shirt, not the singlet, but I cut the sleeves off. Custom shirt, nobody else wearing one. Right, only purple shirt on the course...

I wasn't thrilled at the lack of sleep but once I got going (and got over the condition of the shower) I figured I was ready for anything the race had to throw at me. We got the bus to the start, all getting split up in the process, and prepared to wait (and wait) (and wait) for the start of the race. They had a million porta potties, booths with water, bagels, juice and coffee, and a line of UPS trucks to carry gear to the finish line. It finally started getting light out, we all checked our gear, and it was time to get into our corrals. Although I had initially been assigned to #23, at the expo I changed to #19. I had to take it on faith that there was actually a start line up there somewhere. I lined up with some teammates and waited. People started moving forward and we thought maybe the race had started but it was just compacting the corrals. We waited some more.

Finally, the anthem was sung, the gun went off and -- nothing. We just stood there. Then we walked. Walked a little more. Walked faster. Hey look, there's the start! People started running just before the mats, and it was on. Time to do the damn thing. Time to get on pace, feel good, have a great race, and ... too many people. There was no way in the first mile to feel your pace. You were either going around someone, about to slam into someone, sprinting a step to side-step someone, hitting the brakes when someone dashed in front of you.

I had a plan. Isn't there always a plan? I was sure I could finish about 5:45; a 13:10 minute mile. This was based on my race at Avenue and the weeks in-between. To do that, I wanted to start out the first, oh, five miles or so at 12:30-12:45, run:walking at 9:1. I knew I'd be slower at the end; that happens whether I'm faster at the start or not, so why not start a bit faster at a pace I could easily do. I also knew I'd slow down between miles 8-11 when we were on the uphill canted freeway. I planned to start run:walking 4:1 after the half, but only if I was feeling at all tired.

My first mile seemed to be on pace, 12:34, but that wasn't the full story. There was that whole darting around people thing, where I swear I ended up running a couple of tenths extra in that mile. The next mile was 12:38, also on pace, except it still wasn't a smooth pace. Then the downhill started, both literally and figuratively. Miles 3-6 were 12:21, 11:53, 11:52 and 12:19. Oh crap, that's way the hell too fast. Especially with the crowds and the fast/slow running and what's going on here?

I was cooked, I knew when I started running on the freeway that I'd blown it. Oh well, not like I wasn't going to finish; it just was going to be ugly. I was torn between feeling like I should just take it easy from then on, walk whenever I wanted, take breaks when I wanted, put no more effort into it. Or, I could work my ass off and still do the best I could. I decided not to embarrass myself and to work for it.

The weather turned out to be a big factor. It was very damp and overcast and probably about 60 degrees at the start. Very humid, any sweat just staying on your body without any cooling evaporation. The sun started to come out after about 3 hours, and was fully sunny not long after that. There was a very cool breeze which made up in comfort for being a headwind that took more effort.

Support along the course was amazing. The bands all seemed to be playing and the cheerleaders cheering when I passed. This is the first time that's happened, usually they're taking breaks just when I go by. It seemed like there was always another water stop right along the way, and the cheering throngs were everywhere. Partially because it's such a huge TnT race and partially just because it's a plain huge race, there were spectators everywhere. I know a lot of people get off on their energy. I pretty much ignore them, or try to keep them in the background.

There were the usual characters along the way, both spectating and participating. Lots of people running in costume (what's up with that? what kind of idiot do you have to be to run 26.2 miles in a costume??). Elvises all over the place. Superman, superwoman. Old people, young people. Very old people (an 84 year old woman finished in 6:30; an 83 yo man in 6:48). Old people faster than me (a 79 yo woman finished in 5:43, how embarrassing is that?) and young people way the hell faster than me (14 yo girl finishing in 4:45 - shouldn't she be in school learning something??).

So, run run run, slower slower slower. I did the first 10k averaging 12:16/mile, the half at 12:44/mile, 21 miles at 13:26/mile. Are we seeing a progression here? Between 16 and 17 I stopped and waited at a porta potty and almost decided to walk it in from there since I had to wait in line about 4 minutes. That was an almost 18 minute mile, including the wait in line. I figured that had really thrown out a decent finish time but then I started running again.

That break made a difference and mile 18 was faster. Too bad, mile 19 was slower (there was a hill there, I think I walked the hill). I was feeling pretty bad by that time. Nothing really hurt, just my energy was very low and my legs didn't have the turnover they'd had earlier. I was overheated and dumping one glass of water over my head for every glass I'd drink. I got some ice and that helped for a while, but my core was still overheated.

I saw Coach Al between miles 22 and 23 and told him I was hurting. He told me he knew I'd finish. I told him that finishing wasn't in question, it was how long it would take me to get there. Funny, I think I always look better than I feel during races. Miles 24 and 25 were just plain ugly, both my mood and the scenery. Course support and crowd support were still great that late in the race, lots of people still out there, lots of water still at the tables. The last few tables even had iced water, very welcome in my superheated dehydrated condition.

My running-challenged brain was busy the last few miles trying to figure out how fast I had to go and still finish under six hours. I was pretty sure I had to run my ass off, and knew about what pace I was shuffling along, but somehow I ended up with different numbers every time I'd try figuring it.

Unfortunately the ugliest part of the course is the last couple of miles. For an urban marathon this is a pretty scenic one, except for those miles. Since I've run this one before and know the ending pretty well, I knew when I got closer to the MCRD that it was still quite a way to the finish. I swear, if one more person yelled "you're almost there" or "it's just around the corner" I would just stop and beat them with my water bottle. Finally, Finally, Finally I turned the last turn and started running along the finishing stretch. I saw the finish line, tried to smile for the cameras while I was gasping for air, tried not to start crying, start laughing. I finally finished, an official chip time of 5:57.51 and clock time of 6:07.02. I was amazed how exhausted and worn I was for such a slow time.

I got my medal, had the chip cut from my shoe, got a cold bottle of water that I drank down in a couple of seconds. I got an iced towel and wiped it all over my head trying to cool down. I waited and got my picture taken. The secure finishing area had tons of exhausted finishers, food, drinks, free Spenco sandals. I grabbed a few things and found my UPS truck with my bag I had checked earlier, then set off through the crowds to find the TnT tent. And a porta potty. I found both.

I collected my 26.2 TnT pin and got a pb&j sandwich and some chips in the TnT tent. They did a superb job of handing out food and drinks. I badly wanted to go get my free beer, but I was too wiped out. I wanted to see what booths were at the finish area, but again, too tired. I hung out with some teammates until we all walked over to the bus to take us back to the hotel.

The only way to do this race is if you can get on one of those buses. Other people have to hike about a mile away to the parking areas. TnT buses also get right of way leaving the facility. It's definitely a plus. I've heard from people that it can take almost an hour to get out of there.

After the bus dropped us at our hotel I dragged my sorry self back to my room and realized that I had dropped my iced towel on the bus when I stood up. I also realized I had snagged my shorts on a jagged edge on the bus seat. Damn, they were my favorite race shorts and now they're only good for treadmilling in the privacy of my own home. Stupid bus.

After showering (::shudder::) and resting a while I dressed and walked over to the victory party. I hadn't eaten (not hungry) and had forced myself to drink the bottle of electrolyte stuff they had given us at the end of the race. I met up with some teammates as we stood in line. I was totally unimpressed with the spread. Usually the food at the RnR/TnT victory party is really good, they realize that we've been (supposedly) eating a strict training diet and this is the time to go all out. This looked more like what you'd eat the week leading up to the race; salad, bean salad, overheated chicken breasts in a light tomato-y sauce, overheated fish in a creamy-type sauce, some other protein dish I don't remember, and roasted potatoes. The dessert table almost made up for it. There were several bars set up and after I put down my plate at our table I hurried over to one to get a glass of wine because -- oh crap! I forgot my wallet in my hotel room! Damn! I sat at the table, ate some of the food I had gotten and decided I was just going to have to go back to the hotel because I really wanted that wine.

So I walked allllll the way back to the hotel, got my wallet, and met up with more team members. We walked allllll the way back again and I was able to get my wine. I also got a big piece of cake which was surprisingly good. We all sat around eating and drinking and telling each other about our races. Then we all got out on the dance floor and danced until they were ready to kick us out of there.

A group of people were going to continue the party down in the Gaslamp District but a couple of us decided to just have one drink in the hotel bar and call it a night. The bitchy bartender was unaware that about 20 people were descending upon her and she wasn't very capable of getting drinks made for everyone. Finally the big crowd cleared out and just a few were left. We had one Grey Goose martini, made with way too much vermouth. We had the second one and requested less vermouth, it was much better. Then we decided to see if a third could be made even tastier. Yup, it was. Then we decided to go to bed and uh oh. Nothing like exhaustion, dehydration, very little food, very little fluids and lots of vodka to impair one's self. I bounced my way back to the room (literally; "hi wall, nice to see you") and fell senseless into bed. Best sleep I've had for years!

So one more race finished, one more TnT season done. I'm glad I got my finishing times back under 6 hours, even if I just squeaked this one through. It was a course PR too, even though it wasn't a race PR. On the old course I was almost ten minutes faster, but the one other time I ran this course I was a whole 9 seconds slower. Impressive progress, huh! I'm hoping that my fall marathons, whatever they end up being, will be more in the 5:4x time, maybe even in the 5:3x. I have a lot of work to do!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Back to routine

NOTICE: ONLY 5 MORE DAYS TO CONTRIBUTE TO NOAH'S MAN OF THE YEAR CAMPAIGN!! Please help him raise money to fight blood cancers. Online donations are accepted until midnight (EST), Friday, June 15th. Go here!

This was a lovely weekend, just what the doctor ordered. No, not literally; there was no doctor involved. It was restful and productive, what I needed after two weekends away.

Saturday morning was our last TnT coached run for the season. Wahh! As much as I'm looking forward to running with my own group again, I'm going to miss the team. There's that indefinable feeling of being part of something special, something important.

We met at the Alameda Harbor Bay Ferry parking lot at 7:30 am. The brand new summer team was also meeting there so it was going to be getting crowded. There were lots of strange faces there, but those of us on the spring team took off running while the newbies had a clinic.

My run, all 4 miles of it, went very well. I ran the first couple of miles with others and then slowed down and ran the last 2 miles alone. Even the alone part was faster than normal, so it looks like I've recovered from the marathon.

The whole team had been asked to gather together for thank you's, congratulations and good bye from the coaches and manager. This is what we used to do at the wrap party, but those have apparently been discontinued. Too bad, they were always fun. Mama Lisa and Coach always have gifts for the mentors and captains and awards for special people. This year they gave us each a plaque individually engraved with our name. It had the Olympic torch, after which our Team Flame had been named. Very nice. The participants all got pins of runners, also very nice (I got one of those too, lucky me!). There were also finishers certificates from the manager.

Boo hoo saying bye is really hard, but -- oh yeah -- I was going to see a lot of those people later. I scurried home, showered and changed and sped back to Oakland. Jeanette's band was playing at the Temescal Street Fair at noon, which meant I had to hustle if I wanted to catch their set. I got an incredibly lucky parking space and arrived just before they started.

It was sunny and very warm, but felt good standing in the sun listening. They sounded great. Several other teammates showed up and we all listened together. The crowd, which had been pretty sparse at the start, filled in with people watching and listening and dancing. Unfortunately they got booted off the stage after only an hour and a half by a very impatient martial arts exhibition. I think the crowd would have been happier if they had just kept playing.

I had told Jeanette that she had to hang around afterward to visit Article Pract and Bakesale Betty's. The poor woman had never been to either place. So we grabbed a bite to eat (yum, Lanesplitter Pizza) and went to the yarn shop. She found yarn for a couple of projects she had in mind, but somehow I managed to walk out without buying a thing. Not so at Betty's! I got a pear ginger scone (drool...) and a big container of brownies.

I headed over to my bro's house to see their new kitten. They had recently lost one of their older sick cats, so for his birthday last week they got a young kitten, Flower. I wanted to see her before she grew up and became just another cat. Oh stop it, you know what I mean. She'll be a cat for years but will only be a kitty for several weeks. She's living in their bedroom now, since the two rats live in my nephew's room, the two dogs roam the rest of the house, and the other cats are free to go where they like.

I got up the hill and only my bro was home. He was making Sangria and I gave him my famous recipe I had gotten in Spain. Yes, add brandy, triple sec and lots of fruit to the wine, plus other stuff. I also gave him the brownies I had gotten at Betty's. Funny, he had meant to get some but didn't know there was a street fair going on and couldn't find a place to park. He thought he'd have to disappoint his son, but Auntie Amy to the rescue. What, you thought I was going to try to fit all those brownies in on weight watchers??

The kitten was adorable, lively and probably teething (ouch, those baby claws and teeth are sharp!). I played with her for a while until I got tired out and decided to call it a day.

Sunday consisted of straightening the house, doing yard work, running errands, updating files, blah blah blah. I had wanted to sleep late but was wide awake very early. Oh, this not sleeping thing is getting really old.

I also read Memoirs of a Geisha over the weekend. I enjoyed just being able to sit on my ass and read for a while without feeling I had to do something else. Well, I did feel like I had to do something else, but I ignored that feeling and read anyway. I didn't get any knitting done because I haven't figured out how to knit and read at the same time.

I went through my yarn stash trying to decide which yarns to use for my Temescal Bag. This is the class I'm taking from Petra at Article Pract next Saturday and the last Saturday of the month. I'm torn between using dark boring colors in a bag I'll actually use, and using something bright and colorful that would probably just sit in my closet. Oh, what to do, what to do. I finally came up with two different combinations; one in greens using Wool of the Andes [oh crap - looking at that link I notice it's on sale and "must not buy any yarn" and it's so tempting... ] and one in purples using Cascade 220. What, you ask? Yeah, I thought about doing it in reds/pinks/grey/black, but that's what they're all expecting!

And now it's Monday. Time to get to work!

Friday, June 8, 2007

Off the needles

The neverending superlong wrap from hell is Off the Needles! Yay! I knit several rows last night and I finally decided that enough is enough, it's sixty two billion inches long, I'm sick and tired of it. So I did the border and bound off. Actually, it's only about 95 inches. Yes, you read that correctly. But I think that blocking it will make it several inches shorter. I still need to weave in all the ends, of which there are plenty. And I have to figure out how and where to block the thing. I could probably use a couple (a few?) (many?) towels on the floor and pin it that way. I'm not sure if I'll wash it or just spritz it with water. I'm thinking delicate wash because then some of the loose short alpaca hairs may drift away. And clog up my drain. Maybe spritzing is the way to go. Any suggestions? This baby is so long it'll take forever if I go slowly.

I had a pretty good run last night with Pam, our short short route. It was nice getting back to it, although at first my legs were doing some complaining. Here I thought they were all better from the marathon. And they were, until I asked them to run. It took a while to warm up but I enjoyed being outside and moving again. It's so strange that it's completely light outside after we're done. It doesn't feel like June running since it's still pretty cool outside. That'll change soon, I'm sure.

Now that my TnT buddy runs are over with for the season I've arranged to run on Wednesday nights with Claudia and Olivia. The only problem is that they're both faster than I am so it'll be challenging for them to slow down and me to speed up. Claudia suggested that I get healy's. Oh well, it'll be their slow, easy run for the week and my speed work. Having the commitment to meet someone is the important part, that way we all have to be there.

Busy weekend ahead, but I'll finish the race report and post it. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Race recovery

I'm feeling better today, it must be Thursday. I'm seeing a pattern to my race recovery now that I've done so many of them. Let's say the race is Sunday morning and isn't a super hilly or canted course. On race afternoon I'm tired (or exhausted) and a little sore, a little stiff. Monday morning I'm pretty stiff, a little more sore. Monday afternoon my quads and IT bands are starting to stiffen more and are starting to hurt a lot. Tuesday I'm usually hurting even sitting, walking down stairs is hard, sitting for too long makes it really tough to move again. By Wednesday walking down stairs is still hard, my lower back is sore, but otherwise I feel ok. Once Thursday rolls around I'm feeling normal, except for maybe lower energy than usual. I can run Thursday night as long as I don't expect any great performance out of my body.

I'm still trying to catch up on things at home and at work. I'm not sure how things pile up so much in such a short time. This weekend should be a good time to get my home and yard in order but I think it'll be the middle of the month before I catch up at work.

I'm working on the race report but since it was a TnT and travel weekend it may take longer than usual!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Knit a little, rip a little

I didn't get a whole lot of productive knitting done over the long weekend. Because it's small, compact and a relatively easy pattern I took along my red alpaca/tencel cable scarf that I started months and months ago. Luckily I had written down that easy 8 row pattern I designed since I had forgotten just what I was doing.

So I took it out on the very full flight down to San Diego. I had a window seat, figuring I'd have that extra inch or so for my knitting elbows and yarn. Worked great, I was knitting happily away while the guy in the middle kept oozing farther and farther into my space. I did the first set of cables, then the next, knit knit knit. Then I dropped my row counter. Oh crap. I thought it fell behind me, but couldn't see. It was the green one, that you press the top and it advances, and you can lock it in place. I did as much looking as I could in the cramped spaces but then gave it up. I decided not to continue, since I didn't want to screw up the scarf. I put away the knitting and got out a book.

While the rest of the passengers deplaned, I searched for my counter. C'mon, it's bright green, I should have been able to see it. But even with the help of one of the flight attendants it was nowhere to be found. Good bye little counter, I enjoyed knitting with you.

Saturday morning my mom and I went to a little shop in the village, Helga's Yarn Boutique, to get a replacement row counter. Believe it or not, there was not a single solitary skein of yarn that I was interested in buying in that shop. I'm not sure that's happened before. I did get a new counter, the big red unlocking one, after waiting about 10 minutes for the proprietor to get it for me. Great, back in business.

I was too busy or too tired or too drunk to knit the rest of the time I was there, until I got on the plane to return to Oakland. I took a window seat again, thinking the same thoughts about space, etc. The plane took off and -- the knitting was in my bag above the seat, and two sleeping people kept me from getting it. Sigh. No knitting on that flight.

Last night I figured I'd better get it out, determine which row I was on, and set the counter correctly. That was easy enough. Then I knitted a section. Then I looked back on what I had knitted on the plane in the first place, and realized that I had knit the second left cable backward. I stared at it, thought I could live with it, blocked it out of my mind, and knit another row. Stared some more, then decided I had to frog it. Rip rip rip, three sections torn out, right back to where I had started on Friday. Found some smaller needles to get it back in place, switched to the 6's I was using, re-knit the cables and finished that section and part of the next.

I'm glad I fixed it. There's already one mistake waaaaaay back at the beginning, in the center cable, that I know I can live with. A second goof would have been too much. So, total knit over my travel weekend: none.

I put on my neverending superlong wrap and I think I'm almost done. Maybe another inch and then I'll do the final border. Yay, I'm really tired of that project. I'm almost looking forward to learning how to block.

Stay tuned, a report of the rest of the weekend, and the race, should be coming up soon. Ish.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Another day, another marathon

Hi everyone! I'm back from San Diego and I'm just -- well, I'm pretty tired! This will have to be short since I need to dig through the six inches of crap piled on my desk, and slog through the 523 (no I'm not kidding) emails in my inbox. I'm in spam hell here people!

So, it was a great weekend. The race went ok, not exactly as planned. I'll do a full report later, but for those clamoring to know I finished in 5:57.51. The TnT pasta and victory parties were fun and I drank (way) too much at the hotel bar afterward.

I'll try to get pictures and a full report tonight or tomorrow!

Friday, June 1, 2007

What did I forget?

After all this time I pretty much have packing for my marathon weekends down to a fine art. Nevertheless, I normally forget one key thing. I have a list that keeps growing as I forget, or almost forget, essentials. I think I have everything this time. Probably. Hopefully. It's easier if I'm staying within walking distance of the expo (if there is one) and a large Long's-type store, or if I have a car. None of those will apply this weekend. I'll be staying with my mom tonight but I won't unpack my running gear until after I'm dropped off at the hotel late tomorrow afternoon. Then it'll be too late to get whatever I need.

I don't forget shoes, or shorts, or my sports bra; those are no-brainers. I eat oatmeal in the morning before a race (before all of my runs, in fact) and I've always remembered to pack it. I just keep forgetting to pack a spoon. Ever had oatmeal, made with hot tap water, thinned down enough to slurp it from a plastic cup? Ick. "Spoon" is on the list. And I think of The Tick every time I see it. A couple of times I've almost left my papers -- flight or race confirmations, name of the hotel or car rental company -- on the kitchen counter. That's on the list. Inhaler? Gasp/wheeze. On the list. Dead phone when I'm at the airport without my luggage and nobody's at the counter and I couldn't charge the phone because of no charger? Check. Throw-away gloves and disposable poncho for the start? I only remember those when it's cold out at home, so they're on the list. How many times have I gone to a race, thinking it'll be warm, and end up buying long pants at the expo? Not on the list and I'm not telling!

We had our TnT Send-off Party Wednesday night. There was a good turnout, most of the people who said they'd come actually showed up. Like the Avenue Send-off this was a potluck only this time there was a bigger assortment of home-made food. And a much larger assortment of desserts. The fabulous Jeanette baked the best brownies in the world. She also made a fresh cherry pie/cake for us weight watcher's girls and it was fabulous! That didn't stop us from trying the brownies though. They were just too good.

Mama Lisa gave her talk, only this time I kinda skipped out on it. Jeanette and I had some things to discuss so we took care of business during the talk. We came back in for the rest of the talks though, we're not that bad. All in all it was a fun evening, again seeing everyone about to run their first marathon or half marathon ever. I understand their feelings; I still get excited/apprehensive before every single marathon.

I haven't run again since Monday, I just haven't had the time. It'll be interesting to see how my legs feel on Sunday. I haven't knit much either, unless you count endless rows of the neverending superlong wrap. I'm thinking that HAS to be finished soon.

Since I'm needing a new knitting project (ok, I don't really NEED a new one, I just WANT a new one) I registered for a class. I'm going to take Petra's Temescal Bag class at Article Pract. I've never taken a class from Petra but she's the one who taught me to knit, so I know how patient and clear her instructions are. And I've wanted to knit another felted bag so I'm excited about this. Anyone else want to join me?

Wish me luck, I'll report results on Tuesday!