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February 2018
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"Happiness does not come from having much, but from being attached to little." ~Cheng Yen


Archive for the ‘Gear’ Category

PostHeaderIcon A little change makes a big difference

Newton. Newton Newton Newton. Gotta love ya. You got me into the mess, you got me out of the mess.

The searing calf pain that nearly dropped me had me trying everything but the kitchen sink to alleviate the pain and discomfort. While at the expo in Savannah, I picked up a TENS portable massage unit and stuck those all over my legs to unfurl the muscles. That may have done a major part of the healing, and the night before the race.

But it was also the shoes – I ran into Josh at the Newton booth in Savannah. Moreover, he remembered me towards the end of the conversation from meeting him and Nick at the Newton booth in Miami in December 2011. It dawned on him that I was the same woman who was finishing my 11 in ’11 project when we met. And that’s when I bought my first MV2s!

We spoke at length about the MV2 and 3 and how they’re not actually great for more than a 10k. Things that would have been helpful to know a long time ago. I probably read it and ignored it, the desire in wanting to wear them so much blocking that part out. Then we spoke about the new distance elite coming out that pairs the soul of the gravity with the upper of the MV shoe. ABOUT TIME!

Beyond excited for the new shoe, needless to say. But as we were finishing up our conversation, I straight up asked him – I have my brand new never run in distance u’s with me, wearing them around now, as well as the MV3 that my calves are still screaming from. Which ones should I wear? Without hesitation, the distance u. Wow. Even though I haven’t run in them yet? Even though. For that distance, way more support for the foot and leg as a whole.

I felt like I just learned a new skill, something I couldn’t wait to go out and try. I felt lighter, more assured, excited to try the race. And yet of course, still nervous. But I had a plan, I had a way to literally move forward and with expert advice to boot! Gaining that knowledge from someone I trust, from a company I trust made a huge difference – the helpless feeling I had evaporated and I couldn’t wait to walk around some more, get more inspired, eat a good lunch. And then, get back to the hotel room, put my feet up and let go of all expectations for the next morning’s race…

PostHeaderIcon One week to go and reflection take 2

I’m a ghost of a girl that I want to be most.

I’m the shell of a girl that I used to know well.

Appropriate lyrics from a song given the reflection of this year, and 2010, and all this 11 in ’11 journey has offered both personally and in running. Especially as the races got harder, in a sense, for the next five:

June in Seattle – ah, so the second of two races in a month. Having recovered from the San Diego post-race fun, and prepping for a race in Seattle, where I grew up, I was a little excited and a little apprehensive. And then I made a conscious decision to just enjoy the race. My girlfriend Tracy had signed up for the race and had been sidelined on training with an injury and work, and we were wanting to do the race together, and my girlfriend Kristal, young and vibrant battling a somewhat recent diagnosis breast cancer was going to be a mile 9 at a water station, so I shifted what my priorities for the race were. It was to enjoy my time with Tracy at the Expo, the pre race, the early morning and after, and to jump off the course at mile 9 and spend a few minutes with Kristal. And that’s exactly what happened. Having no music suddenly didn’t matter, and just enjoying the beautiful course and time with friends did. It was fabulous.

July in Sonoma – again, I decided to dial it down for some of these middle-of-the-schedule races so I could enjoy them and planned to ramp back up in the Fall (best laid plans…) Sonoma race offered a wine tasting at mile 10, so I pretty much knew this would also be a relaxed and just-enjoy race. My friends Bob and Carl were so supportive and excited for me, it inspired me even more. It was a race I was nervous about because of the heat in mid-July, but lucked out and it was near perfect for a race. Tried a few new sprint training tricks and enjoyed a nice run with a nearly happy hip. And post-race inspiring talks with both led to now both of them running, which is amazing. And it’s got me thinking about post 2011 plans and what I can do with this journey of a year and how I can support others going forward…

August in Chicago – had still planned on taking it somewhat easy in Chicago, because I was worried about humidity, but the weather, again lucked out, was near perfect for a race. A recent rain had cut the humidity and the heat wasn’t high at all. However, with a mystery illness and already a couple weeks on antibiotics for no good reason, my body was more than depleted and the race became about getting through it. I felt a little defeated and discouraged, curious if I could come back and how hard/fast I could. Tried not to let it get me down, but felt isolated and alone in Chicago, betrayed by my body, not sure what to do next, but encouraged that I still had three races to go, it had to get better. The good news in Chicago was great conversations with both the CarbBoom and Newton vendors – still my favorite products in their categories by a factor of 1000.

September in Maui – was looking forward to just being there, even though I knew ahead of time that it would be bittersweet, since my sensory memory would be tied to my former life (it’s changed in just about every way, sigh) and I had so many memories there. Generally it would be a different experience and my body was finally, slowly beginning to mend. And then 36 hours before I left, the proverbial bus hit me (for the uninitiated, an engagement to a virtual stranger. talk about shock, for a myriad of reasons) and I was left reeling for the race. It was an even harder race than I thought it might be for all the physical reasons and throw in the emotional reasons, and I was a near-zombie for the race. Including walking by necessity countless times, practically forgetting how to run and how good a runner I really am, and passing out in the medical tent at the end. Wait, this was the race I was supposed to start ramping back up to kick ass in Miami in December? Wow. But. I finished. I did it, I did cross the finish line. It may not have been in the fashion I expected or even compare to what I had expected but I did it. My faith may’ve been shaken in life and my running, but I crossed the finish line and I’ll do it again. And again.

October in LA – desperately trying to replace or make new memories, but still remain haunted by my former life. Will this ever go away? Clearly I’m the only affected in this way but holy crap it’s nearly breaking me under the weight of it all. And that includes the LA race, in some ways more than others. But I soldier on, and am excited about feeling, finally, out of the body fog I’ve been in since late July. First time in a while. I know it won’t be a perfect race and I may not be over the moon with the time, but it finally feels a little familiar, there’s a kernel of familiarity to it that’s excited, and needed and welcome. Plus, first race since, at that time, recently going gluten free, so curiosity abounds at what it will be like. Even found a new protein bar, the gluten free PR bar, that I’m loving, and getting in touch with http://www.myraceragz.com/ for a custom shirt for Miami. It was a telling race, a tough race, a smart race (mile 12, I paid attention to my body and took care!) and a great race, it boosted back up, in a much-needed way, my confidence and showed me all the training with Marcie, Tiffany and Schuyler (sprints!) were paying off and had laid a great foundation so far, and I could rely on that and depend on that. And I could rely and depend on myself.

All gearing up for Miami. In a week. And so begins the no coffee/no drinking week, the healthy as I can be, the kicking my ass with training till Wed, the travel and the, starting Friday, thinking of nothing else except the race. And getting excited to the point of inability to sleep. My mom will be there (be my good luck charm for time!), my sister will be there and my close girlfriend and trainer Marcie will be there, also running it. Whatever the race, I’m excited, whatever the results, it will be worth it, whatever those four days bring, I will love it. This whole year, this whole experience. Couldn’t have predicted half of it, and the half I did I was incredibly hilariously and joyously wrong. As it should be. As I had a feeling it would be. I took a leap of faith on someone and us a long time ago and for years, gave it my all and went all in and it wasn’t good enough, and I’ll likely be paying for it for the rest of my life, this time, I took and am taking a leap of faith on myself alone, I’m giving it my all and hot damn it’s more than good enough, and I plan to reap the benefits and rewards for the rest of my life. 11 in ’11 indeed. You may have said it can’t be done, you may have said I’m crazy, you may have said “perhaps too many?” but the fact that I’m here now, staring down the 11th race, with a year of travel, races, work, stress, living in two cities, injuries, dehydration and illnesses, heartache and surprise, extraordinary love, inspiration and support from all over and so much more is a testament to my persaverance, determination, surviving and thriving and no one can take that from me. Of course, this would be a much different story if the only thing I had to do this year was these 11 races, it’d be no big deal, but that’d be a luxury, to train and focus solely on this project. That’d be easy. 😉 But not in that position, and then life happened. As it does. I’ve proven to myself alone that I can do this (the fact that I’m hard on myself about my run times and five years ago those lovely docs said I’d not run again, well isn’t that a victory in and of itself?), maybe not in the way I thought it would unfold eight months ago as I fantasized about Miami, but holy hell have I done it. Sure, I thought I’d be racing for time in December, and I still hold on to hope that I will be, but really, I’m racing for me, and I’m already running, I’m already pacing, and hell, I’ve already won first place. Winning, indeed.

Running does not build character, running reveals character.

PostHeaderIcon Music to my ears

Have gotten a couple requests to share my running music. Below is a sampling of many songs I listen to, but not in order (listed alpha by song, not by artist.) Can’t give away all my secrets. And yes, I have a bent towards a certain genre. And beat per minute, of course. If you have any to share or ideas for some new music, please let me know. Always looking. Love looking forward to new songs in rotation for an upcoming race.

A-Punk; Vampire Weekend
Beamer, Benz, or Bentley (feat. Juelz Santana); Lloyd Banks
Black and Yellow; Wiz Khalifa
Brick By Boring Brick; Paramore
Campus; Vampire Weekend
Cheers (Drink to That); Rihanna
Cinderella Man; Eminem
Coming Home; Diddy – Dirty Money & Skylar Grey
Don’t Stop Believin’; Journey (always start each race with this!)
Empire State of Mind (feat. Alicia Keys); Jay-Z
Fading; Rihanna
The Golden Age; The Asteroids Galaxy Tour
Heartless; Kanye West
I Can Transform Ya (feat. Lil’ Wayne); Chris Brown
I Write Sins Not Tragedies; Panic! At the Disco
Ignorance; Paramore
Just a Dream; Nelly
Kings and Queens; 30 Seconds to Mars
Live Your Life (feat. Rihanna); T.I.
Lose Control (feat. JoJo); Timbaland
Magic (feat. Rivers Cuomo); B.O.B
Mansard Roof; Vampire Weekend
Miss Independent; Ne-Yo
Not Afraid; Eminem
Pretty Girl Rock; Keri Hilson & Kanye West
Rude Boy; Rihanna
Run This Town (feat. Rihanna & Kanye West); Jay-Z
Runaway (feat. Pusha T); Kanye West
Umbrella (feat. Jay-Z); Rihanna
Umbrella (Remix feat. Chris Brown); Rihanna
Waiting for the End; Linkin Park
With You; Chris Brown
Words I Never Said (feat. Skylar Grey); Lupe Fiasco

Thank you especially to Eminem, Rihanna, Kayne, Chris Brown and Jay-Z. Couldn’t imagine running without you. And Vampire Weekend? You always come on right when I need an adrenaline shot. I can’t imagine running without music, I can’t imagine my life without music. It’s truly a cornerstone of how I live.

PostHeaderIcon I run like a girl part 1

Yeah.  I do.  And I’m proud to run like a girl.  I love all the vendors at various expos and the strength of support for women runners.


I own a warm up shirt that on one sleeve says I Run Like A Girl.

I have a magnet on my fridge that says “I don’t chase boys.  I pass ’em”

I have a sticker on my car that says “I know I run like a girl.  Try to keep up.”

Is this a bit of a gender exercise?  Perhaps.  It’s not the main motivation.  But it’s a damn fun one.  Especially when male friends of mine heckle me, joke about being faster than me or able to crush me on a course not having trained against me who is committed to training.  And then validated when I share the 1:44 PR from my most recent race and the reply is “Holy crap. Ok, i admit it.  You’re fast.”  Yes, yes I am.  Damn straight.

And I’m PROUD to be a girl and to Run Like A Girl.

PostHeaderIcon Happy shock

Day after race.  Expected to sleep not so well, restless in the morning.  And then IT happens.  The first time I swing my legs over the bed and gingerly put my feet to the floor.  Oh my, muscles stagnant all night?  Barely moving?  Any lactic acid just pooling somewhere in my muscles?  Ugh.  Never a big fan of the feeling.  Usually takes a step before it all travels literally from the heel of my foot, up the back of my calf, through my hamstrings and quads to my lower back and holy stiff everything.

But wait.  What’s this?  Nada?  Zilch?  Nothing?  Let me try that again.  Swing legs over bedside.  Feet hit ground – shouldn’t they at least be sore?  Nope.  Ok, take a few steps.  Bracing myself for cramped tight calves.  Not so much.  How about the hammys?  No?  Just a little stiff.  That’s it.  And it’s probably from the two flights and endless hours on BART.

What the what?  How did I manage this?  Hmmm, did I run a two hour half and just not exert that much?  Maybe not giving myself enough credit for how I trained, what I ate, how I prepped, my post race ritual?

Ok.  Seriously.  This is nearly the complete opposite of how I felt in December.  When I could barely move and slowly stepped around my house for a day.  Hell, I could go for a run now.

I’m in shock. Happily.  Clearly I don’t want the pain or stiffness or soreness, and am thrilled beyond English verbage feel this way.  Now to figure out what I did so I can do it again!

Didn’t take a nap post race.  Didn’t stretch. Least amount of walking post race in four half marathons.  Only iced one knee for five minutes.  Ate well – orange half, water and a chocolate Honey Milk.  Downed that.  Even driving back to Kelly’s house for a half hour in the car – totally prepared to be stiff.  Nothing.  Nearly hopped out no problem.  Covered my legs in Biofreeze Performance.  I did have a couple Tecates.  Maybe it’s true what they say – Tecate’s Good for the Body?  Had enough carb/salt/protein post race.  But mostly relaxed without actually laying down, and ate light.  Ah – I know!

It was the trampoline!

Ok, maybe not.  But something was different.  And I want to know what!  Really, could it be the Honey Milk?  Could it be not laying down?  Whatever it is, I’ll take it.  And then some.  Here’s to the next race recovery being right on par.

And… oh yeah.  A new PR.  1:47:04.  Wasn’t even trying for one.  And yes, I can easily trace exactly where those four+ seconds were spent that could’ve had me breaking 1:46.  Next one…

PostHeaderIcon One down, Ten to go

Ok, I don’t really think of it that way. I went into today’s race just excited to be back out there.  Excited to be feeling good, ready and even nervous.  I like the nervous feeling – let’s me know I care about all of this internally.

Got up at 6am and started the race day ritual – yogurt, banana, emergen-c and coffee.  This time I got to add some of the Honeymilk to my coffee, which, frankly, was awesome. I made sure to finish food by 6:30 so I had a full two hours before the gun went off to digest etc.  Got my run clothes on, safetypinned that number on myself and enjoyed the build up of anticipation.  Kelly came downstairs, saw me in my clown costume and probably wondered what the hell she was doing up so early.

Hopped in the car and made our way to the drop off area.  Have to say – being able to stay at a friend’s house and have that kind of support was awesome – sometimes a necessary distraction away from just the race, and nice to share it with someone who was really interested in what I was doing.  Got dropped off with plenty of time to hit the loo and drop off the gear bag and find corral 4.  This time I had a few minutes to stretch out a bit while in the holding area, and settle in as opposed to literally running to the starting line.

Ah, wait, what’s the scent wafting over the corral?  As we all start to glance at each other, those of us who noticed start to smile.  Some lovely spectator on the side has lit a joint. Yeah, THAT’S the scent you need to smell at the start of a race.  Super energizing.  Someone makes a joke about upping the ante for munchies on the run.  Seriously, did that just happen?

Ok, run begins, it’s a slow wave after wave start and finally we go.  Shuffling through crowds of feet and legs and arms, finally able to find a pace.  And yes, again, started with Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing – why stop using that now?  Works for me.

First few miles felt awesome – I felt SO much better than the Vegas race, and even so much better than just 24 hours before.  The pre-race jitters were just what I needed to get back in the zone.  Music choices were nearly perfect, and I felt like I was settling into the groove.  Huh, must be running for a while, maybe hitting the 5K mark soon?  Oh, oh yes, why there it is. Those first three miles went pretty fast!  This is good!  Keep it up, feeling strong.

Wow, is it just me or was the mile between three and four actually about five miles?  How did that happen?  Oh boy, settle down, then in, that’s what I forgot to do.  Ok, let’s try this again.

Ah, ok, there’s the 6mile marker, the 10K has got to be coming up.  Why do I keep looking for these?  Mmmmm, just keep running.  Half the pace time markers are not working, which is ok, because I’m totally off what my start time was, so not even sure what I’m doing. Did I start five minutes past the gun?  Four?  Six?  How much do I shave off the official starting time?

Observation – I love seeing young teens running.  Guessing they’re about 12, maybe 14.  Loping along, but keeping up.  Always wonder why they’re doing it – part of school? Raising money?  Just love running?  A challenge with a friend or family member?

Settled in and realizing I *really* like these Newton shoes.  Feet feel good, legs feel strong.  Feels kind of like that run in Woodside recently where my legs took care of me while I figured out the rest.

And the weather is perfect – sunny, a few clouds, not too warm, definitely not too cold.  Wait. What is that?  Ohhhhh, here come the “hills”.  This should be interesting.  Oh, right, I train with hills, what am I worried about?

Rolling hills don’t always correspond with the pace music.  Sometimes I’m zipping a little too fast.  Oh, really don’t like that occasional light headed feeling the creeps in waves after mile 10.  Must look into that.

Oh, here’s a nice distraction.  The tall hot twins Kelly and I saw at the expo just ran by.  Shirtless.  WOW.  There’s a reason to run faster, just to keep up with that view.  Hello boys!  (for one of you, your wife is rather lucky!)

Another observation – a lot of schools and community groups have great cheering sections along the way, some in costumes, some unique, all energetic and super supportive.  I’m usually too in the zone to high five on the sidelines, but I do appreciate the effort.  Also – anyone know why some people were carrying a single drumstick?

Mile 11 – hilarious double take by me from a dad on the sidelines with a kid in his arms he’s “curling” like biceps curls, and his two very small boys doing pushups on the ground on either side of him.  I think I did a triple take and flashed them a huge grin.  Great random thing to see along the course.  Tiny pushups are hilarious.

Ok, I grabbed water three times this race, much better than last race.  But admittedly walked for a few seconds each time.  Hmmm, I don’t like that but wanted it.  Consumed one FRS energy bite starting at mile 9 and that was about it.  I’m thinking it wasn’t enough, considering the waves of lightheadedness and nausea that again greeted me towards the end.

Ah.  The elusive 13 mile marker.  What a damn tease you are.  It’s always so lovey to see you but hell if you aren’t actually the finish line.  .1 to go.  Do you know how insane that .1 can actually make a normally level headed woman?    Always must prepare the best music for that last stretch to counteract the insanity.

Ok, push, just keep pushing it.  YES.  Crossed the finish line.  A little wobbly but keep walking.  Keep walking.  Bottle of water.  And yes, an attempt at an ice pack for the outside of the right knee.  The medal – oooo, that’s a nice one.  I think I’ll have Nate wear it when I see them.  And then a picture – why not, it’s official and lord knows I’m committed to documenting this year.

Oh look, they have orange wedges and Snickers Marathon bars.  Grab a few of those, try to rewrap the ice, no avail, sliding down sweaty leg, take a look – oh, right.  I kicked the inside of my ankle a handful of times and turns out I took a decent divit out of my ankle.  That’s gonna sting in the shower later.

No banana, had enough this past week (but it makes a difference, that’s for sure) – so now where… Gear check – to grab phone and call Kelly to see where they are.  Truck 28 where are you – oh HI Kelly, Nate and John!  Awww, how cool, they came to find me.

Awesome.  SO great to have people there at the finish line to greet me (ok, close enough)! Kelly brought my chocolate Honey Milk (instead of regular chocolate milk post race which I swear by.)  Gave Nate my medal to wear – pretty big grin on the seven year old.  Kelly’s dad John was excited to be part of it all.  One runner walked up to me and said what was music to my ears “Damn, I tried really hard to keep pace with you, but you got away from me, I just couldn’t keep up!” Thanks, mister.  Along with everything else, you made my day! Got some great pictures, moseyed back to the car (love the walk cool down post race) and headed home.

Not too stiff after the half hour car ride, great sign.  Grabbed some light snacks, told stories, checked out pictures and sat down to watch the Seahawks get their ass handed to them (final score a bit deceptive.)  And enjoyed a few Tecates – always tasted SO good after a race – whether a glass of champagne, a celebratory cocktail or an ice cold beer – goes down so smooth.  Oh, and right to my blood thinned head.

Tried something new post race – trampoline!  Unbelievably fun.  If only I could find one to jump on at the end of each of the races this year.  Now that would be a story.

Unlike the nine hours it took me to go from Phoenix, AZ to San Francisco, CA.  Two flights with a two hour hold in LA, then the trip from SFO to Oak to get my car, waiting lonely there since autodriving it there Friday night.  But made it home, added some arnica to my bedtime ritual and plan to sleep in, curious to see how the body, muscles, and joints feel tomorrow.

All in all, a GREAT first race of this 2011 journey.  Great company, relaxing atmosphere, with friends who care about me, and cared about the event overall, good course, great weather, body felt good, stomach felt good – both much better than December’s Vegas race.  If this is how all of them are, I’d be thrilled.  Couldn’t have asked for a better beginning to this fun and likely illuminating chapter…

PostHeaderIcon Is it called cross training?

Ok, so I did yoga today.  And yoga for runners.  And I mean, when you run a lot.  Well, it isn’t all that fun sometimes.  Tight hamstrings.  Tight hip flexors.  Tight quads.  But.  But.  It’s all necessary.  At least I think it is.  And wouldn’t you know it – I happen to have a sister who’s a yoga teacher.  And a damn good one at that.  And let’s be clear, there’s no doubt she takes a little extra care of her sister when I’m in class.  And damn those it-hurts-so-good pigeon positions.

But it works – and I know this.  And frankly, I actually crave it.  I know I can’t just run.  And run.  And run.  And not build my core.  Or my shoulders or my back.  Or my many many muscles that frankly aren’t actually engaged when I’m running so much.  So yeah, yoga works for me.  And sometimes it’s the longest hour and a half *ever*.  But I’m always glad I did it.  Always glad I persevered.

Wait, that sounds familiar.  When I make sure I really commit to the run?  Yeah, always glad I persevered.  Always. And in that, I get an extra special kick out of having sore muscles – proves I pushed myself that time, proves I stepped it up a bit.  Proves I still can challenge myself.

And those sore muscles from a run or some weight work?  Oh, let’s go ahead and circle back to the peace yoga brings my runners body.  That’s what it is.  It says “ok, I get what it is you do. and now we’re gonna soothsay it a bit, give it some juice, give it some love, so you can actually keep on keeping on.”

That’s what yoga does for me. For my running.  For my training.  For me.  And oh yeah, it’s 1-11-11.