To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Make it simple, but significant.
- Don Draper

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Here She Comes to Save the Day!

It was just about 9am and the blond girl hopped into the junky blue Ford car that she drives for work. Just a regular day with a regular trip to the post office and bank. The weather was typical for Oregon this summer - overcast with a slight breeze. The girl pulled into the post office's back loading dock, rang the buzzer and continued listening to the radio while waiting for someone to bring her the mail. Shortly, a small man with white hair came out and was as friendly as ever. He gave her the mail, and as she walked toward the car he said to her, "smells like some one's having a fire this morning." She paused, also noticed the smell of smoke and said, "Yeah, it sure does. Heck, I wouldn't mind sitting by a lovely fireplace right now!" They chuckled, said good bye and parted ways.

As the girl began to back out of the loading dock something caught her eye. "Hm, is there normally steam coming from that back corner?" she thought to herself. "No, I don't think so. Wait a minute, could there ...." Afraid to finish her thought, instead of leaving to the left, the very attractive blond girl turned right. After just a few seconds she looked back to the origin of this steam/smoke cloud and sure enough what she hoped wasn't happening was. The ever so brave, very attractive, intelligent blond girl hurried out of the road way, pulled over (so as not to break the law) and pulled out her phone.

9-1-1, what is your emergency?
Hi! Yeah, the post office is on fire!
The what?? Which one?
THE post office! The main one on Kane Street. I am staring at it right now. It is at the back of the building, right next to some one's car!
Ok. We'll send someone there right away. Can I get your name?
And your last?
And your number?
Thank you. So do you live over there? Were you walking by?
I work for the ____. I was just there picking up our mail and saw it when I pulled out to leave!
Alright. Thank you. We may call you later.

The blond, very attractive, intelligent, brave, fast-thinking girl realized what happened. Once again she was a hero! She has AGAIN saved the city from fire! Soon she saw the first police car arrive and rush to help clear the scene. Feeling confident that it would be alright (Heaven forbid this week's Oil Can Henry's coupons be destroyed in the fire!), the heroine of our story continued on to the bank to continue with her daily routine. Sirens started blazing, the fire department was on there way. All was saved!

In the end, the moral of the story is, don't smoke. And if you do, don't toss your cigarette aside haphazardly. You just might set your place of employment on fire, and the Fruit Fly might not always be there to save the day!

**Because I can't save everyone, as much as I would like to (my superhero cape and mask are in the works, FYI) I leave you with this last message.... especially important for those of us that run in the sun! WEAR YOUR SUNSCREEN!!! I just learned yesterday that someone I've known since kindergarten, that I share step-cousins with, has just been diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma and it has moved into his lungs. He is 33. I know we get in a hurry sometimes and just rush out of the house, or we leave before the sun is really out. Let's all slow down, lather up and be sure to take care of ourselves!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Snippets from a Half Marathon

Adding this again 'cause I love it!
*Just as a little factoid, there was a walking division. They started 5 minutes after the runners. I just looked at their chip times. TWENTY-SEVEN walkers finished before I, a "runner", finished the half marathon. Color me impressed! I should have just registered as a walker!

Between Miles 2 and 3 we were in a nice, shady stretch of road. There were no cones on the road, that I recall in THIS particular section, that runners had to be sure NOT to trip over. Come on, haven't you tripped on something during a race? I personally crashed into two girls back to back during the Shamrock 15K. I know one of you ran into a garbage can during a half marathon last November ... and STILL had an amazing finish time. 
Anyway .... we are running along and it was really nice. I was fresh, I was running by cool people and enjoying myself. Suddenly "HOOOONNNNKKKK"!!! A car comes up and lays on the horn. My gut reaction was, "Seriously?" with an annoyed tone. I look to my right and there is a truck with lights from traffic control slowly driving through. Behind him? Some jackass old man with his two dogs. And you know what? That jackass was NOT nice to me. I couldn't make out all of his words, but he was saying mean things and complaining about us runners. Thanks a lot, Grandpa!

I continue at my pace, thoroughly annoyed now. In all of my races I've never had a spectator or resident be anything but supportive. I love grandpas. They are my favorite people. This guy was NOT a typical grandpa. Ugh. I guess I've just been lucky so far. I pass by these two guys that were also kind of jittery after the horn. Oh yeah - he kept honking! It wasn't just that one time. He kept doing it for the entire stretch of the road. I never expect that during a race, and obviously neither did the other runners, as I could see everybody ahead jump when he honked at them. So as I pass the two guys I turned back with this confused look. And now here is our amusing conversation:

"Um, is it just me or was that a dickish move?" - me
"Yeah, totally dickish. I need a shower after that one!"
- dude

Ah, loved them. I wish I could have stayed with them, but they were steady and didn't stop for the little potty party at the mile 4 aid station like I did. They cheered me on later in the course though, right when I needed it -- I believe I was facebooking at that moment!

Anyway, that's my story.

I also saw a dog in the lake just standing. I wanted to join him. He was hot so he just walked out until he was comfortable and stood in one spot and smiled. Smart dog!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Official Lacamas Photos!

Wow. That was FAST!

I swear you can see my downhill progression (as we continuously ran UP hills!) by looking at these photos. I love the first one though. One of my best race photos ever!

See me there on the far right? Blue hat, purple socks.
This is the one I like the best. I mean I'm catching air!
My flower is so fresh - unlike me at this point.
Pure exhaustion .... just running because I saw the camera man.
I swear I gain 20 pounds during every race. At this point I was running blind from sweat in my eyes after dumping water on my head, and just yards from the finish line. My poor flowers got wilty, just like me.
Biker Boy is pretty much holding me up here I think. This is maybe 2 minutes after I crossed the finish line? I sure faked it pretty well for this photo.
Just to prove he DID run, here's an action shot of Biker Boy!

Monday, July 25, 2011

How Do I Recover From a Bad Race?

Guess I'm set for 2012 and the Eugene Half Marathon!

Lacamas Lake Half Marathon Race Report

It is with pure exhaustion that I announce I have now completed five half marathons this year. I promise to find positive things to write for this report. Pictures will be split between this post and Biker Boy's guest post!

Saturday morning I slept in (I crashed a reunion 3 hours away the night before, so I didn't get to Portland until 1am!) and then Biker Boy and I drove up to Washington to packet pick up. All went smooth, no hassle, nice shirt. I love adidas sponsored races - getting your race shirt with those three stripes on it just makes me smile! Old Spaghetti Factory was in on it all, too! We walked across the parking lot with bibs in hand and were able to sit in a special runner/carbo fest section. GREAT prices and delicious food. For $4.00 each we had spaghetti, then half off of cheesy garlic bread (I am drooling just thinking about it!), 50 cents for a loaf of bread (I love bread!) and then $2.00 pints. BB got a pint, which allowed him to keep the glass. Pretty cool! We gorged on food and still had enough left overs to have it as our dinner later that night!

Sunday morning came and the weather looked gorgeous! No clouds, no rain, no chilly temperatures. For most people this is good. For ME on race day ... I get concerned. It was a short drive to the race and we found it with no troubles. As soon as the car was parked we were out and rushing to the potty before the lines started. I forced Biker Boy to get pre-race photos, then we went to officially linger at the start area. I found Maryalicia right off the bat. Naturally we had to get pre-race photos and do the usually runner talk. She is fast! Seriously, fast! She flew by me with her jogger stroller during the Skirt Chaser last year ... .and then I nearly puked on her at the finish. So those stories you hear about me and finish lines? Yeah, she was the first to experience it!
Maryalicia and I - pre-race

With little fanfare, the half marathon started. Biker Boy was starting with me so that I could help him NOT take off too fast like we all tend to do in our first races. This of course had me running faster than I should, but it was downhill so I just went with it. I had heard about the final mile and figured I'd enjoy speed while I could. After 1.5 miles I watched Biker Boy run off into the distance. I was feeling good until the shade stopped. I realize now I was having a reaction to my Meniere's meds that say to stay out of the sun. Hills. Sun. These things don't get along with me. I started running the sunny patches to get to the shade where I would walk. At mile 4 I stopped for a vacation. Used the potty, had some Clif gel, drank some water. When I started up again the Walker division was already catching up and passing me. Happily I didn't care! Heading up a hill I realized that I have no goal for this race. I am struggling with the heat and my skin feels like it is burning off. I felt no guilt with walking. I knew that going easier here might allow me to do better in the next race.
I loved this tree .... and the shade it provided.

Eventually I got to the out and back stretch. I saw Maryalicia again who cheered me on, which gave me a boost! Then I pulled out my phone and got the camera ready. Sure enough there was BB running and looking really strong! Since my friends were kicking ass, I stopped to lean against a shady tree, because that's what I do, duh. And then I hit that hill half way through. "Friends" I made earlier in the race were cheering me on as we crossed paths, and that helped me scale that particular mountain. At the top of the hill I stopped. Took off my hat. Grabbed water and dumped it all over myself. I knew I had to do something if I was going to get through this without passing out. Running down the hill was nice. I noticed, however, that everyone around me had green bibs on --- I was totally with the walkers now. Oh well, no worries.

I was happy to get to the trail around mile 8. It was lovely. This was my favorite part. It smelled like nature. A deer crossed the path in front of me. I ran along a golf course. I ran along a lake. I danced. I sang. I couldn't see anyone in front of me or behind me. I realized that the "back of the pack" is a lot more fun for me than being in the middle! I took lots of photos, made a bouquet, splashed in the lake, talked to a dog, laid on a bench. It was great! Sure I could have cut out at least 5 minutes here, but the shade was so good, I didn't care.

I decorated my water bottle

Lacamas Lake

I can't pass a good bench!

Then the shade and trail ended. And I sunk to the lowest level of hell. Other women going my pace talked with me, assuring me that we were close and I could do it. I've never socialized so much with strangers during a race, so that is definitely a plus for this one -- except then our talking was all commiserating with each others misery. At the base of THE hill there was a sprinkler. I stopped and stayed under it for a while. It felt so good. And then I began scaling Mount Everest. Pretty sure there were casualties on the way to the summit. Pretty sure there were bad words. Pretty sure I walked backwards for part of it because that was easier than going up the 'normal' way. Pretty sure not one person in my area ran any stretch of it. It was horrible.

Can you even see it? Look at that speckle by my fingertips.
What made it worse is that I saw the finishers "medal" on people while I was scaling that monstrosity. At this point I was pissed off. I never saw Mount Hood. Only 3 miles of this race were "pretty" to me. I was getting up a freaking skyscraper and being rewarded with what looked like a pressed penny on a string. It just didn't live up to the hype on the race website, in my opinion. At the top I could see the finish line. I couldn't even run all the way there. The heat zapped me. I dumped more water on my head, which sent sweat into my eyes and I ran the track blind ... with the kids races heading toward me. Crossed the finish line in 3:01:34 and didn't throw up!

Hello, Med Tent

I talked with the ladies manning the fruit table - RunningSkirts and SkirtSports - you can thank me later for all the sales you're bound to have after I hyped you up all day. I couldn't eat. I couldn't sit up-right. I couldn't stand up straight. I couldn't see straight. I could hardly talk at times. I did, however, spend a long time sitting in the med tent.  You know I feel horrible if I actually try a new food out of desperation. Yep, I nibbled on an orange for the first time in my life. Things were being packed up and eventually I was able to get up to walk back to the car. I spent the rest of the day feeling really sick. Ugh.

But I did it. I won't do this one again. I am taking a break from running for a few days. I am not going to race at all in August. I need to recover and rest and prepare for the next race that will be a-freaking-mazing!!

Lacamas Lake Pre-cap

Sadly this has nothing to do with Pre as in Prefontaine. Just a preview of my yet to be written recap. I haven't figured out the way to describe my least favorite race.

Deceptive race website.
Great volunteers.
Plenty of aid stations.
Nice trail along the lake.
No mountain view.
One hill? Ha! Right.
Advertised as scenic. I'd say 3 of the 13 miles were scenic.

As I shared on facebook during the race, I felt like I was in the absolute lowest level of Hell. I tossed out any goal. I made a lovely flower bouquet in my handheld water bottle. I went down and splashed in the lake. I laid on a bench. I finished completely pissed off.

Had they not creatively adjusted the way the elevation on the website shows, and put on the ACTUAL elevation chart (as seen below from my Garmin), I would NOT have registered for this race. Hills plus a bad reaction to the sun (because of my Meniere's meds) made for a pretty miserable experience.

In other news, Biker Boy did AWESOME!! (And has two purple toenails to show for it.)

Don't even get me started on the "medal".

And because I would like to end on a positive note .... happily my next two races are in DISNEYLAND!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Run #5.8 - Last Run + BB=RB?

I really suck at getting up to run. I'm fine for race day, but if it is just a training run before work? Forget about it. I'm terrible! My alarm went off at 5:20. I finally got out of my bed at 5:45. I left the house to run after 6:30. Seriously, SLACKER!!  

The plan was 3 miles. By the time my Garmin found a signal I had lost a few minutes. I got down to the park and paused for water at my usual fountain - I hadn't had any water since yesterday at work. Resumed running and even tackled part of a hill until I hit 1.25. Decided to turn around and adjust my run to 2.5 miles due to time and needing to actually get ready for work. For some reason I decided to haul ass. I was going at 8 minute mile pace. WHAT?? Yeah, so my 2.5 turned into 2 just because I was pooped, thirsty and hungry. That's okay though. I'm not stressed. I mean I can't do anything more to prepare for the Lacamas Lake Half Marathon on Sunday, so no worries.

Walking home the last bit I was passed by a running man in his early 60's, balding, sweating. I'm glad I was at least walking and off the timer when he passed. He was very friendly; we exchanged hellos and good mornings. As I got closer to my house I saw the man I consider to be my Kenyan. Beautiful, dark skin. Tall. Thin. Steady, fast pace. We've only ever crossed paths going in opposite directions, so at least I've never had the humiliation of having him fly by me on the sidewalk. He was on the other side of the main road, but I could clearly make out his shirt. "WIN THE DAY". I loved it! It felt like such a runner/mutual respect moment when we both then made eye contact and waved .... waved across 5 lanes of traffic!  That made me smile. Just that little moment was the perfect way to cap off this round of training!

So next up ... Sunday is my fifth half marathon. But what's that? Breaking news? This just in .... Biker Boy is about to be RUNNER Boy?? Perhaps he was swayed by my facebook poll?  Final vote (I think) was 25 YES and 1 NO ... to the question if BB should run the half marathon on Sunday. Naturally, and to no surprise to me, the one solo NO vote was from S, Just Trying's husband. It totally made me laugh. So much for our Titanic bond, S! ;)  Anyway, on his own accord, Biker Boy DID indeed sign up. He's never run a race in his life. His longest run so far has been with me when we did 8 miles a few weekends ago. I think he probably did closer to 9 that day. So this will be a new experience for him, and I fully expect his time to be much faster than any race I've ever done!  I'm thinking a guest post by Biker Boy of his race report will be in order??

Cooking With the Fruit Fly

A lot of bloggers share recipes. Healthy ways too cook favorite dishes. New food combos and ways of preparing them. A fun spin on a classic meal.  I decided that I should participate in this trend as well. So now, I'll show you how to make one of my favorite meals!  *I used to eat this almost daily in junior high. I continued it through college, but then couldn't find it anymore. Just 2 nights ago I found this in the store again and was overjoyed!*

Go to the canned food area of your local store. Find Chef Boyardee .... NOT Spaghettio brand. Ick. No. You want Chef Boyardee! (For me being the vegetarian, I always ate ABCs and 123s, Sharks and Dinosaurs. Today's lesson is on preparing Dinosaurs).  Bring home the can and get out a pot.

Nowadays you don't even need a can opener. Simply lift the little handle there and open the can. You can even do it one-handed, as seen below!

Lift the can of Dinosaurs and empty them into the pot. You'll want to be careful to not let it splatter all over you!

Put the pot on the stove and crank that sucker up to high. If you want to cook like the Fruit Fly, you do it fast! None of this long simmer nonsense. It is all about high and fast! Bring it to a boil, stir it so it doesn't stick to anything, then turn off the burner.

Pour into a bowl and sprinkle liberally and often with yummy croutons. I like to put in a small amount at a time and let them only mildly soak. I don't enjoy a soggy crouton.  Make sure it isn't scalding hot, although tradition has it that you will burn your tongue slightly. Sit back, and Enjoy!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

It's All About Hydration

You know how when you go to Vegas you have no trouble "hydrating"?

Water?? (And you must drink that way to save the lipstick)

*I do NOT smoke*

Where is MY drink??

Yeah, why is it so damn hard for me to hydrate with water when I know I have a half marathon coming up in just a couple of days and I expect for it to be hot and I take daily meds that dehydrate me as it is?? And why didn't I make that last sentence a little bit longer?

You can expect that I will be hydrating with at least one of the above drinks when the Vegas Rock'n'Roll Half Marathon is finally here! *Sadly this isn't even all of the photos like this. What can say, I LOVE VEGAS!!