Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

1. You have the most interesting set of tan lines (especially if you are from SoCal). I have an inch-wide ring around my ankles that marks the line between my running socks and my leggings. I have a very distinct line on my thigh from my Under Armour compression shorts. I not only have a watch tan line but I can see tiny tan spots on my left wrist from the small gaps in my Garmin wristband.

2. You bruise easily because you have a little more muscle and a little less padding than usual. I currently have bruises on both my knees and I don’t even remember bumping them.

3. You have set aside your race day running outfit, right down to your lucky underwear. (What? Doesn’t everyone have lucky running underwear? Mine have cheetah spots, because, well, cheetahs run fast!)

4. You start every morning by checking the weather forecast for race day. Santa Rosa is looking good, baby!

If this weather forecast holds, it will be in the high 50s and low 60s for the entire time I'm on the course.

If this weather forecast holds, it will be in the high 50s and low 60s for the entire time I’m on the course.

5. You start seeing “signs” about the race location. I had friends who visited Santa Rosa on vacation last week. The Ragnaritas team I’m on for the Ragnar Napa Valley relay race in September has been talking about staying at a house in Santa Rosa after the relay.

6. Friends start wishing you well for the race. I saw another runner friend at school drop-off this morning and she was kind enough to offer me encouragement. Thank you Yvonne! (It took me a second to process what she was talking about because we hadn’t spoken recently about this race, but duh, I have this little old thing called a blog, where I kinda talk about my upcoming races a lot!)

7. You eat everything in sight, partly because you’re nervous and partly because you are used to eating an extra 1,000 calories per day at the peak of your training. I’m trying to be good about making sure what I am eating is not junk. I find it’s easier to eat well during taper because each time I put something in my mouth I ask myself, is this a good idea?! Will this help me or hurt me on race day?! That makes me sound a little obsessed about my food intake but I promise I’m not. I’m just letting you in on the crazy things that run through my mind right before race day.

8. You read back issues Runner’s World magazine and watch Spirit of the Marathon for the umpteenth time. I like to pretend I’m Deena Kastor. She’s only two years younger than I am. And she only runs the marathon 1 hour and 33 minutes faster than I do! 😉

9. You’ve trimmed your toenails, not too short and not too long. Maybe you’ve even painted them bright pink, just for kicks. Come on gentlemen, no one will ever know!

10. Your emotions swing wildly between “I can’t believe the race is coming up so fast!” and “Let’s do this already!”

Eight more days to go!

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Twelve more days until the Long Beach Marathon! I am totally loving taper and I say that without a trace of sarcasm. No taper crazies this time because it’s my third full marathon in a year’s time and frankly I am a little burned out on the training regimen and happy to cut back a bit. I still love all things active and I never regret a workout, it’s just that I’ve noticed I have a little less desire to get out there early on a weekend morning for a long run!

That leads me to some random signs that you’re ready for the big race day:

1. You have a distinct tan line from your GPS watch.

Bloggers are so weird. Yes that is photographic evidence of my Garmin Forerunner 110 tan line. Because you really needed to see it to believe it, or something like that.

Bloggers are so weird. Yes that is photographic evidence of my Garmin Forerunner 110 tan line. Because you really needed to see it to believe it, or something like that.

2. You even have a tan line on your cubital fossa from when you bend your arm during a long run and the elbow pit gets protected from the sun. (Terribly sorry, no bizarre photo of my cubital fossa tan line today).

3. You are more than a little bored by your usual running routes, bike paths, and swimming holes and you can hardly wait to get out on the race course.

4. Even your most supportive family and friends are tired of hearing about your training and the race. (In truth not a single person ever shows me a sign that I’ve run (ha ha) my mouth on too long about my training, but if I’m sick of talking about it I know that other people must be tired of hearing about it).

5. Your perspective has changed and a run you used to consider “long” now seems blessedly short. I ran 13 miles on Sunday and felt like I got off easy. Perhaps that’s because, if you count the Santa Barbara Marathon and Mountains 2 Beach Marathon, I’ve done thirteen 20-mile long runs in the last twelve months.

6. You’re already thinking about which big race you might like to do next, depending on how this one goes.

7. You have “extra” energy that you burn off by doing projects around the house. For me this usually involves cleaning a closet or organizing papers.

8. You start having nightmares about being late for the race start or getting lost on the course. (Tell me I’m not the only one who has these kinds of bad dreams before a race!)

9. You start seeing “signs” or “omens” of how your race will go. I’ve started noticing all things Long Beach — a friend talks about vacationing there, on a clear day I can see 15 miles all the way down to the Long Beach harbor, I find coupons for the Aquarium of the Pacific.

10. You’ve booked the hotel, studied the course map, planned your race day fuel and gear and now you just want to DO THIS ALREADY!

Do you notice any other signs that you’re ready for the big day? Do you have nightmares about the race?

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1. Your feet have calluses and your calluses have blisters.

2. You wear compression socks under your jeans for Saturday night parties.

3. You run while on vacation.

4. You know what arnica is and how to use it.

5. You sign up for a race as a training run. [Spring Blast Half Marathon, here I come!]

6. It’s not “food,” it’s a “recovery” snack.

7. You have calculated and memorized the number of calories you burn per mile at your current weight.

8. You can name at least four different brands of commercial sports drinks, plus you have a recipe for making your own.

9. You wake up earlier for your long run on the weekend than you do for your normal day during the week.

10. You go to the gym and see the same woman there you’ve seen the last five times you went. You think, “Wow, that lady is always at the gym! I wonder if she has some kind of exercise disorder.” Then you realize she is probably wondering the same thing about you!

Missed the first 12? See You Know You’re a Serious Runner When.

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When can you call yourself a “runner”? I think that’s when you get out there at least a few times a week on a regular basis, no matter your pace or distance. But what makes you a serious runner?


I’m not sure of the answer, but here are some clues for me:

  • You have an “ankle bracelet” tan line on the tiny circle of exposed skin between your running socks and your compression tights (and that’s in spite of wearing sunscreen).
  • You own and wear any item of clothing with the word “compression” in it. Compression socks, compression shorts, compression pants, compression sleeves.
  • Your drink of choice on a Friday night is water. Or you convince yourself that the beer you’re drinking is carbo-loading for the next day’s run.
  • Your running shoes are more expensive than any other pair of shoes you own.
  • You subject yourself to an ice bath after a run. Or, your soak in a hot bath includes epsom salts.
  • Your non-runner friends lovingly (?) shake their heads and call you insane/crazy.
  • You log every workout down to the second and the hundredth of a mile.
  • You keep a list of PRs.
  • You actually look forward to your next birthday because it means you move up to the next age bracket for racing.
  • You plan your vacations around destination races.
  • When you start a run, your shirt is light blue. When you finish, it’s completely dark blue, every inch soaked in sweat.
  • You own a treadmill and use it for more than hanging clothes to dry.

Are you a serious runner? All of the above are true for me, so I guess so!
What are some other signs you’re a serious runner?

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It pleases me immensely to report that my scheduled 18-miler at 9:20 pace is in the bag, D-O-N-E in 2:47 at an average pace of 9:17. My confidence needed that boost after a rough week of less than stellar speed work and tempo runs.

In retrospect I should have planned my Friday night meal better. I am a big believer in using your long runs to practice race conditions and that includes choosing a Friday night carbo-loading meal similar to what I plan to eat before the marathon race. I generally like chicken or fish plus brown rice or pasta. Somehow I got lucky this time and even though I didn’t pay attention to my Friday night meal (in the excitement of my uncles and cousins coming over to visit I grabbed a meal on the go that consisted of my mother-in-law’s roast beef and my pantry staple of whole grain crackers with some Gruyere cheese), I didn’t bonk on my weekend long run.

Carbs are not your enemy

I did do one thing right though. Before bed, I went through my long run checklist and got everything ready. Coffee ready to make, oats soaking in the pan, clothes in a pile, sunscreen, iPod Shuffle charged, Garmin charged. I also filled my water bottles with Fluid sports drink. This time instead of running one way toward the beach and having to carry an extra water bottle in my hand, I planned to divide the run into three 6-mile segments. Three miles down the trail and three miles back to my car to get another full sports bottle. Three miles up the trail and three miles back. New sports bottle. Take gel. Run another six miles.

That system worked quite well although I must confess that as I was leaving my car for the third segment of the run, I had a little trouble staring down those last six miles. I don’t like to stop for water along a race course (I carry my water with me) and I don’t like to stop for water during a training run either. Once I stop it’s hard for me to get going again. Mind over body and somehow I got my legs trucking again and hit the pace for those last six miles.

Now, lest you think I’m getting taking myself too seriously or getting too big for my britches in light of my successful long run, I leave you with a completely unrelated, humorous story at my expense. Last week I attended the kindergarten roundup meeting for the school district. Somehow my “baby” will be old enough to attend elementary school in the fall. She’s ready. I’m not sure I am, but that’s another matter. Anyway, after the meeting I went up to the superintendent for the district to ask her an important question about how to get an intradistrict transfer from our home school to the school where my older two daughters go. It was only when I got home, and my husband asked, “What’s that on your shirt?” that I realized I was wearing this little memento from Teddy Bear Week at my daughter’s preschool:

Blue ribbon courtesy of Billy Frank Alexander.

Blue ribbon courtesy of Billy Frank Alexander.

That’s right friends, I’m the Most Loving Bear and proud of it, no matter what the superintendent thinks!

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More Google Fun

One of the things I love about blogging is the dialogue that can happen between the blogger and readers. Unfortunately for me though, sometimes people drive by my blog in their Google cars and deposit one-sided evidence that they’ve been here, leaving me wanting a chance to holler back after them. Now’s my chance to talk back to people who’ve reached the blog through the power of Google.

1. all we do is run santa barbara — Man, I’m jealous! I want to run Santa Barbara again! I am totally ready to move there as soon as someone sets me up with a mansion and a trust fund. The fresh air, the amazing vistas, the nice people, the yummy food, the overly-regulated-city-buildings-that-look-so-nice-and-uniform-and-soothing.

2. ran my first half marathon race report – I indeed have one of those first half marathon race reports! And my first full marathon too! And my first sprint triathlon! And my first Olympic tri.

3. shark poop. I’m sure shark do. Shark do doo-doo.

4. cubital fossa sweat. Now students, do you remember when we learned what your cubital fossa is? That’s right, cubital fossa sweat is sexy, sexy elbow pit sweat!

5. does stand up spinning worsen plantar fasciitis? YES. I wish I had known that would be the case for me. I do not have indoor spin bike shoes, which might help with that problem. Here’s how I managed to recover from plantar fasciitis.

6. is kt tape slippery? No, I’ve never found it so.

7. rash between legs. Um, you might want to see a doctor about that. If the rash is caused by running, though, I recommend Bodyglide Original Anti-Chafe Balm.

8. pantyhose head. Oh dear, are you planning on robbing a bank, or do you just find this Minute to Win It game funny?

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On Valentine’s Day I expressed my love for running. It should come as no surprise however, that I have a love-hate relationship with running. Sometimes the things (or people) you love the most are the ones that have the power to aggravate you the most. So here’s today’s list:

10 Things I Hate about Running

1. Injury. ‘Nuf said.

2. Pit stops. That sudden urge to “go” when there’s no bathroom in sight. (Oh dear, did I really make this Number 2 on the list? That’s not punny.)

3. A slogfest run. It happens to everyone (right?!) — the occasional run where you can’t seem to get out of first gear. Recently I ran for two hours and simply did not have many miles to show for my time. Let’s just say never again will I schedule a late day long run shortly after a meal of carnitas tacos. That lump of food felt like a ball of lead weighing down my belly and keeping me from running anywhere near a decent long run pace.

4. The Dreadmill. I’m pretty sure that treadmills without music, audiobooks or televisions are reserved for the people doomed to the sixth circle of Hell. The Heretics in Dante’s Inferno are trapped in flaming tombs in the sixth circle of Hell. When I’m sweating on the indoor treadmill without anything to entertain me, I imagine that’s what a flaming tomb feels like.

Spray paint on the sidewalk in St. Paul, Minnesota. Photo by Tony Walker.

Spray paint on the sidewalk in St. Paul, Minnesota. Photo by Tony Walker.

5. Pulling a sweaty shirt over my head after a run. The only thing worse is pulling a sweaty running bra over my head.

6. Speaking of sweaty…. Laundry, laundry, and more laundry. Sweaty workout clothes nearly double my weekly laundry loads. As my sister once noted, laundry is a Sisyphean task. In Greek mythology, Sisyphus was the cruel king of Corinth who was punished in Hades by being condemned to forever roll a large stone up a hill, only to have it roll back down over and over again as the stone neared the top.

7. Not to beat the sweat issue to death, but…. I cannot stand that transition at the end of a run where you go from sweating profusely in your running clothes to absolutely freezing when you stop running and the sweat evaporates in your own little scientific cooling experiment.

8. Ice baths. While an ice bath might sound like a great idea when I’m roasting in that sixth circle of Hell on the treadmill or running in the hot summer sun, I will never, ever get used to that first breath-taking moment when I dip my legs into a post-run ice bath.

9. $$$$. Don’t get me wrong, I love shopping for running gear. I’m not a shopper in general but running clothes and accessories? Sign me up! I just don’t enjoy plunking down the money for them. I justify the cost by reminding myself that any money I spend on exercise is “free” money that is “saving” me the money I would otherwise have to spend on anti-depressants and other health-related bills.

10. People who do not follow proper race etiquette. People who do not line up with the appropriate pace group should be required to take over for Sisyphus for a while. People who do not pull over to the right to walk or tie shoelaces should be condemned to that sixth circle of Hell.

What’s your running pet peeve?

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Happy Love Day everyone! To celebrate I’ve come up with 10 things I love about running.

Photo credit: sierrafit

Photo credit: sierrafit

1. I love that it’s me against me. As someone who started running at age 39, I’m never going to win a race but I can always challenge myself and improve.

2. I am constantly learning something new about myself and the sport.

3. I love the fact that I start out a run feeling one way (good, bad or ugly) and no matter what I end up happier and more satisfied with my day.

4. Running reminds me that my body is powerful and strong. After experiencing infertility and Graves’ Disease (an overactive thyroid), I felt betrayed by my body. Running restores some of my lost confidence. (Conversely, any running injury chips away at that confidence, but let’s not dwell on that!)

5. I’ll be honest — I love the weight loss. I was never overweight but running brought me right down to the middle of the weight range for a normal Body Mass Index for my height.

6. I love coming home to a quiet house and checking off a long run before my family has even woken up for the day.

7. I love how running is all about me. It’s the one “selfish” thing I do, and yet I don’t even consider it selfish because making physical activity a priority sets a good example for my children.

8. It’s a very tangible way of measuring accomplishments: (1) check off a training workout, (2) achieve a split on a speed workout, (3) complete a new personal distance record, or (4) earn a PR at a race. That type of accomplishment does not even compare to the everyday things like: (1) do some of the never-ending loads of laundry, or (2) remind children who do not chew with their mouths closed no matter how many times I nag them about it.

9. I love love love when I enter a workout into MapMyRun.com, and when I enter the amount of time I ran it says I burned 453 calories, and then when I enter the distance I ran in that time, it says I actually burned 566 calories. That little bump up in calories makes me so proud of how far I’m come in my running over the last two years. I’m a little bit speedy! Sometimes I run a little bit faster than the MapMyRun average based on time!

10. I love that running is a healthy activity I can share with my husband, my kids, and friends. Runners are my people. Our common passion for the sport bonds us no matter how different we are in the rest of our lives.

What do you love about running?

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Do you know that MapMyRun logs all kinds of physical activity and that includes housework? (It even logs the indoor sport “intimacy” but there’s no way in heck I’m recording that!) So when I cleaned house for nine hours on Friday to get ready for a surprise party for my husband’s 42nd birthday, I burned over 1,500 calories. When I cleaned for another two hours on Sunday morning to get ready for the kids’ book club discussion (Wonder
— awesome book!), I burned another 340 calories. It’s no wonder (ha ha) that when it came time for me to get in a “real” workout on Sunday afternoon, I was pretty pooped already. I simply did not want go out for a run. I knew I’d feel better if I went, so I laced up my shoes and got going. Mind over body. It’s a powerful thing. But I spent the entire run coming up with a bonus points system for runners.

You get 75 points for going for a run, any run, any distance, any amount of time. If you ran today, you’re a super star. But you get extra points for the following:

+10 for running when you really really just did not feel like running but you did anyway
+1 for every mile you ran (round up to the nearest mile!) (or +1 for every 10 minutes you ran, whichever is greater)
+1 for getting up with an alarm to run
+1 if you didn’t even press snooze when your alarm went off
+5 if you set your gear out the night before
+1 if your gear was clean (washed and dried)
+2 if you had no clean gear and threw on smelly clothes because you are just that dedicated to running (and willing to prioritize it over, you know, doing laundry instead)
+1 if you ran before 8 a.m.
+1 if you ran at lunchtime
+2 if you ran after 5 p.m. (guess who loves a morning run?)
+1 more if you ran after dark and took proper safety precautions (minus 80 million if you didn’t wear reflective gear, didn’t run with a light, and/or didn’t run in a safe location, preferably with a partner)
+1 if you had to pay someone to watch your child(ren) while you ran
+2 if you had a child run or ride his bike next to you
+10 if you pushed any children in a jogger
+5 for the lady runner who carried any children in her womb! (Yes, I give mad props to the pregnant runner, but I gotta give more points to the runner who pushed the jogger plus any child who can vocalize his protest at going for a run)
+2 if the temperature on your outdoor run was above 80 degrees
+3 if the temperature on your outdoor run was below 50 degrees (yes, I think that’s cold)
+5 if the temperature was below freezing
+5 if you got rained on
+2 if you ran on a treadmill (make that +3 if the treadmill didn’t have a television screen or iPod dock)
+5 if you didn’t poop your pants or puke
+/- 3 points (I can’t decide) if you pooped beside the trail or behind a neighborhood bush — anywhere besides a bathroom or porta potty
+5 if you had a head cold (minus points if you had a fever or chest congestion or flu and you ran anyway)
+1 if you said hello, waved, or gave a thumbs-up to anyone along the way (minus points if you used any finger other than your thumb)
+1 for every piece of trash you picked up on your cool-down walk (am I the only person who does this? I hope not).

What else would you add? How many points did you get on your latest run? I earned 100 points for yesterday’s 5.75-mile, hard-fought I-didn’t-wanna run through the hills.

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My last workout of 2012 consisted of several hours of deep cleaning my house in preparation for our second annual New Year’s Eve party. The party started at 7 p.m. with a potluck dinner for which each of my friends generously brought a dish and drinks to share with the 11 kids and 11 adults in attendance. After dinner there was a concert put on by the kids, who told jokes, danced, played music or sang a song. My favorite joke:

Five-year-old: “Why can’t Cinderella play soccer? Because she always runs away from a ball!”

After the talent show we forced everyone to watch a slideshow of pictures from the last year. I’d asked for photo submissions and put together a mix that included everyone — or rather, poked gentle fun at everyone.

photo bomb

Then it was time for the highlight of the night, the Minute to Win It games.

Scoreboard poster made by my 10-year-old

Scoreboard poster made by my 10-year-old

I’d never watched the NBC game show Minute to Win It, but after my husband played some of the games as an ice breaker at a work mixer, we went online and learned how to play some of the Minute to Win It games at home. You guys, it was an absolute riot!

Here’s my husband playing “Penny Hose” (retrieve two pennies from the legs of pantyhose without touching your hands together):

Penny Hose game

Me and Mike “Hangin’ Low” (tie a banana to a string and use it to knock two oranges into a hula hoop on the floor):

Hangin' Low Minute to Win It

I distinctly recall one of the guys proclaiming, “I don’t need no stinkin’ banana!” 😉

We also played “A Bit Dicey” (stack six dice on top of a popsicle stick hanging from your mouth), “Flip Your Lid” (set a red Solo cup on the edge of a table and use one finger to flip it through the air onto a beer bottle), “Office Tennis” (two people use clipboards to bat a crumpled paper ball into a wastepaper basket), and “Nut Stacker” (the men feared this one but it involved the harmless use of a candy cane to stack seven metal nuts in a tower).

My team, Material Girls (named for our cone party hats used in inappropriate ways a la Madonna), tied for first place but lost in the tie-breaker “Gangnam Style” dance-off (I link to the YouTube video for my parents, who might possibly be the only ones not to have seen that video yet).

You know it’s a successful party when the guests stay until 2:30 a.m. and TWO sleeping little kids somehow manage to pee on THREE different beds. I finally tumbled into bed at 4 a.m. I cannot remember the last time I stayed up that late. Still, I must not have partied too hard because I was up at 7 a.m. and managed to crank out that 2-hour bike ride on New Year’s Day.

Have you ever played Minute to Win It games? What’s your favorite party game?

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