Sunday, December 18, 2011

I'm One of the Cheapest People I Know.

What's the bigger pisser.........

The fact that you have to make a special trip to the store for the one ingredient the receipe calls for that you never have, never use, and will never use again?


The fact that you forget to peel off and use the dollar off coupon on said item?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ode To Sonny Bono

What's dumber than tripping over raised sidewalk while running in the dark?

Walking with your head down, trying to figure out why your Garmin isn't connecting to the satellite and colliding with a tree.  A very large tree.  With a very solid trunk. 

Took a second or two to even realize what had happened.  Didn't even hurt initially.  The clue that something was wrong was Alicia saying "Oh my God, are you OK?"  I think I asked what happened.  "You ran into that tree".  I look up at the tree.  Run my tongue over my front teeth checking for chips because the blow to the top of the head caused my teeth to bang together.

I wonder if I am ok.  I flash back to Sunday's 49ers / Cardinals game.  Kolb took a knee to the back of the head and was taken out of the game with a concussion (and he had a helmet on).  Could I have a concussion?  Should I take myself out of the game?

I'm not dizzy, it's possible I'm a little disoriented, but I'm not in that much pain....and my teeth appear to be intact.  I will continue with my run and see how I do.

This by the way is the same run I tripped on the sidewalk a couple of weeks ago.  I was very careful to make sure I picked my feet up while running on that street, my knees are still scabbed.

When I got home I picked the bark out of my hair, asked Denny to check my pupils, and felt a little nauseated, which can be totally phychosomatic (not an easy word to spell....still wondering if that's correct), cause I've heard nausea can be a symptom of concussion.  I tried to stay awake long enough to watch the Biggest Loser finale, but kept dosing off.   I wondered if it was the possible concussion, or if I was just tired.

When I woke up this morning I figured I must be ok. 

Although I think maybe I rattled my brain a bit. 

Geeze, Me vs Tree......tree wins.

And that's why I don't ski.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Unexpected

I'm not the best navigator.  I take the wrong turn more times than I care to admit.  So often in fact that when I'm going somewhere for the first time and I find it without making a wrong turn it is a pleasant surprise.  I must also confess I have even been known to take the wrong turn when I'm going someplace I'm familiar with, like home.

When the kids were young we had a couple of exciting adventures because of this flaw trait.  Like the time we got lost in the hills of Fullerton and found glow sticks glowing on every corner, after we picked some up we realized they were markers guiding party goers to the party house.  Worked great, led us to the party...unfortunately we hadn't been invited.  We would have put them back too if, you know, I was a better navigator....cause darned if I could remember which way we came.  Hope everyone found the party, sorry about that.

Or take last night.  After working all day, and a meeting in the evening, I stopped by Tamara's on the way home.  When I left her place for home it was about 8pm.  I'm traveling north on East street (no wonder I get confused).  Usually I'll hop on the 91, but I missed it, I don't know why, maybe a little tired, maybe cause I was talking on the cell phone and slightly distracted?  Oh well, I figured I'd hang up and just stay on East, it's heading in the general direction and I'll figure it out eventually, right?

Then East changes to Raymond, no problem, I'm still heading in the right way.  And then the unexpected happens.  Just after crossing Chapman I find myself in a residential tract.  Uh Oh, this is how I usually end up lost, I'm so glad I have Survivor set to automatically record on the DVR.

Just as I was getting ready to click "go home" on my GPS, I see something to the left, just off Nutwood.  And then something up ahead.  What is that?  I've never seen anything like this before.  This is pretty darn amazing.  I need to drive around a bit and get the full effect.  THIS IS SO COOL.  I call Tamara and tell her she must get in her car and come see this.  "What is it?" she wants to know.  "I'm not going to tell you, you have to see it for yourself, I don't want to spoil it.  I'm going home, but if you come and see it, tell me what you think". 

About 15 minutes after I got home she calls and says "Yeah, that's pretty amazing".

I'm not going to say what it is, but if you are in Fullerton in the evening traveling north on Raymond, just after you cross Chapman, start to look for it....on the left at Nutwood.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


And that's why you should be extra careful when running in the dark.  Careful to lift your feet up, cause you can't see that little raised area of sidewalk, and when it catches the toe of your shoe it disturbs your momentum just enough that your body starts to fall forward.  But your legs can't quite catch up.  And while you try with all your might to right yourself, feeling every muscle fiber in your legs trying to keep you upright.  But sometimes its just not enough. 

And you fall.  And end up with bloodied knees and scraped up palms.

That'll teach you.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Zip Away!

One evening after a run we were discussing doing something crazy and out of the box.  Someone suggested parachuting.  Then bungee jumping.  Those are insane ideas....we just wanna do something crazy, not insane.  We finally settled on zip lining.  Someone said a zip line had just opened on Catalina Island, cool, local, yet not next door.   And this was going to be a "two fer", we would do something crazy and cure John of his fear of heights at the same time. 

A day or two after this discussion a "deal of the day" for round trip to Catalina Island was advertised....obviously a sign, we are meant to do this.  Several people purchased the deal (myself included) so now we just needed to decide what day we were going to get crazy and zip.  The Catalina Flyer tickets were good until November 30th, we bought them in April, plenty of time.

In mid October we started to organize the trip.  Just like everyone else who purchased the Catalina Flyer Deal of the Day and procrastinated till the last minute to take their trip.  We would have to go stand by, plenty of seats going to the island, zero returning.  We decided on Sunday November 13th.  We actually managed to get reservations for the return trip due to cancellations, obviously another sign that we really are meant to do this. 

We arrived early at the dock and checked in.  After about a half hour or so someone came out of the ticket office and started calling the names of those who were on standby and lucky enough to get on, he called a lot of names.  Once everyone who was waiting was told they made it on the boat, he announced we could begin boarding.  Crap, we should have been paying attention instead of watching the guy call the stand by names.  Now we have to walk to the back of the line.  Note to self, next time get in the line right away so we get to sit wherever we want. 

Since we were some of the last to board the boat we were stuck at a table at the rear (what is this starboard? aft? port?).  Not only are we on the second level, in the rear, Julie, Monica and I get to sit backwards.  I have been know to experience a little nausea riding the train backwards.....the water must have been choppy cause a lot of people were throwing up.  Luckily, since I was sitting backwards, I didn't witness any of it.  Until we were leaving the boat.  On the way down the stairs a woman and her small son stopped mid way down while she held a barf bag under his chin and he retched into it.  We just moved to the right and walked on by....holding our collective breath.

Thing number 23, stepped foot on Catalina Island.

Our zipline reservations were for 1:30pm, so we had plenty of time to kill.  We decided to have breakfast.

Thing number 24, drank a Bloody Mary, you can drink before noon when you are going zip lining and not be considered an's like vacation.

After breakfast we still had time to kill so we decided to putt around the island in a rented 6 seater golf cart.  We were given a map (similar to the kind you get at Disneyland, kind of cartoony).  The lady drew arrows on the map highlighting places of interest.  She also told us not to take a particular road because it was closed due to falling rocks.

We elected Mason to drive the cart since he drives one at work.  Cara was the navigator.  Monica sat in the middle and Julie and I rode on the rear seat....facing backwards.  My first thought was it's like when you were a kid and you rode in the last seat of the station know, the one with the wood panels on the sides.  I intimately remember several summer excursions to the beach riding like that.  Was fun on the way to the beach, not so much fun on the way home, hot, sweaty, sandy, salty, sunburned.

Julie and I buckled up for the ride of our lives....even buckled our purses in too.  Crap, I held onto the side of that golf cart the whole time my fingers practically had to be pried off that thing.  I'm sure it was much more exciting seeing where we had been than seeing where we were going, cause we were able to let our imaginations run wild.  Like when a Ford Explorer came up behind us (most of the vehicles on the island are of the golf cart variety due to space limitations), but of course one of the few full size vehicles on the island gets behind us, so we can imagine that his brakes will fail and he will plow into Julie and I, crushing our legs. 

Or when we began to see rocks on the road.....had Mason taken the closed road?

Or how it seemed like he was driving soooo fast, and we might tip over.  Julie said we would still have to run on Tuesday even if we were bandaged like mummies....with slits for eyes.  Gawd we were laughing so hard (it helps to squelch the fear).  Something I imagined but couldn't put into words (instead I just visualize it in my mind and hang on a little tighter), as we round a curve, Mason loses control of the cart, we begin to tumble down the hillside, everyone else jumps from the cart, but I'm strapped in with the lap belt, unable to locate the release button, legs flailing about, items spilling from my purse, tumbling farther down the hill, end over end, with me hanging from the rear seat attached by my belly the whole time.

Thing #25, rode backwards on Catalina Island on a 6 passenger golf cart.

We returned the cart having had an amazing ab workout from laughing so hard and headed up on foot to the zipline check in.  On the way we stopped to pee at the Casino Building, which interestingly is not and never was a place to gamble, rather a place of entertainment, built in 1929 it played host to big bands like Glenn Miller and Harry James in the 30's and 40's.  Next time I go I think I'll have to tour this building.

From the Casino Building we walked to Descanso Beach Club, where the zipline check in is.  We had to sign waivers, I didn't read it, but I'm sure it said something like I or my heirs would not hold the zip lining company liable in the event I plummet to my death.  Next we each had to step on a scale and be weighed.....I don't really understand why they had to do this, other than to humiliate those of us who could stand to lose a pound or two.  The website specifically said you must weigh between 80-245 pounds.

Someone said we would not be able to go to the bathroom for the next 2 hours once the tour started.  I decided I better go for a quick pee.  Ignoring Mason's look that said "What?  You just went 5 minutes ago." As soon as I hear that a bathroom is not available I have to go, not to mention I'm experiencing some serious anxiety and that gives me the urge to go too.  I ran to the bathroom and trickled a little more.

When I got back to the check in area I couldn't see any of my zip line buddies....where did they go?  Oh, there they are, all suited up with hard hats and harnesses.  Wow, I didn't think I was gone that long.  Cesar introduced himself, slapped a hard hat on my head, had me step into the harness, buckled me up and then hands me a large metal thingy.  What?  I have to carry this? the whole time?  Are you kidding me?  It's attached to my harness and has handles.  It probably weighs 10-15 pounds.  It's the trolley that I will be hooked up to the zipline with.  I feel like it is some kind of mechanical umbilical cord.  Unbelievable, what, have I gotten myself into?  I laugh, it's something I do when I'm scared.  The scareder I get, the more I laugh.

We then have to sit through an orientation/safety presentation by our tour guides, Cesar and Charles.  Cesar starts first.  He speaks very quickly and is using terms that I am unfamiliar with.  I laugh throughout his entire presentation.  He is using acronyms that I do not understand.  W.O.D.  what is that?  He's said it twice now, it must be important.  Julie looks at me with a confused look on her face, I think she is having as hard a time understanding what he is saying as I am.  He is saying when we climb the platform he will clip us in for safety.  Then he will attach the trolley to the zipline.  He will then open the gate, we are to climb down from the platform, but whatever you do, do not go until he tells you it is safe.  He must unclip you from the safety line, or you will experience W.O.D (wedgie of death), whew, well at least that mystery is solved.

I am dying, I cannot stop laughing, I can't believe I am really going to do this. 

Cesar goes on to explain that when he tells us it is time to go, we must jump from the platform being sure to clear it, or we will hit our asses on the wood and will probably suffer some serious splinters.  OMG, I am so glad I went pee that second time.  

Next up is Charles.  Charles is all business and very serious.  He begins his talk with safety being first and foremost.  We can die out there if we don't take this serious.  If we get out there and he determines we are too drunk to understand or follow his instructions he will end our tour.   Uh Oh, I think maybe he thinks I'm drunk.  I'm not drunk, yeah sure I had that Bloody Mary, but that was over an hour and a half ago, and we've walked like 20 minutes of it.  Dude, I am stone cold sober and scared outta my mind.  I occasionally express my emotions improperly,  I am not drunk, trust me.

Charles is easier to understand, and not nearly as funny as Cesar.  He is also using terms I'm unfamiliar with, but explains them right away.  When you begin your zip you are to "cannon ball",  lean back, and pull your knees up to your chest.  You can enjoy the first two thirds of your zip, but the final third you must pay attention to Charles who will be at the other side.  He will be watching, and listening to the sound of the zip.  He will then determine if you are traveling too slow or too fast.  If you are zipping too fast we will give you the star fish, lifting and spreading his arms above his head and spreading his legs.  If you see him do this you are to come out of the cannon ball position, pointing your legs down and spreading them (I don't remember if you are supposed to do something with you arms or could you?  cause you are supposed hold onto your trolley at all times).

As you get closer to the end you MUST get back into the cannon ball position to avoid breaking your legs on the platform.  Charles will lift his knee to his chest very quickly to signal that you do not have your legs up enough, get them up when you see him do this! 

Do not worry, you will hear a loud noise as you connect with the brake (a piece of wood with a rope attached to it that Charles will pull to stop you).  What the hell am I doing here?  Who's idea was this anyway, and how the hell did John weasel out of it?

They also go over what will happen if you do not go out fast enough and you stop in the middle of the line.  They will throw a rope at you, you are to catch the rope, then pull it to your harness connection and hold it with the harness.  You must hold it like this, otherwise it will not work, Charles will then pull you in.  If you miss it the first time, he will throw it a second time.  If you miss it the second time, you are on your own and will have to shimmy in.  Cesar demonstrates "The Catalina Shimmy". 

Please God, don't make me do the Catalina Shimmy.

My mind is on overload, it is too much to remember.

We board the shuttle.  We travel up that same hill we rode up in that  "Mr. Toad's Wild  Golf Cart Ride"  On the way up Cesar asks if anyone is scared.  I laugh.  Julie and Monica point me out, and tell him Cindy is.

As we exit the shuttle the driver asks if it's anyone's first time.  She tells us we will have a good time.  She sounds like she has zipped before.  She appears to be much older than me.  Because of this I am hopeful that I may survive.

We descend the stairs to the platform.  Charles and Cesar give us some last minute instructions and reiterate all the important stuff, cannon ball, starfish, how to hold the rope assuming you are able to catch it, beware of W.O.D, don't hit your ass on the way out, don't break your legs at the other end. 

It is time to zip.  Cesar tells us the person that is the most scared needs to be the first one to go, cause the longer you wait the scarier it will be.  I do not make eye contact.  Charles prepares to zip across. Cesar looks at me, I look away.   He asks my name, I tell him, he says alright Cindy you go first.  Charles is all hooked up and ready to go, he looks at me and says something like "you are the most afraid, you have to go first".  I say, "well I don't want to be the first one, I want to go after someone".  He pushes himself off, and says, "you can go after me".  I try to think of an argument as I watch him zip to the other I wanted to go after someone else in the group, just a regular person, not an expert. 

It is futile, I succumb to the fact that I have to be first.  I go up the 3 steps to the staging area.  Cesar hooks me to the safety line.  I step down as he opens the gate.  He does the 4 point check (I don't really remember what these were, I just remember that his job was to check these 4 things so I don't die).  I stand on the edge, holding the handlebars of my trolley.  Trying to get the nerve up to jump off.  My mind goes over all the things I've learned, cannon ball, starfish, splinters in my ass.  How the hell do I jump off this thing to avoid the splinters!

I take some deep breaths.  Have you unhooked me?  I don't want a W.O.D.   I try to get the nerve up.  I notice some people above us on the road looking down finding the whole scene below them very comical.  I try to get the nerve up.  Splinters in my ass.  Cannon Ball.  Starfish.  W.O.D.  More deep breathing.  Just do it.  You can do it.  Just let go.  Cannon Ball.  Splinters.  Starfish.  How do I hold the rope.  Catalina Shimmy.  Breath Deep. 


And I am sailing through the air.

Am I screaming?

I feel the wind.  I hear the cable.  I'm holding on for dear life.  I keep my eyes on Charles at the other side.  I'm trying to pull my knees as close to my chest as I can.

Feeling the air.

Charles appears to frantically make the knee to chest sign, my knees are as close to my chest as I can get them dammit!  Don't want to break legs.  Hear the wood hit the trolley.  See the brake rope.  Beginning to slow.  Keep Legs Up.

 I made it.

Charles unhooks me, tells me I did great.  I'm smiling like a fool.  I weakly walk down to the waiting area and watch the others zip across.  Besides the 5 of us, there were 2 couples although I can only remember one of their names.  Rhoda, she sounded like Cyndi Lauper, with a Boston accent.  And she was just as scared as I was....dammit, why did I get stuck going first, oh well at least the worst is over.

Thing #26, Zip Lined.

We have 4 more zips.  Each one is a little easier and more enjoyable.  Charles lightens up, and I think he realizes I am not a drunken adrenaline junkie.  At zip number 2 they tell us to scream as we zip across, because there is a whole new crew of people preparing to zip on line one and we want to scare them.  At line number 4 we are told we can get a little creative.  We can zip sideways, let go with one hand, and wave to the others as they wait to zip.  Line 5 is even more relaxed.  It's a little bouncy, watch out for the splinters, we can go side ways, move our feet like we are peddling a bike, act like a princess ballerina, do a little dance thing, and just have fun with it.  By line 5 we were relaxed enough to have a little fun. 

Dang, would be so cool if we could go back to the start and do it all over again.  Would totally be able to enjoy the whole thing now!  Oh well, will have to come back and do it another day.

Charles and Cesar tell us soon these lines will be operating at night.  They say we have to come back and check it out in the dark.  I'm not so sure it would be so much fun, but I definitely want to do it again.  I'm hooked.

The zip line ends right where it starts, back at Descanso Beach Club.  We have a little more than an hour till the boat departs.  All that is left to do is eat a Buffalo Burger.  Catalina is famous for it's Buffalo (or Bison as kill joy Charles refers to them).  They were brought over in 1924 for the filming of a silent western movie "The Vanishing American".  Fourteen were brought over originally and over the years the herd grew to as many as 600.  Such a large herd was detrimental to the island so the Catalina Island Conservatory now keeps the herd down to approximately 150. 

Thing number 27, ate a Buffalo Burger, tastes just like chicken....not really, tastes like beef.

I love rock and roll, so put another dime in the juke box baby....

Ran the L.A. Rock and Roll Half Marathon on Sunday October 30th.  Tipping the race mile tally past my goal of 50 miles this year for a total of .....56.66 miles, yeah baby.

Since I've been so neglectful in posting I'm just gonna make this a mini recap.

Met my race buddies earlier than the crack of dawn to carpool to LA.  One of our buddies didn't make it to the meet up location and had to drive solo due to an accident on the 60 freeway.  She said the freeway was shut down and she saw a helicopter medivac the injured away.  Of course my mind immediately thinks, "Dang, Denny didn't come home last night, and while I knew he wasn't coming home, I wish I knew where he was", cause of course I'm picturing his car crumpled on the 60 while he's splayed out on a stretcher getting his first helicopter ride. 

This was my first Rock and Roll race, and I'm very impressed with how organized they were.  Although....much of the race was "out and back", so while they promoted the race as something like "a band every mile", turns out you just run past the same bands a couple of times.

At about mile 10 I started having the calf cramping issues again.  So frustrating.  I was careful to make sure I was adequately hydrated hoping to avoid them, but ended up hobbling in the last couple of miles.  I think I'll try vitamin supplements in the future.

As we were walking to the car from the finish line we passed the final "featured" band, playing...."I love rock n roll".  It sounded so good (the other bands on the route were "local" and frankly were a little disappointing, and while I love "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Hey Jude" neither are not my idea of music to run by.   I didn't realize it until later in the day, but it was Brett Michaels singing I love Rock N Roll at the finish, shoot, no wonder it sounded good.  I'd have hung around and watched a bit if I wasn't so darn tired and if I had known who it was.

On the was back from LA Denny texted me, "Whew, at least I know he wasn't the one medivaced on the freeway this morning."

We all came back to town, and had lunch at a local mexican restaurant.  Celebrating with margaritas....what better way to end a race?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Race For The Cure

In September I ran the Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure.  It's a 5K, and brings my total race miles to 43.56.  It's more of a fundraising event than a race.  Thanks to some of my generous friends I raised a total of $350.

I saw my former running coach Julie and her new runners early in the race.  That was enough to give me some motivation to run a little faster.....wouldn't want any newbies running their first race to kick my butt.

After the race I visited the Survivor Tent.  To honor the years of survival each survivor receives a necklace of pink beads for each year of survival.  I received 13 necklaces.  Then I was given 13 raffle tickets.  There were gift baskets to be raffled.  I quickly scribbled my cell number on all 13 tickets and then started to randomly drop the tickets in the boxes for the individual prizes.  There was a lady putting her tickets in the boxes at the same time.  She was checking out each prize and choosing very carefully which boxes to put her tickets in....I don't think she had as many tickets as I had.  The most thought I put into it was I noticed one basket that had what looked like a mop in it:

And I thought "If I win, I hope I don't win the one with the mop".

Because there are so many participants they have 2 starts.  I ran the first race.  My sister ran....well....walked the second race.  She was walking with a team of women that she went to high school with.  They were all participating in honor of a classmate who recently passed away from metastatic breast cancer.

I wanted to watch them pass the start line.  There were thousands and thousands of participants for the second race.  While waiting for Lorrie's team I received a text message that I had won the raffle:

Turns out the "mop" is really a scarf.

This is the second time I have won a raffle at a race.  A few years ago I won a $100 gift card to Snail's Pace at the Brea 8K.     Winning!

I need to be sure to enter all race raffles!

I've been thinking about this post for awhile now (ever since I ran the race).  There are times when I feel like the Komen foundation has become a fund raising mega star.  And maybe they pull a little too hard at people's heart strings.  Like before the second race the announcer tells everyone to look to their right and their left and think about the fact that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.  Maybe I'm a little too sensitive, but the actual fact is:

What is the average American woman’s risk of developing breast cancer?

The National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program has published its SEER Cancer Statistics Review 1975–2007 (1). This report estimates that, based on current rates, 12.2 percent of women born in the United States today will develop breast cancer at some time in their lives. This estimate is based on breast cancer statistics for the years 2005 through 2007.
 This estimate means that, if the current rate stays the same, women born now have an average risk of 12.2 percent (often expressed as “1 in 8”) of being diagnosed with breast cancer at some time in their lives. On the other hand, the chance that they will never have breast cancer is 87.8 percent (expressed as “7 in 8”).
In the 1970s, the lifetime risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States was just under 10 percent (often expressed as “1 in 10”).

Maybe I'm splitting hairs here.  But they seem to neglect saying "at some time in their life", which is usually later in life, like in their 80's.

I do find it offensive that in October, referred by some as "Pinktober", some companies will stick a pink lid, or a pink ribbon on their packaging and sell yogurt, cookies, chicken or any number of things all in the name of breast cancer.  This "partnering" had been referred to as "pinkwashing".   And when you consider that ingesting some of these products are not the healthiest choices........

In all fairness, I do recognize that Komen has been the force that put breast cancer on the map.  They've brought it to the center stage, and people have taken notice, from the medical community to the general public, and there is no doubt in my mind that I have benefited from their efforts, and for that I am grateful.

After picking up my basket I went to the finish line so I could watch Lorrie's team, or actually Alejandra's Team cross the finish line.

Here they are in the midst of all the thousands of walkers, towards the back with the big sign with a picture of Alejandra.

As for race miles......6.44 miles to go to complete my goal of 50.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Thank You Mrs. Roosevelt

The LA Rock'N'Roll Half Marathon is this Sunday.  As is the case with most races you have to pick up your bib at the expo a day or two before the race.  The problem is this race is in LA.  And so is the Expo.....downtown LA to be specific, at the Convention Center. 

I've never been there before. 

I spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out how, and when I was going to get there.  I have tickets for the matinee performance of "Riverdance" so my time is limited Saturday. 
Several of my running buddies planned on riding the Amtrak or MetroLink, or some other form of public transportation to the convention center on Saturday, but I'm afraid to do that due to my time constraints.

What I really wanted to do was go to the expo on Friday.  I had decided I was going to leave work early and drive on over there.  But as usual things don't always work out like we plan.  Turned out I needed to stay at the office until 5. 

The problem is I'm so afraid to drive to LA after work.....alone.  Afraid that I will be there in the dark.....alone.  Afraid that I will be driving around aimlessly trying to find the the dark and dangerous big city.

I really can be a wuss.  And once I get something in my head it can kind of take over my ability to reason.  And I am a little bit of a control freak.  And this feels very much out of my control.

I had decided that I would just have to go Saturday morning because I was just too darn afraid to go Friday evening.  But that causes me stress too because it could conflict with my theater plans.  What to do, What to do.....

Finally, after much angst and inner battle I came to the decision that I needed to put my big girl panties on and go.  I mean come on, would they really keep the expo open until 7pm Friday night if it were that dangerous?  And really, I've printed maps, directions, I have gps on my iphone, and I have a Garmin in the lost could I possibly get?

So I did it.

And have lived to tell it.

It was fine.  I found the convention center very easily, right off the freeway, and parking was a breeze ( I was driving to the parking structure I did hear a rabid pit bull or rottweiler barking incessantly but I never did actual see it).

When I walked into the building I was sorry I didn't have more time to explore.  I would have liked to check out the architecture, was wishing it was still daylight outside so I could see the exterior.

I got my bib, technical tee shirt, and swag, felt so safe and comfy I even toured the expo.  Even bought some stuff!  A new water belt that feels so comfortable.


I just had to have it!

I stayed until they turned the lights down at 7 sharp.  Found my car right where I had left it in the structure right away.  Only missed one or two turns on my way to the freeway to go home (thank you Garmin).  Was a little freaked out because at one point I'm driving next to a train or metrolink and that was a little disorienting for me.....and there's this weird yellow light that flashes "train, train" in the left turn lane which seemed distracting to me......but I resisted the urge to turn left into the train.

I'm so glad I overcame my fear and went.  Driving to LA I thought of a quote by Eleanore Roosevelt "You must do the thing you think you cannot do".

The entire quote is:  “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

― Eleanor Roosevelt, You Learn by Living

I'm glad I bite the bullet and did this.

Thing #22, drove to LA Convention Center, alone, knowing it was going to be dark soon.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Things Aren't Always As They Appear

Today at work I thought "Oh, I have to blog about that!". 

I think I'm safe here, because I do not believe I've told anyone at work about this blog.  And even if I have mentioned it, I'm 99.9% sure I never gave the web address or anything.

Someone is standing in my office, about a foot or so from my desk, and has just handed me paperwork, and is now discussing it.  Then he picks his the middle of the conversation.  Not one of those discrete picks with a, full on finger in his fricken nose pick. 

This is one of those times when my mouth is saying one thing but my brain is saying something completely different.  My brain is saying "Dude, WTF?"  "Hello? do you not see me here, looking right at you?", "Are you seriously going to stand there and pick your nose right in front of me?", "And if you get anything out, what the hell are you going to do with it?  Leave it here?...... in my office?

This is the same guy who was out sick the previous 2 days.  And now he is standing in my office picking his nose......WTF. 

No wonder I have this obsession with washing my hands.

And then my day got even more exciting.

Driving home from work I was going to stop at the library.  This particular street is in the "downtown" area.  It's 2 lanes on either side and not wide enough for left hand turn lanes.  I'm in the left lane, as I approach the car ahead of me I see the left blinker on and that he is stopped, waiting to turn left.  As I come to a stop I hear the car behind me screeching, trying to stop.  I watch in my rear view mirror and cringe at the sound and how fast it looks like she's coming, crap, is the car gonna stop?  I ease up on my brakes and roll a foot or two forward just to try to give her more room, but don't want to get too close to the car in front of me so I'm not propelled into him.

And then she hits me. 

We turn left into a parking lot and as soon as she gets out of the car she apologizes.  She says she will pay for it.  I say "Well you have insurance right?"  She looks at me and says no.  I look at my car, the bumper is pretty messed up (the same bumper that I lovingly protected from getting scratched by those bicycle handle bars that time I stole those bikes (allegedly)), man this is the second time I have been rear-ended in this car.  And I tell her that.  I tell her it can be pretty expensive.  She tells me she knows someone who can fix it.  I look at her and think "I have been watching a lot of Peoples Court lately and that never works out well".

I don't really know what to do.  If she had insurance we would just exchange information.  I feel badly for her because she seems genuinely sorry for what she's done, but that's not going to fix my car. I end up calling the police because I'm thinking I need a report in order to file a claim with my insurance.  She asked me several times "please don't do that, they will impound my car".  But it my fault she's driving without insurance?  And as it turns out without a license?  At least she speaks english somewhat.

While waiting for the police to arrive she is talking on her cell phone.  I cannot understand what she is saying.  She gets into her car and starts writing something down.  I start to worry that maybe she is going to just drive off.  So I take a picture of her rear license plate (turns out the insurance company loves this...although they would have loved it more if it was a picture of her front bumper with license plate instead).  While I'm checking out her rear bumper I see that she has a lot of damage there, so much that even her trunk lid is tweaked.  So I start really looking at her vehicle.  It is all beat up.  Front, back, sides, what has she been doing, playing bumper cars?

The police come, a report is filed, he tells her he cannot let her drive away because she does not have a license.  Says that she needs to call someone to come and drive the car for her, otherwise he will have to have it towed.

So here's the deal.....I am licensed.  I pay my insurance premiums, have paid them since I purchased my first car.  And now my uninsured motorists coverage is going to pay to repair my car.  This seems so unfair to me.  Why do some of us have to follow the rules and yet others do not?  And the consequence for not following the rules in this case is you don't get to drive away from the scene of the accident, you must have a licensed driver come and drive your car for you.

I go to the library and get what I need.

When I leave I realize I am very hungry.  I was planning on going to the store after the library, but now it's late and I really don't want to go.  I run through the options.....decide the last thing I want is fast food.  I see "Fresh And Easy" and decide maybe I can just do a little grocery shopping. 

I choose a few things and then go to the register.  And then I remember why I don't come to this store.  You have to scan your own groceries and bag them.  Crap.  I scan my groceries, it take a long time because unlike the trained professionals I do not know where all the bar codes are and I have to search for each one, scan the item, put it in the bag.  When the bag is full I remove it and place it in the cart.  The machine starts saying "an item has been removed from the bagging area".  This is why I do not like to do this.  I feel like the stupid machine is harassing me.

When all the groceries are scanned, bagged, and placed in the cart, I pay.  The damn machine tells me over and over again to give it cash or a debit card.  Finally I managed to shove my $20's in the slot.  The whole time this is happening, I'm noticing that there are 7 or 8 people standing around chatting.  Some are wearing green shirts and some are wearing blue shirts.  One of the blue shirts comes up to me and asks if she can have my receipt.     "?"

I look at her, she says for every $20 spent they can turn it in and receive one dollar for the school.  I'm thinking..... "come on, I've had a crappy day.  First someone picked their nose in my office.  Then I was rear-ended by an unlicensed, uninsured, limited english driver.  I'm hungry.  I've picked out my groceries and now I've had to scan them and bag them myself, while all 8 of you stand around and chit chat, while I'm doing your job."

What I say is "What school?"  She tells me the name and then begins to tell me where it is located.  I tell her that's ok, yes she can have my receipt, and I hand it to her.  She thanks me.  And then I ask, "so do I have to scan my own groceries and bag them everytime I come here?"  She says sometimes there are people who will scan them at the front registers.  I say "I have to tell you, it's a little annoying for me when I have to scan them myself while there are 8 of you standing around chit chatting"

She then tells me that she doesn't work there.  Everyone wearing a blue shirt is volunteering for the school to collect receipts.  Only the green shirts are employees.  "Oh, well then, you don't have to scan my groceries for me".  Geeze, is the day over yet?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Classin' The Joint Up

Now that classes the joint up a bit.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Round 2 or Snake Oil?

Today was an eight mile run.  Afterwards we had breakfast at "Alicia's", a favorite of mine.  I love the "Skinny Minny", an english muffin served open faced with scrambled egg, fresh spinach, tomato, onion, and dijon yummy.  Served with a fresh fruit salad of honey dew, cantaloupe, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries, mmm, heaven. 

She has a gift boutique adjacent to the restaurant that I am always compelled to peruse (love to look at the pretties!).  There are small stones or river rocks in the sink in the ladies room.  Every time I wash my hands I think I should put these stones in my bathroom sink.  Then the thought promptly vanishes until I'm back at Alicia's. 

This morning while washing my hands and thinking "I should put these stones in my sink", I had a flashback.  To my sink.  Instead of pretty "spa like" river rocks, I have the pump dispenser from my hand lotion thrown in my sink.  Three days ago when I depressed the pump no lotion spewed forth.  So of course I depressed it over and over expecting a different result and not getting one.  Finally I came to the conclusion that it must be almost empty.  So I took the pump out, put it in the sink and got a container to place the upturned empty bottle of lotion in.  Really?  What am I gonna get out of there?  One more application?  Geeze, tomorrow I'm going to throw it away.  And I just might put those rocks in the sink.....but maybe they won't be so pretty in a sink where one brushes their teeth.  Spitting toothpaste onto the rocks might just make it not so pretty and "spa like".

Driving home after the run and yummy breakfast I kept thinking "man I feel good, I feel so good I want to run some more".  This really surprises me because last week we did a 14 mile run.  At about mile 9 I started to feel really tired, and my calves started cramping at about 12 and a half miles.  Those "zombie hands reaching up from the ground and grabbing my calf" kind of cramps.  I ended up cutting that run short, I stopped at about 13.5 miles and walked the last half a mile. 

The only other time I've had an issue with cramping was in Napa towards the end of the half.  Now here it is less than 3 months later and I'm getting them again.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's just a hydration issue.

I've been feeling fatigued lately and can't really pin point why.  I've started going to bed earlier and earlier hoping that maybe I just need to catch up on my sleep.  But have still been feeling tired and my runs lately have just felt like such a chore.  Even blogging seems like work (which explains why my posts are getting further and further apart).

I did the Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure a few weeks ago (I'll post more about that race separately)  and received tons of swaggle.  One of the items was a "Power Balance" necklace.  I almost bought one of the bracelets in February at the Surf City Expo, but when the guy told me that one of his co-workers put one on his dog and the dog was cured of it's arthritis.....well, he talked himself right out of the sale.  A banner flashed in my brain.....

~~~~~~ SNAKE OIL~~~~~~ 

So when I got the freebie I was a little excited, cause now I get to try it on my own for free.  Being a major skeptic, I was a little apprehensive of the placebo effect.  I decided to just put it on and forget about it.  I definitely do not think about it while I'm running.  In fact this morning after our run someone asks pointing to my neck "what is that? A heart monitor?"  I look down and say, oh, it's my head phones and pull them out of my shirt. "No that other thing."  Huh?  Oh, and then I see it, the necklace, hmmm, interesting, cause I felt strong running today.  I hadn't worn the necklace for a week or so (maybe those sucky runs lately?), but today, I had a good run.  So good in fact that on the drive home I had to resist the urge to park the car and run home. 

It's either the necklace workin it's magic. could be that after doing a 13.5 mile run with a half mile walk last Saturday, makes an 8 mile run a piece of cake.

Friday, September 16, 2011

What Is Wrong With This Toilet Paper?

My poor neglected an old abandoned diary.

Ok, enough groveling, Blogger doesn't care how often I post.  It will be here, patiently waiting for me to return.

I have neglected blogging, but I haven't neglected running.  Last night's run was 4.94 miles.  We were running at the trail, I stopped half way through the run to use the restroom (hard to run when you gotta pee).  It's a park bathroom, there are no stalls, it's a one person room.  I had to wait for another runner, when she came out she held the door open for me and said "It's dark in there".  She was right, it was dark in there, I looked for the light switch, all I saw was a flat plate, no little toggle switch for me to flip up and "let there be light".  No worries, I've peed in the dark before.  Because it's dark I can't really see if the seat is clean or not....and there isn't a paper seat protector in sight, so hover I will.  As I try to unroll some toilet paper, nothing comes off the roll, it just spins around and I can't find an's dark, I'm hovering, and the TP roll is just spinning and spinning.  I try spinning it the other way, where's the end?  over or under?  It's too dark to see.  I keep trying to pinch it to get it to separate from the roll.  All I manage to do is pinch a little piece off, over and over again, I end up with confetti TP.   I still can't see where the end of it is.  I try digging my fingernail across the roll to rip it into submission.  I pull at the liberated edge, and still end up with confetti!  WTF?  My legs begin to cramp from hovering so long. The TP wins, I will use the confetti.

Quick wash of the hands, there isn't a paper towel present to dry my hands on, unlock the door, push it open and it doesn't budge.  Hmmm....flip the lock again, push, and still won't open.  What kind of hell hole is this and how do I get out of it?  Flip the lock again, push, flip it the other way, push, why isn't it opening?  I push with my entire body (trying not to touch too much of my body with the door, cause you know, it's dark and I don't know how clean the door is) and still it doesn't give.  WTF?


Maybe I need to pull.

I exit with my head down, not wanting to make eye contact with anyone who might of heard me struggling to escape.  At least I didn't start screaming "Help, help, get me outta here". 

Time to long in the miles.  Since my last calculations I've logged in 72.02 miles, add those to the previous 60.49 for a total of 132.51, leaves a balance for my 1,000 mile journey of 867.49.

Disclaimer:  Triple Dipping Ahead

3.1 of those miles are race mile.  for a total tally of 40.46, with 9.54 race miles left to run, piece of cake!  This race was at Wild Rivers Water Park in Irvine.  Here's the triple dip....I was not officially registered for this race, I used a friend's bib.  Thing #21, ran a race without being officially registered.  I was averaging under a 12 minute mile for most of the race.  Towards the end you get to run/wade in the lazy lagoon.  Was nice and refreshing, but hard to run in, it really messed with my time, but was definitely a fun run.  Best part was hanging out with running buddies afterwards.

Tally of race miles completed: 40.46, with 9.54 race miles left to run, piece of cake!  


Saturday, August 20, 2011

I'm A Rock Star!

This morning's run, 8.08 miles, 1 hr 34 minutes, best pace's the important part:  AVERAGE PACE 11:45!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I broke a 12 minute mile!  And not just for a short run, but an 8 mile run! 

I totally rock.

And now for a little celebration:


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Whooo Hooo!

Tonight's run felt so good! 

I don't know if it was because HH is back from vacation and I got to chat with her, haven't seen her in so long and there was soooo much to catch up on.  Was so distracted with the conversation that I didn't even notice my surroundings, very unusual for me I'm such a lookie loo.

Or could it be that after doing Tuesday's Summit Run, this one felt so great cause it's a nice flat course?

Or possibly after Wednesday's Hot Yoga I am now immune to the heat and if it's only in the 80's it doesn't feel so hot anymore?

Or could it be the cold MuscleMilk that I drank immediately after the run, thanks to the MuscleMilk girls who drove up in a MuscleMilk delivery vehicle and passed it out before our run?

Or possibly all the stars came into alignment and produced a perfect window of time.

Whatever it was, felt good and strong.

4.55 miles down, 930.41 to go.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It's Gettin Hot In Her'e

Thing #20, took a Bikram Yoga class....aka Hot Yoga.

How hot was it?  I don't even know, but at one point I believe she said "it's going to get hotter in here".  Was a little difficult for me to understand all of what was being said. I don't know if this was because the sound seemed to echo in the room and she seemed to be shouting at times, or if the heat was affecting my brain. I don't think I have ever sweated so much.  I did take her suggestion to newcomers "If you feel too hot just rest for a pose or two",  Heck yeah, I'm gonna rest, so that my sweaty body doesn't slap the floor when I pass out.

The heat and humidity really does help with the flexibility, I was definitely able to twist various body parts that I can't normally do.  Although the sweating that it produces also makes it practically impossible to keep a hold onto your foot, elbow, whatever.

During the "cool down" she slightly cracked the door open and I was so thankful to feel just the slightest bit of cool fresh air creeping in.  My clothing was completely drenched by the end of the class, and I swear, either the interior of my ears were sweating or sweat had dripped down into them cause they were full of sweat as I was leaving the class.

I will definitely try it again, but no way am I stepping foot in that locker room, that's gotta be a hotbed of germs in there.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I am so cheap.

Today I FINALLY had my appointment with my oncologist.  I was supposed to see him 4 months after my last appointment in March, but his office called me and postponed my appointment, twice.  My head tells me that seeing him a month and a half later than he had originally wanted to see me doesn't really matter.  But then the panicky other side of me says what if something is wrong then I won't know for a month and a half longer. 

Every little ache and pain is cancer.  If I have a headache it's in my brain.  If I cough it's in my lungs.  If I have a backache it's in my bones.  I think most people who have had a cancer diagnosis experience this, it's called "canceritis".

First thing Dr. asks as he walks in the room is "Does 50 feel any different?"  Ah, brownie points for him, he actually looked at my chart, must have made a note in March, I had told him at that time that I was running a mile a day everyday till my birthday.  So of course I told him about the parade.  He was very impressed.  Of course all this small talk has distracted me and I end up forgetting to ask all my questions darn it.

Although when he asked if I was having any problems I did remember to tell him that I had been experiencing stabbing pains on my right side at the ribs....told him of course my first thought was "could it be cancer in my liver?, but it's probably more like gallbladder".  He asked if I had any gallbladder disease in the past.....or was that my own diagnosis (he didn't actually say it like that, but that was the jest of it).  I always self diagnose.  And I had eaten a Philly cheese steak sandwich at Hooters a couple of days ago and I figure it was just too much yuk for my gallbladder.  (I didn't tell him about the meal at Hooters....) 

Why the heck was I eating at Hooters?  Two of my nephews had birthdays and that's where they wanted to celebrate.  And the Philly cheese steak....not so good.  I think everything on the menu is over 1,000 calories each, and full of cholesterol and wonder my gallbladder or liver, or whatever it is had protested.

I don't really think it's cancer, but the Dr. is very thorough and routinely runs labs.  He said he will call me on Thursday and let me know the results, but that he doesn't expect anything to be out of line.  He will get more brownie points if I actually get a phone call on Thursday, but I'm not going to expect it.  I figure I will not get the results of Tuesday's blood until 4 months from now at my next appointment, assuming they do not reschedule that one.....right smack in the middle of holiday season, between Thanksgiving and Christmas.....

As I'm leaving the parking lot, I pull up to the little booth and hand my ticket to the attendant.  He's a young guy, shaggy blond hair, looks like a surfer dude, sporting those geeky thick rimmed glasses that are so popular with all the kids right now.  Not your usual parking attendant.  I must admit, I found it refreshing.  Until he says "That will be five dollars".  "FIVE DOLLARS!?"  (here the written word is completely inept at conveying the incredulousness in my voice).  "Wow, that is a lot, I wasn't even here an hour!"  He looks at his screen, "hmmmm, says 14 hours and 45 minutes, that's weird".  Actually it's not weird.  "Oops, I gave you the wrong ticket, I was here last night but the booth was closed when I left". 

Once a month I attend a "Relaxation and Visualization" class at this same location. It is supposed to teach me how to reduce the effect of stressors on my body.  Would probably be better if I actually practiced what I learn, instead I experience stress at the beginning of every class when the facilitator asks "how has your month been", and I have to confess that I have yet again failed to practice what he's preaching.  There are usually just 2 or 3 of us who attend regularly, with an occasional new person.  Not only are we learning relaxation techniques (I actually dosed off twice last night), it sometimes takes on the characteristics of a group therapy session.  Take last night, first we got in a relaxed state (accomplished with a series of deep breathing and then consciously relaxing various body parts until we are completely relaxed) then he gave us positive affirmations to boost self esteem.  Suggestions like "I am fine just the way I am", stuff like that.  After each exercise we go around the room and share how our experience was for the particular exercise.  Each one of us shared how it took us awhile to stop the mind chatter, all three of us had experienced episodes recently where we had felt judged by others, and had difficulty getting past the reliving of those experiences to the believing of the affirmations.  Geeze, what a mess we all are I thought, and had visions of Bob Newhart and his band of crazies.....surely we're not that bad, right?

I found the correct ticket and gave it to surfer dude  New price was $1, now that felt like a bargain.  And I only experienced a tiny bit of stress wondering if he was going to try to make me pay for the 12 hours I technically was not parked there.  No problem, he threw that one away.  Dude, Cool.

And for miles......ran "The Summit Run" tonight 5.27 stress relieving hard miles, 934.96 to go.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A New Trail Run

I was looking forward to today's run for several reasons.  One, I like trail runs (even if they kick my butt).  Two, I like the adventure of running at a new place.  Three, we were having a Pot Luck Brunch after the run!  Winning!

We all met at Scott's house and ran Carbon Canyon/Chino Hills State Park.  The early crowd met at 6:30am (please note I arrived at 6:25am), we were the 10 mile group.  The later crowd was to arrive at 7am, and they were running 7 miles.

Scott led the way (well at my pace practically everyone leads the way).  Since this was a new run for us, he had powdered chalk in hand and was to mark the route.  I think he had a defective bottle of chalk...he ran out of chalk after like 3 or 4 arrows.  At one point we saw the empty bottle on the ground pointing in the direction we were to go.  Then the clues started to get a little cryptic.  We began finding arrows on the ground made from sticks.  Had Scott lured us to this new trail run with the promise of a pot luck (he must know we will do anything if there is the prospect of food at the end), or is he really trying to rope us into some kind of weird Blair Witch Project? (insert heavy breathing, snotty nose, and hand held camcorder).

Along the trail we saw SO MANY BUNNIES!  I figured they must not have any predators, Helen said "They breed a lot".  I'm so lame.  Maybe some rouge bunnies or mountain lions are leaving the stick arrows on the path, trying to lure us into their little bunny dens or worse mountain lion dens where they will attack us.  Damn wild bunnies! 

Margaret had hung back with Missy, Helen, and I to chat.  It's a good thing we had Margaret with us.  Yes, Margaret the directionally challenged can't find her way around the block Margaret.  She actually knew this trail!  Unbelievable!  She knew every turn and which way to go at each fork in the trail.  I still can't believe we trusted her. 

Now normally I would be secretly hoping Margaret would get tired of doing our short little run/walk intervals and sprint ahead of us, cause I always feel a little pressure to perform better when I'm running with her.  (OK, I'll admit it, I feel like a slacker with her next to me).  But not this time, well I did feel a little like a slacker, but that was easily remedied by the fact that I knew without her I was at the mercy of those beastly bunnies.

Three and a half miles into the run we come across a stick arrow pointing back into the direction we've come from.  Huh?  Those bunnies are so tricky.  Maybe Margaret doesn't really know the way.  Nah, she knows this trail by heart, that arrow is for the 7 mile group, that's their turn around arrow.  Smart thinking Scott.

We ran another mile or so, crossed 3 little creeks (I was wondering what those bunnies were drinking), and then came to a larger creek, decided that was a good turn around point for us.  Ran back to Scott's house for a total of 9.33 miles.  Everyone removed their dirty shoes and washed the trail dust off their feet, and then we had an amazing brunch.  Waffles, quiche, bacon, smoked samon, muffins, bagels, fruit, banana bread, mimosas, and so much more, what a treat, great way to start a weekend. 

9.33 miles down, 940.23 to go.

Thing #19, Ran Carbon Canyon Trail Run.

I would never knowingly commit a felony.

Driving home from a friend's home the other evening my headlights shone on a patio table, 4 chairs, 2 bikes, and a garden hose caddy placed on the curb.  There was a free sign taped to the table.  Hmmmm, I thought..... I bet one of the boys would like a bike.  So I pull over and check them out, not an easy task in the dark.  Of course the tires were flat, but the brakes seemed fine. 

Before I could put the darn thing in my trunk I had to relocate all the crap, junk, random stuff that I've had knocking around in there for months. Everything always takes so much more effort than you think it will initially.  I chose the bike with the better brakes and with a little man handling (or woman handling in my case) I was able to wrestle it into the trunk.  Unfortunately the front wheel and the handlebars stuck out.  But as luck would have it, the stuff that's been in the trunk came in handy.  Found stuff to put under handle bars so they wouldn't scratch the bumper, and even had a piece of rope to tye the trunk lid down.   (Days later I found out the wheels are "quick release" and I could have easily removed them and it would have fit fine in there)

I know nothing about bikes.  I know how to ride one, and that there are mountain bikes, and road bikes, and a company named Schwinn makes bikes.  That is the extend of my bike knowledge. 

I came home, wrestled the bike out of the trunk, inspected it a little more in the dim light of the garage.  It didn't look bad at all.  No rust, barely any scratches, just a couple of flat tires. 

I told Denny about my find.  Asked him if he'd ever heard of "Trek Navigator".  He did a google search and discovered Trek Navigator mountain bikes on Craigs List original price over $400 selling for over $200 used.  Hmmmm......maybe I should go get the other one.....  I was thinking of Anthony when I was stuffing it in my trunk, but maybe I'd like to have one for myself, or maybe one of my other nephews would like one.

Tried to talk Denny into going back with me to get the other one.  He would have nothing to do with it.  Said he wasn't going to steal bikes with me.

The second bike was much more difficult to get into the trunk.  Turns out it was larger than the first.  Which made it a little heavier, and much more awkward.  Dammit, why did I come back for it?  And after Denny and Katie teased me that I had stolen the first bike I started to doubt myself.  Maybe these people had put the table and chairs out with the free sign (which were gone by now), and they had been riding their bikes and just dropped them there on the curb too.  Was Fullerton PD going to come driving up behind me blinding me with their search light asking me what I was up too?  I looked at the house, all the lights were out (by now it's like 10:30pm).  Am I stealing this bike I'm trying to jam into my trunk?  Have I already stolen one?  am I going to end up in jail?

Surely they meant these bikes were free.  Why would they leave bikes they wanted to keep on the curb with a bunch of other stuff that they've put a free sign on.  Also...why would they have been riding 2 bikes with 2 flat tires and dropped them on the curb.  I'm not stealing these bikes....really officer.

Finally managed to cram the big ass fricken bike into trunk dammit.  Geeze.

Took the bikes to bike shop, guy says they are in great shape, all they need are tires, adjustments, and gears lubed.  I also purchased a bike rack to put on the car since I'd decided to keep the smaller one for myself and it would be easier to transport it (this way I can continue to leave all the crap, junk, random stuff in my never know when rope is going to come in handy).  I hate to admit it, but I was a little leary when I went to pick the bikes up from the shop....wondered if maybe it was standard operating procedure (SOP) for them to run serial numbers on bikes brought in by people who claim to have found them on curb, wondered if maybe the police would be waiting for me.

Last Saturday we had our annual family beach bash at Bolsa Chica Beach.  I took the bikes with me.  Anthony, Adrian, and myself rode to dog beach, where we sat on a bench and enjoyed watching all the dogs play. 

Now to my 51 new things:

#16 Allegedly stole 2 bikes.
#17  Secured a bike rack to car and transported bikes....looking in the rear view mirror a ridiculous number of times to ensure that the bikes were still there.
#18 Rode bikes with 2 of my great nephews at the beach.

Now, final tally on actual cost of bikes:

Loading, transporting, and unloading bikes from "free" curb to home.  1.5 hours
Loading bikes and transporting to bike shop 1 hour.
Washing car so bike rack would not scratch it .75 hour.
Securing bike rack to car 1.75 hours
Cost of bike repairs $134.18
Cost of bike rack $119.63

5 hours and $ time I think I'll pass up that "free" sign on a curb.

Riding bikes at the beach with my nephews.......priceless.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Logging in the Miles

I had taken some time off work to enjoy the Napa trip.  Race was on Sunday, drive home was Monday, and I relaxed at home on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Tuesday evening was a regular running day with the group.  I figured I'd just do an easy run maybe 2 to 3 miles max. 

Because I had taken the day off work my time schedule was off and ended up arriving at the meeting place late(er than usual), 10 minutes late.  The group had already left, but I knew which route they were running (or thought I did) so I decided I'd go ahead and start running and cut it short so I would be finished at the same time as the group.

Running down State College I was thinking "This isn't so bad".  Wasn't nearly as hot as I thought it was going to be, and State College was nice and shady.  I kept looking ahead figuring that I'd see someone up ahead, but never did. 

And then it went from "This isn't so Bad" to "This sucks", as I started climbing the hill.  Started thinking I'd just get around the corner, cut through the park, get back on State College at Rolling Hills, run back to the store and wait for the group to arrive.

As I'm cutting through the park I see some runners coming towards me.  My Group!  How did they get behind me?  Shoot, now I'm caught.  I considered pretending I didn't see them and running right out of the park and sticking with my plan.  But that just made me feel creepy, so I met up with them and ran back....wishing I'd done the creepy thing, taken the short cut, and met them at the store instead.  Ended up running 4.36 miles.

Saturday was a fairly easy run with 5.12 miles was actually more, but my Garmin took it's sweet time connecting with the satellites so didn't register the beginning of the run.

Next run was Tues 7/26 with 4.36 miles.  My nephew Anthony joined us for this run.  Although he didn't run it, he rode a bike at the trail instead.

Thursday 7/28 (4.89 miles) we all met at a new location and ran a new route, so fun to mix it up!  A little bit into the run I realized I was running the same streets that I taught Tamara and Denny to drive on.  When they first got their permits, we would go to an industrial parking lot after work.  I'd let them drive around in the lots to practice accelerating, braking and turning.  Once they (and me) felt comfortable we'd get on the road, and just drive up and down the streets of this same neighborhood.  Every time we finished our "driver's training" sessions, I'd get out of the car a little older than I was when I had gotten into the car.  Needless to say I was hoping while I was running those streets on Thursday that no one was there teaching their teenager to drive.

Saturday 7/30 an 8.3 mile run.

Monday 8/1 a solo 3.63 mile run.  Since I'm going to Support Group rather than running Tuesday.  While I thoroughly enjoy running with my group, sometimes a solo run feels good too.
Brings the grand total to:


For a total of 30.66 added to previous 19.78 equals 50.44 with 949.56 to go.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Victory, Sweet Victory

Still riding the high from the victorious race a little more wine tasting was in store.  I had purchased a Groupon for Chocolate and Wine tasting at Rutherford Ranch Winery. 

I realize I come off as very chic and sophisticated (wink wink), but this was a new experience for me.  I would never dream of pairing chocolate with wine, the extent of my wine knowledge is "red meat, red wine, chicken and fish, white wine".

First came a Chardonnay paired with a Lemon White Chocolate, amazing.  Next was a Pinot Noir with a Light Toffee.  Then came a Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon with a Dark Cherry Chocolate.  Last but certainly not least was a Zinfindal Port paired with a Chili and Sea Salt Cocoa.  My taste buds were awakened in an amazing way!

Beautiful setting, beautiful wine, decadent chocolate, this is the life!

To top off a fabulous day, a fabulous meal was next.  The sommelier recommended we stop in Yountville for dinner at Redd, so glad we took her advice! 

More flavor explosions!  This is from the bar menu, pork buns with hoisin and asian slaw, tastes even better than it looks......dang forget Fuzio!  Now I'll have to go back to Yountville for Pork Buns!

What a way to end a race day!  Fabulous wine, fabulous chocolate, and fabulous food!

Thing #13, Chocolate and Wine tasting.

Think #14, ate at Redd in Napa Valley.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Charlie Sheen, Zombies, and Wine

It is finally here! I feel like I've been waiting for this race for years.....actually I have, I discovered this race a few years ago and have been wanting to do it ever since.

We parked in Napa and took a shuttle to the race start in Sonoma.

Registration is limited to 3,000 runners, this is the most intimate half I've ever done.  What a joy, no crowding, no bottle necks (well except for the wine bottles). 

I hate to give myself a time goal, cause I'm really not that competitive, and I abhor failing.  But I did allow myself to think "If I could do this in less then a 13 minute pace, I would be very very pleased"  I even said it out loud to a couple of people, something I rarely ever do.  The fear of failure thing, I'd just as soon keep it a secret so I'm the only one who knows I've failed and can beat myself up for it in the privacy of my own mind, all by myself with no one being the wiser.  But for whatever reason, maybe temporary insanity, I did speak it out loud, I said "If I could have an average pace of 12:59 or less, I'll be so happy" 

A pace of 12:59 or less is very ambitious for me.  My last long training run was 13:07 pace, and I was running strong.  I had checked the pace at about mile 9 and thought then, heck, I can get this under 13, and tried for the next 4 miles, but couldn't.  While 8 seconds per mile doesn't seem like a big deal, I would have to make up 8 seconds for each of those previous 9 miles.  I could probably do it for the next 4, but it's too much to catch up. 

For the race my plan was to watch the pace from the very beginning, and try to keep it under 13 from the start.

Race started right on time, heck venue was so small I don't think there were even wave starts!  Maybe the elites were given a little head start, but this was fantastic.

My plan was to run one minute walk one minute.  I knew I needed to keep a fast pace during walk breaks to try for the 12:59 pace goal.

I swear I felt my baby toe every single step.  Average person takes approx 10K steps to cover 5 rough calculations.....16,200 steps for 13.1 miles, divide by half (cause it's my left baby toe) equals 8,100 steps of pain....actually, now that I think about it, my right knee was hurting  Ok, I'm being a drama queen, wasn't a lot of pain, just enough to register in my brain "wow, every time I step on that foot, I notice that toe, and every time I step on the right side I notice that knee.

Oh, and then to put the icing on the
Alicia was having a problem with her Garmin....actually I was having a problem with her was beeping every 10 seconds. 

For the first five miles. 

I probably could have drowned out the beeping with my ipod, if I had remembered to charge my ipod.  Unfortunately it was dead.  I fantasized about tackling her, removing the offending Garmin from her wrist and chucking it into the vineyard.  I didn't think about my toe, or my knee while I was thinking about that.

And now for your viewing pleasure.....this is a small sampling of the course:

My kind of weather

We caught up to the 2:45 pace group, played leap frog with them for about a mile and then surged ahead.  Every mile or so I would sneak a peek behind me to make sure they weren't on our heels.

This is towards the end, everyone must be getting tired...they are all walking.....

More of that future wine......

My pace fluctuated between 12:15 to 12:21 the entire race.  I was starting to get tired sometime after mile 11, but figured if I just kept doing what I was doing I would make my goal. 

Halfway into mile 12 I stepped into a horror movie.   A Zombie's hand came up out of the ground and grabbed my right calf and squeezed the hell out of it.  Stopped me in my tracks.  I've never had that happen to me before.  I was able to walk it off.  When I started running again another zombie grabbed me. NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!  This can't be happening so close to the finish!  

Zombies leave me alone!!

It happened about 4 times and each time I had to stop running and walk it off.

Finish line in sight, hoping I don't have to drag a zombie with me over the finish line.  Watching the seconds tick away on the clock, feeling zombie fingers grazing my calf but they aren't able to get a firm grip.  Almost there, just a few more steps, I think I'm gonna make it....


Napa to Sonoma in 2 hours, 43 minutes and 15 seconds. 

Average pace.....


Under a twelve and a half minute mile!  Better than I had hoped for!


Coolest Medal Ever

In addition to coolest medal ever, you also get a wine glass at the finish line....which comes in super handy, as the race ends at the wine festival!

So what does Charlie Sheen have to do with all of this?  Well, after tasting numerous wines (some of them more than once), the phrase of the day became "Winning!".  I must admit, we were a little tipsy.  Good thing we had to wait in line about 30 minutes for the shuttle to return to Napa.  We were able to sober up rest on the way.  Walking through the parking lot to the car we saw an In-N-Out so decided to have lunch there to soak up some of the alcohol fill our hungry tummies.

This was definitely one of the best races ever, and the fact that I was able to do it in under 2:45 is still putting a smile on my face.

Thing #12, Ran from Napa to Sonoma.  

Total Race miles completed:  37.36, leaves 12.64 for my goal of 50 race miles for the year.

Miles completed for my 1,000 mile journey:  did a little run Saturday morning of 1.86 miles, add the 13.1 race miles for a total of 19.78 completed, 975.40 to go.