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.