Sunday, August 31, 2008

One Year Ago Today

Well, I am home and will post a full report soon.  Suffice to say I had a grand 'ole fun time and couldn't have asked for a better race experience.

Today is the one year anniversary of the day Boyfriend, Mario, and I pushed off from Manhattan and set sails for San Francisco.  It's amazing how time flies.  The following is something I wrote regarding this change in terms of running that I previously posted elsewhere.  I can't believe I haven't run one mile in Central Park for 365 days.

On August 31st I ran a lesiurely 10.2 miles in Central Park. 

The run was part of my current marathon training but I had designed it as a farewell to a place I have spent so much time in the last few years.  A full 6 mile loop, 2.5 miles on the Bridle Path, and my "Old Faithful" 1.7 mile lower loop.  With every step familiar sites became a fading memory of my mind.  The park disappeared behind me and I fought the urge to turn around for one more look.

I have every curve, ascent, and descent etched into my mind.  I have seen the seasons change while I was on the run and experienced the changing weather that comes with them.  Though I have been a pretty ancillary member the last two years, I met a group of wonderful people in this park and spent many hours chatting away while on the run.  With my running club I was able to participate in 200 mile relay races on both coasts of the country in addition to partaking in brunch on both sides of Manhattan.  I completed my first 5K and half marathon within Central Park.  The soul-revealing last miles and finish of my second marathon were located in Central Park as well.

What will I miss most about Central Park?  I will miss the way every hill is rewarded with a smooth sailing descent.  I will miss hearing Christmas music at the skating rink as I coast down the hill at the northern edge of the park.  I will miss the way running on the Bridle Path makes you forget you are in the middle of a city.  I will miss the fire-orange colored trees during Fall.  I will miss the icicles by Harlem Hill in the Winter.  I will miss the cherry blossoms of Spring.  I will miss the fireflies during Summer.  I will miss how the ala carte options of loops could be combined to yield any distance I desired.  I will miss the glimpses, sounds, and smells of horses that the park afforded me.  I will miss hearing the saxophone player under the bridge by Cleopatra's Needle.  I will miss the solitude and camaraderie of the early morning and foul-weather runs.  I will miss the views of the city above the treeline.  I will miss even the bumbling tourists who reminded me that I should treasure the moments I had running circles in the City.

I've calculated that I ran roughly 2,007 miles in Central Park over the last few years.

I will miss my park dearly.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Finally, a Good Long(ish) Run

Today I was initially planning to run five miles but ended up running 7.1 mi.  Figured I'd take tomorrow off from running, do an easy 4 Thursday, then pray to the running gods that Sunday's race can be pulled off with smiles.  I didn't feel nearly as bad doing 7 today as I thought I would.  Good sign.  Yes, I could have gone a couple more miles.  No, I don't think 13.1 today would have been pretty.  Good news is the shin is holding up well.  I ran on the sandy shoulder of the bike path at the beach which was terribly boring but the best surface I have to run on.  I'd much rather of had a good jaunt around Golden Gate Park, but didn't want to do any asphalt running quite yet.

It's been pretty foggy here in San Francisco lately and today was all blue skies and sunshine.  So I busted out my Sugoi top I had purchased to wear during my first triathlon for a test run.  It's quite comfy and I'm looking forward to running in it more often in the future.  With the sunshine I was also able to get some heat-acclimation in for the hotter Southern CA climate.  I can't believe the DL Half is almost here.  Time sure flies.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Monday Mario


Who is it? Oh, it's you.

Fine, fine...Go ahead and rain some kisses on my adorable face.

What?! No treats?! I think it's time for you to leave.

I love the way Mario smells like hay and bunny when you give him kisses.

Yesterday I went for a 4.2 mi run. I'm running just every other day (probably for the next couple of weeks) while I reassess what my shin is capable of taking. So far so good. Today I went to the pool for the first time in about 3 weeks. Was able to do 1550 yds. It was quite peaceful since the kids are back in school. I swim at a private high school and now that school's back in session the entire pool is open for lap swimming versus half the pool for the neighborhood kids. Parking was harder now but I'll take a couple of blocks of walking and a pool full of adults versus parking across the street and having to swim around bobbing kids.

Judging by the way everyone passes me (especially the old man who was using just his arms and not his legs) in neighboring lanes, I think I'm a pretty slow swimmer. I know swimming is all technique-based and I'm swimming off of technique I learned when I took swimming lessons when I was 4 and 5 years old. And I'm pretty sure the name of the game back then was not drowning versus speed. Oh well. I have no idea what my swimming pace is and don't really care. I just don't want to drown during this triathlon. I don't care if I'm the last out of the water. If I ever decide to do triathlons regularly I'll invest time in improving my technique. But at the moment I don't really see that happening. I think deep down I'm just a runner. I do enjoy the swimming, though. But I figure I can nip into the pool and swim whether I'm fast or slow.

Friday, August 22, 2008

I've Got Good News & Bad News...

Which do you want to hear first? I tend to prefer the bad news first so here it goes...

If you remember a few months ago I was talking about Clif Shot Bloks and how I love them and how I really loved how Runners' Feet sold them for the insane price of $1.00 a bag. Today I was down in Burlingame to get a bridesmaid dress fitted and stopped by Runners' Feet to get Boyfriend some more Gu (because they sell Gu's for $1.00, too!). I'm running low on my favorite flavor of Blok, Cran-Razz, so also figured I'd stock up while I was there.

As I pulled up I saw some fluorescent signs and made out the words which made my heart sink. "Store Closing." What?! Where will I buy my chewy goodness so cheap?! Even worse, they were ALREADY OUT OF SHOT BLOKS!! They guy at the store said it was their first food item to sell-out. [Big Sad Face]. Everything in the store was already marked down and had an additional 15% off. There were Gu's left so bought a bunch of those and also stocked up on Powerbars (all only $0.77 each). So, I feel a little abandoned and sad now and am not sure where I will get my little Bloks in the future.

I knew I should have bought CASES of them when I had the chance.

The good news is I went for 2.5 mi run today and had a 99.9% pain-free run. There were a few moments where I knew something was up, but overall it went very well. And the best part is my leg is still pain-free post run!

I struggled a little today, though. I'm not one of those people who retain fitness and endurance if I'm inactive. If I stop running I start all over again when I start back up. I'm not sure what type of mileage I'm going to try to accomplish this coming week, but in about a week I need to be able to complete a 13.1 mi course. I once ran a half marathon when my longest run for the past 4 weeks had been 6 miles (when I say longest, this implies that I was running on other days during the week). I learned a valuable lesson. I've run about 2.5 miles twice in the past two weeks. I don't want to know what kind of a lesson I'm going to learn at Disneyland.

I was really looking forward to having a great run at Disney. I figured the distance wouldn't be daunting and it would be a really fun training run which would fly by with all of the distractions. Now I'm a little worried it will turn into a death march.

Just so you know that Mario really does have a front half/face (he's been a little truncated the last couple of posts), here is a headshot:
And yes, he is sitting on something.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tomorrow, We Run!

Mario is working to patent a form of Bunny Gait Analysis

For the last four days my leg has been feeling just shy of 100%. Today I dare say it's feeling 100% normal again. I was originally planning on running 2 miles today. I was looking forward to it. I even listened to my favorite songs to run to during my commute home to get psyched up. But then I thought about it and decided that the risks vs. benefits of running for 20 minutes tonight wasn't worth it. I decided to give my leg one more day off. This is the first time in the history of my running injuries that I fully waited to feel 100% before going out for a run. I deserve some smooth-sailing-back-into-running-regularly karma for that.

I've been a little behind on my podcasts since I've run, oh, 2.7 miles in the last two weeks (can you say TWO new and untouched episodes of Phedippidations?! Blasphemy!). So yesterday I listened to a Confessions of a Runner episode during my commute. Thanks, Jodi for the nod! Mario of course agrees that he's a cute little rabbit.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Monday Mario

The adorable rabbits of Furry Butts recently showed off their Olympic potential with their superb "Synchronized Chillaxation." Mario lacks a dance partner but would like to open up requests to join another rabbit for the 2012 games. For your inspection, he would like to showcase his perfected toe point. Note how he keeps his legs firmly together for the entire duration of the Chillaxation.

Thanks, everyone for the well-wishes and advice. After my short run Friday I decided it would be best to take some more time off. Since then, my leg is feeling much, much better. My calf muscle has been tight/sore so I've been tending to that the last few days. I've read that tight calf muscles can sometimes cause shin pain so I'm hoping that is what I'm dealing with. The actual shin pain has significantly improved and today I can bounce up and down on my left leg with no pain. I am going into running withdrawal and can't wait to get back out there.

And an exciting, news breaking development: There is a giant bug flying around the apartment right now. I can't get a good enough look at it to decide whether it is the world's biggest fly or a bee. I did however take a running sprint down our hallway to close the bedroom door to keep it from infiltrating the sleeping chambers. During that 7 second sprint...No pain! Hey, it's a start.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Death of a 14 Miler

I was supposed to run 14 miles today.  Instead, I went on a 2.7 mi run.  Nothing fast, nothing fancy.  My leg is definitely not 100%.  I was looking at a calendar and realized I have a half marathon in 2 weeks.  I wasn't planning on racing this at all so nothing lost at this point.  I was going to carry my camera and take pictures with all of the characters at Disneyland.  I was even going to tack on an extra 3 miles before the race for my long run that week.  So I was planning on having a good time and still intend to do so (not the extra 3 miles bit, though).

This coming week I'm going to stick to low mileage, low intensity runs and see how my leg holds up.  Hopefully I can get back in the pool, too.  I'm not too optimistic about the 50K in November right now.  I'm not sure I'll be up to doing 20 mi long runs in 5 weeks.  Looking back, I'm pretty sure it was the increased intensity that caused all these problems.  I was doing long back-to-back runs in preparation for the Goofy Challenge and completed 2 marathons in 7 weeks all without any problems.  Throw in some intervals and my leg falls apart.

The thing I'm mainly concerned about at this point is the San Jose Half Marathon in October which was going to be my PR attempt.  We'll see what happens, I guess.  I also have to make sure I'll be able to run the Nike Woman's Half (planned to do this as a training run) two weeks later so can't totally trash my leg at San Jose.  That's good.  It'll keep me on the straight and narrow.

So more stretching, icing, and rolling coming up.  My shin wasn't 100% during today's run but it isn't bothering me more since the run so that's a good sign.  Can walk 100% without pain now, too.  Fingers crossed...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Shoe Stingy

Boyfriend and I went to Road Runner Sports to get fit into new running shoes.  I've been dragging my heels about getting this done since I've had such great experiences at JackRabbit (which unfortunately is located almost 3000 miles away now).  We stumbled into this store when we first came to the area and it was the only running store I came across in the Bay Area which did video analysis like JackRabbit.  I've never been a fan of, "run up and down the aisle while I watch you."

I have to say, they did a very thorough analysis before they even got shoes out.  Of course, both of us being veterans of good fits we already knew what type of shoe we needed.  What I didn't like was the lack of video analysis once I got their recommended shoes on.  I had to ask to get taped while running in the shoes I was thinking of getting.  Though they were very patient and very nice I also felt like there was more of a sales-mentality going on since they worked off of comission (vs. JackRabbit which did not).

I was between the Asics GT-2130 and the Asics Gel-Kayano 14.  I actually had to ask to see the 2130's because they kept bringing out $100+ shoes which I've generally tried to avoid in the past.  The Kayanos admittedly felt a teensy bit nicer with the better cushioning, but for $40 more (and the fact I generally need to replace these things every 300 or so miles) I was reluctant to spring for the Kayanos.  Boyfriend thought I should get the more expensive ones but they have a 60 day guarantee which means I can run in the cheaper ones for a bit and see if they'll do the trick.  So here it is, my new shoe.  I have good memories with the 2100 shoe so maybe a trip down memory lane with the 2130's is just what I need.

Everyone involved today thought that my current NB 767's which have exactly 230 miles on them are ready for the donation bucket.  Something about how twisty they were.  In fact, I felt like they were gearing up to teach me a shocking lesson about how I shouldn't wear my shoes for 700 miles when I told them they were only 230 miles old.  I was also shocked at how much slapping noise I made when they had me run on the treadmill barefoot.  I never thought I was a heavy footed runner, but I guess there's no contesting that fact now.  The guy at the store felt I'd get maybe 50 more miles out of the Kayanos vs. the 2130's, but for the price difference I'd rather replace the 2130's more frequently if I have to.  We'll see how things go the next two months running in the shoes.

So yes, I did run a little today.  On the treadmill for 10 second spurts and around the store.  Let's just say it felt so good but also hurt like heck.  Hmm..."hurt like heck" may sound a little strong.  I may get another admonishment for attempting to run soon.  So I will say, it "was a little uncomfortable."  

No real running today, definitely no running tomorrow.  I am holding onto hope of a possible run Thursday.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Monday Mario

Mario has been watching all of Cadbury's antics under his wicker tent and wanted to show the new kid on the block how the old folks get it done. Of course, being an old folk Mario generally just sleeps. No fancy spelling here.

Last night after posting I realized that there was actually a quarter-sized bruise on my foot. I did have one of those fancy smancy fitting set-ups complete with lasers and giant rulers. So until I get this figured out, no cycling, either. My shin is feeling much better today but I'm going to play it safe and try really hard to not run at least two more days.

The Olympics are wreaking havoc on my sleeping schedule. I was working on being in bed by 10:30, lights out by 11:00 but that's pretty much gone down the drain the last few days.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Stir Crazy

Don't worry, Rabbits' Guy...Quick post to report that I was a Smart Runner today and did not run.  I iced, stretched, and rolled but refrained from running.  Instead, I rode my bike for the same amount of time I figured I would have been out running.  But all of this was not without great mental difficulty.  I've only taken one day off and am internally going crazy.  I am going to have to deal with this one day at a time.

Something is wrong with the positioning of the cleat on my cycling shoes.  Ever since I first got them I'd get a deep achy pain in the lateral aspect of my right foot.  Since I haven't really ridden very far or on consecutive days it was something I was willing to live with for now.  But, having ridden two days in a row, the outside of my foot now hurts almost like a bruise.  I'm thinking my toes are positioned inward too much and I'm putting pressure on the outside of my foot as I try to point them more outward as I pedal.  But, what do I know?  I'm too lazy to drag my whole bike back to the LBS to get it professionally looked at, so I may just fiddle with it myself tomorrow.  Of course, the whole bike was set-up by a supposed bike-fit guru and I'm reluctant to go and tweak things he did.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Pass The Ice, Please

So did you watch the Opening Ceremony last night?  All I can say is, "Wow."  I was blown away by the sheer scale of the thing.  Some things of note:

1.  Did you see the part where the printing blocks were going up and down in patterns?  And then at the end all those people popped their heads out?!  I was dumbfounded at the idea that there were people in there controlling those things!  I thought for sure it was a computer and hydraulics.  How do you even start to teach people to do that?!  Even now I am not convinced that individual people were controlling those things!
2.  The hosts were right.    Those tai chi circles were FREAKIN' AMAZING.  High school marching bands eat your heart out.
3.  I loved how they cut to President Bush and the First Lady when the athletes from Iraq entered the stadium.  They looked like they had previously discussed just how they were going to clap for them.  Bush had a rather smug look on his face that he should have done without.  Oh, and our President...You'd think he'd know to sit without his knees spread open like that.
4.  I loved the President of France when he was waving at the French athletes.  He looked so genuinely proud and happy to see them.  Very sweet.  
5.  I think it is so cool how a lot of the athletes carry their digital cameras as they walked out and were taking videos and pictures of themselves.  I think it shows how they are just normal people experiencing something extraordinary.
6.  I loved the bagpipe music and "Scotland the Brave" which got played over and over.
7.  How did those cheerleaders keep clapping and dancing for so long?  Granted, there were definitely moments when certain individuals looked like they were ready to pack it up and go home early.
8.  I'd hate to be London in 2012 because they have a tough act to follow.

In other great 08/08/08 news, I got a package from  I love the new pastel pink they're using on their new colors.  Chocopink!

I have to admit when I first heard of running in skirts years ago I thought the idea was ridiculous.  But now I am a convert and L.O.V.E these things.  They are so comfy and cute to boot.  Once my order is complete I will have almost as many skirts as fingers.  I have only one skirt coming, but it was super cheap and a super color so disregard my straying.  You know, I've got that little problem.  I'll probably never try another skirt brand otherwise.

The past 24 hours I have been an icing, Stick rolling, stretching fool.  I woke up today with some pain still in my leg when I walked but as the day has gone on it's feeling a little better.  I rode my bike 10 miles today (part of the regular schedule).  I am not going to run tomorrow.  Let me repeat, I am not going to run tomorrow.  It's my new mantra.  I keep saying it to myself.  Hopefully it'll stick.

When I was in Orlando this January for the Goofy Challenge I bought a Mickey Head ice cube tray.  These guys are my new best friends when I do ice massages.

Seeing as how this little set-back is the perfect opportunity to bike and swim more, I have some bad news.  My pool is closed for a week.  I could branch out and try to find another pool to use, but again, see previously mentioned "loyalty" issue.  So, we'll see how the week plays out.  And again, I am not going to go running tomorrow.

Friday, August 8, 2008

8 on the 8th (aka Shin-Busting 12.4 on the 8th)

I decided to take part in Non-Runner Nancy's virtual 8 on the 8th.  I was slated to run 12 today so figured I'd dedicate 8 of the miles to the race.

Let me start by saying that something is up with my left shin.  I have had a long, sordid history with my right shin, but the left has barely ever complained.  On Tuesday it was starting to nag a little and my left calf was a little tight.  Wednesday was a good rest day.  Thursday I was supposed to run 4 miles but cut it back to 3 when I recognized the signs which precluded the major blow-up of my right shin in the past.  More NSAIDs, icing and stretching ensued.  This morning  it wasn't feeling horrible and I geared up for my long run.  A smart runner would have called off the long run.  A smart runner would take a nice relaxing run vacation.  I have never been a smart runner.  I am working on it.

I decided to run from home today which means 1.3 miles of downhill concrete pounding to the beach to start.  This is probably the last thing you want to do when you've got shin splints.  I'll be honest and say after the first 0.5 mi I was debating trying to be a smart runner and calling the entire thing off.  At about mile 1, I decided to be a smart runner in-training and figured I'd cut back to 10 instead of 12.  When I hit the beach, the terrain flattened out and I was able to run on the dirt/sand shoulder of the bike path.  My shin immediately felt better.  Shin splints are terrible for the fact that they generally loosen up a bit once you get going.  By mile 2, I was back on the mental track to run the full 12.  I kept to softer surfaces as much as possible the rest of the run.

Shin-pain aside I had a great run today.  The weather was perfect for running -- overcast, cool, with a slight breeze that never got categorized as "wind."  I listened to the newest Phedippidations episode and an archived 4 Feet Running.  I kept my power songs at the end of my playlist to help me power back up The Hill towards home.  My Garmin auto-laps every 0.5 mi and I haven't enough energy left to figure out mile splits for just 8 miles of my run today.  So, total mileage was 12.4 mi in 2:11:30 (10:36 pace). The 8 on the 8th has gotten me into the Olympic spirit.  I can't wait to watch the Opening Ceremony this evening.

My run was great and I'm really hoping it won't prove to be my last long run for a long while.  I immediately iced when I got home but my shin hurts even when walking now.  From past experience I know this is a VERY bad sign.  Ironically, my right shin which has been threatening to self-combust the last few weeks (and really, the last 2+ years) has suddenly decided everything is dandy in the world.  Thanks, Shins.  I appreciate the lack of tag-teaming me.

Today's run was powered by homemade gnocchi:  Boyfriend's Italian grandmother is in town visiting us.  Yummy.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Since I last posted:
Sun:  8.5 mi total with 4x1200m (8:34, 8:34, 8:29, 8:35 -- goal pace was 8:37...I am so proud I've been able to keep up with these longer intervals) & 6x200m
Mon: 4.5 mi recovery, 9 mi bike on trainer
Tue:  8 mi with 6x100m, 1500 yds swim

Monday runs are officially recovery runs.  After all the speed work on Sundays my legs have been feeing very heavy during these runs.  I sort of feel like, "Oh it's just 4 miles," but then they turn out to be rather mentally challenging since my body feels so sluggish.  During today's 8-miler my legs were screaming "Uncle!"  I enjoyed myself, but my calf was feeling tight and both my shins were tweaking.  I'm going to stretch and ice tonight and tomorrow is an official rest day.  But I've been feeling very good this week during the runs.  Last week was a rather sad week what with all the on-the-run melting in Hawaii, shuffled runs, and skipped runs.

I have to say that I am not sure I'm cut out to be a triathlete.  On Sunday, I forgot to go swimming.  That's right.  It totally slipped my mind!  I don't know how people do it, but I find it hard enough to concentrate on one sport.  I guess if I didn't have so many running goals it would be easier.  Right now I feel like I'm not really cross-training with biking and swimming.  It's more like I've mushed it into the schedule around the running.  

I'm up to 1500 yds in the pool with minimal rests between laps.  I don't think I'll add much more distance in the training for my sprint tri (400 yd swim).  If the swim was in a pool I think I could do this triathlon tomorrow.  The open water factor really freaks me out, though, so I want to get a lot more confident in the water.


Monday, August 4, 2008

Monday Mario

It's been almost a year since Boyfriend and I packed up our car and drove from NYC to San Francisco. We didn't have an apartment in SF, we didn't have jobs in SF...We just decided to take a leap of faith and see what we could find over here. Of course, Mario had to come along with us, too. We spent two weeks driving across country with just a loose idea of major sites we wanted to hit. We didn't have a hard and fast timeline. We didn't have hotel reservations.

My main concern was Mario. Most hotels didn't allow pets or charged a ludicrous pet fee. At one hotel where we paid about $80 for the night, they wanted a $75 pet fee. I could have gotten Mario his own room for that price! So we resorted to sneaking him in and out of the hotels. We declared him at one hotel that advertised that "Pets stay for free," but the room smelled like wet dog and Mario seemed rather disturbed (probably from the scent of the other animals).

Rabbits are luckily very quiet. I got Mario a fancy pet carrier which had the benefit of not immediately looking like a carrier from a distance. It also had a metal grill vs. the mesh ones that many carriers have (that bunnies can make short work of with their teeth). We kept him in the regular old plastic carrier in the car, though.

I brought along enough panels from his regular cage to be able to erect a mini-cage in the hotels. Between his cage, litter box, hay bin, two carriers, and a paper shredder to shred newspapers for his litter box, the majority of the backseat was filled with Mario's stuff.

First hotel in Washington D.C. (this was the place that wanted Mario to pay a fee equivalent to getting his own room)

Mario was wonderful with his litter box skills. I know a lot of times when bunnies are in a new environment they need a quick refresher course. But Mario always knew where his box was. I'd let him run around the hotel rooms at night when I could supervise him closely and I'd bring his box out of his cage. He would always hop right in to do his business no matter where it was placed.

Sometimes we improvised with his enclosure

Are we there yet?

The hardest thing to choreograph was our own sightseeing. I didn't want to leave Mario in the car for hours as we saw the sights. So we had to plan it so that in areas that there was a lot to see, we stayed overnight so Mario could be in the hotel room. The only place we couldn't work this was at the Grand Canyon. In certain states it was actually quite chilly in September so if we had to leave him in the car for a little bit while we ate lunch I wasn't too worried. But in Arizona it was hot and not the weather to leave him stuck in the car. So Mario went into his special carrier and got to see the Grand Canyon.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Encounters of the Squirrel Kind

Archive photo of NYC squirrel (not actual squirrel from following story)

Today Boyfriend and I went on a 15 mile bike ride.  Yes, I'm still pittering around at 15 miles.  But, this was the first time I've ridden outside since my duathlon so it was a nice challenge to tackle some rolling hills.  I still don't feel my inner-cyclist calling, but I'm working on it.  

At about mile 11, Boyfriend was in the lead (or more like, slowly pulling away into the distance since I'm so slow).  I saw some sort of furry flurry over to the right, and before I knew what hit me, a squirrel tried to dart into the street and bounced off my front tire.  I hardly felt a thing but I don't think I can say the same for the poor squirrel.  I turned around and saw him scampering up an embankment, so at least he was alive.  Another cyclist shortly passed me and said "Hello," with a slight laugh in his voice.  I wanted to yell, "Did you see that freakin' squirrel?!"  I called to Boyfriend but he was too far ahead so I had to contain my story for another couple of miles.  

Running into or over wildlife is certainly something I worry about when out cycling.  I'm glad to say my first encounter went off without major injury to either party.  I don't know how common hitting squirrels is, but hopefully it won't become a frequent thing.  I've seen some pretty gnarly photos of squirrels wedged in the spokes of people's tires and I don't think those encounters went well for squirrel or human.

I hope Mr. Squirrel feels okay in the morning.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Mango Days

Wow! Where to start? I went back home to Hawaii for a little less than 5 days to celebrate my Mom's 60th birthday and my Grandma's 88th birthday. A lot of family stuff jammed in, but I really enjoyed it.

My parents live in a planned community that has seven recreation centers with pools. When we were little kids we'd go quite often to these pools, but I hadn't been in one of them since mid-high school over ten years ago. My dad looked into it and found out it's still very affordable. Only $6.50 for a whole YEAR! I'm paying $4 a VISIT here in San Francisco to the local pool. Fine, I know my parents pay association fees that go towards the maintenance of these pools, but come on! I'm feeling ripped off here in San Francisco. So I skipped my swim workout here in SF on Tuesday and instead swam 3 times this past weekend.

I went back to the rec center we most frequently visited when I was a kid. So it has to be minimum 25+ years old. I was happy to find they recently retiled it! They even had the hawaiian turtles like these,

tiled into the pool bottom which was a nice surprise the first time I looked down. I went during lap swim hours and it was so peaceful. For one, it's an outdoor pool and the water felt so warm from the sun. Two, there was hardly anyone there! Once I had the 5 lane pool to myself with just one other person, another time two other people, and the most was three other people. Sure beats swimming around all the kids at the SF pool who bob up and down at the ends even during "lap" swimming! At the end of my weekend I felt really good in the water. I probably need to be swimming more than the 2x/week I'm doing in SF, but at $4/pop I'm hesitant. I'm going back to Hawaii in September for a wedding so will get to utilize my pool card at least once more before the year is up.

My mom has been a walker for many years. About three years ago she started mixing it up by running when she was out on her walks. She started off with one block, then went to two. Recently she told me she was up to 2 miles(!) which really impressed me. My parents have never been to a road race that I was running in. I thought it would be fun to enter my Mom and I in a 5K for her birthday present. I told her I'd stay with her the entire time.

What luck, a local 5K the weekend I'd be home!

I expected her to do a walk/run routine to get through the 3.1 miles. She trained extra hard for a week and got up to running 3 miles. And I was so impressed when we ran the entire distance (except for one walk through the water stop)! She calls her pace "Senior Chugging." She was worried she would come in dead last, but I assured here there would be someone who was going to walk the whole thing. She joked she'd probably be last in her age group and I laughed and said, "You probably won't be last in your age group, but I might be!" Turns out, we both weren't last in our age groups (I came pretty close to it, though). My slowest 5K ever, but it will probably be my most memorable.

My mom on the left and me on the right (disregard man in white)

The race was aptly named, "Mango Days." Mangoes from Hawaii are the BEST THINGS EVER. I've had mangoes in the UK, mangoes in NYC, and mangoes here in CA and they are nothing like ones from Hawaii. I've had very bad luck with getting back home during mango season. The last few years the crop has been bad, there's been some insect that burrows into the fruits, or I get home at the tail-end of the season and all my mom's got is one overripe mango in the fridge. But this year, oh this year was special because there was a never ending supply of perfectly ripe mangos. I was in heaven.

I had a tough time running in Hawaii. I'd get an early start at 6 am, but it was still either very humid or very hot. I know I'd acclimate if I ever moved back home, but give me San Francisco weather any day!

Today I hit up the San Francisco Marathon expo (even though I'm not running it). I was in Running Skirt heaven. I also got a cute shirt from Running Divas that says, "Runalicious" on it. I may even go back tomorrow for more shopping. Please stop me.

Oh, and to answer the question posed: No, Mario did not get to come to Hawaii. Rabies does not exist in Hawaii and there are very strict rules about bringing animals into the Islands. Mario and Boyfriend hung out together during the weekend. I hear they had fun involving an action flick, beer, and carrots. Bachelor fun.