Monday, January 12, 2009

Monday Mario

Cover Boy

When I went to Africa a few years ago I bought a camera with a lot of optical zoom so I could take photos of the animals.  I thought about buying a digital SLR but the cost was a bit much to swallow, plus in addition to the camera I'd have to buy a zoom lens that cost about as much as the camera.  So I went with this sort of better-than-the-typical-point-and-shoot camera.  I haven't used it much since my trip because it's pretty big and the rechargeable batteries have really gone downhill.  But I recently got both the camera and the manual out and am hoping to use it more to take photos.  The zoom is great for getting Mario shots from across the room (so long as the lighting is okay).  I have this new saying, "If you want Mario to stop doing something, just point a camera at him."  A lot of times he'll be doing something adorable but gets really camera shy once I get it out and ready.  Maybe this will help with that.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Audrey tagged me so here I go...

4 Favorite Memories from 2008:
1.  Running a 5K with my mom
2.  Going home to Hawaii for both of my parents' 60th birthdays and my Grandma's 88th
3.  Having Boyfriend with me at Goofy
4.  Having my parents at the R'n'R San Jose Half Marathon

4 Favorite Movies watched in 2008:
1.  Spirit of the Marathon
2.  P.S. I Love You
3.  Wall - E
4.  Iron Man

4 Favorite Foods in 2008:
1.  Cheese expresso burrito from El Burrito Express (YUM!)
2.  Boyfriend's uber-delicious pasta (had it for dinner tonight!)
3.  Trader Joe's whole wheat spaghetti, tomato & basil marinara sauce, and pecorino romano cheese
4.  Cold Stone cake batter ice cream with cookie dough and graham cracker pie crust mix-ins

4 Places I Loved in 2008:
1.  My parents' house
2.  Disney World
3.  Golden Gate Park
4.  Monterey

4 Events I Loved in 2008:
1.  Disney Goofy's Challenge
2.  Napa Valley Marathon (PR!)
3.  See #2 above in favorite memories
4.  any plane ride that took me west across the Pacific

4 Things I Liked in 2008:
1.  my iMac!
2.  running skirts
3.  blogging & bloggers
4.  podcasts

4 Things I am Looking Forward to in 2009:
1.  Signing up for Goofy 2010 (tomorrow!)
2.  Running healthy
3.  Connecting with more runners
4.  Christmas (okay, copied Audrey but it's true!)

2 People I Tag (everyone's been tagged!):
1.  Marci

Friday, January 9, 2009

Happy 4 Year Marathonniversary!

This morning as I dressed for my first post-shinasco HALLELUJAH! 8 miler I was thinking about a race in Orlando this weekend.  This coming Sunday is the Disney Marathon.  As I was looking at my running shirts deciding what to wear, I thought that on my Sunday run I should wear one of my Disney race shirts to show solidarity with my favorite marathon.  That's when I got to thinking how I did my first marathon at Disney in 2005.  On what day was the '05 marathon held?  I think the 9th?  What day is it today (run to find a calendar)?  Well what do you know?!  It's been four year's exactly since I first became a marathoner.  So I donned my 2005 Disney Marathon race shirt for today's run (see above).

When I was training for Disney '05 I was out on a 20+ mile training run.  In Central Park around Harlem Hill a man came up on my right and said, "Are you doing a long run today?"  I was obviously not out for a quick 3 mile run because I had a fully-loaded 4 bottle Fuel Belt and two gu's dangling from my waistband.  The man's name was Dave. He was clearly well-known as many runners would say hello to him as we passed.  He told me how he had run 29 consecutive NYC Marathons.  If I remember correctly he could have had one or two more but one of the early years he ran the race it was raining, the going got tough and he ended up with a DNF (and got a ride in a golf cart off the course with none other than Fred Lebow). 

We chatted a lot about races and training.  Realizing I was clearly in the company of a veteran long distance runner I asked him if he had any advice for me and my upcoming first marathon.  I thought he was going to give me some sort of nutrition or pacing tip.  Instead, he said this:  "Keep a journal leading up to and through your first marathon.  There's nothing like your first marathon and you're going to want to remember it."  We probably ran about 7 miles together before parting ways (incidentally a couple of years later he struck up a conversation with me again in Central Park as I was running-- I remembered him but I don't think he remembered me.  He must be very chatty with runners in the park).

I dug out the race report I wrote 4 years ago.  Here's a short excerpt:
"I'm proud of myself.  But really, no more proud than I was when I did my first 5K, 10K, 1/2 marathon...I'm hooked.  I can finally say it -- I am a runner!"

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Cue Vince Guaraldi Music

Our Sunday trip up to Healdsburg was lots of fun.  We had a great lunch at a little deli in a bookstore and walked around enjoying the shops.  On the way home we stopped by the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa.  I am a sucker for things like this that take you back to your childhood (hence all the Disney races). 

Mural made up of comic strips

My left hip was really bothering me as we walked around on Sunday.  That night I sort of manipulated my leg this way and that trying to figure out what was actually sore. Ever since I did that, it's been much better.  I almost feel like maybe there was a pinched nerve somewhere that got released.  It's not 100% yet but definitely much, much better.  I managed 4 miles Monday and 5 miles today.

This morning I finished "Now You See Him."  You know how some movies have such an intense revelation at the end that you feel compelled to watch the movie again right away so that you can analyze the whole thing under the light of someone privy to this secret?  Well, that's the way this book made me feel.  I plan to reread it again before returning it to the library.   I'm a little over 100 pages into the Switzer book as well and so far I'm enjoying it a lot.

On my urgent to-do list the next couple of days is to peg down a marathon training plan for Big Sur.  I've realized I'm about 16 weeks away from the race.  Seeing how I usually do 16 week training programs, this means I should already be following a plan of some sort.  I haven't yet decided how much speed training I'm going to do for Big Sur.  My reason for choosing it was I figured I'd concentrate on base endurance so that I could have that back in place before commencing speed-specific training after the marathon.  But that said, even if I don't plan to PR in this race I want to be prepared for the hills.  This means hill training and some speed work would be beneficial.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Monday Mario

So Mario's gift (which took almost a month to get here) was this:

A Christmas sock filled with toys and treats.  I also got him two new mats for traction in his cage.

Mario is a little fickle when it comes to bunny toys.  I'm pretty sure one or two of them will get hardly any action.  But he seemed at least a little interested in most of it for part of the night.  I was a little sad that one of the two treats included was craisins.  I've got a huge bag of craisins at home.  Usually Bunny Bytes includes two special baked treats which Mario loves.

I gave him a piece of the baked treat.  Mario ran around with it in his mouth for literally 2-3 minutes before settling on a place to eat it.  Usually when he runs around with something in his mouth like that, it means he really likes it.  But the run-around went on longer than usual and I actually got worried maybe his tooth was stuck in it!  But no, he just hadn't decided where was a safe place to chow down.

He eyes me suspiciously.  Front end one way, hind end the other -- which way to go?!  

Merry (belated) Christmas!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Other Updates & 2009 Injury

I think that RG brought up a good point about my last post.  I didn't really go into goals for 2009 in great detail.  Speed and smart training are definitely things I want to work on.  I'm the type of person who runs the same pace whether I'm running 2 miles or 20.  I realized a long time ago this meant I was running my long runs too fast or my short runs too slow.  I have tried a few training plans which incorporated runs of varying speeds in the past.  I did see an improvement in my paces but I also usually get injured.  So I need to learn to tweak the program a bit to better suit my body.

After my 7 miler on Friday I developed a strange pain on my left leg.  It's located below my hip deep in the tissue.  I had the same thing in the same spot about 3.5 years ago.  If I remember correctly it was worrisome for a few days then disappeared pretty quickly.  I believe I did run through it when it happened before.  Yesterday was a day off from running and I've decided to give it one more day off.  So I nixed my plans to join the group run today.  It's a strange pain because I can't pinpoint where exactly it's located and can't massage anything that comes up painful.  Hopefully it will be better soon.  So yes, I've managed to injure myself 2 days into 2009.

In other running related news I did register for the Big Sur Marathon recently!  So that one is official.  I also already booked a dirt-cheap hotel since most of the places to stay in the area are pretty pricey.  I'm not so picky when it comes to hotels so I'd rather not pay an arm and a leg.

I am still thinking a bit about my 2009 race schedule.  I forgot to make up my mind about the San Francisco Marathon before the 01/01/09 price increase.  I was planning to ruminate on the idea New Year's Eve but the day was totally jam packed with activities.  It wasn't until I woke up on New Year's Day I realized I had totally forgotten about it.  So I've got some more time to think about SFM.

I finished "Bee Season" which was a pretty good read.  I picked up "Now You See Him" as my next read from the library.  I also got "Marathon Woman" by Kathrine Switzer.  I was about to buy the Switzer book on Amazon before I thought to check the library first.  Tax dollars at work!

Boyfriend and I are planning a day trip up to Healdsburg today.  I hope it stays sunny!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Welcome, 2009!

Happy New Year to everyone!

2008 Running Recap:
I spent my last run of 2008 with some new friends which is a great way to finish up the year.  Yay!  I'm looking forward to more of the same in the future.

I closed off the year with 1102 miles run.  This is way off my initial goal of 1500 but I can thank some sprained ankles and shin splints for that.  

You can see the glorious dip in Aug/Sept from my crunched shin and the slow recovery of mileage ever since.  The dip in March/April reflects a little bit of laziness post-two marathons in 6 weeks and also letting my sprained ankle heal (which I continued training on, and ran those two marathons on).  I finished three half marathons in 7 weeks while I had shin splints.  I do not recommend this to anyone.  Reading this now, I believe this whole paragraph highlights that I was a bit of a hardheaded stupid runner this year.

I set a marathon PR this year of 4:35 six weeks after completing the Goofy Challenge.  With my various injuries I wasn't able to attempt to break two hours in the half this year as I had planned.

I bought a bike and decided to complete a triathlon this year.  I swam a continuous mile for the second time in my life while training for the tri.  I also decided I am probably not destined to be either a cyclist, triathlete or open water swimmer.  Deep inside I am just a runner.

I got a running skirt this year.  And then I got addicted.  I haven't run in shorts since July, I think.

I started this blog and have had so much fun connecting with other runners & rabbit owners.  I was a longtime blog reader/lurker and it's so much more fun to have "conversations" with people.

Looking to 2009:
I mentioned before that I didn't think ambitious mileage goals were good for me.  I didn't learn my lesson and decided to set a more conservative goal for 2009.  So I'm aiming for 1300 miles this year.  Basically the goal is to keep my running consistent through the year.  This is by no means an "A-goal" and I am going to abandon it if I feel I'm running through pain.  So really this is a fancy way of saying I hope 2009 is an injury-free, run consistent year!

I haven't decided whether or not I'm going to try to PR in the marathon this year.  I am tinkering with the idea of doing CIM in December in which case I will.  Otherwise, the races I am looking at are more enjoy-the-roses type courses.  I am definitely hoping to PR in the half this year.  I signed up for the San Jose Half again before I had even run it this year.  So right now that will be the target half PR attempt race.

I didn't get out for a run yesterday to start off the new year.  I was hoping to do 7 miles today.   I woke up this morning and it was raining.  I've had a little bit of a cold since Saturday.  It was never really that bad and I've been on the mend since Monday.  But this morning I felt a little more congested than I had been the last two days.  I gave myself permission to cut back the run to 5 miles.  But I did pack enough tunes and fuel for 7 miles just in case.  Once I got going I decided pretty early on to go for at least 6 miles.  By about the halfway point I decided to just do 7.  I felt a little out of breath on some of the hills but overall it was not bad.  So 7.1 miles today to start off 2009!

Oh, and I finally got Mario's Christmas present today!  I'll try to get some pictures and will post them Monday.  I was just about to take down the tree yesterday but remembered I had to wait for him to have his photo-op.