SELF ESTEEM IS YOUR ISSUE

In a particular running group in Facebook this week, there are a lot of slower runners. I’m a slower runner myself, that’s why I joined a while ago. But there are two particular themes that remains constant and they are how much many of them resent faster runners and why don’t they get respect.

I try to set an example and if that doesn’t work, I explain how things work for me.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”

Not only does comparison suck all the wonderful feelings out of a person, but it is an outward sign of poor self esteem. Instead of trying to deal with our own lack of faith and love in ourselves, we lash out at those around us.

We’ve been running a few miles and it’s been really hard. We’re struggling, breathing hard, we look like a sopping, near-death possum. And then, a thin, beautiful and young blond springs past us, lightening fast, making us look like we’re not moving. The emotional, thoughtless thing would be to get annoyed. “Dammit, why is she so fast??” We growl and we either give up, because, what’s the use, we suck, or we finish our run, unimpressed with the terrific run we just accomplished.

See how we just stole the happiness we could have flourished in for the next few hours? The attitude of resenting those faster ones who pass us builds and builds and adds bitterness to our personality. I know about bitterness and resentment. I had a lot of this in year’s past and it does seep into other areas of our lives and we don’t even know it’s happening.

It takes work to make sure we don’t do this. And did any of those who sneered at the faster runners ever try to ask them what they did to get faster? Or did they just put out bad vibes?

Again, it’s all in our attitudes. To get respect, we need to show respect. If we want others to take us seriously, we have to act like we deserve it. Make friends with other runners of all paces. Stop treating faster runners as if they’re the enemy. Most runners in San Francisco are way faster than I am. If I resented them all, I’d never leave my apartment.

Have faith and most important, LOVE in yourself. Tell yourself how wonderful and great you are! Because you really are.

 

 

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SAN FRANCISCO HOT CHOCOLATE 15k 2019

The San Francisco Hot Chocolate 15k race has been a fixture in my race schedule for six years. There was never a thought or question that I would do it, I just did. And I loved it. Every year, until this year.

I gave myself a few days to chill and think about everything before I wrote.

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It was a beautiful day at the beach!

Over the last few months, I believe I have grown out of enjoying gigantic races. Much like super large concerts, I don’t enjoy being in the center of a packed crowd of thousands like I did many years ago. I could tolerate Hot Chocolate, though, because it was one of the better organized and properly produced big races there are.

When I ran it in past years, the pace corrals were policed and slow people who shouldn’t be in the very front usually we not. The melee of the start was difficult, but not frustrating. It was okay. But all that changed this year.

It started to go to seed when there was absolutely NO policing of the corrals. I was in Corral L, a middle of the pack pace one, but I noticed that it as filled with M and N participants. Walkers were only allowed in Corral N, yet they were everywhere they should not have been. I watched many walking up to the I and H Corrals. Come on! They’re marked for a reason.

And of course, when the race started, with all these walkers, it created the nastiest, most dangerous bottleneck I’ve ever experienced. Walkers, in rows (somehow, walkers are always in rows of 2,3,4 and more), caused some runners to yell at them. And frankly, I don’t blame them one bit. Someone could have crashed right into those walkers, or tripped. Or, like me, pushed. I stopped running abruptly because if I hadn’t, I would have crashed into a row of three walkers. I did yell at that person. I’ve never been pushed before, ever in a race!

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The Hot Chocolate medal is sweet! 

After the first couple of miles, things sorted themselves out and I took my time, going a little slowly than normal. My legs were still tired from the last weekend’s ultra. The weather was beautiful and the ocean views along the Great Highway were amazing.

The only other problem with the race I’ll address here is that I’ve never seen so much cheating (besides going into a pace corral faster than you run or walk). Honestly, downright cheaters outright skipping parts of the course. I reported to the race directors and Marathon Investigates, but I’m not sure anything can be done about them. I didn’t get any pictures as I was running. It’s just another sign that I’ve grown out of this kind of race anymore.

Even with the rain, wind and cold. Even with the toughness of it, I had way more fun at San Francisco One Day the weekend previously.

I’m doing one more road half marathon and then I’m retiring from road races. It’s been fun, Hot Chocolate, but our time together is done.

Keep Moving Forward!

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Nuun is my favorite for hydration and keeping electrolytes steady!

 

 

SF NEW YEAR’S ONE DAY

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Not a bad view for a few hours!

On a blustery, windy and cold day, I finished my first ultra. Finally. After a disappointing Skyline to the Sea race in October, which was to be my first 50k, I am now able to say I’ve run an ultra. I ran 30 miles in 9 hours at the San Francisco New Year’s One Day race this past Saturday, January 5th, 2019.

Last October, I overestimated how difficult the Skyline to the Sea course would be. I missed the halfway cutoff and settled for a marathon finish. Which was fine. It was a difficult race and I’m glad I did it. People tried to tell me how hard it would be. Of course, I didn’t listen, I rarely do, unless you hit me upside the head with the proverbial two by four, I’m not going to get it. After that technical and trying trail race, I understood.

So, I was determined to finish an ultra as soon as I could. Last year, I had volunteered at the SF New Year’s One Day and that was a lot of fun. It was directly on NYE then, so we not only provided snacks and food, but passed out bubbly at the strike of midnight.

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My hydration for the day

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area management has changed this year and from what I hear, the new guy is not a runner, so it was nearly impossible to get a permit, thus the date change. A smaller crowd participated this year, but as usual, it was a friendly, energetic and excited one. I was nervous, but promised myself that no matter what, I would finish at least an ultra distance. Coastal Trail Runs is the local running company sponsoring the event every year. They do a great job and once again, they didn’t fail to provide a wonderful race. I met up with many friends and made some new ones.

We runners can have fun in the wind and rain! And we did!

The race started at 9am, which about 50 or so of us starting either 24, 12 or 6 hours. I chose the 12 hours. We began going counter clockwise, but once one loop was completed, we could go whichever direction we wanted. After a few times, I switched directions, but found the original direction my favorite, so I did more loops that way.

The rain would start suddenly, sprinkling lightly and then sometimes would blast in a massive downpour. It was really bad at one point in the race. The rain was nearly horizontal with the wind shoving it into our faces. It was then when I knew my shoes and socks would never get any wetter. The good part was that I didn’t have to avoid the puddles any longer. I ran in wet feet for about two hours. Even though the rain stopped for a bit, the wind didn’t until nightfall. It was wildly windy all day.

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At a high energy moment – haha!

After many hours, my legs had nearly given out. I knew I was undertrained. Let’s face it, with the smoke from the wild fires forcing my training to a near halt and then my nasal infection, I couldn’t get all the running miles I wanted to, so I had looked forward to a lot of walking later on in the day. And that was fine. At about my 6th hour, I started walking more than running and stopped at the aide station and had a small cup of chili. It was so delicious! It kept me warm for an hour!

At hour 7 it hadn’t rained for a while, so I changed to my second pair of shoes and socks and my feet thanked me. That kept me going for two more hours. By a bit after the 9th hour, I reached Mile 30 and I was done. Toast! Baked! Done.

And I was happy for it.

But here’s a few things I learned. My feet swell a lot after the long miles. That’s probably why I lost my big toenails at Skyline to the Sea. Next time I buy shoes, I’ll go up a half size. I’m new to the ultra stuff, I learn things every day. I also learned I’m not hungry after really long races. I don’t mind eating something small, but I don’t have the appetite for anything big. I have a huge appetite after small races, like half marathons. Then, I can eat a horse, but 30 miles, nope. I had a small slice of pizza and that was all I wanted. And the last thing I realized is that I don’t sleep well after long races. I didn’t really learn this, but I remembered this from previously. I stay hyped up and can’t relax.

It’s a learned curve. I’ll get better at this as I go along.

I’m proud of myself, I’m happy of my effort and I know that I’ll be better ready and prepared before my next ultra, the Gateway 50k at Mt Shasta in June. I cannot wait!

Keep Moving Forward!

 

Happy 2019, SEE YA LATER 2018

2018 has been one big disappointment. I wrote earlier how nearly everything I planned crashed and burned. Sure, a few things worked out. My 37k Ridge trail race was great, and turned out to be the best race of the year for me. Another stand out was June’s One Day San Francisco 6 hour endurance race, where I finished first in my age group (out of one person, haha!). Even so, it’s the only age group medal I’ve ever earned.

But it’s nearly over, thank goodness. My experience is when it is really bad, as it had been, it’s followed by very good times. So, I look forward to some awesomeness in the new year.

I have a few goals for 2019. They are the following:

  • I will lose the weight I wanted to lose in 2018. I didn’t quite understand how difficult weight loss is low that I’m older. But I’m ready for the challenge.
  • I will do my first, second and third ultra races in 2019.
  • I will go on my first out of town vacation in years in 2019. It is one I’m really looking forward to, where I’ll run a 50k at the foot of Mt. Shasta!
  • Most importantly, 2019 will be more fun. I guarantee that!

I don’t expect instant magic when January 1st is here, but I do believe that the change in a calendar year creates a change in attitude enough to help bring about some good positive changes in my life.

I hope that 2019 is also a great year for all of you!

Happy New Year! Keep Moving Forward!

 

 

Solstice Reflections

December 21st or close to it, is the darkest day of the year. The chill is in the year and as animals, we humans feel the need to hibernate and eat and I’m not exception. I’ve been in a funk since getting over my illness. I’ve been eating too much and not running as much as I should.

During my many non-running hours, I’ve been thinking about the year passed. 2018 has not been an easy year. Nor has it been the year I wish it to be. If someone asks me to describe 2018 in one word, I would say: disappointing.

The week before last someone stole my wallet. This was on the public bus I take all nearly every day. It was frightening and devastating. I didn’t lose that much, a few dollars, a couple debit cards and my driver’s license. So, I had to spend nearly an entire day at the DMV to get a replacement one.

I didn’t lose the weight I wanted to lose. I never realized just how difficult it would be to get the weight off in my late 50s. I will do it, but it will take a lot more work. My biggest disappointment was failing to complete my first 50k. Others around me finished theirs, but not me. I felt really bad. It definitely deflated me. But, I picked myself back up and I kept going as I always do. I will get my first ultra in 2019 instead.

In my next post, I’ll wright my goals for the new year.

Cheers!

 

 

GET THROUGH THE VALLEYS….

Peaks and valleys are part of life. It seems that my life has been a lot more valleys than peaks over the last few months. First the smoke from the horrible wildfires hit us in Bay Area in early November. That pretty much stopped my training for a few weeks.

Not only that, but I developed a sinus infection from all that smoke. So, I was sick over Thanksgiving. I still ran the Turkey Trot, as I always do. But, life sucked for a few days.

Once I got back into, I realized I was about 10 pounds heavier and felt like a fat slug. That didn’t stop my need to train, so I ran and went to the gym.

But then, last Thursday, someone stole my wallet. I was pickpocketed on the bus I always take! ARGH!!!!!!!! More valley pits!!!

I still got a long run of 15 miles in Sunday. My 12 hour race is going to be ugly with lots of walking. I’m hoping with all this nonsense in 2018, that 2019 is going to be great! I’m ready for some peaks!!!

Until then, I keep stepping towards those goals. I will write about my goals in my next post!

Keep Moving Forward!

 

Down – Temporarily

So, I’ve been sick. Due to the horrendous smoke engulfing most of Northern California up until Thanksgiving, I developed a sinus infection. It knocked me out for a week. I rarely get sick and I even more rarely get secondary infections, and this one was a monster.

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Smoke everywhere

Right at the time when my training should have been revving up, I was reduced to a coughing pile of tissues, or so it felt as if that’s what I was.

I did run the San Francisco Turkey Trot, as I do every year. It was probably the slowest time ever, but I was glad I did it. I love this race and I’ll do it again next year. In fact, it will be my first year in a new age group (60!!!), so I might just train for it.

I’m feeling better now, and even though I’m far from being ready for my January 5th 12-hour endurance race, I’ll run Sunday and return to my training. I know that even if I don’t have the stamina to run for as much of the 12 hours as I’d like, I can always walk part of the time. The important part is to keep moving.

 

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Lowell High School Marching Band at the SF Turkey Trot

I have renewed energy and drive to not only make 2019 a great year, but to end this very disappointing, and yes, sucky 2018 year!

In my next blog, I’ll post my wrap-up of 2018 and my thoughts of the year ahead!

 

Keep Moving Forward!

Changing Goals

This past weekend was the NYC Marathon. It’s one of the biggest and most celebrated road races in the world. At one point, it was a race I wanted to do at least once in my life. At over $350, it’s also one of the most expensive. Add in travel, hotel and food and you get the picture. A lot of people spent thousands to participate.

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The Headlands overlooking Mt Tamalpais

Times change and my idea of what an idea or “bucket list” race has as well. Now, I have no desire to be part of a herd of thousands in a street race. I’m not even sure how many more road races I’ll do in my life. Two or three maybe, maybe less, who knows? I don’t appreciate being crowded into a corral with people I don’t know, waiting in endless line after endless line and spending tons of money to have the pleasure of doing so.

Why would I? I can have a lot more fun and see so much more beauty and natural scenery doing trail races for much less.

So, over 2019, I’ll work towards my big goal of running at least ONE 100-miler, which I’ll do in 2020. Next year, will be a building year, where I work on 50ks on up. I start the year off with a 12-hour endurance race, just like the 6-hour one I did in June, then a 50k in the Mt Shasta area, and I’ll redo the Skyline to the Sea 50k, but this time, make the cutoff and finish it as a 50k, not a marathon.

This year has been a year of figuring how where I need to start with my trail running, next year will be one to see just how far I can take it. I’m ready to push my boundaries.

Keep Moving Forward!

 

 

Skyline to the Sea

There are times when we know the exact second our lives have changed, when everything truly transforms. There are experiences we all have when afterwards, we know that things will never be as it was. The Skyline to the Sea is one of those times. It was to be my first 50k, but that was not to be. And that’s perfectly fine.

My first 50k was going to be the Skyline to the Sea 50k, a challenging race from Big Basin State park to the Pacific Ocean. It’s a beautiful course and I completely underestimated how difficult it is.

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One of the few flat surfaced trail areas of the race!

The first five miles or so all was good. I maintained a good pace and thought that if things keep up like this, I’ll do great reaching the first cutoff at Gazos Creek Aide Station with plenty of time. If I did not reach the first cutoff in 4 hours, I would not be able to do the 50k and would have to instead run a marathon. But of course, things didn’t go smooth and wonderful, things never do on long races, something will always go differently than what we thought.

And just a couple miles later, there were a few people standing on the trail and in the distance I heard a buzzing sound. Uh oh. A yellow jacket nest! All the pounding runner’s feet stirred it up and they were angry! Lots of runners got bit. We chose to climb up the grade of the hill to the highway and climb back down, away from the nest. That cost a lot of time, but I didn’t want to get bit!

And then I started having GI problems. I had used the half dose amount of Tailwind previously and it worked out find. But not today. I felt nauseous for miles six through 15. It was bad enough that the food I brought with me, gummies and pretzels to get through when there were no aide stations, only made it worse. I was hoping there would be a bathroom at Gazos Creek, because I would have a huge problem if there wasn’t. Thankfully I made it to the park restroom in time and after eating some chips at the aide station, it was better.

But my hopes of my first 50k was gone. At that point I knew I would have never made it to the end even if they had let me through to the extra segment to make the 50k. (The 50k distance has an extra loop, with a very tough, steep hill.)

I accepted it and focused on making the final cutoff. There were a few others who also didn’t make the first cutoff, but, as far as I could tell, they didn’t make it to the end.

So much of this course is difficult. It includes climbing over boulders, crossing treacherous bridges and maneuvering root-laden trails where the roots seem to reach out and grab ankles. But it is spectacularly, magnificently beautiful. So much so I wanted to stop and breathe it all in. But I couldn’t. I had to keep moving, I had to make the finish in 9 hours.

Parts of my body revolted on me. My big toes, who seemed happy during my long training runs were in dire pain. My quads were tired and I stretched my back muscles to make sure I wasn’t slumping over. I was refreshingly surprised though that I had zero paid from my right IT band! Yippee!! All the work I’ve done in the gym did the trick! But other parts of my body hurt and I was tired! So….tired….

I kept going and made it to the end in around 8 hours and 20 minutes, well under the cutoff. But I also would have never made it if I had done the 50k. So, it’s a good thing that I only did the marathon and this race served to help me understand that I have more work to do than I thought.

The sounds of cowbells and cheers greeted me as I crossed the finish line. The wonderful people I knew and new friends I made were there and I was tired and happy. Pacific Coast Trail Runs always do great races. I thank my friend Michael for his support and getting me there.

And I look forward to doing the hard stuff. As long as I keep going, it will work out.

Keep moving forward!

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Two Weeks’ Worth

I was going to write about the fall I took a couple weeks ago. But somehow, I kept putting off. The words wouldn’t come out. It was officially the worst trail run I’ve ever had. I will tell you about it as I catch up on my runs of the last two weeks.

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A trail in Tilden Park

That Sunday, I was supposed to run 22 miles, my second longest run before my first 50k. I have one more long run of 26 miles three weeks before my 50k. I went out to the Headlands early and started running at 7:00am. It was a beautiful morning, nice and cool.

At Mile Seven, I took the Coastal Trail to Tennessee Valley Road. I had never taken this part of the Coastal Trail before. I didn’t realize just how steep it was. I traded carefully, taking my time going down, mostly stepping sideways, all the way down. I was so proud of myself making it all the way down safely that I stopped thinking about watching my footing when it happened.

I didn’t see that little rock jutting out on the trail. THUMP! Down I went! Head first! Into the dirt! The first seconds laying in the dirt, I assessed the damage. Nose broken, nope, any missing, loose teeth, all good, bleeding chin, gotta deal with that, forehead hurts. I lifted myself from the dirt, arms in pain, knees scratched up and was immediately thankful nothing was twisted or broken. At least I was close to the big Tennessee valley Trail. And I had a full bottle of plain water. I was sore and it hurt to walk, but I could walk, because I had a long ways to go to the bus stop. If there had been coverage there, I would have just ordered Lyft, but no signal. So, it was a long six miles.

Walking that far turned out to be a good thing. I started out furious that I fell. Furious that I couldn’t finish my run. Furious that I couldn’t afford a car. Furious that not one single person asked if I was ok. Mad at the world, I was.

By the time I got to the Golden Gate stop, I was tired and not quite as upset as I was. I had a lot of time to think. Falls happen, right? Everyone falls, not just me. And I’m ok. So, I’ll go with that.

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Scratched up legs!

I still needed to get miles in, so this past week, I had two back to back runs, totaling 18 miles. I hope it’s good enough. Saturday, I enjoyed a trail run in Tilden Park in the East Bay. It was warm, which I like, and the trails were hard, but a lot of fun. This is a top-notch park that fills many acres which hundreds of miles of trails. I’m never bored running there. Even without a car, it’s easy to get to as well on public transportation.

On Sunday, I stuck to a road run, going from Downtown to Golden Gate Park, via the Presidio. It was the perfect length. I’d never ran two long runs in a row and I have to saw that it wasn’t easy. My legs and hips were both tired. It was fun though!

In between, I got some good runs around the city, and am enjoying our lovely warm, late summer weather.

Sometimes running is really hard and it hurts. Sometimes, it’s wonderful and glorious and everything I want it to be. My scratches and bruises from my fall are near gone, but just like the old saying, I am stronger and more determined to reach my goals.

Keep Moving Forward!