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UNTIL WE MEET ON THE TRAIL…

The running community lost a great one yesterday. Kelvin Reid is a well-known fixture in the trail and ultra running world. He logged thousands of miles, all while smiling and sharing his positive radiance. I never met him in person, though I consider him a friend through our Facebook correspondences and love of running. Everyone who knew him, or knew of him, are heartbroken today.

Kelvin suffered from ALS and even through the horrendous suffering, he maintained his trademarked sense of humor and optimism. Like always, his loving wife and running partner Jess was by his side. She is also a running warrior, strong through and through.

This article in Ultrarunner was just released today and I wanted to share it with you. May you always find the trails you so dearly loved, Ultra Cowboy, we miss you, Kelvin.

https://ultrarunning.com/featured/facing-lifes-battles/

 

Keep Moving Forward!

 

 

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Bay to Breakers 2018

It’s been a long time since I ran those 12 kilometers across San Francisco. Since the 1990s, although I can’t give you the exact year. It’s all a bit blurry. Back then, I ran it every year. It was A LOT smaller then. In the 80s when I started running, there were about 20,000 runners, most did run, there were few walkers, and we ran to Ocean Beach and partied our butts off at the Polo Fields. The beer trucks offered unlimited free beer for all, as well as food samples. We’d be passed out by noon. It was quite the party!

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Waiting for the beginning

Then it got too big. I remember the last time doing it, over 80,000 participated. That was when the walkers and non-runners started joining in. There were too many problems with drunks and the race had to change.

So, the race directors put a stop to a few things. There used to be floats, those were banned. The floats at the end of the race were gone (which were really fun and a huge part of the festivities), and they did their best to get rid of all visible alcohol, or as much as possible. The also cut the race back to 40,000 participants, most of whom are still walkers, or so it seemed today.

Hayes St Hill

Hayes St Hill (stock photo)

I have no problem with walkers, although today I really wished they had been honest about their pace and started in the Walkers Corral, but I got over it after running around a few thousand of them. At the beginning of the race, the walkers were blocking every area. They were all walking six, seven in a row on the left and right, everywhere. It was insane. But I realized that if I didn’t change my grumpiness about it, it would spoil the day for me, so I just took it in stride and kept running.

I decided to run it for nostalgia’s sake. I’m NOT a nostalgic person usually. I rarely look backwards as I’m too busy looking foward. I’m not the type of person who sighs, wistfully looking at how life used to be. That’s how you get old. And I refuse to get old. Nope, you stay young by constantly moving forwards, working towards a future, attainable, albeit challenging goal.

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This is what I ran for today! 

I had a good race today. For the first time, they offered an additional 3k along with a cool second medal, so I went for it. And it was my favorite part of the race, as most people doing this section were runners. I took everything in stride, laughed at the great costumes, ran away from the naked people (there were a few), and met some really nice people.

Even with one pit stop, my time was good. It was a productive day and I’m happy I did it. I won’t be doing it again, as it’s really a part of my past, but it holds a special place in my heart. San Francisco wouldn’t be right without the Bay to Breakers. It’s an amazing moving block party that can also be called a race. You should try it just once, but do it with an open mind and a great sense of humor. Costumes are optional but never a bad idea!

Keep Moving Forward!

 

 

ALL TRAIL WEEKEND

This past weekend, I spent part of each day on trails and it was magnificent.

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Part of my favorite trail in GGP

Right after work Friday, I zipped home, changed and headed out to Golden Gate Park.  The weather was great, sunny, but a bit breezy, so perfect for a trail run. I only get to run the trails in Golden Gate Park half the year. When it’s too dark after work, the park isn’t safe, so I run elsewhere, but when the sun is out, it’s near magical. I dashed through 3.5 miles worth along the north side of the park, from Stanyan Street to Ocean Beach. Afterwards, I watched the wind surfers having fun in those cold waves before heading home.

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Ocean Beach is always active!

Saturday night, I volunteered at a Pacific Coast Trail Runs Night Sweats, featuring a marathon, 15k and an 8k. All distances started and ended at night, meaning the runners had to navigate through steep inclines, declines and single tracks in darkness. It’s a challenging and fun course. My friend Michael and I manned an aide station at a turnaround point near the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge.

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Before the Night Sweats races

It was really chilly out when the sun set below the hills, so we huddled in Michael’s SUV watching the prepped tables, waiting for the runners. There were only a few marathoners, so they showed up one by one, with 5 to 10 minutes between each other.

The wait wasn’t boring, though, because the area hosts a number of different wild animals. At first, a racoon came to see what kind of food we had. I chased it away. Then a half-dozen foxes scampered though the area.  You have to figure there’s plenty of rodents to keep them healthy with all the goodies the tourists leave behind in the disposal bins. Then an hour or so after the foxes, the coyotes prowled around, curious over us. There were two of these. One was pretty big and he walked onto the parking lot as if he owned it.

Little flashes of headlights alerted us to upcoming runners on the trail above. They had to run down to us, where they’d get the nutrition they needed and head back up. Ours was the last aide station and then the runners had 6 more miles of trail left to the finish. It’s not an easy course in the day, let alone at night and several runners had fallen, but all seemed to be ok.

We stayed at the station until the sweepers came through, at about 1:30am and then headed back to San Francisco. I got to sleep around 3:00am.

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There are hundreds of trails in the Headlands

Waking up at 10:00am Sunday, I felt rested and ready for the day. It was going to be nice too. I waffled between just getting a run in the city or going back to the Headlands like I had planned. After all, it was late and I wasn’t sure if I could get ready in time to catch the bus. I went for it and got breakfast, coffee and changed, all in time to catch the special weekend MUNI bus that goes into the Headlands.

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View of Rodeo Beach from above

I ran a little over 6 miles and loved it all. It was a spectacular day in an enjoyable weekend. It is times like this that make me love running even more, if that’s possible. There’s no downside to running, at least none that I can think of at the moment.

Keep Moving Forward!

BE GOOD TO YOU

One of the great errs in our modern world is that everything is taken at the personal level. We get upset so easily and allow our emotions to take over our lives. This is easy to see in running when we’ve had a bad day and don’t feel like going for our run. Instead, we punish ourselves by eating or drinking too much. Or maybe we don’t think we’re very good and keep seeing faster runners zip by us.

The greatest mistake we can make is believing the negativity about ourselves. It doesn’t matter who tries to tear us down; strangers, work, family or even yourself. You have to learn to turn it off. The only difference if it’s coming from you is you have to teach yourself that you are worthy of great things.

Maybe no one told you that you deserve big and wonderful things. Running gives you the chance to prove them all wrong. But first, you have to believe it yourself. You have to tell yourself that you are worth all the good things life extolls.

If you don’t believe it, no one will. So even you don’t think it’s true, it is time to start being positive about yourself. Tell yourself when you rise in the morning, how much you matter in the world. And remind yourself how much you matter before you sleep.

If no one else has told you today, I will tell you: YOU MATTER

Now, go run and be good to yourself!

Keep Moving Forward!

HERE & NOW

Buffy

A great tragedy struck recently. Netflix didn’t get a new contract with Fox entertainment so they are cancelling Fox shows effective April 1st. This includes my favorite television show of all time, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. No shows has been able to show the angst, pains and loves of growing up quite as well as Buffy. Combining searing drama with humor and a little horror, plus even a musical episode, Buffy has been my favorite since its inception.

And now it’s going away…..

Because of its impending disappearance, I’ve been watching as many of the 7 seasons as I can. One reason why I loved this show so much is that it took time to bring out life’s problems and dealt with them in a very well-written, entertaining way, sometimes with vampires, other times with the Apocalypse or even worse. Yes, worse!

So, there was one episode I watched last night, “Normal Again” in Season 6, that really hit home. It was one where the evil trio of the time, Warren, Andrew and Jonathan created a demon who stung Buffy and made her think that her whole life was just her imagination and that she was really confined in a mental hospital. The demon made her think that everything that was real was false and that she should stay in the created world because the false one (the one with her friends in Sunnydale) was part of her sickness.

It would have been easy for Buffy to stay in the safe place, in her imagination. To stay with her mother and father (who in her imagination had not divorced but were happy together). It would have been simple to live in a comatose state, her brain thinking that the pretend world was real.

But she couldn’t. She had an evil to fight and had to find a way to reality.

We also have to fight our way to reality. It’s very easy to dream of what our lives might be like. I find myself doing this a lot, especially when things aren’t going so well, like now. I think of what my life would be like living in an area where I could hear birds singing from my apartment, or hey, having green grass to walk on, instead of hopping over dog poop. I dream of having enough money to pay my bills rather than choose between paying a bill and buying fresh produce. It is a challenge.

But the more we daydream and pull ourselves away from what we need to do, what we MUST do, the more we pull ourselves away from the Here & Now.

We must focus on what is to be done, today, right now, this very moment. If we can complete today’s tasks, then our tomorrow will be brighter. This is a fact!

Keep Moving Forward!

FIRST RUN OF 2016

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Buster in Golden Gate Park

It was one of the coldest tuns of my life, but this morning’s run was also the first one of the new year. So many possibilities for this Leap Year, so much ahead!

I bundled up in a long sleeved running shirt, Under Armor running tights, hat and gloves, but still felt cold to the bone. Instead of staying up until midnight on New Year’s Eve, I went to bed early and was up just before 5 am. I don’t drink and I’m not much of a fan of celebrating the new year anyway. It’s much more fun for me to be up and out early, even in the cold, to get a run in.

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Icy puddle

There were only a few other early runners and walkers out as the sun peeked sleepily through the trees. It was the perfect morning to be a live, running, enjoying my run, I even enjoyed the cold while I ran.

I have big goals for this year. I reached most of the goals I set for myself last year, only a couple fell short. I got to New York City to see my beloved Rangers and visited the greatest city in the US, I ran my first marathon in 28 years; those were two huge goals I accomplished in 2015.

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It’s cold, do I look cold?? 

For 2016, I have a few things I want to complete.

  • Lose 20 pounds and stay healthy
  • Run 3 marathons
  • Pass my CPT exam and move forward with my career
  • Save money

Those are my goals. I know I can move closer towards them.

Cheers!

PS: If you’re wondering what or who the little feline guy is at the top of the page, that’s Buster. He’s my running mascot. I found him on a run, took a picture, shared it on Facebook and then my friends wanted to see more pictures of him. So, you’ll see more pictures of him. If you have Instagram, he has his own account: @busterrunstheworld and you can follow me at: @Martha_Runs_SF

The Giants Race 2015

Empty AT&T

Empty AT&T

This Half Marathon was the second one for me in a month. I was confident it wouldn’t be as difficult as the first one because three days before that first one, my back went out. But I was wrong.

That’s one of the things I love about running. It is never, ever predictable. You can go to the same gym, day after day and do the same exercises, sit at the same bench and be predictable, but running never is. Even if you run the same course, you’ll find things you’ve never seen before if you look around.

Buster pre race

Buster pre race

And today’s race was really hard. I am completely at fault for this. I took it too easy yesterday. I rolled once in the morning, but that was all. I should have at least gone for a walk and gotten some nice stretching or maybe yoga in, but instead I had a lazy day.

This morning when I got ready to run, I rolled and stretched, but as I walked towards AT&T Park, I could feel my right IT band getting a little tight. I prayed it would be all right for the race.

Everything was fine, though. The weather was great; it stayed in the low 60s, which is perfect and didn’t warm up until near the 12th mile. I ran around 11-minute miles and even when using a porto-potty, there was no line, so I wasted little time.

I felt a little knee discomfort around Mile 3 and thought “oh no…”, but it went away and didn’t act up again. I only walked going up a steep hill around Ft Mason, both out and back and when eating or drinking. Otherwise, I kept a slow, steady pace.

Me with friends

Me with friends

But then at Mile 9 my right IT band started acting up. I took short walk breaks when needed until Mile 12 when I knew if I didn’t run straight through I’d never make my PR, and I so wanted that. So, I ran the last two miles with a bit of pain.

I had a great finish by nearly sprinting into the park, giving Lou Seal (the Giants seal mascot) the metal sign and high fiving him. After the finish line, I was beat, I gave this race and finish everything I had.

The 5K race started a couple hours later. I stuck around to meet up with friends and chill. It was fun to sit on the grass of the outfield. How many chances do we get to do this?

I’m very proud of this race and my finish – 3 minutes under my SF Marathon 2nd Half time.

SWAG! And Buster

SWAG! And Buster

Now I’ll take a couple days off to rest and recover and then I’ll start my full marathon training for the California International Marathon in December.

Oh you can follow me and Buster on Instagram! We each have an account. Follow me at: @Martha_Runs_SF and Buster @busterrunstheworld

Cheers!

Happy 4th Whatever You Do or Don’t Do

I haven’t been very social as of late. Mainly it’s because I’m so focused into what I want as far as getting into shape, but I think it also has to do with me being so broke. It’s hard to go out with friends if one doesn’t have any money to do anything.

Today, the highlight of my 4th of July was my morning run. I got up early, at 6:00am and ran 3 miles, 1/2 mile warm up, 2 miles tempo pace, which for me was around 9.5 minute miles and then 1/2 mile cool down. This was a really good run for me. I spent A LOT of time rolling and stretching pre-run and the same amount of time doing the same afterwards. I believe I need to do this for every run. Which is OK with me. If I feel this good all the time, I’ll be smiling a lot.

My workout at the Y Friday was great too. I can feel my body getting leaner, stronger. I pushed myself hard and was worn out by Friday night. Even if I had money, I probably would have stayed home, I was so beat out.

But it’s not easy to see all my friends posting really fun pictures hanging out with their friends and family. No chance of me hanging out with family; they’re 3,000 miles away. I could have found friends to chill with, but I don’t know….didn’t feel like it. Maybe next year. Until then, my run and my morning spent in the warmth of the early summer sun was splendid.

All my hard work is coming together. Tomorrow morning will be here very soon. It’s a 5:00am alarm for my 10-mile long run. And I’m excited about it. Weird, isn’t it?

I HEART NEW YORK

This morning, I went out for my first run in over a week. It felt good to get out in the warm San Francisco air and get in a little over 2 miles. Even though I had been away and couldn’t get any running in, my legs felt strong and I wasn’t too tired out running up and down a few hills.

And even in the warm morning air, I missed New York City.

I had would could be considered one of the best vacations of my life. Everything went really well. I ate, I walked, I laughed, I met fantastic people, I ate some more, I walked and walked, I saw spectacular Rangers hockey, I awed over beautiful sites, I ate some more, and I walked.

It was incredibly cold in NYC during my stay. The temperature fluctuated a few degrees, but it never got above 35 degrees. On Sunday afternoon, it snowed, and the city couldn’t have looked more beautiful with that fresh coat of white.

Because I’m a city girl and very familiar with public transportation, I had no problem figuring out the subway system. It’s much easier than MUNI. The signs are everywhere and the trains run much more often. You can get nearly anywhere you want to on the subways. And because they’re old, there are few escalators, so you’ll be walking up and down A LOT of stairs. I have to say this about New Yorkers; they have strong leg muscles to walk up and down those stairs every day! It’s what probably helped with me gaining no weight.

That’s right! Even with all the bagels, pizza, pastrami, Junior’s cheesecake (THE BEST!!!!), and everything else I had, I didn’t gain an ounce. So. Much. Food….

But so many beautiful places to walk and run. The next time I go, I will stay closer to Central park so I can run. It just wasn’t practical where I stayed to get a run in.

But now I’m back home, ready to get going and tackle my 2015 goals. They are: To lose weight, tone up, and run the California International Marathon in December.

Here are some pictures from my trip. If there was any way for me to move to New York and work there, I would in a NY minute….

Bryant Park

Bryant Park

Rangers hockey at Madison Square Garden

Rangers hockey at Madison Square Garden

The Mall - Central Park

The Mall – Central Park

The High Line

The High Line

1 World Trade Center

1 World Trade Center

GROUP CHALLENGES? I’LL PASS BUT THANK YOU

It’s a big thing now for running and fitness groups to set up challenges, especially at the start of the new year. It’s been a growing trend. A lot of people love these. I’ve joined a few myself in the past. They were fun, because I was able to help set up the guidelines and rules about the challenges.

But the new ones I’m seeing are more and more extreme. “Run 2015 miles in 2015” “Run 100 miles a month!” “Run 3 miles or Walk 3 miles or bike 3 miles every day!”..and more.

I understand that there are very good intentions behind these challenges. We all want to get in better shape and feel better. But, not everyone can do what everyone else can do. We all achieve our goals at different paces. And each of us have different levels of goals. There is no One Size Fits All. And these unfortunately make it seem as if everyone should do the same thing.

Add to that the appearance of competition and people feel badly if they’re not doing as much as someone else. I don’t mean to sound so politically correct, but running shouldn’t be keeping up with the Jones’, it should be a sport where one challenges oneself, not a group of other people.

I haven’t even mentioned the whole Rest Day. Many people who dive head first into these challenges don’t like rest days and don’t take them. It’s not a surprise that injuries happen. A runner’s rest day is JUST AS IMPORTANT as a running day. I truly wish runners wouldn’t look at a rest day with dismay. Enjoy your rest day. Indulge if you like, but realize that without a rest day, no muscle growth, and your chance of injury multiplies.

There are those runners who are “Streak Runners” – meaning they run without taking breaks in between. It’s not something I would ever do, or even think it’s a good thing to do, but a few people are okay doing that, the rest of us are more likely to get hurt, fatigued or sick. It’s better to slow down, take a day or two off and enjoy giving your body the rest it deserves.

And if you send me a request for yet another challenge, please don’t take it personally if I say “No thank you.”

Cheers,