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Hard Weeks, Easy Weeks

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My 50k is October 6th. Leading up to the day of the race, I have two more long training runs alternating with easier weekend runs. A week ago I ran 17 miles in the Headlands. It was a hard, dirty, very hilly run, but I did it.

The hard, long kind of runs are my very favorites, but they take everything out of me. I’m not yet at the point when I can do them week after week, so I take an easy weekend in between. Yesterday, I ran a much shorter trail run with my friend Trish. But just because it was shorter doesn’t mean it was easy! We went to the Peninsular, running in the San Mateo County Park, Huddart Park.

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It’s absolutely stunning there! The scraggly old oaks mix with the redwood trees, the scent of pines and deep woods permeates throughout the parking lot and campsites we passed.  And it’s easy to get there from San Francisco. Located just off the 280 Freeway, the park lies above the quaint town of Woodside. There are a dozen trails within the park. Some of them are short and easy while some lead to other areas farther into the mountains if you’re looking for a really long, epic run.

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Some elevation! 

We ran on single track trails for most of it, then headed up a particularly nasty incline on a fire road before deciding not the push ourselves to the max. Heading back down the way we came up the trail, I knew it was the right choice. This week isn’t about maximum distance and hard runs, it’s about getting a good run in and healing for my hard run next weekend. And even with this “easier” run, we still managed to get over 1400 ft elevation gain.

Huddart Park did not disappoint. We will run there again and I don’t think it will be too long from now either.

Next weekend, back to the high mileage and fun!! That’s what I said, F-U-N!!!

Keep Moving Forward!

 

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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!

 

 

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!

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?

No Running This Christmas

It’s been a bit of time since my last entry. These past few weeks haven’t been the easiest. I’ve been on the mends; my IT band problems are getting better, although I’m not at 100% yet. So, as of this blog entry, I’m not running.

Christmas this year was fun, I spent it with friends. It was nice and quiet. I’ve been sharing Christmas with this great group for years now and it’s something I really look forward to. But no running for this girl. My last run resulted in some not-so-fun IT band pain that told me if I did NOT stop and take some real healing time off running I’d have bigger and worse issues to deal with.

In fact, I took a few days nearly completely off, as walking was difficult without feeling pain. I kept doing my elastic band stretches and rolling though, and now I’m dragging myself back to the gym. It’s not easy going right now, but it is definitely worth it.

I’m going to take a trial run on Sunday and the minute I feel any discomfort I’ll stop and go home. I will not push myself too far or do anything stupid, but I have to keep trying.

Just TRY Pushing Another Exercise Program….

So, I’m layed up for a few days with a sore knee. No running for a while. I’m not sure how long; it doesn’t feel great, not horrible, but I don’t want to make things worse, so taking it easy this week. 

I’ve been running over 20 years and this is only my second injury. I’ve followed all the rules to smart running….I swim, I spin, I weight train, I don’t run too much, wear the right shoes, yadda, yadda, yadda….

AND…I post most of my progress on Facebook. Just last week I posted about what a great weight training session I had with my trainer at the Y going over some leg strengthening exercises we did. But tonight, I realized that some people on Facebook don’t care at all about others. I know, this is nothing new, but I’m not talking about the self-centered, myopic types out there, I’m talking about those who don’t mean to be that way, but they still are. 

I’m talking about the exercise-obsessed maniacal types who think that you CANNOT LIVE without hearing about either their 1) workouts 2) weight loss methods or 3) self esteem programs. 

We all know the types. We all have them on our friends lists. Maybe some of them are very good friends, or maybe they are just friends of friends. And we’ve all thought of deleting them. I HAVE deleted a few. Once they start pushing weight loss programs, they’re gone, gone, gone, baby….

If a friend wants to hock a business once in a while, that’s fine, I have no problems with that, however, when it turns into all they’re doing it, I have major problems. Because it turns into SPAM. They no longer read anything myself or anyone else is writing. They do not care. All they care about is broadcasting their message, whatever it is. And I no longer care what they are saying. 

So their whole point of being on my friends list has disintegrated. 

Why don’t we try to be better friends. Pay attention to what each other is saying, make an effort to CARE what each other is saying, even on Facebook and other social media outlets and stop merely thinking of we can push our own agenda.