racing

YMCA CHINESE NEW YEAR RUN and a little more….

Despite a sore quad muscle, I ran the Chinatown YMCA’s annual 5K Chinese New Year’s Eve run. My leg felt good until the last mile, but by then, I had kept up a decent pace and was determined to keep running. I had told myself that if it hurt too much, I would walk, but I didn’t have to walk any part of the race. Because it hurt, however, I knew that I wouldn’t be running again for at least a couple more weeks.

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Grant St before the start of the race

My birthday is this week. My stepmom, Eleanor, lives in North Florida and is one of the few family members I have left. She planned to make the trip to see me this year instead of me flying out there as I usually do. I’ve been looking forward to it a while, so I took the week off. The race was a nice start to my vacation. Monday was President’s Day, so it was great turning a long weekend even longer as well.

And then, Monday morning as I was having breakfast, I suddenly felt a hard object in my mouth. One of my back molars had chipped! This was not unexpected. My dentist had told me that because it had had a very large filling years ago, it was bound to break and in turn will probably need a root canal and crown. Ouch! As happens in life, the timing sometimes sucks.

So, this morning, I spent the day at the dentist. This afternoon, I met up with Eleanor, which cheered me up. The good news is I haven’t felt any pain since. The bad news is that even with dental insurance, I’ll still have to pay the majority of the costs.

But, I’m not going to let it get me down. Tomorrow is my birthday and Eleanor and I are going to have a great day!

Keep Moving!

 

….AND I’M INJURED

I didn’t expect to be injured. Who does? The setback I suffered from hasn’t gotten better. Weeks ago, I felt a small but irritating pain, sort of a nagging cramp in my right quad muscle. For a long time, I thought it was just tight muscles, so I worked at making the muscles, as well as my core stronger, but it never got any better. I then took a couple weeks off running to rest it, icing and heating and propping it up as much as I could, hoping it would heal.

After walking some this past weekend, I was still in pain.

One of the most difficult things for runners to admit is to succumb to injury. Being injured means races get cancelled, training schedules go out the window and our favorite activity stops. Completely. I have been looking forward to the Chinese New Year’s Race this Sunday, sponsored by the Chinatown YMCA as their biggest fundraising event of the year. I like doing the 10K. It’s a great course, going a double loop through Chinatown, Northbeach and along the Embarcadero, but I had to reduce my race to the 5K. I can always walk it if it starts hurting.

Not being able to run creates all sorts of negative side effects. I’ve started putting on a few pounds, especially over this past weekend. It was kind of a shock how fast I gained. I’ve since started being careful about my eating, but until I get back into running, the weight won’t be coming off very soon. And my mood….I’m working real hard on being optimistic.

Next week is my birthday and my stepmom is visiting me for the week. I’m taking a few vacation days, so we’ll have a great time. But, I’m still bummed out I can’t go run on a few of these days.

Tomorrow I will go to the gym for the first time in over a week and I’ll work mostly upper body and core, and try out the treadmill just to see how my leg feels. Wish my luck.

Keep Moving!

Chocolate in the Rain

This is the fourth year the RAM Hot Chocolate race series has been in San Francisco. I’ve always enjoyed this race series. Every year it’s run with professionalism and grace, something that doesn’t always happen with these big races. But this one has always done a great job.

Some things are beyond anyone’s control .Like weather. All week long I’ve been checking the forecast for today and it said nothing but pouring rain with winds. And that’s exactly was it was most of the morning, with the hardest rain coming down just as I left the house around 6:30am.

It was a miserable morning to prepare for a race! I wouldn’t have blamed anyone for deciding to have their medal shipped to them and doing the distance on their own. But, that’s just not me, so I braved the wind and rain and took MUNI off to Golden Gate Park.

The ONLY saving grace was that is wasn’t cold. The temperatures hovered around 59 degrees so I was VERY happy it wasn’t freezing when I was soggy wet!

The 15k course was shortened to a 9k course, due to the Great Highway along the Pacific Ocean becoming part of the ocean. That happens due to high tides and winds. Sand doesn’t like to stay in place and during winter, the highway does close occasionally. I didn’t mind at all running a shorter distance, my feet were soaked before the race already. I chose to wear my race running jacket for the race, which turned out to be a really good decision. I was a little warm, but inside my jacket, I wasn’t soaked and that was a good feeling.

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The rain is coming down while we wait for the start….

My time wasn’t bad; I placed in the top half of the women in my age group and even though I would have run faster had it not been as rainy and slick, I’m still pleased with how I did.

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Here I am, trying to stay dry!!! 

Had the RAM organization not been so organized and great at communicating the course changes and weather conditions, this could have been a disaster, but as it turned out, things went through smoothly. They did a great job.

Now I need to get serious about losing this weight. I’ve been slacking and not really focusing on it as I should. That ends and my focus will be on losing 20 pounds and being a faster runner.

Cheers!

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The medal and chocolate (!!) make it worthwhile! 

 

 

PONDERINGS IN A CONGESTED FOG….

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So, I’ve had a cold for a few days. I don’t feel too bad any longer. I did make it to work today. It felt great to leave the house and be in contact with other people. I contemplated going for a run tonight, but decided against it, figuring I will go out tomorrow night instead. I’ll rest one more evening and be more than ready for an easy run Thursday night.

During my down time, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking (and eating unfortunately). I thought about starting another website to promote health and fitness for folks 50 and over, but then I reminded myself that even though that sounded like a great idea, one is enough for me and I can combine whatever I want to do within here.

Eventually, I will add more to this site. There will be more in 2017. I will add more recipes, more health info and a lot more content, especially for those of us who are no longer on the shy side of 40. I will be adding interviews with inspirational and professional people I think readers will enjoy. I’m excited about the improvements and additions I’ll be including and I really can’t wait for 2016 to end. I will write more about how the year was for me, but it’s not making an easy ending for me, I’ll say for now.

Until my Holiday post, I hope you don’t drink too much egg nog (there’s like a thousand calories in that stuff), keep working out, be kind to those around you, (we’re all stressed out) and take a little time out to appreciate what’s really important ( the material things aren’t it).

Cheers!

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View from the top of Kearny Steps

INCLEMENT WEATHER AHEAD

Today I ran 6 miles in the pouring rain. It was not the most fun time running nor was it my best time. I wore my running rain jacket and strapped on my Osprey Hydration pack. It was a multipurpose trip because I had to pick up my race bib for the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot and I had to buy my turkey. Because the turkey would be heavy, I needed to bring a sturdy shopping bag and my pack is the only running pack I have that I can stash the bag in. So much preparation!

I ran to Sports Basement in the Presidio to get my bib, one of my favorite places and then ran back to Safeway in the Marina, making up my run. Thankfully, the rain had stopped as I made my way home.

These are not easy days for many of us. For me, my medical insurance is skyrocketing next year. I don’t know how I’m going to make it. I can only put my faith in God and know that somehow things will work out. I pray every night for guidance.

On the positive side, I may have a running partner once a week. I was talking to a couple people at the YMCA and one very friendly woman was saying how she wished she had a running partner one night a week. I did explain that I’m not very fast but that didn’t matter to her.

One of the reasons why I don’t do group runs is that in San Francisco, the runners are very fast. Group runs usually consist of runners who can run 7:00 to 8:00 minute miles. The slow ones go 10:00 minutes per mile. I could never keep up with that, so I am usually always the slowest. I don’t want to be the slowest. I don’t mind once in a while, but always the slowest isn’t much fun and those who are faster can never understand that. They’re always very nice about it, but they don’t get it. So, for me, it’s better to run by myself; there’e much less stress and feelings of complete inadequacies.

So, we shall see if my running partner works out. And we’ll see if I can find that elusive personal trainer’s position I’ve been striving to find…..

I don’t want to end this on a negative note. I am very thankful for what I do have. I have a never-say-die attitude. I will not give up, I will not stop working towards what I want and neither should you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Cheers!

 

2016 San Francisco Marathon

Yesterday, I finished the 2016 San Francisco Marathon. This was the first time I completed the entire course and it was the most difficult race I’ve ever run. All week, I was stressed out over my IT band. Would it bother me? Would it keep me from finishing?

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Pre-race

Let me start from the beginning….the race start time was 5:30am, but because I’m a slow runner, my corral start time was 6:22am. I woke up at 2:45am, groggy, blurry-eyed; it took me a while to have my sense about me. I’m really glad I woke early though. I had gone to bed at nine Saturday night, so I got plenty of rest. I had everything ready to go, but of course, I had to check everything two and three times, to make sure I didn’t forget anything.

I’ve never understood those non-elite runners who don’t carry anything with them when they run. I have to take so many things with me that I at least have to take a running belt with me.

After waiting and waiting for the MUNI Bus #38 that never showed up when it was supposed to, I walked to the starting line. It’s only about a mile and a half away, so it was actually a nice warm up and probably helped get me ready.

There weren’t enough porto-bathrooms, so I spent a long time waiting for one.

Marathon stop

Water stop at Chrissy Field

As I started running, I felt good. In fact, the whole first half went very well. I would have done great if I had just signed up for a half. It was after 15 miles when my right IT band and hamstring started giving me problems. I had to stop and walk a few times. I was very happy I brought my hand roller and used that a couple times. I also made two visits to Medical tables and iced the area. That helped a lot!

But as I got nearer to the end of the race, I wound up walking for about two miles. I couldn’t help it. The pain on my side was bad and there was NO WAY I was going to stop, but I just couldn’t run the entire way to the finish.

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Packed race on the Golden Gate Bridge

I managed to push myself to run the last half mile and I was even smiling finishing. My time was awful, but I don’t care. I finished and that’s good enough for me.

There were others who finished after me, but not many. By the time I ended the race, most of the cool goodies were gone and the sponsors were folding up their tables. I treated myself to a scoop of Nutella-Banana ice cream from Shoot the Moon in Embarcardero Center. It was delicious!

Since I’m not doing full marathons for a while, I probably won’t do this full course again, at least not for another year anyway. I may do the second half again, but I really don’t want to run on the Golden Gate Bridge anymore. Listen to me: RUNNING ON THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE IS OVERRATED. I hear people have this on their bucket list all the time. There are far, far better places to run than that bridge around here, trust me.

First, if the weather was like it was yesterday, it’s freezing, windy, wet and VERY cold. Second, there are metal grates in the street to keep the cars slowed down but are hellish for runners. It’s very easy to slip, trip or fall. I saw it happen. It wasn’t pretty. Third and worst of all, there were two lanes, the right going north and the left coming back south. Since I was towards the back of the pack, there were more runners in the South lane and they kept jumping into our lane to get ahead of the runners in their own lane. Because I had to deal with walkers and run/walkers, I tried to stay to the left of them, those lane hoppers were nearly running into me. It was like a video game! It was making me a little cranky. I was very happy to be off the bridge.

I do have a question for race directors. Why are aid/water/food stations always set up at the bottom of hills? The last place I want to take in nourishment is before I tackle a tough hill. I have never understood this. Since I wear a hydration vest I was able to pass up most of these until towards the end, when, unfortunately, many of these were folding up, just my luck.

I do want to give a big THANK YOU to the volunteers and workers. All the station workers, the police officers and the bikers who helped out with traffic and just making us runners smile, even when it hurt to smile. I love all of you!

The Expo the day before was nice. I was able to meet Lupe from one of the Facebook running groups I belong to and my friend Steve, so that was cool.

And, even though it was so difficult to finish, I DID finish. I made it and got my medal. I also had time to think about my future training goals and I will let you know once I get these more cemented.

Cheers!

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My medal with Buster, my running mascot

A Change of Goals

We’re always being told we can do whatever we want, we’re constantly being shown great motivational pictures telling us not to give up on our dreams. And I do believe that nearly any goal is possible if we work hard enough, no one ever bothers reading us the fine print in these bold statements.

There is always a cost. To reach one goal, we may have to give up another, or many others.

This became too apparent for me a few weeks ago when I realized that I wouldn’t be able to purchase the racing bike I so wanted this year. That’s not exactly true. I could buy it, if I gave up going to Giants games, forget about my New York vacation (AND seeing my NY Rangers) next year, and completely abandon having decent coffee in my life. But I’m not willing to do that. 

So, my goals for the next year have changed. I still want to pursue triathlons; they hold an appeal to me that nothing else does. But I live in the most expensive city in the US and I don’t make enough to save for a racing bike. It’s a depressing fact and I’ve been battling with it for a while…..

To keep me from being completely down, however, I’ve revised my goals and challenges. I’ve decided to run a full marathon. I ran one over 20 years ago, so it will be like running one for the first time. I’m nervous, scared and not sure, but I can run, I can afford the gear and it’s something I know. 

I’ll still keep my YMCA gym membership. I’ll still swim and spin; I love them too much to stop and eventually I will get my racing bike, just now in the near future. 

 

Rock n Roll Weekend Part 1 – the Expo

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Finally Friday after work! It was a long week and I looked forward to going to Moscone Center for the race expo. I enjoy these, especially the bigger ones. Most of the races I do are smaller so the bib and packet pickups are small with not a lot of fanfare. This was a good one. I checked out a lot of cool products and got some good samples.

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(A very popular booth)

I almost bought a massage stick. I will buy one, but I think I can get a better price on it and I can’t afford it right now. My philosophy is, if I don’t have the immediate funds for it, I can’t afford it. I am NOT putting anything on credit cards right now. The only thing I’m going to charge is my bike and I’ll pay that off in three payments afterwards – I have a plan!

I didn’t get a formal workout in today, but I walked four miles. Tomorrow, no working out. Instead, I’ll clean out my clothes closet and get rid of a bunch of clothes I haven’t worn in a very long time. I’ll donate them to Goodwill that in about two blocks away and I’ll buy a sweat shirt from them that I’ll wear to the race. I can toss it aside at the start. It will be gathered and donated back to Goodwill. Much, MUCH better than plastic garbage bags! I hate seeing those things at races. So wasteful.

My next blog will be post race, with all the hopefully, not too scary selfies and maybe one of me and my medal. Cheers!

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Does this shirt rock or what????

Chinese New Year Run

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(Chinatown pre-race this am)

It’s the Year of the Horse in the Chinese calendar, so why not start the year with a run? Be it a cold, windy and rainy run. I hadn’t been running as much as I knew I should have. In fact, last night, I made myself a promise to start eating right and sticking to my workout schedule better starting TODAY.

This 10K is a fun course. It goes through sleepy Chinatown before anyone is up and moving about. It then crosses Broadway and moves through Northbeach to the Embarcadero down to FIDI and back to Chinatown via California St. The 5K ends there, the 10K repeats.

My feet were soaking, my thighs were achy, my lungs burning, but I kept going and finished.

It is the Year of the Wooden Horse: It will be a fast-moving year with high energy, conflicts,  progress, consumerism, invention….everything about 2014 is about movement. I’m not sure how much faith I put into any of it, but it coincides with my current training plans which are simply: decrease the outer noise, focus on what I need to do for myself and help others who ask.

I want to thank the SF Police Dept for doing a superb job on traffic control, all the volunteers and the Chinatown YMCA. Without any of these fine people, this race would have never happened.