racing

SF Hot Chocolate 15k 2018

I had my race report all written up Sunday night and then my home phone line went out. It won’t get fixed until Friday so I’m re-writing my blog post to get it out a little sooner.

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At first light, before the race

The Hot Chocolate races have been in San Francisco for five years. I have run them every year, as it’s one of my favorite races. There are many reasons why I love it so much, but here are just a few. For a big race, it’s extremely well organized. There are always more than enough porto-potties. I’ve never had to wait long to use one, either and that is a major bonus! It’s very affordable considering all the swag participants receive. Each runner gets a great jacket, medal and lots of chocolate. The early bird price right now for next year for the 15k is $59. Not a bad deal!

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Waiting for the start

And the course itself is superb. The starting line is just outside the Japanese Teagarden in Golden Gate Park, then is winds up past Stowe Lake, then down through the park to Ocean Beach, down south one end and back up through the park to just left of the De Young Museum.

Last year with all the rainstorms, Ocean Beach was completely flooded, so they shortened the race to a 10k, cutting out the beach portion completely. This year, it was chilly, but completely dry. In fact, the weather was perfect, no wind at all!!! If you know San Francisco beaches, then you’ll know how rare it is that there was zero wind! It was a glorious morning for a race!

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Ocean Beach on a winter’s morning

Due to having a very nasty cold over the holidays, I was sorely undertrained. But I hoped if I just ran slow, I’d do OK. I started out in a faster corral as my time last year was pretty good. That was nice. For most of the race, I maintained a good pace. I drank nothing but water for most of the course, although I did gulp some Nuun at one stop. I wish I hadn’t, because it was effervescent and it upset my stomach. I ran slowly to get rid of that icky feeling, which did finally go away. The only part of the race that gave me any problems was the last mile or so. Due to my lack of training, my hip started getting sore and I had to take a couple walking breaks and that slowed down my time.

But I still consider it a good race. I ran nearly 9.5 miles undertrained with very little discomfort. I kept up a good time (for me). It’s another successful Hot Chocolate 15k to add to the books!

Keep Moving Forward!

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NYE 24-HOUR RACE

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Have some carbs and protein!!! 

New Year’s Eve is usually a non-event for me. In fact, I am typically asleep by 10 as I love running early New Year’s Day morning. It helps avoiding the drunken chaos and hassles of what’s known as Amateur Night. The world is so quiet and still on the first morning of the year; it has become a personal favorite. But for 2018, I switched it up and volunteered at a great annual race in San Francisco.

The Coastal Trail Runs 24 Race is a blast! It takes place at Chrissy Field and starts on New Year’s Eve at 9 in the morning. You can run 24 hours, 12 hours or 6 hours on a loop of a little over 1 mile. The aid station where I was working is positioned at the beginning and end of the loop next to the parking lot.

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The start/finish line as well as Aid Station

The night was calm and mild. It remained about 50 degrees all night with very little wind. This was perfect running weather!

The Aid Station area had two tables covered with yummy snacks for the runners including: potato chips, peanut butter filled pretzels, Shot Bloks, Clif bars, peanut M&Ms, Goldfish, as well as piping hot lentil soup (that was very tasty!). We served them up soup, hot chocolate, coffee and whatever else they needed. Later on, pizza was brought and at midnight, champagne and Martinelli’s was handed out.

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Bubbly!!! 

Back behind the aid tents, there was a small city of individual tents for the runners to crash out in. I couldn’t think of a better way to experience this race, if I was a runner, than to camp out.

Music pumped out throughout the race, it was a fun set of classic rock and recent pop.

The runners were so inspirational! It was great fun to cheer them on, boost them and help them reach their goals. Runner great Dean Karnazas ran the 24-hour race and every time he stopped at the aid station, he took time out to talk to us volunteers and thank us. He even wolfed down a piece of cold pizza on one of his trips before he sped away, logging more miles.

I worked for about seven hours, but the time flew by. I promised myself that I would run the 12-hour race next year, because this was something very cool and I didn’t want to miss it. A bit after 12:30am, I walked up towards the MUNI Owl line. Getting home was a pain in the butt, all the more reason to camp out next year.

2018 will be mostly about smaller races. Sure, I’ll do a couple big ones, but it will be the smaller races and trail races that will occupy most of my racing miles. The people are truly the best and I feel blessed to be a part of it. I am even more inspired for make 2018 my best running year yet! May all your runs be amazing!

Keep Moving Forward!

2017 SF Turkey Trail Trot

This was my 5th year and still one of my favorite races. The weather was perfect and I had a lot of fun. My race itself was not one of my better ones, but I didn’t care, it was a good time! The race is 5 miles through the various trails of Golden Gate Park. There’s also a 3 mile walk and 3 kids races for various age groups. Plus, there’s a ton of prizes for the winners and a HUGE raffle at the end. In fact, this was the first year I didn’t win anything in the raffle. Proceeds benefit the track teams for Lowell and Washington High Schools.

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Sunrise before the race

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Washington High School band

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the kids racing across the Polo Field!

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Turtles chillin on Spreckles Lake

I am very thankful this Thanksgiving Day Weekend for being healthy. I am thankful for, no matter how slow, being able to run. I can and will get faster! I have decided to really make it a top priority to attain maximal health and fitness, no matter what in 2018, so I’ll get a head start in the weeks before the new year. Sure, I overate and have a couple extra pounds, but now it’s time to get serious and dive headlong into fitness!

Keep Moving Forward!

Martha

 

 

Walnut Creek Trail Run

First I want to congratulate everyone who ran the NY Marathon today! What an amazing race it was and always is! Geoffrey Kamworor and Shalane Flanagan winning Men’s and Women’s respectively, were exciting to watch. I teared up watching Flanagan, knowing how many years she’s battled for a first place and imagining what it must be like for her. It teaches us once more, never give up! Never, ever, ever give up!

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Mt Diablo is far in the distance

This morning, I decided to try a new place out for a trail run. 2018 is going to be a year of trail running for me, so I got on BART and headed to Walnut Creek to run on some trails in the My Diablo foothills.

Unfortunately, I miscalculated how far the trails were from BART and I walked a bit farther to the trails than I thought. I also didn’t get to the trail I thought I had, and wound up backtracking a couple miles. The paths I were first at were nice, but they were paved and not great with my trail shoes. But walking miles on the concrete sidewalks wasn’t much fun in my Saucony Peregrines either. By the time I got to the desired trail, I was pretty worn out, so I cut my run short. My feet and legs were getting sore and heavy.

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One of the many trails 

I still enjoyed myself, but it’s too difficult getting out there via public transportation. There are much easier trails to get to in Marin County. That’s the problem with much of the Bay Area, it’s great if you have a car, but if not, it’s not accessible.

Lessons learned of course and I liked the shorter run I did have. It’s been a nice weekend.

Keep going forward!

 

ALOHA 10K

To say that the past few weeks have been trying would be an understatement. One by one, things have happened in my life and they set my goals back. But that doesn’t mean that my goals are gone.

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Daybreak

No freakin way.

Sometimes things take a little longer than expected, I am impatient, after all. I seldom plan for unseen surprise events, like sickness or emergency bills or very, very, very bad days. But life goes on as does the desires to reach my dreams.

Last week I suffered through an eye infection. My left eye was swollen and hurt and I couldn’t see too well. I stayed home from work and got it checked out. Luckily it wasn’t too terrible and eventually got better. But between being sick and lethargic, my fitness had dropped. I am now working at getting back to where I was and then go far beyond.

I made a pledge with myself to not use my credit cards and I have kept it for nearly two months now. This means, though, that I won’t be signed up for a lot of races or buying the cool gear I want. Electrolyte mixes and energy food will be made at home and the future races I do sign up for will be the ones that really matter.

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Cute Medal!

Sunday was my first Aloha race and I’m very glad I did it. Both the 5k and the 10k course was the same, with the 10k course, being a double loop. It started in front of Sports Basement in the Presidio near Chrissy Field and ended on the field itself.

Weather has been very warm lately, which is typical for Northern California in late September. Hot days and cool nights are lovely. I arrived at the Presidio before the break of dawn and enjoyed a beautiful sunrise. Participants started arriving. Many were dressed in Hawaiian grass skirts and Hawaiian shirts. There were dog entries in the 5k, so plenty of pups were on hand as well as kids. It was a very festive, fun atmosphere.

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Can’t beat this view!!

Both the 5k and 10k started promptly at 8:00am. I reside towards the Back of the Pack, so there I was for the whole race. I didn’t PR or have my worst time and I didn’t finish DFL (Dead F**king Last). I maintained a decent pace and enjoyed the course. How could I not with such beautiful surroundings?

The race is so well coordinated and the volunteers were top notch. I will do this one again!

Keep Moving Forward!

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!