April 29, 2009

Dear drivers

Dear drivers,

Please keep your eyes on the road and peeled for runners and walkers and baby strollers and bikers. It's very, very important for you to respect all the feet and wheels on the roads and sidewalks. Just in case. Thank you.


Up like a bird

The humpday workout involved hill repeats, and I decided to run up a new hill, Paloma.

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The hill was the perfect length and definitely steep enough to wear out my quads by the last couple repeats! It was a bit warmer that I'd expected, but I didn't notice much when I was pushing the hill repeats.

I used my arms like wings to work myself up the hill. I took advantage of the 2 minute recovery jogs to drink water and hopefully work some lactic acid out of my muscles. I was aware that I was huffing and puffing on the last uphill.

Painful, but good stuff, right?!

April 28, 2009

My so called running life

I wish I could say that I was born a zoomy runner. But my story's a bit more complex that that.

Growing up, my family was not so active. On the one hand, my mom had been a hardcore skier back in her college/grad school days, and my dad had been an avid bicyclist (biking to school and work way back in the 1940s (!!) and '50s and '60s). We occasionally went for (short) family hikes and once did a canoeing and cabin-camping trip in a south Georgia swamp with alligators all around us. I was enrolled in ballet classes until I was deemed to be too inflexible. On the other hand, I never played team sports; no kiddo soccer or t-ball or basketball for me. I was afraid of the ball. And falling. And scars. At one point in middle school, I played a little tennis but stunk at it.

But by 8th grade, I somehow decided I'd be a runner. I ran 8th grade track- the longer distances of 800 and mile, I think. Then I joined the high school cross country team. We ran on Cherokee Boulevard, did speed workouts around the soccer and baseball fields, got lost on the hilly 5 route, and I learned how to 'kick'(but not too much) at the very end of a race. My freshman year, I vacillated between the varsity (top 7 girl runners) and JV teams. I ran in the JV district championships in the pouring rain. The path was muddy; I loved it.

I also ran high school track- mainly to please the cross country coach and stay in shape. I thought the 4X800 relay was fun. But, honestly, running more one event at a meet kinda threw me off :O There was a big, fun 10K race in Knoxville (the Expo 10K) on the same day as an important track meet. I chose to do both. So I woke up early to race the 6.2 miles and then hustled over to a random high school track to run my events. I extend my apologies to my teammates.

By senior year, running cross country was a big part of who I was. The team's traditions and camaraderie were my home. I loved making up nicknames for teammates, singing songs to get pumped up before races, and team campouts. I loved the long runs, including the Big Ed's run, which involved running about 18 miles (part of the route was the shoulder of a very busy highway) from our school to another city that had an awesome pizza joint...After that run, we ate a lot of pizza :P

In college, I was an on-and-off runner. I had several terrific running routes around Providence. One gentleman friend (a college ex) told me I'd gained weight and would feel better if I ran. So I ate yogurt and iceberg lettuce salads and tuna fish. And I ran a lot during that hot and humid DC summer, but I don't think I did any racing. I remember sweating a lot. Yes, I lost some weight.

When I moved to the bay area, the weather was SO conducive to running. I went on short runs after school; lots of 30 minute runs to burn off the stress of teaching. I'd explore new neighborhoods and admire the scenery. I started connecting with other runners, and Carolyn and I decided to run a marathon- the 2001 Chicago marathon. That was almost 8 years ago. Woh....

April 27, 2009

First cut

It's awesome that it's week #1 for marathon training! I kicked it off with a 7 mile run, and, fortunately, my legs were definitely ready to run again. I am eager to feel the effects of adding a medium long run to my training. I think that running over 6 miles will add some endurance. Plus, runners high really kicks-in on runs over 6 or 7 miles, and I can always use some extra endorphins!!

What else is on tap for this week?
  • Key 2- Hill repeats
  • Key 3- Tempo 50
  • Long run- 13.5- probably SF
Gear wise...I wore my new Brooks shorts and give them an A+ for feeling so lightweight and comfortable. I also wore my new Balega socks and give them an A++ for fitting so well and keeping my footsies happy. Additionally, the shorts and socks are both quite cute :)

April 25, 2009

Welcome to The San Francisco Marathon (TM) - July 26, 2009!

Yeah, I registered...

Last run/first run

Depending on how you draw the circle, today's run was either the last run toward some ambiguous goal or else the first run of the San Francisco marathon training cycle! Either way, it was a great run- clear skies over the Golden Gate Bridge, a nice breeze, great company, and some always-exciting dodging of tourists and orange plastic barricades :O I liked the challenge of pushing up hills on the 12 mile run and will be facing some of those exact hills on marathon race day!

Oh yeah, and I enjoyed a running-gear shopping spree chez Sports Basement! My loot included black Brooks running shorts (they're black and white and fit great), 2 pairs of running socks (one purple pair & one white/pink pair of Balega socks, which are absolutely, positively my favorite socks for running), an insulated water bottle, and some Luna moon gummy snacks plus electrolyte drink tablets...I think I'll be well-supplied for awhile :)

April 24, 2009


For some reason, I tend to run out-and-back routes. Those out-and-backs require fewer navigational skills or mathematical time/distance calculations. You leave the house, go for a certain amount of time/distance...Then, you turn around to head back home, and---Voila!---your time/distance has doubled AND you're right back where you started :)

Well, today I ran a terrific loop that took me up Moraga Avenue, past Piedmont Park, and then down Mandana. The end of my run included cruising down Lakeshore and back around to Grand Avenue. My calypsos treated me well on the uphills and downhills, and I absorbed plenty of bright and crisp morning air! This run has inspired me to develop some more looping routes- yay!

April 23, 2009


Even though Carrie Bradshaw might not approve of them, I'm loving my squeaky pair of Brooks Adrenaline 9s!
As previously mentioned, I've had three pairs of Brooks Adrenaline 8s. And, not to be a shoe brand snob, but it seems that Brooks fit the shape of my feet and feel right. For me, Brooks are not too cushiony (ie- Saucony) and not too light (ie- Nike). I also dig the Brooks slogan: Run happy. Of course, other people have different preferences about running shoe brands.

I decided that it was time for a new pair and thought I should upgrade to the newest model- the Adrenaline 9. Fortunately, running warehouse had that model on sale :) I'll probably end up ordering another pair soon because if you stockpile a shoe you really like, you don't have to worry about shoe shopping a couple months (and a couple hundred miles) down the road.

I have to admit that I think the grey/coral colors (which Brooks calls calypso!) are fun and pretty. My calypsos remind me of a Carribean steel drumming group, so they should be groovy on runs, especially those loooong marathon training runs!!

April 22, 2009


I'm easing back into the running, so I did a mellow 40 minute run to Piedmont Avenue. It was good to get the run done first thing in the morning, though I nearly felt like I was sleep-running! I crossed paths with a fellow female runner who I see on many of my morning runs, so we exchanged good mornings, which is always nice.

My foot and lower legs feel fine. No speedwork this week, but I'm really looking forward to another long run on Saturday! I think I'll try speedwork again next week.

The bigger running announcement is that I am going to be running the SF marathon in July! I'm excited to run 26.2 miles all around SF, including ACROSS the Golden Gate bridge. J and I decided that we'd been far too sane about our running for far too long- in other words, we hadn't raced over 13 miles in almost a year ;). I will post the training schedule soon.

April 21, 2009

Back to the lake

I'm cautiously taking steps to get back on the wagon and in the saddle. Fortunately, my foot felt fine during a 40 minute run around Lake Merritt. I chose to run around the lake because it's a flat route, which puts a bit less wear and tear on feet and legs! Unfortunately, they're still doing construction on the lakefront path, so I had to dodge folks on the sidewalk. Afterwards, I spent some extra time stretching. So, step by step I think I'll be okay and will be right back on track very, very soon :) Whew!

April 20, 2009

What's the deal with the otter

I admit it's strange to connect a running blog with a random marine mammal-- the otter. But I love otters!

I feel a connection to otters because they simultaneously seem so focused and relaxed, so odd and cute with slicked back fur. Otters work hard diving for food and resourcefully manage to crack open shellfish. Otters also know how to chill like villians by floating in the ocean...I confess that floating around is an absolute favorite of mine :)

So, otters don't run marathons and aren't really built for speed. And that's okay. I'm definitely not a cheetah or a deer or an antelope. I'm much more of an otter who just **happens** to run.

April 19, 2009

Not broken

After extensive icing, ibuprofen, and magical Japanese menthol pads (courtesy of Nurse Y.) my diagnosis is that nothing's broken! I was afraid of a dreadful stress fracture somewhere in my foot/lower leg, but my foot and toes are feeling much, much better so that seems quite unlikely. I know I should wait and see how it feels after a couple more days of TLC. I will treat the pain as a wake up call to be a bit more careful in ramping up my mileage and speed work and hill work. I also ordered a new pair of Brooks today and hope the extra cushioning of a shiny, bouncy new pair of shoes will soothe my angry right foot.

April 18, 2009


Today's long run started off great. But toward the end of the 13.5 mile run, I felt pain in the top of my right foot and the ankle/lower shin area of my right leg. Argggh. It's most likely some sort of overuse injury; injuries are NO fun. So, I've already taken vitamin I (Advil!) and iced the area. I'll take 2 days off and hope that it feels much better, very soon.

April 17, 2009

Bubble, bubble, toil

Yes, I did four workouts this week- even with the conference in San Diego. However, I ate too much junk food and didn't get enough rest and have been dealing with some intestinal issues :( The end result was that today's 40 minute run included bizarre stomach gurgling. It kinda sounded like a frog had taken residence in my belly!! Maybe it was too much water or a late afternoon empty stomach, but it was quite ridiculous and somewhat annoying.

April 15, 2009


This morning's running route required taking a ferry over to Coronado! J and I ended up running about 8 miles around Coronado. The area is flat, quiet, and primarily residential...We saw some military navy bases, the fabulous and historic Hotel Coronado, and some very interesting architecture (everything from mansions to bungalows). After a cup of coffee, we got back on the ferry for the 15 minute ride back to San Diego. Now it's time to get ready to go to some conference talks and meetings and receptions :I

April 14, 2009

Treadmill rock

I'm staying at the razzle dazzley Hard Rock hotel while in San Diego for an education research conference. This afternoon I was feeling drained from too much time sitting and listening, so I hit the gym. There was a screen showing rock concert videos--Bon Jovi, Weezer, Moby, the Kinks, and more! I ran for a bit over 4 miles and increased my pace and incline and then decreased the incline and cranked up the pace for a bit. My max speed interval was at 8:20 pace which is great for an easy run day. I also think I'm getting more comfortable with running on a treadmill and might want to run one day per week on a treadmill since it's SO easy to control pace, etc...

April 13, 2009

Pre-presentation run

After landing in San Diego at 8:45 am, I burned off any anxiety about my presentation on monitoring by going for a great 50 minute run along the harbor that has a lengthy promenade. J and I did the flat run at a moderate-fast pace. It's warm and sunny, and the scenery is stereotypically southern California-y: palm trees, skate boarders, and Segways ;)

April 11, 2009

Bay Farm Island

I heart weekend long runs, and running on Alameda and Bay Farm Island is especially scenic and soothing for the soul, mind, and body :>

No complaints about a mellow 10 miler with sunshine, vanilla gu, and the sweet smells of wild anise.

April 10, 2009

Closer and closer

I could start by saying that I'm not sure I got enough sleep or that I'm certain that I ate too much cheese last night...But this morning's tempo run was strong with the 20 minute tempo at 8:26 pace (to note, this is a few seconds faster than my half marathon PR pace). My McMillan-approved tempo pace is under 8:25, so I'm getting closer and closer to those tough training paces which should/WILL(!) push me to a speedier level :)

Garmalade really helped me latch onto the proper pace, and I think it's high time that I commit to always running with Garmalade to learn more about my pacing.

April 8, 2009

Track attack

Many thanks to Jen for joining me for a fun track workout in Oakland on a drizzly Wednesday morning...I needed the incentive of great conversation and strong coffee to do intervals.

After a warm up jog/run to the track, I did three 800s. I felt strong during the 800s. I started them off speedy and concentrated on finishing them with a bit of a kick. All 800s were under 3:42. In January, my 800s were around 3:50, so this shows some significant improvement :) Next time, I should do four 800s, and I'd like to build up to six or seven (ouch!) 800s. I like ending track workouts with a 'cherry on top' 400. Today's 400 was in 1:43--which is quite speedy for my fatigued-by-800s legs!

April 7, 2009

Uphill, downhill

I like running hills. Several of my running routes send me to run up into the hills, and I'm treated with some great views.

Yes, the uphills take more work. I know training on hills engages my quads, and I love seeing new muscle definition! And I sometimes feel like a skier when I'm cruising downhill. When it's rainy, I occasionally worry about slipping and falling on slick descents. But the change of pace feels good and helps the time and miles pass by.

My next goal race is the SF half marathon on July 26, and it will be a hilly 13.1 miles. So I will continue to do workouts that include hills and will embrace the burn in my quads.

April 6, 2009


Three cheers for spring! What a glorious five miles for spring! There's no way to control my spring fever...

I took advantage of Oakland's warm and sunny weather by wearing a running skirt. The skirt is comfortable and lightweight and fits my waist/hips very well. Plus, the cuteness and funness of wearing the skirt makes me zoomier ;)

April 5, 2009

Week of April 5

On tap for this week:
Key 1: 800s
  • More fun at the track..The goal is to run the 1/2 mile repeats in sub 3:48!
Key 2: Tempo run
  • 25 minutes warmup; 20 min. at 10k pace; 15 min. cooldown. I will rely on Garmalade to get me closer to an even 8:25 min/mi pace.
Long: 13 miles
  • Will probably run up College Ave and add a hillyneighborhood loop at the end.

April 4, 2009

I run, you run, we all run for pancakes!

It was a networking long run today through the Presidio, across the Golden Gate Bridge, and back up to Pacific Heights area with J and J. Us three ladies had never run all together, and it was a smashing success! The pace was great, the views were clear and scenic, the luna moons were adequately chewy, and brunch afterwards was delish! Even though I randomly fell while running back up Presidio Blvd, the Presidio is an incredible place for running with nice shady trees and soft trails and paths.

We ran 10 miles. We nearly ran 9.92 miles, and then realized that those extra 0.08 miles would make or break our athletic careers, so back around the block we went. I highly recommend Ella's for post-run brunching, and I especially enoyed the lemon ricotta pancakes:

Hazelnut-Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes

This recipe fuses the lemon-ricotta pancakes at the Four Seasons with the hazelnut waffles at Balthazar. I adapted a recipe for cottage-cheese pancakes from "Joy of Cooking," adding ricotta, lemon zest, hazelnuts and more salt.

Grated zest of 2 lemons
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup flour
½ cup finely ground toasted hazelnuts
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons melted butter
2 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup ricotta, strained of any liquid.1. The day before, rub together the lemon zest and sugar in a bowl. Cover.

2. Mix the flour, lemon sugar, hazelnuts, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, whisk the milk, butter, egg yolks, vanilla and ricotta. Fold this into the dry ingredients. Whip the egg whites just until stiff, then fold them into the batter.

3. Heat a pancake griddle. Lightly coat the surface with butter, then use a ¼ cup measure to scoop the batter. Cook until the pancakes appear dry around the edges, about 3 minutes, then flip them and cook for another minute or two.

April 2, 2009


Most days, I prefer wearing my running clothes that are made out of 'technical' fabric. Those running clothes wick the sweat away and make you feel like a serious athlete-in-training...But on nice days when I just wanna have a fun in the sun run, nothing beats putting on a cotton t-shirt or tank top.


Today was a cotton day because it was such a nice, sunny day, and I was really jonesing for a medium-long run at a moderate pace. So I put on my 2001 Chicago Marathon t-shirt and loved every step of the 60 minutes of running.
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