Sunday, January 31, 2010

Almost famous

I wanted to post this back in November, but, alas, I was still in a relationship with a bad laptop that didn't get along with my wireless router or printer/scanner.  I blamed myself, I blamed the accessories, but secretly knew that it was the laptop.  It was always the laptop, but I hung on out of desperation.  Luckily, the laptop recently off'd itself (as my British friends would say), and my new lovely laptop gets along just great with all accessories thus far. 

So, I present my almost famous moment from the Rock N Roll San Antonio Marathon in November 2009.  When you attend the expo before a marathon, they give you a program, which contains the map, course amenities, feature articles, etc., etc.  Usually, it also contains pictures from past marathons.  (Amusingly, at inaugural RNR events, they use stock photos with blurred bibs - which have the name of the city on them - but this was the second year of Rock N Roll San Antonio, so these were RNR SA '08 pics.) 

This year's marathon program looked like this:

I am not on the cover.  These are the fast guys - see the Kenyan and the Ethiopian in there?  I was a little further behind.  But, when you turned to page 21, you saw this:

Page 21 is a fairly standard page, outlining the course amentities.  Until you look a bit closer and,

TA DA!  Yep, that's me in the red 'Brak Pak' short-sleeve shirt, white visor, and gloves - trying to line up a water cup with my piehole.  I really love the "PAIN IN YOUR SIDE?"  header underneath the pic.  To be clear, that was a header for the next section of text, NOT a caption of my pic.

So, that was my brush with fame.  Fleeting but fabulous.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

City Manager's 5k

Well, there are no pics of this one - a rescheduled free race that I snuck into as a guest.  Officially.  Really.  I managed to stay with the city manager, Sheryl Sculley, up until about mile 2, then she pulled ahead and beat me by a minute.  Afterward, I got a nice, free crepe myrtle tree, so it was a good haul -  especially for a free race.  Then, I hit the farmer's market for my veggie/mushroom/tilapia fix.

Tomorrow, I'm going to try to get in a longer run AFTER the sun comes up, so it isn't so cold. Then, I'm hitting the sustainable, organic, local Last Sunday brunch at The Cove.  Yum.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Since I have no races, I bring you minutiae

So, I went for a brief, easy run this evening - crossing the railroad tracks to the good side and running through the mansions.  I found a road I didn't know existed (it doesn't cross the tracks into mi barrio) and a neighborhood library that I didn't know existed (I usually head to the downtown branch 2 miles away - and WOW, I have 3 libraries within 2 miles of my shack). 

When I got home, I made some caldo de pesco from the odds and ends of vegetables I had and my last tilapia fillet from my local tilapia farmer.  I am a lover of caldo de pesco and have tried to make it in the past - from recipes and from guessing - and it was always too strong.  I realized, after my umpteenth bowl the other day at Sea Island Shrimp House that I need to use water instead of vegetable or seafood stock as the base.  I guessed at it again tonight and it was good - except that two large serrano peppers in two bowls of soup made it pretty picante - I may need to scale the heat back.  I was a little teary-eyed at the Bono-Jay Z-Rihanna performance on the Haiti benefit thing.  But I'm pretty sure it was the SPICY soup.  Then, I thought they should have had a Kayne-Taylor Swift duet, and Kayne could end with "Obama loves black people," and it would have been GREAT.  But that thought may have been because of the SPICY soup (seriously, it would work if you took his liquor away a couple of hours ahead of time).

So, really, this post is just an excuse to test my new laptop with my camera.  Seems to be a success.

In fact, I'm a little in love with this new laptop and secretly glad the old one committed suicide (except that it still has all my data on it, awaiting blind transfer).  When I type, it actually shows the letters at the same time.  Don't laugh - my old one was always words behind.  And things that didn't work before (like the scanner feature of my printer) are miraculously working again!  And it doesn't take 5 minutes to flip between webpages - SHOCKING.  Sometimes I just put off new purchases that would make life much easier.  Like when I kept a vehicle that required a full container of coolant/antifreeze per day, because I loved it and didn't want a new car payment.  But that's normal, right?

So, thanks for undergoing this test with me.  Races resume next weekend.

No race weekend

But that's okay.  I just signed up for a race every weekend in February and am contemplating some additional back-to-back races that month.  So, I will just work some overtime so that I can pay off this new laptop (old one committed suicide.  assisted suicide).

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dog walk crosstraining

After my ill-advised impromptu 15.5 miler on hills and hills and hills yesterday, I rested and watched Favre's 40-year old butt school the Cowboys.  Man, I still love him.  I can't help it - you have to love his play, even if he's wearing ridiculous Vikings's purple.  So, after trying to keep my salt-crusted eyes open for the entire game before I stumbled in the shower and crashed, yesterday was a wash.

And, today, I didn't feel as bad as I thought I would.  My hips and feet were screaming, but no part was severely damaged - thank goodness.  So, I took down the christmas lights (yep, procrastinating), mopped up muddy dogprints, remopped up muddy dogprints, remopped up muddy dogprints, remopped up muddy dogprints, remopped up muddy dogprints, ad nauseum.  Yep, dang mud dogs, and I couldn't wait until the ground outside dried.  I'm just leaving the mop in the bucket next to the back door.

So, speaking of dogs - back to my resolution/plan this year to walk the dogs more -I took my sore hips and feet out with those baddogs for a walk today.  This time, I was playing it safe - I predosed myself with ibuprofen and limited them to up and down my 1/8 mile street.  We walked up and down that street 20 times. Dingo may be a decent running doggie (minus the distractions of squirrels and cats and dogs), and I think Gwen may have broken my hand with her leash-pulling, but she'll be great leading my Iditarod team

 In the meantime, I got tips from my neighbor who grew corn in the frontyard last year - he was appreciating my front-yard garden of tomatoes, peppers, limes, lemons, strawberries, and peas.  I may just join him next year in the corn crop.  I'm sooooo planting the whole front yard with corn this spring in solidarity with mi vecino.  I've gotten to the point where I loathe grass and welcome more fun plants which don't require mowing. And don't also don't care what the rest of the neighbors think - his corn looked cool.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Endurathon 25k a/k/a I hate hills

I really had no business running this bad boy.  Since the Marine Corps Marathon in late October, my only over-10 mile run was the craptastic San Antonio Rock N Roll HM, and I have lately been running no more than 9 mile runs - as flat as possible.  And, after registering awhile back, I did not really think about any preparations - until last night when I wad drinking a glass of wine and eating a piece of pizza and thought "what about the weather? what am I wearing? do I have honey gels? is my Garmin charged?  it IS 15.5 miles of hellatious hills - what am I thinking?!" 

Yep, way to rock it, Sal.  But, I headed out to the hills of Bulverde this morning and put one foot in front of the other and repeated that for 15.5 miles.  And it was tough.  It's really a challenging course - 'rolling' (e.g. EVIL) hills for the first 8 miles, then LONG stretches of flat along a road that extends FOREVER.  At least it wasn't brutally cold/windy, as it has been in the past, and I managed to bring it in a minute or so faster than last year.

Here's the evidence:

My butt running uphill - my eyes were probably salted shut by this point (um, hydration would have been good prior planning, too).

(that's me up there to the right of the white SUV in a blue jacket, red shirt, and black skirt - trying to crest the hill)

And enjoying a downhill.

Tomorrow, I will hurt. 
Thanks to Tom Lake for the pics.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Still can't decide

This may be a year of indecisiveness.  I have pretty much ruled out running the Rock N Roll New Orleans HM, since I would have to fly back that day.  I am still kinda-sorta-maybe-not-so-much thinking about running the Rock N Roll Dallas HM in March, but have done Dallas before (not like that - the White Rock Marathon). 

So, now I am toying with the Rock N Roll San Diego HM in June.  Some buddies are thinking about it, and I could get a cheap flight.  I will definitely be running the Rock N Roll San Antonio HM, though, so I have made one whole decision - yippee!

And I still have not figured out which fall marathon to run. 

Speaking of San Diego, Krista - a chick from Milwaukee who is now in Madison - is running the full marathon there with Team in Training and needs your support (money would be nicest).  Please check out her TNT page and help her raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Next up for me - 25k of big bad hills at the Endurathon on Sunday.  That's gonna hurt.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Speaking of critters

Gwen the pittoodle was 'profiled' on the blog.  She's going to have an ego problem soon.  I'm going to have to hire her an agent and a therapist, so she doesn't end up like some of these other starlette-types.

Thanks to Teecycle Tim for the press - here's another look at it, if the picture didn't come through on the first link

Sunday, January 10, 2010


One biproduct of my running is that I acquire critters.  If I see a loose dog while I'm running, I usually take him/her home.  I did not see any loose dogs on this morning's run (my Mom will be happy to hear that).  But, I did get an update on a dog that I found in Brackenridge Park and found a home. 

"Sadie" was running alongside us during zoo run one Wednesday night, then kept running circles around us when we were enjoying frosty beverages after the run.  Eventually, the park police started chasing her, so I opened the door to my (brand new, unfurred car) and she jumped in - and I left.  She was fixed, but did not have a microchip, and nobody responded to my flyers and posts on lost dog sites.  So, a friend of a friend adopted her - then moved to Illinois.

So, this morning, I got a message that Sadie is loving life in the north:

Unfortunately, Sadie was the last dog I took in that weighed under 65 pounds.  Since then there have been Cujette (a BIG pit bull that ran with me for 3 miles in circles in the park, then followed me back to my apartment, but eventually got picked up by animal control while she was staying on my patio - she was growly inside the apartment- because I couldn't get her into a shelter), Cujo (a German Shepherd that I found during zoo run - I found his owners 2 blocks from the house that I had just moved into), and of course Gwen (from a running friend) and Dingo (who I had seen while running in my neighborhood) - who now let me live with them.

I sincerely hope that there comes a day when I see no loose dogs on any runs :(

Friday, January 8, 2010

Running with Strangers

Tonight I ran with a stranger from the internet and did not end up as a picture on a milk carton.  And, I had a nice run when I otherwise would have holed up on the couch in this frigid weather.

Sometimes I find someone via the internet and send him a bunch of t-shirts, but, generally, I do not do internet dating, gamble online, or answer internet ads to meet people, etc.  I usually find friends and date within the intersecting circles of my friends, coworkers, neighbors, and groups.  Luckily, it's a broad network, and I've met many folks. 

But when I started running again, I just showed up at races, knowing nobody.  Luckily, the San Antonio running community consists of great folks who want to encourage you, hear your story, run with you, and plan the next run/race/party.  When I'm running with the Brak Pak (also once strangers/2 degrees of separation friends I ran into in Brackenridge Park), we've picked up runners on the roads and have had people stop in their cars to ask where/when we run so they can join us.  So, really, everyone is a stranger to some degree at the beginning.  Pretty obvious.

Anyway, Teecycle Tim suggested which is a great training site - allows you to connect to and motivate other runners, post your training log, and check how many donuts worth of calories you have burned.  There is a great bunch of folks there to awe (training monsters) and motivate you when you feel like slinking home to curl up on the couch instead of running.  Like today, when Bridget (stranger) mentioned she needed someone with whom to run about a 5k within the Brackenridge Park vicinity. 

We met up and had a nice run on the classic J. Purnell Sam's Burger Joint through Brackenridge Park route.  She is training for the Austin HM (her first) later this month and needed someone to make her run in these chilly temps.  And I needed someone to save me from the lure of the warm couch on a cold day.

So, again, a stranger has turned into a potential future running buddy.  And we were probably safer for the fact that we were running together, rather than solo.  I would not recommend this technique of meeting up with strangers, however, for responding to "massage" ads on Craig's List,, notes on bathroom walls, etc.  But, I figure that serial killers are seldom runners, and I try to make sure that I can possibly outrun my strangers, if necessary.  It would have had to be a dead sprint if necessary today, though - nice run and thanks for the run, Bridget!

No races for me this weekend. Next weekend's a hilly 15.5 miles, though, so I may need some rest.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Baby it's cold outside

Holy cow.  San Antonio is under deep freeze.  I thought I moved down here to escape this.  If I had the money, I think I would move to Monterrey, MX tomorrow, because I am clearly not far enough South.  Brrrr.

So, after work, I elected to run by myself in the cold and wind, while the sun was at least still shining.  Mind you, I have nothing warm in which to run and had to hunt for an ear-cover-thingy.  Windchill was around 16-20 (yes, I know this is nothing where I grew up, but I put in Summer runs at 105 degrees to avoid this- that's supposed to be my agreement with Mother Nature!).  Anyway, I just did an out-and-back to the community garden, picked some parsley and chard for dinner, and headed back.

Then, I started having to cover plants, wrap pipes, put faucets on drip, etc.  Normally, I have not bothered, since any freeze lasts for less than an hour this close to downtown.  However, they are predicting three days of sustained freezing temperatures.  No big deal, you Northeners say?  Well, I would give a good French laugh (Gwafahaha), as well, because my 85 y/o house is built on stilts, not insulated, and welcome for a pipe freeze, which would royally suck.  And I own this shack, so I'm already entering plumbers' numbers into speeddial.  Dang. This was easier when I rented.

I would just stuff critters in the crawlspace for insulation, but that could be mean.  Actually, they are mostly hanging out in/around the bed, waiting for me to turn up the thermostat.  With the exception of one Dingo dog (who is laying on her bed, knowing she was bad).  When I returned from my brief run, I threw the produce in water, checked the backyard for stray cats, and let the dogs out.  Apparently, after awhile, there was a cat hanging out on my adjacent neighbor's overhead tarp.  Dingo climbed the chain link fence, leapt, and chased the cat over my neighbor's roof.  And back.   And forth.  The cat jumped down (Dingo only chases, doesn't hurt), so the cat got away, and Dingo jumped back in my yard.  But, I can't imagine what the heck the neighbors thought was happening when the 65 pound baddog ran across their cottage roof.  I didn't stick around outside to find out.

I cannot wait for it to become warm again.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

My evolution

I was not a track star, and did not run cross country. In middle and high school, I was a tennis player, soccer player, cheerleader, newspaper editor, et al.  But I did always run with my sister, Gretchen.  We hit the YMCA almost every night after dinner to run the 1/18 mile track above the basketball court, where Phil/Bill would play (we did not actually know his name for awhile).  And we would run (and check out the boys).

When I went to college in Massachusetts, I would run 2, maybe 3-4, times per week, but fun got in the way.  Then, I went to boot camp at Fort Knox, KY for six weeks. And running started to suck.  Running involved running an arm's distance from the soldier in front of you and the soldier aside, did not involve a Walkman, and was simply drudgery.  And that continued through my next 2 years of ROTC and the following 5 years in the Army.  I truly ran 2 miles and 1 step and stopped, because that was required of me for physical training tests and I did not desire to run farther.

When I was deployed to Sarajevo in 2000, I decided to make some changes, one of which was starting to run for fun again.  Unfortunately, at the first 'base' (Ilidza), the running trail was lined with mine tape and narrow, indicating that, should you stray from the trail, you shall go boom.  Then, when we moved to the Butmir base, I would try to run in the mornings, but was often chased by packs of wild (WILD) dogs.  I switched to step classes away from the mean doggies and stopped running again.

Then, I returned home, divorced, moved to San Antontio, waited tables, and waited to start law school (wow, can't believe I can wrap that up in one sentence).  In law school, I ran off and on (mostly off - I was also finishing my master's degree and working 2 part time jobs).  And then, I went to work as baby attorney.

And sometime later, around early 2006, I was in the main jury pool room, postponing a client's jury service, and I saw a flyer.  It was for the Lake to Lake 5k which wasn't far from my apartment.  And I grabbed it.  And I arrived home to my apartment, where I was starting to break up with a guy who was a neighbor(dumb, dumb, dumb0.

So, goal in mind, old shoes in closet, I set out - and I ran for about 20-25 minutes with a skipping discman, in a cotton shirt and shorts, and wearing 3 old sports bras.  And I ran every day after that - adding another 5-10-15 minutes.  At this point, my folks gave me my first MP3 player, and it was awesome.

I finished that 5k and ran the whole thing.  My finish time was around 32-34 minutes, but I was hooked.  So, I continued to run most days and run a lot of races.

In running many races, I started finding the San Antonio running community.  But I still usually ran alone.  My friend, Carolyn, suggested we run together and, the first night, we ran into what would become the Brak Pak.  Truly a wonderful bunch of friends and runners.

And so, I happened to mention to my sister, Gretchen, that I had volunteered for the San Antonio marathon in 2006 and the course was much improved.  She said that, if she wasn't pregnant, she'd come down and run it with me.  I agreed, since it was about time for her to give me another nephew.  Sure enough, she was, Jack arrived in July, and we delayed the marathon until Dallas Whiterock in December 2006.  It was truly great - we finished together!

Since then, there have been thousands of training miles, many races, over a dozen half marathons +, 3 marathons, and much fun.  Now, the folks have gifted me a Garmin Forerunner, which only makes me want to run more (because SOMEONE is watching me). 

So, that's my story.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Teecycle in the Onion!

I have written about Teecycle Tim in the past - he sells preowned t-shirts and donates $1 per shirt to the River Revilatization Fund in Milwaukee - and now he is being recognized again!  I wonder who the attorney in San Antonio is who dumps all her shirts on sends boxes of shirts to him?


Monday, January 4, 2010

Next ups - the longer-than-HM races for 2010

So, it's 2010, and it's time to plan on some long races for the year.  I was debating running the Endurathon later this month, but probably will run it.  The race is 25k (15.5 miles) of tough hills, but I ran about 9 hilly miles on Sunday and felt okay, so I'm sure it won't kill me.  And it will certainly net some ugly race pics.  And, as I typed this, I realized it is fewer than two weeks away, so I had better just 'man' up and register tomorrow.

Then, there is the Spring half marathon decision.  My running buddies are vacilating - New Orleans on February 28 or Dallas on March 14?  I would prefer running in NoLo, but I have mandatory, you-must-come-unless-you-are-dead training at work beginning on March 1.  However, given the history of the organization for which I work, I suspect that will be cancelled/postponed around February 27 - and I can always fly home just after the race if, perchance, training proceeds as planned (so not likely).  There are also a couple of Fall half marathons/over 13 mile races I always run in the Fall as training runs, including the San Antonio Rock N Roll HM, but I will register for those in time (when I get better discount codes from the race organizer).

Then, and then, there is the marathon that I MUST run each year.  Some of my running buddies are running NY again - but that involves a lottery to procure the opportunity to pay for registration (grr) and the expenses of NYC. I was looking at Las Vegas in December - mostly because I have never traveled to Vegas (I know, I know, Texans - "WHAT, you've never been to Vegas?!"  Um, I've been a lot of other more interesting places instead, and really have never been that interested.).  I am also looking at the smaller (I have never run a marathon with under 6-30k runners) Lakefront Marathon in Milwaukee in October.  If I could get my seeeeeeesters and dad to run that with/in front of me, that could be fun.  But, fiscally-conservatively-thinking, I have many trips planned this year, so it may be wiser to piggy back a marathon on the trip to Nantucket in July - like this nighttime, run around the lake repeatedly, marathon in Massachusetts in July.

It's not that I'm not a spontaneous person, but with all the chaos in life - such as off leash pitbulls running free, making me chase them, and police choppers hovering over my neighborhood at times  - I like me some plans sometimes.  Especially if those plans involve training/scheduling for a marathon.  Suggestions? 

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year Plans

So, I started off my new year with new plans (plans, not resolutions, because I totally ripped that off from Krista).  And I went to the farmer's market this morning and bought some nice organic fare (yay - tilapia farmer was back!).  Then, I went to the grocery store and bought only organic vegetables (to "vote by dollar, via UPC data"), gritting my teeth at the register.

Then, I decided to forgo a run, since I'm planning on running 7 or 8ish miles tomorrow morning, and take the dogs to the park for a nice, long walk.  So, I loaded up Dingo in the back of the Yaris hatchback, then Gwen the pitbull in the passenger seat.  They were both sporting their nice pokey-mean-looking metal collars, which are great for walking, since they make the dogs stay together and do not pull (so much). 

Unfortunately, the design of the collars is such that it discourages the dog from pulling when walking forward; yet, when exiting a car, it does nothing to actually STAY AROUND THE DOG'S NECK.  So, I parked the car, set the Garmin (locating satellites), got Dingo out of the back, she briefly escaped her collar, but is a sucker and I releashed her when I met her on the other side of the car with a treat.  Then, I opened the passenger door to let Gwen out.  And I grabbed her leash, and she backed up, and the collar fell, and she was OFF TO THE RACES!

Yes, loose pitbull running free at last, free at last.  So, I (improperly) panicked and started chasing her, with Dingo in tow.  Luckily, Dingo likes to run, but trips me, so after the first flip I took over Dingo, I sprinted her back to the car and threw her back inside.  Then I headed out for Gwen the baddog again.  Unfortunately, the one command Gwen completely disregards is "Come," and she is not fooled by treats. 

So, I spent the next 20 minutes running tackle drills, trying to cut the angle on Gwen, to keep her away from traffic, to not scare people (they were scared of that fooldog), and to at least get an ankle tackle.  After four failed tackles (mercifully, on grass), I tried the only thing that usually works.  I lied down and kept still.  It's very tough to lie there and not look up to locate your baddog.  It didn't take long, though, and Gwen came over to slobber on me and possibly eat my corpse  come to my aid.  And I pinned her.  Then, I dragged her unwilling 65 pounds of muscle and bone back to the car.

And I was exhausted.  Garmin said .78 miles of dog chasing.  Lovely.  So much for my plan to walk the dogs more.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

After a fun night with friends and fireworks (in a legal area), I returned home and crashed - then was up most of the night with my PTSD doggy, Dingo, who was freaking out about the illegal fireworks being fired off all night around us.  Sigh. 

So, I hit the Cobweb Chaser 5k on 01-01-10 at 1000 hours (I like the binary nature of that) a bit bleary-eyed.  But it was a nice way to start another year of running and making ugly race pics.

I hope that the new year brings a rapid end to the fireworks (Dingo is huddled in a crate right now as they continue to pop and squee) and happiness to everyone!

Thanks to Tom Lake for the pics