Sunday, 24 May 2009


My last few weeks, since the Big Sur Marathon, have not been much about actually running. Surprising, I think, for someone who's in the middle of this goofy 12 in 12 thing. I will pin part of it on the fact that, with Rock and Roll San Diego one week from today, I am now in the taper zone. However, to be honest, I don't believe I would have done anything differently had there not been a marathon on the near horizon. Perhaps I just needed a break from the obsession.

Since Big Sur I have run maybe 5 times...the longest run only 15 miles. Most of the others have been 6's. I have ridden my bike a couple of times, but nothing hard, nothing taxing. I have been keeping up with my situps. I do one big day a week...and last week's installment topped out at 400. Prior to that I had a few weeks at 375. This latest time the extra 25 really made my abs hurt the next couple of days. That's gone now. Tuesday is situps day...haven't decided how far to go.

It's not like nothing running's been going on. If you're a regular here you'll know already that I was scheduled to run Portland (OR) in October but have bagged on favour of running the Rochester Marathon in September with my new Road to Paris pal, Laura. Now there's word from two of the founders (Doc and the Judge) of my running club, The Goon Squad, that they're going to do Rochester, too. Thinking I'll have to get new running togs and a haircut...maybe even a impress. Maybe not. And, as if that's not enough, my pic has been inserted into the Goon Squad's home page on the interwebby thing, as if I was actually running with the gang! How awesome is that?

Oh...AND...I am already planning for 2010. Looks pretty darned certain that I will be packing my bags for Europe in run TWO marathons, on successive weekends, again. The Salt Lake City/Big Sur experiment went so well last month that I'm confident I can do it. This time it's Trieste, in THE Italy, with my other Road to Paris cohort, Kari, followed, just days later, by Prague. With the economy the way it is I figure I get more miles to the dollar if I cram two races into the same trip. It's all about the cash. I am now putting every $1 and $5 bill I get into a big can, hoping for an even bigger total come next spring when it's time to buy airline tix.

Despite being at the tail-end of the current taper, I had to run this morning. Suited up and headed out into the early morning fog, and put in a strong 5 miler. Had to remind the legs who's boss. I think I'm back into the thick of it now. This week will be all about San Diego.

Have to pull out my marathon trip packing list and start setting out neat little piles of stuff. Have to select which DVD's I will take with me for the laptop-assisted plane trip south. Currently favouring Kill Bill 1 & 2 and the entire season of Wonderfalls. I also need to acquire my weekend supply of English Mars bars AND some special See's treats for a Twitter follower/runner who I hope to meet up with with the rest of the gang prior to the race. If that doesn't happen, the good thing is, I can eat the stuff! One thing I really should do that I won't, because of budget constraints, is buy new running shoes. The one's I have now ('09 Brooks Beasts) have a good load of miles on them, including Carlsbad, Austin, Napa Valley, Salt Lake City and Big Sur marathons! They feel pretty good at the start of a long run, but a little wobbly at the end. Maybe the wobbly's just me. For sure, San Diego will be their last hurrah.

I also need to start visualizing actually enjoying the race this time. Last time I did San Diego (2006) it was incredibly muggy and hot. Turning east toward the downtown at about mile 6.5 I knew it was going to a long, hard day. It was. This current weather forecast is for ideal conditions next Sunday. Fingers crossed and locked. Looking forward to my second stay at the downtown YHA hostel. It has free pancakes, the real breakfast of champs, every freaking morning!

Yep. Pretty sure I'm getting back in the groove.

Gotta run!

Monday, 11 May 2009


A fellow marathoner recently characterized her friends who train for sub-3 hour marathons as "serious" runners. I did not bring it up at the time, but the comment stuck in my craw (whatever THAT is). Sort of like when a co-worker tells a racially or sexually insensitive "joke" and I fail to call them on it, I often wish I could go back and forcefully stand up for the offended. Here's my chance, albeit, belated. Over the course of 25 marathon events I have had the absolute honor to have been inspired by "serious" marathoners who would pay to have been able to clear the tape at 26.2 in under 7 hours. Yes, I said SEVEN HOURS.

My first marathon was in 2003 in beautiful Vancouver, BC. One of my training group members was a plus-size woman with a heart and drive as big as her physical presence. (If you search the blog archives here, you'll find her picture). Our group was not fast, by any stretch of the imagination, but SHE was the slowest of all. After the race she admitted she was not pleased that her group had left her behind to finish on her own. But, finish on her own is what she did! We all found out months later that she'd run the race not knowing that the problems she had swallowing her pre-race dinner the night before were caused by a festering throat cancer. She died about a year later, after chemo and dropping over 100 pounds.

The following year I traveled to Scotland for the Loch Ness Marathon. For a few months previous to that I chatted online with another woman who was training for her first marathon. She'd lost her job and had decided to turn lemons into limoncella and make her way to Inverness from Tucson. We met up the night before the run, at a marvelous pub in an un-touristy section of the Highlands city, tipping back a few brews, washed down with sausage and potatoes, all while enjoying some amazing live local music. We met up at the starting line the following morning, hugged, and wished each other a "great run". I came in at something like 5:20....she came in about two hours later, dead last, but come in she did, in no uncertain terms.

I know of no more serious runners than these two...with all due respect to you sub-3 hour folks, and the people who love them. If you do what you do with as much heart and desire as them, I applaud you, but it's a tall order.

Gotta run!

Friday, 8 May 2009


This post is NOT about anything related to Jeff Galloway, the brilliant theories and/or practice of the run/walk method, speed, or the lack thereof, or even the magical powers of the Mars bar (okay, that last bit's a lie!). It's about keeping the 12 in 12 challenge fresh and inviting. It's about organics. It's about change.

First off, I will admit to being a massive fan of the city of Portland, Oregon. I love the place. Have been there twice to run the October marathon, which has to be one of the best run runs on the planet. The course is interesting, except for the ugly (IMHO) out-n-back into the industrial area. There's always lots of live music and cheering support. It's famous for its post-race food for runners, for good reason. There's so much of it they even have enough to satisfy the back-of-the-packers, as the event winds down. Believe me, that's where I finish, and I've wobbled away both times with more than enough to eat.

The Northwest Portland Hostel is where I've stayed both times. Recently remodeled and expanded, it's comfortable, inexpensive, with friendly, helpful staff. It's also right in the middle of an area of the city bursting with great places to eat, drink, shop, stroll, people-watch, and just hang out. If PDX is on your travel plans anytime soon, set aside at least half of one of your days there, to just chill at Powell's Bookstore. It is, simply, an amazing place. They let you take books or magazines into the coffeeshop and sit there and read them...all freakin' day, if you want. They certainly HOPE you end up buying them, but it's not a requirement.

Initially I was planning on running Portland again this year, as part of the 12 in 12. But, there's been an easterly shift. Way east. We're talking Rochester, New York, and its' marathon on September 13th.

Here's how it played out.

For some reason, months ago, Laura and Karoline found my blog and started following it, as they trained for their Paris Marathon reunion. When I noticed they were following my musings, I started following theirs. In short they kicked butt "over there", thanks, in no small part, I am led to believe, with my full support, to the Mars bars they consumed at that critical 17 mile point. Since then we have been communicating on a regular basis, via blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and the DailyMile.

Heard first from Karoline, who gets to live in Trieste (in THE Italy!). There's a marathon there that she does not want to run alone, so I am working some smoke-and-mirrors magic tricks with my checkbook and credit cards in an effort to get myself there next May.

As if that's not enough, found out via Facebook, that Laura went to the same small liberal arts college as my stepdaugther. That would not normally be anything amazing, but the school in question is in the middle of Ohio, and my stepdaughter was a California girl at the time she picked her college. Then, while catching up on Laura's blog just yesterday morning, discovered that she's pulled the trigger and signed up for Rochester Marathon in September. On the blog she suggested I consider it.

My knee-jerk reaction was that there's no way I could afford to do that, thinking airfares alone would be prohibitive. For fun, though, did some research on the world wide webby thingy and found Delta's fares to ROC are less than Southwest's to Portland!! Who knew? That was all I needed.

I have wanted to visit Rochester for years. Really. Ever since reading somewhere that it had been voted one of the best cities in the country in which to live...or something like that. Now I'm going. Looking forward to handing Laura her Mars bar supply for the marathon, pre-race hugs and post race high-fives. It's gonna be great. I am totally jazzed about running along the Erie Canal.

Thanks, Laura for the inspiration.

Gotta run!