"...In the end, people either have excuses or experiences; reasons or results; buts or
brilliance. They either have what they wanted or they have a detailed list of all the rational reasons why not."

~ Anonymous
(taken from Matt Erbele's, It Takes Time to Get Good)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Race Report: San Francisco Marathon - July 25, 2010

Alternative title: All I want for my birthday is a course PR.

SF Marathon 2009:

Total Time: 5:54:16
Total Misery:
Abject after mile 13

SF Marathon 2010:

Total Time:
Total Misery:
Very Limited, and mostly alleviated by porta potty stops 2 and 3

Yeah baby, 27:33 course PR


On Friday, hubby and I went to his radiation appointment and then came home and did an easy 12 mile bike ride together. After that, I went to the San Fran-land of fucked up traffic-isco for packet pick up. (Then I went to the store and picked up some milk... why do I feel compelled to include such uninteresting details?)

I had thought I would miss everyone, but I was lucky enough to meet up with my buddy Katie A. who had just picked up her Boston Marathon partner in crime Jill, and Jill's buddy (who I cannot remember the name of, and yes, I am aware that makes me an asshole. My bad.)

Then as I was leaving I got a text (because I am so TOTALLY a 17 year old girl and that is my main mode of conversation these days) from Ron, and I got to meet up with him and RoadBunner. (who is on a marathon rampage of epic proportions these days.)

Sappy side note:

Ron, you absolutely rock and thank you for being a good friend. It was really, really good to see you again. You never fail to make me smile.

Sappy side note over.

RoadBunner, Ron, and moi.
(Yes, I look stoned. No, I am not)

Race Morning

Truly dedicated athletes such as myself know that appropriate gear is integral to race day success.

Don we now our gay apparel! (Yes G, that was just for you)

I had made plans to meet up with my two oldest and dearest creepy internet friends, Penny and Willie, and meet for the first time another long time creepy internet friend, aka Alice.

Penny's niece, Penny, and Crazy Eyes

RBR and her brutha from another mutha

I was a little excited about meeting aka Alice. This is me being cool and reserved.

We migrated to our corrals, we were all in different ones except Willie and I. Now, Willie claimed to ALL that would listen that he was going to run this marathon with me.

Uh huh. Riiiiiight.

If you remember last year, Willie said the same thing and did not last 25 yards before he turned, waved to me, and said "Have a good race. Kiss my ass!" (Ok, I ad libbed the 'kiss my ass' part, but it was implied ;) )

The Race

Miles 0-5

This year, I will give Willie this, he started with me and he even ran with me for quite a while. He ran with me for a little over 4 miles to be exact, before he dropped my ass AGAIN!

To be honest, I could not hang. He is a sub four hour marathoner, he was running with a 4:15 marathoner from his hometown running group, and me, a 'barely can be called a' marathoner. I was huffing and puffing next to him and he was probably calculating just how old his children would be when he finished this godforsaken marathon if he stayed with me.

At about mile 3, Willie (aka Eagle Eye. If you need to find someone in a sea of people, you seriously need this dude with you) spots aka Alice in front of us. He says, "If I knew her better I would go smack her ass." Well, you don't have to tell me twice, and off I went to "say hello."

Once Willie saw me running with aka Alice, he tasted sweet freedom and off he went. I don't blame him, and he did make it farther at RBR pace than many other fast runners, but I will tease him about it for the rest of his days, 'cuz that is the kind of sweetheart I am. *gleaming, slightly sadistic, smile*

This is the only semi decent picture I got of Alice on the bridge. Pathetic, I know. My camera mojo was off for this race.

Miles 5-9: The Bridge

I have to say again, the bridge was not as fogged in as last year and still, I do not think running over it is nearly as cool as it sounds. I LOVE running over foot bridges, but when you run over a 6 lane bridge, it just feels like a road. *shrugs* You do not get the sense of being suspended over anything. It is pretty, though.

Me and the GGB from the North Tower Vista Point (taken by a sweet gal that had already waited half an hour for her buddy, that "did not train for this and started hurting at mile 2." I bet her buddy was a TON of fun at mile 10)

My tummy was getting a little wonky at this point. I stopped and waited in the line for Port-a-Potties figuring it was best handled now. Little did I know that this was only the beginning, Stage 1 if you will, of my San Franciscan Tour du Honey Bucket.

Miles 10-19

After crossing back over the bridge, we go up the biggest hill of the course. I was surprised how good I was feeling. My joints were feeling the stress of the pavement, but I was moving along at a pretty good clip.

At about mile 11, a young guy passed me and said I was "looking fabulous" I told him it was my birthday because, yes, I am an attention whore. Why else would I wear a hot pink boa and a tiara to run a marathon? to blend in?

He rallied the runners around us to sing me Happy Birthday. It was very , very cool! He said, "Have a great birthday, Birthday Princess!" as he headed off to finish the half marathon.

And the Birthday Princess was born.

Ok, she is not aging as well as one would hope. She does happen to have a certain fondness for the sun that is causing a map to the lost city of Atlantis to form on her face.... but she is the birthday Princess, nonetheless!

I was blown away by how many people cheered for me, said Happy Birthday, and would say "Hey! There is the Birthday Princess again!" In a marathon of over 10,000 people I felt like a bit of a rockstar.

Sadly, during this stretch was also when the Tour du Honey Bucket would hit it's toughest stages. I do not want to get too graphic, but my writing last masters thesis did not take me as long as Stage 2 of Tour du Honey Bucket. 'Nuff said.

Miles 20-26

My return to THE Haight. I can not believe how much better I felt during this stretch than last year. I was even joking with the locals (i.e a group of gacked out 20-somethings, that told me my boa was both "foxy" and "totally boss" Thanks, boys. You sweet talkers.)

Tired RBR and some street art. I do have to admit, the graffiti on THE Haight is pretty cool.

Then I ran up on a local aid station. I had to ask if I could take a picture for Ms. Alice. They were offering runners free Mimosas at Mile 21.

The young man of questionable sobriety asked if I wanted to get his ass in the photo. It would have been unladylike of me to refuse.

I kept running past runners that had dropped me when was competing in Stages 2 and 3 of "the Tour", and I got fresh cheers and birthday wishes. There was one more Stage of "the Tour." I was pretty damn ready to be done by time we hit the Embarcadero again. As expected my feet, ankles, and knees were totally OVER the pavement, but I was still running unlike the run 3 strides/walk 3 minutes plan I was rocking last year at that point of the race.

I came into the finish feeling strong, but ready to be done. Then the woman right in front of me stops to take a picture of the finish line before crossing it.

Seriously? What the fuck?

Since fine motor skills and quick reaction time had left the building about 10 miles ago I ran smack into her, causing her to give me a dirty look and raise her hands in the universal "what the fuck?" sign and me to say 'Dude!' (Eloquent, I know, but I HAD just run a marathon)

I am certain that both of our finisher pictures will be a thing of beauty!

Marathon 1o: DONE!

Afterwards, my tummy troubles continued and I kind of split early. Sadly, that meant I missed an opportunity to meet Ann. I am hoping that we will meet up at a PCTR trail race soon. I am sorry, girl!

Birthday Night

Hubby took me out to dinner and like any good husband he asked me where I wanted to go and like any good girl of fine white trash heritage I told him


Tired, but very happy at the 'Lobsta. We were in the minority of patrons at the 'Lobsta that were 1. Under 80 and 2. Under 300 pounds. (although, I have not weighed in at JC yet this week. I may have to amend that second statement)

To be honest, it was the best birthday I have had in a long time. Thank you all!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Repeat After Me...

RBR, repeat after me:

Cake will not cure emotional pain.

No, not even red velvet cake, which admittedly has magical powers.


Somewhat random, but it is where I am at these days. Moving on...

Belated Race Report: Dirty Legs Summer Trail Run 10k - July 18, 2010 Aptos, CA

Last Sunday I had the esteemed pleasure of running once again with Ms. Speedy McSpeederton, aka Katie A.

We chose to do the 10k, so that I did not bore the snot out of her again for 3 and half hours like when we did the Bear Creek half mary trail run a couple of weeks ago. Plus we both were running the San Francisco Marathon this weekend and . (She is running the half and, I am certain, will set some sort of land speed record, and I, in my INFINITE wisdom, am going to do the full. Yeah, we will see how that goes.)


Total Distance:
6.6 miles
Total Climb: 1879 ft.
Total Time: 1:25:25

My pictures are few, and pretty sucky because 1. I was laughing manically with Katie the whole time. She is a hoot! and 2. I actually ran this thing instead of my usual racing style which consists of lots of screwing around, occasionally interrupted by actual running. (Please note: that I still had a 13:01/mile pace, which only confirms my assertion that I might as well fuck around and have fun when I run because even when I try I am still slower than slug snot.)

Katie on the downhill. I am feverishly trying to keep up, hence the blur. Or you can interpret it as my excessive speed while running blurring the shot. As an artist, I can not dictate how you react to my work.

The run was in the Forest of Nisene Marks, which is one of my favorite places to run. It is beautiful and has lots of the spongy, redwood single track that I LOVE.

Katie and me on a bridge in the Forest.

But don't you worry there was plenty of climb. 1879 ft of it, to be exact.

Other than the blackberry bramble that was slicing at Katie's legs as we ran by, which caused her to sag her shorts and run all gangsta' style (I have a picture, but I would have to start charging a membership fee to the blog if I start posting pictures like that *fans self*), it was a pretty trouble free run.

I still do not know why she runs with me when I am slower than her by almost a factor of 2, but I am sure glad she does because we always have a lot of fun!

SF Marathon

San Francisco Marathon is tomorrow. I also turn 41 tomorrow. I don't really freak out about age. Aging is significantly better than the alternative, which is death. And if you think about it even in death you age, just a lot more dramatically. You think crows feet and cellulite are bad, they beat the hell out of full scale decomp. And smell decidedly better.

I am a bit concerned about the dearth of road running I have done to prepare for this road marathon. That may come back to bite me in the ass. Again, no pictures as that would fall under the necessitating a membership fee category.

Ok, Queen 'Random Shit' is done for the day.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Petulance Unleashed

This morning I was sitting in the truck next to hubby on the way to his first IMRT radiation treatment. He will receive a total of 28 of these treatments. We will go 5 days a week for 5 1/2 weeks.

It was quiet in the truck. 'Riders on the Storm' was playing on the stereo. He smiled at me. I smiled back, but inside my heart was racing and my mind was screaming in a full blown tantrum.

I do not want to go to radiation!
I do not want to go to the radiation oncologist!
I do not want my husband to need a fucking radiation oncologist!
I do not want my husband to have fucking cancer!
I don't want it!

It was all I could do to not burst into tears and run screaming from the car into traffic.

He smiled at me again and squeezed my hand as we pulled into the parking lot. "Time to microwave the huevos" he joked. I laughed and kissed his neck.

My heart pounded in my ears. My throat was so tight I could not swallow. My mind continued to scream. I almost could not hear the receptionist say good morning.

I have to get out of here.
I can not do this.
I am not strong enough for this.
Please, make all of this fucking go away.

I smiled at the technician as she came to get my husband, "I like my men medium rare. Please do not over cook him." I told her. She laughed. He laughed. She giggled as he smiled at her (they all do).

NO! NO! NO! You can not have him.
I can't breathe.
I think I have stopped breathing.
Someone, please fucking help me. I am drowning.
Smile Stacey, he does not need you freaking the fuck out, you selfish bitch.

I smiled and the door closed. 20 minutes later he came out. "That was easy. One down, twenty-seven to go."

One down. Twenty-seven to go.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Ride Report: Bike 4 Breath - Foster City, CA

Jo Lynn asked me if I wanted to do this ride about a month ago (I realize I always say "about a month ago" and, honestly, I don't know when any of this shit happened.) I asked LA Run Buddy if she wanted to join us and she said she was in!


Total distance:
65.25 miles
Total ride time:
Total climb:
3200 ft. (from the ride sheet. I forgot my Gamin. I know, sacrilege)

Bike 4 Breath is a fundraiser for Breathe California which is an organization that"promote[s] lung health and clean air polic[ies] in the greater Bay Area" (no, I don't know what that means they do either. I just copied it from the website. Whatever. I am sure they do good stuff)

The girls getting ready to head out. I just LOVE the fact that I am the only one sporting the uber cute melon head look.

It seemed an apropos ride for me to do, since the only reason I do any of this fitness stuff is because when I was diagnosed with asthma 6 years ago my pulmonologist told me that if I did not change my sedentary, 'work/go to school/study/sleep-ish/work more' lifestyle, he predicted I would be hauling around an oxygen tank to breathe by age 50. Sooo not cute.

It took me about a year after that before I decided, "Hey, I NEVER exercise, I can not run for more than 3 minutes, have not swum since high school, and the only use my $25 bike in the garage has is as a laundry rack for the last 15 years, I think I will do a triathlon!" the rest, as they say, is history.

Jo Lynn had her own reasons for riding today.

We had a slightly rocky start when we went off course only 2 miles into the ride. I do have to say that other than this one problem, the course markings for this ride were excellent, but the written ride sheet was ridiculously bad. It relied on in depth, insider knowledge of the local area to decipher the turns. Here is a direct quote from the ride sheet:
"Turn left on bike pedway that leads under the fashion Bridge overpass. After riding under overpass, continue on bike path "T" intersection, veer left toward Point Royal park. At the "Y' intersection after Point Royal Park, look for the rock with THREE oblique angles, two of these angles must NOT be acute angles. There will be a duck on top of the rock. Ask the duck where the fuck to go next."
Ok, I made up the part about the rock and the duck, but goddamn.

Finally on the bike pedway ( I guess 'pedway" is more politically correct and does not discriminate against those traveling by foot, like the archaic term "bike path" *eyeroll*)

Anyhoo, the ride was beautiful and for most of it the weather stayed pretty cool. It can be hotter than a mofo out there, but we got lucky yesterday.

As you know, when I ride I am ALL about safety, so all of my pictures were taken while riding. Usually in traffic.

Taken over my head and shooting behind me. LA Run Buddy was saying, "that is not going to work" HA!

Jo Lynn action shot

LA Run Buddy aka, 'the Yellow Blurr' ( I LOVE this picture. She cracks me up)

My white pelicans are back! Side note of snarkiness: Jo Lynn and LA Run buddy dropped me like a bad habit when I stopped to take this picture.

About 40 miles in LA Run Buddy and I hear Jo Lynn scream and see her grab at her shirt. Apparently, a bee (hereafter referred to as the LBA, 'luckiest bee alive' You will just have to trust me on this one) flew into her sports bra. I rode up along side her and tried to help her dislodge the LBA. We were both clipped into our pedals and could not stop without falling over. Jo Lynn tells me to grab her shirt to get the bee out, but I can't do that without causing us to wreck (I know, missed opportunity. G may never forgive me) so I just grabbed her handle bars and stopped us both and she was able to free the LBA, but sadly not before the little bastard stung her.

Yes, where you think. Ouch.

[No, there are no pictures. Big pervs!]

During the ride, we saw several couples riding together on this beautiful day. How sweet and romantic, right?

Well, I am here to tell you there were several men in this category that I can assure you DID NOT get any that night. I have done enough of these endurance events and have seen enough couples that think it would be soooooo fun to run a marathon, ride a century, go on a trail run, etc. together, and many of these end badly.

I decided to help you fellas out. (Ladies, if you can think of any others feel free to add them in the comment section. It is public service we are doing here. God's work, really)

Here is RBR's list of shit NOT to do during an endurance event with your wife, girlfriend, or love interest, if you want to have ANY chance of getting laid in the near future:

1. DO NOT ride or run 20 yards ahead and constantly harp at them to "keep the pace" or say encouraging things like "we are losing time", or "Come on. Are you getting tired, or what?"

2. DO NOT leave them to ride to the top of the climb, stop, look back with your hand on your hip, and watch them struggle up the hill, only to ride off when they get within 20 feet of you.

3. DO NOT constantly (or even occasionally) spout off pace calculations, and inform your partner of how much faster they need to run/ride in order to hit YOUR time goal for the event.

4. DO NOT skip aide stations or rest stops to make up time unless your partner suggests it. And if she does, the correct response is "Damn. You are so hardcore!"

Ego or sex. You decide. You only get to have one after an endurance event with your partner.

[steps off soapbox]

It was a great ride with some great ladies!

Relay for Life

Later that night I went to support my Run Buddy at Relay for Life, which is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. She was the overnight chaperone for our school's Key Club. (Yes, she is a fucking SAINT. You will never see me doing an overnight chaperone gig with high school students EVER and she did it in the fucking SUMMER. Saint, I tell you!)

She made my hubby a luminary (a white bag that they put a candle in around the track. Not to sound ungrateful or disrespectful, but paper bag and open flame? Who could have predicted the startling number of luminaries that burned to the ground?)

My hubby got me a radioactive symbol shirt and I wore it in his honor. He wanted me to take a picture of his luminary with me in the shirt.

Ok, I will give you this one, G, I totally look like a dude. I was a little tired.

We walked for about 2 and half hours and then my lazy ass bailed and left her to watch over the cherubs. Such a peach of a friend!

Sunday morning run

LA Run Buddy went out to Baylands to run. She ran 5 miles with me and then went to a World Cup Party and I continued on to run a total of 10 miles. She is still struggling with her knee issues, so this was a nice compromise.

All in all a pretty successful weekend.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Fresh Ink

Hubby Update

On Tuesday my husband had his final CT scan to create his IMRT (intensity modulated radiation therapy) plan. This is done to calibrate exactly where the radiation will be delivered. This is pretty damn important in all cases as you certainly do not want to irradiate anything that is not intended to be irradiated, but in the case of my hubby with prostate cancer I find it SUPER important.

You best not be frying the goods, Mr. Doctor man!

The doctor comes in to talk to us and I hit him with my customary 50,000 questions and he watches me warily as I furiously scribble his answers into my notebook. He has already joked that I make him nervous.

They complete the planning by marking his body with tattoo ink to show where the beams are to be aimed. I had to wait in the lobby while all this was going on, so I decided to mess with the receptionist who is sharp as a tack and super cool.

RBR: Ummm, I understand that they want to tattoo my husband for this procedure. I am very concerned about that. *blink, blink*

For those that do not know here is a pic of my husband

Goddamn, he is hot. Sorry, what was my point....
Oh yeah, he has a few tattoos already.

Receptionist: Oh honey, don't worry the tattoos are very tiny. You won't even notice them.

RBR (wide eyed): If they desecrate his body like that, do you think he will still get into Heaven?

Receptionist (keying in on the fact that I was messing with her): *arches her brow* You sure he was getting in before, sweetie?

My husband comes out as we are cackling like two old biddies. I IMMEDIATELY ask to see the tattoos. Which causes the poor Radiation Technician to blush profusely, the receptionist to resume cackling, and my husband to give me the look.

No, not that one. Not the good 'the look'. The 'What-the-fuck-is-wrong-with-you? look'.

Whatever. I thought it was funny.

He also refused to let me take pictures for the blog. Cha', and he is supposed to be the cool one.

In all seriousness...

The radiation will start in about 2 weeks. They estimate the radioactive seeds that were implanted a month ago have discharged about 90% of their radiation into his prostate. The doctor also told us that the radioactive seeds were supposed to have much more side effects than the external beam radiation. That made us feel really good because hubby has sailed through that part pretty trouble free.

He is continuing on the hormone therapy which is BY FAR the worst fucking part of this thing (well, except for the whole he has cancer part, but you know) however, there is an end in sight for that. He may have to have one more Lupron shot which would take the hormone therapy out through November (they are 3 month injections), but after that he should be able to get off of it. Each shot gets worse in terms of side effects and increases the risks of more permanent problems, so he is understandably anxious to get off that shit.

Anyone that is going through this is free to email me and I can be more candid about it. It is tough on everyone involved, so if you have questions or just need to vent to someone that gets it, my email is available

Run Buddy Update

We had to go the neurologist today on kind of an emergency basis and there are some more complications. She had to go on more serious medication, but they are very hopeful that they can save her vision.

RBR Update

I can't remember the last time I slept more than 3 hours in a row.

My husband has cancer and my best friend is fighting to keep from going blind. Uh, yeah, I am fine.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Stuff I like

I am not much for doing product reviews, something about companies not liking the word "fucking" in their reviews. Whatever, squares. I have, however, benefited from other people's experiences with various products, so I thought I would share about a couple of things that make running suck less for me.


I have been running in the Asics Gel - Fortitude for over 2 years now.They are apparently for people with freakishly short, wide feet. I had crippling (ok, dramatic, but that shit hurt) toe pain with every shoe I had tried before these. Since there are not many of us garden gnomes that run, these shoes are sold in about 2 stores worldwide. Fortunately, one of those stores is near me. I keep waiting for them to be discontinued. That will rock.

Hydration Belt/Pack

Run belt: For about 4 years I have been using an Amphipod belt.

I like it immensely better than the admittedly better looking Fuel Belt brand for several reasons: 1. you can get the bottles out of and back into the belt without being a Cirque du Soleil level contortionist 2. You can choose how many bottle holders to put on it and you can add or remove pouches for carrying Gu and such. 3. The stretchy, wide belt fits snugly enough to not bounce when running without having to cinch it so tight it cuts off the circulation to your lower trunk.

Go Lite Rush Hydration Pack: My Go Lite Hydration Pack. This is the newest of my running tools and I am a HUGE fan.

I got it to replace my Camelbak pack for longer trail runs. I liked my Camelback pack but the one downside was that to get to the food storage, you have to remove the pack, so I would end up running in my run belt and hydration pack. Which resulted in me looking much like a Machu picchu pack mule. Not cute. Plus the Camelbak would rub on my run belt which bugged the crap out of me.

The Go Lite does not come with a bladder (the plastic, bag thing that holds the water and you drink out of) I love my Camelbak hydration bladder, so I wanted to keep it. This pack allowed me to do that. Plus it gave me TONS of storage. There are two front pockets on the waist strap for easy access to my camera (an essential for me), my inhaler, and my food. There is also a large, backpack type compartment that you could carry my cell phone, first aid kit, more food, a light jacket, gloves, a book... (ok, a race would have to be going REALLY badly for me to stop and read, but it gives you an idea of the space)


Gu Chomps - Lindsay turned me out on these. "The first one is free, little girl"
Thanks, Linds. I am going to look like a total puss in rehab when I say my drug of choice is Blueberry Pomegrante flavored.

I was a die hard Cliff Shot blocks girl, but let's be honest they are too big and too hard (shut up, G) and their new packaging, while easier to eat out of, does not fit in anything. Not in my run belt, not in the Bento box (I provided a link for non cycle types, since last time I mentioned the Bento Box SQ thought it was some sort of sex toy) Anyhoo, since I am so slow I need to pack a lot of stuff, very irritating to have odd shaped packaging.
Gu Chomps are smaller, softer and now that they have other flavors they taste just as good.

My other nutrition consists of Gu gels Vanilla bean flavor only. All of the other flavors make me gag. To be honest I hate them, but they do not upset my stomach, are easy to eat, and you can buy them anywhere. Word of warning, if you offer me a Gu gel of ANY flavor after 20 miles of running I will typically try to gouge your eyes out with my thumbs, but they are a necessary evil in the running world.

For longer distances (runs over 20 miles, bikes over 50 miles) which I have not done in so long I barely remember what I ate, I use Perpeteum from Hammer in one of my water bottles. The flavor, meh, but not so repellent that I won't use it, it does not give me gas, and I find that my recovery is WAY faster after big efforts. (Highly anecdotal, no real data, so take that for what it is)

Last weekend at mile 15 I was hurting and I tried a Gu Rocktane for the first time (Katie A. swears by them and gave me a couple to try.) I will admit I tried it by accident and it tasted like cough syrup since I was expecting my boring ol' vanilla. However, within 5 minutes I felt like a new woman. I hate to review something I have only tired one packet of one time, but I was seriously hurting and then all of a sudden I am running like I was on fresh legs. I can't say it was the Gu Rocktane for sure (or the fact that I was almost done and on a downhill section) but I came in looking so good the guy at the finish line joked that I needed another loop I was too peppy. This is a highly suspect review. Take it with a grain (or truckload) of salt, but I think they are worth a try.


Yes, for me this is a necessary running tool. I have had one camera die in the line of duty, so I did a quite a bit of research before purchasing my current baby.

Olympus STYLUS 850 SW Water Proof Digital Camera - 8.0 Megapixels, 3x Optical Zoom, 5x Digital Zoom, 2.5" LCD, in Pink of course. :)It is a great camera. The pictures are pretty good for a point and shoot and it is easy to operate when you are delusion inducingly low on oxygen, glucose, or patience. I have tested all three extremes extensively.

All in all I love this camera. Things that I am not crazy about with this camera:

1. The wheel you use to change modes is difficult to operate sometimes. Ok, I will give you that mine may be encrusted with body sweat, dried Gu, and other sticky nastiness (not that, G, *eyeroll*) from being used when I run. It is irritating, but not a deal breaker for me.

2. Olympus makes you use XD cards which you need a converter for to plug directly into your computer and is not interchangeable with other cameras like the more popular SD cards. Not a huge deal for me.

3. Not great in low light conditions.

GPS (timing/distance/elevation gain device)

I use a Garmin 305 like just about everyone else. I am the type of nerd that has to know the numbers. There are a billion reviews on them. They are big and ugly and akin to running with a Volkswagen Beetle on your wrist, but you can operate and read them while running and, again, I have to know the numbers, so it is a necessary evil for me.

To clean up the GPS data (you cannot believe the elevation data on the Garmin software it needs to be cleaned up as it is always artificially elevated) I use Bimactive.com. It is free, easy to upload your Garmin data to and cleans the data through the USGS site. It usually matches all of the race sites elevation profiles except for ones that use Avocet altimeter data like PCTR. Take that for what it is worth. Told you, I am numbers nerd. These things bug me.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Race Report: PCTR Pacifica 30k Trail Run - Pacifica, CA

Race Report: PCTR Pacifica 30k Trail Run - Pacifica, CA

Alternate Title:Gosh, Hell is Beautiful this Time of Year!


Total distance:
30 km (18.7 miles)
Total Elevation: according to PCTR Avocet: 4100 ft, according to USGS: 6,984 ft
Total Time: 5:00:47 (I am actually happy with this. That tells you how tough it was)
Total number of unfortunate wildlife encounters: 3

This was done as my last long run in training for the San Francisco Marathon on July 25th (my birthday, by the way. Only 21 shopping days left.) I don't know why I am acting like SF is an "A" race. I don't have "A" races, frankly I don't even "race" at all, but I do like to train for these endurance events because, despite what almost every race report I post sounds like, I do not like to suffer.

I have to start with the fact that PCTR Pacifica 21k was my very first trail run, ever, back in 2008. I was hooked. I could not believe how beautiful it was and how, even though I was so much slower on the trail, the miles seemed to fly by. It was, however, JANUARY of 2008. That little tidbit will become important later.

Me at the Radio Tower Summit in 2008. Please note the long sleeves, sweats, and fleece. Please ignore that I was significantly thinner then than I am now.

Fast forward to July 2010 and RBR needs a 'about 20miler' for her marathon training.

RBR thinks: "Hey, PCTR has a 30k on July 3rd. At Pacifica! That was my first trail run! How nostaligic!" *gleaming, toothpaste commercial smile*

So I register. There is a 50k at the same time, so I figure I won't be last and making volunteers wait. When I arrive, EVERYONE is hardcore, even the 9k'ers, plus I can already tell it was going to be hot. Great.

I changed into a sleeveless top and was very grateful for my hydration pack.

RBR 2010 at the Radio Tower summit

Already hot, but less than 5 miles in so still having fun.

Side note: Again, I repeat, DO NOT DO PCTR RACES WITHOUT WATER. There were so many people on the 12k loop with no water. There was very little cover on that loop and over 2000 ft of climb. I gave water to two different couples, although I don't think one of the couples was in the race, they were just stupid.

There were four distances offered 9k, 21k, 30k, and 50k. The course had two loops, a 9k loop and a 12k loop, and you did some combination of those to equal your distance.

Elevation profile. The big hill is the 12k loop, the two smaller hills are the 9k loop, which I did twice. This was apparently optional. Wish someone had mentioned that.

The 30k did the 12k loop and then the 9k loop twice. The 21k did the 12k loop and the 9k loop once. The 50k did the 30k course and then the 21k course with a short cut on the 21k course to equal 50k. Why am I boring you with all of this you ask? 'Cuz I am banking some serious bad ass points, that's why!

Talk about a view. Yes, I am throwing in random photos to break up the boring text. I do not have a cohesive story of this one, but I want you to see how pretty it was.

The day before the race there were about 50 people signed up for the 21k and about 50 signed up for the 30k. There were, however, 82 21k finishers, and 39 30k finishers, which tells me there was some SERIOUS dropping happening after the first 21k of the race.

Mile 15, lamenting doing the last loop. Yes, I am laying on a bench. Do not judge me! It was a hard run and freaking HOT!

Ok, of the 39 30k finishers I came in 37th place, but WHATEVER. My fat ass went back out to hell to finish that last 9k loop while lots of others dropped (and ate all the fucking finish line food I may add)

Lots of technical trail

The guy at the top of this picture (this fucking WALL of rock) is 67 and ran every single step of the 21k. ALL. THE. CLIMBS. Total, and complete BEAST status! I know because I was behind him for almost the entire 21k, then I passed him at about 19k (I think I was bugging him)


Minature lupine (Lupinus bicolor) I am going thorough a wildflower phase, you are going to have to bear with me.

Three unfortunate wildlife encounters and one Awwwww! wildlife encounter

Number 1: At mile 0.5 when we were all still packed together like sardines on the single track, I see the gal in front of me jump.

Girl in cute running skirt: *jumps* Ouch! I think I just got stuck or stung!

RBR thinks: Oh shit! Yellowjackets!

RBR (about 2 seconds later): FUCK! OWWWW! *paws at leg to dislodge stupid, fucking yellowjacket and proceeds to get stung again* "MOTHERFUCKER!"
(yes, 'cute running skirt girl' handled it better than me. Whatevs.)

This morning, my sting has turned into a 4 inch diameter, hot, itchy, swollen, lillypad of discomfort on my upper thigh. Awesome.

Number 2: All along the trail we were bombarded by kamikaze Blue Belly lizards that would dart in front of you and then zig zag in your path. In trying to keep from squashing one of these little bastards I went down hard.

A Blue Belly Lizard from yesterday, aka Western Fence lizards, and before SQ can say it, I will, Western Fence lizards are the reason for the relatively low incidence of Lyme Disease in California due to an enzyme in their blood that kills the Borrelia sp. bacteria that cause Lymes. Long story short, tick carries Lymes, tick feeds on lizard blood, Lymes disease killed in tick, tick cannot infect anyone with Lymes.

Later, I found one squashed on the trail, no doubt by someone that was not willing to risk life and limb to protect him. I should have taken a picture of the little carcass, but it was at mile 14 and by time I thought of it I would have to go back down the trail 10 yards. I was not willing to do that at that point of the run.

Number 3: This one was with a hiker. Most of the run was on very narrow rutted single track with overgrown vegetation along the sides.

It was a really, really beautiful trail. One upside of running this trail in July was the dense wildflower vegetation on the side of the trail. It was really bright (and hot, did I mention hot?) so my pictures suck.

At one point, I met up with a hiker coming down as I was climbing, and as we both tried to step off the trail and pass each other she slipped and grabbed on to me to keep from falling causing both of us to go ass over tea kettle into the bush.

For the record, prior to today I have only fallen once on a trail run, today I was taken out twice (and went down on my own once, but I digress...) it was a tough day out there.

Awww wildlife encounter: There were several time when baby cottontail rabbits would dart across the trail. They were adorable, but fast, so you only saw them for a second. Which, since they are prey for everything except clover, is an evolutionarily good thing for the survival of cottontails, but this one stopped about 20 yards away from me and stared at me. So cool! I slowly took out my camera, zoomed in and then proceeded to hit the power button instead of the shutter. Gah! I quickly turned it back on and snapped a photo that was not zoomed in, so this is a serious crop.
The most patient, if not super well adapted to its ecological role, baby bunny!

Beautiful run, not PCTR's best in terms of organization and support (everyone is allowed a bad day now and then), but a great run nonetheless.

Friday, July 2, 2010

June: A month of triumphs, trials, and tawdry escapades

Ok, I will admit it only put 'tawdry escapades' because: 1. It makes my life sound more exciting, 2. I like the word tawdry, because it is so... tawdry, 3. I am a fan of alliteration and I could not find a word that means 'pissing and moaning' that started with a 't.'

Sorry to those pervs, that I lured her under false pretenses. And I think we all know who I am talking about...

June has been a challenge to say the least, but it has finally come to an end, so in the interest in maintaining accountability I will post my totals.

I imagine we all read these things for validation of our own level of training and either say something like, "Well, shit. I ran WAY more than that. I rock!" or "Well shit, even RBR ran more than me, for Christ's sake. I need to get my head out of my ass and get running!" Whatever the case may be for you, I hope this helps. *smirk*

Running: 93.5 miles (up from 72.5 miles last month)

Biking: 257 miles (up from 197 miles last month)

Swimming: 0 miles (why is this still a category on my totals?)

Weight loss: +0.2 pounds
(yes, that means exactly what you think. For the entire month of June, I had a net I GAIN of 0.2 pounds, ON MY FUCKING DIET. Not happy.)

Sadly, in other news, I am injured. I have acquired acute WRS

Whiny Runner Syndrome.

It is characterized by never ending complaints about the heat, wind, lack of wind, other runners, cyclists, and my running partner. Asking incessantly "how far have we gone?", frequent stopping to remove "rocks" or other invisible to the naked eye debris from my shoes, petulant outbursts to LA Run Buddy about her "pushing the pace" and "God! If you want a faster run partner why don't you just go get one!"

It is treatable, but I have a pretty severe case.

I took the last two days off and LA Run buddy took me to get coffee and a pedicure. I feel there is hope for recovery.

Tomorrow is my last long run for San Francisco. PCTR 30k Trail run at Pacifica. Should be a torturefest, but a gorgeous torturefest. I will bring my camera :)