"...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)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Race Report: Golden Gate Trail 1/2 Marathon - July 23, 2011

*I want to thank everyone for your heartfelt support and kindness at the passing of my beloved Lucy.  I have another post in mind to address that, so this will just be a race report. But please know I am very, very grateful to you all.*  

For those of you that have missed the old RBR that would religiously do runs that she was wholly unprepared for and had no business running, fear not, she's back.  

And yesterday you could find her fat ass huffing and puffing her way up the California coastline at  the Coastal Trail Runs' Golden Gate Trail 1/2 marathon. 


Total Distance: 13.1 miles
Total time: 3:13:42 (check out the elevation profile Mr/Ms Judgey Pants!)
Total Elevation gain: 2946 ft.


I decided to do this run because Team in Training's scheduled long run was on The Los Gatos Creek Trail which is a very popular local trail that I happen to run or ride on almost every freaking day. The thought of running 12 miles while following the TNT no headphones rule and running alone (since I am a loser and have no friends on the team, but that is a whole number post) did not sound fun.

Especially since, all the while,  I would be dodging the nine million other trail users, their double wide baby strollers,

Full Disclosure: Pic stolen from a Stroller Striders website, which is an exercise class for new moms. They are actually very respectful of the LG Creek Trail and do their workouts very early before the crowd hits. The ones that piss me off are the random, double stroller family that usually only has one kid in the goddamn thing and weaves across the trail at the highest traffic times and if you say "on your left" to get them to move over so you can pass they look at you as if you tried to run over their precious spawn.

their dogs on flexi-leads that are stretched to their max across the trail,

 This image is actually from the WARNING insert for the Flexi-lead product itself.

and asshat cyclists in their full riding kits that think it is SUPER COOL to ride 25 mph on the fucking bike trail on a Saturday.
This was NOT taken on the Los Gatos Creek Trail and this guy is NOT, to my knowledge at least, an asshat. But I know some others that wear that same uniform in my area that are. Just saying... 

So, yes, less than appealing to do a long run there this weekend.

The Golden Gate Trail run was put on by Coastal Trail Runs which is one of my favorite race organizers. Their races are well run, organized, always held in beautiful locations with well marked courses, and they have a high tech shirt option (yes, you have to pay more for it. I am fine with that) and their shirts are cute.

Cinderella, Diablo, and Golden Gate shirts from Coastal Trail Runs

Here were my concerns about this run:

1. A half marathon was longer than my scheduled 12 mile run and, frankly, I was worried about getting the 12 miles done.

2. This is a trail run and all of my training this summer has been on flat roads. I have not run a real trail run in over 5 months.

Heh heh. I am sure it will be fine.


The run

The run start was at Rodeo Beach which is part of Fort Cronkhite in the Marin Headlands. It was cool, and overcast which is almost redundant to say about the Marin Headlands because it is rarely anything but. I met a gal that was running the full marathon and we chatted about local races that we had in common. She is going to do the San Francisco Marathon next weekend.

Me says: Wow. That is cool.

Me thinks: *sigh* I used to be that girl. I am not that girl anymore. I am not even fit enough to run this half marathon.

We head up the trail with pretty views of the ocean

Rodeo Beach. Lots of surfers today. Foreshadowing for the wind we would encounter along the ridge.

We climbed...

Pretty Cove whose location coincided with my need to stop running and stuff my lungs back into my chest so I snapped a photo.

and we climbed...
Those little white dots waaaaaay up ahead of me are people. Current distance traveled: 0.25 mi. Gonna be a long day for RBR.

Just when we thought we could not climb any more, the good people of Marin gave us some help in the form of stairs....

Lots and lots of stairs

I sure hope I at least get to shake hands with God after all of this climbing. I am just saying...

 Another lung stuffing moment = another photo op. Not even a mile in yet. Yep, a long, long day.


Nope, not at the top yet. 

More fucking stairs....

RBR Rule: Making the stairs pretty, does not negate the fact that they are still fucking stairs

But after those stairs we were finally at the top of the first climb

Elevation profile. Hell of a first climb in less than 2 miles, don'cha think?

After that climb there was a very nice runnable (read: downhill) section. It was the kind of descent where you kind of forget you are old, fat, and out of shape. 

 Action shot. Happy to be running not hiking.

It was also one of descents where you forget that you still have over 11miles of trail to go or, you know, you might want to be able to actually walk the next day.  (Spoiler: I finished the run, but walking today is not going well)

At the end of the first long downhill we ended up in Tennessee Valley and the first aid station. I noticed some "bees" around the cliff shot blocks and then preceded to get stung. Instantly realizing it was my arch arthropod nemesis: a stupid, fucking yellowjacket! Sadly, my reaction offended one of my fellow runners:

RBR: Ouch! Fuck! 

Self-Righteous bystander: My! Such language. What would your mother say? (said in that "joking" tone, that you know means they are not really joking.)

RBR: She would probably deny knowing me (said in same faux joking tone)

Friend of self-righteous bystander: *as she gets stung by yellowjacket* Ouch! Damn! 

RBR: *smirks* What would your mother say? *laughs at faux joke number 2*

Self-righteous bystander: *fake laugh or disapproving snort, hard to tell* Well, you have to admit, yours was worse.

RBR: I don't know. I would rather be "fucked" than "damned," but maybe that is just me. *shrugs*

Apparently I took the faux joking too far. She did not want to talk to me after that, but I made an aide station volunteer laugh.  

Moral of the story: Humor is in the eye of the beholder. or Mind your own fucking business. One of the two.

Anyhoo... back to the run

Heading back out on the trail we started the second big climb of the day. It was a long, boring fire road that climbed FOREVER and crushed my will to live. But at the top, we were treated with a tree lined trail that, when coupled with the heavy fog, created a mini rainforest trail.

 The girl that looks like she is out for a Sunday stroll in this picture beat me. *sigh*

Then later, more of the dense coastal scrub with wildflowers

The fog had come in pretty heavy and the wind was whipping, but it was so beautiful.

Shortly after this picture was taken (around mile 10) I started to suffer in the "how badly do I have to injure myself to get airlifted out so I don't have to run anymore?" way and the picture taking stopped for the most part.

Overall, I am happy with how I ran (and hiked). The distance and difficulty was a stretch for me, but it was beautiful and rejuvenating. There were several miles out there that reminded me how much I really love doing this.

I even had hard earned trail dirt at the end

Don't zoom in too much or you will see my lack of shaving. I was fairly certain that I was not going to get laid on the trail today so I saw no point.

If you are ever in the area and are looking for a great trail to run on I highly recommend this one. There is some hiking involved but lots of runnable sections and the scenery is so beautiful you will almost forget how much the climb hurt. (Click to enlarge)

 Coastal Trail Runs always marks their runs really well,so I did not get lost, but I think this park is well marked and with a map you could recreate it. Well, you probably could I couldn't. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dear Lucy,

The first time we met I went there to meet someone else.

There was a crowd around him, so I thought I would see what else was available.

You would not even look at me. You only had eyes for her, your foster mom.

I can understand. She loved you first. She took you in, scared, and painfully shy with your 4 newborn puppies. You paid your way, though. You raised two orphan puppies for her. Your tiny little 35 pound frame feeding 6 hungry puppies that would all grow up to be much larger than you. We even met one of your puppies in dog training, remember? He was huge and must have looked like his dad, but his new owners recognized you right off and thanked you for giving them such a beautiful dog to love. Ok, the part you remember is when they gave you Puperoni snacks, but trust me that is why.

That generous heart is why I knew you needed to come live with us. To help make us a family. And that you did.
 Lucy's first trip to the beach. She was still not sure about all of this, 1999. We adopted her as a 2 year old. I never got to see her as a puppy. I bet she was adorable. (Picture of a picture, we did not have digital in those days)

Your daddy was so afraid of having a dog. That you would be loud, or destructive, or dirty. You were none of those things. You were always a perfect lady.

Eddy always said, "No way would [he] have a dog in the bed!" Lucy changed that. 2003

He fell so hard for your big brown eyes and the way that you loved so deeply. All the tough guy persona just melted away when he was with you. Unless people were offended that you were not excited to meet them. Then he would tell them, "If you need my dog to validate your worth, you have bigger problems than my shy dog."God help the person that openly did not appreciate you around your dad.

Lucy and her daddy, 2007

You two hiked thousands of miles together. When he took up photography, you became one of the most photographed dogs in the world.

  Lucy forgot she was a shy dog in chest high grass. We titled this photograph, "Dog Wild".  It was taken with Eddy's first digital camera in 2003

You were his beautiful angel, no photograph was complete without you in it. Our friends may have tired of his constant email attachments showing you in various locales, but they would never admit it. Anywhere we went went that we could take you, you went. The perfect traveling companion. Throughout our marriage we stayed in more hotels with you than without you.

 Bodie Ghost Town, Mono Lake. 2009

 Yosemite, 2004 (I think)

Coeur d'Alene, ID 2009

Not her first time in snow, but she always loved it. 2008

Then there are the kittens. The plethora of orphan kittens that you helped me raise. Cleaning them, rounding them up, teaching them the rules. Floyd and Autumn still looked to you as a mommy figure although, as grown cats without food on their faces, you found them less interesting.

Lucy, Floyd, and Autumn on vacay in Tahoe. August 2006

 Floyd and Lucy, 2006 

As was your nature, you weathered the indignities placed upon you because you knew it made me happy. 

 Christmas, 2007

Halloween, 2002

Halloween, 2005

You aged gracefully and were never sick a day in your life. You bounded off the couch to warn us of the mailman's approach, or to greet us at the door, or to suggest that we go on one of your twice daily trips to the park. You accepted Lola with the graciousness you were known for and taught her the "Give me that thing" game where you would tempt us to take your toy or treat and then run away. You taught her how to go potty on command and where we wanted (no small feat with that stupid chuihuahua). We are forever changed by your time with us. 

Now that you have gone my heart hurts so much I try to not breathe. I feel as if I will be crushed by the pain of not touching you again, or hearing you snore at night, or feeling the overwhelming show of love you gave with your happy dance and "Owwww Ooooo oooooh"  greeting us when we come home. But if that is what I owe for the almost 13 years I was allowed to love and be loved by you, then it is worth it. Quite a bargain, actually.

 Goodbye, my love. You will be forever part of who I am.

I love you and thank you, 

**Lucy became suddenly ill on Friday night. Early this morning, after four days in the hospital, and the very best diagnostics and care by Lucy's veterinarian, (who loved her almost as much as we did. He is my old boss, and let me bring her to work at the hospital everyday for 2 years when we adopted her. He has been her doctor since day one) and the local emergency animal hospital, we had to do what was right for our girl and let her go.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Taking one for the Team

When my husband went on Lupron as part of his prostate cancer treatment, we knew that weight gain was almost inevitable. If you take a 55 year old man and drop his testosterone to zero, he is going to put on weight. Over the last year he put on 30 pounds and he has been very unhappy about it (Don't even ask how I, who am a full 7 inches shorter than him, gained 20 pounds in the same time frame while NOT on Lupron. Whatever.)

Now, I married a big man. Not fat, but big. (And, if I may crow a bit, I married an extremely hot man.) I have never been particularly attracted to 'willowy' men, and still think he is hot as hell even with the extra weight.

I am old school when it comes to men; I want the man that can slay the dragon, not run away from it real fast. 

Prostate cancer and prostate cancer treatment is hard for men. It not only makes their mortality a reality for them, but its after effects can make him feel like less of a man and less attractive as a man. As his wife, I would prefer that I be the one that helps him feel more attractive as opposed to some other woman. Just saying...

So even though I have all but given up on the thought that I can lose the weight I have been trying to lose since I hit puberty (Funny how the total number of pounds I want to lose stays the same, but the final weight that loss will result in keeps creeping up as I get older. I think that is because, as I age, the weight at which I look down at the scale and say, "Fucking hell! I cannot possibly weight that much!" increases.) Anyhoo... to show him that I was supportive I suggested to him that we join Weight Watchers together.

Those eyes and that half smile still make my knees weak. 

Some of you may be thinking, "That is so sweet!" Others, know that men lose weight faster and more easily than women and think that a head-to-head weightloss program with their husband sounds like slow dance through hell.  I certainly fall into the latter camp, but he has always been very supportive of my weightloss attempts and I owe this to him.

I have been either losing or gaining weight for 20 years. I have NEVER maintained a weight. I am tired of it. I am tired of counting calories, fat grams, carbs, etc. I am tired of being on a weightloss program period, but this one is for him and he is certainly worth it.

Of course, as I told a friend a while ago, if he comes out of this and has some sort of  "I am alive! I survived cancer and I want to live my life!" type crisis and leaves me for a 20-something year old Pilates instructor, the weightloss will still be a good thing because there will be less of him to dispose of.

 If I am going to pick a picture to represent my husband's hypothetical bimbo you are damn right she will have bad hair and hideous roots.

We just finished our first week and so far so good.