Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Weekend

The first of my two favorite holidays is now behind us. I had a very nice Thanksgiving with my family and friends. My day started off with a six mile run with Christy and Boomer on the Alameda Creek Trail. I love starting a holiday with a nice run and Christy is always there to join me on these days. She gave me a gourmet chocolate-caramel-almond covered two-pound Fuji apple that she had purchased in Concord for me earlier in the week. Oh my, it was to die for! I started cooking around 10:30 in the morning. I made a pumpkin cake, two appetizers, stuffing, mashed potatoes, salad and rolls. Keith cooked our turkey on the Weber. We had purchased a Cheesecake Factory pumpkin cheesecake and my mom brought pumpkin pie and her famous bread pudding. We sat down to eat at 5:30 and by 5:55, we were all done eating. :( Then the cleanup started. I forget what time it was when I sat down but I was so, so tired! Not too tired to enjoy the plethora of desserts we had though. ;)

Friday morning, Sara and I headed down to the Gilroy Outlet Center to do some shopping. We got there before 8:00 a.m. and had trouble finding a place to park. We stood in a line for an hour and ten minutes to get in the Coach store and ended up not buying anything because the line to purchase was well over an hour and a half long. We each found it hard to buy anything because deals weren't as good as we thought they should be. Nonetheless, we walked around enjoying each other's company for the entire day.

Saturday morning I was up early and went over to Stinson Beach to work at the Quad Dipsea.

I will write tomorrow about my experience at the race. I'll just say that I was completely awe struck because of the people I was around.

This morning I was up and out early with Boomer. We went to Garin for a five mile run.

It was 49 degrees when I pulled into the parking lot. Luckily it was sunny out and I was running so I felt warm in about five minutes. I had to get home because I had to be at work at noon but as always, I wish I could have stayed out there all day. It was such a pretty morning and Boomer was absolutely loving the cool, soft trails. How could anyone not like trail running?? That's what I want to know.
I certainly feel like I have been non-stop since the day before Thanksgiving. I have a feeling the whole month of December is going to be a lot like the last few days.

I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving with their family and friends too.
Until later.............

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I Give Thanks

For my loving husband, Keith
For my sweet daughter, Sara
For my step-daughter, Loren
For my wonderful furry son, Boomer
For my two furry girls, Baillie & Xena
For my 76 year old healthy, active mom
For my three big brothers, and their great families
For my good friends (those that run and even those that don't.) ;)
For my new friends
For not having a desire to drink or use today
For my health and the health of those I care about
For the desire and ability to run
For my freedom

The day is called Thanksgiving. Remember to give thanks for the blessings in your life.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mumbo Jumbo

I'm very happy my symptoms only lasted Saturday. I was able to work Sunday and Monday, with no problem. I went out for a five mile run along Alameda Creek Monday. I did something I'd only read about but never actually tried. I ran using the 9:1 (method). I'm wondering if it might help with my IT issue. I did notice my pace was faster than normal. I'm not saying this is going to be what I do from now on, but it was interesting. I think it made the run on a flat surface a little more bearable. I'll give it some thought. I see how it can have it's advantages.

Today I got all of my Thanksgiving shopping done, with the help of Sara. Costco and a grocery store had everything we needed. I picked up a 19 pound turkey that Keith will cook on the Weber. It turns out great and frees up my oven for all the other stuff I need to cook.

Tomorrow I'm taking my neighbor and her two black labs out to Garin for some single track therapy. Yippee! There's nothing like it to get my mood stabilized. Then I get to prepare my house for Thursday.

Until later....................

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cough, cough. Sniff, sniff. Repeat.

I'll bet you Christy & I would have seen this this morning if I would have been able to meet up with her at our agreed upon time of 8:30. But, NOOOOOOOO. Last night after dinner I started feeling kind of funky -- body aching, head hurting, etc. I woke up about every hour during the night and every time my head felt a little bit heavier and my body a little more achy. I've been taking some cold medicine today and eating lots of vegetables and fruits. I had to call work and tell them I couldn't come in for my 5:00 to 9:30 shift. Our big sale started yesterday so I felt very bad having to call in sick. I'm scheduled to work tomorrow 11:30 to 7:30. I really hope I feel well enough to go in (and be nice to customers). I already had to cancel on Victoria for tomorrow. She and her friend and their doggies were going to meet me at Garin in the morning. I'm sad I had to miss out on two days of running with two special friends.

I will say I feel better right now than I did this morning, so that's at least a positive.

Until later.........

Thursday, November 20, 2008


If only cows knew me. This mommy today at Garin was very hesitant about letting me and my boy pass her on the trail. I said a few soothing words and she finally stepped aside. I am probably one of the last people on earth that would hurt one of these. Big. Little. Udders. No udders. Horns. No horns. I don't care. I love them all. If it was me and a world full of cows, they would outlive me. I think a baby cow is one of the cutest things around. They completely make me melt. I stopped eating beef when I was 18 years old. I went to a petting zoo and they had something posted about the baby cow that was just born. They were saying how much it weighs now and how big the mommy was and how much bigger this baby had to get before it too could be auctioned off for meat. WTF?! Right then and there, I declared I was not going to be any part of it. In Fremont, there used to be a slaughter house, meat factory, whatever you want to call it. I was riding my bike by it one day and there was a truck parked out front, full of cattle. I stopped my bike, ran over and opened the doors so the cattle could run free. I never did hear about a bunch of cattle partying because they'd been let free right in front of where they were going to be killed, so I don't know if my plan worked. In my head my plan was a huge success. I had freed cows from certain death. I was only 16 or so. Cut me some slack, will ya? My life long dream has been to kiss a cow right on their big ol' nose. I just adore them.

Seeing that I am now 44 years old, being 18 was a long, long time ago. Over the years I have gone back to eating beef for a very short spell, just once or twice. Once when Keith and I tried the Atkins diet and I don't remember the other time. Even then, it was ground beef, mostly for hamburgers. I haven't had a steak or anything like that since I was 18. I eat fish, chicken, and I use ground turkey to cook things that usually contain ground beef. Yes, Keith is a big beef lover but he never complains about me cooking with ground turkey.

So, back to my run today. I ran five miles out at Garin with Boomer. It's very hard to believe two months ago today was my first 50k and now I'm thrilled that I get to run five miles. I'll be back up to ultra status again soon. I've got a lot of faith.

Oh Victoria -- if you do come run with me on Sunday morning, I'll take you on a different five mile loop where there are no cows. ;)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Running again

My husband suggested I try to include myself in photos that I post, so I guess I will start doing this. It's not the easiest thing to do. I'd rather take pictures of what I see but I will follow his advice and see how it goes.

I have been able to run four days in a row and that makes for one very happy girl (and dog). I'm not going to set any mileage PR for the week but at least I'm running again, for now. I took today off and am working all day tomorrow so I won't be running again until Thursday. If I don't run, Boomer and I go for a two mile walk around the neighborhood in the morning and then after dinner. He needs his exercise just as much as I do. I'm still trying to do Wii every day. If I miss a day, the trainer gives me crap! She says something like, "Oh, were you too lazy to work out yesterday?" She makes me feel guilty. My leg seems to be getting a lot better. I am trying very hard to focus on good posture and proper balance. I love running so much and I will do whatever it takes to be able to do it regularly. Plus, I love to eat (whatever I want) and running allows me to not feel guilty doing so.

On another note -- Sara went back to work today. She drugged herself up the entire weekend to make sure she stayed out of pain. Her main concern right now is that she's healed enough to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner next week. We all have our priorities, right?

Until later...................................

Sunday, November 16, 2008

November 16th? Really?

I can't believe it's mid-November. I took my two favorite boys out to Sunol Regional Wilderness East Bay Regional Parks this morning.

It was so beautiful out there. The leaves on the trees have changed colors to yellow, red, orange. They are falling on the trails and making them extra soft. The leaves are really the only hint of fall though. It's over 70 degrees today and people are definitely taking advantage of it. There were a lot of people out with their four legged furry kids. The Alameda Creek runs through the park and it was pretty dry today but there was enough water in a few areas for water loving dogs to get their fix. I love watching all the dogs enjoy themselves in the great outdoors. Every single one of them have their tails high and smiles on their faces. We did a loop up the main trail past Little Yosemite and then took Canyon View Trail back to the car. There were a ton of baby cows hangin' out with their mommies. Boomer kept running ahead to poke his head in all the drainage pipes. He's so funny. Now he has started to go INSIDE them and he even went through one and came out on the other side of the trail today.

The Canyon View Trail has a very special place in my heart because it is the very first "trail" I ever ran on. That's where I fell in love with trail running. Matter of fact, the photo on top of my blog is taken on this trail. It's hard to find shade and there's no drinking water sources, but November through March are great months to run here. It's a little further away than Garin for me but I have to remember it IS worth it.

Friday, November 14, 2008


When does the pain stop? When does a mom stop feeling the pain for her children? At what point in a child's life does a mom stop worrying about her child? Is there ever a time when a mom stops wishing she could physically remove all pain from her child with a magic wand?

My poor little girl had to have her wisdom teeth pulled this morning. I picked her up at 8:30 to get her to her 9:00 appointment. My stomach was upset, I was so nervous for her. She has never had a surgery, a broken bone, stitches, a tattoo, not even a cavity. She was very upset when I picked her up. I could tell she'd been crying. It just breaks a mother's heart to see her child this way. She was so scared. I was able to sit in the room with her until they were actually ready to put the laughing gas mask on her face. She was trembling like a leaf when I left the room. I went into the waiting room and I literally felt like I was going to throw up. It took about 45 minutes until they came and told me she was awake. It felt a lot longer than that, let me tell ya. When I went in there, she was awake but she looked completely out of it. It was strange because I've never even seen her intoxicated. Her cheeks are all swollen and her mouth is full of gauze. She did say to me, "I LITERALLY have cotton mouth now." And then she kind of laughed. Her whole face is numb and she says her tongue feels very fat. She kept asking if there was something on her tongue. "Yes honey, it's gauze." A few minutes later, "Is there something on my tongue?" "Yes honey, it's gauze." Poor thing.

I picked up her pain meds and brought her here, back to her old bed in her old bedroom. She's falling in and out of sleep with an ice pack on her shoulder, holding it up against her face. The numbness is starting to go away and the pain is becoming real for her. All I keep thinking is I wish it was me instead of her.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Forget much?

Me and my puppy dog went out for a run this morning at Garin (of course). Yup, I was able to run. The reason I was able to run is because I forgot I wasn't able to run. Does that make sense at all??? Of course not! I had to meet a friend at 11:00 and I didn't head out until after 9:00. So, in my mind I was mapping out a route that I could finish in under an hour. Got out of the car, took a deep breath and took off through the gate. I didn't realize until I was almost back to my car that, "Hey, I don't feel my IT band at all." Maybe it was because of the hills instead of just flat like I tried last week. I don't know, but I'm not asking any more questions. After I met my friend, I came home and did another 30 minutes of strength training on my Wii.

It was a beautiful morning and I wish I could have stayed out there for a couple more hours.

There's always tomorrow.......

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I *heart* Fall

Garin Park in Hayward, hiking with Christy and our doggies Saturday morning. I know, this isn't the greatest pic to represent fall in California, but I mainly wanted to see if Blogger was cooperating and allowing me to upload because it wasn't when I had great pics from our bike ride.

Friday, November 7, 2008

WTF Was I Thinking?

Just because a route is runnable, it doesn't mean two runners can ride mountain bikes on it. Sheesh!
I took my good friend Christy up to Lake Chabot Regional Park East Bay Regional Parks today to ride our bikes. I have run up here a handful of times, mostly my long training runs. I think it is a beautiful park and a trail runner can spend endless hours on numerous trails. There is single track galore and also paved or packed dirt paths. Today was especially beautiful because of the leaves that have recently fallen from the trees, scattered all over the place and the sun was shining in the clear, blue sky.
There is a 12.42 mile bike loop that goes around the lake and also an inner loop that is about nine miles. The bike loop consists of two miles of paved path on both the east shore and the west shore with a dirt path in between. From the marina, Christy and I took off on the west shore to do the bike loop. Before we had completed the first mile, I knew this was going to be a lot different than running. I just didn't know HOW different.
At about three miles, I was contemplating turning back but Christy wanted to keep going. At one point, I stopped at the top of a "hill" and tried to dismount but my leg was so tired it wouldn't lift all the way and I almost toppled over but luckily my shin caught something that prevented my fall. Yup, that stung for quite a while. (Still does as a matter of fact.) We took a small break and went forward.
This is where I FIRST led us off the bike loop. As we are climbing up a hill, the trail is getting smaller and we decided to turn around and go back down. Back on the bike loop again. We both enjoyed the scenery and the smell of the Eucalyptus and Pine trees. We were cautious going down the hills, so much so that it prevented us from being able to go up the hills well when we needed to. At a little over eight miles we stopped at a picnic table and ate a bit. I was thrilled to know that ahead of us was only four more miles and it was all down hill. Yippeeeeee.
This is the SECOND time I led us off the bike loop. I knew it was two miles of steep downhill until we hit the lake's paved path. We were both happy about this, needless to say. Now, what I didn't remember was HOW steep this was. Since neither of us are experienced mountain bike riders, we were taking it very slow. VERY, VERY slow. Our hands, arms, shoulders -- they were starting to hurt from constantly applying the brakes. Almost a mile down the hill, I realized it. "Um, Christy?" "Yes, Jo Lynn?" "I think I missed a turn back there somewhere." I felt just awful! We had to push our bikes all the way up that damn STEEP hill. Ugh! I kept apologizing to Christy and she kept telling me it was not a big deal. After that, we went on down to the lake and completed our bike ride at the marina, three and a half hours after we started. 14 miles was what it came out to. I'm pretty sure we could have run it faster than that. It was a lot more challenging than either of us thought or expected. It was a very fun day. We laughed a lot, mostly at how out of shape we are! Lord, I AM out of shape. But I think we are both proud of ourselves for accomplishing what we did.

I just need to know which direction Christy wants to do the loop next time???

Thursday, November 6, 2008

IT Update

Yesterday I had very high hopes for being able to actually "run" on a flat gravel path. I didn't have a ton of time so I was planning on a quick four miles. When I started off, I was elated at how effortless it felt. I was singing praises to the powers that be, I was running. At about three miles, there it came. UGH! That damn pain on the outside of my knee. I shortened my stride and really tried to transfer my weight evenly from foot to foot and was able to complete my four miles. So, it's not a lot better at this point. I will say though, the three miles with no pain sure felt good! Man, I love running. I do, I do, I do!! While some people look for any excuse NOT to run, I pray every night that tomorrow I CAN run. :(

I came home and did some strength training on my Wii Fit. It is shocking how weak my left leg (with the IT issue) is compared to my right. I can NOT finish 15 lunges on the balance board if I do them correctly. The balance board measures, well, your balance. It expects you to do the exercise correctly which means when you are doing a lunge, the front leg has to be applying a certain amount of pressure on the board. What I have been doing is using my back leg (when my left leg is forward) to execute the lunge which is WRONG and does nothing for the front leg. Hence, the weak left leg. I mean it's extremely weaker than my right leg.

I will continue to torture (foam roll) it and work on the Wii Fit. Hopefully Christy and I will go for a bike ride tomorrow. We are going for a short run on Saturday morning at which time I will put on a brace and just take it easy.

Until later...........................

Monday, November 3, 2008

22 years ago today

I was blessed by becoming a mother to this beautiful girl, Sara Elizabeth: Believe it or not, she's as sweet as she looks too. I often say I don't deserve her. Sure we had our troubles when she was a teenager but honestly, it's easy to forget when I look at the relationship we have now. We are extremely close. I'm so lucky she lives just a few miles away. We talk on the phone numerous times throughout the day and the rest of the time we're sending texts to each other. LOL We go to the movies together, concerts, shopping, lunch, vacations. She comes over for dinner once a week and gets to choose whatever she wants me to make. The only thing we don't share is my passion for running. However, I am going to train her for a half-marathon to take place in Disneyland in August. We'll see how that goes.

We went to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner tonight. This is (r to l) Keith, me, Sara, her boyfriend Sterling, and best friend Theresa. I had a delicious chopped vegetable salad, chicken and mushroom pizza and of course a slice of their seasonal pumpkin cheesecake. I naturally took home half my salad and pizza and ate the entire cheesecake. Hey, it's all about priorities, right?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Wii (are not) Fit

With the weather being so crappy yesterday, naturally, the thoughts of not being able to run very much have begun to occupy my mind. It is a known fact in my immediate circle of family and friends that if I don't get some type of exercise every day, my alter ego begins to surface. Because of this, my husband went out and bought a Wii system. It came with a Wii Sports game. We had such a fun time playing tennis, bowling, boxing, baseball and of course golf. Then he bought Mario Kart. I remember when we used to play a lot of that with our girls on Nintendo 64. It is still just as fun, I swear. This morning Keith was looking at videos on You Tube about Wii Fit. When he saw all the things you can do on Wii Fit, especially the running, he bought it for me before I was even out of bed. Oh my gosh! It's harder than you would think. We both did the initial fit test and, uh, according to this thing, I AM NOT FIT!!! It focuses on your balance to help strengthen your core. It also teaches you correct form for all the exercises you do (yoga, balance, strength, aerobics) on the balance board. To all the skeptics out there, don't shoot it down completely until you try it.

I am happy to say that Keith and I took Boomer out to Garin today for a short run. It was a tad muddy but the beautiful single tracks were just nicely decorated with leaves to soften your landing running down them.
Until later....................