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Had a nice weekend of running. Yesterday, Steve, Megan and I did a traditional run through Tarrytown and then a town lake trail loop. I left the group at one point to do my own thing for a bit and ran down Exposition. I started thinking about all the early morning runs I’ve had over the years running down that street and all the things that have happened over those years. It was pretty quiet and not too hot out, so it was a nice morning to relax and daydream. Then I rejoined the other sisters, and we did the 7 mile town lake loop, and had a blast joking and poking fun at each other. If only we could do this more often than just the weekends…

Today I met Steve for the newly founded “Danish Run”. This is a 7-8 miler through Hyde Park, picking out your favorite homes, and finishing with a coffee and danish and Quack’s bakery. I saw a little girl with a stiff mesh backpack, with a wooden rod through it and perching on the rod was her pet cockatiel. I gotta find one of those….it was really cute. The weather was pretty decent, and it’s just plain fun to tour the Hyde Park area on foot.

After a quick shower, Mike and I took Pancake to Bull Creek. There are so many miles of trail there, I have got to figure them out at some point. Pancake got to swim, and saw herons, a snake, lizards, and a horny toad. I couldn’t help but to feel a little nostalgic when I saw the forest ridge trail. I ran that trail when I was training for my first Sunmart. I remember very hot mornings out there with Meredith doing 2 loops, chatting away and planning how I would complete my first 50 miler. I am on a long run hiatus, to let a few lingering little aches and pains heal, so it was hard to look at that trail and not feel some longing to be out there training for a big goal race. I suppose in the big picture, remembering that I can get out and enjoy a decent run is what matters, even if it is not for training for a big event.

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Gone but not forgotten…


I’ve never won the lottery, but what happened last night, probably has the same odds. Mike and I were in the car, and he was driving. I took my wedding ring off for just a second to put on some hand lotion. We turned a corner, and then as in if slow motion, the ring flew from my fingers, and went into a little slit by the emergency brake that was about 1.5cm long, and maybe the exact width of the ring. There was a split second of a clink-clink-clink sound, and it became obvious the ring was clanking around in the bowels of the car, and Mike saying “What is that noise?” And then in slow motion once again I said “My wedding ring is gone.”

We got home and Mike got out the tool kit and took the console around the emergency brake apart, and it became pretty obvious finding the ring was unlikely. It could have even clanked right out of the car, since there were places we could look through to the ground. So, I would like to hope someone who really needed a lucky break found the ring in the street. Either that or the value of our car just went up, since it now contains a diamond ring like the one in the picture. I think I’ll keep telling myself somehow the strange turn of events made someone’s day though….

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The Sweaty 15…




Today was the Sweaty 20, which turned out to be the Sweaty 15, but just as much fun. Steve, Meghan, and Mark, all met at my house at 530, and we headed out to Bastrop State park for an out and back on the 10 mile scenic road. We arrived at the park, and drove another 4 miles down the road to stash coolers with drinks and snacks which Mark and I thought was a lifesaver last year. I was looking forward to this run, but since I am planning to dial things down a notch this summer, I was pretty indifferent to going the full 20. As long as I got a decent run it, I was happy. Steve and Meghan took off like bats outta hell right away, and Mark joined me in a what I could tell was a mercy run for him.

Thursday at work, I could tell my sitting all day job was getting to me, and over the course of the day I could feel a big knot forming deep in my hip. I didn’t run Friday, and right away on our run I could feel a knot so deep there just wasn’t a thing I could do about it. It wasn’t that I couldn’t run, it was just a big discomfort the whole run. Steve had come down with a little flu bug earlier in the week and was still recovering, so I was happy to take an easy route back with him, and walk the hills. Meghan and Steve were still ahead of Mark and I, and we were having a great time swapping stories of freaky runners at races, and discussing our favorite tv shows. Suddenly we see Steve and Meghan at the 8 mile point. They both said a 16 miler was just fine with them, and felt ready to turn around. I hung with Steve on the way back and we did walk the hills and right before we finished, Mark ran back to us, and Meghan came by in the car to get us.

The goal of this run was just to spend a nice morning with friends. I’ve been in a little funk lately and it was just the thing I needed. We joked and laughed and inhaled the wonderful pine smell. The run was still a pretty good little effort with LOTS of hills. I also am not tired at all! (since we took it easy and cut it short). Really this is what running is all about for me….good times and escaping the day-to-day. We didn’t see a single runner, and just one bike rider and just a handful of cars. I had finisher’s prizes for all: the boys got Pinebelt Pale Ale, an amazing little brew from Conroe. Meghan got a bottle of wine, since she is not the biggest beer drinker.

Thanks to Mark, Steve, and Meghan for being good sports about driving a little ways out for a run. I just love it out there, and anytime someone wants to go out there for a few miles, sign me up!

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Good running…


As usual, it was a good weekend of running. I am adjusting to my summer plan of less really long runs and more mid- distance (8-16 mile) runs. Did 8 on Wednesday, 12-ish Saturday, and 8 today. Summer is here, and the morning runs are muggy. I think I am slowly adjusting to the high humidity. I get bad headaches on really humid days, and sometimes that is a factor in the runs, but it’s Texas, it’s summer, and you can deal or you can whine about it, but it ain’t getting cooler. Saturday was a terrific greenbelt run, and like I mentioned on my last post….it is always a great way to put it all in perspective while being out in one of Austin’s prettiest spots. It’s Sunday evening, and I am in my usual spot of asking “where did the weekend go?” Oh yeah, a couple of runs, yoga, house work, couple of errands, grilling out, Pancake got a bath…that is just a slice, so no surprise the weekends fly by.

Have a great week, everyone.

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A new path..


Have a couple things on my mind lately. I’m fine, but I am writing this post to remind me to be positive. I have a trail run planned tomorrow, and I am looking forward to it. I’ll forget my worries, or I can actually rationally think through my concerns. I’ll have friends with me, that as are as good and genuine as it gets. I’ll have my dog with me, and let’s face it, it’s hard to be upset about anything watching a dog frolic in the grass, or dive into Barton Creek for a swim. I’ll sweat out just about every drop that was in me, and end feeling like a deep cleansing just happened. The hills and heat will be difficult, but I’m pretty tough and pretty resilient. I somehow manage to get through anything, and haven’t yet found something that defeats me (the Vermont 100 came close, but not quite). So, yeah, life is good. Everything is ok…in fact, it’s better than ok. Now, I’ll print this out later, stick it by my desk at work where I’ll see it a lot when I need a reminder of what I already know…

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Greens are yummy…


I really wish I would have taken a picture of my latest creation, but we ate it up too quickly. I was inspired by a dinner at Eastside cafe, and made my own version on their swiss chard manicotti. It turned out awesome. So here it is …

1 bunch swiss chard leaves chopped with no stems
2 leeks chopped
1 tsp. sugar
salt
pepper
pinch of garlic powder
Olive oil
Saute all these together. Cook a good while so the chard is soft

Mix it into:
1 tub ricotta cheese
mozzarella cheese to taste ( use the fresh mozzarella you get at whole foods or central market)
parmesean cheese to taste
1 egg
pinch of nutmeg

Boil up some manicotti and stuff with the filling. Fill up a 9×13 pan with the stuffed manicottis. I cheated and used premade tomato sauce to top it off, and chopped up a bunch of sweet cherry tomatos to put over the top also, and more parmesean cheese. I think what made it so good was the fresh swiss chard and leeks, and the fresh mozzerella. enjoy!

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Sweaty 20 reminder…


Ok, so maybe it’s not quite this pretty…but it is seriously a very nice run. May 16th in Bastrop State Park. 20 miles, but you can run less if you want, or “power walk” a few of the miles like I plan to. I am thinking 630 for a start time, but if anyone has another start request, I’m flexible. Let me know if you are in. So far, it is Mark, Meredith, and Steve.

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Remembering…


Today is the MiWok 100K run in the Marin Headlands. I did it in 2006, and it has been on my list to do again ever since. Why?

First off, the 100K distance is a formidable, but doable challenge. For those who don’t know, it is 62 miles. Seems like a lot, but you won’t be going in to the night and getting sleep deprived like a 100 miler. The training is tough, but doable as well. My longest training run for this was probably 35 miles, and I just logged lots of 20 mile runs and 4 runs that dipped into 30 miles…not much more than a marathon’s 22-24 milers week after week.

Next the course. Simply put, it is gorgeous. The scenery is ever changing and there are views. San Fran, the ocean, little clusters of cottages. The course looks like it was landscaped in grasses and wildflowers. It will never be 90 degrees with 90% humidity in the Bay area. The trail is smooth the whole way, so you can enjoy the views without watching for obsacles to trip over. After the landscaping part, you climb into a eucalypus and redwood forest. Little wildflowers cover the moss and look like a fairytale land. On the way back down, there are parts like a little rainforest. In between, you get the grass ridges. So, yeah, I was never bored.

Also, this is a true “ultrarunner’s” race. Folks travel from all over for this one, so you meat a lot of interesting people. I ran for most of the first 38 miles, took a little break and walk a couple miles, run up to 50, and than ran/ walked until I had just 7 miles to go. I was pooped, and decided to hike it on in those last 7. Another runner named Ed came up behind me and we started talking and he convinced me to run with him those last few miles. It was funny that in just those few miles, we managed to talk about so much. He was from Alaska, and we recounted our various running adventures, and then just talked life in general. We finished, just barely qualifying for Western States, and ended with a huge sweaty, smelly hug (remember, we’d been running 13+ hours at this point), and then poof, Ed was gone into the post race festivites and I never saw him to say good bye. That’s how ultras are and one reason why I enjoy them so much. Somehow the physical and mental fatigue just leads to deep, engulfing conversations. It’s a very bonding experience, and I’ve come to realize there are so many interesting, warm and fun people who do these things.

Anyhow, I am not there this year, obviously. I hope to be back someday.

Just a quick thought….while I don’t generally go for the budda/ philosphy stuff in yoga class, I do like one of the reoccurrent themes of freeing yourself from want and longing. I am not really sentimental, and like laughing at situations more than thinking about them, but I am really trying to work on being happy where I am , with who I am, and not wanting for more. It’s tricky and challenging to stop and reassess when I start thinking that I wish I could do such and such, or so and so is so lucky and why can I not be like them… Just a little something to think about. Yearning for more doesn’t feel that good, but enjoying a moment does.