Monthly Archives: May 2010

Going Downhill

I was visiting San Diego a while back for business. One advantage for a runner on a business trip is time zone changes. I rarely have to worry about finding time to fit in a run when I am waking up at 4 AM Pacific time without an alarm clock. I strap on the running shoes for breath taking early morning discoveries. The only thing I don’t like about running in unfamiliar areas is not knowing where I’m going. I’m so low tech that my *GPS* is the moss that grows on the trees. I usually pick one road, one direction, and run, then hope that time runs out before the road does.

On this trip, the road I picked had a lengthy, precipitous hill. As in *long*, *steep*, and *never-ending* were not decriptive enough for it. Fear not! This is not a grievance against the hill instead it is praise for it’s challenge and proof of toughness and determination. An affirmation of a worthy climbing hill. It require 30 minutes to crest. If it was not the steepest hill I have ever endured then, for sure, the combination of steepness and length is unique.

Interestingly, I stopped a few times for a wildlife encouter. Of course, *Wild* isn’t exactly the term that comes to mind when musing about snails. Still, I marveled at the curious occassion of seeing snails crossing the sidewalk. Shortly, I continued up the hill for had I waited til every snail finished crossing, I’d still be waiting there.

Of course, what goes up must come down. Most expect that going downhill is the easy part. Minimal effort needed when you have gravity to pull you down. Except that this hill was steep. The road was loaded with commuter traffic already so maintaining control was cumpulsory. Not to mention the threat to wildlife crossing! I reined in to regulate my downward progress.

I was near half way down the hill when I seized up. My back was in so much agony that I lethargically walked down the hill. Seriously? I had just mastered a 9% or so climb but I couldn’t handle going downhill. What a sad sight to behold.

From then on, every hill, regardless of the angle, I engaged was an agonizing decent until reaching the flatlands. Yes, it’s true, I would rather beg to run uphill than downhill.

But, lately, that hasn’t been the case. I’m flying down the hills to the point of obliviousness to speed and control. Child-like glee poised to leap from my lips in giggles and smiles.

How could this be? I hate downhills?

It took me several new downhill runs to distinguish the importance of stride. In San Diego, I was hammering my heels in a pair of Asics (my favorite shoe, by the way). The concrete landings driving all the way up my legs causing spasms in my back. My VFFs renovated my stride into a forefront strike. The impact just seems to disapear. My teeth don’t clatter. My back doesn’t spasm. There’s no resistance to gravitational assistance. Running downhill is like tip toeing through the tulips.


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Yappy does not make me Happy

It never occurred to me to be mean to a dog. Unfortunately, it did occurred to the Yappy dog to be an jerk to me.

I was taking a run into town coming rear the library. Up ahead were a couple of older ladies walking a white Yappy dog. I moved over to the left so that I would not disturb them. Just as I came even to the group, Yappy flipped out.

The lady holding the leash looked surprised that her precious little pumpkin was a raving mad dog. Maybe I spooked the dog or maybe he was just angry about being a Pittbull stuck in a Yappy body.

Come to think of it, other than size or strength, what difference is there between Yappys and Pittbulls?

As I said, the deranged Yappy jumped on my right leg and seized my pant leg. I stopped and waited patiently while the lady pulled her dog away. I heard a snap confirming that Yappy put a hole in my pants. Not holding much of a grudge, I ambled on down the sidewalk away from Yappy.

I’ll admit that my leg tingled so I stopped for a look at the end of the next block. It was fortunate that I had chosen my loose fitting exercise pants that day. Yappy got ahold of my calf but the extra material in my pant leg just slid his teeth right off. In other words, no broken skin. However, Yappy’s inner Pittbull would have been gratified to know he doled out a bruise as big as the bruise that I got from an actual Pittbull bite a few years earlier.

That night I dreamed that I was being chased by a white wolf-like dog that barked…a lot.

Yappys move up a notch on the list of animals I’m not incredibly found of. First on my list are the gang of birds that leave a white trail across my pool and pool deck.

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Back to Running

I pulled myself out of bed after hitting the snooze bar once on purpose and once in a non-wakeful state. I knew that I wanted to go running but there’s a fear that grips me at 5:30 am after I’ve had a bit of a running break. Can I do it? Can I do it injury free? Will the boogy man get me?

It’s a good thing that I am absent minded because it didn’t take long for me to concentrate on the weather and forget that I had any fears. I headed out for a four mile run into town. My iPhone battery was out and I had no watch. I think my time was average. I had to spend a bit of time focused on getting a quiet VFF landing. I keep thinking that I will go all bare but there’s too many sticks and stones. I’m happy in the VFFs for now.

I forgot to add that my left ankle tendonitis started acting up after the 100 MoN. I was surprised because I hadn’t been beating up my feet by pounding them into the pavement. (I suspect my work dress shoes (flats). If only I could live in Hawaii on the beach.) It will be interesting to see what happens when I get back to running regularly in VFFs.

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100 Miles of Nowhere

I’m doing my 100 miles of Nowhere Tour de France style…in stages but with a partner. 

Category- Recreational cyclist with 7 year old tag along on a 2 blocks course. 

The Ride: (It’s cheap and it’s old)

The Course: (Elevation change ~ 6 inches)

The Tag Along with his ride: (This picture was taken a month before the 100 Miles of Nowhere)

The T-Shirt: (I got to wear it in several stages because I was the leader)

Stage 1-April 30th- On a whim, because I had received my schwag bag, I started my 100 miles of Nowhere today. My course is two blocks down the road and back to my house. Each lap is 0.4 miles. The first thing I noticed is the great prairie winds kicking around at 20 mph gusts. Within the first 0.2 miles, my chain fell off while I was trying to change gears. Fortunately, I was able to fix it sans tools but then stuck with one gear for the rest of the 100 miles.  I also got a late start on the day so I ran out of daylight before I ran out of legs. 25 laps for 10 miles. My son, Karlis rode with me for most of the laps.

Stage 2 – May Day- I got greedy last night after my ride and wanted to see if I could extend the length of my ride by including the turn-arounds. Gmaps pedometer informed me that my course is 0.3 miles not 0.4 miles. It was discouraging to realize that I had only gone 7.5 miles the night before. I considered adding on to my route but realized I was riding a metaphor for fighting cancer.  You go through hellish treatment to find out that little to no gain has happened.

An afternoon of Mint Juleps, funky hats, losing bets, May Day baskets, and a measly 10 laps (3miles). Karlis had been at the neighbor’s house playing but came running home when he saw me on the bike. Total milage 10.5 miles

Stage 3-Sunday Delightful Sunday – My husband sat in our driveway and made signs like this for me.

… pedal 0.15 miles, break, u-turn, pedal 0.15 miles, break, u-turn, pedal 0.15 miles, break, u-turn, pedal 0.15 miles…Total laps 78 (23.4 miles). Karlis rode 30 laps. My Total Milage 33.4

Stage 4 – Cub scout night. No riding. Total milage 33.4

Stage 5 – Holy Windy Night Batman. The neighbors must have started to wonder just how crazy I am. One neighbor came out while I was riding and trimmed a limb that Karlis had hit his his head on on the previous ride. It didn’t dawn on me what he had done until he was back closed up in his house. I wanted to say thanks but just waved. Total laps 45 (13.5 miles). Total milage 47.4 miles. 316 times past the neighbors’ houses.

Stage 6 – Using old school techniques is fine until you start getting tired or tired of what you are doing.  Counted 46 +/- laps on my fingers.   100 gnats swallowed.  Total Milage 61.2 miles.

Stage 7 – Watched Karlis wipeout in front of our house.  The handlebar got him in the stomach and knocked the wind out of him.  Poor kid.  He’s tough though.  He got up and went for two more laps before he called it quits.  55 laps.  Total Milage 77.7

That was my last day.  I didn’t track Karlis’ milage but I’m confident that between the two of us we made it to 100 miles or 666 times past the neighbor’s house.  Hmm…. 666… a fitting number for cancer.


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What sucks the most was being able to say that when all was said and done it would seem like nothing had ever happened then having to say that it had all been taken away. We were feeling the relief and gratitude of a near miracle

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