Thursday, December 27, 2007

Body and soul need new challenges.
The Manual of the Warrior of Light

I'm in a bit of a post-Christmas funk. My visiting family members have left, my house is a disaster, I've eaten too much junk and hardly run, and I still have no idea what I am doing next year. Getting through the holidays is a little like an ultra: tons of prep, lots of work to make it successful, excitement, fun, love, endurance and commitment, and then it's over. I come from a big family, so Christmas is always fairly chaotic, but it's a blast. We are on overdrive the whole time. Then, when everyone leaves, it's both a relief and sad.

There is never a dull moment. My sister, mother and I laugh for five days straight. The men can't get us to shut up! We cook and eat, and eat and cook. We play the "humming game." We drive around so that out-of-town relatives can see how everything is changing in El Paso. We light luminarias on Christmas Eve and then walk around the neighborhood admiring everyone else's luminarias, taking in the stillness of the night and the beauty of the desert in winter - cold and clear. We hug and laugh and talk about our hopes and dreams for the coming year. My 93 year-old grandmother regales us with hilarious stories of her childhood when she "ran wild." My father gives a Christmas toast that leaves us in tears, telling each of us how much he loves us and all that he is thankful for in his life. We stay up late and get up early, eagerly anticipating that first cup of coffee around the breakfast table where someone is always waiting to talk. We hear my kids awake at 4:00 in the morning, cheering in the den when they see what "Santa" (sadly, they don't still believe) has left them. The adults smile at the irony that the favorite gift is the $15 marshmallow gun rather than the "big" gift. I feel love, and feel loved.

And now it is over. I'm trying to get my head around the coming year. Everyone seems to already have decided what they are doing. I feel a little lost. I'm ready to make plans, but have some scheduling issues that I'm not certain about. I feel slow, like a bear woken up early from hibernation. I just want to go back to bed! In fact, maybe I will. The Christmas mess will still be there in a couple (or three) hours, after a good nap. It is blowing like crazy (50-60 miles per hour), so I can't (really) go outside. Yes, a nap sounds like a very good idea. Maybe it will refresh my brain and body so that I will be able to imagine new challenges.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Olga just tagged me, so I'm going to add a little more to yesterday's post so that I do it right :) I have to change mine up a little bit because I didn't run a single trail run in 2007 (sigh), unless you count Umstead. I need some of the trail gals to come down to Texas and show me how it's done! I might actually brave it if I had company to ensure that I didn't get lost, eaten or maimed! Okay, here goes:

1. Most memorable moment in a race...FANS lightning storm while crossing a steel bridge- totally cool and totally scary!

2. Best new trail I discovered in 2007...hmmm, I can't figure out how to modify this one. I had to be pretty inventive this year picking routes so that I could get my mileage in without going stir crazy. I ran all over the city, across the border into Mexico (had to stand in line on the bridge to get back into the US and I didn't have any identification), through cemetaries, pecan orchards, and farms.

3. My best performance this year was... Ultracentric 126.99 miles.

4. I do not know how I previously survived without... M&Ms. For some reason, it is the only thing that tastes good when I have had enough of everything else at the aid stations.

5. The person I would most like to meet at a race in 2008...Olga. Her indomitable spirit is contagious.

6. The race I'm most afraid of in 2008 ... I'm also stuck on this one because I haven't figured out my race schedule yet. Frankly, though, I'm afraid of all of them!

Yeah for 2008! Let's go run!


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

When someone wants something then they should be aware that they are taking a risk. But this is precisely what makes life interesting.
The Pilgrimage

So, what do you want? Have you thought about your dreams for 2008? For the next 10 years? For your life?

The end of the year always gets me thinking: What do I want to do next year? Who do I want to be? I'm not just thinking about running goals, I'm thinking about the bigger picture. My kids are growing up (too fast), I've turned 40, my parents are getting older, some family members and friends have struggled with some serious health and personal problems. Frankly, life is moving forward. 2007 had so many great moments, and some scary moments - as does life.

So, looking forward to 2008:

1. I hope to be a good mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend.
2. I hope to enjoy each day to the fullest.
3. I hope to run as often as possible with friends.
4. I hope to see one really great tear jerker.
5. I hope to meet some of my blogging friends at races.
6. I hope to find the best book ever.
7. I hope to care a little bit less about what doesn't matter and a little bit more about what does.
8. I hope to get cupcakes on my birthday.
9. I hope to swim in the ocean.
10. I hope to have the best year ever.

This week, I'm finally back to running regularly. It feels so good! The weather here is gorgeous - low 30s in the morning, upper 50s in the afternoon. Although I'm jealous of those of you getting snow, I'm happy to have pretty running weather. I'm not sure I could make myself get back in the swing of things if I had to run in freezing weather - but I really do want some snow to play in (send some down here)!

I'm still a little iffy on my race schedule for next year. I've encountered some personal obstacles, and I don't know when I will be able to set a schedule. I really enjoy training with a specific race in mind, so I'm feeling a little lost not having a specific plan. As Scott reminded me though, right now is just the base building phase anyway. I need to be patient (yeah, right).

Tomorrow, I plan to meet the group for a run. I'm really looking forward to it as I haven't really seen many of my running buddies in forever! We'll do an easy 6-8 miles and then I'll try to run some more with my friend Ingrid later in the day. Thursday is supposed to be a hill workout, but I'm going to see how I feel. I promised not to overdo it, so I may stay down in the valley (where I live) and run flat.

Good running everyone!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Know that no day is the same as another, and that each morning contains its own particular miracle, its magic moment, when old universes are destroyed and new stars are created.
Paulo Coelho

I am so happy to be back running (well, sort of running)! I've been doing an easy hour and then walking for another hour, or so. I can definitely tell I've had three weeks off. But, it is so great to be outside, to be moving, to have a rhythm back in my day, especially at this time of year when everything is so crazy!

I got a call last night from a mom at my sons' school saying that no one had signed up to be the room mother for one of my son's classes. His teacher was in desperate need of someone to handle the Christmas party next week. The kids' parties are always so much fun - still the same as when we went to school - cupcakes, goofy games, dancing, nothing fancy. The only problem is that I am a horrible party planner. Now, because I said the parties are nothing fancy, you would think that I wouldn't stress out about it. But, this is my 8th year doing this, and I still get totally stressed. You know how when you have no talent for something it doesn't matter how many times you do it, it still causes stress? Well that is me every Christmas and end-of-school. I'm a freak. That is why I tried to avoid being a room mother this year. But, when you have twins in separate classes, you invariably end up being the room mother one way or the other. So, I woke up at 1:00 am worrying about this little party. Hello! I need therapy!

Anyway, back to running. I plan to try to run a couple of hours tomorrow. I still feel pretty tight. I'm stretching, but I still feel about as limber as a hundred year old oak tree. I tried to lift one day this week, but that didn't go so well. Maybe next week. It probably isn't helping that my wonderful mother-in-law sent me a huge box of See's candy that I have almost finished in less than 24 hours. Yum!

Hope everyone is getting their shopping done. The holidays are almost here!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Running At Last!

I ran today for the first time in 3 weeks - yeah! Everything felt pretty good except my usual lower back problem that has plagued me for 2 years after a bad fall on an early morning run. I think the combination of 127 miles (inflammation) plus no running (stiffness and tightness) has added to the problem. I felt much looser at the end of the hour than at the beginning. I know some of you have suggested yoga for herniated disks and ischial tuberosity issues, so I think I will give that a try this year. Swimming does seem to help, but is such a pain in the winter (can you hear me whining?).

There is a super funny blogger out there that I'm adding to my favorites list: Bob Gentile. His blog is hysterical! I love funny blogs. Another super funny blog (but it is not running related) is the Fat Both of these blogs make me wish I could be funny! As I've mentioned, I love blogs that inspire and blogs that make me laugh because both make you feel good!

On a technical note: my wonderful sister, Linda, is dropping out of the blogosphere for now. She is working on her next book and making appearances for her current book, "The Devil in the Junior Leauge," so she is swamped. She was feeling guilty about not posting and I was feeling bad about taking over the blog with all of my running content, so we just decided that I would go solo until she has more time. I apologize to those of you who were reading because of Linda - I bet you are in a boredom-induced coma by now if you had to read all the running posts!

I still haven't figured out my race schedule for next year. I don't talk to Scott until next week, so everything is still up in the air. I reallly want to run something in the spring, but I don't know what's available. There don't seem to be many 100 milers in the spring, and the usual suspects (Umstead, RR) are full. Hmmm. I'll keep looking.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Are We Crazy?

Currently, the topic of "random inappropriate comments by non-ultrarunners" is making a showing on the Ultra List. Many of them involve people's comments about an ultrarunner's weight, and the validity of such a comment. Because no one is worried about me being too thin, the only comments I get consistently are, "Are you crazy? Addicted to running?, etc." In fact, a friend called last night to "congratulate" me on Ultracentric, and then proceeded to spend much of the conversation bagging on me for my unhealthy addiction. I totally get that ultrarunning is not for everyone - but frankly, that's what makes it so fun! And as far as it being an addiction, maybe so, but maybe not.

When I was five years old, I saw a swim team practice taking place at our local pool. I begged my mom to let me join, but since I was the youngest of four children, she didn't have the time to drive me down into the valley every morning at 7 am. Not to be deterred, and because I really wanted to swim, I went around the pool and found four other mothers willing to pick me up. And I was on the team! I swam competitively for 10 years, training for 4-5 hours a day by the time I was 9 years old. And no one was pushing me. I wanted to do it. And when I wasn't swimming, I was outside practicing my round-off/flip flop combo or my one-and-a-half off the diving board. I loved any, and all, physical activity.

After swimming, I went through a phase where I tried to be "normal." I didn't do any real exercise, just hung out with my friends. But it didn't work for me. I went stir crazy. So in high school, I ran cross country and taught aerobics, and then continued running and aerobics in college. In law school, I would run between classes just to get rid of some of the extra energy. It made me able to sit for long periods of time and totally focus on what the professor was saying, what I was reading, or what I was analyzing. I loved to study, but I loved to move! I still love to move!

So, my point is only that I think some of us are born needing to move a lot. Does that make it an addiction? I don't really know. I watch my twins and see how they both have (and always have had) different physical needs. One needs to move a lot and the other is more static. They were like that in the womb. I think it really is more about temperement and finding what works in your own life. As I said, I know that not everyone wants to run for 24 hours. But there are plenty of things people do in their lives that I don't necessarily want to do, and I don't think that makes them crazy (or at least not much :)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Non-Running Musings

So, I'm getting pretty bored not running. But I am enjoying sleeping until 6:30. Tim told me that it was weird waking up before me and that he was ready for me to start running again (it might have something to do with my hyper-ness since I have no way to expend all of my extra energy). I did start walking a little, and I went swimming last Thursday. Both activities felt good, but just aren't the same as running.

I am so bummed that nobody I know got into Western States! I was so looking forward to following Ronda, Julie, and/or Olga in their training for, and competing in, the race. But none of them got in! I know they all have alternative race plans, so I'm sure it will still be an exciting season. As I've said, I'm not a trail runner, so I love to follow others. It seems so exciting (and tough)!

I still haven't figured out what I am doing next year. The only "for sure" is the Walt Disneyworld Marathon. We are having our family reunion at Disneyworld, so four of us are going to run the marathon for fun. I'm really excited to get to run with both of my brothers and my husband. Most of our other family members are going to run/walk the half-marathon. I think it will be a blast! Now that I know how to post pictures, I promise to post some.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Trying to Add Photos

Bear with me. My 11 year-old son, Spencer, is helping me figure this out. He is computer literate. I am not.

Rex, my Running Dog

Rocky, Rex's Running Dog

Monday, November 26, 2007


Since I'm taking a three week break from running, as per Scott's end of year plan, I don't really have anything running related to post. I also don't bake, so I don't have any yummy recipes to post (check out Julie's) either, but I think I will try some of her recipes. I haven't done any exercise since Ultracentric because my right hip is sore. I'm not in any rush, so I thought I would just chill for a few more days and then see how it goes with some swimming and elliptical.

I need to start thinking about next year's race schedule. I don't get to do many big races because everything is so far from El Paso. So far, I have done Boulder, PCT 50 (loved it!), Ultracentric (twice), FANS, and Umstead. As you can see, I am a flatlander, preferring flatter courses. I just never train on trails (way too uncoordinated and the trails here a very rocky), so I tend to gravitate towards the flatter races. I love the adventure element of trail races, but I guess I will just have to live vicariously through others for now.

Recently, a running buddy asked me why I follow the blogs that I do. I tried to explain, but there wasn't really a cohesive theme around the people I pick to follow. Obviously, I follow Scott because he is my coach. But I follow Olga, Ronda and Julie because I just like what they have to say. They are each inspiring in their own way - Olga for her empathy, great spirit and hugely positive impact on the sport of ultrarunning; Ronda for her strength and commitment to running; and Julie for her all-around take on running and life. I also follow Angie and Susan because they have personality plus! Their blogs are a blast to read! So, there it is. I hope that offers a good explanation. Each of us learns so much from others, and blogging is a great way to share what we've learned and see what we need to learn. Thanks for blogging and reading!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Less Befuddled

The post-race fog has lifted somewhat and I'm going to try to write a semi-comprehensive race report for last weekend's Ultracentric. I went into the race hoping to beat my personal best of 118.25 from FANS in May. I knew that I would need at least 120 to be considered for the US 24 Hour National Team, but frankly, Ultracentric is not known for being the most forgiving course so I was going to be happy with 118.35!

Race morning, my husband, Tim handed me a folder with a complete loop/mileage breakdown. What the heck? I hate tracking my splits. I hate anything involving numbers, pace, plans. I drive my coach, Scott, bonkers. But, even though I was irritated with Tim for bossing me around, I sat down and gave him what I hoped would be my projected mileage at set times because I was so grateful that he is always willing to (and pleasant about it) crew for me. Because I hadn't really given much specific thought to it, I just put down where I wanted to be at 20, 40, 60, 80, and 100 miles. I just guessed. The only thing I knew for sure, was that I wanted to be at 100 miles by 19 hours because I figured I would need 5 hours to run the last 20 miles.

At the start of the race, temps were mild, but not nearly as cool as I had expected. Dallas is usually pretty cold by mid-November, so I was pleasantly surprised that I could start in shorts and a t-shirt with only gloves for warmth. I would regret this false happiness later. The first few loops were the usual for me - slow, trying to just get a rhythm and get my breathing to even out. I'm always pretty far towards the back of the pack at the beginning of an ultra. I don't know if it is nerves, or lack of experience, but I can't seem to get my breathing and heart rate to settle down until after the first hour. I ran some of the beginning with Jamie Donaldson and a super nice guy named Chisolm from Oklahoma. We had a nice chat, each of us commenting on our desire to start slow and run smart. This made me relax significantly because sometimes I start to panic that I am running too slow and will never catch up! Although I told Tim I would pay attention to my split at mile 20, I forgot and didn't look until mile 26 - 4:00. The problem with not having a specific plan is that I didn't know if this was good or bad. I just kept running, hoping for the best.

Mile 50 brought me in at about 8:30. Again, I forgot to look at 40 and then forgot to look at 50, so this is more of a guess. But it seems close. Frankly at this point, I was just hating life and really couldn't have cared less what my split was. This was the point where I started thinking, "What the heck am I doing. This is insane. Only a moron would be out here in 87 degree temps running for 24 hours!" Yes, it had gotten up to 87 degrees. Those earlier warm temps that I was digging were now making me wish I could just lie down and quit. Tim started giving me towels filled with ice at about noon, and Jamie told me to start pouring water over my head at the aid stations. Those two suggestions definitely saved me. I sweat more than a 250 pound man, so heat running is not my strength.

Anyway, as the night wore on, the temps dropped and I kept expecting my spirits to rise. But they didn't. I don't know why. I just felt lousy. I started throwing up (the first time ever in a race) and then panicked that I wasn't going to be able to finish. I'd run 10 yards, throw up, get my act together and go another 10 yards before repeating the process. What stood out the most for me, though, was how all the other runners just took it in stride. After a quick check to make sure I was okay, they would move on. I love that about this sport! If you are not lying flat on your face, people are going to expect you to keep going. So I did. And it was a good lesson for me that I could. I re-hydrated and re-fueled (once I could keep something down) and then moved on to trying to get to 100 before 19 hours.

At 18:15, I reached 100 miles and I was elated! What a struggle it had been from 50-100. I hated the sport. I hated the course. I hated bushes, trees, lakes. I hated orange traffic cones. You name it. But at 100 miles, I knew it was all about just keeping moving. No matter what. The aid stations workers played such a critical role at this point. Even though it was 3:00 in the morning, they were so upbeat ("You look strong. You're doing great.") that I couldn't help but try to be strong and great. Seriously, I didn't want to let the aid station workers down by coming in looking defeated. And it is amazing how much that helps your disposition - if you don't act defeated, you aren't.

At 8:00, the RD gave us the option of going out one more time or starting to run small loops close to the finish for the last hour. I had no idea what the best option was, so I just stayed in and ran small loops. This was where, about 20 minutes later, Connie Gardner began her final push for the record. It was so exciting, everyone cheering her on, the faster runners running with her to keep her pace up. It was awesome! Finally, at 9:00, the horn blew and we all sat down right where we were so that they could wheel off the exact distance. I ended up with 126.99 and I was really happy. After 100 miles, I had no idea what my mileage was. Tim didn't ask me to write anything down for post-100, so I just moved forward. I was so grateful to have beaten my PR, and thrilled to have gone past 125.

Things I learned:

1. Even if you are a "Let it be," kind of runner, set some time/distance goals. This saved me in the middle of the night because it gave me something to focus on besides my misery. Next time I will even be more specific so that I don't "waste" precious time just cruising along.

2. You can recover from heat/sickness/bad attitude.

3. It really is okay to start slow if that is what works for you. It is so tempting to try to follow others' plans.

4. Aid station workers can have a huge impact on your race! Thank you to those who volunteer at races!

5. Even if you think you know how you want to run a race, listen to others' ideas. I really was kind of irritated at Tim for trying to "manage" me. But in the end, his focus kept me on track.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Ultracentric Experience

I've been trying to take cues from others about how to write a great race report, but I have a hard time keeping track of all the details. So, I thought I'd just give a brief recap of the weekend today and then post more after I've had time to recover. We arrived in Dallas on Friday, meeting up with Tim who had to go early for a conference, and headed over to Grapevine which is about 20 minutes west. Having done this race last year as my first 100 miler, I was familiar with the course and the set-up which really helped make everything less stressful. I tend to get lost a lot, so it is always a relief to me when I know where I'm going. After checking in and picking up my number, we headed over to the course to see where we were going to set up in the morning. Good thing, as they had changed the layout for crews quite a bit and we had to re-think how we were going to set our station up. We ended up at the top of the course (rather than by the main aid station where we were last year) which ended up working out great. The 48 Hour runners had been on the course for about 10 hours when we arrived for our preview. I am simply amazed by people who can go that long - 48 hours - 2 days - and when we started running with them the next day, they were still going strong and in good spirits!

Saturday morning, I went down for a quick breakfast and saw Pam Reed. Now, a couple of years ago, before I had ever run an ultra, I wrote an article in Marathon & Beyond called "Stalking Pam Reed," all about how much I admired her and her ability to be a mother and a competitive runner. We had crossed paths last year at Ultracentric, but only exchanged a brief hello, and she seemed a little nervous to see me (like I might really be stalking her!). This time, we actually talked and she was super nice. Then, for the next 24 hours, as we passed each other over and over again, we chatted here and there and she was very encouraging and supportive. It's kind of neat to have someone you look up to cheer you on - I really appreciated it.

In addition to Pam, there were so many great runners, that it was just cool to be there - David Goggins (48 hours), Connie Gardner (tentative American record!!), Roy Pirrung, Carolyn Smith, Deb Horn, Scott Eppleman, Alex Swenson...basically both men and women's American teams plus Akos Konya, Jamie Donaldson and Bob Sweeney. Because this course is out and back, you are in almost constant sight of the other runners so you get to talk to everyone. I ran several sections with Jamie and it was great to have someone to talk to, especially in those moments when you have had enough. She's a very upbeat person, and fun to run with, so she really added a lot to the race.

As I mentioned earlier, we parked at the top of the course, and it really worked out well. Last year, we parked next to Connie and Tom, her significant other, and the men had a blast while we ran, so we all made sure to hook up again. The guys had a tv so that they could watch the Ohio v. Michigan game and basically, Connie and I had a double crew! If you ever have a chance to watch Connie Gardner race, take it - she is unbelievable! I have never seen anything like it. 145 miles! Possibly a new American Women's record! And she looked so cool and relaxed the whole time, encouraging other runners as she passed.

In the end, I was really happy with the whole experience. I finished with 126.99 miles, 3rd Female, 7th Overall. I promise to write some more details (because that is what I love so much about other people's reports, but my brain is still fuzzy).

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tapering and Rambling

Why is tapering so hard? I love having a little time off, but I want to run! Clearly I'm addicted because I feel like I'm coming out of my skin. I feel like a 110 watt bulb in a 20 watt socket (if there is such a thing!). I'm trying not to come unhinged before the race (and not scare my family, either :).

I really am very excited. I wish I knew who was going to be there. I can't find anything on the race website listing who is participating. Kind of disappointing. I'm so geographically isolated from the Ultra community that the only time I get to see anyone is at races, so it is fun to know who is going to show up. There has been very little chatter about the race on the List, so I can only hope some people are coming to Texas. Come on down, the weather is marvelous!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Part II

Sorry, I totally spaced! I said I was going to post about getting chased and then just completely forgot to do it.

Last Thursday, my regular running group was meeting for a Halloween/Dia de los Muertos run through Concordia Cemetary. I decided not to go because it is about a 25 minute drive from my house and it was my last week of serious training. I didn't want to waste a bunch of time driving. So, Tim and I headed out for a 6 mile loop at 5:30, after which I dropped him off and went back out to get in 4 more. Because I was just running around the neighborhood, even though it was still pitch dark (the time had not changed yet), I wasn't scared. I always figure it is safer to run alone early in the morning when everyone is still home than later when everyone has gone to work. Anyway, I'm running down a road that is divided by a tree lined median, when I notice a car driving towards me on the wrong side of the road. I assumed he must be drunk or lost, so I cross over the median to get out of his way. He then crosses over and drives up onto the lawn of the house I'm running in front of, essentially cutting me off. Again, I'm concerned but not frightened (uh, duh) because I don't actually believe he is trying to get me. Yet.

While keeping my eyes on the guy (or at least his car), I cross back over the median. I'm just jogging, so that I can keep an eye on him. He gets out of his car, puts his hands in his pockets, and starts walking casually in my direction. He is wearing dark pants, a baseball cap, and a hoody over the cap. He definitely doesn't look like a service person (which is what I was trying to convince myself of when he got out of his car). At this point, I start getting a little more nervous. I resume running and go about 10 yards before glancing back. Now he is running. Behind me. Aaaaahhhh! I speed up and take a right on the next street, trying to decide what to do. I'm looking to see who has lights on in their houses when I see my neighbor walking her dog about 100 yards down the street. I start yelling her name - "Blythe! Blythe!" We meet up, discuss the situation, and head back to where the guy was parked. And he's gone. The only evidence that I wasn't hallucinating were his tire tracks left in the grass.

The weirdest part of this whole ordeal (aside from the obvious) was my post-event attempt at rationalization. When I recounted the scare to my husband, I kept trying to explain away the guy's behavior. Maybe he was looking for something ("yeah, a runner," my husband replied). Maybe he was a worker and he got to the job early. Maybe he was a lost paperboy. My husband wasn't buying any of it. And now, he won't let me run alone in the dark.

In retrospect, I think those of us who tend to take some risk on a regular basis have to rationalize, or explain away as random, dangers that we encounter. If not, I don't know that we could continue to justify what we do. With the recent death of Ryan Shay at the Olympic Time Trials, I have definitely been a little freaked out about the risk of dropping dead after running 100 plus miles. Is it really justifiable? Is it a real risk? I know we all face some level of risk every day, but it is hard to know what is a reasonable amount. I do know, though, that I love to run. I love to run far. That is my motivation. Sitting home is not an option.

Run safely out there.
Tapering and Talking

My wonderful sister just left, and I'm so bummed! I love it when she comes to El Paso. She is a total blast and a very easy houseguest! My kids adore her (and her wonderful husband), so they are sad that she is gone. But they will both be back for Christmas, so YIPEEE!

A couple of business items to attend to. Remember when I said that we were doing the Goji experiment? Well, results are in. Himalayan Goji juice is by far superior to the brands you can just buy over the counter. The taste is significantly better. Linda said she could hardly get her otc brand down - it was thick and funky tasting. The few that I looked at were not 100 percent Goji, so I didn't even bother. The one drawback: Himalayan Goji is SOOOOOO expensive. I mean crazy expensive. But, we are sucking it up and continuing with our program (for now) because we do both feel so much better. Neither of us are reps for the company, so we don't get any kind of discount. I may have to take out a loan if I want to stay with this program :)

I've also been closely monitoring Ronda's food plan. I'm not as strong as she is, but when I saw she dropped 1.5 percent body fat in 6 weeks, I thought I might try to at least take a stab at it. Olga is also following the program, and has made tons of progress too, so it seems to be worth looking into. Julie follows a different plan, but also seems to get good results. I think a lot of this is about taking it to the next level. When I first started training for ultras, just getting my mileage in was enough of a challenge. Then, after I was a little more comfortable, adding the gym, stretching, and pilates was work. I'm inspired by these ladies' commitment to improve their fitness on the fueling front. So, I better get busy with it!

I'm in taper mode, and as usual, I don't think I trained enough. I fell short on my last few long runs because of some prior obligations and just plain old running out of time. There is nothing I can do about it now, but it does make me nervous. I keep telling myself the old adage, "It is better to be 10 percent undertrained than even 1 percent overtrained." Hopefully, I'm less than 10 percent!

My hubby and I are meeting for a Green Tea massage at lunch today. As I mentioned earlier, I am officially addicted! They rub your feet and calves (reflexology and deep tissue), and it is like heaven on earth. Tim broke his fibula in four places a couple of years ago on a trail run (slid into a ravine and had to climb out on a broken leg!), so he has some residual issues that I'm hoping this will help. He isn't particularly excited about going, so I hope he ends up enjoying it!

I'm still trying to post pictures. I am so technologically inept, but I promise to work on it.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Photo from "Stalking Pam Reed," Marathon & Beyond

Training is Winding Down (Finally)

I am finally at the end of, what feels like, a very long training cycle. My last race was at the end of May, and other than those two marathons, I have not been part of any organized running events. And I miss it. I love the vibe of races - the people, the enthusiasm, the preparation, the travelling. I love reading about others' races (speaking of which, if you want to read the best race reports in the blogosphere, check out Olga's blog) so that I get to experience all different types of adventures even if I can't be there.

But now, I'm getting ready to taper before Ultracentric which takes place in Grapevine, Texas in two weeks (two weeks! oh my gosh!). I am competing in the 24 Hour event. Last year, tons of great runners were there: Connie Gardner (one of my favorite runners of all time), Pam Reed, Carolyn Smith, Jamie Donaldson, Sarah Almodovar, Deb Horn, Rebecca Johnson, Laura Nelson, Dean Karnazes, Scott Eppleman, Roy Pirrung, Ray K... and the list goes on. One of the things I enjoy about short loop courses is that you actually get to run with a lot of different runners through the course of the race. Heck, when you are running on a 2.5 mile out-and-back loop you get to run with pretty much everyone! I think this year, some of the top runners have opted to run Across the Years instead of Ultracentric, so I'm not sure how big the crowd will be, but I think it will still be a blast! The RD was top-notch last year - tons of course support, great food, and awesome volunteers - so I know it will be a great race!

In the meantime, I will probably be posting more about food, books, and movies than running because I am starting my taper. Tapering is a mixed blessing: you know you need it, but you feel like it is going to do you in! Oh well, it will give me more time to read all the blogs I enjoy!

One last, scary note. I got chased by a man on my run yesterday. It was pretty creepy. I had my mace with me, but didn't have to use it (would I even know how?). I'll post more about it next time, but I just wanted to remind everyone to be safe out there!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Simply Amazing

My friend Bill Barry completed his 100th marathon last Sunday! Woo Hoo! It was quite a feat. As I mentioned, Bill has suffered from a heart condition, and was unsure when, if ever, he was going to be able to reach his goal of 100 marathons. He has made several attempts in the last few years to close out his 99th with no success. Finally, he was able to finish it in Seattle and was ready to run his 100th. Because he was a founder of our running club, and a mentor to most of us, we wanted to make sure to be there to run it with him.

So, Sunday morning, a large group of us caravaned to Las Cruces, New Mexico which is only 30 miles from El Paso. The weather couldn't have been nicer - 47 at the start and 73 when we finished. There were probably about 20 of us running the whole marathon with Bill, including some old friends who have moved away from El Paso but came back to run with Bill. It was a wonderful mix of people, novices and experienced, old and young.

We ran the first half of the race at a reasonable pace, keeping it easy but steady. We joked around and had our typical running coversations. The course was an out and back, so we had to turn around and head back in at the halfway point. Here, we really started to slow down. Bill was struggling with dizziness (Yikes!), so our main focus was just to keep moving without pushing too hard. At mile 15, we were greeted by Bill's family and a big group of runners from Juarez, Mexico. The Mexico runners joined us, adding new energy and positive mojo to the group, helping propel us to the finish. Along the way we were filmed by local news crews and photographers (I told you Bill is quite the legend), as well as Bill's fan club.

As the run neared the end, more and more people joined the group. Runners who had only run the Half Marathon came back out on the course; runners who had raced the marathon also came back out and joined us. By the time we entered the stadium for the final lap, we had a group of about 50 people. The crowd in the stands stood and cheered for Bill as he ran across the finish line. There wasn't a dry eye in the crowd, including those of us running. Our time was 5:39. None of us were sure we would make it, but we did. Bill dug deep and crossed the finish line, reminding each of us why we are so inspired by him and how important he is to our running community. Congratulations Bill Barry!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Going Deep

Today is Friday. The only thing special about Friday, other than the usual TGIF elements, is that it is the day I get my deep tissue massage from Frank. You may recall that Frank has "magic hands," which translates roughly to "He will commence to cause you unbearable pain that will only make you wish you were getting hit by a truck, so that by the next day you will be able to run pain free once more." I'm not kidding. Frank is due at my house in two hours and I'm already worrying about it, hence the post. He never gives the same treatment twice, half the time you don't even think he is paying attention, and he always makes you scream. But dang it if he doesn't fix the problem. It is amazing!

Now, please don't tell Frank, but I have been cheating on him and going to the Green Tea Massage place right next to my grocery store. It is a little shop, store front, where a small group of Chinese women give THE BEST foot massages on the planet. And they don't make me scream. Much. The first 20 minutes, you soak your feet in a wooden bucket full of very warm eucalyptus water. The lights are low and you are sitting in a big, soft leather chair, covered in heavy cotton towels. Then your masseuse comes out and begins working on your feet and calves. It is heaven! She incorporates reflexology and some deep tissue, but mostly it is just a great massage.

I had a pretty intense day yesterday - a lot of speedwork incorporated into the mileage plus weights - so, today was a pretty light day. I will take tomorrow off, just some walking, and then run the marathon on Sunday. I'm very excited about running with the group. I have never run an entire race with other people, so I am really looking forward to it. And I think the post party will be a blast. Have a great weekend!

Coming up: my opinion of a strawberry bundt cake from Sam's.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Food and Running, As Usual

Okay, I have a commitment from Linda for the cupcake throwdown. It should take place on Friday after she visits a famous New York bakery. She will post details later, but I will just say that I think we have a competition brewing!

I am about to head into my taper for Ultracentric, and frankly, I think I'm ready. It will be 4.5 months since my last race by the time Ultracentric rolls around and I think that is just too long. I talked with my coach, Scott, on Monday and we agreed that I should add one more race to my calendar next year. You don't want to over do it (which is pretty hard when you live in Texas because most of the races are way far away), but you also have to have some breaks in the training schedule. One of the cool runners I follow, Ronda, just finished the Grand Slam, which is 4 tough 100 mile races in less than 4 months! Not only did she finish, she smoked it! I am just in awe. She had to travel all over the country and race at the highest level - this is not a woman who just phones it in. She was such an inspiration! Now, it doesn't motivate me to want to do the Slam, mind you, but I think I can add one more race :)

I'm running the Rio Grande Marathon this weekend with my running group, Run El Paso. One of the founders, Bill Barry, is running his 100th marathon, so our group is going to run it with him. Bill helped most of us run our first marathon, training with us, inspiring us, and in many cases, travelling to the event with us. Recently, he has suffered from a heart condition that has left his running future in question. He has had to pull out of several marathons after he has had problems mid-race. Everyone is so happy, and relieved, that he is cleared to run this weekend! Bill is the pillar of our running community, so it will be a great event to run his 100th as a group. After the marathon, we are having a big celebration at a local vineyard - a perfect setting for runners!

I think I have finally figured out how to post photos, so I promise to start adding some. Yesterday, I had the most beautiful canal run replete with herons, ducks, and a beautiful flock of white dove. I wished I had a camera (and that I knew how to post), because I would love to share some of what I get to see every day while I'm running. I love to see where everyone else is running day in, day out. It adds so much to their blogs. Kind of like vacation photos, but interesting :) !

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Perfect Pair of Jeans a.k.a the imperfect workout

I spent the last few days trying to think of something interesting and fun to say about jury duty. But truth to tell, there is nothing to say other than it was a difficult case and I’m glad it’s done. To get the awful details out of my head, I decided that there was no better way to do that than to shop. So while Carilyn was running marathons and putting in massive milage on the treadmill, Linda was shopping for the perfect pair of jeans. But really, a girl has got to do what a girl has got to do.

This week I am getting a new author photo taken. I’m going to wear your basic little black dress on the steps leading to the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park. But I also want to get other shots looking "real." Hence the thought to get jeans. Jeans, white shirt, fun shoes. I started at Bergdorf Goodman where I bought a pair of James Jeans. While they are great, when I got them home they felt verra young. So I went back out, headed to Saks Fifth Avenue in hopes of finding a pair that weren’t too young, but also weren’t mom jeans with a waist up to my neck. Saks has a huge jean department, but the young, impatient woman who helped me was, well, not very helpful and she couldn’t seem to get her mind around the thought of “not too young.” We pulled several pairs for me to try, and by the time I left the store I was certain that the Perfect Pair of Jeans didn’t exist. Next stop, Bloomingdale’s, though not before stopping at my all time favorite burger place, Burger Heaven for a cheeseburger, french fries, their amazing pickle relish and an extra chocolate, chocolate milkshake. By the time I got to Bloomies, I had gone up a full pant size. Whatever, I found a pair there that I still don’t know what to think about. I actually like them, but I keep remembering this photo of me from my junior year of college (with a boyfriend who I would like to forget, much like the facts of my jury duty) and I swear they are the same jeans. What’s old eventually is new again?? I returned to Bergdorf thinking maybe I missed something (I hadn’t), then made my way to Barney’s. Couldn’t find anything there, though that was probably due more to sheer jean overload than anything else. With arm muscles aching from pulling tight jeans on and off all day (who needs a weight room), I made my way home with two pair of jeans. I still need the white shirt and shoes, but just the thought of more shopping makes me shudder. The photo shoot just might have to be me, the steps, and the little black dress. Forget the jeans.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

All You Need is . . . a Cupcake!

I am now calling for a cupcake throwdown with my sister. As I have said before, Linda has been blessed to live in the land of cupcakes. Seriously, there is a cupcakery on every corner in Manhattan. In El Paso, none. Until now. As I reported yesterday, I saw that a cupcake shop opened right by my house! Yeah! So, my kids and I moseyed over to and bought 5 cupcakes. Oh. My. Gosh. I challenge my newfound cupcakery to any bakery in NYC. Yes, Linda, El Paso now has fabulous cupcakes.

I just finished eating a chocolate with buttercream icing and am truly in heaven. As soon as I figure out how to post photos, I will take a picture (oops, I guess that means I have to go buy another chocolate cupcake!) and show you how scrumptious it was. Moist, chocolatey goodness topped with the lightest, fluffiest buttercream icing I have ever put in my mouth. Mmmmm. Next, I plan to try the Yin Yang cupcake, a swirling concoction of chocolate and vanilla cake with complementary icing. I think I'll give myself a rest, though. Like maybe 5 minutes. Don't want to rush it.

Now, on to running. Funny that my portion of the blog is supposed to contain a ton of information about running but I seem to spend an awful lot of time talking about food . I had a verrrrrrrrry intense deep tissue massage from Frank last night, so I ran verrrrrrrry gingerly this morning. As my friend Enrique says, Frank has magic hands, but he causes a lot of pain. And I have found that if he really works me over, I have to be careful the next day or I will have problems for several days after. I have a chronic back problem, plus the usual high mileage aches and pains. Frank keeps me fresh and able to run without significant injuries (knock wood), but sometimes the cure feels worse than the problem! Tomorrow I'm scheduled to run long with a woman training for her first marathon in over 10 years, so I'm looking forward to a fun run. I love running with new people. The miles fly by because you get to learn so many new things about someone.

Okay, I hate to rush off, but a cupcake is calling me!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Treadmill Time!

This morning, I had to run 20 miles on my treadmill. My husband was out of town, and I couldn't leave my kids home alone at 5:00 am to go run with the group, so the treadmill it was. I had rented "Who the *%$# is Jackson Pollack?" a documentary about a 73 year-old female truck driver who found a presumed Jackson Pollack at a thrift store for $5.00. I love quirky movies, and this one definitely fit the bill - especially because it is true! Teri Horton (the woman) is quite the character, and the movie is genuinely charming, so the first couple of hours of my run went by pretty quickly. Next, I watched "The Flying Scotsman," the true story of Graeme (pronounced Graham) Obree, the world champion cyclist. Again, a very entertaining, quirky movie (complete with subtitles because the Scotch-English is so hard to understand), so I made it through the last 7 miles without going totally bonkers! I will finish the rest of the movie later. I've managed to log a lot of miles this week, but none of them have been particularly fast. I was a little tight after the marathon, so I didn't want to risk injury. Next week, I hope to ramp it up a little because then I start to taper.

Last night, because both of our hubbies were out of town, Linda and I talked on the phone for a couple of hours while I made and ate dinner (turkey and swiss panninis, french fries, and mint chocolate chip milkshakes - quite the healthy meal. I hope my coach isn't reading this:). It was so much fun! I love talking on the phone with my sister. We got on the internet and checked out new releases on Barnes & Noble (we both LOVE to read). We dissected several of our favorite novels and then moved on to movies. While our tastes are not really the same, we do overlap in some areas. We also both try to at least give each others' recommendations a go. Sometimes we are surprised at how much we like a book or movie that we assumed we would hate! I think that is why Linda is such a good writer; she is a true reader. She really appreciates the works of other writers, and a great story. I love that about her.

So, we are off to Barnes & Noble to get a few of the books Linda and I talked about last night. I am so excited! There is NOTHING better than a great book (well, maybe that isn't entirely true...).

P.S. A new cupcake place opened up right by my house! I'm going over there today to check them out. I'll let you know what I find!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Just a Quick Update

Training is going well, but there just never seems to be enough hours in the day to get everything in! The weather is gorgeous here, mid 50s-70s, so the running is fantastic! Gratefully, nothing dramatic has happened - no skunks, robbers, or flat tires - so life is pretty good. We have a three day weekend coming up, so I'm hoping to get in lots of running, and hit a few of the local apple, chile, or Renaissance festivals. My kids love them. Since we are on the border of two states (Texas and New Mexico) and two countries, there is always a lot of diverse activity going on.

I also want to head over to Hueco Tanks to watch the professional rock climbers practice. Every year, the best of the best head to El Paso for Fall/Spring rock climbing. They camp out and climb every day for weeks. It is truly fascinating to watch them work/play. I'm completely freaked out by heights, so I am in absolute awe of the climbers. Nerves of steel.

Tonight is the season premiere of Project Runway, so I am trying to get everything wound up in time to curl up in bed by 8:00. I love that show! Top Chef runs a close second, although it makes me hungry!

Tomorrow is hills/tempo work. I'm heading back down to El Secundo Barrio. Hopefully nothing scary happens!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Marathon 2 Marathon

This weekend was my run to Marathon, Texas, the entrance to Big Bend. If you have never been to West Texas, you are missing one of the most beautiful parts of the country. The views define panoramic, as you can see forever in every direction. Wildlife abounds, with deer, elk, hawks and tarantulas being just a few of the critters we saw while touring the area. It was truly breathtaking.

As was the run. I really had not paid much attention to the course description (which was, frankly, kind of sparse on the website), so I missed the 1500 foot elvation gain at the start of the race. In fact, the first 15 miles were mostly uphill! We climbed from 4500 feet to 6000 feet by mile 15. What? This was a training run for Ultracentric. And there are no hills at Ultracentric. Throw in a nice headwind and a course that is run ENTIRELY on the shoulder of a two lane highway with 70 mile per hour traffic, and you have one not-so-fun marathon. Every time a truck would roar past, I had to grab my hat because the gale force wind would knock it off, and practically knock me over!

Anyway, I stayed true to my plan of running by feel and not pace, focusing on the effort. I needed to have a solid effort, but not one that required any tapering or recovery. I was a little concerned midway through that I was going to blow up no matter how conservative I was running, but then I hit mile 15 and things began to look up. Nothing like a downhill to improve your mood! This was also when my husband and sons started meeting me every two miles at the aid stations. There is nothing more uplifting than seeing your loved ones waiting for you. It always gives me so much energy. And the other runners were great! Everyone was cheering each other on because we all realized it was much more challenging than anticipated. There was so much good energy on the course!

The finish line was right in front of the Gage Hotel, which has to be one of the coolest hotels I have ever seen. We tried to get a room for the night, but they were completely booked. The management was so nice though, that they let me take a shower. How is that for hospitality? We decided it was well worth another trip to Marathon just to stay there. At lunch, we talked to some people who had just gone river rafting down at Big Bend and then were spending the weekend at the Gage. It sounded like a total blast!

The good news is that I came in second place overall female (first in my age group) and don't feel sore or tired today. You never really know until the day after, and with all the climbing, I was a little concerned I would need a few days to recover. My running buddy, Gilbert, is always telling me that climbing builds character. I guess I have some work to do!
Got Whipped Cream?

So this is the thing. Clearly I taunted the Jury Duty gods. In July, I told a friend who had been summoned for jury duty that I had been called three times before. Once as a mere babe out of college. Once in New Jersey years later—not that many years later. Then again in NYC just after 9/11 (which is a whole other story for another day.) But I have never been chosen, despite (or because of) the arm waving and pleas of Please please please pick me to the assorted judges and attorneys. I had a whole slew of reasons I wanted to serve: life experience, see what a real trial is all about, as a writer how can you not want to see how justice is really done, and/or I am nothing if not loaded with opinions. Not a week after I say this than my fourth jury summons appears in the mail. And this time, when I am madly working on my new book and getting ready to leave for two more book signings in Texas and Kentucky, I get picked. So that is what I have been doing, getting up at 4:30 to get work done before I head downtown with the very same masses that I ALSO taunted in the earlier post about people on their way to work. No wonder they don’t want to hear crazy iPod lady singing loudly. Riding the subway during rush hour is a NYC adventure I’ll be glad to check off the master list of NYC experiences and be done with.

On the Goji juice front, I am drinking it every day and getting used to it, thankfully, since I ran out of pumpkin pie, and eating whipped cream straight is beyond even me—though probably only because it comes in one of those aerosol cans with the nozzle (it’s organic and real, really) and pointing it towards my mouth to get a taste only served to give me a face full of whipped cream, not a mouth full. (If you see a picture of me, I swear I don’t look demented.)

As to your MISadventure on the road, Carilyn, perhaps we should rename you Lucy Ricardo. Oops, I’ve already got dibs on Lucy.

More when the verdict is in…..

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Today started with such promise. I awoke before my alarm after a fairly pleasant night's sleep, still basking in the warmth of the wonderful birthday day I had yesterday. I had a hot cup of strong coffee before I met my running group at Starbuck's for our regular Thursday run. This is one of those runs that I love because I would never do it alone. We run downtown, to the international bridge that takes you to Mexico, through El Secundo Barrio, around the industrial section of town, over a highway overpass, and back up to the center of town. And all of it is in the dark. It has just enough feeling of danger to be fun, but since I'm with a group of about 20 people, not scary. Until today.

About 30 minutes into the run, I am back of the pack with my friends Nathan and Gilbert. Nathan and I are running the Marathon to Marathon this weekend, so we are just cruising along. Gilbert is hanging back with us because he had put in some hard runs earlier in the week. The bulk of the group is several blocks ahead. When we reach the heart of El Secundo Barrio, we hear a woman scream. We look over and see an elderly woman with a cane being robbed. Gilbert springs into action, "Let's go!" and takes off after the robber. Nathan follows. Okay. You know what happens next: I follow Gilbert and Nathan. We chase this guy down alleyways and streets. In the dark. But to no avail; he gave us the slip. Not that we would have known what to do with him anyway. A business executive, a track coach, and a soccer mom - the new Mod Squad.

Anyway, I was so excited to get home to tell Tim of my adventure. As I exit my vehicle in front of our house, I am hit by the most noxious smell - something akin to burning tires. The closer I get to my front door, the stronger the smell gets. When I open the door, I am practically knocked over by it.

"What happened?" I yell from the entry.

"Rocky got skunked," Tim yells back from the kitchen where he is busy opening windows.

"Inside?" I asked, not fully understanding the situation.

"No," Tim says, clearly intending to leave it at that, but I rounded the corner just then and gave him the eye. "He got skunked and then I let him in the house."


And it just degenerated from there, but I won't bore you with any further details in case you are squeamish. So, after taking my poor stinky children to school (the smell permeates EVERYTHING), I headed out for a nice long run on the river with my non-skunked dog, Rex. We ran for 2 hours, in the dirt, climbing over rocks, cruising on canals. It was bliss. When I returned home, I called my friend Laura to tell her about my run and the skunk.

"Why aren't you at your birthday lunch?" she asked in a panic.

Oh. My. Gosh. I was missing my own birthday lunch. People were waiting for me. So, I had no choice but to change into clean running shorts and shirt and head over to the nice restaurant where all of my friends were dressed in pretty luncheon clothes. I was covered in 3 hours of running sweat, dirt, AND I smelled like a skunk. Then, because enough is never enough, when we left the restaurant, Ingrid pointed out that I had a flat tire. Yes.

After toying with the idea of having my kids take a cab home so as not to expose them to my bad chi, I came to a few conclusions about this day:

1. I have running friends who will chase down a robber in the dark, in the ghetto, to retrieve and elderly woman's purse, without thinking twice;

2. I have river banks and canals to run on right outside my door, and a dog who loves to run on them with me;

3. I have girlfriends who will throw me a birthday lunch and not say one word about how I'm dressed or how I smell;

4. I have a very observant friend who saw my flat tire so that I was able to get it fixed the day before I would be driving on a desolate highway for 4 hours with my husband and children in the car.

So, all in all, it's been a pretty good day.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Semi-Solid Gold aka Movie Popcorn

Is there anything better than movie popcorn? With a real Coke? Seriously. I can eat an entire large bag by myself, and I did just that today. I went to see "The Jane Austen Book Club," and, what is the point of a movie if you don't eat the popcorn? The movie itself was pretty good, too. But don't take your husband (although boyfriends are still required to sit through these types of movies). It is pure sap. And as Linda mentioned earlier, I'm not big on sap. The caveat to this statement, though, is that I looooooooove sap in movies. I just don't like to read it. I have no idea why my feelings differ depending on the form. Heck, my favorite movie is "Love Story." I mean, come on, it doesn't get much sappier than that - "What can I say about a girl who died? That she loved Bach, the Beatles, Beethoven, and me. Da da da da daaaaaaaaa." It makes me misty just typing it. But I flat out cannot read ANYTHING by Nicholas Sparks. My gagometer hits the red zone.

On to Goji juice (NFI). Yes, I did see Dr. Oz (or Mahmet as I like to call him, as "Doctor" is simply too formal for anyone who discusses the consistency of his poo on national TV) touting the wonderful health benefits of the goji berry on Oprah. Linda is right. It tastes funky. But you only have to drink a little, so I'm just taking a swig and hoping for the best. I take quite a few vitamins/supplements, so I'm just tacking it on to the routine.

On the running front (I know I'm supposed to focus on this, but there were a few other verrry important topics to get out of the way first), I have finished my mileage for the day: 10 with Ingrid and then 10 by myself later. Now I just have weights and pilates left. I'm running a marathon this weekend for a training run, so I don't want to get crazy this week. I'm pacing a friend, and I don't want to be a liability to him. Nothing makes you remember a marathon like having to give your Pacer CPR!
Liquid Gold a.k.a. Goji Juice

Carilyn, you’re here!! Too funny about “getting” to read what I write since Carilyn reads everything I write, whether she wants to or not when whole chapters show up in her e-mail with no warning. In what I know is a moment of pure sap (which I happen to love and she hates) I am lucky to have a best friend who also is my amazing sister.

But I digress…. She Who Also Writes This Blog--but who will remain nameless in this particular discussion since I haven’t a clue if she ever did anything about this subject and she may not want ANY part in it--said she heard Goji Juice is being talked up as the new Fountain of Youth by none other than Oprah Guru, Dr. Oz. Given that I am trying to fight off the effects of aging with a stick plus every cream, gel, scrub, peel (natural and otherwise), I decided I would take the plunge. I went to a supermarket (yes, we have them here—okay, maybe super-ish market) and got a bottle for $7.99. Turns out this brand contains much less actual Goji juice, so you have to drink significantly more of it to get the recommended serving. And let me just say this is some foul tasting stuff. I held my breath and chugged 8 ozs like a frat boy at a kegger. It took me the rest of the day to recover.

Not to be deterred, and determined to doggedly pursue anything that swears it will make me glow with vitality, I went to the health food store and purchased 100% Goji Juice—which, by the by, is a whole lot more expensive than $7.99/bottle. Good news is that you only have to drink an ounce and a half twice a day. So I poured out a shot and threw it back. Let’s just say that I will probably never be a big fan of the taste, and had to follow it up with a pumpkin pie chaser. The price of beauty. I will keep you posted re: the results in a few weeks…..

Tomorrow I have jury duty…...will report in when I’m done.

Monday, October 08, 2007

I'm a Blogger!

I am so excited to be blogging with my sister, Linda! I have wanted to blog forever, but have felt rather intimidated by the whole process. I love reading other people's blogs, but have been afraid to commit to my own. When Linda said we could do it together, I thought, "Yeah!" Now, it's half the work and twice the fun! My kind of activity!

The best part about this blog for me is that I get to read what Linda is writing. As you've probably already figured out, she is just about the funniest person you will ever meet. She can make me laugh like nobody else. You know that kind of laughing where you are spraying milk out of your nose and running to the bathroom? Ever since we were little she has made me laugh like that - which is why we talk on the phone just about every day. I need my medicinal fix of laughter!

On the personal front, I am a stay-at-home mother of twin boys. While they are sleeping, or at school, I am running. And running. And running. I run so much because I am an ultrarunner, someone who runs distances greater than the marathon. I personally like to run distances greater than 100 miles because... well, I'm not entirely sure why. Maybe this blog will help me get to the bottom of it! Right now I'm training for the National 24 Hour Championships - Ultracentric- taking place in Grapevine, Texas next month. I hope to exceed my personal best of 118.25 miles in 24 hours. And not die. If the blog disappears after mid-November, you will know why :)
Running As Fast As I Can . . . in Central Park

The beauty of NYC is that no one blinks twice over whack jobs, weirdos, or assorted whatnots (no wonder I like it here!) as long as said WWWs aren’t infringing on the imaginary, but very real, lines NYers draw around themselves. Case in point: this morning I head to the park to run, happen upon the neighborhood raving homeless man and a woman dressed in fishnets, hooker heels, black and pink hair (it’s morning), both mixing seamlessly with busy, suit-dressed men and women on the way to work. There was nary a blink of an eye. But then comes a woman, clearly out to get her run in before she joined the suit-clad masses on her way to Wall Street, running with headphones, singing out loud (loudly, and not even a good song) in what appeared to me to be a desperate effort to finish up a torturous run. SHE pissed people off. SHE was interrupting people’s quiet space. SHE crossed people’s lines. I say whatever it takes to finish the run. (And people say I have control issues. Snort.)

As to my run (and all you runners who found this site due to Carilyn’s massively great ultrarunning, don’t dismay, she will be here, and my slug running should in no way mar her athletic reputation) I shuffled up to the Reservoir and back. Two miles—ten minutes up, nine and a half back. But let me tell you, given my past life as a fairly serious runner (used to put in 77 mile weeks—yes, I’m being defensive) I shuffle with damn good form. All this is to say that my goal is to pick up the pace and the mileage. I had gotten up to 5 miles this summer, but then life got in the way and the next thing you know, I’m back down to slugging out a miserable two. Maybe I should start singing out loud…..

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Hold On Loosely, But Don't Let Go (by 38 Special)

I have this thing with control. A real love-hate relationship with it. What I don't know is if it's a good thing, or if it's bad. For everyone who needs control, I hear the scoffs of: "Of course it's good, even necessary in this world." But I also hear the people who prefer less manhandling in life, saying: "Quit fooling yourself. You may think you have control, but hello, you don't." (Note to self aka Sybil: Perhaps you should be more concerned about the two voices in your head than your control issues.) The point is, for the next 6 months (or whoever knows how long) I simply want to, read, and write.....and then talk about it here. Maybe it will keep me conscious. Maybe it will simply be fun. Maybe it will be a huge disaster. (Hence the no guarantees on the time line.) But the long and short of it is, this is my attempt to hold on loosely without having to let go. Then see what happens.....