September 28, 2012

Looking Forward To Trying To Keep Up

My husband has consistently responded, "only when chased," if asked if he runs.

But, tonight tells a different story.

After home-town Christmas 5K grief, he begrudgingly agreed to register for a race.

So now he needs to run.

We headed out for our first foray since the 2-miler 10 years ago when he swore off the dreadful task *forever*.

He shocked me with an initial mile of 9:07.

I look forward to watching him move his mileage up to the 3.1 for the 5K and watching him and his dad finish together (in fact, my Xmas 5K resolution may simply be to go fast enough so I can finish ahead and take photos).

I think have a new running buddy!

September 27, 2012

Grinning Goodbye To Summer

Summer always seems to bring us wonderful excesses of travel, barbeque, too much food, wine, and celebration.

After the fun has ended, E and I try to impose our own version of reasonable restraint/limited abstinence upon ourselves.

So far this week we've been successful.  We've avoided almost all social activity, have slept at least eight hours each night, and have successfully refrained from all processed grains, alcohol, meat (except fish, once), and tried to fit in more exercise including some good evening yoga.

In addition to garden salads and soups for dinner, I've been enjoying smoothies for lunch.  I love the treat of blended dark leafy greens, garden cucumbers, bananas, and berries.  Delicious, healthy, and light.

On Tuesday, after my liquid lunch, I went to the post office, the UPS store, and visited the bank teller in person.

On the drive back to the home office, I caught a glimpse of myself in the rear-view mirror and realized the *other* benefit of the smoothie lunch:

A widely speckled grin of berry skins and leafy green bits, for all to enjoy.

(Hey USPS, UPS, and bank teller, next time can I get a heads up please?)

September 23, 2012

Tiny Pleasures

Our local grocery store hooked us up with a coupon for a free quart of Almond Breeze.

I'm scared of most modern so-called "foods." But when I imagined what almond milk might be, I thought it might actually be something I'd like.

In my coffee, for example.

Plus, it was free.

The nutrition info totally beat out the 1% milk that I typically put in my coffee:

-60 calories per cup vs. 140
-more calcium, potassium, zinc, iron, and all sorts of other nut-based nutrients that aren't included in milk
-same amount of vitamin D
-1/2 the fat

Did I mention it was free?

I tried it plain, suspicious, but it was everything I'd want a cold glass of milk to be, and more.  It had the consistency of low fat milk, but a light delicious nutty after-taste.  In my coffee this AM, it was heaven.  I'm a convert.  So there you go -- every once in a while the industrial food industry creates a new product that actually makes my life better.

In other news, E and I finally got around to watching Jiro Dreams of Sushi which had been recommended to me by no less than 3 people who know me well, but all are from very different areas of my life.  E had never heard of it.

It was slow at times, but we thoroughly enjoyed it.  Also, it made us both nostalgic for our trip to Japan.

September 21, 2012

Adventures in Zoom Teeth Whitening

Today, I finally went to the dentist for the first time in well over a year.

On the way there, I drove beneath the Shuttle Endeavor, as it flew across Highway 101 on its way to Moffett Field before heading to its final resting place in Southern California.   I tried to grab my phone and snap a photo but I decided avoiding an accident from all the other gawking cars was probably more important.

I figured the Endeavor was an auspicious sign. And, indeed, it seemed to be -- no new cavities or major tooth issues to address for what felt like the first time in my life.

Since it appeared that I'd been successful in my bid to stop drinking diet coke over a year and a half ago, and because I'm getting too old to drink much red wine, I decided to try Zoom Teeth Whitening.  Apparently, it works best immediately after a thorough teeth cleaning, which, conveniently, I'd just completed.

I figured if I wasn't regularly taking part in many of the substances that were responsible for the stains on my teeth, I should at least enjoy the visual benefits of that decision, too. (Also, I had some money to burn in the Health Savings Account.)

First, they gave me a movie and headphones and propped my neck with a heated violet scented u-shaped pillow. (My dentist rocks!)

Then they went through a fairly intense process to isolate all of the soft tissue in my mouth and face from the bleaching gel and the light.

Once the final prep was done, they applied the bleaching gel and set the light, but I was only able to withstand a single 15-minute session. By the end of the session, my teeth nerves were firing off regular zings of short but intense pain. Eventually, the increasing frequency caused my hands to start sweating in fear, and I decided to ring the little bell they'd left by my side "in case you feel anything."

When I'd originally asked what I might feel, they indicated that it was unlikely I'd feel anything until the 3rd light session, but that sometimes people experienced "tingling". Hmmm... tingling? No. I'd say it was more like the intermittent nerve zap you get when you start to realize you're going to need a root canal. (I would know, I've had several.)

Generally, I have a ridiculous pain tolerance, but I think mouth pain may be the exception.

So, I bailed after one 15-minute session under the light. My dentist is awesome and offered to let me come back for 2 more separate 15-minute sessions to get the full benefit of the treatment. She explained that while most people can handle 3 or 4 15-minute sessions in one visit, some people (like me, apparently) just have very sensitive teeth and it's not possible to do it all at once.

I came home and did some more research (probably should have done this beforehand, right?) and it would appear I'm not alone in my side effects. In fact, some folks have serious pain for 48 hours after the procedure and many dentists recommend (i) using ACT and Sensodyne for 7 - 14 days leading up to the light treatment; and (ii) taking tylenol or ibuprofen before and after the treatment.

The good news is my teeth are noticeably whiter, and, the nerve zings have been decreasing in frequency ever since I left the office. I think the last one was an hour ago. So, now that I'm more informed, I'm likely do the ACT/Sensodyne dance and head back in for another 15-minute torture session in 2 weeks.

September 17, 2012

Fairbanks Equinox Marathon Race Report

As predicted, it was my slowest marathon to date.

But, it was my favorite marathon on many other axes. Running a marathon with friends for the fun shared experience is very different than racing. There was much more conversation, laughter, and fun on this one than my last push to break my PR. Because we had no time goal, I took my phone. I was able to take great pictures and record beautiful views and funny moments during the marathon with Arvay & G.

In many ways, the Equinox didn't feel like a race. The start was about 0.5 miles up one of the steepest hills of the course, and at the top, there was a gate that acted as a bottleneck. So most people just walked the start:

Most of the race was on trails: cross country ski trails owned by UAF, single track mountain bike trails with banked corners through the hills, trails along power line cuts and hiking trails that paralleled the main roads.

One interesting difference between Fairbanks and the bay area is that the tree roots are much more close to the surface (likely due to permafrost) so running the trails is a more demanding exercise in foot placement than I've ever experienced.  Think of it as more of an obstacle course than a race.  Plus, there was a beer refreshment station around mile 2.  G took advantage of the moment and actually opened a PBR and took a swig.

Many of the hills were so steep that at points it seemed everyone had no choice but to walk. For example, when you finally start to descend Ester Dome, you hit "the chute"and unless you are a billy goat, you walk down slowly in little prancing steps as you descend over 1,000 feet of broken rocks in less than a mile.

Yes, the elevation profile of this marathon is insane.  But if you treat it as a hike-run, it's easily doable, and you are rewarded with gorgeous views (and cookies, cheese, and smoked salmon at the aid stations!):

We were on track for approximately a 5h30 hour finish at mile 20.  This was after a reasonable effort of running everything that was easy to run and walking the steep hills.  Unfortunately, one member of our group got hurt, so we ended up walking the last 10K so that we could finish together.  The tales from the volunteers at the top of Ester Dome who'd seen people blow out ankles and knees were more than enough to convince me that this is one of those situations where discretion is the better part of valor.

In short, I highly recommend this race for its views, the friendly small Alaskan town experience, the awesome organization, and a great long run/hike (just don't try to go fast).

September 11, 2012

You Take Yourself Too Seriously

If your auto-response looks something (nay anything) like the following.

(Parentheticals are all mine).
Unfortunately (for you, the person responding to my email asking you to do something for me), I only see about half of the 400-600 emails I get every day. (600! Seriously! I get that many emails a day! Can you imagine? I AM SO IMPORTANT!)

If I have not replied to you within 48 hours (I know you'll be counting), chances are that your email is lost in my inbox (but what an honor, really, to be lost in the awesomeness that is my mailbox).

The best way to reach me is to call or text me at: +1 650 867-5309 (Don't you love that song? And also, did you think I was going to respond?  Hah!  It'll just go to voicemail or auto-text-responder.  Duh!)

If you sent an email with attachments (because I, like you, care about documents.  No seriously.  I have heard that documents are important.  And if you're a laywer or a business person I've asked to prepare documents because I actually want to formally record the business deal I think I've got, I do think the docs are important. Or, I should. I mean, *obviously*, they're not important enough to result in me managing my email or even *gasp* hiring someone to do that for me. But I want you to know I think attachments are important. Sort of. Because if they are, then you can manage my email todo list for me. See? Aren't I smart?), to be sure I see it (because, I'm sure you are dying to be sure that I do see your work and respond to it.  Do you know how many people *never* even get a response from me?), text me your name and the date you sent the email.

*Name omitted
Gag me with a spoon.

September 9, 2012

My Slowest Marathon To Date

I am excited about the 50th Annual Fairbanks Equinox Marathon.

Today, I did my last long run, a hard 12.38 up and down the minimal hills that my hometown can offer at an average pace of 10:20.  Nothing to win medals for sure, but given that it included walk breaks to eat fuel, it's been a long time since I'd done something that demanding outside of a race with just me and my watch.  I felt good, and ready to meet the minimal joint goals I share with Arvay.

Also, I am not alone.  They're proudly predicting a total number of runners (including relayers, ultras(!), and marathoners) of over 1,000 for the first time ever. They've even had to move a relay exchange to accommodate the large numbers.

While I'm excited, I've also been very concerned about my lack of preparation.  But, conveniently, I am an obsessive data collector.  So I recently entered this marathon's training data in the table that contains the other 6, and I was pleased to learn two things:

1.  My weekly average miles for 18 weeks is 23.3 miles.  Nothing close to the 40.3 I averaged for the last year's CIM.  But, (happily!) not much less, than the 24.7 miles per week I averaged for the San Francisco Full Marathon in 2008 with E2.

2.  For the total of each week's long run mileage, I'm actually not in last place for this one.  For Coeur d'Alene, I totaled 210.2 of long runs over 18 weeks.  For this race, I've got 211.85 miles.  Of course, for CDA, I also totaled about 140 more miles over the 18 weeks than what I've put in here, overall, but really, that number makes me feel comfortable.  That race was entirely at altitude with lots of ups and downs like the ones I'll find at the top of this race.  I'm actually less under-prepared than I thought...

So, yeah.  Wish me (and all my fellow Fairbanks Equinox Marathoners) good luck!  (Also, note that I fully expect this to be my slowest marathon by a *very* *very* long shot!). 

September 8, 2012

Southern Slowness

We went to Atlanta and North Georgia for a relaxing labor day holiday.  It took a few days, but the languid southern way eventually wormed its way into my soul.

The first evening, we went to dinner with Sarah at the institution that is the The Colonnade.

E's extended family lives in the South, and occasionally we'll have one or two southern dishes in a meal, or Barbeque for lunch, but very rarely do we indulge in a full traditional southern meal.  In fact, much to Sarah's surprise, neither E nor I had ever been to this famous and historic landmark.

I struggled for quite some time with the menu while stuffing delicious cornbread and butter rolls into my mouth.  So many choices. 

I finally settled on the fried oyster plate and their signature salad and almost clapped my hands with delight to learn I could have a side order of my choice as well.  Hello macaroni and cheese!

Sarah ordered the fried shrimp plate with the signature salad, and lima beans. and E ordered the "Vegetable plate" which allows you to combine any 4 sides of your choice into a meal.  He opted for chili ("full of meat" he was in formed), fried okra, mac and cheese, and in a rare display of restraint, avoided additional fried awesomeness in favor of a salad.

At the high point of the meal, our table was an impressively brown and yellow display of southern awesomeness.

Suffice it to say, we were incapacitated after the meal and went straight to bed.  It was a good introduction to the next few days with absolutely nothing on the agenda.

After driving to the lake, we slept at least 9 hours a day (3 naps in the hammock for me).  When I finally woke each morning, I'd sip on some coffee, head out for a run and then jump in the lake to cool off.  We lazed around on the screen porch and boat dock while reading and watching the babies and chatting with one another between the rainstorms.  We took a pontoon boat ride around the lake to enjoy the sunset.  And, of course, we ate and drank too much.

I came home more refreshed and relaxed than I'd been in months.