Staycation

Staycations are wonderful! I have no idea why on earth I never tried this before - one week off from work with absolutely no plans. I’m sure I’ve had weeks off before without major traveling, but there’s always something - a party, wedding, day trip, housework. Not this time though. Just plain ol’ relaxing for this stay-at-home vacation.

I’ve been on a bit of a domestic kick this week. Some things I’ve done:

  • Juicing - made fresh vegetable & fruit juices

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  • Almond milk - made almond milk from scratch and it was good! I actually ate cereal so I could have something to use it on. I saved the almond meal to use in future cookies. (recipe suggestions welcome)

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  • Hummus - worked on a hummus recipe that I originally found here. I’ve adapted it a little (roasted the garlic, used less olive oil) and added different things for flavor. My last batch had chipolte peppers and it was awesome!
  • Avocado pesto pasta - used this recipe to make a fun vegan pasta dish.

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Actually, that last one I made the week before, but it was such a fun and easy meal that I might make it again tomorrow, making it relevant to my staycation post. (smile)

I’ve also re-acquainted myself with running. I went on a couple of 4-mile runs and, although I took lots of walk breaks, they felt like strong runs. I had lots of fun “exploring” my new neighborhood - the outer Richmond. Sure, I’ve run a gazillion times in Golden Gate Park, but never with the park as part of my backyard. It made it all feel like new.

I’m excited to start training for the Berkeley Half Marathon in November. A recently converted twitter-to-IRL-friend, Meg, has taken on the lofty task of keeping me motivated through this training cycle. She’s created a schedule (which honestly has more miles than I intend on running, but shhhhh, don’t tell) and we’re going to encourage each other through twitter/email/instagram.

Tomorrow is Day 1 of training. Happy Labor Day!

"You can get up on some sunny day and run./ Run 100 miles just for fun, now." <3 Patty Griffin!

A little late posting the photo from the 6-hour DSE race, but I didn&#8217;t want to miss the opportunity to share a nice moment. Love these guys.

A little late posting the photo from the 6-hour DSE race, but I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to share a nice moment. Love these guys.

I’ll wait for you

though time may pass,

my memory sustains.

 

When once what was

becomes no more,

my love for you remains.

 

An endless sea

that ebbs and flows.

my heart, I can’t contain

 

yet beating still

with no reprieve,

my life goes on the same. 

Sometimes it’s easier to write by putting pen to paper. Perhaps that dates me, but it’s true. I used to write my college essays by hand and wouldn’t type them until I was on the final draft.

There’s something intimidating about posting to a blog. 

It has to be perfect. Spell checked. It has to flow from one thought seamlessly into the next. It has to have a point. And that point has to be good.

It’s the same problem I have with digital cameras, really. There’s no such thing as a “bad picture” anymore because people just delete them. You have as many “do-overs” as your camera has available space on its memory card. So there’s pressure to get it right. What if the most beautiful photo is blurry and off-center?

What if the most provocative thought is spontaneous and unedited?

My Year, So Far

I’ve heard from a couple of people who have reminded me that I have a blog. Which is silly, because of course I know I have a blog. I simply haven’t written in awhile. But not to fret! I will just break out my handy, dandy calendar where I log all of my running miles and I will regale you with stories from the road, and the trails, and the races, and the…oh wait…what’s that? It’s the end of May and I HAVE ONLY RUN 128 MILES ALL YEAR?!

Yeah. That.

I honest-to-god didn’t realize I was being this much of a bum. I knew that January and February were miserable — in those months, I ran 16 and 12 miles, respectively — but I could have sworn that something happened in March? …or was it April? The months of nothingness all kind of blend together. They’re smushy. Like my tummy. (hehe)

At the end of February, I wrote a post about my running blues. I was just down in the dumps, man. I felt awful for no reason. And for as upbeat and hopeful as I sounded at the end of that post, I certainly lacked enthusiasm when it came to the follow-through. My promise to “get out there and run” became my own little guilt trip as I continued to sit on my ass and do nothing.  

I mentioned I was seeing a therapist. So…that was short-lived. I only went a few times because, for me, the talking wasn’t getting me anywhere. Or at least talking to that therapist wasn’t getting me anywhere and it’s not a cheap ride, so if I’m going nowhere, I’ll pass. Thanks anyway.

I am still taking the anti-depressants though, and I implemented a few of the therapist’s suggestions (eat better, cut back on the booze, get out of bed on the weekends). That was all solid advice. Those things paired with the lighter, longer days of spring have helped me tremendously.

I also have great friends who told me that I deserved a break. Everyone needs a little time off now and then, and I had a big fall full of racing, so no big deal if I wasn’t out there running - I’d make it back in no time! Even (and especially) my friend Sam was understanding. Sam, whom I convinced to sign up for his first full marathon. Sam, with whom I promised to run said marathon. And it’s the same Sam I completely bailed on during training for said marathon. I was so bummed about my own running affairs that I barely asked him about his (sad faces all around).

But Sam is awesome and his stubbornness never ceases to amaze me. He found his way through training, mostly on his own and through sickness, and he totally kicked the marathon’s ass. Thankfully, I was able to run some of it with him (I jumped in at the halfway point and ran him home) but I still felt crappy that I hadn’t the motivation to train properly and be there every mile; he didn’t need me, but I would have liked to have been there every mile. 

My point in bringing up Sam’s race isn’t really to discuss the race itself (you can read his account here) but more or less to say that participating in the race helped me feel like myself again. It felt comfortable being in the crowd of runners, waving and cheering back to the spectators on the curb, thanking the police officers and water stop volunteers along the way. I was beginning to think that the anti-depressants, which had succeeded in dulling my pain, had also muted my sense of joy and excitement for things I once found pleasurable. And that would be a waste. Really.

So, while things aren’t completely back on track at this point, I can see up around the bend, and it looks good. I have the San Francisco Marathon (half) in a couple of weeks, and then I’m going to start seriously training for another fall packed with races: Twin Cities in October, my fourth consecutive Richmond in November, and then a December marathon (any ideas?). I can’t wait to get started.    

Tonight I ran along the wharf after work, 
It was only my second run outside since the CIM &#8212; 4 months have passed and I&#8217;ve only had two runs outside? No fucking wonder I was depressed! I&#8217;m surprised I managed to get out of bed at all.
Thank god for warning signs and spring.

Tonight I ran along the wharf after work, 

It was only my second run outside since the CIM — 4 months have passed and I’ve only had two runs outside? No fucking wonder I was depressed! I’m surprised I managed to get out of bed at all.

Thank god for warning signs and spring.

Today is my mom&#8217;s birthday. She would have been 51 years old.
As a teenager, she had her own dark room in the basement where she played around with photography.  All the black and white photos I have of her and our family were ones that she developed herself. This one is my favorite.
I wonder what her life might have been had she pursued this passion. I&#8217;m sure I&#8217;m biased, but I think she had some talent.

Today is my mom’s birthday. She would have been 51 years old.

As a teenager, she had her own dark room in the basement where she played around with photography.  All the black and white photos I have of her and our family were ones that she developed herself. This one is my favorite.

I wonder what her life might have been had she pursued this passion. I’m sure I’m biased, but I think she had some talent.

My Running Blues

I ran ten miles today! Let me repeat – I got off my lazy ass and ran for ten consecutive miles today. And even more exciting was the fact that I want to.

From Friday night to Sunday morning, I got 26 hours of sleep. That’s more than a little bit. I wasn’t sick or recovering from a hard week of training. I just didn’t want to get out of bed and, so, sleeping seemed like the most logical thing to do.

It’s hard to talk about depression sometimes because it seems so lame. So ordinary. Something that affects bored housewives. Something that I should be, at the very least, adjusted to by now. I’m no stranger to it after all, and running has been my therapy for the last three years at least.

But recently, I felt myself backsliding. The running wasn’t enough for me to keep my head above water, so I sought professional help. I met up with my doctor and got a prescription for anti-depressants and a reference for a therapist. I’m no stranger to this either – having taken several different anti-depressants and having visited a few shrinks in my day. But that was all prior to finding my love of distance running, which seemed to be the cure for my blues.

It was distance running that gave me self-confidence. It was distance running that gave me a healthy view of food and weight. It was distance running (and running clubs, specifically) that helped me to meet so many wonderful friends without whom I’d surely feel lost.

I’m not going to bore you with the details. I know that depression is familiar to more of us than we’d like to admit, but what struck me as weird, and what compelled me to write about it right now, is this came out of nowhere. I haven’t had anything particularly bad happen lately. I am relatively happy with my friends, and my family, and my job.  I just ran the marathon of my life (CIM - which I still plan to write about someday) and I finished that race feeling so hopeful for more great races to come.

I know that running and racing aren’t what life’s all about, but I have made it a large part of my life and I feel like my happiness depends on it.  Just something quirky about me, I guess. 

The other day, I posted to twitter and Facebook that “Several times I’ve been told by a shrink that I’m insightful. I think I’ll have a winner when I find one who tells me I’m full of shit.” Well, I had a FB friend respond “Let me tell you, you are full of shit. Now get out there and RUN!”

I loved that response. And I’m listening.

Richmond Marathon 2012

In keeping with my theme of extreme tardiness, I’m writing about the Richmond Marathon 4 weeks after I ran it. 

November 10, 2012 I ran my third Richmond Marathon, and it was just as fantastic as the last two! Slower than my second one, faster than my first, and the hottest one by far even though I’m pretty sure the temperature didn’t exceed 65. I must’ve been having hot flashes or something because I was uncomfortable from the start and, by the end, I was near fainting. I double fisted at the water stops. Anyway, this marathon is special to me because Richmond is my old home. It’s where I learned to run. It’s where I made my first running friends — my new family away family. Going back to Richmond is more about reconnecting and having fun than it is about running a marathon. The running is just icing on the cake. :)

So, this race was 5 weeks after my Portland marathon (finish time 4:25). I trained for two weeks post-Portland and then tapered for three weeks. The knee that was bothering me behaved itself and I’d say that everything else went smoothly - I ran well, I drank moderately, and I ate a reasonable diet (I lost 9lbs between Portland and Richmond!). All signs pointed to a good marathon.

One thing that I do for all of my marathons (though I didn’t mention it in my post for Portland) is ask friends/family to sign up for miles that I dedicate to them. I started this with the idea that thinking about loved ones during my race would make the miles easier to bear. I also thought that it would help my friends feel involved, when often they can’t actually travel to races to root me on. So many people support, encourage, and inspire me and this is my way of acknowledging them.

Race Splits:

  • 1 - Me {9:46} - I always run the first mile for myself.
  • 2 - Karen {9:32} - My marathon twin! She made me do my first marathon and I’ll love her forever for that!
  • 3 - Amy {10:07} - My dear sister whom I love with all my heart.
  • 4 - Sabrina {9:35} - President of the running club that I miss so much - RRRC!
Here are some gorgeous shots of the course from Jesse Peters of Backlight Photography (he’s a local, Richmond photographer who captures many of the city’s races).

Backlight: Marathon 2012 &emdash;

Backlight: Marathon 2012 &emdash;

Backlight: Marathon 2012 &emdash;

  • 5 - Cori {10:05} - Talk about inspiration, Cori has overcome so much and I can’t wait until we can compete in the same race. She’s going to rock the wheelchair division!
  • 6 - Maggie {9:37} - I wish I was in Colorado to train with her - she’s the best!
  • 7 - Kristen {9:59} - My friend & co-worker who recently ran her first half marathon! 
  • 8 - Heather {9:45} - Fellow SFRRC runner preparing to kill CIM (her 1st marathon!)
  • 9 - Laura {9:51} - One day…she WILL run a race with me! (I’ve been trying to bribe her for years.)
  • 10 - Maria {9:45} - Running downhill (yay!) towards River Road and the band was playing COUNTRY ROADS! it’s like they knew I was WV born & raised.
Backlight: Marathon 2012 &emdash;

Backlight: Marathon 2012 &emdash;

  • 11 - Sarah {9:40} - Shiney Pants! I am so excited that you’ve started distance running. We need to do a half marathon soon!
  • 12 - Alice {10:39} - This was my slowest mile and also where I took my first Gu. At this point, I don’t have high hopes for the race.
  • 13 - Kristy {9:55} - I finish this mile and hit the half marathon time of 2:09:22 (although the clock read later) but I’m feeling beat. I’m so inspired though by the super fast half you just ran!
  • 14 - Meena {9:51} - I saw a sign that said “This race is for the kid who was picked last in gym class” my favorite sign of the marathon.
  • 15 - Paul {9:40} - this mile was for the nicest, most encouraging guy in running (next to Bart Yasso).

(That’s me - taken by my friend Anne around mile 15)

Backlight: Marathon 2012 &emdash;

  • 16 - Danny {9:19} - Best. Roomy. Ever. I can’t even explain how much I love this guy.
  • 17 - Karin {10:35} - Took my second Gu and started running with a stranger, Amanda. She and I were both stuggling & I feel like Karin sent her to keep me company. :)
  • 18 - Sarah Allen {9:57} - This is my favorite mile because as soon as it starts, there are only single digits left. I yell to the other runners “ONLY 9 MORE MILES!”
  • 19 - Rose {10:01} - I know that secretlyRose wants to be a runner. Can’t wait for you to join me out here!
  • 20 - Rob - {9:47} - Rob Monolo! I’m still mad about how much wine you made me drink at the carb-loading dinner!

Backlight: Marathon 2012 &emdash;

Backlight: Marathon 2012 &emdash;

  • 21 - Olivia {10:11} - Olivia, I hope you’re still running! So glad you wanted to  ”join me” in my race. Also, I lost the Amanda girl I was running with because she needed a potty stop: I did not.
  • 22 - Andrea {9:44} - I see a “Go, Renee, go” sign. It’s not for me, but I smile anyway.
  • 23 - Christy {9:33} - Thinking about us running NYC next year (assuming I get picked) and hoping we have the best time of our running lives!
  • 24 - Chris {9:30} - I know it’s time to give it all I’ve got. I’m tired and hot and I hate everyone, but I also know the end is near.
  • 25 - Sam {9:29} - Sam, Sam, Sam. I’ve thought of you so many times because I knew once I got to your mile, I’d be home free. I’m hot as shit and I want the race to be over very badly.
  • 26 - Mom & Dad {8:43} - I usually run this mile in my mom’s memory, but I also added my dad this time. I owe them both so much and, although my dad is still here, he’s not HERE and I miss him more than I realize sometimes. I ran this mile as hard as I possibly could.
  • 0.27 - {2:03} - ran the last little bit at a 7:33 pace, all down hill, smiling as much as I could, and passing people as my quads are screaming.

Backlight: Marathon 2012 &emdash;

Backlight: Marathon 2012 &emdash;

Here is a video clip of me at the finish line. (I’m in all black with a bandanna and sunglasses coming down the left side.)

My overall finish time was 4:16:28 — very close to my personal best (4:15:06) and nearly 10 minutes faster than Portland so I’m thrilled! Bart Yasso was at the finish line (which was so awesome!) and he gave me a huge congratulatory hug! I am most excited that I have wonderful friends nearby to celebrate the marathon victory.

Backlight: Marathon 2012 &emdash;

This marathon holds such a special place in my heart. I hope that Jesse Peters’ pictures (all but one of the pics in this post) help to show the beauty of this course. Support is great. Spectators are great. And the running community of Richmond is the best one I’ve known.

To keep the streak alive, I registered for 2013 as soon as I got back to my hotel room.  (smile)