Monday, December 31, 2007

Catching Up and Current State

Ah, Christmas in So Cal :)

Sitting here midday in pajamas, life seems to be good. I'm really enjoying this time off from school (though a week from today I'll be in my new placement with no forseeable breaks until I graduate in July) and have taken up crocheting (though I still suck). However, one thing is missing from this break in a very big way- running.
As I mentioned briefly, I did finally see a doctor before the holiday, but with all the good stuff going on, I didn't really want to go into it, as I am not really any more knowledgable than I was before. According to the doctor, the problem is my sciatic nerve. That's what's making the tingling in my foot and why it my whole leg hurts, and also why any physical activity bothers it (swimming, unfortunately, is still aggravating for this, so doesn't get to be the miracle cross training workout that it usually is with injuries). Essentially, I need physical therapy but my insurance is such that if I have to get a new primary care physician up in Santa Cruz, and have him tell my I need physical therapy and make me an appointment, which probably will take a while. Since I've been home I've been running 3 or so miles at a time, and my leg is always in varying stages of bothering me. I just don't know what to do. I don't know if running makes it worse, but resting doesn't seem to be making it better, so I feel like I should just run some. I've been trying heat, icing, stretching, with limited success.

Christmas morning, about to open my foam roller while my sister looks at the package with leery eyes. My new tool to combat my leg sucking

I'm in a bind between trying to be optimisitic (and asking Santa for an entry to American River in April) and being smart, i.e. taking time off. I had so many plans for this year (namely Miwok 100k and possibly my first 100 next fall) but I think I need to back off. The biggest thing I'm trying to remember is that if I play it right, I have the rest of my life to do all these ultras. I have this fear that if I don't keep running them like I was last fall, that I'll lose the ability to do so. I've really relished this identity as a runner, and it's been so odd to not really feel that as much these last few months. I'd forgotten how much I depended on running to keep my moods constant and happy, and to keep me eating healthy. Things seem a lot harder without that. The best option right now is to pay out of pocket to see someone when I get back to school at least to get an idea of what I should be doing. Right now I'm just haphazardly trying to make things better myself, with no success. But, it is what it is, and I have the rest of my life to run. Hopefully soon I'll have an action plan to get better.

__end of negativity___

That said, I did go on a wonderful 'run' with my dad yesterday (yes the leg hurt, but...yeah...runs can still be great!). His ITB is being dumb so we're both in the low mileage little speed boat. He had discovered a short trail loop behind the fields where I used to play soccer that he had done once before, so we decided to go do that. It was beautiful! In those two miles, we had two stream crossings. The first we both made over on rocks, but the second was a bit trickier. After rearranging a stone, my dad made it across with some difficulty. Seeing as how I'm a good 7 or so inches shorter than him, my legs are not nearly as long, so taking his same path could be difficult. Added to that, I don't think I have the best sense of balance. Thinking that falling off a rock into the river and perhaps twisting something would be worse, I just stepped back and ran through :) It was great! We added a little extra spur to our loop to go to a great point to lookout over the creek below, where we also saw a murder of crows congregating in a tree (did you know a group of crows is called a murder? pretty spooky :D). It was beautiful and lovely to be outside on trails again! The temperatures were perfect and I kept thinking it was a summer evening and not a winter one. Southern California, for all the things that I think less than fondly of, have great winters :)

In the non-running realm of life (which seems to be increasingly documented on here) life has been great.

Ed came down the day after christmas, and we had fun taking some day trips around the area. We went to Balboa Park in San Diego, where the Dead Sea Scrolls are being shown at the natural history museum. This is one of the first showings of them outside of Israel, so it seemed like a great opportunity. It was amazing to see parts of the bible (or writings that were related to bible writings but were chosen to not go into the bible). Thousands of years old writings of Leviticus, Psalms, the Book of Enoch (bet that one doesn't seem familiar!) and others. As a history lover, it was just great. We also saw a movie on the waters of Baja California, and saw lots of cool skeletons of animals. Balboa park in itself is a beautiful and expansive place,
and walking around was wonderful.
We also visited the Botanical Gardens while we were there, which I enjoyed, especially since I (of course) had my camera :)

His last day, we went up to UCLA (his Alma Mater) so that he could show me around his favorite spots and then, that afternoon see a UCLA basketball game with my family. UCLA has a gorgeous campus, and it was fun to see it again. It was a beautiful, if stightly chilly, day.

New Years celebrations are looking to be wonderful, with the food emphasis that our family always has around the holidays. Tonight we're going out to a nice dinner and then a movie (I know, I'm such a crazy partier ;) ). Tomorrow we'll be having homemade waffles with yummy toppings and bacon. Appetizers will be two kinds of pate, olives, crackers, cheeses, and champagne. And dinner will be lobster (my first ever!) with white rice and a really good salad. For dessert I'll be making white chocolate gelato (I got an ice cream maker and a Williams and Sonoma recipe book for christmas)
All in all, a great way to ring in the new year.
Hope everyone has a great celebration!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas in California :)

Some catch up, here are photos from my run in Santa Cruz a few weeks back :)

It's about 70 here in sunny so cal, with beautiful weather! I went for a run for the first time with my mom a few nights ago, which was a blast! After big basin, at which she hiked the 10k, she started adding a bit of running to her walking. Before we started, she told me "now, I don't run it all, I walk the uphills, run some of the flats, and definitely run the downhills"....hmm....sounds like a potential ultra runner to me ;). We did a 3.1 mile loop very comfortably, and it was a blast! My sister's fiance also came along, which made it fun :)

The awesome runners all dressed up for dinner :) Anyone notice my hair? I chopped off about 5 inches :D

On a separate note, thanks to Sarah for helping me find my running log!!!!!!!!! I am so incredibly thankful :D

I now know that:

In 2004, I ran 42.8 miles (haha...yep! well, I don't think I recorded much of the year either. I have six weeks recorded where I ran from November 1st through December 20th, so I don't feel too horrible about that. Didn't run that much before that though, I don't think!)

In 2005, I ran 289 miles and had just begun training for my first marathon the last week of December!

In 2006 I ran 1007 miles! What a jump :) I started becoming an actual runner that year!

In 2007 I've run 1429 miles (so far!) I wanted to break 1500, but with the leg, that didn't happen. Next year it will more than happen for me though!

Now, onto Christmas eve festivities :) Have a great holiday for those celebrating it, and a great day for all!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Glancing through the Year!

Taking a lead from others, I thought it'd be fun to do a look back through this year, since so much has happened! It's hard to believe that last year encompassed so much :) Of course, since I'm camera happy, this glance back will occur with pictures!
After ringing in the new year with my sister and parents...

In January:

I ran my second marathon ever, and broke 5 hours! (4:56?)

In February: I ran my first trail race (Woodside 17k)

In March:
I ran my longest on trails, 30k (At Pirates Cove) and decided I could do a 50k that summer

I started this blog :D
In April:
(I started carrying a camera on runs, and) I ran the Mount Diablo trail run, my hardest race to date, in 9 hours and 10 minutes

In May: I ran on Mt Tam for the first time with Mike Palmer,

I graduated (with honors thanks to my lovely thesis on The Secret Garden and Wuthering Heights) from UC Berkeley after an amazing four years,

moved out of Berkeley, and back to the OC until Santa Cruz started,

I ran with OCTR for the first time and did my first run at altitude up to the top of Mt Baldy

In June:

I ran my third road marathon, a 4:23 marathon at San Diego RNR

I did the most grueling non-race of my life when we ran out of water in 90+ temps on Saddleback Mountain

In July:

I moved to Santa Cruz, my home for (at least) the next year,

I ran my first 50k at Tahoe Rim Trail, in 9:05,

I started my graduate program at UCSC

In August:

I did my first back to back long runs, with an 18 miler followed by a 20 miler (but also broke my camera :( )

I did my second 50k, the PC planned by Mike Palmer in 7:46 in the Berkeley Hills (and wrote an article about it that got published!) and carried no camera! I was a lot faster :)

I started student teaching in a first grade class (on campus above when I showed my parents around my school)

In September:

I did my third 50k at Big Basin in 7:41 an had an amazing time,

I turned 22!

I followed that up by running the Mount Diabo Marathon the following weekend, which kicked my butt, but gave me awesome mental prep, and constituted the hardest back to back weekends I've ever done.

(I also met Ed :) )

In October:

I ran my first 50 miler at Dick Collins in 11:46 and had the most amazing time on earth!

I hurt my calf enough from the race to take a rest from serious running :(

In November:

I ran the Turkey Trot 10k and 5k back to back and had a wonderful time, but didn't do too much running besides that

In December:

I ended my first student teaching placement and just about broke my heart leaving those kids

I met my new cooperating teacher and saw my new school and new class of fourth graders

I made it through 2/5 of my Graduate Program

I finally sucked it up and saw a doctor and am going to start physical therapy so that I can meet all my goals for the next year :D

So that's that!

The grand total:

Number of Total Marathons: 3 (2 road and one trail, officially)

Number of 50ks: 3

Number of 50 milers: 1

Number of sub marathon races: 6 (17k, 20k, 30k, 1/2 marathon, 10k, and 5k)

Mileage clocked: 1434 so far :) not going to break 1500, but that's okay. I'm already almost 400 miles beyond what I did last year, so I'm happy with that!

I'm still planning on getting some running in this last week of the year, but I'm already excited about what's next!

Thanks for looking back with me :D

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Setting Sun over Santa Cruz

Well, my first quarter is ending, as is my first five months living in Santa Cruz. It's hard to believe that my program is almost half over, and that I'm so much closer to new goals (like getting a real job and living on my own!). Having some time to just relax in Santa Cruz after finishing the quarter has been wonderful, if far too short. I leave tomorrow afternoon to head home for the holidays, with an overnight stop to visit my sister in Bakersfield.

Against any sort of fairness or logic, I'm down with another cold (for those keeping count, this is cold #3 in about five weeks). Hopefully a three week respite from little children will give my immune system a chance to recover! I'll be doing some catch up posting while I'm home with some of the photos and run recaps over the last few weeks. I had my first trail run almost since firetrails this weekend up in Berkeley and it was wonderful, though reminded me that I haven't done hills in a while. Ouch! I talked to a guy at the run about my leg, and he said it sounds like I have a dislocating Patella, which is common and easily fixed with PT, so that's good news (I know, he isn't a doctor, but it's nice to hear that this isn't completely uncommon). Hopefully the doctor thursday will support this, give me a insurance approved recommendation, and I can be on my way. Sign ups for Miwok 100k are coming up, and I'm so in. I'm assuming I'll be fine :D.

Anyways, time for some last minute shopping and packing, and then cracking open a bottle of bubbly to celebrate the end of the quarter (and the end of my stint on this housesitting gig :( ). Then onwards to SoCal for some hopefully warm weather winter :D

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Living the Good Life

Right now I'm sitting in a custom designed, multi-million dollar house with its own lap pool, spa, gorgeous wordwork everywhere, and beautiful artwork. Ed is housesitting for his Phd advisor and I got to tag along. This is going to be like a mini vacation for us, as we'll be staying here together until I leave for winter break. I'll be taking lots of pictures in the morning when its sunny out, as apparently there are beautiful panoramic views of the bay from the deck :)

Classes have ended, all my papers are turned in, and I have just two more days with my little first graders. Another quarter is completely finished, finally! It looks like next quarter I'll be in a fourth grade classroom , which I'm looking forward to.

On the running side of things, I did 5 miles thursday, saturday, and yesterday (tuesday) which I was happy about. My leg is still being weird, but I finally made myself an appointment at the doctors :D. It's just a normal doctor, so I don't think they'll really be able to help that much, but hopefully they can recommend me to a sports doc (and then my insurance will cover it too :) ) Hopefully I'll finally get this fixed! I'm going to try for another 5 tomorrow as well.

It's been beautiful (but cold!!) here in Santa Cruz, and I took some great photos after my run on thursday, which I'll post as soon as I can :)

Hope everyone is having a lovely week!

Friday, December 07, 2007

And The Winners Are....

... abbie, rob, and gandaman who got three on the first try :)

Andy rescinded his fourth slug sighting, so three is the correct answer! The winners will get...a santa cruz themed prize (small but good) if they want to email me their address to

Bet more of you wished you played now, don't you ;)

Its glorious friday, and I've finished my paper, so I just have one last case study to complete until I'm all done with course work. My dad will be in town monday night and will be taking ed and me out to celebrate. My last day with my kids is a week from today. I think I might cry when I have to leave them!

On an awesome running note, I'm officially pacing my friend Mike Palmer for the last 38 miles of Western States!!! I'm so excited :D. Of course with next to no running lately, it seems far off, but I'll get back hopefully soon. I think I am actually going to try to go see a doctor about my foot/let after all(as people advised), since its still doing that tingly numbish thing...probably a pinched nerve or something, but it's weird. And it's not just going away on its own. In case you can't tell, I'm not really a going to doctors kind of person, but its been a long time since my leg's felt normal (can you believe dick collins was almost 2 months ago?) and I want to get back to normal. I miss my long runs (and so does my waistline for that matter :P).

I'll do some research this weekend, but I might just see a doctor if I can over winter break when I'm down in SoCal.

So, it'll be a low key weekend, before the last week push to winter break!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Writing Break :)

Thought I'd write a post to take a break from my essay, which is going really well so far. Since I woke up at 8, I've written almost 8 pages (as well as had breakfast and lunch, showered, and read a little john muir :) ). I'm a bit worried that the paper is going to turn out too idealistic, as we're talking about our goals and plans for teaching literacy in our future classrooms. Working on this paper is really making me eager to get my own classroom. Yesterday I worked with the literacy groups, and it was amazing to see how far they've already progressed. To imagine that someday in the not too distant future they'll be reading chapter books is amazing! And soon books won't be objective texts with limited meanings. They will be deeply personal works that draw upon meanings individual to every reader. My favorite quote that I've come across so far in this class is by the wonderful John Steinbeck:

“A man who tells secrets or stories must think of who is hearing or reading them, for a story has as many versions as it has readers. Everyone takes what he wants or can from it and thus changes it to his measure… A story must have some points of contact with the reader to make him feel at home in it. Only then can he accept its wonders”(John Steinbeck, in Keene and Zimmerman, 71).

That's what I want my students to learn!

(I'd apologize for all this teaching talk, but my blog is called running towards teaching afterall :D You'll be returned to your regularly scheduled running talks in very short order!)


On the quiz results from yesterday, the verdict is still out. I personally saw three banana slugs out there, so I'm thinking those that said three are the winners. However, Andy saw four. And it's entirely possible that there's a slug in there I missed. So, if he can prove his "four slugs" claim, then he wins the prize (what that is, I'm still thinking ;) ) So, we shall see!

Monday, December 03, 2007

What's yellow, slow, and slimy all over?

After writing out my to-do list, I thought I'd post something a bit more fun. On Ed and my hike yesterday, we came upon this formidable beast:

Imagine our surprise, when we realized he wasn't alone! The challenge is this: name this frightening creature, and see how many of his brethren you can find in the photo below. There is more than one and less than 6. You should be able to enlarge it by clicking on it if you need some extra help :D

Busy Busy Days

Sorry I've been lax on the updating all! All will be better in just a few short weeks. I'm entering (or have already entered, I suppose) into finals here at school, and a mere week and a day separate me from coursework freedom (plus another 3 days of placement). I have huge math journals due today (which are thankfully done), a paper on a scaffolding math lesson due today (still working on that), a huge paper about literacy due thursday (that hasn't been looked at....), a case study for math due monday (again....haven't really done much of anything there) and some kind of presentation monday apparently that I know nothing about.

Only 8 more days of placement with my kiddies which just about breaks my heart. They are so wonderful. My teacher told them today that I'd only be there for two more weeks and there were lots of sad and surprised sounds around the room. I'm still figuring out what I can get/make for them to remember me by.

I'm cramming in a few last 'spanish lessons' with my awesome bilingual kids. Today I learned chiquito means little (which is where I'm guessing the chiquita banana name came from?), felize means happy (makes sense!) and triste means sad. Can't quite say sentences yet, but I do know some go phrases "Caminando!"<-walk "no hablar" <- no talking "terminando" <-finish(ed?) Hopefully I'll eventually get a working knowledge of spanish so that I can give the best to all my kids :)

On the running front I ran 4.8 thursday and 5 on friday which was wonderful :) The leg is still being weird, though wearing a knee brace seems to help some. On Sunday Ed and I went for a run/hike in a great park not too far from where we live. Its cold here now though! I could see my breath when we started. We tried running but since the knee brace is his and his knee needed it, I got no brace. My leg started feeling sore early on, so we ran maybe a mile in a half, and then just hiked the rest. It was a great escape from all the work. Hopefully this week I'll get out for a run 4 times, that's the goal!

Just gotta stay sane till the afternoon of the 14th when 2/5 of my time as a grad student will be officially over :)