Saturday, October 24, 2009

Trying it out

I feel somewhat hesitant to post about this, since it always seems that I get overly excited and then things don't work, but I finally have to reveal this secret.

I've been running.

It started about a week and a half ago, when I bored at the end of one of my walks (and it was getting dark). I decided to start jogging a little. I jogged maybe 7 or 8 minutes that day, but the seed was planted.

The next time I went out, Ed and I headed to the trail I talked about in the last post (my new favorite) and this time I ran a lot more! I felt so accomplished.

The next morning I went out with Ed and we walked/ran a half hour out and the I ran most of the way back. It was great. I'm sort of exclusively 'running'. I have run 3 times this week, each time over 3 miles. My foot is bothering me, but my leg doesn't seem worse, and I am feeling a lot stronger!

I ran about 3 1/2 miles with Ed today, and while it isn't easy, it does feel good. Afterwards, we went and registered for wedding presents (very fun :) ) and then went to pick up Ed's bib for his marathon. Dean Karnazes is hosting his race and was speaking there, and we timed it so Ed could hear him speak. I was wondering what I would think of him, since the last time I heard him, at the expo of my first marathon, I'd never heard of ultras and thought he was amazing. I had been somewhat disappointed then, but was wondering if he had gotten better at all this. Verdict: not really. I had heard all the stories the last time, and he ended on an odd and sexist note: reminding first time marathon running women to make sure someone met them at the 25 mile marker to give them some lipstick so they could preen before the finish line photo. Because of course a woman needs makeup after running 26 miles so she can be proud of her finishing photo.

Anyways, that nonwithstanding, its fun to be getting ready for Ed's first road marathon. The race goes within a mile our our house, so I'll be running down to the course to cheer on racers for a bit. Ed's okay with not having anyone to greet him at the finish, so this will be my chance to see him racing tomorrow. He's feeling pretty confident, despite having done an amazing job at Golden Hills Marathon two weeks ago. I hope that he has a great race.

And, I hope that I can keep up with this running :)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Urban Camping

I'm noticing that as I'm getting healthier and more active, I'm suddenly more eager to post on my blog. I think I'd been feeling somewhat embarrassed about my declining state of fitness and health, and so wasn't exactly looking forward to posting about my non - active life.

It's been another very nice week of healthy eating and being active. I walked three times during the week, and even ran a bit of the last one (partly because it was starting to get dark, but also because I just felt like it).

With the serious rain storm that came through on Tuesday, Ed and I joked that it would be fun to go camping - inside our apartment. We haven't been camping together in a very long time (maybe a year?). Added to that, my parents gave us this wonderful tent for Christmas, and I had yet to get to use it. After we voiced the idea, though, we thought it could actually be fun. We'd be warm and dry and we could still enjoy a hot meal of chili and the glow of fire (from candles, that is). So, we decided that we would be 'camping' Friday night. I found a healthy recipe for chili from Cooking Light and Ed got us all the necessary ingredients.

Friday night I cooked up a big batch of chili, using my brand new Dutch Oven that I got from my parents for my birthday. It worked wonderfully and in about an hour we had a steaming pot of chili, cornbread, and a giant tent sent up in our living room.

The set up of the tent was more difficult that we expected, essentially because, while our living room is relatively big, the tent is relatively, well, bigger. Luckily, with a few near misses as poles knocked at lights and glasses, we had our tent.

We found a 'nature sounds' channel on the tv and lit about 20 candles, and we were set for a romantic evening of 'camping'.

Of course, we learned that camping in the living room is a bit more fun in fantasy than reality. I woke up around 3 with a sore back and decided that with a very comfy bed less than 20 feet away, I was done with camping. Still, it was a fun experience :)

Since no camping trip would be complete without some hiking, we decided to drive up to the mountains about Saratoga today for a 4ish mile hike. Ed took me to what is now my favorite place to go, outside of Mt. Tam. In fact, this was very similar to Mt. Tam. Rolling grassy hills with views of redwood and even a faint view of the ocean in the distance. It was too beautiful not to run, so we ran a good amount of it, most of the downhills and flats and even a bit of the uphills. It was great fun, though I overdid it a bit, especially with the fact that I was in long sleeves and it was pretty hot. Even with feeling a bit subpar at the end, I love that my legs have that good soreness in them, and the views from the run are ones that will stay with me.

All in all, a great weekend to be 'camping'!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Walk it Out

In my last post, I ended by saying that I was using the Santa Cruz race to help jump start a switch to a healthier lifestyle and, I'm happy to say that I have really taken that to heart.

I have to be honest that I'm still finding running a bit difficult to fit in. My leg always seems a bit sore and I feel hesitant to do it that often. However, I have found a really good alternative - fast walking! This past week I went on an hour walk five of the days. I am really enjoying walking the through neighborhoods - it reminds me of when I used to run in Berkeley.

Two of my walks were up near where I teach. I've decided that on days when I stay until 7 to wait out traffic, it makes perfect sense to take an hour break and be active. I created a 3.5 mile figure eight loop around my school, and I have to admit, I love taking this break. I really looked forward to it yesterday. It's also fun to get to see the neighborhood that my students live in. An added bonus is that a few of my kids saw me and were so excited to see me 'jogging' - seeing a teacher out of context is always fun for them :) I am going to try to to this at least 2 of the days during the week.

One of my other walks was on our favorite Los Gatos Creek trail - Ed came with me on this one and had a little trouble keeping up!

My most out of the way walk was up at Lake Chabot. Ed ran the Golden Hills Marathon, and I decided to get my exercise while waiting for him at the finish.

All this walking and eating healthy has really paid off! I've lost almost 6 lbs the last two weeks and am feeling great. Ed and I are really enjoying trying out new recipes - we made healthy Mac and Cheese on Sunday that was wonderful, and very satisfying Orange Beef and Broccoli on Saturday. We're eating out less, and our new Saturday tradition is going to Whole Foods to get some really good Protein and making something delicious.

It's lovely being healthy!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

First Race in Two Years!

Since getting injured in October of 2007, my attempts at running have been, well, unimpressive. However, I am luckily engaged to a wonderful man who is doing his best to encourage me to get that spark back. As a direct result of that, I signed up for my first race in almost 2 years!

Ed had been planning to run the Santa Cruz 29k for a while, and our friend Bill was going to run the 21k, so I decided to go for the 10k. I knew I wouldn't run the whole thing, and I wasn't sure I could finish, but since I had a PCTR voucher from volunteering, I figured I couldn't turn down a 'free' race. Ed's mom and friend also signed up for the 10k, and we looked forward to a fun weekend.

The morning of the race, something weird happened - I was nervous! My stomach was flip flopping while I tried to drink down a jamba juice. Bill and his friend arrived and off we went 'over the hill' to Santa Cruz. I was still nervous, but was almost enjoying it. I never would have thought that a 10k could make me feel worried, but here it was.

As we pulled up to these familiar streets, I was remembering this race last year, when Ed ran his first 50k and did amazingly. I was looking forward to actually participating in this event. We checked in and waited around, and soon it was time for Ed to get going. After he took off, I made one more bathroom stop and then very soon in was my turn. I positioned myself towards the back and before I knew it, the countdown was over and we were moving.

Once we reached the trails a tight uphill singletrack slowed us down to a walk, which was fine by me, since I didn't want to burn out in the first quarter mile trying to run up a steep hill. While I was in the back, I wasn't last, and was contented hiking up the beautiful trails.

We were quickly rising into the hills over Santa Cruz and soon reached a beautiful meadow that I had never seen before - I was so excited by the bright blue sky and the golden grasses, and pictured Ed running through here 20 minutes earlier. I spotted two women not that far ahead of me, and decided to try to catch up so that I could have some running buddies.

Before I knew it, we were intersecting with a very familiar trail - one that Ed and I had run on numerous times together. Being on familiar ground was very calming, it made me much more confident about completing this race. I also caught up with the two women, who kindly allowed me to hang out with them for much of the rest of the race. Meeting new people was one of my favorite parts of running and I really enjoyed hearing their stories and getting to know them.

As we approached the turn around, the trail switched from a large fireroad to a beautiful single track through redwood forest, and it just about took my breath away (that, and the hills :) ). I enjoyed the downhills and looked forward to enjoying the downside of the uphills on the way back.

Once I reached the turn around, I was excited - this was feeling much easier than I thought it would. On the way back I really enjoyed the single track downhill and then slowed down on the fire road with my new running friend, whose hip was bothering her a little. We stayed together until the intersection to take us back through the meadow, where I said goodbye and picked up the pace. I really enjoyed the last downhill bit of trail, and before I knew it I heard the people at the finish line.

I flew down that last stretch and through the finish, completing my 10k in 1:29:53, just breaking 1:30 :). My pace was 14.44, which means that I was running more than I was walking!

About a half an hour later, Ed's mom and friend came across the finish, and not long after that, Ed came in, with a 7th place finish. A little while later, Bill and his friend finished.

We celebrated by going to Ed and my old favorite Santa Cruz breakfast place, Cafe Brazil, where I had a wonderful celebratory meal.

I was amazed by how much fun it was, and am excitedly already planning my next race: Rodeo Beach 8k. Even better, my Dad is also going to get back into running, and is going to 'run' it too!

I'm also using this race as a kick off to overall better health. I've started back up on Weight Watchers and have really enjoyed healthier eating. I also ran twice this week and walked once.

Good things are on the horizon!