To Trail Run or Not to Trail Run

Trail Running - This is not me! (Courtesy Ultra Running Company)
Trail Running – This is not me! (Courtesy Ultra Running Company)

I’ve been contemplating whether or not I want to do some trail running… Admittedly, I am a little excited about it right now because there is a half marathon later in the year in Yosemite National Park. I love Yosemite! My son (almost 3) has never been there, which means it has been well over three years since my last visit. I think I’m overdue.

I did some light reading on training running and came across a Runner’s World article that scared me off a bit. Trail running is more demanding, slower, and the author recommended trekking poles! Yikes. I’m already slow and I can’t carry poles… For real. That’s like asking Danger-prone Daphne here for a medical emergency…

So, I am asking fellow runners… What do YOU recommend? How differently do you train on trail versus pavement? What trail shoes do you like?

I feel like I have enough time to get in shape by October, that’s when the half marathon is. And, only about half of it is on rough terrain. So they say! 😉

I’ve already looked into renting a house and taking the family for a trip. It’s all very doable and seems fun. It might be nice to do something different!


Wildlife Wednesday

This morning, on my morning run, I saw an owl! An owl. I really wanted to name it Hedwig. It was beautiful – A barn owl. I wish I had gotten a picture, but that just wasn’t going to happen. It was too fast and I had to use my arm band for my phone this morning, which makes it hard to get to quickly. Oh well… Just seeing the owl was great in and of itself. I haven’t seen an owl out before.

It kind of balanced out the pigeons. We have the most annoying pigeons along my regular trail. Most mornings, I get dive bombed by a subset of this infestation. I seriously have to duck. The number seems to grow and grow – yuck. I’d love to see them go away some day. Not holding my breath, though.

This afternoon, no pigeons along the trail as I walked my dog… 🙂 Only seagulls and pelicans. Oh, and ducks. It was strangely warm (65F) and calm out, and we had a lot of waterfowl

Seagull and Pelican
Seagull and Pelican

I wan’t able to get a really good picture, but it was quite lovely. My dog couldn’t understand why I kept stopping on our way home, though. I think I confused him. 🙂

Exercise · Life

New Running Schedule Feels So Weird

Last week, I finally acknowledged that I needed to shift my running schedule. I have to go into the office earlier than normal for a regular meeting on Thursdays, making it near impossible to run in the morning… Which is the only chance I have.

My former schedule was M-W-Th, then Saturday and Sunday. Now, it’s M-Tu-W, then Friday and Saturday. Just a small, itty-bitty one-day shift. Yesterday was my first non-running Sunday in a very long time and it felt soooooo weird. It was kind of cool because I got up leisurely and got to play with my son, who is almost three. I also felt a little lazy, like I should be out running. I totally convinced myself that I made the schedule change at the right time because there was a 10-miler on my regular trail yesterday that may have been awkward to work around. 🙂

But, then I ran this morning, which has been a regular non-run day for a pretty long time now. And, my son didn’t want to get up and then didn’t want to eat breakfast and then didn’t want to get dressed. So, maybe he is the reason my day feels out of whack, but I’m pretty sure the schedule has something to do with it. It’s just one day!

I’m looking forward to this schedule for a bit because I kind of like the idea of an easy Sunday morning with the family. My long runs have taken up a fair amount of time, so now I have Sundays to recover and to drink coffee and to play with my son… And, to convince my husband that we should go to brunch at “that cute little diner.” That is a bigger challenge, but we’ll get there! Shhh! Don’t tell him I said that. 😉

Exercise · Life

Managing My Alarms

I use my phone for all of my alarms now – mornings, naps… everything. Recently, I was pondering how that shift came about and subsequently summarized the progression… Because that’s what I do.

It all started when I got my FitBit. That was a while back, but my FitBit didn’t require much time to charge and it “monitored” my sleep so I kept it on. It also had this wonderful feature called a silent alarm. When my alarm went off, it just vibrated. I thought that was great because I get up earlier than my husband, so that’s when the regular, old school alarm was replaced. My FitBit sadly met an untimely demise. I ripped the band and had to duct tape it… Soooooo lame.

After that, I moved to a different fitness tracker (Nike Fuel+), but that didn’t have the silent alarm and by this time, I was getting up earlier than my husband and son, so I moved to the phone… Next logical step, right? Hahaha! Whether it was or not, that’s where I landed. I then got bored and named my alarms. I’m not the only one, right?!? I recently shifted my running schedule so that I don’t run on Sundays, hence the name on that one. Anyway, I name my alarms. Anyone else? Any clever alarm names?

My Alarms
My Alarms
Exercise · Life

Rainy Day Ramblings

After all the rain this morning... A rainbow!
After all the rain this morning… A rainbow!

I need a good name for my war with the common cold. My sore throat is back and it’s really frustrating. This has been off and on since the holidays – The Sore Throat Slog. On top of that, it’s raining a lot. That’s actually a good problem to have since California has been in a drought for such a long time, but it is a little de-motivational for me in terms of running… So…

This morning, I could hear the rain beating down, so I turned my 6am alarm off and gave myself some extra sleep. I decided I would target the afternoon, sick or not, to run since the storm front was supposed to be out of here by mid afternoon. I saw a gap in the rain around lunch time and seized my opportunity.

I was worried it might start raining while I was out, so I decided to wear a tank top with my rain-proof jacket. That’s not a winning combination when it’s 60F. I am pretty sure I was just as wet with that jacket on as I would have been without it in the rain. It is definitely a cold-weather jacket. Next time, I’ll take my chances with the rain – I really don’t think it could have been worse. Since I am not feeling so great, I planned on a 3-mile run. The first 2 miles were ok, but that last mile was a literal sweat shop. I was about to take the jacket off, but saw a few rain drops, so I kept it on. Note to self: Take it off next time!

I’m glad I got a run in, but I really need to re-evaluate my running gear plans. Yeesh. At least I took a tissue with me because that’s all I had to fight off my runny nose. I am certainly hoping to get my mojo back soon because I am running a half marathon in March and need to get back into the swing of things. I was away on a business trip for 3 days last week and didn’t get any exercise. On the way home, there was bad weather. I got in really, really late and was pretty dead the next day, so no exercise. Four days of no exercise made things uncomfortable when I did finally get to run. I know I’ll get back in shape, but I definitely need to get refocused somehow. Suggestions? How do you refocus? How do you get back into your routine?

On a completely unrelated note, I started watching Daredevil on Netflix. I’m really enjoying it. It is a very fair statement to say that I am not well-versed on the Marvel universe. BUT, on episode #4, I kept thinking that one of the characters seemed familiar to me. While we were watching last night, I did a Google search and bam! I was right about who I thought the “bad guy” was. And, I don’t mean the actor or anything – I mean the Marvel villain. No spoilers from me, but I am still pretty proud of myself for figuring out who he was. And, all because I used to watch the Amazing Spider-Man animated series. I would definitely recommend this show, but you do need to be OK with fighting, violence, and bloodshed. And, if you like any of those things, do check out Jessica Jones as well. 🙂


Travel – Ugh! Am I right?

Today I traveled from San Francisco to Miami… Quite the slug since I had to get up at 3:30am… I am in Miami for a business conference, which is cool. I just hate the travel part. And, apparently, I need to fly domestically more because when I got to Miami, I kept thinking I should be in a different country. Or, maybe that was because I was so tired.

Ramblings from today:

Flight #1

I left home at 4am today. So, I’m kind of in a daze because who the hell gets up at 3:30am?!? I managed to forget to take my shoes off going through airport security. Then, I couldn’t find any lip balm in my bag, so bought some ridiculously over-priced Blistex at the airport, then I found my lip balm. (Edit: I have actually found two now!) I also forgot my compression socks.

My first flight was delayed because a tray table wouldn’t latch properly. For real! I was already facing a tight connection, but now I am facing down twenty minutes. I’m not even sure I can get off the plane in twenty minutes. I guess we will see if I am lucky or not.

Flying just feels like such a horrible experience. Everyone is grumpy and vying for the overhead compartment. Everyone brings over-sized bags. And, no personal space. And, no leg room for us tall folks. See? I’m tired and grouchy. Looking forward to a restless night’s sleep in my hotel room, she says with chagrin. Ah, well. I will survive.

Flight #2

OMG, I made it! I had about 15 minutes to catch my flight and was about to start pushing people out of the way, but it turns out the gates were right across from each other. I also got overhead space for my roller bag. Turns out there were a lot of people on my flight also going to Miami so I’m sure that was a good thing. The airline most likely didn’t want to have to rebook all of us.

I’m a little more awake now, but I am not really awake. Now that I’m on the plane and the fussy airline folks are further away from me (none of them seemed to happy to see us because we left a little late), I am going to try to stay awake… And, play some games on my phone. 🙂

From the Hotel

I made it to the hotel finally… Holy ****, I am exhausted. But, check out this view:


Not too shabby! I’m going to sit here and enjoy this view for a few minutes before heading down to the welcome reception. Looking forward to getting some sleep tonight.


Whew! A Good 15k Today!

I wasn’t sure I was up for it today, but I had a good run. I was pleasantly surprised given my level of anxiety about my training. (I had been sick and wasn’t sure I had trained enough.)

I ran the San Francisco Hot Chocolate 15k this morning. I got there early… Too early. I had an hour before the race and pretty much only needed fifteen minutes. Oh well. Better safe than sorry…

The run was pretty flat, but on the way closer to the finish line, there was a small incline that I started to think wouldn’t end. It was wearing at me a bit toward the end – I was getting a little tired. Then, it finally ended. Finally! Pretty much as the race ended. Got my cutesy finisher medal and then everyone got hot chocolate and snacks. With chocolate sauce for dipping. Maybe too much chocolate. I ended up dumping most of it out. I tried to dip some of my banana in the chocolate for my son, but I managed to drop it on the ground. Parenting fail! He survived.

Before the run, my hubby and son called me via FaceTime. Soooo cute – apparently my boo woke up and was unhappy that mommy wasn’t at home. It was also nice to see my hubby and son after the race. I managed to lose my banana again! Good times! 🙂


Race Mind Games

I am running a 15k tomorrow. It’s the Hot Chocolate run in San Francisco and it helps out the Ronald McDonald House, which is an amazing organization helping provide a place to stay for families who need to be close to their children while they undergo critical medical care.

I was sick over the holidays but I made my training runs – I had to cute my 9-mile run down to a 7-mile run, but that’s ok. I guess. And, this is where the mind games start…

Finally mostly over my illness. To play it safe, I did two runs this week on the treadmill at the gym. Yay for me! Then, on Friday, I ran 3 miles on my regular training path. Only 3 miles and it felt really hard. Then, I kept thinking, what if the treadmill made me soft?!? It’s such a cushy run compared to pavement or sidewalk. OMG, could I have sabotaged my training? No, that’s crazy. I just needed to get back out into the element and the pavement… The positive is that I actually ran faster than I normally do, so maybe that’s why the run felt a little more difficult. I hope. That’s got to be it, though. Right? Gulp!

Then, this morning, I ran my “shakeout” run – 2 miles. For some reason, it still felt challenging. Maybe because it was drizzling, which I fully expect tomorrow as well. The rest of the day has been worrying about logistics and wondering if I’m even remotely ready for this run. Finally, got someone to give me important shuttle information… so I can plan out tomorrow morning.

Now, I’m totally annoyed that I have to go to the expo even though I had my packet mailed to me. The Hot Chocolate run doesn’t give shirts, they give zip-up sweatshirts… I ordered a women’s medium and it is huge. I am NO FAN of vanity sizing! I’ve been a medium for a long time, but you’d think I ordered an XXL or something. I’m hoping they’ll have a small for me to swap. If not, I’ll have wasted a trip, but will still be able to do it via mail, which seems annoying… and I have to wait 2 weeks. I am overly fond of instant gratification, so that 2 weeks sounds really bad to me.

So, here I am, putting my gear bag together and planning out my energy strategy and hoping that it doesn’t rain, but expecting it to rain. I’d forgotten that it can actually rain during the rainy season. El Nino has graciously reminded me. It’s all good, though. Apparently, not all of the plants in my back yard are dead. The rain is helping a few pull through, so I’ve got that going for me. Tomorrow, I’m taking my rain-proof running jacket just in case. I’ve got this. Back in October, I ran a half marathon, but my husband and son were nearby and I didn’t need to check gear. In November, I ran a 10k and they were nearby again, so I didn’t need to check gear. Spoiled! Now, they are planning to get into San Francisco later in the morning, closer to my finish time, and I have to check gear. Requires thinking and whatnot! Ah, well. It’s all good.

Good luck to everyone running in this event, and everyone just running a little bit this weekend! 🙂 Run happy!