Exercise · Life

Fun in the Snow

This past weekend, we went skiing and snowboarding with friends. We went to Truckee, CA. I was actually dreading it. Why? Sounds fun, right? Well, I knew the drive would be at least 4 hours (it was closer to 6) and I know that I fell a lot on our annual trip up to ski country last year and I didn’t want to do that again. I’m happy to report that this weekend was awesome instead of a disaster.

Who does’t like to lie down in the snow?

The drive was maybe not so great. We left on Friday and I had on my Pollyanna face – we have plenty of time, as long as we start driving by 2pm. Bahahaha! We left at 1:45 and it took a really long time. My close-to-being-6-year-old started asking “how much longer” after the first 30 minutes! Yikes! We had one bridge to cross and as you know, an accident on a bridge can kill a commute. We missed that accident by about 5 minutes. Seriously. Other friends who also drove up on Friday left at 2:45 and they didn’t get there until close to midnight. So, lesson learned? Leave as early as possible. Kid can eat lunch in the car. Sorry kid.

The weather was fantastic! Highs in the low 30s (Fahrenheit) and lots of snow and fresh powder. While that sounds cold, with the right gear, it’s all good. And, we are not early morning people, so we missed out on being in the snow while it was still in the teens or 20s.

I signed my son up for a 1-hour ski lesson. I’d call it mildly successful. He survived, did ok, but pretty much grumped the whole time. Partially because he was hungry… But why eat when parents tell you to? Why eat when parents say you won’t get another chance before your lesson? Such a stereotype. <big grin> That 1-hour lesson did give me some unfettered access to the slopes, though.

And I, on the other hand, had a great day with my snowboard. Quite unexpected, to be honest. I just figured I would fall a lot, but I actually snowboarded a lot and only fell a little. Woohoo! I also managed to get off of the ski lift without falling on my butt. These are the little things that mean so much! Snowboarding is also great exercise – my legs were thoroughly exhausted by the end of the day. I am not sure if smart/sport watches can adequately capture the calories folks burn like this. It feels like my Apple watch was close. I hope so, because I was really hungry and ate a lot of snacks and dinner after we got back to our rental. 🙂

The second day was spent tubing and sledding. With a few snowball fights for good measure. When we went up last year, this same snowplay area was pretty much barren of snow. It was crazy! This year was amazing. All in all, quite successful and fun. Even the drive back wasn’t so bad. So, while I didn’t get to do my regular workout schedule, it was great to be outside so much. Wish we could do this more often.

Last year (the day before a big snow hit, but still)
This year! Nothing but fun!

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Exercise · Life

Housekeeping Progress

I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now… I finally bought a medal hanger for my race memorabilia. About 2 months ago. Finally hung it up this weekend. There area few that didn’t fit, but that’s ok because there are more runs coming. I’ll have to find another one soon. Until then, at least these are no longer weighing down the light fixture in my bathroom. Small victories! Onward, friends!

Exercise

Just Tried The Brooks National Park Collection Cascadias

Recently, Brooks Running partnered with REI to celebrate national parks across the U.S. The national parks collection features Brooks Cascadia shoes and Brooks t-shirts highlighting specific national parks – Great Smoky Mountains, Mt. Rainier, Yellowstone, and Yosemite. Brooks is donating 5% of the wholesale cost of each piece in their national parks collection to the National Park Foundation, up to $50,000.

I love Yosemite National Park. Last year, I did the Yosemite Half Marathon! So, bought a pair of Yosemite Cascadias. This is my first pair of Brooks trail shoes (I’m on my third pair of Brooks running shoes). I have worn them several times on walks to break them in… Finally, I did my first trail run in these shoes. While they are comfortable and I didn’t have any issues during my break-in walks, my right sock kept getting unceremoniously pulled down into my shoe. 5 times. 2 within the first half mile. These weren’t new socks or anything like that. Completely annoying. Otherwise, the shoes felt good – not as grippy feeling as my Saucony Peregrine 6’s though.

The Brooks Cascadias have a 10mm heal-to-toe drop, and are made of synthetic mesh. Midsole is EVA and outsole is carbon/blown rubber. These shoes also feature something called a ballistic rock shield. What is it? It’s a thermoplastic sheath used in the forefoot area to disperse the pressure of landing on loose objects. Certainly doesn’t seem to add bulk or weight and will come in handy on my rockier trail runs. Overall, I’d say these are solid trail shoes.

I’m going to try again this weekend to see if this sock issue gets any better. I really like these shoes and this gives me a great opportunity to talk to anyone and everyone about Yosemite National Park – Did I mention that I love it? I might re-lace my shoes to see if that will help. Stopping so many times on a run is frustrating. Anyone out there have a fix for falling socks? If so, please leave a comment. 🙂

Exercise

Spotlight on Accomplishment and Body Shaming

I just watched a YouTube video from REI featuring Mirna Valerio and was so inspired by her. She does things I can’t even begin to imagine training for – like running a 50K. She does weight work that puts a lot of us to shame… But. It’s a sad state of affairs when someone feels the need to tear someone down because they don’t “look the part.” Read the REI blog here: The Mirnavator

Please watch the video.

Watch it especially if you don’t think you look the part, or you don’t think you are a runner, or you feel like you aren’t making fitness progress. She will leave you inspired.

Mirna has also been featured in Runner’s World.

Exercise

Disneyland Half Marathon Recap

Hi everyone! It has been a while since I posted. Time just keeps slipping away from me. So, what have I been doing? Getting ready for the Disneyland Half Marathon, which I completed on Sunday, September 3. The theme was “Celebrating Pixar!”

I have a 4-year-old son, so we made this his first Disney visit. It was definitely magical for him. He got to meet Mickey Mouse and ride most of the rides. We’ve learned 2 things: 1) He’s an adrenaline junkey; 2) 100F makes for a slightly less magical experience. Haha!

The half marathon was hard. Prior to race start, it was ~85F. Did I mention that the race started at 5AM? Yikes.

I chose to dress as Minnie Mouse before I knew the theme

At race end, it was somewhere around 95F. I am not used to running in anything over 60-65F, so I was pretty miserable. At every water station, I drank some and then poured the rest on my head.

After Mile 4, I was sweating like I was at Mile 10! I ended up walking a lot because I couldn’t take the heat. That being said, running through Disney’s California Adventure and Disneyland was pretty cool.

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Disneyland

 

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California Adventure

We also got to run through the Anaheim Angels’ stadium, which was fun.

I wish I had gotten better pictures, but they had characters along the way within the parks. You could stop for a photo op, too. They even had performers, like acrobats.

We were all hot and tired after the race – couldn’t convince my son to do a picture with me at first. Here we are in all our glory. Hahahaha!

Luckily, he changed his mind a little bit later. 

Next time, I’m going to pay more attention to the time of year and regular/average temperatures because… Wow, that was hot. Not sure we are up for another long trip, but they do have a Star Wars half in Disneyland coming up in January… Whoa, there. Maybe I’ll look for something closer. We’ll see.

Exercise

Dragon Boat Racing

And now for something completely different…

On June 11, I participated in my first dragon boat race competition. It was harder than expected, but soooo much fun. It was sponsored by Bay Area Dragons. They were awesome – they provided boats for practice, instructors, gear… Fantastic organization.

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Bay Area Dragons

In May, my novice team and I started our practices. Now, when I say novice, I mean to say that some people on my team had never even gone canoeing or kayaking.

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My team! (I’m in the middle…)

It was definitely hard learning to paddle in sync. It was also hard learning all the terminology. I’m tall so was always in the middle of the boat, as part of what they call the “engine room.” That’s where the bigger paddlers are who can provide power. Now, that sounds like a good strategy. However, when the person in front is significantly shorter than you, it causes a lot of paddle clinking – I have a long reach and she, well… didn’t. 🙂 Each practice and, unfortunately, day of the competition, it took a bit of time for us to get in sync. And, then there were the challenges of the other 18 novice paddlers. Haha!
We only had 3 practices before the competition so I wasn’t sure how well we would do. And then, when I got to the event, I saw sooooooo many teams. And, teams who had their own gear – paddles, life vests. Or, PFDs for the cool people. Gulp. Was getting nervous. And, it was crazy windy. The morning started with winds around 12mph and the afternoon saw up to 19mph. Probably no biggie for the seasoned paddlers, but definitely an added challenge for us newbies.

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Race day!!!

The good and the bad is that we were in “Division D,” which meant we were the novices of the novices. I was ok with that. It felt fair. After 4 challenging races, we came in first in our division. Woohoo! It was certainly a good feeling, especially since I gave it my all in the final. Would I do it again? Probably. It’s nice to try different activities.

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The team before the competition

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Division D 1st Place! With a grumpy child who was ready to go home…

Exercise

Oh, there’s a half marathon in my backyard

This morning, I got up to go for a run. Walk out the front door and flip a proverbial coin on which direction to run, then get moving. I thought it would be nice to run toward the San Mateo Bay Bridge for the view. And, that’s where I found it. The Divas Series half marathon. Oopsies. 

While it was lovely out, I knew I was in trouble. That pack coming down the road… They would soon be on the same trail as me and would end up playing a fine game of dodge the runner because I was going the other way. Oh, well. Got my run in. 

Divas wear pink

Apparently it is bad form to wear anything other than pink. 😁

Exercise

Pressing On

On April 2, I ran the Oakland Running Festival half marathon. It was a hard run for me… It starts later than I am used to and the weather was quite warm. Half way through the race, I felt dizzy. I had to walk for a while, then went back to running. I didn’t feel particularly good for the rest of the run, but I did manage to finish at about my regular time, and shaved off 1 minute from my previous half. And, I finally had a friend doing the same run!

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We finished! Oak Town FTW!

This is my 4th time doing the half in Oakland. The race was very well organized and I liked the way they changed up the start/finish area this year. However, after my run, I was thinking that this would be my last. After thinking about it for several days, maybe not. If I do this again next year, I’m going to train differently… While I can’t control the weather, I can control when I do my weekend practice runs. I think I will start running later in the mornings to get used to a later start time. I’m used to a 6:30am start time, not 9:10am (the time the half starts).

That being said, I’ve been feeling a bit worn down lately. Last week, I took 2 days off from any exercise (Monday and Tuesday). Then, I did my indoor cycling class on Wednesday, light running on Thursday and Friday, weight work on Saturday. I tried an open run on Sunday, meaning I decided to run as far as I wanted, didn’t matter what the distance was. I ended up running 4.5 miles and got to check out a vista point that I’ve been curious about.

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There’s a teeny tiny San Francisco out there

The most important thing to note is that my speed increased. I’m starting to wonder if I am running too much right now. Adding more recovery time between runs seems to be giving me more speed and endurance. Anyone else find this to be true? Sometimes? All the time?

Stay healthy!

Exercise · Life

Random Wednesday Musings

On Sunday, I went running. Nothing out of the ordinary there. But, I encountered two women running with an off-leash dog. I’m going to pause there because a) it’s not legal and b) dogs can be unpredictable and c) good thing I’m not afraid of dogs… The dog was well-behaved and kept pace with them several feet ahead. The first time I saw them we were going in opposite directions. Second time, they were coming up behind me. The second time is the reason I decided to include this in my musings.

Blurry dog running off-leash

I was running along minding my own business, lost in my own thoughts, when suddenly I felt something bump into my right leg. I kind of jumped to the left a little, looked down and saw the dog. Then I could hear one of the women calling the dog and it slowed down, but then kept encroaching on my space time after time, until they passed me. Again, glad I’m not afraid of dogs. So, appropriate or inappropriate? Not much of a bother to me, per se, but I am pretty sure that would have been a bother to someone afraid of or not fond of dogs.


I went running on Tuesday. Again, nothing out of the ordinary. But, then I saw this on the trail!

A message on the trail

A friend of mine moved to Arizona last year, but comes back now and then to run half marathons in the old neighborhood. She was in town this weekend to run the San Francisco Rock ‘N Roll Half Marathon… And, she left a note. I didn’t get to see her on this trip, so I thought it was extra cool that I found this.


This bird.

What are you trying to tell me little bird?

Yesterday, this bird drove me crazy for the better part of 30 minutes. She was at my kitchen window pecking away. It sounded a little like morse code. Whatever she was trying to tell me, it was urgent. But, sadly, I wasn’t getting it. I even went outside to see if something, like a cat, was after her. Nope. Just really, really wanted to be inside. After about 30 minutes, she moved to a nearby tree. Hopefully, she was feeling better… or something.

Speaking of birds… About a month ago, I was working at my desk and heard some kind of noise. I couldn’t quite figure out what it was so I opened the blinds. From my desk, which is on the second floor of my two-story house, I can see the roof over the garage. There was a crow shoving something under one of the shingles. Seriously. So, I can only assume that my roof has become some kind of storage unit for this bird. One of these days, maybe I’ll go out there to see what I can find. I’m guessing multiple hiding spots. Crows are crafty.

Stay healthy!

Exercise · Life

A Bittersweet Moment on the Trail

Last week, I went for a long training run (11 miles). My preferred trail is along a beautiful reservoir – a little bit of peacefulness in a hustle-bustle kind of place. I noticed an older man standing in front of a bench. He was standing. Maybe that’s why I took notice. He was looking out at the water lost in his thoughts. As I got closer, we made eye contact. I said good morning as I passed by. He seemed noticeably sad. I’m sometimes lost in my own space when I’m running, but it wasn’t hard to pick up on the vibe. On my way back, I noticed that he had left a bouquet of yellow daisies. I wasn’t having the best run, so I noticed but didn’t look too closely.

Yesterday, I went to the same trail – another long training run (12 miles). I came to the bench. He wasn’t there… But, a fresh bouquet of flowers was. I stopped to look. That’s when I realized there was a plaque on the bench. A dedication.

A Beautiful Dedication

I took a picture because it was truly sweet. I imagine that the daisies will be new next Sunday as well. I looked out from the bench – it’s a serene, peaceful view and I hope it brings him some comfort.

The View from the Bench