Friday, December 18, 2009

On the rise...

I traveled for business this week to Los Angeles and made the very wise choice to stay in Santa Monica versus the city my client is located, which is in an industrial area just east of "East LA".  Not my fav part of town, so I like to stick with just driving there and promptly leaving afterward.

I had hoped to rendevous with my good friend and collegue Laura Locke from my San Francisco office but we couldn't coordinate our schedules this time.  Of course I miss her immensely - aside of being my friend, she is an extremely important mentor to me in my business.  She has topped the sales for our employee benefits division for the past 2 years - virtually unheard of from a woman, at least in my company.

So without Laura, I couldn't stay in the beloved Loews Hotel (a client of Laura's).  The price point is significantly higher than my companies threshold and I couldn't use her discount without her.  So I did the next best thing I could think of - I searched for hotels all around it so I could be in the same area.  Wow, was I in for a shock!  There is a reason SoCal rents hotels for $600 a night - besides the weather Santa Monica (known as Muscle Beach) has more exercise minded individuals per square mile than any other city along the shores of the west coast.  
Remembering a funny conversation Laura and I had on our last visit, I booked a room at the Hotel California.  It was a quaint little hotel nestled right next door to Loews Hotel, so I thought I was in the clear safety wise.  I'm pretty sure had Davis been with me, it would have been immediately nixed.  Besides the fact I had to park my rental car down at the beach at a $6 lot that closed at dusk due to the construction on the parking lot at the hotel, it turns out that it really was a MOTEL, with outside doors and all.  The heater in my room turned out to be a stand alone radiator type heater on 4 rolling wheels, except one of my wheels was missing so it tottered back and forth when I turned it on.  Pretty sure I was in for burning the joint down.  To bad I didn't bring any candles, just would have made it that much more fun.

As I unpacked my bag, I immediately started dreaming of my run on the beach.  The weather was fantastic - 55 in the morning and 77 in the afternoon.  I opted for fish tacos and an ice cold beer on the pier instead of an afternoon run, selecting the morning for my assault.  I did some shopping on Third Street Promenade, seeing some of the most interesting people I have ever seen.  A man playing steel drum who I swear sounded just like Bob Marley, with a woman down just a bit from him singing as beautifully as Aretha Franklin.  As I thanked the Haire Krishna for his pamphlet, I took note of how thankful I am to live in such a diverse and free country.  Where else can you see such a melding pot of cultures, virtually accepted - okay, well, a bit.  I grabbed an evening movie (Brothers - yikes) and then headed back to the hotel/motel.  By the way, if you were wondering.. yes, the Eagles actually DID write the Hotel California song IN the actual Hotel California in Santa Monica.  Just a little bit of trivia.

Crashed by 9 (11 our time), I awoke at 4:00 am promptly, as usual when traveling on the west coast.  I laid in my bed trying to convince myself to get back to sleep, but my running shoes were taunting me.  I was like a little kid on Christmas - couldn't WAIT to lace up.  Finally falling asleep, my alarm woke me at 6 and I jumped from the bed.  I'm not sure, but I think it only took around 5 minutes to dress and get out of the room and down to the beach.

I opted for a sidewalk run rather than the sand to start.  The interior sidewalk (there are 2, actually) closest to the beach was perfect.  The sky was dark blue, stars were out and the pier was lit with Christmas lights.  I pushed my i-pod buds in my ears and started to run, easy.  The air smelled different than home.  It was certainly much warmer than this time of year at home.  Even the way my shoes hit the ground felt different.  As I picked up speed I realized that what I love most about running is my ability to THINK.  Uninterrupted.  Unintentionally, really.  It's total me time.  No wonder it suits me, being the baby of my family and all.  The warm air was nothing compared to the feeling of the sun once it started to hit my face.  The sun rose quickly over the water in beautiful hues of pink and purple and I thought to myself I must be crazy for living in the midwest.  Sure we have beauty, but not like this scene.  I wish Davis could be here with me to see this at this very moment.  I love time alone, but when something strikes me I always want to share it.  I took pics instead and stuck them on facebook.  Thank god for technology - but it doesn't do any justice for the real thing.

My run lasted about an hour, of which I ran the last 1/2 in the sand.  I didn't actually enjoy that part as much as I had hoped and imagined in my mind - it was tricky to make sure my feet were steady with each stride.  I was afraid of turning an ankle 3 weeks before my next race.

I have learned to love to run for so much more than just the run itself.  It's turned into a little gift to myself - a piece of quiet that helps me sort my crazy, wonderful life.  I can't wait for the next run through the neighborhood in 20 degree weather.  I'm sure it will be exactly the same as this experience.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


It is the first official Snow Day of the season and I'm anxiously awaiting Coop's decent from his room. 

No doubt he will be jumping with joy as he prayed it would continue to snow, snow, snow last night.  Little does he know that they aren't actually canceled due to the snowfall; rather, the 15 below zero wind chill which will undoubtedly trap him in the house the entire day. 

What will begin as the most exciting, thrilling moment of joy will quickly end in the famous "I'm bored... let's go DO something momma" standard phrase.  Isn't it enough to just stay in your jammies all day?  Oh yeah, that's what Sundays are for. 

So I'm mentally preparing for the ebb of excitement and quick decent into frustration that will fill my house momentarily.  I will try to discover something new we can do to hold his interest for more than 10 minutes which working from home.  Thank god for video games, computers and television - what did we ever do without this multitude of technology?  Oh yeah, we used our imaginations.  Well, it will come in handy today as I try to suggest things for him to do!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gobble, Gobble

I signed up for the Gobbler Grind 5k run with my friend Kim immediately following the Race for the Future race in October determined that I was going to keep running through the cold weather changes.  My turbo kick efforts were in full swing and I was teetering on the verge of my 38th birthday.  I knew to rest up a bit before the race so I decided to take off the week before, including kick class.  What was I thinking?  I should know better to let that much time go by without exercising.  I am SUCH a procrastinater, which I have always known but rarely admit.  The week that led up to the Grind was awesome - I had a great birthday dinner at my in-laws (who always work double duty trying to make me feel that people care I was born), birthday dinner with Davis (an entire bottle of wine and crab cakes!) and then the pinnacle:  Eat and Greet with the Zac Brown Band before their concert!  I refused to even see that not only was I NOT exercising at all, I was packing in the food like no other!  My 20 lb. weight loss quickly slipped to 16 and my body was responding in anger, holding onto every fat gram that I put in my mouth.

I picked up Kim for the race Saturday morning at 6:30 and felt good.  We drank some weird energy drink that Phil Parks gave us (looked like some NASA concoction but tasted like Tang) and hit the road.  The race was packed - I hadn't been to that big of a race yet.  About 1,700 runners were lined up and ready to go.  The race continued beyond the 5k to a half marathon and marathon and I admit I was a little jealous of those runners choosing to keep going.  They had their fanny packs, water belts... looked like pros.  I was still unprepared - shorts over my tights because it was cold, three shirts on, gloves... doomed to be sweaty but thinking the temp would keep it down.  It didn't.

The race began with us close to the front.  I took off - the pack was so energized and I was right along with them.  When we hit the 1/2 mile mark, the marker indicated we were pacing at 9:44.  Seriously?!  What was I thinking?!  I made the crucial mistake of starting to hard.  I tried to slow it up a bit but found myself being weirdly competitive with Kim and her sister, Camille.  Needless to say at mile 2 they both lapped me.  I was so mad at myself.  I tried to remain calm and know that I could reserve and push it at the end but in my heart I knew I had exhausted at the beginning.  Was my head working against me?

As I came around the last turn at mile 3, I noticed Tim and Coop standing on the sideline of the finish.  My heart jumped - I was so excited to see them.  My legs were throbbing and my lungs tired but I pushed it as much as I could and finished.  Kim and Camille were waiting for me... smiling.  I'm sure thinking "What a complete dork - she started to fast!"  This is part of the learning curve, right? 

4 days later, I'm still in pain.  Tim has rubbed my calves.  I have taken hot baths.  I have used BioFreeze (WOW, that stuff is POTENT!)  I'm pushing through without Ibuprofen.  I haven't exercised this week and now it is time to eat turkey.  Oh well.

I WILL hit the gym next week.  I WILL go to Turbo Kick class at least twice.  I WILL run 3 miles, 3 times.  Back to the basics.  Next race.. January 9th.  I WILL be prepared and I WILL steady my pace!

Sunday, November 15, 2009


I've followed blogs on friends the entire year and have finally made the jump to try this out. 

On the eve of my 38th birthday, I surprise myself with how many "firsts" I still have.  This will be my first blog.  Hopefully it will be a great tool for me to log my efforts training for my first marathon.  I'm sure my life events will get thrown in here, like the birth of my upcoming first grandchild. 

Don't get me wrong, firsts still scare me to death.  I vividly remember a ton of my scary firsts - first time in a gymnastics tournament, first time to drive a car, first time to give a big work presentation.  But with all the firsts that scared me to death I have so many firsts that were exhilarating.  First time I kissed my husband (behind the oak tree at Smirls), almost 18 years ago.  First time I saw my beautiful son Jeremy.  First time I saw my sweet boy Coop.  My first 5k run with my great Eagle Creek friends this year. 

So I'm hopeful this blog will help me log many more firsts and the journey that ensues afterward.  Now on to the fabulous Sunday routine of yummy french toast with my sweet Coop!