Beth Runs!

After sitting on my butt all winter, knitting and watching Craig Ferguson into the wee hours, it's time to get up, get out, and move!!!

Monday, September 03, 2007

RUN Alert

ELIZABETH TERRY, 03:00:01 @ Finish, Pace 13:43.
Disneyland Half Marathon by Kaiser Permanente Disney Destinations LLC.

RUN Alert

ELIZABETH TERRY, 02:07:17 @ 15K, Pace 13:39.
Disneyland Half Marathon by Kaiser Permanente Disney Destinations LLC.

RUN Alert

ELIZABETH TERRY, 01:23:59 @ 10k, Pace 13:30.
Disneyland Half Marathon by Kaiser Permanente Disney Destinations LLC.

RUN Alert

ELIZABETH TERRY, 00:41:30 @ 5K, Pace 13:21.
Disneyland Half Marathon by Kaiser Permanente Disney Destinations LLC.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Eco-Running: Leaving the route better than you found it.

Readers of this blog may or may not know that I recently developed a new obsession: plastic and its effects on the environment. I've been blogging non-stop at and not so much over here. Happily, I've found a way to combine both subjects: running and plastic.

26-year old Samuel Huber started what he calls "eco-running" as a way to help the world while out doing his favorite thing, running. On his eco-runs, he carries a few small garbage bags and picks up litter all along the route. Recently, he has made the switch to biodegradable, compostable BioBags. Check out his web site and mention of BioBags and my blog, Fake Plastic Fish, at I want to not only commend him for his efforts but join in the eco-running movement he's trying to start.

So, this morning, BioBag in hand and latex gloved, I did a 30-minute eco-run towards Berkeley and back. My bag was full within the first 12 minutes, and I found I needed to stop picking up big things and concentrate on the items that, if washed down a storm drain, could end up inside the bellies of marine animals: bottle caps, small toys, a comb, a pacifier, plastic bags, even a rubber glove.

Stopping to pick up garbage slowed me down a bit (my average pace was 11:20/mile) and actually got me out of competition mode, the mode I tend to be in while recording my stats with the Nike+ iPod. You know, I'll bet running would be a lot more fun if I gave up the Nike+. But I don't know. The accountant in me wants all numbers all the time! Chi Running's Danny Dreyer recommends leaving the watch at home. Maybe I'll try it once a week on my eco-runs.

And yes, if you're wondering, it was a little weird passing people as I ran carrying a garbage bag and wearing a latex glove. But at this point in life, I'm pretty much over caring about how I seem to other people. (Actually, I think I stopped caring by the end of high school, but that's a story for another day and another blog.)

Speaking of latex gloves, does anyone know whether modern latex gloves are made from natural rubber or some kind of petroleum-based synthetic? According to this web site, they are made from rubber. But are all of them? (Here's a cool video about how latex is made.)

So, what to do with all the trash I collected? My plan is to retrieve the hard plastic bottle caps and other pieces of plastic, wash them off, and add them to my collection. I have this idea that I'll use them in some kind of weird art creature thing some day. Then, any recyclable items will go in their proper recycling bins, and I'll tie up the bag around the rest and put it in the garbage can. I may be saving 100% of my own plastic waste, but I'm not about to start hording other people's.


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Shake it like a Polaroid picture!

Do you think the kids nowadays even know what a Polaroid is?

Oh, by the way, I RAN TODAY! Outkast was playing in my headphones and the sun was beating on my back and my feet were pounding the rhythm and my heartrate was going mad crazy. After 7 weeks of recuperation, which were supposed to be 4 weeks max, I finally got my ass into some running shorts and just did it.

I was afraid. Afraid that it would be really hard after taking so much time off to start up again. And worried that with each day I put off running, it would just get harder and harder to do it.

So yeah, it was kinda hard. But not nearly as hard as I thought it would be. I set my watch for 20 minutes, and I ended up doing 2 miles in 20:43. Could have been way worse.

Now, I have 1 month to train for the Disneyland 1/2 Marathon. Ha! This will be interesting.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Hey Walt Stack 10K, bite me!

This was to be my very last run before losing my uterus the next day and spending several weeks on my butt instead of my feet. I was so excited about it the night before, I could barely sleep. I just knew I was going to wallop my last year's result in this race. I'd have to, right? Then, I'd only been running for a few months. Now, I've got all this experience under my belt, inside my shoes, around my knees and up my shins. How could I not do well?

I could not do well if the temperature suddenly went up to 80 degrees at 9 a.m. and I had no shade or water along the way. That's how I could not do well. That's how I could just keep stopping to walk all during the second half and even be tempted to sit down on a bench and quit. This was actually the closest I've ever come to quitting during a race. And as I tore across the Finish Line after 67 minutes and 54 seconds (a mere 1 minute faster than last year), swearing at Kevin Lee, "That sucked! It sucked! I hated it! Feh!" I felt defeated even though I had finished.

I finished. I kept telling myself that all day long. Who can predict the weather? The same thing happened during the Disney Marathon in Florida. Why did I not feel defeated that day? Probably because I'd never completed a marathon before and had nothing to compare it to. Probably because I'd had no real time expectation going in. And also because I didn't have visions of surgery the next day looming before me. I wanted to go out with a bang, not a whimper. This running thing is constantly teaching me lessons about expectations.

Well, no more running for me for a few weeks. I don't know how many. I hope I can train for the Disney Half Marathon, but what I've learned from the race today is not to have expectations about beating my time from last year's Half Marathon. That was in SF. This will be in LA. And this will be after having holes drilled through my body and parts of me sucked out with a morcellator.

Just be patient, Beth. Take it all as it comes. And don't forget to breathe.

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Monday, June 04, 2007

Adidas San Francisco Urban Run

I joined a new group of runners this evening for the Adidas SF Urban Run. The Adidas Store on Market Street hosts runs every Monday night ranging from 3-8 miles and taking place throughout downtown San Francisco. Tonight's was the Telegraph Hill – Choose Your Adventure ~ 4 miler. Click the link for the route, which took us up some honkin' big hills and weaving in and out through pedestrians just trying to shop already!

I had fun running with these folks, with no pressure to "win" since this was not a race. Of course, my competitive nature did kick in and kept me from walking a few times when I would have if I'd been alone. It's good to run with people! I won't see them again for about a month. Having surgery on the 11th and will not be able to run for a few weeks afterwards.


Friday, June 01, 2007

2007 Bay to Breakers

Yep. I have been procrastinating on updating this blog and I don't really know why. The Bay to Breakers arrived promptly on May 20, and Michael and I arrived promptly at the starting line after an almost-crisis during which I thought I'd lost my cell phone on BART, got all freaked out and frantic, found it in the station agent's booth waiting for me, and then proceeded to forget to tie my sweat shirt around my waist for later during the über-chilly Footstock.

It was a historic day! Edna Kiplagat became the first woman ever to break the ribbon and win the Bay to Breakers with a time of 38:55.

Not long after, Michael crossed the finish line with time of 56:28! He came in 586th place out of 23,710 registered participants, Mr. high achiever!

I came crossed the finish line 24 minutes later for a final time of 1:20:26, 15 minutes faster than last year!

We met up, thanks to my NOT having lost my phone, and smiled for the camera:

Afterwards, I spent $40 for a Bay to Breakers sweatshirt to keep from turning blue as we walked back through Golden Gate Park to see the rest of the race. Er, I guess at that point, you wouldn't call it a race anymore but a big, sloppy parade.

The day finished with karaoke at The Mint with our friend Jan. Who could ask for a better day? Really, could you?


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Playing hookie, or why a footrace is the same as a group meditation retreat...

Another 6 months, another meditation retreat. Sitting with a group of people, all with the same intention. Running with a group of
people, all with the same intention. Meditation, sometimes difficult, sometimes effortless. Running, sometimes difficult, sometimes effortless. Meditation, following the breath. Running, following the breath. Compassion from other meditators. Compassion from other runners. Meditation, non-competitive. Running, non-competitive.

Really? How can that be?

I don't know what the elites experience, but for me, an average runner, often struggling, with no expectations of winning, each runner ahead of me is an inspiration. "Come on!" their backs are saying to me. "Look, it's possible to go this fast. I'm doing it! So can you!"

I'll admit, I don't always have this enlightened perspective. But when you sneak out to run a race during a meditation retreat in which you've been experiencing some of most profound silences of your life, it's kind of hard to be competitive. And what a joy it is to feel supported as you ascend 800 feet up a mile-long dirt fire road, breathing rhythmic but hard, heart pounding, mind focused only on the moment, the body, and the ground ahead. And what a feeling to make eye contact with the course monitor at the top of the hill as you approach the halfway point, turn, lean forward, and fly, almost literally, back down the hill, allowing gravity to do the rest of the work. Letting go. Feeling resistance melt away.

Running. Meditating. No difference.

Now, back in the world of facts and figures, I feel the need to report the details. Race: Coleman Elementary School Run For The Gold in San Rafael, just a few blocks from the Santa Sabina Retreat Center. Distance: 6K. Course description: Leisurely run through historic Dominican University to trail head and then up an 800 foot elevation on fire trails. Benefits The Coleman public elementary school in San Rafael. My time: 49:56. Place: probably 41 out of about 100. There was a mix-up with the race results.

And I must also reveal that quite a few of the runners were little kids, which really added to the fun. Unless they have an adult to pace them, little kids will start out running as fast as they possibly can, arms flailing every which way, until they are absolutely spent. Then, doubled over panting, barely able to walk, they insist that they can't go another step. But somehow, a minute or so later, they have all the energy in the world and take off just as fast as before. They remind us what it was once like to run for the pure joy of moving our bodies.

And finally, looking closely at these race photos, I am reminded of the immortal words of one of today's most important poets:

What you gon' do with all that junk?
All that junk inside your trunk?
I'ma get, get, get, get, you drunk,
Get you love drunk off my hump.
My hump, my hump, my hump, my hump, my hump,
My hump, my hump, my hump, my lovely little lumps (Check it out)


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

All is full of phlegm...

Sick as a dog all weak, I mean week, and not even fast enough to get to the phone before it stops ringing. Coughing and coughing, drinking water, peeing, drinking more water, peeing, trying not to end up with pneumonia. Sick of being sick... need soup... gah...

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Monday, April 09, 2007

Why Michael and I are still laughing...


Monday, April 02, 2007

What you don't see from the back of the pack

Instead of running the DSE Fort Point Promenade 12K on Sunday, I waved a flag and handed out finishers' ribbons. It was my first DSE volunteer day for the year. I didn't actually see the guy in the picture (that's a stock photo that I stole off the web), but you get the idea. It was inspiring, exciting, and a little scary to stand in the path of the runners at the end of the finish line: like stepping in front of a speeding train, if the train were all sweaty and panting and possibly swearing. For most of the finishers, accepting the ribbon was like an after-thought. Some even waved it away. But a few of the guys charged through so ferociously, I feared they'd rip my hand off with it.

Mostly, I felt invisible. I know how it feels to finally cross the finish line and have people handing you things from all directions. While you're running the race, all you can pretty much think about is running the race. Everything else is on hold, especially during a short, intense race. But once you cross the finish line, all the feelings, needs, emotions, aches & pains clamour for attention. Euphoria bumps up against thirst and hunger. Relief crashes into blisters and knee pains that are suddenly ten times worse. You need to pee. You want to laugh and celebrate, but you're panting too hard to get out the words.

Noticing the person who is handing you your ribbon or water or banana is not the biggest priority. Will you even remember what they looked like afterwards?

The next time I race, I'm going to remind myself what it was like to be at the end of that line, and even if I can't manage to speak, I'll pause to look at the person and smile.


Sunday, March 25, 2007

2 down; 8 more DSE runs to go.

Another DSE run today. After being sick this week, I wanted to take it a little bit easier than last time. I ran with Jane, a DSE member who lives near me in Oakland and who, with her husband Don, has been giving me rides to these races in the city.

The weather this morning in Golden Gate Park was chilly and overcast: perfect for running. Jane and I were able to talk for about the first 1/2 mile. At that point, the heavy breathing started and conversation was no longer possible. I was glad to have someone with me to keep me on pace. When I run these races by myself, I get all tangled up in weird thoughts about how I'm not going fast enough and I just want to stop but I don't want to come in last place and everyone else has already finished and drunk all the water and eaten all the brownies and there won't be any left for me, boo hoo hoo.

We were happy to come in under 31 minutes today. 30:43. Place: 116/150. Full results here. And I was especially happy that neither of my legs hurt afterwards, although that could have been due to the 800 milligrams of ibuprofen I look this morning before leaving the house.

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Holy Crap! I forgot to post!

I also forgot to run for 2 weeks! But they were the final weeks before the Academy Awards, and I had movies to see! Lots of them! And a party to plan, which turned out to be really great. We had a Mexican theme complete with Oscar-shaped pinata and Mark's most excellent chili verde, Mexican chocolate ice cream, and many other goodies. This is not an excuse and it's probably not even a reason. But anyway, that's what happened.

Also, I lost my iPod. In a taxicab. Of which I don't know the name. And for which I paid cash, so I have no way to find out the name to call the company. So there you go. I had to buy another one. And another pair of headphones. And then my Nike+ sensor stopped sensing so I had to send it back to Apple for a replacement. And how can a girl run these days without all the proper technology? (More bad excuses.)

Anyway, I did start running and working out again after the Oscars. And speaking of technology, Michael found an article in The New York Times (Really? Michael found an article in the NY Times?) about a new software product called The Repacer. It will take any mp3 song file and change the speed to the Beats Per Minute (BPM) you specify so that you can maintain a regular rhythm while running. And it does it without making the song sound like either the Chipmunks or a weird character from a David Lynch film. It helps me stick to my goal of 88 BPM, especially when I get tired and feel like slowing down.

And in other product news, I've gotten back into my deep water running in response to problems I've been having with my LEFT shin and have been using a pair of AQx Sports Aquatic Training Shoes in combination with my Aqua Jogger to better mimic the feel of road running while in the pool. The shoes add resistence but also have "fins" that add stability while "running." It's kind of fun.

A week ago, I was at the King Pool in Berkeley all my myself in their deep pool and felt like I was in a David Hockney painting. The patterns on the water were just like that.

Day Pool With 3 Blues, David Hockney

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Monday, February 12, 2007

1 down; 9 to go.

Completed my first DSE run of the year on Sunday. Man, it was hard! I've been so tired this week, getting barely enough sleep to stand upright, let alone run 3.1 miles. It's Oscar season, doncha know. The annual movie-cram, trying to see as many nominees before February 25th as possible, at least more than Nancy. (Does it count if I fall asleep several times during a movie if the movie sucked to begin with?)

Tired or not, I still managed to come in under 30 minutes. 29:47. Place: 89/117. Full results here. I'm moving up in the world. My place in the last DSE run (June's Walt Stack 10K) was 140/150.

But the whole run just sucked. I wanted to stop! I wanted to stop so bad that I actually did stop and walk for 30 seconds somewhere around mile 2. I walked just long enough to let a bunch of little children and their grandparents pass me. Yeesh! A couple of DSE guys teased me about my plodding, huffing and puffing pace. I'd have kicked a few if I could have caught up with them.

At least it didn't rain.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Breaking Things

Kaiser Permanente 5K 2007 Race T-shirtFirst, the good news! I broke my 5K PR (personal record) yesterday! I smashed it into tiny little pieces and kicked it to the curb! It's gone, pulverized, never to return!

What a run. Golden Gate Park was chilly and foggy, the BEST kind of weather for breaking things. I ran hard and just kept telling myself, "You can do anything for half an hour!" And you know what? I did it in UNDER half an hour. Official time: 29:30! Not even close to my previous record of 32:07. I came in 354 out of 3,028 overall and 25 out of 677 for my division.

You can look up official results here as long as they are posted:

OR see them here on my web site:

Afterwards, I joined the DSE runners who were volunteering at a water station near Mile 6 of the Half Marathon course. I was so excited from my run, I didn't even notice my friend David trying to get my attention as he ran by grabbing water. He called out to me about an hour later as he ran by the other way, only a few hundred meters from the Finish line. He looked really pooped, so I jumped into the race and joined him, egging him on to run faster. How great was that? I got to sprint to the finish line twice in one day!

So, okay, my 5K record was not the only thing I broke this week. Unfortunately, I had to break my running streak as well. Thursday, my left shin was aching so much I just couldn't run. Well, I probably could have, but I didn't want to risk harming myself before the race yesterday. Then, I think I got so depressed about it, I didn't work out Friday or Saturday either.

I don't know if I should start streaking all over again, or if it's still too soon in my running career to streak. Maybe I should try naked bicycling instead.

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Streaking in my Sleep, a.k.a. Insomnia

During the last meditation retreat, in response to my comment that I never get enough sleep, Mark said the only way I'd get to sleep would be to make it into a project with spreadsheets and blog about it. Well, I'm not ready to go that far. But I will devote 1 post to the subject of sleep because it's so important to good athletic performance, and it's one thing that continues to elude me.

I took a chance a few weeks ago and purchased Steven Gurgevich's "Sleepytime Hypnosis" CD. Combined with a Radio Shack pillow speaker, it works great once I'm in bed ready to fall asleep. Gurgevich's soothing drone knocks me out in about 5 minutes. I still haven't found out what's on the rest of the CD.

But my biggest problem is getting to bed in the first place (where the hypnosis CD and pillow speaker can do their job.) Going to bed feels like giving up another day of my life. Not that I was doing anything all that important with it at 2a.m. (unless you consider Spider Solitaire and episodes of "30 Rock" important.) Still, it's hard to let it go.

Sleeping pills help get me to bed, but they leave me groggy and unmotivated the next day. And alcohol? Forget it! I might fall asleep, but then wake up 2 hours later tossing and turning and worrying about my next run.

Which is what happened last night. Restless legs. Churning stomach. How am I going to beat my 5K PR next Sunday? How am I going to to make it up the Hayes Street Hill in May? Got to get to the front of the line! Can't be late! Got to plan my strategy! And what's wrong with these freaking covers twisted around my legs like Octopus tentacles?!?!? Aaaaahhhhhh!!!!!

All I have to do is one mile today (yesterday I completed Week 2 of my Running Streak, by the way) and all I want to do is go back to bed. Why is it so much easier to sleep during the day? (Is it because when I wake up it'll still be the same day? Is it because during the day everyone else is up making sure the earth spins on its axis so I don't have to? Is it some kind of teenage-rebellion driving me to do the opposite of what I'm supposed to?)

Maybe I'll add a column on my training log to keep track of sleep. Or maybe I'll just add it to my list of worries to keep me up tonight.


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Streaking in Hawaii

On the way back from the marathon to the hotel, I mumble something like, "Whatever will I do next?" Without missing a beat, Fran says, "Color the void!" We all laughed and felt warm and fuzzy for a few minutes.

So I've been thinking about resolutions and plans for 2007. Yes, I've completed a marathon. But was I prepared for it? Not really. Each long run took so much out of me that I missed quite a few training days afterwards. So this year, instead of focusing on endurance, I'm going to get down to the basics of running and work on form and and consistency.

To that end, I plan to join the United States Running Streak Association. To be a Premier Member, one must have run at least 1 mile in every calendar day for a year. I started my streak on Monday, January 15, along the Ala Wai Canal in Waikiki and have kept it up for 6 days. Today will make 1 week!

Another goal for this year is to get more involved with the Dolphin South End Runners in San Francisco. I joined up last year after their Walt Stack 10K race but then never participated in another DSE event. This year, I'd like to run and volunteer enough to earn a small Mongo Trophy. The requirements are: 250 miles run/walked, and participation in at least 10 DSE runs (at least one point must be from volunteering)

So far on the schedule of races for this year are the Kaiser Permanente SF 5K on February 4, The SF Bay to Breakers (12K) on May 20, and the Disneyland Half Marathon on September 3. My friend, David Richardson, has signed up to do that one too. So I really need to work on my speed if I'm going to keep up with him!

Well, that's all for now. Gotta go out and streak.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Sweat and blisters and Vaseline, oh my!

I'm sitting in a Starbucks in Waikiki finally writing about the race. Thank god for photos because I can barely remember it. Maybe running a marathon is like having a baby. If people remembered the pain, they'd never do it again.

I do remember it was freaking hot and humid. The first 2 hours before the sun came up were the fastest and easiest. I ran, slowly, for the first half. Combined running and walking after that. And pretty much walked the entire last 6 miles in the thick 85 degree heat. Each time I tried to run, I felt like passing out or throwing up.

Because of the sign on my back ("It's my 1st Marathon and my 42nd Birthday TODAY!!!") I had hundreds of friends along the way. So many "Happy Birthdays!" from people passing me (many of whom I passed later on!) A few of my "single-serving friends," as Tyler Durden would call them, ran along with me for part of the way and chatted. A grandfather from Pittsburgh whon looked like a character in "Easy Rider." A 20-something from Wisconsin whose parents had signed her up to take her mind off her imminent wedding. A guy with a 5:30 Goal sign on his back who, like me, was falling further and further behind his target pace.

I remember wanting to stop soooo bad at one point and also wanting to cry because there was no way I was going to stop. Ellen called me around the 22-mile point to find out my progress and all I could say was, "It hurts!"

Still, I noticed that no matter how much I hurt and wanted to quit, the smile never left my face! Talk about your cognitive dissonance. the 2 thoughts, "I hate this!" and "I'm doing it, oh yeah!" jostled together in my brain all the way to the finish.

Notice, I haven't said anything about Disney World itself. What's to say? It was Disney World. It was cheesier than I remembered. The last time I was there, I was seventeen and concerned with looking good for boys and not losing my retainer. This time, I'm 25 pounds heavier, red and sweaty and slathering on vaseline at every opportunity (there were vaseline stations all along the way to prevent "chub rub") and feeling sexier than I ever have in my life! Yeah Ellen, I AM bringing sexy back!

As I neared the finish line, I saw the spectators in the bleachers cheering, I forgot all about the pain and the heat. Adrenaline kicked in, and I took off, running toward the finish line and looking for my sisters. Such relief and excitement, if not actual joy, I have never felt before. As I crossed the finish line, I saw Ellen and Fran. They were crying and hugging each other and holding up their sign. It was a sister bonding moment like no other!

Fran and Ellen put a "Princess For The Day" crown on my head and helped me to the car as I talked to Michael on my cell phone. And they really did let me be Princess for the Day, although I think they got some secret pleasure at my screams as Fran poured 2 garbage cans full of ice on my swollen legs.

After the ice bath, Fran massaged my legs for 2 hours!

I felt so good afterwards, I dragged them out to see "Dream Girls" with me (my third time) and then to Pleasure Island where we danced until the clubs closed at 2am! Forget Justin Timberlake! WE BROUGHT SEXY BACK, BABY! It was lost and now it's found. (You may not have noticed it was gone, but WE will never be the same again!)

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