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!!!

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, 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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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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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Fran ate all my #$@%&*!%#$ cupcakes!

This morning, there are big chunky crumbs all over th carpet, making it sticky again, and a hole in the box the size of her big mouth! It's to be expected, as we were all raised by the wolves who are currently partying hard with a bunch of Micronesians on their floor in Hawaii.

Yeah, we were up until 5am. It was the war of the iPods. Who had the best, weirdest, or just plain wrongest (yes, that's a word today) music.

Of course, the lightbulb burned out as soon as they got here, and since this room is a FREAKING CAVE, it was just like any club in San Francisco. Except for the mosquitoes and humidity.

Fran gave us Restoril to calm us down, but none of us could get sleepy. So Ellen took more, and I took a couple of Valium, and finally, we fell asleep and slept until 2:30pm. It was an awesome nights, I mean morning's, sleep except for the housekeeper who knocked on the door every 1/2 hour to ask if we needed cleaning. Naturally, this place has no "Do Not Disturb" sign to put on the door, and we were too drugged to get up and make one.

Okay, gotta go. We are finally dressed and ready to leave for "Cirque du Soleil" at 6pm.


(Fran's a brick house.)

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Friday, January 05, 2007

I'm Here! In Orlando! For the Walt Disney World Marathon!

I'm happy. I'm peeved. I'm so excited I could throw up and also so irritated I could throw my laptop through Quality Suites Maingate East's windows and break all of them.

I'm sitting by the hotel pool getting eaten by mosquitoes as I write, as it's the only place in the complex I can get decent wireless internet reception. (And yes, Dad, I'm using Roboform so no one can steal my passwords.) The advertised Internet Cafe just off the main lobby does not exist. Nor do sunlight in my room or clean carpets. Well, okay, the carpet is clean today. They must have sent someone to clean it after I complained about my feet sticking to it last night. Now, it's just wet.

But I'm here! I can't show you any pictures at the moment because my laptop suddenly doesn't want to read my camera card. But I will find a way tomorrow.

(Okay, it's a few days later. Here are photos of the hotel.)

It's 9:43pm Eastern Time. In just over 2 hours Ellen and Fran will be joining me. I called Ellen today. She was already in a bad mood over something that happened at school. We are off to a great start.

Marathoning for MortalsOkay, honestly, we ARE off to a great start. I'd been freaking out for 2 weeks about the weather as I watched the forecasted temperature in Orlando go up, up, and away for Sunday, January 7th. It's hot and humid and kind of stinky here. But my attitude changed this afternoon at the Marathon Expo as I listened to a talk by my hero John Bingham, aka The Penguin, and his wife, Coach Jenny Hadfield, the authors of the book, Marathoning for Mortals upon which I based my training plan.

The title of Bingham's talk was "No Need For Speed." He's a big advocate for the slower runners among us. (His catch-phrase is "Waddle on, friends.") First he asked, "How many of you have a time goal?" A couple of people raised their hands. He responded, "Are you nuts? You paid all this money and went through all this training to come to Disney World, and now you want to get through it as fast as you can? Most people who visit Disney World want to stay all day!" He had a point.

Coach Jenny talked about the the unseasonably high heat and advised as to slow down and drink plenty of fluids so as not to become severely dehydrated and die. She also advised us to eat some salt right before the race and around the 18-mile mark so as not to develop hyponatremia and die.

Afterwards, they stayed to chat with people and sign books. I was so excited to get my book signed, I was practically peeing on myself. Once again, I really had to pee! But I just had to tell them that Sunday is my 42nd birthday and my first marathon and that I couldn't have done it without them! They needed this information! The guy behind me in line was kind enough to take my picture with them, but as I mentioned above, this *#!@$%#^ computer will not read my camera card so I can't post it just yet!

Okay: Here are the pictures:

So here I sit in my room, using a dial-up connection because my computer battery died as I was sitting by the pool and I had to come inside to plug it in. My marathon clothes and gear are all lined up on top of the air conditioner in the bedroom.

I tried to take a nap after the expo today (since I have to leave at 11pm to pick up Ellen and Fran, and who knows how long they'll keep me up tonight). Valium helped me get about an hour of uninterrupted sleep, but then my cell phone woke me up. After that I had about another 2 hours of fitful, mind-racing madness until I gave up. I never get enough sleep on most ordinary days. Why should marathon weekend be any different?

At any moment I could burst into tears.

Okay, I just did.

Here are some things to know:

The marathon starts at 6am Eastern time. If you would like to track my progress during the marathon, you can sign up at Live Results to have an e-mail or a text message sent to you as I cross the mats at miles 5, 10, 13.1, 20, and finish line.

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

A long walk in the fog...

Getting lost is especially creepy on a foggy night when you can't even read the street signs. Creepy... scary... gooooood...


Sunday, October 22, 2006


Remember the last time I blogged about running? I hardly remember myself. Shin splints, knee problems, foot problems, attitude problems... Who wants to hear about all that crap? It's no fun to write either.

I wasn't writing and I was barely training. I tried a few times, and the shin said, "NO!" So for 3 weeks before the Nike Women's Half Marathon, I'd pretty much given up.

I had no business doing it. I wasn't prepared. I only got 2 hours of sleep the night before, and only 4 hours of sleep the night before that. I planned to just walk the damned thing since I'd paid for it, collect my T-shirt and jewelry, hang my head and go home.

But something inside me woke up when I got to Union Square at 7 A.M. and joined the other 16,000 women lined up in the dark and ready to go. Michael got up with me at that ungodly hour to see me off.

I planted myself in the back of the line with the other walkers and slowly inched toward the starting line (behind the thousands of "real" runners). It took 14 minutes to get up to the start. By the time my feet hit the mat, they were itching to go!

I ran!

I ran and ran and ran! For 2 miles, I was passing the walkers and passing the slower runners. I darted up on the sidewalk to get around people and practically muscled my way through. I told myself, "Beth, this is stupid. You're going to pay for it. You're going to burn out early." But I just could not stop! I HAD TO PEE REALLY BAD!!!

It sucks that I didn't have time to pee before the race started. At Mile 2, I stood in line for 10 minutes for a porta-potty and could tell that it would be 10 minutes longer. I took off running again, determined to hold it until I could find a shorter line. At this point, I also calmed down and forced myself to Run 3/Walk 2, which is still way more running than I had planned.

For the next 2 miles, I checked the porta-potty line at each rest station, but they all looked too long. No time to waste! I was moving and just didn't want to stop. The weather was perfect, foggy and cool, and the city was magical at that hour.

Finally, just before Mile 5, I waited in another line and relieved myself. A total of 15 minutes down the tubes just because I left the house 30 minutes later than I'd planned. Blech!

Well, I thought, why am I worred about time? It's only a race, right? So I turned on my iPod and took off to the BEST RUNNING MUSIC IN THE WORLD. It was fate or good karma or just the best luck that the day before I discovered my new favorite band: Tilly And The Wall.

Imagine running to: Rainbows In The Dark or Bad Education.

What's that interesting percussion instrument, you're wondering. Why, it's a tap dancer! That's right! I said a tap dancer. This group is so exuberant! Just thinking about them makes me smile!

Then, just past the Golden Gate Bridge, we start up the long hill to the cliffs.

My feet slow down.

The music slows down (Love Song)

The air is so clean it hurts.

And I weep. Just a little. This moment is just too perfect to exist.

Okay, but then the music pumps up again and my feet get going again, and we're at Mile 8 already and I can't believe I'm doing this!

This is it! The running is the prize! I can't believe it's possible to be so happy! And that the happiness has nothing to do with winning or beating anyone, although it is certainly nice that the mile markers are appearing so much faster than I expect them to!

Nearing Mile 10, my feet are beginning to lose the feeling of being feet. They kind of feel like stumps right now, stumps of non-specific pain. I'm running and walking on stumps of pain, and I don't care. Michael is going to meet me at the Cliff House and run/walk the last couple of miles with me.

Moving through Golden Gate Park, I switch to Walk 3/Run 2, and when I say run, I mean staggering shuffle. But look! They're giving out Ghirardelli chocolate, so how can anything be bad in a world like this?

Only about a half mile more, and I can hear the finish line calling me! It wants me! It wants me to come in under 3 hours. It wants me to get there fast! So I really start running again. I'm moving fast on my stump feet and the cameras are there and someone announces my name as I run over the pad and cross the finish line!

At the finish line, men in tuxedos hand me jewelry. Someone else gives me a T-shirt. Hands come at me from all directions with water and Jamba Juice and Luna Bars and even salad and rice! There's a massage tent and music and big crowds of people. Mark and Red are there to greet me and Michael, and we all get on a bus and go home.

Full Marathon, watch out because I'm coming for you next!!!

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Saturday, August 05, 2006

Soft Tissue

Link to Official SF Marathon Photos Here.

Writing from Ellen's computer in Bowie, Maryland. Spent the last 4 days at my parents' house in Beltsville and have used my dad's treadmill twice to get in my runs. The temp here is 80 degrees at 4 a.m. and into the hundreds during the day with sauna-like humidity. A couple of days ago we took a very slow walk around Greenbelt Lake in the afternoon. But running outside in this weather is out of the question.

Yesterday morning, I woke up with my right shin very sore. This is the same shin pain I've been writing about. So I made an appointment at Kaiser Urgent Care and went in for X-rays yesterday evening. Fortunately, there is no fracture, stress or otherwise. It's some kind of soft tissue injury. (What does that mean???)

The doctor advised me not to run for 6 weeks! Okay, that's not an option. Especially since nothing is broken or cracked. I'll continue my 1-2 mile baby runs until I see Matt Sheehy on the 11th and see what he says. In the meantime, I guess Advil will be my friend and running partner.

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Monday, July 31, 2006

Faster than ever!

I DID run faster than 10:40/mile. I actually ran 10:21/mile, my fastest time EVER! (Previously, my fastest 1 mile was 10:24 on the treadmill, and I couldn't keep up the pace after the first mile.) Here are the Official race results:

San Francisco Marathon 5K Official Results

Click here to see all the results of the Marathon races yesterday.

My inside right shin hurts this morning. Well, it's been hurting for weeks. So far, my knee has been just fine. I wish I knew what was going on with my shin. I tried to focus on landing on my midfoot yesterday, but maybe I'm still coming down too far forward. Or maybe there's really something torn and I need X-rays.

Another thing about yesterday: I forgot to smile. Usually, if I'm having a sucky time running, I'll smile, and somehow that fools my brain into thinking that I'm actually having fun. I forgot to do that yesterday. Through the whole run, I just wanted it to be over. I was soooo not in the moment!

Leaving tomorrow morning for Maryland. I'll need to get in 3 runs while I'm there. Hope the humidity doesn't get me!

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Sunday, July 02, 2006

8 Mile

You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime yo

Yes! One more mile! I was dreading this run because I'd have to do it while visiting my brother's family in Coalinga, CA, where the temperature is 105F during the day. I started at 5:45am to beat the heat. Will helped me map out a 4-mile loop, so I could come back to the house and rehydrate after the first 4 miles. I left a bottle of Gatorade in the driveway and chugged half of it down between loops.

The run was flat and mainly uneventful except for a couple of little yappy dogs that chased me home both times I entered my brother's housing development. They were cute but I had to slow down so as not to squish them under foot.

The air in the morning was cool and dry, perfect conditions for running. Afterwards, I stretched really well and then sat in the hot tub. I wasn't sore at all afterwards!

And speaking of water therapy, I'm going to try Deep Water Running. I bought an Aqua Jogger Friday but haven't had a chance to try it out. I'm hoping that running under water will help me strengthen my legs without excess soreness. Thursday, I ran in the pool at the gym, but I don't think it was as useful running on the bottom of the pool as it will be to run in deep water without touching the bottom. We'll see.

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Thursday, June 08, 2006

2 new runs and something for emergencies...

I just signed up for the Walt Stack 10K on Sunday, June 18. I'm scheduled to run 6 miles that day anyway, so it fits perfectly into my program. I think running with other people will help keep me motivated. This race goes along the SF waterfront from Hyde & Jefferson towards the Golden Gate Bridge and back. It should be nice and cool down there at 9am: good running weather. Anyone want to come and cheer me on?

Here's another event I would like to participate in for my birthday next year: The Disney World Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge January 6-7. The goofy part is that it's a half marathon on Saturday followed by a full marathon on Sunday. Why would anyone want to do something like that? All I know is that I need to keep setting goals for myself to keep going. Anyway, what have I got to lose but my registration fee?

And finally, just in case I take the Goofy Challenge and collapse along the way (or at any other time I am out running) I just ordered the RoadID Shoe ID tag. Yes, this is a happy shopping day for me!

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Okay I lied. Today was actually my first 4-mile run. But I can explain!

I found a terrific web site,, that allows one to map out a running route to the 1/100th mile, unlike Mapquest or maps (which I used to figure the distance of my routes last week and yesterday) which round off to the 1/10th mile. It shows both map views and satellite views. And you can draw anywhere on the map, not just on official roads. So you can cut across parks, parking lots, etc.

Here is the route I ran today: See, you can save your map in the database so that stalkers can find you when you're out running early in the morning by yourself! (I guess I should start varying my route.)

So anyway, using this new tool, I was sad to discover that I had underestimated all of my runs last week and yesterday. Stupid Mapquest! But today was awesome! The air was cool and breezy even though I didn't get out until 8:30am. In fact, the run was so easy that I realized I wasn't working hard enough. When I find myself daydreaming for half a mile, I think that's when I need to wake up and run faster.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

My First 4-Mile Run!

Yesterday, I did 3 miles at 10:20am and almost died from the heat on the way back. This morning, I did 4 miles for the first time beginning at 6:30am, and had one of the best runs so far! Of course, my mind was playing all kinds of games for the first half of the run. "Oh, you've never run this far before. What if you can't make it? What if you get out of breath? Can't you go any faster?" But I just smiled and focused on my breathing. In 3, out 2, in 3, out 2...

All way back, my quadriceps were hurting, but I just picked up the pace and ran through it with a smile. The air was cool, my breathing and heartrate were comfortable, and I didn't feel like I was going to keel over with a heart attack or pass out any minute. In fact, at the end, I felt like I could keep going! But I'm not allowed to. The creators of the plan I'm following are very strict about not doing more than the assigned miles each day, and I'm a good and obedient student.

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Beth comes in 8,632nd Place!

8,632 sounds pretty awful, until you consider that there were 40,000 registered participants and an estimated 62,000 total. I was worried I wouldn't come in under 2 hours. Look at my time! 1:35! Better than I thought!

I didn't run for 30 full minutes at any point during the race. I think the longest I ran was about 18 minutes in the very beginning. Then, I thought I ought to pace myself. I ran and walked and ran and walked the whole way.

I had planned to run the entire length of Golden Gate Park, but by the time I was there, my shoe was rubbing a painful blister onto the back of my ankle. It was a real mental fight. It didn't hurt as much when I walked, but it would take longer to finish. Running made my ankle hurt more, but the pain would be over sooner. Man, was I happy to cross the Finish Line and head for the Red Cross tent for a bandaid.

So one thing I learned from this race was that I ought to put bandaids on the vulnerable parts of my feet ahead of time, knowing that I am prone to blisters in those areas.

Another thing I learned is that oatmeal is a good thing for me to eat before a race. I had a cup of oatmeal and a mug of tea at 6:30am, and I never felt sluggish or nauseated or hungry during the race.

I think I'll make a list of these things that I learn as I go, and post a link to it on the sidebar.

Here's another thing: a new mantra. "Pain is just weakness leaving your body." Don't think about it too much or over-analyze it. It sounds good. I'm going to add it to, "I know I can do this!" and "Quit whining, Beth. You know you're not going to stop." Maybe I'll make a list of these as well.

What else about the Bay to Breakers? The rain held off for us. The weather was cool and slightly muggy. Michael ran ahead of me for most of the race but would stop and wait for me to catch up. He took a lot of pictures with a disposable camera. I'll post the rest of the photos, as well as the Official Bay to Breakers photo when I get it in a few days.

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Night before the first race...

Tomorrow (actually today) is the SF Bay to Breakers. After all this nice weather, it's supposed to rain! I went to Any Mountain today and spent a small fortune on super lightweight, breathable rainwear. The jacket and pants are so compressible, I can fit them into a pocket of my new butt pack. The fabric is some scary post-space-age concoction that keeps the rain from getting in while allowing the sweat to evaporate and escape. How do they do it?

We have to get up at 6am this morning, and it's already 1am. I've been up all night working on this running blog. Yes, I wrote all of it tonight and dated the entries in the past. But from here on out, the entries will be current, as they happen, real time baby! You'll feel the adrenaline! Taste the sweat! Smell the stinky gym clothes that have been in my backpack all day. It doesn't get any more exciting than this, people.

Okay, so the plan tomorrow is to run for the first 10 or 15 minutes. Then walk until Golden Gate Park, and then run for 30 minutes. I'm only supposed to run 30 minutes, according to my training program, but the problem is that if I don't want to be stuck in the back of the pack, I have to start out running to begin with. We'll see how it goes. I didn't run today or yesterday because I wanted to give my legs and knees a chance to really recuperate before trying this longer bit of running/walking today.

Okay, to bed. How am I going to run on no sleep? Oh, the way I always do. I MUST start getting more sleep and eating better! Okay, I'll worry about that tomorrow. Good night.


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Could I become a morning person?

Day 11 (Week 4): This morning I got up at 6:30am and ran to Berkeley and back before going to the gym to work out with Tuelo. The air was very chilly, and all I wore were shorts and a tank top. Once I started running, the cool air felt great! This, from a person who is always cold. The morning was beautiful. Spring is here, and after all the rain, the flowers around Oakland and Berkeley are profuse. I breathed fully.

I passed some people smoking and had a momentary feeling of superiority. Ooh. That's dangerous. I have my own bad habits that refuse to die. Yes, I'm doing all this running and exercising, but I still haven't gotten my eating under control. Believe it or not, in all this time, I have not lost a single pound. I must be eating even more than I was before I started working out.


Sunday, April 30, 2006

Running in the sun...

Day 10: This is the first day of running 20 minutes, 5 minutes walking, 10 minutes running, 5 minutes walking. Michael and I left the house around noon and sweated all the way to Mosswood Park and back. A gorgeous sunny day. Too bad we had to run in it. Too hot. No shade. I felt all sticky and yucky, and my fingers started to swell. (They always do when it's hot.) But what a good feeling every time I increase my running time and find that I can do it!