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 25, 2006

Against All Odds...

I completed my 7-mile run today, and it wasn't bad! I hadn't run at all since the 10K last Sunday. The blister was too raw for me to run all week. So I used the Stairmaster at the gym twice and apparently that (and all my previous training) was enough. I ran from home to Berkeley, around the UCB campus, and back. ( There were several steep hills, but somehow they did not daunt me. I just kept reminding myself how much fun it would be to run down the other side.

Maybe my body appreciated the rest this week because I ran today without getting very tired. It wasn't exactly easy, but there were parts that were totally fun! And, once I started, there was never a moment when I doubted that I could and would do it all.

Discovery: Clif Shot Mocha Energy Gel is vile! I brought one with me to refuel after running for an hour (just like they tell you to do in all the books!) I ripped open the packet with my teeth and sucked the thing down like a pro. And gagged. A nasty glop of sticky glumpus that made me feel like I wanted to hurl. Having nothing would have been better than this. Blech! There's got to be a better way!

Oh, one more thing! I found out that my 10K time last week was actually 68:54, not 71 minutes as I thought. I placed 140/150 overall and 42/50 women. I was faster than I thought and I didn't come in last! There's something to celebrate! Tuelo was the #3 woman and received a 3rd place ribbon. And she was disappointed in her time! She thought she should have done it in 42 minutes rather than 44. Everything is relative, isn't it? Here are the complete results that I copied from the Yahoo Groups posting: Stack 10k Results.htm

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Damned Right Foot

A Souvenir from Walt Stack 10K Feh! Trying to remove the blister bandage Monday night, I accidentally ripped open the blister, and this is the result. Ouch!!! I tried to do my 3 miles on the treadmill yesterday at the gym, but every step felt like I was stabbing my foot with a sharp knife. After 7 minutes of torture, I switched to the stairmaster, a non-impact machine which, according to my training manual, is the closest thing to actually running. (The up and down stairmaster, not the moving stairway.)

When I got back to the locker room and took off my shoe, I saw the source of the pain. Even though I had covered it with a large bandage the night before, the blister had leaked all the way through and soaked my sock pink! GROSS!

So I won't run my 4 miles today. I'll wait and hope and pray that it is healed enough for me to run tomorrow. Have to remember to buy Preparation H. Yes, believe it or not, the book says that it is the best cure for blisters.


Sunday, June 18, 2006

My First 10K & Yet Another Pair of Shoes

Walt Stack 10K finisher's ribbon Well, I completed my first 10K race. My time: 71 minutes (11:27 minutes/mile) Surprisingly, I don't feel elated. I think it's that even though I ran further and faster than I have to date, I was way, way slower than most of the other runners. I'm trying not to compare myself to them. Trying very hard to focus on my own personal goals. But my competitive spirit does kick in. I'm not used to being worse than most people at anything. In my marathon training book, the authors stress that the important goal for the first time runner is to simply finish with no thought to time.

The run was hard. The weather was warm and there was no shade. The course was mostly flat (except for a hill at the very beginning and very end) and very straight with no twists and turns to break up the distance. I felt like it would never end. My friends who came with me, Katy Johnson from Aunt Ann's and Tuelo from the gym, past me early on (along with most of the other racers), and I was alone. Then, I caught up to a middle-aged man running fairly slowly and kept pace with him for the rest of the race.

Running back during the second half, he talked to me and encouraged me. He said, "If you can run a 10K, you can certainly run a half marathon." I said, "But I haven't run a 10K yet." And he said, "Yes you have! You've already done it!" (There were 2-1/2 miles left to go.) He kept breaking it down for me. "Only about 13 more minutes. You can do anything for 13 minutes." And "Just 100 steps to the top of the hill. By the time you count to 100, we'll be at the top."

I didn't tell him until after the race that for the entire second half I was running with a huge blister on the instep of my right foot. I guess I felt that if I didn't mention the blister, the pain would be less real. Or something like that.

I blame the blister on running in brand new shoes that I bought yesterday. I know you're not supposed to run a race in new shoes. They must be broken in. But the old ones (which are only a couple of months old!) were killing my toes! So this is my 3rd pair of shoes since I started running: New Balance 1122 Motion Control shoes. Size 8-1/2 D. That size was wicked hard to find. You should see these things. They look like Frankenstein shoes... flat on the bottom for major stability. My feet are so deformed!

Now I'm feeling tired and discouraged. I want to keep going. I will keep going! I just ran 6.2 miles in 71 minutes without ever stopping to walk! Come on, Beth! Suck it up! That's an achievement for you! Maybe I'll feel better tomorrow after lots of sleep.

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Friday, June 16, 2006

My hero

Sharon leaving for AIDS Ride This is my friend Sharon. She just got back from riding 540 miles from San Francisco to L.A. during the week-long AIDS Ride. She is often my inspiration while I run. I tell myself, "If Sharon can pedal up and down hills for 10 hours one day and then get up early the next morning, pack up her tent and camping gear, and ride for another 10 hours and then do it again day after day for a week, I can put on my shoes and run a few miles."

Like me, Sharon was not a jock when she started. And like me, she is not a youngster. She was just a person who enjoyed riding around on her bike. (As I was a person who enjoyed taking long walks.) Then, she decided to commit to this huge goal, not only riding 540 miles, but also raising thousands of dollars for AIDS organizations. She put her mind to it and trained and trained and finally, she did it. There were pain and some tears, she told us at her Welcome Back party Tuesday night, but somehow she just kept going.

You can read about Sharon and the ride in her official AIDS/Lifecycle blog. You can also still make a contribution in her name.

One thing Sharon and I talked about Tuesday night was the mystery of how we keep going when our minds are fighting us and just wanting to stop. I found this passage in a book I'm reading, The Runner's High:Illumination and Ecstasy in Motion, in which Sara Rufner describes this phenomenon perfectly:

"I want to stop, oh, I want to stop like nothing else, but the steady shush, shush, shush of my feet on the pavement and the cadence of my breath in out, in out, in out are like a song that never ends. Inertia, I think. I am the ball in motion that stays in motion. I keep going. I keep going. I keep going."

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Kitchen Surgery

First, a bit of logic: This blog is about running. Running is a physical activity performed by the human body. Some things about the human body are gross. Therefore, some things written in this blog are going to be gross.

Here is one of them: remember the bruised toenail? Well, after doing a bunch of research on the web this morning, I found out that the pain is caused by blood built up under the nail and that the only way to stop the pain is to relieve the pressure. Several people suggested "drilling" a hole in the nail with a hot needle or other sharp implement. I tried that, but some instinctive force of self-preservation (or just general wimpiness) prevented me from pushing hard enough to actually make a hole.

So instead, I took a nail clipper and just started digging under the nail and clipping away at the nail and the flesh until suddenly, oh my lord, out spurted a light red geyser! They were right! So I made the hole a little bigger and then squeezed and sqeezed (yes, it hurt) until all the liquid was out. It wasn't actually blood but kind of like the liquid inside a blister mixed with a little blood. Afterwards, I disinfected it, put some antibiotic ointment on it, taped it up, put on my running shoes, and did my 4 miles. It's an hour later, and the toe is not even slightly sore. Yay for information on the internet.

Tomorrow, I'll work on the left toe.


Sunday, June 11, 2006

Who ran 5.2 miles today???

I did! I did! I ran down to Lake Merritt and then around the lake to 19th Street, where I walked to the 19th St. BART station. It was a cold, overcast day... in other words, great running weather. But by the time I got off BART, I was freezing, so I ran home from BART!

Here is my route:

Lake Merritt was fun with all the other walkers and runners. My right ankle bothered me for about the first 2 miles, but by the time I got to the lake, everything was loosened up and I was pretty much pain-free.

Pain-free except for a couple new problems that have developed with the added miles:

1) Toe-nail bruising (see photo)

bruised toenail

My shoes must not be wide enough because both of the next-to-last toes on each foot are sore and turning purple. All the other toes are fine. I think I'm going to try another running shoe store next Sunday after the 10K and see what they say. It'll be a good time to go, after I've been running for an hour. (Okay, more than an hour, but who's counting?)

2) Underarm chaffing. Yes, it's gross. (And just be grateful I'm not posting a photo of that!) But at least I haven't yet experienced the dreaded runner's nipples yet. The solution: slathering myself with Body Glide before running from now on. My co-worker, Katy, swears it's a runner's best friend. Better, anyway, than Vaseline.

All these lessons to learn! What a great new obsession! I feel fabulous!


Friday, June 09, 2006

This is why I hurt today!

This is why my arms and shoulders hurt:
forearm plank position
Forearm Plank

This is why my sides (obliques) hurt:
sideways forearm plank position
Sideways Forearm Plank

This is why my hamstrings and knees hurt:

forward lunge
Foreward Lunge

single leg squat
Single Leg Squat

I did my 3-mile run this morning, and it was hell. I need to sleep! I wake up every hour with wacked out dreams, sweating like a pig, and can't go back to sleep. today, I give in. I took a hot shower and some Advil and some Valium. I'm hoping to sleep for 12 hours tonight.


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.


Sunday, June 04, 2006

A minor setback...

Well, this is the first week that I have not completed all four runs. Thursday, after my successful and exhilarating 4-mile run, I went to the gym for a little Tuelo punishment. I think she was mad that I cancelled last Tuesday because she about killed me. Had me do deep lunges all round the gym (think Ministry of Silly Walks) alternating with reps of The Mountain Climber exercise. Notice that this is one they do in the military. I always thought she'd make a good drill sergeant.

Afterwards, Friday, I was so sore and stiff, I could barely move. Yesterday (Saturday) was not much better. I debated whether to run yesterday. I consulted many sources on the web, and they all seemed to agree that exercising very sore muscles does more harm than good. I was disappointed that I wouldn't get in my 4 runs, but I also didn't want to set myself back even further with an injury.

So, I skipped my 3rd run this week (the 3-miler) and did the 4-mile run this morning. My legs were on fire, especially my right shin. And I felt like someone had turned up gravity: my run was so slow and just seemed like it would never end. The first part was slightly downhill. I dreaded the return, which would be uphill. But surprisingly, my legs hurt less coming uphill than down. That was a relief. Still, my mind was screaming with thoughts about how I ought to stop at 2 miles, and then after I'd done 2 miles, how I ought to stop at 3. All the way, I heard these thoughts and didn't stop. I was miserable and kept going anyway. Every minute that I didn't quit was a small victory. Looking ahead to the marathon, I can see how it might be a series of small victories to the finish. I'm certainly training the mind as much as the body.


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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