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, 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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Sunday, December 03, 2006

18 Miles! What's my name again???

Yes, I did 18 miles today (Walk 3/Run 1) in 3 hours, 57 minutes, and 45 seconds.

Here's the freakin' route:

Saw 2 dead deer at the side of the road.

Ran faster then I ever have in my life from an invisible man around Mile 15.

Lost my expensive custom-made sunglasses.

Can't imagine doing 8 more than this in a month. Trying not to think about it.

Got off BART at the end and couldn't remember my own name for a few seconds.

But then I got home and Michael fed me. It's our 2-year anniversary today. Going to go get in bed with him and forget about running for a while.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

16 Miles! A little fun. A little lost. Really cold and somewhat sore.

That about sums it up. Walked 3/Ran 1 all the way to Alameda (running through the Posey tube pretty much sucks!), along the beach to Bay Farm Island, around the island and back to Alameda and the bus:

Ran into an unanticipated fence in a deserted industrial park just as it was getting dark and had to backtrack and find a way through. That was between Miles 12 and 13 when it was getting cold and a little scary. What else can you do when you're so far from home but press on!

Did not stop for pictures along the way. No time! I wanted to maintain a 13 min/mile pace. But here are some pictures I took almost exactly a year ago when I was walking along the beach in Alameda. Enjoy.

Along the beach in Alameda

Along the beach in Alameda

Along the beach in Alameda

Along the beach in Alameda

Along the beach in Alameda

Along the beach in Alameda

Along the beach in Alameda

Along the beach in Alameda

Along the beach in Alameda

Along the beach in Alameda

Along the beach in Alameda

Along the beach in Alameda


Sunday, November 05, 2006

14 Miles today! (But I'll miss my boyfriends.)

For each of the last 50 days, Dean Karnazes has sent me a text message with the results of his daily marathon run. Today, at the New York City Marathon, he successfully completed his North Face Endurance 50, during which he ran 50 marathons in 50 days in all 50 states. His finish time was 3:00:30, which is pretty darned fast, but not fast enough to beat first-timer Lance Armstrong's finish of 2:59:36. Then again, Lance hadn't already run 1,283.8 miles in the previous 49 days, plus he takes steroids, so his time shouldn't count anyway. (Just kidding, Michael!)

So, no more phone messages for me from my boyfriend, Dean. And after Tuesday, no more phone messages from my boyfriends Bill and Al (Clinton and Gore, that is.) Until the next election.

If I'd known Dean was going to finish in 3 hours, I would have tried just a little harder today to complete my 14 mile walk/run in under that. I ran down to Lake Merritt (3.18 miles,) did 3 laps around the lake (3.15 miles each,) and then an additional 1.43 miles to the Lake Merritt BART station. I allowed myself 3.5 hours and finished in 3:02:08. I think the January 7 Disney World Marathon will be doable if I can just maintain my slow but steady pace walking and running and not injure myself again!

So what was it like running around the lake 3 times? After the first time, my legs were tired and I couldn't imagine doing it 2 more times. But I kept going and realized that while my legs never got less tired, they also didn't really get much worse. Also, I had some new kick-ass music on my iPod (Calexico, Okkervil River, KT Tunstall), so I focused on enjoying that and the great weather and ducks and people (a couple of whom I fantasized throwing into the lake, but that's another story) and just kept on moving.

I stretched all the way home on BART. I'll be curious to see if I'm as sore tomorrow as I was after the 1/2 marathon. I'm betting not.

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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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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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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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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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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!


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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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The REAL Training Begins!

I've finished the preliminary training program! This in itself is an accomplishment for me! I've completed the entire 7 weeks without missing a day. The next phase begins the Half Marathon training program... and the miles start to add up.

(See the Half Marathon Training Chart link on the sidebar.)

I'm feeling a little giddy and nervous at the same time.


Sunday, May 14, 2006

Last day at Santa Sabina...

Day 19 (Week 5): Once again, I get up at 6am and head out to run. 30 minutes this time. Yes! This has been the goal of the preliminary program. To run 30 minutes continuously! I've done it! I still have to do it 7 more times before I can begin the official marathon training program. 2 weeks of 30 minute runs 4 days/week.

Whether I make it to the marathon or not, this is an accomplishment! I may not save the world, but I can run 30 minutes without stopping! Woo hoo!