Sunday, February 24, 2008


For reasons that may have once been in my control but are no longer, I have faced a trying and tribulating and demotivating week. What seemed like a simple, shortened four-day work week suddenly sprouted heads (one for opportunity, one for failure, one for promotion, one for the status-quo, one for potential and another for heightening the bar without my consent). The modern warrior that I'm not, I picked up the sword anyway. What else are we to do in the face of a Medusa than to brandish wit, wisdom and courage and face it head on? (Or in the Medusa-nal case, non-eye line on).

And I lost. Twice, if not three times in my mind. You know the feeling when you are falling, and you think it is going to stop, but then you continue and your stomach drops a little more. I went through the mental version of that nausea.

So in the face of defeat I fall back on the one thing that I can control, that I am successful at: fitness. This week I tallied 31.4 running miles and 57.8 cycling miles. That total was bolstered by an Extreme Makeover: Exercise Edition of 6m-run and 20m-bike Saturday and a 10m-run and 18m-bike Sunday.

Both yesterday and today I took a new bike route that ran me along the LA River (read: concrete convex in the Valley filled with gray water, dead plants and probably some bodies...or body parts)

But the nice part about the path was its solitude. I could bike without traffic lights, cars or distractions. Just a nice straight shot southeast. At the bend, I turn onto Los Feliz Bld. and head back home along a slightly more populated Griffith Park route.

Anyway, as I was biking, I got to focusing on my exercise habits. Turns out -and this isn't an earth-shaking realization, mind you- that I use exercise as a means of exorcising stress. A lot of people do, so I won't stamp any sort of uniqueness on that. But what was interesting to me was 1) the introduction of Max the bike to my routine, and 2) the increased amount of time I have spent exercising the past two weeks. I've really started paying attention to chasing the high. I've added in extra runs before practices (both Saturday and Sunday). I squeeze in time before I go to work - to which I now bike as often as possible.

There is a level of sanity bought by these routines, yet, when the sanity is found in the exercise and not in the everyday, what is going haywire? I suppose it's not much to worry about. I love to workout, and it fits into my life well. I can go a day without it (I did on Friday!) and I have no trouble getting back on track. But until the rest of my world gets sorted out (if that ever happens, and I don't believe it will because things that reach an equilibrium are boring, no fun, un-complex), fitness becomes not only a means of passing the time, but it becomes a source of achievement with more importance that I have contributed to it in the past.

Wow, morose and melancholy, I know. My apologies, I just haven't gotten the chance to wax philosophic (or do anything of an intellectual nature, in a while). Good thing it's almost 7am and time to bike to work

TNT Race Report: Week 3

Rainy, cloudy, and everything that Southern California is not - that is what practice at week 3 (and the evening's Oscars Ceremony) held for us today. Despite the weather, a cheery crowd of do-gooder-athletes and non-athletes alike hit the pavement for five miles in Santa Monica.

Steph and I showed up early to the tune of 6:30am to get in 5 miles before the formal team run. Steph was assigned the walking group this week, so she wanted to get a run in. I enjoy running so I joined up. We ran south along Santa Monica into Venice and turned around just before the normal waterstop-interaction and Washington Boulevard and the beach. We wore plastic bags to keep out the rain, but my sleeves, tights and shoes were soaked by the storm.

By the time we got back to base, about 50 minutes later, we were cold and wet. I felt like that "what the cat dragged in" euphemism. Nevertheless, once the participants showed up, I was ready to go. The second 5-miler was really enjoyable. Got to chat with a lot of people in group two. Great to see such a positive outlook this early in the season. Helped that the weather cleared up too. By the end of the run, Santa Monica was sunny again.

Next week we are in the mountains. It's one of the more challenging, but most beautiful runs of the season. Pictures to follow next week!

Monday, February 18, 2008


Like sausage…but veggie friendly. Food for the mind:

The verdict is still out on this one…

Tuna Calculator …
Math to which I pay attention…

I am a Delta Silver Medallion Flyer…
First Class Exercising

Always good.

Fast Food
Insights into Marketing over at Mark’s Daily Apple

The Oscars are coming!
I could go for some salmon oscar with asparagus…

West Side!

TNT Race Report: Week 2

Will Stop For Water

Welcome to Wk 2 of the Summer Season! It began with a 7:30 role call for the mentors. We chatted and caught up with Rachel, Coach Chris, Kevin and Christy (CM and Coaches) about the day ahead. Broke into our mentors groups for the beginning of the session. I love my group! Enthusiastic and bright-eyed in the face of early morning runs.

During the running mechanics clinic, Coach Kevin had me, Craig and Bre run around for the group. As I am one of a couple resident White Kenyans on the team, we demonstrated what it looks like when you run with a footstrike that hits mid- to toe-side. Quick cadence, yes. Easy on the calves, no.

I was in charge of the water stop this week. Talk about ebb and flow. For 15 minutes I sat in my chair and rocked out to Amy Winehouse and JLo. All of a sudden, all 80 participants showed up wanting water and grapes. I did my best to keep up with the demand. Five minutes later...tumbleweeds. Well, not tumbleweeds...more like other single and pair runners. It was SO GREAT to see everyone midrun, enjoying the day and getting the miles in. From first to show up (Jen) to last (the walkers), it was a unique perspective of TNT that I hadn't seen.

Post-practice breakfast was really enjoyable as well. Had the chance to take to Jolene, who works with longshorement down in Long Beach (She was in the army and toured Iraq), and Maia, one of my mentors (who is a Yale Grad and Professional Violinist). AND THE HIGHEST FUNDRAISER SO FAR! Javier and Chris - watch your backs, this girl is a fundraising wizard.

Post-breakfast, I hit the road for some biking, but Max seems tempramental these days. Another flat thanks to a newly installed tire liner. Was able to replace, but seeing as the valve did not fit the tire frame, I could not use the new tube. Riding on the rim again, I made it back to the car with only 8 miles under my belt.

Monday was a day off, thankfully!! Started the day with eggs, coffee and an 8 mile run around the neighborhood. I thought I'd be lackluster in spirit because of the 15 miles on Saturday. But I was surprisingly spry! It was an enjoyable 8 that took me around Toluca and Burbank, past a lot of old, rich people carrying their garbage out or coffee back to their mansions.

Tomorrow I will meet up with fellow TNTer Allegra to host a mid-week run at 6:30AM down the road from my apt. It's a 30 minute run. I plan to run to and from the meeting spot, so I am looking at a solid 5 miles before work. I don't get any luckier than having motivation to get out on the road before getting behind my desk.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

What Running 15 Miles Feels Like

To a 10K-er, it's irrelevant. To a half-marathoner, it's an overacheivement. To the marathoner, it's almost a long run. To an ultra-r, it's a warmup.

Regardless of the mindset, 15 miles is a feat large enough to warrant the feeling of accomplishment on an otherwise ordinary weekend. So how does a 15 mile run work itself into the rest of the weekend? And how does an 8-miler follow so soon after?

Saturday morning: 3 eggs with salsa, a frozen waffle with almond butter.
Strap on an ipod, shoes and GPS watch. Take to the pavement/sidewalk/trail that runs parallel to the I-5 Freeway in Los Feliz.

It's funny. Sometimes I go out on a quick 3-4 miler before work ... and it can feel like hell. But after committing to the long run, the first 3-4 miles of it are easy-going. Amazing how attitude can set the tone.

(More or less, this is the run ... it's not marked from my apt ... better not be too careful. Don't know who's reading this)

After the first couple miles, I settle into a rhythm. The second half of the "out" part of this out-and-back is new to me. Running along the NE side of the park, there are tons of the golfers, bikers, and families out. Beautiful day, as most are is SoCal. 60 and sunny.

I make it to Los Feliz Blvd right next to the creepy children's train that, at night, probably looks something out of Something Wicked This Way comes, the movie that terrified me as a child...

At the turn around, I felt great. 7.5 miles seemed a breeze. I detoured a little bit from the road on the way back, choosing to jump on the horse trail and run on dirt to ease the stress on my legs.

To mile 10, I felt great ... and then things -as things always do- started to go awry. It started in my calf and slowly migrated to my left hip. It was the little critter that embodies pain and fatigue. Miles 14-15 were the toughest. The little bug was working against me. It was like he was doing his own demolition to my ball and socket hip joint. The only way I have found to get through these tough spots it to stare straight ahead and think of every step as one that is closer to the end. Sure, it's about the journey, not the destination. But when the bug comes calling, the end is the only thing that gets him to relent.

Tangentially thinking ... I've named my bike with the pertetually flat tire Max, and I consider the pains my lower body to be bugs of sorts. I wonder what mypersonification of these concepts means about my psyche...I do personify things a lot...Hmmm...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Weekend Warri-ing

Hang in there, and update is on its way...
Thank you, Job, for sucking up a lot of my time...
But atleast I get to bike to work...
When my tire isn't flat...
Again, hang in there...
Verbage coming soon...
And Happy Valentine's Day. :)

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Long Run, Long Time til the Race

Got up this morning and my enthusiam fluctated between being psyched to run and wanting to just hang out for the day. I am due for a rest day, which will not happen until Tuesday, but until then, I keep on pushing. Yesterday was long, with TNT Kickoff taking up my time from 6am til noon, and then the rest of my life occupying the hours between noon and midnight. I rolled out of bed this morning late, around 9:30am. It's the latest I have slept since before the Disney Marathon. Kind of nice to get 9 hours of sleep...

So after convincing myself to get outside in the drizzle and wind that SoCal has recently been harboring, I hit to road for 10 miles. Took a new route that edged the north and west side of Griffith Park. As I was running, I thought about my training plan and how this run specifically would help at Disney.

For the next couple of months, I will be closer to the end of my last Disney marathon than I will be to the Goofy Challenge.

So how do you workout knowing that what you are doing is so reserved and remote from what you will do on race day?

Well, I have a couple of answers ... or justifications, atleast.
1) Running, cycling and moving are a part of my life, just like brushing my teeth, washing dishes and doing the mundance tasks of my life. I make exercise a priority...maybe too much and its something I am working on...but nevertheless, it is close to the top of my To Do list all the time.

2) Base training is crucial to exceling during the race. If I don't create a strong foundation of ability at this point, I won't be able to build upon it. If, by June, I can run a 9 min/mile for 10 miles without really exerting myself, I am setting myself up for victory.

3)Lastly, my training for Disney coincides with other events. Between now and Goofy, I have a fair amount of races notched on the belt. These take a slightly less importance of course. I am very excited to run my mentees in during San Diego, I am psyched to see Alaska, and I am going to have a wonderful time with Amie at Disneyland. But when it comes down to it, that second week in January, I get to run a half marathon with my Mom. And that is irreplaceable in itself. For 13.1 miles, its just us and the pavement (and 15,000 others) just making it through. We've both worked hard for that moment to come, and it will manifest itself in a memorable 2 hours. And as a celebratory gesture, I will run 26.2 miles the next day. Crazy, fun, magical and everything I can imagine it to be.

So 48 weeks out from the Goofy Challenge, I still have motivation. For whatever challenge you are chasing, I hope you do to.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

TNT Race Report: Kick Off!!

And here we are, back for another season of Team in Training. Showing up at the kickoff event at 7:15 this morning made me realize how much I have missed the constant companionship of my teammates on Sundays over the last couple of weeks. Thankfully, through the building of a balloon arch and a morning spent cheering on new participants, those relationships have undoutably resolidified.

So for for next 21 weeks, I will be training for the Mayor's Midnight Marathon in in Anchorage, AK. Contrary to the name, it is not a race held at midnight, but rather on Saturday, June 21st at 8am. It's the summer solstice, the longest day of the year ... and in Alaska, that's a long day.

I can't wait to develop a friendship with my mentees (code word for the group I am assigned to mentor). The four I met at kickoff seem very nice and very enthusiatic about the program. Hopefully this is an indicator of things to come.


Since I have acquired Max The Bike, I have become slightly addicted to biking. I have an addictive personality, meaning that I myself am not an addictive substance of sorts ... no, what I mean is I become addicted to things easily. I laser focus on a single goal or idea and I run with it (pun sort of intended. it was a spur on the moment pun). On Thursday and Friday I biked to and from work (about 5 miles each way). Today, Saturday, I ran 5 miles then completed a 10 mile cycle loop to and from work. And I'll admit, I stopped by my desk at the studio for 45 minutes to take care of linger "To-Do" list things.

I think the bike is really going to increase my fitness without stressing my legs. The 35+ miles a week were tough to get in, but with a bike, I can scale back to 25-30 miles/week, and add 20-30 miles of biking without really compromising my time or my physical abilities. Cycling is streamlined and aerodynamic. While it still takes a lot of effort and can be quite a workout on my legs, it feels much better. I don't lose the aerobic workout with the sacrifice of running.

So anyway, get a bike. That's my advice. But enough musing for now.

Tomorrow is a long run day. I am shooting for 10-11 miles down in Santa Monica followed by a 60 min (maybe 15 miles??) ride around the city and the beach. Another thing about MAx, he makes me appreciate the beautiful scenery and weather of So. California. Every day I miss New England in some way ... but each day I am also reminded of the things that keep me out here... 3000 miles away.