Tuesday, June 20, 2017

June 2017

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

Much has changed since I last posted…. and much has stayed the same. As for what has stayed the same: I still believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. I still believe my husband is the hottest thing on two feet. I still believe Michael Jackson is the Greatest Entertainer Who Ever Lived! And I still believe the only real athletes are Runners.


I have developed a pretty serious love affair with a bike. My bike! I bought a bike! Her name is Felicia and I *LOVE* her!!!

But we’ll get to that in a bit. Cuz that’s a pretty big change and deserves its due.

Now…. To the Run!

I have maintained a steady flow with Running over the years and I still enjoy it tremendously. I have discovered that I have come to love it more as I’ve gotten older and I found myself wondering why that might be. I certainly have NOT gotten any better at it. I am still super excited with a 12 min/mi pace and I’m pretty content with running 13 miles… Or less. The 10 Miler is still my favorite distance. I am not at all tempted by the Marathon. Maybe later.

These days, running is more about maintaining balance. I fill my body with poison every day and willfully knock everything off kilter! Running keeps everything in its proper place.

Just keeping my body moving on a regular basis cuts down on side effects and improves cognitive function. I find myself letting my mind wander at about the 2-mile mark. This is when the run gets really fun for me. I parse through work issues, home issues and review inner monologues where I discover that I would be absolutely in the right to fly off the handle over a perceived injustice! Then, by the time I get to mile three, I’ve reasoned that there are almost always two sides to every story and remembered that “A gentle answer turns away wrath”.

So trust me, running is much cheaper than therapy and it keeps me from sockin’ people in the face. It’s a good thing.

One thing that has changed is that I almost never run alone anymore. I am a pretty anti-social person and an even less social runner. But about two years ago, I was really feeling like I needed a change. Even though I know it is completely against my grain, I prayed and asked God for the patience to join a Running Group.

Of course, God knows me better than that. He didn’t grant me patience (Thank God, I don’t have time for Patience!). Instead, he blessed me with these ladies.

This is my Running Crew: Sue, Sarah, Lina and the pup is Lily. They keep me going and make running not only fun, but a necessity. And they are exactly what I needed. They are all much faster than me. So even though, technically, I run with a group, I am almost always running alone. And that works out just fine for me. They are sweet, wonderful and expert Mimosa makers. Our runs frequently end with a refreshing libation. Cheers to you Ladies! I love you.

Now!! What’s this nonsense about a BIKE?!!

Yes, I have always held to the notion that bikes are for suckas and cyclists are the nasty people cluttering up my Running Route.

But wait! As I mentioned previously, there are almost always two sides to every story! What if Cyclists *aren’t* fallen angels, sent to earth to corrupt and shame? What if Bikes *aren’t* death traps and a direct result of The Fall?

What if they are wonderful? And liberating? Dynamic and stimulating? What if they’re a sh_t ton of fun???

Turns out they are all of that and more. They are a community of lovely people: Moms, Dads, Professionals, talented, gifted people. I could not have been more wrong about the thrill of bikes and biking. I brought Felicia home about a year ago and cannot imagine life with out her.

Not only have I fallen in love with my bike, but I’m in love with this rag-tag buncha misfits!

We bike on weekends and I look forward to every ride. They are a mixture of elite, intermediate and novice riders. Riding has improved my running by giving me practice at pushing past the point of exhaustion and that is tremendous for a runner.

I have been so blessed by the experience and I take back everything I said about bikes.

As for more change, I now have another man living in my house! My sweet Jordan graduated from Middle School earlier this month. Look at these handsome men! At times I am staggered by how much they have grown and matured and become such manly gentlemen.

They have been friends since they were in Elementary School. They have grown up together, played sports and learned what it is to be a Man through the loving guidance of their Moms and Dads. I am so proud of these fine, strapping young men.

This is a pic of those same “Men” playing in a public fountain after Graduation. Ah, well…..
I still love ‘em and I’m blessed by them every day.

So, that’s what I’ve been up to over the last couple of years. I am still running regularly. I have come to love cycling and working out in groups. Something I swore I’d never do. I spend most of free time in running gear or biking jerseys. This is what I look like when I’m not running….. Always with a book.

See you on the next run!
And as always….. Get your Mammogram!

Friday, July 24, 2015

July 18th – 21st, 2015 – 7.43 Mile Run & 3.04 Mile Run

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

I really have been meaning to write for months. I just haven’t been disciplined enough to make the time. But now I feel like I really need to get a goal posted!!

The Santa to the Sea Half Marathon is screaming towards us! December is just around the corner! A friend of mine, running genius and personal fitness consultant, Kim Melvin, gave me a Half Marathon training schedule. It’s about 12 weeks, which is typical, and seems quite doable.

I have never actually followed a training schedule when I was training for a Half. I just built up the miles and ran it! It seems to work for me. My position on running is that I’ll do it for as long as it’s fun. Once it stops being fun, I’ll stop doing it.

Once I discovered that focusing too much on speed robs me of the joy of running, I switched my focus and the joy returned.

Because of this, following a set schedule seemed like something that might rob my joy as well. But I can’t be sure until I try it. Maybe it will enhance the experience.

Ideally, I would run with friends. Running with friends helps with motivation, of course, but I’ve always been a rather solitary runner. For several reasons: (1) I run when I feel like it. Most times running with a group means I have to get up at the crack of dawn to meet them and I *really* hate mornings. (2) Speed has never been my main focus with running. Strength and endurance have always been the focus for me. Frankly, I don’t want to slow anyone down. If get up in the morning to run with a group that is faster than me, I end up running alone anyway. Might as well sleep in and run alone later, right? (3) I am just not a social runner. Even when I do run with others, I tend to have my headphones in and I almost never talk to people while I’m running. The only exception I can think of is my brother, who cracks me up so much during a run, I can hardly breathe. And (4) having a young family and working full-time means I am with people almost constantly. Alone time is a very rare commodity and running is my alone time. Just me and Michael and the open road and a bottle of pepper spray. Bliss.

If it seems like I’m making it excuses, I may be. I don’t know. I’ll have to try it and see.

First, I’ll have to adopt a schedule. Kim’s is awesome. Here it is:

Second, I’ll needed to find a group to run with. This came to me out of the beautiful blue. By the beautiful blue, I don’t mean the sky, I mean the Facebook blue.

Lina, a runner friend of mine posted that she was in search of someone who wanted to get up at 7:00am on Saturday to run 7+ miles with her.

As you all know, I am a person of Faith. I had been praying for the discipline to get up early to get the serious miles in. My relationship with God is very long-standing, so I have no idea why it always surprises me when He answers my prayers so swiftly. One must be careful what one prays for.

So up I got at 6:00am, so I could fuel up and leave for the agreed upon meeting place. A park, about a mile and a half from my house. A mile and a half is a perfect warm-up so I set out feeling pretty good.

When I got to the park, Lina wasn’t there yet, so I took the time to stretch and breathe.

When she showed up, looking cute and sweet and super fast, we exchanged pleasantries, briefly shared expectations (Me: Feel free to pull ahead. I am super slow and getting faster is not the goal for me / Lina: Ok, cool. Let’s go!) and hit the road.

It was a route that I am very accustomed to. I was very comfortable and the pace I kept was Half Marathon pace for me (about 12:30 min/mi).

This run was all joy. I hope we get to do it again sometime.

So! Now that I have a schedule and a friend to train with, I should be ready to go! Right? RIGHT!

I’ll keep you posted!

May 21st, 2015 – 3.04 Mile Run

This was just a maintenance run. Tuesday was calls for 3 miles. I did 3 miles. Doing 3 miles is fun. There’s not much to say against a 3-mile run.

It was humid but breezy. I ran it right after work and I didn’t take the time to fuel up properly or even hydrate appropriately. But it was 3 miles.

Three miles to an experienced runner, is like a Chocolate Labrador puppy. It’s smart, unintimidating and… cute.

See ya on the next run!!!

Monday, March 16, 2015

March 15th, 2015 - 3.07 Mile Run

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

This was just a regular maintenance run. There was nothing particularly wonderful about it. It was a little slow and it had been a little too long since my previous run, but I had to get this one in.

Today was the L.A. Marathon. I wasn't running it, of course, but I was there in spirit, as I knew a few people who were taking it on.

Lately, running has become more of a mental thing for me. I often find myself wrestling internally.

Should I go? I should go. I'm bummed because I can't go! Look at that lady! She's going! Wish I could go. I should have gotten up early to go. I'm not getting up early to go. No one's paying me to go. It's too cold to go. It's too dark to go. It's too hot to go. When should I go???

The obvious answer to these questions is forever and always "JUST GO!"

That is the challenge this spring and summer. To just go!

The biggest challenge will be working in a run while I'm taking care of these folks.

It may mean that the next few months will be about speed. Not because I want to get faster, exactly, but because I won't have much time to get my workouts in. I will try to keep my sessions under an hour.

This is an interesting challenge for me. I would very much like to PR in the 5k this year, but I can't help feeling a little lame for registering for a 5k. It may sound a bit snobby, but it's not just me!!! I know several runners who won't waste their Race Fees budget on 5ks. Not only that, the last time I did a race and I was stressed out about it because I felt like I hadn't trained well enough, the general consensus was "It's just a 5k. You're an experienced runner. You don't need to train, just go out and do it."

And they were not wrong!! My fitness is certainly at a level where simply finishing a 5k is a matter of course. But finishing well is not to be taken for granted.

I think for this reason, the 5k gets kind of a bad rap. My mother-in-law actually said to me once, "I didn't think you bothered with 5ks anymore."

The sad truth is , part of me wants to be seen this way! Like some racing badass who's too good for a measly 5k. But I know better. I know that I could spend the entire summer trying to PR in the 5k, and fail.

Yes, I would consider 3 miles a short run. Still, an experienced runner always respects the distance.

So that's the plan this summer. Lame or not, I will be on the watch for interesting 5 and 10k races.

And maybe a Half in the Fall. Sound good?

See you on the next run!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

March 8th, 2015 – UCLA Move and Groove 5k

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

It has been quite a while since I’ve posted but I have been running with some regularity. I have to confess that my running schedule has taken a serious hit over the last few months.

For some reason, I thought that when my children got a little older and more independent, I would be able to do my own thing more often.

That has not been my experience.

Aside from the figurative chess match that Chris and I have to play with Jordan to anticipate his next move so that we can thwart it, his social and overall extra-curricular activities keep us pretty busy.

He plays flag football with the Y and he’s a force to be reckoned with, I must say. Also, he is on the relay team for Junior Olympics as well as the softball toss.

Oh wait! Why yes, I did say the RELAY TEAM!!!!!

I seriously don’t want to overstate it, but this may be the best thing that has ever happened to me. Like, Ever!

I know, I know….. This is Jordan’s thing and I certainly don’t want to get in the middle of it. But I have always (since Junior High) *LOVED* track and field!!! I was never a superstar by *any* means. But I was reasonably good at hurdles and long jump.

I was *NEVER* fast enough to be on the relay team!!! So when Jordan made the team, I was ECSTATIC!!!

But I have to keep that under wraps. I don’t want to stress him out. Don’t want to put pressure on him. I will be happy with whatever he does, but OMGoodness, if he wins, I will lose my mind!!!

I problem is, I’ve never seen him in this kind of element. I’m not sure where to place my expectations. Should I expect him to blow everyone away? Or should I just be satisfied if he doesn’t flub the hand-off or drop the baton? Or Heaven forbid, step out of his lane!!!

So more often than not, I find myself just trying to be the encouraging and supportive Mom.

This takes a lot more time than you might imagine. Jordan keeps us pretty busy, but hang on! His is not the only “game” in town! We also have sweet Jayda, who is in Tech Week for the Spring production of “Beauty and the Beast, Jr.” She has two parts. She is a Silly Girl and she is a Napkin for the “Be Our Guest” number. Well obviously, this is the social event of the Season and is not to be missed!

Look at my babies!

And now, On to the Run!.....

This run was, as are most of them, very important to me. It seems that ever since I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer almost 2 years ago, every race is a milestone and a BIG deal!! Perhaps I should have always thought them big deals, but I didn’t. They were a matter of course for me. Taken for granted. I will never do that again.

This race was a good one. I was happy with this race. Ever since I underwent surgery and treatment, I have been trying to get back to what I called “My Old Self”. I feel like I have fallen short quite a lot frankly and for a number of reasons.

I have been on a chemical therapy drug called Tamoxifen for about a year now. There are several side effects that would affect an athlete: Elevated blood pressure and heart rate, blood clots, cramping in the feet and calves, dizziness and fatigue are just a few. Let us not even talk about mood swings or my menstrual cycle!

Fortunately, for me, these side effects have been pretty manageable but I can’t say that my running schedule has not been affected. But I don’t know that I can blame Tamoxifen for all if it.

My cancer story started in my 40th year. The 40th year is when things typically start to change for most people, healthy or otherwise. So I can’t be sure if I am more fatigued or if I can’t run as long or as fast or if I just don’t feel like gearing up, is an effect of Tamoxifen or just getting old!

I had a hard time training for this race. Finding the time was difficult, but even when I had the time, I found myself completely unmotivated.

Every time I did muster up the spunk to go out, I felt like a bona fide badass!! So running still holds its charms for me and the high is still a high.

With all of that under my belt and in my head, I set out for the Campus of UCLA. The Start Line was in the Wilson Plaza, off of Kauffman Hall. It was a beautiful day.

And here I’m thinking: I am under trained and ill-prepared. But I’m here. And when you’re at the Start Line, there is no complaining. There is no whining. There is no griping about what you could’ve, should’ve or would’ve done. It’s too late for that. All that matters now is the Finish Line.

So I got myself checked in and I still had about 15 minutes before the gun was due to fire. So I cranked up some Michael Jackson cuz he still gets me pumped and ran a quick ¾ mile just to get myself warmed up.

By the time I was corralled and swaying to the National Anthem, I was warm and ready to go!

It was a beautiful run. Hilly but not insane. I have absolutely no tolerance for hills so I was not at all surprised that Mile 2 was most challenging for me. Here are my splits.

All in all, a great run for me. Even at the top of my fitness, this would not have been a PR for me, but I would have been happy with this pace on a hilly course.

For the first time since I was diagnosed, I consider myself completely recovered. Completely. Recovered.

Say it with me: Completely. Recovered!!!

And for the first time in a very long time, I feel like an athlete.

See ya on the next run. And get your Mammogram!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

December 14th, 2014 – Santa to the Sea Half Marathon

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

This entry has been a very long time in coming and I am so so *SO* grateful to be posting it!!!

As you know, a year and a half ago, I was diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS). The last 18 months have been about figuring out just how bad things were, what to do about it, doing something about it and recovering from what was done about it.

It has been incredibly rough. Not just physically and emotionally, but mentally as well.

Along with my awesome family and wonderful friends, running remained a constant companion. Even when I couldn’t sit up by myself, let alone walk across my room, running remained very close to my heart and waited patiently for me to return, much like a devoted lover.

My actual devoted lover is also cool. This guy’s my hero! This is us, lookin’ fly (Yeah… I said “Fly”. I’m a proud child of the 80’s. Gnarly!) at our Company Christmas party a few weeks ago. *KISS!!!*

He did one of the most loving things he could have done for me. Upon guessing and stressing about what I might want from Christmas, he asked me, “Do want to do a Half Marathon for your Christmas gift?”

Just like that! Like it was a matter of course that I could train ….. And finish!

I was glad that he felt so confident. I sure didn’t. I hadn’t run more than 6 miles since I was diagnosed. But once my registration was paid (Thanks again, Babe!! <3), that had to change. So, I started running. And running. And running. I ran in the morning. I ran in the evening. I ran on my lunch break, to the apparent chagrin of my co-workers! This is me after a lunch break run, supremely unconcerned that I must reek to the heavens!!

But that’s ok. I was in training. Training for myself. Training for Survivors everywhere. Training for everyone who’d been bullied by something they couldn’t control. Training for the Half Marathon. Training so I would know, really know, that Breast Cancer hadn’t beaten me.

And I did it! I finished!

It was not pretty. Actually the first 10 Miles were rather nice. It was really chilly, but one of the side effects of the Chemo (Tamoxifen) is hot flashes. So I was quite comfortable in a running tank and some thermo sleeves.

This is me with some Muddy Dragons. I ran into a whole adorable group and they were quite bundled up. Aren’t they cute?

Now, off to the Run….

Like I said, it was quite chilly. And were shuttled to the start. This is me on the Shuttle.

This was a little surreal for me. Actually surreal. The first 6 miles went by like a dream. A really pleasant, highly effective dream.

This whole race was more of mental thing than anything else. On some level, I’d kinda talked myself into not being affected by it until I’d finished the first half.

Because once I got through Mile 7, it was actually possible that I might finish!! Especially if I felt good at Mile 7.

And I felt GRRREAT!!!

Still, I knew that Mile 10 is usually when I hit The Wall.

Mile 10 came and went.

I still felt great. I’d refueled at Miles 4 and 8. I thought it might be wise to consider refueling again at the 11.5 Mile mark.

Then right as I passed the 11 Mile Marker, I hit The Wall. Hard.

But it was ok. Honest.

I expected to hit The Wall. It was comforting to find that I could push myself to The Wall. And keep going.

And keep going, I did.

My pace faltered about 15 seconds, but it never stopped.

This is me…. At “The Finish”. And it truly was the Finish. The Finish of me feeling like I’d never be the same again.

Friday, August 22, 2014

August 17th – 23rd – 6.56 Miles Total & A Swim

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

If you speak with me for more than 5 minutes, you will learn 5 Things About Me:

1) You will learn that I believe Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world.

2) You will learn that I believe my husband is the sexiest man alive.

3) You will learn that I believe my father is the best pastor in all the world. No offense to any other pastor. My Dad’s just better

4) You will learn that I believe the only real athletes are runners. Everybody else is just playin’ with their balls.

5) And you will learn that I believe that Michael Jackson is THE GREATEST ENTERTAINER WHO EVER LIVED!!!!!!!

You will learn these things because I am passionate about them. Therefore I am always talking about them. Seriously, don’t get me started on my husband! Or my Dad! Or Michael Jackson!!!

But we’re here to talk about running.

But just wait! I have to tell you! A friend of mine won at auction 8 (count them EIGHT!!!!) Limited edition Michael Jackson Lithographs with certificates of authenticity!!!!

And he just GAVE them to me!!!! I couldn’t believe it!! When his wife (my good friend Cynthia, who I used to work with many moons ago and who is also a survivor. Diagnosed at about the same time I was) showed up at my door with this TREMENDOUS gift, I screamed so loud, I triggered a hot flash!

I *love* them!!!! Can’t wait to get’ em all framed!!

Now, off to the Run.

August 17th – 3.51 Mile Run

This was a BEAUTIFUL run! I was visiting my in-laws in Camarillo and on the way to their house, Chris dropped me off 3.5 miles away from the house and I ran it in.

Camarillo is a Runner’s Paradise. Always temperate. Wide, smooth sidewalks. Miles and miles of running trails. Beautiful homes in quiet neighborhoods. Well lit streets. Very little crime. And hills.

Lots and lots of hills.

But there’s also the agriculture, so if you’re looking for something flat and easy on your knees, run the beautiful strawberry fields. It’s lovely.

I took my time on this run. It felt great. The only problem I had with this run is that it wasn’t long enough.

August 19th – 3.05 Mile Run
This was a regular Maintenance run. Nothing to report, really. My legs felt heavy after the hills of Camarillo, so I was just happy to get out there and get the miles in.

August 21st – Swim

I usually track my distance but I didn’t this time, so I’m not sure how many laps I did. I met my friend Kathy at the pool. She is training with her family for a Tri next month. She’s awesome! I have no idea how she got her entire family to train with her!! She’s my hero.

I am still dealing with shoulder impingement issues, so swimming is a little rough for me but it was great to be out there and I plan to do more of that!

I love Kathy!!


About socks: Do you always wear socks when you run? Ever since I started wearing Under Armors, I stopped wearing socks, they feel so good on my naked feet and I've never had any issues with blisters. I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with running without socks, but for some reason I tend to think running without socks is something only naughty girls do.

I still tape my toenails on long runs, though. After all, a Pastor's Kid must have *some* decorum! And I'm not hardcore enough to not care if I lose toenails!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

August 11th, 2014 – 3.30 Mile Run

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

This was just a regular Maintenance Run, except I got to take my BIG Boy with me!!!! It was so fun!!!

For me…. Not Him.

He’s grounded. I won’t go into the details out of respect for my little man, but it was enough to generate some residual consequences and repercussions!

Usually this means he has to go running with Mom! Mom *loves* having Jordan as a running partner. He really is the greatest. I have a mad crush on him and for the moment, I’m faster than him, so he stays with me the whole time.

One day very soon, he will overtake me and I will be thrilled to pieces. But for now, I have to slow my roll pretty significantly if we’re going to actually run “together”.

Anyway, he hated it. It took us an hour to complete the 3.30 Mile loop. I had to wait for him to catch up many times. During those times, to keep my heart rate up, I would dance to whatever jam was being pumped into my brain.

But then when he caught up to me, he had to dance vigorously with me for at least 60 seconds. Often longer. He had to shake the hips, raise at least one hand and sing at least one refrain… Loudly.

We sang “Hungry Like The Wolf” by Duran Duran, “Roar” by Katie Perry, “Kokomo” by The Beach Boys and a myriad of Michael Jackson Tunes.

And we don’t live in out in the country. We live in the decidedly middle-class bedroom community of Simi Valley, where people walk their dogs, ride their bikes, visit parks and run on the streets. So we had an audience for most of our performances.

It. Was. AWESOME!!!

His humiliation was just so….. Delicious!!!

Don’t get me wrong, I want my son to behave properly in all situations, but if he’s going to act a fool when he is away from home, then he’s just going to have to dance with his Mom on street corners. It’s unlikely that I’ll ever get tired of it.

And the lesson is: “If you don’t behave in school, instead of making your own rules, you will spend the rest of your life being told what to do. And sometimes it’ll be humiliating.”

That is solid parenting! I love my boy!!!