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Date: Tuesday, 01 Jun 2010 10:51
This is one of the funniest Saturday Night Live Skits I've seen. Justin Timberlake is priceless.

Author: "GB (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Saturday, 22 May 2010 18:12

Without a doubt this is the most life inspiring, save the world inspiring, never give up on humanity inspiring story I have ever read. It's about former pro NFL player, Kermit Alexander, and how he lost the family he loved at the hands of the one kid he didn't have time to help, and how he turned the rage inside him into a vow to never turn his back on another troubled child. It's about how he went from telling God to pound sand to letting God back into his heart, and it's about letting go of the hate and moving forward. If this story does not move you, I don't know what will! I hope you find time to read it.

Author: "GB (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Tuesday, 20 Apr 2010 17:57
In the spirit of short race reports, I ran a 5K for the first time in 12 months. Last year I ran 21:45 which was 1:35 slower than my PR. Today I ran 20:27, so a little bit closer to my PR but still have some work ahead of me. Nevertheless, it feels good to be healthy again. It was a fun race, flat for the most part and a fairly fast course. One of my teammates won the overall 5K title AND the Mens Masters Division in under 16:00. I won the female masters division, and was 4th female overall. There were 1281 runners. The trophies are beautiful (and I won a little cash, too). :)

Splits: 6:24, 6:38, 6:36, & 6:11-pace for that last, torturous .1.

Happy with the race and can't wait for another 5K next Sunday. 
Author: "GB (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Wednesday, 14 Apr 2010 21:54
So there are some big differences as to how I'm training this year versus the prior years. One difference is I used to race workouts, hammering 10 x 800s, or 10 x 1 mile repeats or 16-20 x 400s, but I'd only be running about 45-50 mpw.

This year I've been running my quality workouts based on the total amount of mileage I run in each week. Currently I run less than 70 mpw (actually right now just 50-55). So as an example, if the workout of the day called for 2 x 800 followed by 3-5 miles tempo followed by another 2 x 800, I would only run 3 miles tempo in between, whereas someone running 70-90 mpw would run 4 and someone running 90+ mpw would run 5.

I've running 50-55 mpw since mid December with the exception of cut back weeks, during which time I cut ALL runs by 15-20%. I've had a few weeks at 60-65, but by accident. My plan is to not jump up to 60-65 mpw consistently until after the Spring road races are over and I have the summer to rededicate to aerobic strengthening before Fall races. But I digress.

Let me get to my last 5 workouts and how they make me feel right now. I'm going to babble about a few things intermittently, so forgive me. :)

Workout 1:  4-6 x 800 at 3K effort w/ 400 jog recovery. So, based on my weekly mileage I ran 4. My 3K effort is somewhere around 6:15-6:20/mile which translated to about a 3:07-ish to 3:10-ish 800m repeat. I nailed the workout and felt like I could have done at least one more (although I certainly was glad I didn't have to).

Now here's where that bolded word "effort" comes into play. It's not so much about the pace because I've never actually raced a 3K; it's all about the EFFORT... in other words during the repeats I asked myself, "Can you really sustain this effort over the distance of 3K?"  I knew within seconds of asking what my answer was. "NO."  So how did I respond?  I SLOWED DOWN, even if just by a few seconds per mile.

This is a huge, huge difference from the way I used to train. Last year I would overreach on almost every workout. I would usually aim to run according to goal pace and not my current fitness. And I know without a doubt that this is why I ran absolutely crappy races last year and why I got injured in late '08.

Workout 2:  2 x 800 @ 3K effort, 3-5 miles tempo effort (based on my mileage I ran 3 miles), 2 x 800 @ 3K effort, all with 400 meters jog recoveries. You know what my current 3K effort hovers around, and currently my tempo effort is about 6:57-7:15/mile. Last year I would aim to run faster than the lowest end of the spectrum. As a result I would finish each workout feeling like I had just raced. Bad, bad, bad. And as a result of that, I wouldn't race well on race day.

Anyway, I stuck with the theme of "can I sustain this effort over that distance in a race," and when I was honest with myself I nailed the workout feeling spent but not like a race hero. Perfect!  Why? Because I want to be a hero on the actual race day!

Workout 3:  2 x 6-8 200s w/ 100 meter jog recoveries. (I ran 6). 400 jog between sets. 1st set @ 3K effort (about :45/200) and the 2nd set at 1500 effort (about :40/per 200).  Listened to my inner pacer and nailed the workout, again. And 200s are fun, by the way!

Workout 4:  3-4 x 1600 at 5K effort w/ 800 meter jog recoveries (you guessed it, I ran 3 reps) + 4 x 200 @ 1500 w/ 200 meter jog recoveries.  This workout was WAY harder than I thought it would be because I had to do it on the treadmill (childcare issues). But as a comparison, the last time I did this workout was also on the treadmill and I overreached so much that I had to cut each repeat short and only ended up doing 3 x .75 miles.  I did not make that same mistake, and although I was exhausted because of the heat in my house and the whole dreadmill thing, I had a great workout. It was a real confidence boost for me.

Workout 5:  In prep for a 5K this weekend, today's workout was short and sweet. Just 4-8 x in/out 400s (I ran 4 based on my mileage). This workout means run 400 @ 5K effort and 400 @ 20 seconds slower in one continuous run - no breaks. NAILED IT!  And it felt like good, solid work, but not a race. I was so excited because about a month ago I did this workout and could not maintain the 20 seconds slower. I was way, way slower on those 'outs' because I ran the 'ins' way, way too fast.

Anyway, the point behind this long winded post is this (as explained by a trusted advisor)...
Running at attainable paces/efforts allow you to walk away feeling like you can do more, which over time results in knowing you can do the workouts, so less stress. Therefore, your focus becomes the races.

Feeling or thinking you're going to miss splits has much to do with overreaching in workouts. This means you are probably trying too hard to hit workouts or splits that are over your head which makes attaining the workout hit and miss, none of which bodes well for your confidence. As a result, you go in to your races full of doubt. 

Why, oh why, had I not followed this philosophy years ago when I'd first learned about it?  Because I was greedy and I wanted to be fast RIGHT NOW.  I didn't want to be patient.  Getting injured forced me to be patient and to rethink everything.  It was probably the best thing that could have happened to me and my running. I still have lots of goals to meet but the big difference now is the most important thing (to me)... the process in working toward those goals is the actual goal.  There's no reason I can't work at honing my daily training skills. That means training within my abilities and not overreaching (except maybe on race day). And then... let the chips fall where they may at the races.
Author: "GB (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Friday, 02 Apr 2010 16:12
It feels like it's taken me forever to feel confident as a runner again. 2009 was just crazy. I never felt confident in my training or racing. It was like I was going through the motions and never showing up at the start line feeling that my work was done and the race was the reward. 2010 is just over three months old and I am feeling so strong and really happy about my running, training and racing.

I spent a lot of the last 12 months incorporating things into my routine to strengthen my feet, ankles, lower legs and hips... all the places where I seem to have 'problems' whenever they crop up. I am an true believer in Magill Drills, the Myrtl Routine, dedicating at least 10-14 weeks to aerobic base building, running on soft surfaces whenever possible, and running hills whenever possible.

Anyway, in the past month I have partaken in a couple of activities I have not done in quite a long time. It has been 7 years since I last did BAREFOOT STRIDES on the grass. It has been about 7 months since I last ran long on hilly trails. My lack of confidence in '09 prevented me from doing these things. I just didn't believe I was strong enough.

On Monday after doing an easy run with Magill Drills, I did just 4 x 100 barefoot strides on the same grassy field where I did the drills. I was a little apprehensive at first, but as soon as I hit my full stride, it was the most freeing, exhilarating feeling I'd had in so many months. I flew.  My feet and legs have never felt stronger!

And yesterday I got the privilege of running some hilly, rocky trails in the San Francisco Bay Area. It was such a switch from the flat canals where I run all the time. Talk about exhilaration!  It was so fun to run up steep grades, to pay attention to my footing when coming back downhill, to leap over big tree stumps, to run through mud, to run over rocks and have to really watch my foot strike over them. Trail running really makes you stay in the present. What a gift.

God willing, I will continue to get stronger as I run more. I hope you all do, too!
Author: "GB (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Sunday, 21 Mar 2010 15:54
I ran a 12K in San Francisco today and when I ran it last year, I was in horrendous shape and the course ate me alive. Back then I ran the 7.46 miles in 55-1/2 minutes or so.  This year I wanted to run it in the range of 52-53 minutes. Ideally closer to 52 than 53, but I knew I'd be happy with anything in between. I finished officially in 52:51, which is a 7:05 avg. pace. Not bad for me considering the course and my fear of it.

The first 4 miles is hilly with a good, steep uphill climb to the Golden Gate Bridge, and good, steep downhills onto Crissy Field. After that, it's all flat to the end and this is where the race really picks up. Last year it was where I slowed down to a jog!  Ha!  But I did okay this year.

I wish I could use my Garmin pace as my official "pace" but I didn't run the tangents perfectly so all it tells me is how fast my legs moved. Running outside of the tangents gave me a 7.57 mile race. :(  It was too crowded to get into that ideal position every time. Anyway, the Garmin recorded an overall pace of 6:59, based on my ineptness at tangent running. Ho hum, too bad it doesn't count as official but at least I know my legs are moving faster!

My splits were:
6:43 (nice 1/2 mile or so downhill, just wanted to find some kind of groove before I hit the hill)
7:59 (crazy steep and long uphill climb, just told myself to get up the hill one knee lift at a time)
7:03 (recovered on the Golden Gate Bridge, felt pretty good)
6:15 (did I say there was a good steep downhill?) I literally reminded myself not to fly down the hills with each step I took
6:52 (I guess this is where my race began)
6:56 (this is where I was starting to fight the heavy legs and started the self talk w/ "I'm strong," "I love feeling like I'm about to puke," "Don't even think about giving up," "Stick with those two women right in front of you," etc.)
7:01 (oh yes, struggling to get to the finish line; major self talk -- "Relax," "Breathe," "Hang on," "Almost there," "Do not let go of them!")
4:01 for the last .57 (which is about a 7:02 pace). I was breathing out of control in the last 1/2 mile because it's another steep climb (at least it's a short one) followed immediately by a super steep downhill. I think I was actually wheezing!

All in all I'm happy about this race. I felt blessed to be able to push my body to its limits again, and to see the beautiful views that surrounded me. I highly recommend racing in San Francsico... it's really amazing!
I think if the course were nice and flat, or had little rolling hills I would've been able to run 51-52 minutes instead. I hope to run another 12K in April... so maybe I can redeem myself a little more.

Thanks for your time! :)
Author: "GB (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Saturday, 27 Feb 2010 21:38
This morning I ran my first race of the year -- an 8K aka 4.97 miles. It was my first race after a dedicated period of winter strength building via easy to moderate runs, moderate fartleks and moderate sub-lactate threshold running. "Moderate" meaning nothing heroic. I've also been doing running-centric drills every week, and running hills at least once a week (even if it's a treadmill hill simulation). Basically it has been a winter of just logging miles, and not even that many!

Since December 13 I've been running between 50-55 mpw with very regular cutback weeks (in the last month, every other week was a cutback week). When I cut back it is by 15-20%. I think I was just getting bored with running 'easy' all the time, and not doing anything fast. I was getting to a point where all the easy miles started to feel tedious. Mentally I was ready for a race.

On Wed., Feb. 24, I actually ran my first 'speed work' session since early December. It was 8 x 400 meters at 3K effort (about a 6:26-6:30/mile pace), with 200 meter jog recoveries. It felt great!  I was happy with that workout after doing nothing speed-oriented for so many weeks.

I've been reading Running Within again because in the last week I'd been feeling a teeny bit anxious about racing. All of 2009 I was never 100% fit or healthy for any race. I always felt like I was just racing because I felt like I had to, but I never felt really ready for any of the races. But before this race I felt ready. In fact I am feeling the strongest I have felt in over a year. So the last few days I'd been telling myself, "You're ready," and "time to put your hard work to the test."

Knowing that this race was going to be a test of my fitness, I relaxed a bit. I also reminded myself to not focus on the outcome, but to focus on the things I could 'control,' like my form and relaxing my body on the run. I also visualized a plow tearing through the dirt smoothly and without any hiccups. I had no goal time.

My goal was to run controlled but 'fast' through the first half, and then pick it up as much as I could the rest of the way, and really go all-out in the last mile, completely dropping the hammer in the last 1/2 mile.
Whether or not my splits reflected that goal (they didn't), I still ran at such an effort that it FELT like they did!

I ran the tangents perfectly for the first time ever. My splits were 6:27, 6:44, 7:01, 7:13, then 6:37 for the last .97. I did not panic when I saw that first mile, I just kept telling myself to 'relax' and 'just go with it.' I did, however, panic a little when I saw that 7:13. This is when I had to make good on my goal and just give it everything I had in that last mile. .97 miles never hurt so much!

My friend and I ran the race together the entire way. I am not kidding. Side by side, neck and neck. Every now and then we'd be a step or two apart, but always ended up together. After the 4th mile marker, I started to give up mentally and literally told her, "Go get that girl." There was one female ahead of us. We were going for 2nd place (and third).

My friend then started to take off, but then I told myself, "No. Don't let her go. Hang with her." It hurt, but I held on. And then I began to pray. And then it happened.

I reminded myself to relax, I reminded myself to let my skin and muscles hang off my bones, and I visualized the plow. All of the sudden I was able to pick it up and run smoothly through the pain I was feeling. And man, was it PAINFUL. The good kind of pain, not the injury kind. I was ahead of my friend by a couple of steps over the last 1/4 mile. I could hear her breathing right over my shoulder. I knew she was coming on fast and I also knew she was hurting as much as I was. I could practically touch our pain.

Finally we had about 150 meters to go and I felt the lactic acid throughout every inch of my body and it HURT! Hurt like a Mo-FO!  I am not kidding.  But I kicked as hard as I could (which probably looked like a jog) because she was right on my hip. I ended up beating her across the line by literally one or two steps. And then I almost went fetal on the ground. I was hurting so badly.

Here we are just moments before the finish. We never caught the gal ahead of us. She finished 20-seconds ahead. I was 2nd female overall, first in 40-49 age group, new 8K PR of 33:50 (previous PR was 34:06). My time on the course last year was 34:49. I'm very happy with my first race of 2010, and really thankful to God.

Afterthought:  When I started to pray right after I 'gave up' and told my friend to go ahead, I also remembered that I have to work for what I pray for!  Maybe that's what kicked in the extra gear for me. :-)
Author: "GB (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Friday, 26 Feb 2010 19:51
I don't even know if anyone reads this anymore, but that's okay. I feel like blogging today. It's been about 11 weeks since I started the Strong Like Bull Winter Training and I feel pretty strong.  I have a race tomorrow to test my fitness and I have to admit I'm nervous. It's an 8K (just under 5 miles) and I don't really know what my goal for it is except that I want to give it at least 95% (that will allow for some relaxation on the run). I would rather run relaxed than rigid!

I haven't been blogging because there's just not that much to write about. I've been busy reevaluating my life and my goals (outside of running) and weighing all my options. Do I want to go back to full time police work? Do I want to go back to school and get my Masters? Do I want to do a triathlon (haha). I feel like I'm a teenager again, trying to figure out what direction I want to take in life. Is this 'mid-life crisis?'  Ick.

At least the family is good!  It's Lent (I'm Catholic), and I'm not really sure that I'm the fasting-from-certain-food type of person. I just love too many kinds of food. So... I'm just trying to avoid actions, thoughts, words, etc., that drive a wedge between me and God. I'm just trying to live the way He wants me to;  with joy.

I found this short prayer the other day from Thomas More: "Give us the grace, O Lord, to work for what we pray for." Those words hit me in the heart!  I want to earn God's blessings, and not expect them.

Okay, I guess I'll come back tomorrow with some kind of race update. Or maybe not. ;)
Author: "GB (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Monday, 18 Jan 2010 16:32
Earlier this month in the town next to mine two firefighters were very seriously injured after they fell through the roof and directly into the heart of the fire. Thankfully they survived, but not without a really big scare. And one of the firefighters just regained consciousness, but is still unable to talk (too much damaged to his throat). Needless to say, both firefighters suffered major burns all over their bodies. 

Today there was a blood drive in their names. People came out in droves!  It really was wonderful to see the community come together for this... even in sideways rain and wind gusts up to 40 mph. At least the blood drive was indoors. :)

So... I ate a good breakfast. Skipped the run in the morning in order to get to the blood drive on time. There were so many people that I was not able to donate until 2 hours later!  That's okay, the waiting was worth it. Somebody's life might be saved because of my donated blood.  The hard part was AFTER.  I felt a little woozy while 'recovering' for the required amount of time. I ate some snacks and drank 16 ounces of juice. But while riding in the car on the way home, my head felt weird and I wanted to hurl my guts out.  Even though it was raining hard and super windy, I had to have the car window all the way down.

Here I am four hours later and the nausea is still here, just not as bad. Very strange.  I had planned on running at least an hour today (actually two hours, but I know that's not going to happen). Now I don't even know if I'll survive an hour long run at this point. I might have to skip it all together and just double up a few days this week to make up the lost time. 

I haven't donated blood in over 6 years. I don't remember ever feeling so nauseated afterward. Oh well, at least now I know how I'll respond in the future. Even though the aftermath did not feel good, I will donate again. With all that's going on in the world... the war, the devastation in Haiti, and local public servants putting their lives on the line, the least I could do is donate a little blood to help my fellow man!  

Godspeed, friends!
Author: "GB (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Friday, 01 Jan 2010 17:19

My Base Building schedule courtesy of Asics Aggies and Joe Rubio. Joe calls this "Strong Like Bull" training.
This is to get me in shape for Spring races which are shorter in duration (5K to 12K).

50-70 mpw schedule. I'm currently at 50-55 by taking one day off from running per week (usually Tues or Fri) and doing one double (on Wednesday). By late February or early March I will be at 65-70 mpw.

Sun: 1:30-2:00. Easy first hour, moderate last stages if first hour feels easy.
Mon: AM: 50-60 min easy to moderate + 8 x 80-100m strides, + light form drills (specific to motion of running). PM: Core work (myrtl routine, push ups, sit ups, pull ups, supermans, squats, and the like).
Tue: AM: 50-60 min easy to moderate. PM: weights (if I do any... very light and no longer than 15:00).
Wed: AM: Fartlek work with 20-30 min warm up and cool down. PM: (optional run) 25-30 min easy to moderate. + Core work.
Thu: 75-90 min. in hills if possible (I do this on a TM due to no hills). Last 40-60 min @ roughly 80% of race effort (i.e.: about 60-seconds slower than 5K). PM: weights (very light and no longer than 15:00).
Fri: AM: 30 min easy to moderate + 8 x 80-100m strides + light form drills (specific to motion of running).
Sat: AM: Tempo work (about 7-9 miles). PM: (optional run) 25-30 min easy to moderate + core work.

Moderate should feel like a steady state run...a decent but not heroic effort!

Examples of fartlek work: Keep the initial "ons" moderate and controlled which is why the recoveries are so short, so you don't go out too hard. Start all at the lower end of the tempo effort scale and finish the last few at a decent but not heroic effort.

Option 1: 4-6 x 5 min on/1 off. Ons at MP effort or 80% effort (60-sec less than 5k)
Option 2: 6-8 x 3 min on/1 off. Ons at tempo or MP effort.
Option 3: 12-16 x 60 sec on/ 60 sec off. Ons at 5K or 10K effort.

Examples of tempo work: Same thing here, start modest and end decent but very controlled.

Option 1: 7-9 x in/out miles. Start w/ warm up mile, then 1 mile tempo, next mile 60 seconds slower - back and forth continuous run (no breaks).
Option 2: 3-4 x 2 miles w/ 2-3 min. recovery jog, or 2 x 3-4 miles w/ 4-5 min. recovery @ MP or 80% of race effort (60 seconds less than 5K).
Option 3: 6-8 mile progression run. Start at 60 seconds/mile slower than 10K and run each successive mile 5-10 sec/mile faster than the previous.

NOTES/PERSONAL OPINIONS: I'm now in my 4th week of base building and my base phase will be about 12-13 weeks. The first week felt a little challenging, the 2nd week felt kind of challenging but not as bad, last week felt like good, solid running. This week I feel even stronger than last. I'm now increasing the time on my feet to the longer side of the prescribed runs and will add another double next week. I still like my one day off though.

By running by time I find I get MORE mileage out of this body than running by miles. I don't know, it might be psychological or something. Instead of thinking "I HAVE TO GET 10 MILES IN" I think "I just need to run for 75-90 minutes," and before I know it I've got 10 without any pressure. I like that.

I hope your winter running is going well!
Author: "GB (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Wednesday, 30 Dec 2009 15:29
I have to warn you, it's not rated PG. More like PG-13 due to language. But it made me laugh so, so, so hard. Please watch it and I really hope you laugh as hard as I did. I hope to God I never become "Joe."

Author: "GB (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Wednesday, 16 Dec 2009 15:06
Author: "GB (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Monday, 14 Dec 2009 22:15
I got talked into running the Christmas Relays in San Francisco yesterday. Had not planned on running but I really love my running team and adore the girls who wanted to run, so I jumped in on the relay with them. It was coooold and it was pouring rain for my leg. We each ran one 'lap' around Lake Merced which is about 4.5 miles around. What a great place to run! I was soaked and tired from the CIM Relay last week, as well as from a lot of sub-lactate threshold running in the days between. But I did my best with what I had and was happy about it. My overall time for the 4.47 was 30:50. I felt really challenged in the last 3/4 to 1/2 mile and was breathing really heavily when I crossed the finish line. I need to get back into aerobic shape! That will come in the next few months. Anyway, ran another 'loop' for cool down. Good times!

I don't know how our team did. Our men's team of 4 won the entire thing! Sub 5:00mpm for all of them. We were short one woman so one of the guys ran a 2nd time on our team. What a trooper, and he had just run a 2:28 marathon last week. I tell you, that's love of running right there! Here he is with our team mate and my youngest son.

So now I lay low as far as any 'racing' goes, and I build. I am so excited to get this 'work' done. I will be in good shape come March (knock on wood), where I will seek redemption at the 12K Across the Bay. Earlier this year that 12K was my first real race after the injury... and it was horrible. If I don't improve upon it in '10... I quit!!!

2009 is coming to a close and what a year. I have never looked so forward to a coming new year as I do right now. I feel like a new person and in a sense, I am.

Here's what I saw on our way home from the City yesterday. Gorgeous! Full of HOPE. :)

Author: "GB (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Saturday, 12 Dec 2009 10:16
When I was a kid I suffered a horrible thing for quite a while. I was a victim, but I survived and here I am as a grown woman. No longer a victim but a survivor. That does not mean I am over it. It means that I have to get on with my life. Although what happened to me was something I've never repressed or forgotten, it's something I've never talked about or acknowledged out loud until recently.

Basically I lived most of my life pretending to be somebody else. And the pain of pretending just grew to be unbearable. By holding it all in my body started to suffer. My relationships suffered. The stress, anger, sadness and regret of it all started to make me feel physically unwell. When I realized that the people I love the most did not know ME for who I really was, I also realized that I needed to tell them. I needed them to know me, whether they wanted to not. I knew in my heart that being honest and real was the way my relationships would thrive, and not just survive. And it is the same with me... I want to THRIVE not just survive.

So I told each one of my siblings and my parents. (My husband knows and is my rock, no doubt about it).

After telling them I felt a sense of lightness and freedom that I had never, ever felt in all my life. For the most part, they've been supportive. But I still don't really know how to be myself around them. And I don't think they know how to relate to me anymore. I still feel the need to be something I'm not in order to stay in contact with them, and that stresses me out and makes me pull back from them. So I guess that puts me back into survival mode and not thriving mode. That's not good.

As time goes by I realize the pain, anger, sadness, stress, regret, etc., is all still inside me. This is where I acknowledge I need some outside help in order to thrive. I do what I can on my own to make me feel better. I run (that's a huge help), I spend time with my husband and children, I see friends whenever I can, I pray, I read the Bible. But I need more help.

So how am I going to get it? First I have to acknowledge some things. Foremost, what happened to me was in NO part my fault. None of it! Secondly, I don't have to have had a life like everyone else and yet I am still a good human being. I can also triumphantly say that the trauma stopped and ended with me.

How I wish the person who did this to me had made it stop and end with them. I am working on forgiveness, though. I don't have to be around this person, I don't have to associate with this person, but in my heart I feel I have to forgive this person in order to move on.

I'm getting some professional help, too. I guess I'm sharing this because I have HOPE, which is such a good thing. If there's one thing that anyone gets out of reading this, I hope it's that you will always have hope.
Author: "GB (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Tuesday, 01 Dec 2009 16:54
I always have the weirdest dreams before I run marathons, and I'm probably not even going to run the full marathon on Sunday. Just part of it. Anyway, last night I dreamed that I was driving in the darkness, but it was daytime. There was a fierce storm and the clouds covered the sky. It was literally black in my dream. I could see the rain on my windshield, and there was lightning in the distance that would sometimes light the road. But it was extremely difficult to see and I kept straining in my seat to improve my field of vision. Finally more lightning, but I did not hear thunder. Despite the lightning and despite it being daytime, I was still driving in the dark. And then I entered a tunnel and I lost all light, even from the lightning. But then I started to see light at the end of the tunnel (I kid you not).

As I drove through the tunnel it was broad daylight and I could see the road, but it was pounding furious rain and visibility was still poor. I decided to get off the freeway but in my dream I felt the need to head north. I couldn't see the freeway off ramp sign clearly but I thought it said north so I took it. And as I got onto the off ramp I realized I was headed south. I panicked but kept driving.

I suddenly found myself on this very narrow road made of large river rock. They looked like small boulders. I was in my SUV and my windows were rolled down because now it was super sunny and warm, and not raining. The sky was bright blue. To my right was steep hillside and to my left was vast ocean. Between me and the ocean was a small concrete curb, like the height and width of a parking space barrier. I did my best not to panic because I knew that one odd bump or slightly wrong turn of the steering wheel, I'd be under water.

And then I looked to the right and the steep hillside was COVERED with seals. Yes, the kind you find along the ocean. They were moving about, but very quiet. I was shocked in my dream. I could not take my eyes off them. But as the road got bumpier and the rocks got bigger, I realized I had no idea where the road was taking me and I told myself that I need to back out of there onto the main road. I threw the car in reverse and looked at my driver side mirror, in my rear view mirror and over my right shoulder. All I could see was ocean, curb and seals. It felt like the seals were at the level of my car windows and practically jumping in. But they did not harm me. I thought I saw teeth on some of them, but I don't think they were trying to bight me.

Anyway, just as I was getting onto the main road again where it widened and leveled out, my dream ended.

So much symbolism if you believe in that kind of thing. Sometimes I do. I looked up the following things on a dream analysis website: darkness, tunnel, lightning, rain, north, south, sun, sky, rocks, ocean and seals. And here's what those symbols might mean. I found it interesting.

Darkness: To dream that darkness comes upon you, signifies failure in some work that you are attempting. Darkness is synonymous with ignorance, the unconscious, evil, death, and fear of the unknown. If the sun breaks through the darkness, then you will overcome your failures.

Tunnel: To dream that you are going through a tunnel, suggests that you are exploring aspects of your unconscious. You are opening yourself to a brand new awareness. Alternatively, it indicates your limited perspective as in the phrase tunnel vision. Are you being close minded or narrow minded in some issue?
To see the light at the end of a tunnel, symbolizes hope. You will be able to navigate through life and all its difficulties with great success. It may also indicate the end of your journey or goals.

Rain: To see and hear rain falling, symbolizes forgiveness and grace. Falling rain may be a metaphor for tears, crying and sadness.
To dream that you are watching the rain from a window, indicates that spiritual ideas and insights are being brought to you awareness. It may also symbolize fortune and love.

To dream of the direction north, symbolizes reality. It also indicates that you are making progress and moving forward in life.

To dream of the direction south, indicates life, expectations, and questions. Alternatively, it may symbolize love, passion and warmth. Or it is an indication that a plan has gone awry.

To dream of sunshine, indicates that you are experiencing some sort of emotional or situational breakthrough. The dream is offering you reassurance and that you are headed on the right track.

To look up at the clear blue sky in your dream, denotes hope, possibilities, creativity, peace and freedom of expression. Consider the phrase "the sky's the limit." If the sky is cloudy and overcast, then it foretells of sadness and trouble.

Rocks: To see rocks in your dream, signifies permanence and stability as expressed in the familiar phrase "as solid as a rock". It may also indicate that you are making a commitment to a relationship. Or you may be contemplating some changes in your life that will lay the groundwork for a more solid foundation. On the other hand rocks may also symbolize stubbornness, disharmony and unhappiness.

Ocean: To see an ocean in your dream, represents the state of your emotions and feelings. It is indicative of some spiritual refreshment, tranquility and renewal.

Seals: To see a seal in your dream, indicates your playfulness and your ability to use and incorporate differing ideas and thoughts into a situation. Seals are a symbol of good luck, success, and spiritual understanding. It also signifies prosperity, faithful friends, and security in love. Alternatively, the dream symbol may also be a pun and indicate you need to put closure on some situation as in "sealing the deal".

Hmmm, kind of neat to think about.
Author: "Glorybelle (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Monday, 30 Nov 2009 10:39
Godspeed and God Bless. There is nothing else I can say right now.
Author: "Glorybelle (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Saturday, 28 Nov 2009 13:15
Aggies sweep all categories except Women's Masters... but the three of us placed 3rd out of 10 women's masters teams. Not too shabby considering 2 out of the 3 of us were 'broken' that day!
Author: "Glorybelle (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Tuesday, 24 Nov 2009 12:53
This article has excellent information about anaphylaxis.

The symptoms I had were dead on to the "classic exercise-induced anaphylaxis."
Here's a brief description of those symptoms: "A prodromal phase is characterized by fatigue, warmth, pruritus, and cutaneous erythema. The early phase follows, with the urticarial eruption that progresses from giant hives (about 10-15 mm in diameter) to become confluent and may include angioedema of the face, palms, and soles. Then, the fully established phase occurs, which can include hypotension, syncope, loss of consciousness, choking, stridor, nausea, and vomiting and can last 30 minutes to 4 hours. The final phase is the late or postexertional phase, which is characterized by prolonged urticaria and headache persisting for 24-74 hours."

Eyes still on the puffy side today. And just a little bit on the tired side, but all the other symptoms are gone. One more day of complete rest and then back to running tomorrow.

Author: "Glorybelle (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Monday, 23 Nov 2009 09:55
Pictures below courtesy of Lynn Walker and Carolynne Juarez (SF Examiner)

Yesterday was MY final cross country meet of the season with the PAUSATF. Our team's top runners are now prepping for Club Nationals in December and I'm so excited for them! To be blunt, my fitness sucked going into this race. Let's see, the last five weeks were like this: 18 miles, 19 miles, 18 miles, 40 miles, and about 33 miles before race day. In the last 5 weeks I think I had one, maybe two sessions of higher quality work. Otherwise, just plain running (or not running, depending on how you look at it). To make things really interesting, I came down with my son's sickness on Saturday (the day before the race) and I had a low grade fever of 100.4. The fever was gone on Sunday morning so I got myself together, rounded up the family and off we went to San Francisco.

Ran a couple miles warm up with a teammate and wished I had my spikes. The mud was thick, the grass was extra soft. Basically the damp fog and the rain from the day before did a number on the course... I LOVED IT! I should've known that something was wrong with me after the warm up though. I was feeling lightheaded and as soon as we stopped to change into our racing shoes my skin was completely wet with sweat (not the misty fog). It was like someone had poured buckets of water over me. I sweat a lot but never like that.

The team gathered at the starting line. Our team had plenty of women for the Open division, and there were just 3 of us for the Masters Women division. And any runner outside of the Open division had to wear a colored tag on their back... a moving target for other Masters runners, so to speak. One of the gals on the team broke the silence among everybody at the line and said, "C'mon Aggies, lets get together and do this." So we gathered in a circle and on the count of three we yelled, "PLOW, PLOW, PLOW!"

Silence again. Then the gun. The first few hundred meters were over soft, muddy grass. Then we shot up this short steep hill climb and onto a 6 foot wide trail which eventually turned into a 3 foot wide trail down the road. This is where the mud went flying. My heels slipped out of my shoes a couple of times but luckily they popped right back in with the next steps. I was having a blast! Getting dirty while racing is like icing on the cake.

Then we took a sharp left turn into 'the woods' and onto a single track. The elbows and the mud were flying, but everybody was so polite and we'd all say, "Sorry" as quick as we could so as not to lose one extra breath. The woods had more mud, wet sand, more slushy grass, big bushes with branches sticking out onto the trail, a big log to jump and lots of undulation. After the log jump we climbed another short but steep sandy hill into more 'woods' and more single track. Then the course got back onto a really wide dirt/mud puddle path and this is where everybody started to pass each other in earnest. It was disheartening to see a handful of women go by me. But I hung in there. I knew we were somewhere in the last quarter of the female runners... yes, the women in the front and in the middle were that FAST!

Anyway when the trail widens there are always a ton of people there waiting and yelling for us. That helped a lot. As we made the turn toward the street I was able to pick it up a little and then haul booty back onto the grass where we had started. One 2.03 mile loop down, one to go. I had felt pretty good through the first two miles, but my body definitely had to fight hard to finish the last two. I could feel the acidosis invade my body as soon as we climbed that first grassy hill to begin the second loop. I didn't want to shut down completely, I just wanted the acid to go away. The only thing that made it go away was to slow down a little and recover on the run. Then I would pick it up again as best as I could. I did this throughout the entire second loop because my arms would start to seize every few minutes.

I ended up passing the handful of women who passed me on the first loop, only to be caught by two of them before the last turn toward the finish. By now my body was feeling pretty beat and I just hoped nobody would pass me in front of everybody watching over the last 300 yards. Lucky, nobody did. I still don't know where I finished (but I do know it wasn't last), and I don't have my official time... but I never care much about time during Cross Country races. I do know that our Open Women won! Our Open Men and Masters Men won! And we are still waiting on official word on how us three Masters Women fared.

Immediately after I crossed the finish line, it was hard to breathe. A teammate and my husband helped me through the chute. Then after getting my bearings and catching some breath, I ran a couple miles cool down with some of the ladies on the team. I started to feel really itchy in all my hot spots: neck, behind the ears, palms, underarms, feet, torso and groin areas. Then I started to get hives and my eyes started to swell. Damn. Another episode of anaphylaxis. After finding my husband and getting into warm clothes, the paramedic at the scene was kind enough to give me some Benadryl tablets. I took one every couple of hours for the rest of the morning and afternoon. Needless to say, I crashed out hard on the way home and later on at bedtime.

In retrospect I guess I didn't do too bad considering I had a fever the day before and was fighting off an allergic reaction during the race. And I had so, so, so much fun on that course and with my team. I just love them!

I was happy to have finished in one piece without falling, without twisting an ankle, without passing out. The one thing about Cross Country racing is you HAVE to be 'awake' out there when you're running the course. You can't just zone out like in a road race. If it's a good cross country course, it will be very difficult to find a rhythm like you do on the roads. You will constantly be tested mentally (as well as physically). If you aren't paying attention on a good cross country course, you will probably fall and end up eating dirt (or mud as would've been the case yesterday), or getting injured somehow.

I firmly believe that the last few months of cross country has done a lot to improve my overall running form. My feet and ankles have not felt this strong in a couple of years. I looked at my feet this morning and I swear I have arches again!!! I hope anyone reading this gives Cross Country racing a shot next Fall. It really is incredibly fun as much as it is challenging.

Happy Thanksgiving week!
Linda Somers Smith, 48, Female Division Winner

Kara June, 2nd Female

Some of the Open Women on the wide path

Open Men under way

Olympians Alysia Johnson and Shannon Rowbury came to watch and cheer on the runners!
Author: "Glorybelle (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Thursday, 19 Nov 2009 17:15

I just started my 24 week Lydiard based training with a May tune up marathon in mind, to be followed up in October or December with my goal marathon of the year. Anyway, I'll be keeping the overall mileage at about 60 per week and will have 3 peak weeks of 70 miles. I'll re-evaluate after the tune up in May and if all is going well, I'll begin a new training cycle averaging 70 per week with 3 peak weeks of about 80-85. But I'm getting ahead of myself. This week will only be 45 miles when Sunday has come and gone... and here I am already in need of an ice bath! Our pool is already a chilly 56 degrees. It's going to be a looooong winter training cycle. LOL!
Author: "Glorybelle (noreply@blogger.com)"
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