Monday, May 31, 2010

Laguna Hills Half Marathon Race Report-oh this is a "good" one!

I laid my clothes out last nite, as I do the night before every race. I opted for a pink day!!! I hadn't run a race in my pink running skirt before so I thought, if I'm going to be in the back of the pack I might as well look cute! And I was hoping a lighter color would be good since it's been HOT here the past few days, "perfect weather" for most people who live her but NOT for me!

My alarm went off at 4:45am, after I had a crappy sleep! My Siamese,Skye, was very vocal last night and Velcro kept jumping off the bed everytime I called her name-what a zoo! But I jumped out of bed and started my pre-race stuff: feeding the cats, feeding Velcro, eating breakfast, taking a shower (which was COLD this morning!! yeah I thought the water heater issue had been fixed as well-guess not). I was out the door by 5:40. Driving I realized I had forgotten to put on deodorant and sunscreen on my face-seriously Penny?? But at this point I had to continue-I'd stop in Laguna Hills and pick some up!

I got down to Laguna Hills by about 6:20-perfect! Enough time to stop at a Circle K and get deodorant-but no sunscreen! Poo! I parked at the mall-I had already gotten test messages from Lisa and Yasmin, they along with Glenn, were running! Yasmin was with her son, she was running the 5K and Lisa, Glenn and I were running the half. As I was walking toward them I saw a woman spraying sunscreen all over her-I asked if I could borrow some-whew, sunscreen for my face! happy now! We all met up and I immediately decided a trip to the porta potty before the race was a necessity!!

I initially thought the line for the porta potties was going to take forever, but it didnt! The line went much faster than I thought-I guess I finally picked the "good line" Lisa, Yasmin and I were all in line-gotta use the porta potty before I start running. I hate stopping to stand in line while in the middle of a race! The national anthem was being played as we were in line, so i knew we were cutting it close.

Lisa and I made it to the start line in time to snap some pictures and chat a little before the gun went off. It took about 2 minutes from when the gun went off to when we crossed the mats. I told Lisa to have a good race-we start races together but never run them together because she is Speed Racer! Off she went and I settle into my snail pace. There was still cloudcover but the first thing I noticed was it was a bit humid-dont get me wrong-nothing like the south!! But more humid than is normal here. But I thought, if it stays cloudy I can hang!
The course started off going thru a retirement village, alot of seniors were out with their flags cheering, and then we ran back onto the roads heading towards Laguna Hills and Aliso and Woods canyons.
The first 3 miles, the half marathoners ran with th 5k'ers. When we hit the community Center (the finish) the 5k'ers finished and we headed down the hill. You know it kinda sucks to pass the finish line and know what way you have to come!! We headed down a big hill (hell, do I have to come back up this hill??)
I passed a few young girls, who were obviously running their first half-ah newbies! How exciting-but seriously, running with the Flashdance look, really? I'd be pulling on that shirt the entire run!!

We were heading toward mile 4 at this point, still downhill. I was feeling pretty good but the clouds were beginning to show signs of blue sky, stay away!! At the bottom of the hill we headed into the canyon. I spoke to a woman who runs this area every saturday, she said we were running in Woods Canyon. It was pretty and it was beginning to get sunny. At this point all the fast runners were passing us slow peeps-I saw Lisa as I was just starting my Wood canyon portion of the race. I saw that on the way back it was uphill-fun times. I kept going, mile 7 was in the Canyon BAM SUN! NO-there are no trees here to hide while you're running!!! No!! I tried to stay on the side of the road that was shady, what there was of it, but that didnt last long, especially when we came out from the river bed and back up high-fully exposed I was...fry me sun, go on I dare you!!!

Hmm, I think the sun won. Because once it came out that was it-no clouds! Ugh! I HATE this weather!!! I was heading back toward mile 9 at this point up up. I kept my head down and tried to shade my face as much as I could. It was ok when the sun was in front of me, but as soon as our direction changed the sun was now hitting the right side of my body-yeah, I had to go hip and street with my hat! Anything to shield my face from the sun. I was frying...I could hear my skin sizzling....and I was turning that beautiful shade of red, god I look good with red skin! This is how you pick up men at a race ladies!! Keep going Penny. If you keep running you'll be finished and out of this godforsaken sun! I looked down at my watch after mile bubba, could this be right, I might actually hit mile 10 before the 2 hour mark??? Woot Woot!!! That would be the fastest half I've run in a long time! I was on the way to a great, oops good time!! How exciting. But it was going to be tough because I knew the sun was going to do it's best to ruin my post 40yo PR! I hit mile 10 at 1:56, hell yes!!!! 4 minutes faster than any previous half's!!! Go me!!! But that was the end of my cheery demeanor and disposition! For it all went into the shitter from this point!

Around mile 11 I began to feel shortness of breathe. I'd walk when I felt I needed to and then would run again. But I was not happy with this feeling! I havent had breathing issues while running in a very long time! I was still running in the sun, we would occasionally get a respite from the sun in shade, But it was short lived! I kept looking at my watch thinking I could get a new PR, but my breathing was getting worse. I so had this race! I had it and it was now falling away from me!!!! I began to tweet more at this point. When all else fails, tweet-the support is AMAZING!!! And then around mile 11.7 is when the shit hit the fan-and it was a big ass fan! I had the worst asthma attack I have ever had! I was on a trail, heading back up to the Laguna Hills community Center. We weren't on the road, there were very few spectators and all of a sudden I was grasping my air! OMG, I freaked! I've never had this happen in a race! Scared the shit out of me! I started crying, yeah, that didnt make it any better!! All of a sudden the race didnt mean anything to me-I wanted to get to that f-ing finish line as fast as my body could get me there! In between tears and trying to take deep breaths to calm myself down and to try to get the "entire breathe" I kept going. Primarily walking, but so wanting to run when i could. But when i ran it made my breathing worse and I'd cry! I just wanted to finish! I was SO CLOSE but the last mile felt like 10 miles! Wholly shit, where was the finish line??

I tried to run on the downhills-oh wait there weren't many, still hoping, HA, that I wouldn't completely blow my time-but it was already gone. We made the final turn and I saw the finish area up ahead-seriously a fucking hill right at the end?? And a photographer sitting there snapping pictures of peppy people nearing the finish-screw you photographer! If you snap a picture of me crying and trying to breathe I will smack your young smirky face! I tried my darndest to run up that hill-but it just wasn't happening! I walked to the top of it then say Yasmin and her bean-oh happy day!!! A face I know, thank you god!!! I think I started crying again as I gave the bean a kiss. I was just a left turn away. I was going to finish!!! Wholly crap, running that corner to the finish line was hard as fuck! Over my music, at this point Lady Gaga was playing in my ear-I was channeling her to finish (Ministry had been my music of choice trying to power thru mile 11-13), I hear the announcer say my name (he supposedly mentioned my name twice and mentioned my pink running skirt) but I didn't hear nor did I care! I got my medal and immediately asked the nice young girl where the medical tent was-she pointed to it, right to my left, in my view! Wow. I walked away from her and then BAM got hit with another attack! Here I was in the finish chute, I had to continue thru it to get to the tent. I had to stop. I bent over trying to get a full breathe-I couldn't! I started crying again, gasping for air! OMG, where is my MOM!!!!!!! I walked into the medical tent crying and gasping for air. I cried "I was having an asthma attack" and plopped my ass down on the pristine white sheet on the cot. The lovely medics asked if I had my inhaler. What? Why would I do that? I said no because I haven't had breathing issues in years while I run. It's in my car where it's at it's best use. I was trying to stay humorous, thinking they would give me an inhaler to use. Um NO! Here is a lesson to anyone dumb like me who doesn't bring their inhaler-they don't have them at the medical tent! I was asked if I wanted oxygen, and i said yes! My wonderful friend, Yasmin, had followed me into the tent!!! (Love you!!) And she gave me a water and I sat there with an oxygen mask on my face and the pulse/ox thingy on my finger. My pulse was RACING when I got in there-wonder why, but dropped once I started inhaling oxygen and my breathing started to feel better! My first time in a race medical tent! And I hope it's my last! I never want to be in there for this again! I tried to explain what I was feeling like-but unless you've had an asthma attack and know the feeling of not being able to take a full breathe and feeling like your lungs are collapsing and your trachea is sealing up as your gasping for air, it's so hard to explain. And to understand the fear that you begin to feel when you cant breathe! I'm crying just thinking about it!
I made it out of the tent feeling more human and a bit more like myself. I was joking with the medics so I was feeling better.
We were meeting Lisa and Glenn at the beer garden. By god I was going to have a beer-if anything it would take the edge off my nerves! And it did. We moved our table out of the godforsaken sun and into the shade. I drank my water, began to relax and talk to all my friends and had a beer. I hate to say it tasted SO GOOD!!!! But it was SO GOOD!!!! OMG, I could have jumped into a vat of beer and dunked myself and I would have been so happy!!

We all stayed there until about 11. I should have had more water, but didn't. I was feeling my dehydration, heat and sun headache coming on. Good thing I had water in my car!!! Yasmin drove us all back. Once I was in my car, I sat there for a moment thinking about this race!! Yikes-scary!! I called my mom, like I do after all of my races. She always wants to make sure I'm ok. Well, I told her what happened. if she could have come from Tennessee to California at that point she would have!!! I'm sure she was a little pissed that I hadn't run with my puffer. And I'm angry at myself too-but after years of not having a problem, I was lulled into feeling "I'm fine." Well, never again. Hard lesson and horrible way to learn that lesson-but lesson has been learned!!! I will never leave my car and run without my puffer!!!

I want to thank every single one of you, who were SO AMAZING, on twitter, when I was at my worst point and scared!!! Thank you!!! I am so very lucky to have such amazing friends (some I've not met yet). You are all a huge sense of comfort to me and really helped me get my ass up to that finish line!!!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!!

RUN: 13.23 miles (from my Garmin) 2:40:52

Sunday, May 30, 2010

There are many reasons....

SUN and HEAT....I am not a big fan, as most of you know. But let me clarify why it is I dont like running, walking, being in the sun and heat:

1) Melanoma-No I haven't had it but my sister has, she had a large chunk taken out of her right forearm. Yes, I am pale white girl who looks at the sun and gets sunburn. I lather on sunscreen and still get fried. This Scottish girl with the pale white skin shouldn't live in a sunny/warm climate.

2)Sinus- I have chronic sinusitis. Or at least that is my diagnosis until I see my ENT on June 7th. I have so many issues with my head! I am perpetually clogged and battle with sinus headaches(the eyeball kind-yeah, they are Fan-frickin-tastic). They seem to be worse when I run in sun and heat! I have found a "remedy" of sorts to lessen the headaches, but I still feel the tightness and heaviness in my head. When I run in the sun/heat I must drink water with NUUN before running and after. There is something about the heat drying out my already congested sinus' and causing pain. Replenishing my electrolytes seems to help-pitiful I know, but I dont need to do this when it's cooler and overcast. Humidity helps alot but that leads to my third item....

3) Asthma - yeah, I get it when it's sunny and hot. One of the reasons I NEVER run mid day! it's worse in smoggy weather (and we have alot of it here in So Cal) and when it's humid-boy did I feel the shortness of breathe when i was running in Nashville. Rain and cool make it so much easier for me to breathe.

4) 50lb weight-yes that would be Velcro. And as the sun and heat get worse, her dragging on my left side get worse. She's behind me enough to tighten the leash and make it feel like I am dragging her 50lb ass around! When I pull her leash, she's come up to my side but then falls right back to following mom. Now, this is a normal position for a cattle dog-she has always followed me and follows her sheep and cattle but I don't need the stress on my left side dragging her furry ass! I love her but I don't like the 50lb weight on my left side-which is probably one of the reasons I am so tight on the left side of my shoulders and back (I'm sure carrying a 70lb camera at work on my right shoulder doesn't help that either)

as for that tender "bump" I had/have on the back of my head. I developed a tender bump on the back, left side of my head. I have had this before and it went away for a few months-but when it came back on Wednesday afternoon I freaked! I wont even tell you what thoughts started going thru my head. So I went to see the doctor on friday. His diagnosis. He wasn't sure what it is. GREAT! I asked if it could be the occipital lymph node due to my sinuses, he said no but peoples anatomy is all different. He said, watch it for a week, and if it hasn't gone away or stopped come back in and we'll do blood work and an ultrasound if needed. That is really what a girl wants to hear who thinks she has a brain tumor and has had more people around her hear the word CANCER that she cares to count....dude seriously-go home and dont worry? Yeah, right!

Well, I went home and tried not to worry! I went to see a movie and tried to ignore it-ha. This was Friday, by Saturday, I woke up and still felt it and realized I felt like ASS! I didn't want to run but took Velcro on a walk. it took every ounce of energy for me to walk up the hill, I normally attempt to run up. Yeah, I'm sick! Could it be the tetanus shot I got on Friday?? hmmm, could be but this feels like sick! And it sure would help me explain the "swollen occipital lymph node" that was now not hurting but still swollen! Do i think it's a lymph node? yes, I do-guess that's my way of "trying not to worry." Will i be telling my ENT on June 7th all about it? Hell to the Yes I will!!! I also see my ophthalmologist on Tuesday, she will hear about it as well!

So I spent the entire day on Saturday on my couch watching movies in the dark! Do i think it helped-yeah I think so. Did I still feel a bit heady and congested and coughing this morning? Yes, did I run-of course stupid me ran! I have a half marathon tomorrow-had to do a short run.

Running, after all, seems to aid in the expulsion of all the snot in my head! Snot rockets are my friend!

How is my "bump" (said with Inspector Clouseau's inflection and accent)? Well, it doesn't hurt, woot woot, but I still feel a "tightness" there but I think it's a huge step in the right direction!! Do I still feel ill and heady-yes.Do I feel a headache coming on-yes! This really sucks ass!! Can I tell you how absolutely irritated I am that I have a full head of snot that NEVER goes away!!! I never had these issues living in Tennessee! NEVER! I need to move! I must leave this climate that wreaks havoc on my head and body!

So, as you see, it's not just because "I don't like running in the sun", well, don't get me wrong, I don't, but there are reasons for my dislike! I am very happy to have a running companion, Velcro, who obviously dislikes these running conditions as much as her mom does! They do say dogs and owners begin to "look" alike-does that also mean we act alike?

I will keep everyone updated on my "bump" and my sinuses! And yes, i have used a neti-pot and it sometimes brings on a headaches, aren't I just falling apart???

Tomorrow, Laguna Hills Half Marathon. I'm hoping I feel better!! I will make a "game day decision" about running-if I feel like ass I wont be running it!

Until then, I hope everyone is enjoying the Memorial Day Weekend. I've been hiding, away from the sun and heat! Did you know they have been playing all of the Star Wars movies??

Saturday: WALK: 1.88 miles with Velcro (59:10)
Sunday: RUN: 3.54 miles with Velcro in the sun (50:04)

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Clouds!!! Woot Woot!! I wanted to get at least 5 miles in this morning. I went to bed last night late, which seems to be my unemployed sleep pattern right now. So I'm getting up around 7am ish. I feed the cats, make tea and eat something since I cant go run and bonk! By the time I was ready to go it was 9am-yikes, good thing there were dark clouds over the harbor. But I was seeing blue sky to the west-had to run NOW!

I decided to run down to the LA Harbor and the Cruise Ship Terminal. Its a 5 mile run and is downhill then flat then uphill-perfect! I didnt take any water bottles with me because this run has water fountains. Perfect for me!! But not perfect for my princess of a running partner, Velcro. Seems she has gotten so spoiled that she will only drink out of my water bottle! Yes, I have her well trained for running but it sometimes isn't good because she WILL NOT drink out of these wonderful fountains that have a "doggie" side! She will not let her tongue touch the water.....spoiled!!

We made it to the SS Lane Victory and turned around and headed home. Velcro was becoming my 50lb weight-and she still wouldn't drink water! Little beast! We headed up from the harbor area...up up up a long long steady hill..... Velcro still dragging!

We finished and I was happy the sun never came out. it was a little warmer than i thought-I was actually sweating afterwards....a bit of humidity (but nothing like the south). I'm happy I got to run!! And from what i understand, my clouds are OVER. The weather is supposed to warm up and become sunny. People here call it perfect weather, ha! Whatever!! Give me clouds and rain any day!!!!

RUN: 5.0 miles with my 50lb weight, Velcro, (1:06)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A sunset run and hopefully a thursday morning drizzle run??????? A girl can hope.....

I actually got up off my couch and went for a run around 7:30pm!! Yep, damn proud of myself. I could have slugged out and just stayed there but I didn't!! Yeah, I'm patting myself on my own back!!

I didn't run this morning because it was sunny! I had "hoped" we'd have clouds and drizzle-ha, it was as clear as could be today!!! But as the sun started to go down it cooled off and I just knew if I stayed on the couch I'd feel like crap! And I was already feel fat and chub like after going to my doctor today just to get a referral to an ENT...gotta love going to a doctor just to get a referral. And of course I was weighed-must you go thru the horror and disgust of getting weighed every time you walk into some sort of medical facility! UGH!! So f-ing irritating. I don't want or need to see some horrific number every week-I already live in my fatness!! What's funny is that each scale was wildly different. There was a 10lb swing in the 3 different weights. I'm taking the smaller of the three-not that it's small......I ate a sweet potato and Brussels sprouts for dinner...... that's it-that is all this chubby queen gets for dinner.....

Wednesday: RUN: 3.13 miles with Velcro at sunset (44:11)

An update of sorts.....

Yo To...where is the "weather" we are supposed to have???? Go away sun!!! Go away!!

Monday I closeted my self away in my house to finish my taxes....yes, I always file an extension because I'm usually up to my eyeballs with work on April 15th. And its' nice when you get a refund while you are unemployed!!! It's money I need in the months of May and June.

I did finally leave the house after the sun went down-Velcro and I went on a was really nice. I've forgotten how much I enjoy walking and watching Velcro smell EVERYTHING!

Tuesday I woke up and so needed to run, but I saw the sun-UGH....but I forced myself to go out. And I started late, 8:30am. I pounded a NUUN before the run and off Velcro and I went! I had tried to prepare myself for a really crap run but once we got outside it was pleasantly cool **GASP** could this be an ok run?? Well, it ended up being Fun-I know, you NEVER hear the word fun in the same sentence as a sunny run...but we had fun! I was using this as my Daily Mile Stop to Smell the Flowers run-and I took notice of all the beautiful flowers I run past everyday! I let Velcro sniff and chase a few squirrels....we even watched a group of squirrels follow this older man around the park. It makes for fun pictures !

I', hoping to get a run in tonight, in the dark! The sun was up this morning when I woke up. I was hoping the "weather" would have arrived already, alas, I must wait. It might actually drizzle tomorrow!!! Woot Woot!!! So tonight I'll be out pounding the pavements with my girl.

As for that stupid spider bite. I have a few more days of antibiotics left. It will be odd being able to have a glass of wine-even though I broke down and had wine on my evening out at GLEE. I have to admit, I feel GREAT when i wake up in the morning right now. This might have to become a trend. I may save drinking wine for Friday nites.....

I've registered for a few races. I've decided to run the Laguna Hills Half marathon on Memorial Day then 6 days later I'll be tackling the downhill course of the Fontana Days Half Marathon. And I'm still planning on making the trek to San Diego to cheer on the MANY RnR San Diego runners! I think I have my spot picked out, at least on the map, so now I just have to make a big ass sign and make sure I can actually get to Friars Rd in San Diego without alot of road detours! It will be Velcro and I cheering around the 9 mile mark of the half and 14 of the full.

Monday: WALK: 2.27 miles (46:42)
Tuesday: RUN: 4.2 miles with Velcro in the sun (56:32)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Wow-what a crap mood and what a crap run I had yesterday...but I got my ass out there!!!

I found out my sons grades-finally-yesterday morning. To say they were less than stellar is being kind. I was pissed!!! Don't get me wrong, I know freshman year can gone one of two ways-either great grades or crappy ones. Well, he got crappy ones. He passed all his courses this semester (thank you God) but thats really all I can say. I guess I was hoping he'd do better-what was I thinking. He's an 18 year old boy away at college for the first time-what was I thinking??? Well, I still got very upset. It's alot of money that I pay without help of financial aid or anyone else, so it's stressful.

Instead of getting angry at him I went for a run to clear my head! And that is ALL the run was suppose to accomplish-clearing my head! It worked! But it was a shitty, slow, sunny, warm, hill-filled and cry-filled run! otherwise known as CRAP! I so wanted to quit at 1.5 miles-but thanks to some of my twitter friends, I didn't!! I stopped and sat in one of my favorite parks while Velcro looked for squirrels. I cranked Ministry and ended up running 5.1 miles. Hey, not bad considering I was quiting material 1.5 miles in!

My girl, as always, was with me on this run! And she was fantastic. When I'd cry she'd get very upset and come and comfort me-she doesn't like when mom cries! It was awesome having that unconditional love from Velcro on this run!! Makes me cry thinking about her devotion to me-wow, animals are the best!!

I got home and felt so much better!!! Wow, amazing what a run can do to clear your head. It sucked from a running standpoint but was just what the doctor ordered for de-stressing!

The rest of the day was spent doing nothing-had to run my sons girlfriend to the train station. She came to visit since it's his birthday today, he's 19. Yikes, I have a 19 year old?????

Last nite I went out! I know ****alert the press**** I went out and stayed out until midnight **GASP** Unheard of, and might not happen for a long time! But last nite was the final LA performance of the GLEE tour. I had been given the opportunity to buy tickets back in Feb-so I did. Show my support for my GLEEks and have fun with some friends. I ended up going with my friend N and AKA Alice and her daughter, Drama Girl. Drama Girl is a it was SO EXCITING for me to be able to share my job with her and AKA Alice. We watched the show then went backstage and Drama Girl met almost all of the GLEEks and got her picture taken. I sure hope she and AKA Alice had a good time!! Sorry for keeping everyone out late last night. it was kinda fun having a "pretend daughter" I didn't go to bed until 1am **GASP** hence my sleepiness all day today!!

But it didnt stop me from going to the Best friends Animal Super Adoption today at Westchester park....OMG, I could have gone home with all of those amazing animals that were there-I sure hope alot got adopted!!!

Saturday: RUN: 5.1 miles with my trusty companion, Velcro (1:15)

Friday, May 21, 2010

All this time and I get to run!

I have run 4 days in a row! Unheard of when I'm working!!! But when you are unemployed and lounge in bed until 7:30-8am and know the times of The Bonnie Hunt Show, Ellen and Oprah and dont need to watch all your tv shows on TIVO because you are home to watch them, you have time to run! So I am trying to take advantage of my "unemployed" time by running and trying not to spend money! I have also persuaded my son to run at least 5 days a week as well! It's kinda exciting!! I'm a proud running mom-I just want him to be healthy and enjoy being outside-and lets face the facts, if you dont buy a new outfit every week, running is a very cheap way to exercise!

He usually doesnt run with me, but we did last night! Probably because I'm a morning runner-but because the **ACK** SUN was out at 7:30am yesterday and it was my glorious marine layer or overcast, I decided on a sunset run with my family!

There is something calming about running at sunset! The light is gorgeous, there is a coolness in the air. It's one of my favorite times to run (besides early in the morning when it's dark). Yes, there is a theme to my running and it always lacks the sun!

It was really nice...Velcro had a good time keeping my son in her sights in between pooping twice and rolling in the grass numerous times! I actually thought about getting down on the grass with her and "roaching" along side of her!! I'm sure I would have gotten some looks!! But it looks like so much fun!!!

I'm on Day 7 of my antibiotics ( 7 days without a glass of wine or a beer) and I have 7 more days to go.....keep your fingers crossed that some of that fat is coming off my bod!

Thursday: RUN: 3.08 miles with Velcro and my son (41:00)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

oh yeah and that bite......

I forgot to mention on my blog my "bite"...yeah I was in Tennessee for 3 days and came back with a little extra somethin somethin.....a lovely bite! Now let me first say, Nashville had a major flood recently so I'm sure all the little creatures are water logged-but did they have to attach themselves to my left thigh?

What bite me? I never saw the "southern bug" but I'm guessing because of the redness and the slight ulcerated center, the itchiness and the HARD center that it was a spider. It is mosquito season there-but I dont think my skin has become that "Californiaized" to react to a mosquito like this! This was a spider!

I didnt notice until I got home on Thursday night-that night I but anti-itch cream on it-it was driving me crazy. being the anal person that I am and very aware of the magnitude of a spider bite (or maybe I should say my fear that it was a brown recluse) I decided to pay very close attention to it! When I woke up on Friday morning, I drew a circle around it-if it expanded past the black border I was taking myself to he doctor.

Guess what-it grew! So i went to the doctor. I told the doctor what I thought it was and before he looked at it he said to me "it's probably just a skin infection-we have alot of people who come in here who think they have a bit and it's just an infection..." dude-look at the f-ing thing first before you put me in the "paranoid" category. It's an f-ing bite! It's red, hard, itches and the following day hurt! I got drugs! 14 days worth of antibiotics-ha ha maybe I can lose weight in the next 14 days because I cant drink!!! It looks like this now-it's 6 days after the bite and 6 days into my antibiotics-hmmmm......

Now onto other things-running! It rained yesterday!! Woot Woot! As a matter of fact the past couple of days have been cool and overcast! HEAVEN!!! I think I'm the only person in LA who is absolutely thrilled that there is NO SUN!

On Monday I ran a "half-naked" run Garminless but with my music. I was pretty tired but forced my fat arse out the door with my trusty running companion, Velcro. My son was still sleeping! What is it with teenagers/college students sleeping until 11am?? Seriously get out of bed!! We've made a pact..if he runs everyday, he can veg. So he's chosen the afternoon running instead of running with "mom". Thats cool with me!! At least he's running. He said he ran 2 miles on Monday, but Ms G said 1.18 hmm she doesn't lie, unless she dies, so did he or did he turn it on late, like he said. Well, I was just happy he went out! And he did yesterday as well, running 2,2 miles-he baby steps!! I'm hoping for him to get 2.5 miles in today!!

Well, that's it. I'm unemployed sitting around on my computer. I'm contemplating starting a book about the memoirs of a back of the packer-since that's me. I'm also contemplating my next races. I think I might run laguna Hills Half on memorial Day weekend and then the following saturday the Fontana days Half. Then if all goes as planned, Velcro and I will be making the trek to San Diego on Sunday to cheer the MANY people running the RnR San Diego! I'll have a sign-I'll be easily recognizable because of Velcro!! I just have to figure out how to get to Friars road. Should I stay the night? Should I drive down that morning????

I was supposed to be in mexico at a wedding that weekend-but since I'm unemployed, I cant afford to make that trek! As well as a trek up north to run a Half with RBR and JoLynn-even though I'd LOVE to, with my sick cat and no work-staying close to home is really what I need to do right now!!!

Ok, off to run some errands and to attempt to finish my taxes! UGH!

Monday: Garminless RUN approx 3 miles with Velcro
Tuesday: RUN: 4.16 miles in the RAIN!!! w/Velcro (55:13)
Wednesday: RUN 3.13 miles with Velcro (45:10)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Updates and another Half Marathon-The Palos Verdes Half Marathon

Wow last week was chock full of everything! I headed back to Nashville early Tuesday morning because my mom was having a full hip replacement. I landed and was whisked to the hospital, where my mom was in recovery! She had a spinal for her surgery so she was wide awake when I got there-and I was very happy to see her!!

I'm very glad I went!! I was the "night nurse" on Tuesday and Wednesday night for my mom-all I can say is maybe I should have a daughter! Would my son do this for me??? My dad would come early in the morning with a tea for me and then we'd hang for a bit.

We did take a brief break and drive south to Manchester to look at a camper I'm going to buy and to visit a Tennessee winery, Beans Creek. I bought 2 bottles of Tennessee wine to bring back to California!

I was able to pack up the box of clothes and gift cards that friends so generously donated to the Nashville flood victims. A girl I went to high school with has been collecting everything for families in need! It's fantastic! I have more clothes to send..

Thursday was my last day in Nashville, I was able to get a short run in that morning. I planned on Wednesday night to run home from the hospital on Thursday morning. I got a relatively early start but wholly cow-the humidity and heat! It was unbelievable. It was unusually hot for May by-the-way reaching into the 90's...and what was I doing-out running in it! I cant believe I used to run in the heat and humidity! It literally took my breathe away-I so needed a puffer-and I haven't felt the need for a puffer in a very long time! But my sinus' were better...

Tennessee heat and humidity= clear sinus but asthma
California dry heat= sinus issues but clear breathing

Thursday night, home by 7:30 to very happy furbabies. But had to prepare for my Friday. Moving my son out of his dorm.

I got up to CSU Channel islands around 11:30 and to my utter surprise, my son had packed everything!! Woot Woot! he hadn't taken a shower in 2 days, which was and is absolutely disgusting when you are an 18 yo young man-the reason-they didn't want to clean the shower again....seriously?? Disgusting!

It didn't take us long to pack the car. A few containers and a two wheel cart made for an easy move out! We had a few errands to run before we made it back to the house-one of those errands was to Dick's Sporting Goods in El Segundo to register for the Palos Verdes Half Marathon. Yes I decided on Friday to run the PV half, which starts and finishes in my backyard! (about 5 min from my house).

So Friday night was an early night. I had registered my son for the 5K while I was running the Half. He grumbled about not wanting to run in the morning until i told him I didn't register him for the 13.1 miles! He shut up!


Saturday morning came and I woke up on my own at 5:30am-yikes my alarm didnt go off-good thing I live close to the start!!

We had set out all our race clothes and stuff the night before but trying to get an 18yo up at 6am when I'm sure he was up until 2am-that was hard! The grumbling and whining coming from his mouth was pitiful "I'm tired" "I'm cold"....I heard that for at least an hour and the big YAWNS......

We got to Pt Fermin Park, the start and finish of the PV Marathon, Half and 5K at 6:45-plenty of time to use the porta potties and get ready. HA! Seriously, the lack of porta potties was awful! This was the 44th annual Palos Verdes marathon, but there were not enough porta potties. I ended going to a "secret" one at the park Velcro and I go to. But it still took me right to 7:28am to go pee and get back to the start-the race started at 7:30. Maybe more people registered than W2 Productions expected-but get more porta potties next year!!!!!

Now on to the race.

The race started on time, I think. This was a chipless race-so I knew i'd be dependent on my Garmin for MY TIME when I crossed the start and finish lines! The air was cool and ***ALERT*** OVERCAST!!!!! Can you believe it. I was sure the sun would come out as soon as I started running!

I knew this route very well. This is my hood-I know the hills very well. Maybe that's why I havent run it in the 5 years I've lived here! But this year I said what the hell. So here I was running along Paseo del Mar in my hood. Velcro and I do this run alot! We'd soon be running up Western Av-the BIG hill but not the last one! Then along 25th Av to Palos Verdes Drive South.

I paced myself from the start-knowing that the return trip was going to be the tough section! That's the section that is primarily uphill from the turnaround point to about mile 10. Once we crested Western Av, at about mile 2, we were still in San Pedro heading west. Hey look-I'm passing my beloved Ocean Trails! I've missed you Ocean Trails!!

Now it's downhill past Trump National Golf Course (you can go trail running with your dog then go sit outside and have a drink at sunset-no I've never done that ha ha ha). We head down down down (which can only mean up up up on the way back) past Trump into the Portuguese Bend area. I have gone trail running here too-and this is where the most recent Palos Verdes fire was located this past fire season. Wait, it's still overcast! What's wrong with this picture???

The ground shifts alot here so the road is a mess! besides the fact that it is VERY rolling hills. the last one, heading to the turnaround, being the steepest.

At this point, I knew we were close to the turnaround. I had seen Lisa running back already along the course-she is WAY FASTER than me!!!! So I knew I wasn't too far away, ok maybe I was considering how slow as molasses I really am. But there were still people behind me!!!

An uphill to the turnaround point at Wayfarers Chapel. ha ha.....halfway there and the hardest part left to run! Yeah baby!!! Why did I decided to run this race? Oh yeah, in my backyard! I love Wayfarers Chapel. If I was ever going to get married again, I might chose this chapel-it's all glass and has a phenomenal view and sunsets are beautiful. But lets get serious-me marry again? HA! I don't even go on dates!! Hell, I haven't been on a date in years-meet men, when and where??

Where was I? Oh yeah, heading back to the finish!!! And I know alot of it is uphill!!! Ok, Penny-you can do this!!! Wait *** it's still OVERCAST*** Mr Sun has not shown his ugly hide yet! Hallelujah!!! Could this actually be a race that I finish in the same weather as I start???

Back to running. I had started the race on a 4/1 running tactic thinking it might save my legs for the return portion. Obviously on the downhills, I really tried (attempted) to take advantage of going down to run faster than these slow legs normally go. So when I started the long uphill portion I was going to try the 4/1 again! At this point, I was running near a group of 3 people I recognized from the Malibu half Marathon. I knew they ran the same pace as me so I kept them within my sights or behind me. They were running a 4/1 as well.

Here we are going back up past Trump National:

I was in the midst of my walk portion-I knew this last uphill was long, but I really was feeling pretty darn good-I think it had something to do with the OVERCAST skies!!! Yep, still overcast...but I could see Mr Sun was trying his darndest to join us-SCREW YOU MR SUN GO AWAY!

I made it to the top and I decided, in my brain, that I was going to try to run the rest to the finish-but I forgot about the big downhill on Western. Ouch, ouch ouch, for the first time ever my knees were hurting! I'm new to knee issues-so I stopped. Hell, I dont even know if you can stretch a knee......I decided to keep going-I could still feel something. It wasn't sharp but there was something bothering my knees on the downhills (yeah I'm sure it was the downhill that was bothering my old lady knee). Once I got to the bottom of the hill, I felt better and so did my knees. Where are those three people-just in front of me-SWEET!! There was also a girl behind me in a green top that was pacing off of me (what was she thinking???) But I turned to here at the bottom of the hill and told her it was less than 2 miles to the finish and she said "I'm following you"-hmmm should I have told her that following me is bad since I'm a snail??

Now we were back on the roads I run all the time! To my right was the water and views of Catalina. I just kept running. I was feeling good considering the course. Keep running Penny!! I walked once and talked to the girl in green again. At this point we were around mile 12. She said this was going to be the hardest mile she'd ever run. I told her come on-I knew there were 2 little hills right before the finish! And off I ran-ok jogged!

After the first of the last two little hills, I took a walk break, then I see two of the group of three pass me. Ok, I wasn't going to let them get away from me-so I was off and ran to the finish! I crossed the finish line right as the clock turned 2:40-but when I started I noticed it took me 25 seconds to cross the start line-so I had run this tough course in under 2:20. My garmin read: 2:39:37. As I was approaching the finish I think I heard my name being yelled (even over my music)!! It was @strandrunner (Ashley). She had been cheering other runners-but I guess since I tweeted my outfit, knew me, even though we've not met! Thank you very much for cheering me on at the finish Ashley!!!

Now dont get me wrong, I really want to get sub 2:30 or even 2:31. Back in my younger days I ran a 2:11-I dont know if that will ever happen again, but I can aim for that 2:30. I knew in my heart it wasn't going to be on this course but I was still disappointed, until I got home and compared my other "over 40 hilly half marathon times" and was very happy to find out that this was the FASTEST one I've run!!! Now lets compare some of my slow times:

San Fran 1st Half July 2009 - 2:50:36 in overcast
Malibu Half Nov 2009 - 2:43:41 SUNNY, hot and hilly
LA 13.1 January 2010 - 2:39:50 and it was FLAT but sunny!
Carlsbad Half Jan 2010 - 2:41:48 fairly flat
Surf City Half Feb 2010 - 2:37:47 flat with a hill or two
Pasadena Half Feb 2010 2:39:37 fairly flat except for hill up from Rose Bowl
PCTR Malibu Creek 25K March 2010 - 4:23:46 creek crossing then 6 miles uphill
and now.........................

Palos Verdes Half May 2010 - 2:39:37 on a hilly tough course

I ran PV 4 minutes faster than Malibu and 11 minutes faster than San Fran...yep, I felt better once I saw that!!! Do I think I'm a rockstar? not yet-but let me tell you, give me overcast cool running day and I think that 2:30 is attainable!!!!

Check below to see the elevation chart and my split times:

I ran today, Monday!! And it was a "half naked" run-Garminless but not musicless. It's been overcast so it was nice weather but I was tired and felt blah-but better than nothing!!

Monday May 10th - RUN: 3.05 miles (41:36)
Thursday May 13th - RUN: 3.63 miles in the heat and humidity of Nashville (45:07)
Friday May 14th - RUN: 2.02 miles with Velcro at home (25:38)
Saturday May 15th - RACE: 13.1 miles (2:39:37)