Cue sad trombone music. I’m sorry to have to announce that we will not be doing the Beat the Blerch marathon. Although I can now get out of bed without screaming my back is still sore and Tim is having an escalating problem with his afib. We were able to switch to the half marathon so there will still be a blearchy race report/blog post, hopefully with many pictures of much silliness. We did our scheduled long run on Halloween but it was slow and unpleasant. About 15 miles into the run Tim’s afib kicked in and I got annoyed because he hadn’t called the doctor yet, then I felt bad for acting like a nag. We seem to argue a lot while running. Oddly enough, my back only hurt when I stopped running. Getting dressed for Halloween was quite a comedy routine.

Hey - I hardly feel my back at all when I'm drunk

Hey – I hardly feel my back at all when I’m drunk

Halloween is my favorite holiday. Halloween on a Saturday is like finding out your best meal of the year comes with free awesome sauce. We got trashed and had a lot of fun. While looking for old Halloween pictures I found these ghosts of Halloween past.

The Owl and the Pussycat

The Owl and the Pussycat

This is what happens when we get invited to a party with a biblical theme.

Things Moses saw on the way to the promised land

Things Moses saw on the way to the promised land

Do you give up? We were the burning bush and the red sea.

Last weekend our run lasted about 20 seconds. We did our 10 minute warm up walk but as soon as we tried to run Tim’s afib started. He decided to go home. I was going to run alone but when I tried to play my music it was dead so I also stomped home only about 5 minutes behind Tim. We went out for second breakfast and decided to see if it was possible to switch to the half marathon. We suspected that it was too late but Tim shot off an email anyway. A big thanks to the race for letting us do this on such short notice.

We walked 10 minutes this morning, time for second breakfast

We walked 10 minutes this morning, time for second breakfast

Carb loading because Scrabble is a sport, right?

Carb loading because Scrabble is a sport, right?

While I feel a little lame that we will not be doing the full marathon I think it was the smart choice.

Now for some more interesting, not so smart choice, news. We signed up for the Jack and Jill Marathon. It is a gentile downhill marathon in Washington at the end of July. We had to – they sent me an email saying that registration was open and they expected to sell out quickly. At least we will have time to properly train. Although, that doesn’t necessarily mean we will. But I have big plans.

Please leave a comment. I still love comments.

It has been over 3 weeks since my last blog post. That should mean that I have 3 weeks of training runs to report on but sadly, that is not what it means at all.

I may be taking pictures of Tim’s first marathon from the sidelines. Last Thursday (10/22) I threw out my back. Like an idiot, Saturday morning I tried to do our long run (yes honey, I know I can’t straighten my back but I’m sure once I warm up it will be fine). We walk/ran (stumbled) about 3 miles before Tim put an end to that nonsense. So it has been a full week of no running for me.

My favorite part about running at the butt crack of dawn

My favorite part about running at the butt crack of dawn

Working backwards we did have a slow (5:26:55) but successful 20.6 mile run. To beat the 6 hour cutoff I would have to run about 6 miles in half an hour to make up the pace. I did a 5k in a half hour once. So even without back problems beating the cutoff looks iffy.

One thing you never read about in running magazines is asshole chafing. I highly recommend this spray glide.

tri-slide

It even works upside down

The problem with glide around the asshole is that it gets wiped off when you go to the bathroom. Hey – someone has to talk about these things, just be glad I had enough sense not to include a photo.

Also, why the hell are they called blisters? There is nothing blissful about them. I got one on the side of my nail on my big toe. I was actually relieved to see that it was a blister because while running it felt like I was getting an ingrown toenail.

Every weekend we run past this amusing place

Every weekend we run past this amusing place

As for the long run that was supposed to have happened the weekend after my last post – it turned into a long walk. Tim had a problem with his afib that came back every time he tried to run. So we walked. I felt awful for Tim (but a bit worried) because I could tell he was frustrated.

yep - that's a dog chillin' on a paddle board

yep – that’s a dog chillin’ on a paddle board

 

To recap my last 3 weekends.
Weekend 1: Mostly walked 18.3 miles (5:10:28).
Weekend 2: Our longest run, 20.6 miles (5:26:55).
Weekend 3: Made it 3.6 miles (1:13:10) before aborting.

 

Meowse approves of bed rest for my back

Meowse approves of bed rest for my back

If I can walk I’m going to do this race. I always tell people that they want their time to be slow at a new distance so they can beat it next time. Every new distance is a PR. This pep talk is not helping me because I’m not worried about being slow (that is a given) but I’m worried about getting pulled from the course by the sweeper vehicle. I have never had a DNF (did not finish). We have been at a couple of races that had cutoffs but they were never enforced. Maybe that will happen.

Note: I will be posting one more blog before the marathon. Please check it out because I plan to have Halloween pictures. We take Halloween very seriously.

Please leave a comment, question, or encouraging word. I am beyond frustrated with my back and all – you poor thing – sort of comments are appreciated.

I have made an awful mistake. When I was reading the general information about the Beat The Blerch marathon it stated that there was a 7 hour cutoff. I thought that would be cutting it close. It turns out (on a closer reading) that all the Blerch marathons except Sacramento have a 7 hour cutoff. Sacramento has a 6 hour cutoff. Why?! How did I miss this piece of information? If we were to run the marathon at our current pace (note that this pace is at a shorter distance) the – you’re a slow fat ass and we need to open the course to traffic now – sweeper vehicle would be giving us a ride to the finish. I wouldn’t get my medal. Usually I don’t care about medals but I really want a Blerch medal.

Here is the data from our last 5 long runs.

9/5 15 miles 4:10:56 16.73 min/mile
9/12 15.5 miles 4:10:23 16.19 min/mile
9/19 17 miles 4:26:46 15.7 min/mile
9/26 18.7 miles 4:58:07 15.93 min/mile
10/3 19.8 miles 5:07:10 15.5 min/mile



We have only done one long run at Los Peñasquitos Canyon since the last time I wrote. It has been crazy hot in San Diego so we decided to do our Saturday runs closer to home. We hope to get back on the trails as soon as it cools down.

Peace Rocks

Peace Rocks

Although I do have a gay friend who once pooped in the woods

Although I do have a gay friend who once pooped in the woods

Our new route starts on the promenade which is only steps from our door. We leave the house at (you guessed it) Fuck This O’Clock and run a couple miles next to the ocean. The promenade is oddly deserted before dawn. To beat the heat we are running in the dark for at least the first hour.

Sharon running on the beach

Sharon running on the beach

At the end of the promenade we cross the street and get onto the bay path. The bay path is a loop that always has interesting scenery and beautiful views. It’s more practical than running on the trail because the entire route has bathrooms and even vending machines for cold water and Gatorade. Did you know vending machines take credit cards now? I suppose it is old news but I was surprised.

Bird gives us a suspicious look

Bird gives us a suspicious look

Birds give us suspicious looks

Birds give us suspicious looks

It’s nice not to have to drive to our run spot but the downside is that we are running on mostly concrete, not the best surface for old bones and joints. We have also had some interesting issues on our around the bay runs. On our first bay run a section of the path was closed to foot traffic due to boat races. This is a popular running path so there were a lot of confused runners in the street looking for a new route. On our second run we found ourselves in the middle of a race. Volunteers were cheering for racers as well as for those of us who were just out for a run. That was nice. It was weird to be in the middle of a race but not in the race. The third week we finally made it around the bay.

Foot Bridge

We’ll be back here soon

This coming weekend we won’t be doing any trail running. The weather report predicts a high of 89° and I’m taking the route that has cold beverages available. My tummy is a hot weather wimp. It’s hard for me to keep even a Gu down when I’m overheating. That reminds me – we tried a new Gu flavor. They just came out with a Maple Bacon Gu. The nice man at Just Run, a new La Jolla running store, gave me a free sample. I’m not sure what I thought of it but I’m going to stick to Salted Caramel. They need to partner with Nutella. That’s a Gu I would try.

Paddle Boarders

I want to learn to paddle board

In addition to our long runs we have been running a little over 4 miles on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. At least that is the plan, We usually only make it 2 out of the 3 days. We run early enough that the promenade is almost empty. Sometimes we run by parties that are still going on from the night before.

Seen on the promenade around 6 am.

Seen on the promenade around 6 am.

Last weekend we went to the Makers Faire (Sunday) at Balboa Park. I was still sore from running Saturday and would have stayed home had I known it was going to be 6 hours of trains, robots, and electronics.

Tim Poses with one of his heroes.

Tim Poses with one of his heroes.

In other news – I got a haircut. Apparently, about an inch means scalp me in beautician talk.

Sigh - it's even shorter than I thought.

Sigh – it’s even shorter than I thought.

At this point my only goal for this race is to make the 6 hour cutoff. Damn it – I want my Blerch medal.

Please leave a comment, question, or advise.

Run...

I’m doomed. We planned to take 2 weeks off of running after finishing our last HM and then start training for the marathon. Alas – that was not to be. Conveniently, just when we were going to start running again we both got sick with a cold like flu thing. We beat the crap out of our bodies for a year but we got sick after a couple of relaxing weekends looking at the ocean. Go figure. The following weekend I still wasn’t feeling well but was scared enough about the marathon to try running anyway. If I had been thinking clearly I would have suggested that we do a short run but because it was the weekend and that was our long run time we went to San Dieguito Park for a long run. Our long run turned out to be 4 miles and about half of that was walking.

I didn't even enjoy myself running downstairs

I didn’t even enjoy myself running downstairs

This is a beautiful park but not as big as I thought it was. It is too small to do a real long run.

Just look at this bridge

Just look at this bridge

I really gave it my best shot but I had nothing. I was at points chilled yet sweating, hot yet I had goose bumps, nauseous, dizzy, and my legs just refused to run. It took us over an hour to do 4 miles before I admitted that I was still too sick for this. I’m pretty sure Tim knew fairly early on that this was not going to be a long run. You know – because of the cussing, crying, and general lack of running. We went home and took a shower and a nap.

The scenery was beautiful

The scenery was beautiful

Instead of just doing a long run on the weekends like we have been doing for the last year we are actually getting up Tuesday and Thursday mornings to run about 4 miles before Tim goes to work. That means getting up a little before 5am and running while it’s still dark. I promise to take a running beach photo for my next post but this morning Tim spotted this on the beach.

They buried radioactive Mickey and Minnie

They buried radioactive Mickey and Minnie

Our next weekend training run was a little more successful but about half of what we planned to run. It was a hot, hilly 7.1 miles. We should have gotten an earlier start. We have found the trail that we plan to do most of our long runs on. It is Los Peñasquitos Canyon about a 20 minute drive from our house.

What a beautiful trail

What a beautiful trail

I thought I was in Tucson for a minute

I thought I was in Tucson for a minute

We plan to get an early start and double our milage this weekend. To beat the heat we will truly have to get up, once again, at -Fuck This! o’clock.

Our new stomping grounds

Our new stomping grounds

We had a good talk this week about getting serious about our marathon training. We decided to get serious about losing weight again over a plate of Donner Fries and a bottle of wine.

Speaking of Donner Fries – our friends Elise and Jessie from Tucson were in San Diego so we went out for wine and Donner Fries (I just don’t understand why my weight loss has plateaued). Jessie took this picture so, sadly, he isn’t in it.

It was great to see you guys

It was great to see you guys

On a different topic – my massage school is going ok. It is billed as a “holistic” massage school. Apparently, that means a lot of woo-woo nonsense and a bunch of teachers who liked the 70’s so much they decided to stay there. As Tim put it, “Jerry is dead, move on”. If I hear “Thank you for sharing”, one more time I’ll scream. It actually does have a good massage program and I’m learning a lot.

In other non running related news, August 30th was the 20 year anniversary of the night me and Tim met. We went to Amplified to celebrate. We did have wine but not the Donner Fries. Wow – we must really be getting serious. Oddly, it feels, both like we met not so long ago and like we have been together forever. Happy anniversary, my darling. I love you beyond words.

So that has been out marathon training for the last month. A couple 4 mile runs and a long run of 7.1 miles. We got this (sigh).

Please leave a comment or ask a question. I love evidence that I am being read.

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#52 - San Francisco

 

52 down 0 to go!
 

What a long strange trip it’s been – Grateful Dead
 

This whole weekend was awesome. Awesome hotel, awesome food, awesome race, awesome shopping, awesome city – just fucking awesome. I’m downright giddy to have completed a HM a week for a whole year. The best part was sharing the experience with my awesome husband. Thanks Tim, your awesome. OK – I promise not to use the word awesome again for the rest of this post.

Tim made this whole weekend a birthday extravaganza. We got a fancy room for 2 nights, went to a couple posh restaurants and went shopping. I loved our hotel. It was high end (for us) without being pretentious. The lobby had free wine during happy hour. The bed was so comfortable that I threatened not to get up for the race Sunday morning.

#52 - San Francisco

I highly recommend this charming hotel

#52 - San Francisco

In the hotel lobby, race morning

This HM echoed our first HM in many ways. Both Eugene and SF are iconic, large races and we decided to run both together. Just like our first race, I was moving slower than was comfortable for Tim and just like our first race, Tim’s afib kicked in during the last 5 miles. We also held hands as we crossed the finish line in both races.

#52 - San Francisco

Just a few blocks into our last HM

While this was the best possible race for us to end our adventure with they did have some serious issues. The parking at the expo was a giant cluster fuck. They really needed someone directing traffic. It took over half an hour to get out of the parking lot. Luckily, Tim can be an aggressive driver when he needs to be. I don’t think I have ever seen a parking situation so messed up. The expo itself was ok, nothing special. Because we got there about an hour before closing it was winding down. We did get about 10 bags of potato chips. They just kept giving them to us.

We got to sleep until 5am. It will be so nice to sleep in on weekends again. Our hotel was about a half mile from the start. It was a nice walk.

We goofed off a lot during this race. This is going to be a photo race report.

#52 - San Francisco

Tim veers off course to stick his head through a hole

The crowd support at this race was great. This girl screamed loud for everyone. She was adorable. Our wave started a full half hour after the first wave so she must have had a sore throat by the time she was screaming for us.

#52 - San Francisco

If I had her energy I would take over the world

Scenery wise this was a most incredible course

#52 - San Francisco

Yep – that’s a nice view

We met a really amazing guy, Dennis Cannon. He was running the full marathon while fighting cancer. He is still going through chemo. We have met a couple of people who started running after beating cancer but this is the first time we have met someone who was running while they were still going through chemo and fighting cancer. He was a really nice guy as well. Way to go Dennis. We wish you all the best.

#52 - San Francisco

#52 - San Francisco

Awesome Beyond impressive

I got all excited when I saw the bridge. Dennis asked us if we wanted him to take our picture. At first we said we didn’t want to interrupt his race but he insisted that it was no problem. I’m glad we did.

#52 - San Francisco

This is my favorite picture of us

We saw quite a few runners in fun costumes.

#52 - San Francisco

#52 - San Francisco

Running on the Golden Gate Bridge was a highlight of the year for me. Everyone who has been reading me knows that I love to run on bridges and this is my favorite bridge. I find it amazing that they were able to close 3 lanes of traffic, over the bridge, for runners. They even had a buffer lane between traffic and the runners.

#52 - San Francisco

#52 - San Francisco

Traffic Control was excellent. The police stopped traffic for runners. This woman was my favorite. When we slowed down coming up to the road, she yelled at us to keep going, that she was here for us and we were more important than cars. She was so enthusiastic and cheerful that she made both of us happy.

#52 - San Francisco

She appeared to get a malicious delight from stopping traffic

I’m not sure where these pictures were taken because they are two of the free photos but I like them.

#52 - San Francisco

Just look at that flying ponytail

#52 - San Francisco

Just look at that flying ponytail

Unfortunately, Tim had an issue with his afib. I don’t think he appreciated me taking pictures of him walking.

#52 - San Francisco

#52 - San Francisco

We ran by this cool sculpture in a playground. Tim got a good picture of it and I managed to get, what I thought was a good picture of Tim, getting a picture of the sculpture.

#52 - San Francisco

#52 - San Francisco

I ran ahead to get this unbelievable picture of a guy who was juggling while dribbling a basketball.

#52 - San Francisco

How do you do that?

Over the year I have seen a lot of interesting and funny signs but this guy took silliness to a new level.

#52 - San Francisco

His beer belly made the cat look 3D

We held hands and ran across the finish line together. Kudos to this race for offering free photos. Although we look like hell this is a special picture.

#52 - San Francisco

What a happy couple

After the race we noticed this cool music area that was powered by 5 bicycles.

#52 - San Francisco

Bicycle power

#52 - San Francisco

Tim did his part

This race had a major snafu involving the challenge medals. The challenge medal was an extra medal for doing both the Surf City and The San Francisco HM. Tim got his medal while I ran off to find a bathroom. While I was in line to get my medal they announced that they had run out of medals and would have to mail them. Usually, I don’t care very much about medals but this one was a really cool beer opener.

#52 - San Francisco

Tim gets a challenge medal

UPS had the brilliant idea of consolidating the drop bags at the end. That meant that some bags were not where they should be. They called the last bus while Tim was trying to find our bag. That meant that after getting our bag and trying to get my medal we didn’t have time to eat or get our free beer. I thought the buses were poorly timed as there were still a lot of people on the course. I hope no one got left behind.

#52 - San Francisco

Look – our hands are making a 52 (because we’re dorks)

There was a really long bus line but that was ok because we got to meet this nice couple. They emailed me a picture with a happy birthday note.

#52 - San Francisco

We have met so many cool people

Cons

  • Traffic nightmare at packet pickup
  • Ran out of challenge medals
  • Bag check was a mess at the end
  • Last buses were leaving before we had a chance to eat or drink a beer

Pros

  • Running over the Golden Gate Bridge
  • Nice course through San Francisco
  • Wonderful volunteers
  • Enthusiastic traffic control
  • Fun crowd support
  • Wearable long sleeve tech shirt (logo free)
  • Free pictures (special shoutout to Hoka)
  • Sent race results and pictures via email
  • Lots of port-o-pots before, during, and after race
#52 - San Francisco

Rose garden by the bus line

I really enjoyed this race but I am not sure if I would recommend it. The race itself was well organized (and that is what is most important) but the before and after was a bit off. If Tim hadn’t been driving I would have taken hours to get out of the expo parking lot. The drop bag mess up, lack of challenge medals, and the last buses leaving around 10am, added up to a race that didn’t seem to care much about slower runners. There were a couple things that made this race a challenge. As you would expect in SF it was hilly. It was also windy going over the bridge. That said, the race itself was stellar. The volunteers were amazing and they didn’t run out of anything. If you love SF and want to run over the Golden Gate Bridge as much as I did this race is for you. I loved it in spite of hills, wind, humidity, and a few snafus.

It was nice not to have to rush back to our hotel, take a shower and get on the road, after the race. Sunday night Tim took me out to a nice restaurant. It had a great atmosphere, our food and wine were excellent, and we had a sweet waiter.

#52 - San Francisco

Check out the ceviche served in half a coconut

Our waiter didn’t speak the best English and somehow got the idea that we were celebrating our anniversary. He brought us free cake. Tim called it my birthday cake.

#52 - San Francisco

Happy Anniversary

Yipee – we don’t have to run this weekend!

I will have a last blog post that sums up the adventure so please read my last post next week.

Doesn’t a record number of pictures deserve a record number of comments? Only 1 more chance to make Sharon happy by leaving a comment. I love comments almost as much as I love being done with this project.

#52 - San Francisco