Griffith Park - T-Shirt


26 down only 26 to go.

I am beyond exhausted. The Sunday before last we had a hard run in Oregon and then we had Tim’s mom over for dinner to say goodbye. Monday, Tim got the U-Haul and we packed/loaded the U-Haul, all day. Tuesday, we finished loading the U-Haul and cleaned the house. We meant to leave around noon but didn’t get on the road until after 4pm. Wednesday, Tim drove 12 hours and we made it just north of LA. Meowse was so good. She slept on my lap most of the way. Thursday, we had a shorter drive but it was through LA on a torn up section of the interstate so it was hell. I was feeling a bit car sick and the cat was so done with this trip. Poor Tim was driving a U-Haul that was towing a car, on an awful road, through awful traffic, with a grumpy wife who was trying to control an insane cat. I’m full of scratches and puncture marks where she tried to hold on.

Griffith Park - Meowse

I’m much better now but still a little grumpy

Thursday night we went out to a place in San Diego called Aladdin. We had some drinks and huge salads. For me, the worse thing about traveling is trying to find something healthy to eat. Just like in prison I started to count ketchup as a vegetable.

Tim wanted to get an early start Friday so he could park the U-Haul before traffic got too bad. When we got to our new place we found out that it wouldn’t be ready until noon (about 3 hours) because they were still cleaning. I think they spent 3 hours cleaning the refrigerator and 10 minutes on the rest of the place. While moving my desk slipped and landed on my forehead. It is still sore.

Griffith Park - Sharon

Sharon responds to her desk trying to kill her

This is the first race we seriously considered skipping. Besides having a killer headache from a desk landing on me, I was exhausted and every part of my body was sore. Both of us were tired and had not been sleeping well. We already have one race to make up so we decided to just get this one over with, even if we had to walk it. This race started at 7am so we had to get up at 3am to drive 2 hours to Griffith Park.

Overall, this race had a lot of problems. There was no one directing traffic in the parking lot. Once out of the car there was nothing to let you know where the race started. We talked to a volunteer from the band who asked us for directions. Finally we followed someone who looked like they knew where they were going. Tim got our T-Shirts while I ran to find a bathroom. They were cotton shirts with sponsor logos on the front as well as on the back. I know tech shirts are more desirable for most people but at this point I have so many that I was happy to get a cotton shirt.

The race was advertised as mostly flat but it was actually very hilly. I started walking within the first half mile because that’s where they put the first hill, so I only ran with Tim for about 5 minutes. The park was scenic but part of the course was run close enough to the freeway that I could smell the exhaust. The course was supposed to be closed to traffic but some very irate motorists didn’t get the memo. Volunteers on bikes were doing their best to get traffic off the course. There was a nice section on a bike path which had such aggressive bikers that I was scared. A bike came from behind me and cut between me and another runner with no room to spare. That’s the closest I have ever come to being hit.

Usually I wait until the last 3 miles to listen to my music but this time I put it on around mile 6 because I needed the distraction. I woke up some long dormant muscles while moving. The music really helped to motivate me. It has been months since I listened to my music, mostly because I have been running in the rain and my favorite MP3 player doesn’t fit under my favorite rain hat. I recommend making a playlist of favorite songs that you only listen to while racing or running. It works for me. I made myself hit pause whenever I took a walk break.

I didn’t get a medal when I came through the finish so Tim tried to find out why. He got one. It turns out that they ran out of medals! I had to put my name on a list and they said they would mail medals. Not only did they run out of medals but no one was at the finish line to let runners know what was going on so most people who came in after 2 1/2 hours didn’t even know that they were supposed to get a medal. The woman who took our after picture just assumed that only winners got medals. It was a cheap, small medal that I really didn’t care about but I heard some really upset people. Not only did they run out of medals but they ran out of food even before Tim finished.

We talked to the race director and were more forgiving when we found out that this was the inaugural race. There are always some problems in the first race. They allowed registration race morning and over 250 people signed up after the medals had been ordered. That was way more than she was expecting. I thought it was a good sign that the race director asked us for feedback on other parts of the race. She let us know that she cared and wanted to improve the race next year. Another problem I saw was that expo tents started breaking down shortly after I came through and some were already gone. There were still over 50 people on the course that would be coming through the finish to nothing. I think that’s rude. Luckily Tim grabbed some chips and pistachio bars for me before they ran out and/or packed up. And the last snafu I noticed – the course was about a half mile short. I can’t say I really minded but still a HM should be 13.1 miles.

Griffith Park - US

Barely conscious (Sharon) but dry


  • Once parked it is unclear where the race is.
  • Guy without a microphone saying something at start of race
  • Extremely hilly “flat” course
  • Freeway exhaust and noise
  • Traffic on the “traffic free” course
  • Speedy, agressive bicyclists
  • Ran out of food way early
  • Ran out of medals
  • No information about medals unless you sought it out
  • Expo closing down with runners (many) still on course
  • Cheap T-Shirt and medal (for those who got one)


  • Good driving directions
  • Nice little expo
  • Benefit for park services
  • Frequent aid stations w/ nice volunteers
  • Mildly scenic
  • Race director who cared about improving the race
  • Prompt email with finishing time
  • Attempted to close the course to traffic

At this point I would not recommend this race. It was a mess. On the other hand this was the inaugural race and the race director appeared to be taking notes. It is a benefit for the park service which is a huge plus for us so I really hope they get their act together. You shouldn’t have to run a HM in under 2 hours to get something to eat afterwards.

Please leave a comment, I love comments.

Cascade Half-Marathon - T-Shirt


25 down only 27 to go.

This was our last race in Oregon before our move to San Diego. Of course, it rained. And wind, there was serious wind as well. Also, January in Oregon – so it was cold. January in northern Oregon is not January in San Diego.

They had an early start for walkers or anyone who thought it would take them more than 2½ hours to finish. We lucked out because it didn’t rain for the first hour. And it wasn’t the worst rain we have run in (Eugene). We have also run in worse wind (also Eugene) and it was nowhere as cold as Seattle.

Our last race in Oregon was even more special because we got to see our friend Jeanie.

This was a smaller race so we were able to park close to the start. It had an indoor gathering space to stay warm, before and after the race.

Cascade Half-Marathon - Smug

Before race – Not sure why we are looking so smug

The race was all on nice country roads. Tim ran with me for a little over a mile. Much to my suprise I found myself catching back up to him. That has never happened. I did a big push to catch him because I was a little worried. It turns out his A-Fib was acting up, so if you noticed that his time is slower than usual that’s why. He soon pulled ahead again and I didn’t see him until the end.

Cascade Half-Marathon - Llama

Second week in a row now seeing llamas (he wouldn’t pose)

I didn’t notice that I had a tailwind until the turnaround point when when I got a faceful of wind/rain.

I know I have said it before, but I like out and backs because I love to see the fast runners. Because they started an hour later I got to see them fly by in both directions. We also saw a couple of groups of people running the 13.1 miles in the rain with flags.

Cascade Half-Marathon - Flag


After the race signs directed runners to the school cafeteria (it was quite a maze) where they had hot soup, cookies, and coffee. Having the after race food in a cafeteria was great because we could we sit down and eat.

Cascade Half-Marathon - Post Race

We are soaked


Another nice thing about doing a race with indoor post race food is indoor bathrooms. It felt great to get into dry clothes. There is nothing so cozy as dry clothes after a cold wet run. Except maybe hot soup.

Cascade Half-Marathon - Post Race

happy dry couple (with wet hair)


  • January in Oregon


  • Close parking
  • Start at gymnasium end in cafeteria
  • People willing to volunteer in the rain. You guys rock
  • Scenic
  • Excellent soup and cookies
  • Able to sit down and eat after the race
  • Indoor bathrooms
  • Benefit for the high school track team
  • Nice long sleeve tech shirt

I thought this race was well organized. If you are going to run a race in Oregon, in January, you already know it is going to be chilly and might rain so we would definitely recommend this race. If you are going to run in January, a race with indoor bathrooms and hot soup is the way to go. The soup was chicken noodle, so if you are a vegetarian there is bread, cookies, and coffee, but no soup for you.,

As we were finishing up our coffee a cool thing happened. A guy (we think he was a race sponsor) walked up and gave us a pair of Sock Guy socks. They are too small for Tim, so they are mine.

Cascade Half-Marathon - Socks

Thanks, I love them

Goodbye Elkton, hello San Diego. Please leave a comment

Sorry, this weeks blog post will be late because we are in the midst of moving.

Y2K - T-Shirt


24 down only 28 to go.

At least it’s not raining, was my only thought on our way to this race. Once we leave Oregon I hope to never run in the rain again, unless I am in Hawaii. If I have learned anything about myself in the last 3 months it is that I am a weather wimp. I recently heard an interview with Timothy Olsen (my favorite ultrarunner) where he said that he likes to run in the most adverse conditions possible because he likes to test himself. While I admire this attitude, I have come to realize that I will never be that person running uphill on a muddy trail, on a cold day who shakes a fist at the sky when it starts to pour and yells, “Bring it on”. I wish I was that person but I’m not. I was grateful it did not rain.

It was a chilly day but this race had an indoor meeting area. It is so nice to have a start and finish with an indoor bathroom, especially for changing into dry clothes after the race.

Both Tim and I enjoyed this race but found the hills challenging. It was well organized and very scenic. Unfortunately, we didn’t get any race photos because Tim’s phone was dead and I accidentally left my phone in the car.

This race started at 9:30am. It was nice not to be starting a race in the dark. I think all winter races should start after 9am so they start brighter and warmer.

This race was very pretty in a country roads kind of way. Just a couple of miles into this race I saw two very excited llamas. Tim says that they were running along the fence with runners when he went by. When I ran by they appeared to be dancing. They were on their hind legs jumping on the fence and prancing. Llamas have the most improbable looking faces. They look like stuffed animals. Yay for dancing llamas.

Just like last week this was a multi race event with the HM being the longest distance. And just like last week most people were doing the shorter race. It was depressing to turn to the sparsely populated left while everyone I was running with continued straight. After the HM turnoff I was alone for most of the race. This was the most scenic part of the race. It was through charming countryside and forest on a nice paved road.

I did have an interesting wildlife encounter. I was mildly attacked by a chihuahua! A rather crazed, yapping chihuahua came tearing out of a farmhouse, chased me down the road and nipped at the heel of my shoe. It backed off when I stamped my foot and yelled. I don’t know if you are supposed to hold eye contact or not with an attacking dog but I glared into his bug eyes.

angry_chihuahua_by_nikydog142007 - Found on

The only other person I could see was quite a ways up in front of me so I made a game out of trying to reel him in. I lost some time during my chihuahua encounter but soon after that adventure I was treated to a nice long downhill where I was able to narrow the gap. We were both run/walking at this point. I would run, not looking at him while I slowly counted to 60 then I would let myself look ahead to see if I was closer. There was about a 2 mile out and back in the second half of the race. I got to see Tim coming back. That always gives me a boost. I also saw that I was closing in on the guy in front of me and was able to catch him about a mile later. Much to my surprise I also saw that there was a woman quite a bit behind me. I had thought I was last (when I checked the results I realized that 6 people came in after me). My guess is that most people in the kind of shape I’m in had enough sense to run the 10K. Once I got close enough to read his Blerch shirt I realized that I had seen this guy at the Seattle HM and taken a picture of his shirt. Sure enough, I caught up and we talked a bit. He was in Seattle. He told me that he was doing a full marathon in a couple of weeks but didn’t feel ready. We went back and forth for over a mile before I was able to take and keep the lead. After passing him I pretended that I was being chased by the Blerch. He beat me in Seattle so I was happy to be able to return the favor. This picture is from Seattle.

Seattle marathon -

Good luck on your first marathon

It started to sprinkle during the last mile of the race. I was ok with that. What I wasn’t ok with was the big uphill at the end. I walked it. As always Tim came to cheer me in and was a motivation for me to try to run. After the race they had a yummy pancake breakfast for finishers. I usually can’t (or don’t want to) eat right after a race but I did have a pancake. Tim had six.

Both Tim and me were sore after this race. I think it was because of the hills. The last couple races we have done have either been mostly flat or a net downhill.

Because we didn’t take any pictures this race I’m going to show off a bit and include my favorite race photo. I almost never like pictures of myself. When we looked up our results we discovered that they had used my photo. This was an obstacle mud run we did in 2010. It was the first time I ever placed in my age group. I was proud of myself even after I found out that there were only 4 women in my age group. I guess there aren’t a lot of old women doing mud runs – who knew?

2010 Cat Mountain Mud run

This was much funner then I thought it would be


  • Hilly with the worse hill in the last mile
  • Very little crowd support (not something I care about)
  • I had an encounter with a vicious chihuahua
  • A small amount of road had an awful angle


  • Easy packet pickup
  • Parking close to the start
  • Indoor bathroom and gathering area (an elementary school)
  • As always (most of the time) great volunteers
  • Well marked course
  • Scenic country views including dancing llamas
  • Nice shirt and medal
  • After race pancakes

Although it has some serious hills I would recommend this race. It was well organized and had lovely scenery. Nothing super special but a solid race with a long sleeve tech shirt and a nice medal. It is one of the few HM in Oregon in January so if you want to do a race in the area to kick off the new year this would be a good choice. Just remember we got lucky with the weather. I heard that it was much colder last year and rain is always a possibility.

Postscript: I know that my blog posts/race reports have been a little short lately. Between the holidays and getting ready to move I have been crunched for time. My next post will likely be short as well but once we get settled in San Diego I hope to return to my usual long winded self.

Please leave a comment or ask a question. It makes the llamas happy.

kick off the new year medal


23 down only 29 to go.

I knew it was going to happen at some point. I’m actually surprised it it didn’t happen sooner. Yes – I got lost during this race. The logical question would be, “How could you get lost on an out and back, repeated 3 times?” To which I calmly reply, “Shut the fuck up.” I got lost, not once, not twice but 3 times. I got lost in both directions. I’m still not sure how it happened.

Before I launch into my race report I have some news to report. We are moving to San Diego! We sign our lease and move in January 23rd. Last weeks race report was late because we were in San Diego apartment hunting. I told Tim that ideally I wanted to be within a mile of the beach. Wow, did he ever deliver. Tim found a 1 bedroom just a few steps from the beach. I am over the moon.

San Diego Apt Map

Our next 2 races are in OR but after that most of my race reports will be about CA races.

This was a very low key race. There was a race bib and a medal but no T-Shirt or chip timing. It was a bit chilly at the start but not too bad. I just wore my flannel shirt until the race started and was fine. Colder temps. are starting to feel normal to me. When I lived in Tucson anything colder than 70° would have called for hat, gloves, and complaining.

kick off the new year - us

I started, as always, running with Tim. It was soon clear to me that it was not going to be my day. My legs felt heavy and tired right from the start. I think the week was catching up to me. Besides the stress of house hunting and New Years Eve partying (Tim and I finished 3 bottles of wine) we didn’t sleep much because we had the loudest guy ever in the room next to us. The walls were paper thin. Not only was this guy loud but he never shut up. When he wasn’t having loud sex or fighting with his girlfriend he was having loud phone conversations with his friends about drugs, prison, and how smelly his girlfriends privates were (yes, really). Not only did he never shut up but he never seemed to sleep which meant we didn’t sleep much either. I highly advise anyone traveling to San Diego not to stay at the Biltmore in La Jolla. It will come up as the cheapest hotel in the area but really – don’t do it.

This entire run was next to the ocean and was actually very nice. I managed not to get lost on the first loop. There was a point where the HM went straight and everyone else turned. I managed not to get lost only by asking someone which way to go. It was marked on the ground but it was written so small I would have had to kneel to read it. I have awful eyes. Most people were doing shorter distances so I couldn’t just follow someone. Because it was on the Santa Monica beach paths there were lots or runners who weren’t in the race, and bikers. On the 2nd loop I realized that I was somehow on the bike path not the running path so I cut across the sand to get back on course. On my return trip I overshot the aid station turnaround. I ended up in the same parking lot as our car so I used the opportunity to put on some more Glide (anti-chafe stuff) and then found my way back to the aid station. At least I didn’t get chaffed this run. On my 3rd loop I went through an underpass that was not there on the first 3 loops. Besides getting lost by overshooting the aid station and being on the wrong path I also lost a lot of time standing still, looking around, wondering where I was and why I wasn’t seeing any other people with race bibs. On the last loop I knew something was wrong (I was on the bike path again) but I also knew that I would end up at the aid station if I just pushed forward. About half a mile from the finish I got a phone call from a concerned Tim. He had passed me on the first 2 loops with high fives and then didn’t see me on the 3rd loop. He came out to meet me and ran in with me.

The people who run this race are really nice. She told Tim that I was not the first person to get lost. That made me feel marginally better. They had the yummiest homemade muffins afterwards. If you live near Santa Monica check out A Better World Running, they do quite a few inexpensive runs in the ares. Although I ranted to Tim about how much I hated this HM and would never do it again, I’m reconsidering. They do a valentine run on the same course.


  • I found the course confusing
  • Sidewalk directions and arrows were small
  • Fairly heavy traffic on the boardwalk
  • No one at the turnaround (I saw at least one person cut the course)
  • Running mostly on cement (more if you get lost)


  • Run next to the ocean
  • Nice Race Directors
  • Friendly people at the race
  • Low key, relatively inexpensive event
  • Homemade muffins
  • New Years medal
  • Free online pictures

I guess I would recommend this race. I thought it was confusing (and I’m not the only person to ever get lost) but Tim had no problem understanding the course. I really should look at the course map before a race. I’m not sure I would call this race beginner friendly. There isn’t a lot of instruction and I think most of the people running were already familiar with the group. In fact, listening to people talk to each other it sounded more like a running group than a race in that everyone seemed to know each other. It was scenic as it was run next to the ocean. It was also interesting to see people out walking dogs, running, and rollerblading. I think I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that you can run on the boardwalk for free without aid because there are bathrooms and water fountains all over the place. But then you would miss out on the friendly high 5’s and the delicious post race muffins.

Please leave a comment or ask a question. It makes me happy.

San Diego Holiday Half - T-Shirt


22 down only 30 to go.


This was one of the more disorganized races we have done and yet, it was glorious. No rain! It was cold. At the start it was almost as cold as last weeks race. We had been watching the forecast and knew it would be unseasonably cold so we were dressed for it.

San Diego Holiday Half

Flannel shirt, wooly hat, gloves, we really are in San Diego

Looking around it was obvious that this was not a typical San Diego morning. It was amusing to watch locals act like they had just been dropped into Alaska.

San Diego Holiday Half

Some people were more prepared than others

The first sign that the weather was not what the locals were used to was at the bus parking lot where the volunteers were huddled together rather than directing cars to parking places. It made for some chaotic parking. We were bused to the parking lot in front of an Albertsons where the race began. At first the Albertsons employees tried to keep people from huddling inside and from using the indoor bathrooms but they soon gave up. The Starbucks manager was having a fit because the bathroom line was blocking something. She was acting like an enraged harpy, which I thought was stupid because Starbucks probably sold more coffee that morning than they did the rest of the month. She really wanted the bathroom line to know that she was in charge. Everyone just ignored her.

A super nice group of volunteers were handing out hot tea and coffee before the race. It really helped take the chill off.

The race started late because a bus got lost. The race also started in a slightly different place than last year so there was all kinds of confusion as we were headed to the start. The drop bag system was also a mess. They had a key locker system that got so backed up they abandoned it. To be fair this was only the second time this race had been put on and only the first with a bag check.

This was a holiday race with some good holiday spirit.

San Diego Holiday Half

My favorite tech shirt

The race started on city streets but soon we were on a bike path that lasted most of the race. This is the first time we have been in a race where the bike path was closed to non race traffic. It was nice not to worry about being run over by the spandex monsters.

So – an annoying thing I have never seen during a race before. A group of religious fanatics were out with a megaphone preaching at runners as we passed. Ugh! They yelled at me about Jesus so I yelled back asking if they should really be working on Sunday.

This was not the most scenic race as the bike path was along the freeway but it was paved with asphalt (not concrete) and the race had a net downhill. And did I mention it was not raining, so I was happy. The day got slowly warmer and more pleasant as the race went on. I felt great. I talked to a few people but mostly I just ran.

About mile 9 I realized that I was on pace for a 52-T-Shirts project PR. I didn’t know it at the time but Tim was having a PR day as well. I also started to feel my blister coming back. I think tim got his biggest blister of the project during this race.

San Diego Holiday Half

Tim should also be a foot model

I pushed really hard and beat my PR by over 2 minutes. Tim beat his PR by over 3 minutes.

Tim came out and ran with me towards the end. When I told him how close I was to my PR he yelled all kinds of encouragement to me at the finish line. It was great to have him encourage me towards the end because I was so beat that having my mind on anything but how much running hurt, helped.

I hear the end of the race was quite confusing. There was a really long line for food and water with no directions. It was chaos. I only know this because Tim told me. I sat on the curb trying to breathe. Water or food was not even on my mind.

San Diego Holiday Half

Our fastest HM since 2011


  • Chaotic parking
  • Starbucks manager (I think she was the manager) yelling at people in line for the bathroom
  • Race started late
  • Confusion about where the race started
  • Religious crazies yelling at runners
  • Long food and water line after the race
  • Bag check was a mess
  • T-Shirts fit weird


  • Nice volunteers handing out hot tea and coffee before race
  • Great MC at start
  • At least they had a bag check
  • Donated discarded clothing
  • Net downhill on asphalt bike path
  • Closed bike path for runners
  • Frequent aid stations
  • Good after race band
  • Nice medal

It is hard for me to know if I should recommend this race or not. It was pretty disorganized but I really enjoyed it. I’m not sure if I enjoyed it so much because it was a good race or because I was feeling good and all I saw was no rain. It is a beginner friendly race with a good vibe. It had a net downhill, lots of aid stations, and no chance of getting lost. Unless you were walking there is little chance of coming in last. I hope they get the details of this race figured out because it has potential.

Please leave a comment or ask a question. I love feedback.