Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Ummmm. Hi.


So, I'm still funkish.

I've had a couple of really good runs...

1. Newport Back Bay with Snork and K, my PCRF friend Jordan's girlfriend. 10 super easy pace miles a week ago last Saturday (so long ago!). Followed by 6 miles on the treadmill for 16 - it was FINE.
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
2. Then, a few days later, I ran 8 miles with 4x1600, goal pace 9:05. Actual splits 9:05, 9:01, 8:53, 8:40. <-- I KNOW.

3. Thursday night, I ran 18 miles, easy pace, after work. Not ideal, but we were leaving soon after work Friday for our weekend road trip, so I needed to get this done. 

4. Saturday morning, Rose met me at our hotel at 6am for 6 easy miles. She's the best running friend ever. Great run, we stopped to pet a horse (pony?), hiked up a giant hill, and ran back to my hotel. I don't get to see her often, so this was rad. 

So. Yeah. I don't know. The runs have been good. But I skipped one last week. I should be running tonight, but I didn't, and I'm saying it's because I'm tired from the weekend. It throws off my schedule for this week, but I'll figure it out.

Modified PFTW: 
Wednesday: 9 miles, Yasso 800's <- gross.
Thursday? Friday?: 9 miles easy
Saturday: CDM 5k
Sunday: 22 miles

I'm just kind of over it, I think. The running is fine, I feel fine, I just don't feel like doing it. Super lame. Bah. Just 25 days left, I guess, then I can be as laaaazy as I want. For awhile.

Backtracking, part 1 - last weekend (last LAST weekend, before Memorial Day), #2 participated in the local Junior Games - like a giant, districtwide field day. #2's events were some ball toss and..... the 800!


This is a for real screenshot from my phone.
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
I didn't even know that was a thing. 

I don't know anything about the throwing stuff, except that she got a ribbon, and seemed to have good form? I don't know. 

Her 800 event was in the middle of the day - 1 pm - and she was tired, hot, cranky, and not well hydrated. But, she came in about 5th overall.

Backtracking, part 2. Big Sur is freaking beautiful. San Francisco is HILLY.






Backtracking, part 3. Remember how, last year, Gabby was bald? And then, in grew all these beautiful golden brown curls?

I guess she didn't like them....
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App


Friday, May 18, 2012

Fair point well made

1. I haven't read the 50 Shades books. They sound dreadful. I already made it through Twilight, so I think I've reached the end of my YA reading bonanza. Also, I heard that it was even MORE poorly written than Twilight, and I don't know that my brain can take it.

2. But I have read all of 50 Shades of Suck. Hilarity.

3. I don't really "get" tumblr.

4. I am 194% in a running funk.

5. I haven't had a good run since PCRF. Every one has felt REALLY hard, and the paces don't reflect the effort I've felt I'm putting in.

6. I was supposed to run 8 miles last night. I ran 4 with Snork.

7. Those 4 included 6x400 at a slower pace than I did the 20x400 a few weeks ago. And it felt eleventy million times harder.

8. And then I stopped. 4 < 8.

9. I'm hoping this is still recovery? I don't even know. My legs need to just cut that nonsense out. This is an excessive recovery period. Play time is over, legs.

10. I'm hoping running back bay this weekend with Snork (and maaaaybe a new running friend!) will pull me out of The Funk.

11. I zipped my hair in my hoodie this morning.

12. Related, I'm waaaaaay overdue for a haircut.

13. We're road tripping up the central coast over the memorial day weekend. OC -> SLO -> Big Sur -> Monterey -> San Fran. Any tips or must-see's?

14. It's Becka's birthday! Go say happy birthday to her.

15. I remembered that I forgot to cover the great post-PCRF Half expo! We enjoyed it last year (check out her super bald head here), but Gab was still kind of bleh. Chemo does that. She really, REALLY loved it this year.

16.  Throughout the morning, people kept telling me they were at the Team Gabby tent. And I kept saying, I don't have a tent. I suck, and didn't set one up.

Imagine my shock when I walk by a tent and see a crowd of people with this on their shirt.....

 Team Gabby part TWO! 
I know it's GIANT, but I love this picture, so giant it stays.
THIS Team Gabby raised over $2,300 for PCRF! I was super bummed that I didn't realize they were there until almost the end of the event. And that, you know, I didn't listen to all the people who said there was a Team Gabby tent.... I swear I'll be a better team captain next year. Not trying to PR will help...

17. And, looks like Team Gab is closing out this fundraising season just shy of $7grand. Right now we're at $6,984 after my corporate matching gifts go through. (PS, anyone in for $16?? Click HERE to donate!)

18. Aaaaand, I waaaaay undershot what the event overall brought in. I can't remember where I saw the $288K number, but... it's way short. Looks like it raised over $662,000 for pediatric cancer research. That's pretty rad.

Thursday, May 17, 2012



I met Pam, Margot and SR to eat all the things at Souplantation last night.
Stolen from SR who borrowed it from Pam
I know this is a super dorky thing to say, but it's nice having friends. In general, I'm kind of a private, shy person, so being friendly enough to actually maintain friends doesn't come super naturally to me. Thanks, for putting up with my weirdness, ladies.

I didn't really realize it until this weekend, but SEATTLE IS REALLY, REALLY SOON. 37 days. Holy crap.

RunDisney announced their new Marathon course today. See it here....

I'm kind of indifferent to the changes - I'm not into car racing stuff, and the WWS is fine. I am DYING to know what the mile 20 surprise is, and SUPER SUPER stoked that the finish through EPCOT stays the same.

Not that I'm counting, but... 56 days until Gab's Make a Wish trip :D

Monday, May 14, 2012

Neon glitter, all the kids ever, and running. PFTW

Last week....
Tuesday: skipped my run. Hip was being buggy. <-- apparently I'm old. Hip issues. WTF.
Thursday: also skipped my run. #2's Birthday Weekend Extravaganza began. Also, I wrote a guest post for Operation Jack, and why I'm a charity runner! Read it HERE.
Saturday: 10 miles, easy pace. I really, really didn't want to run - I was tired (see below), I ate nothing but junk for daaaaays. I almost didn't run. And then I did, and it was fine. I'm such a whiny baby sometimes.
Sunday: 4 miles, trails, easy pace. See below, also.

This week....
Not sure. I'm busy keeping the schedule maker on her toes. (Sorry, L).


#2's Birthday Weekend Extravaganza began Thursday, with cake, and ice cream, and family.

Friday, after school, she brought home every class mate ever. That might be an exaggeration. Maybe 7. But, in a pretty tiny apartment, with 5 people already occupying space, 7 is A LOT.

Then 2 more came over for pizza, truth or dare, and ice cream cake (#2 requested coffee ice cream cake (?!), and I didn't want to spend a billion dollars, so I made one. Turns out, SUPER easy. I'm going to make ice cream cakes all the time now).

Then 3 of them left, and the rest spent the night, in our living room fort.
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
If you've solved the word problem, that's six 10-11 year old girls. Plus my 13 and 5 year olds.

Hence the tired Saturday.
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
Chaos. CHAOS.

After most of the kids were picked up, we took #2 and one of her friends shopping.

Justice is the worst place ever on the planet ever. Ever. There is SO much neon. And glitter. That place makes me so twitchy.


Sunday, Mother's Day, I spent the entire morning and early afternoon planted in my Poang chair, watching documentaries. It was pretty glorious.

Then, late afternoon, The H and I met Snork and her friend for a short trail run in Crystal Cove. There's an XTERRA trail run there in the winter that I've been eyeing for a few years, and now that Snork realizes running is magical, she's all froggy to do it.

So, we ran the course - El Moro Canyon -> East Cut Across (terrible) -> El Moro Ridge -> BFI. It's been at least a year (or two?) since we've hiked here, and I don't even know why - it's hands down my favorite place in SoCal.

Oh, right. The $15 parking. Riiiiiight.

Anyway, the run was glorious. The hike up the hill was hard (obvs I need to work on this...), but the running parts were rad.

The scenery doesn't suck either


Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Three Things Thursday!

1. Team Gab is the grateful recipient of a $250 grant by the Operation Jack Autism Foundation! Operation Jack caught my eye shortly after I started running in October 2010. If you're not familiar with OJ and Sam, this is their deal - Sam is a father of three kids, including Jack, who is severely autistic. Sam ran 61 marathons in 2010 to raise awareness for Train 4 Autism. He's also super, super fast. So, you know. Basically SuperMan.

I've participated in a few of OJ's local events - volunteering at the OJ Marathon in 2010 and 2011, and running the 6 Hour Challenge back in October.

Part of my the deal in receiving the grant, was writing a guest post for the Operation Jack blog - another opportunity to yap about running, AND get more money for Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation? YES PLEASE. Click HERE and check it out!

You can follow Sam on Twitter here.

2. Recovery week is going swimmingly. As in, I've done nothing active, and eaten everything. Including Sushi last night.
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App 
I actually took an extra rest day on purpose - my right hip started bugging me during my first leg of Ragnar, and continued the rest of the weekend, but then stopped. And then came back around mile 10 of PCRF. That race kicked my ass. Running "fast" is so hard.

3. Today is #2's birthday! She's kind of planned herself a Weekend Birthday Extravaganza, complete with an itinerary for us to follow.
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App 
She's lucky she's adorable.

Monday, May 7, 2012

PCRF Half Marathon Recap

My previous REAL PR was at Long Beach half, last October. I had set out then for a 2:20, but ended up with a really rough 2:29:48.

In February, I intended to run Mermaid Half - a flat course in San Diego. I didn't make it to the race (PSA, always always always double check your dates before driving 2 hours south....), but ran a 13.1 course by my house. My Mermaid goal was 2:20 (again). My non-race garnered me a 2:19:24. A new PR*. Ish. But fake, you know?

Going into PCRF, I knew the course was tough. But I also knew I had gotten a bit stronger. So I set pretty ambitious goals... 2:10:59.

In my favor, I've been training on this course for the last 12 weeks. At an easy pace, but last year during PCRF, I couldn't even run it. I walked almost all of it. 

This year, I've been running that bike path at the end of my 16, 18, 20 milers. And actually NOT DYING.

So, you know, I thought it might be a good time to go for a for REAL PR.

Saturday morning, we slept in (until 8, exciting times here), headed to breakfast at the Irvine Spectrum, then picked up our packets. Easy pick up, in and out in, like, 2 minutes.

Saturday evening, we attended a VIP Training Program pasta dinner. Thanks to YOU guys, I was the top fundraiser in the VIP Training Program, with $5,610. 

Team Gab ended with $5,849.

The event overall raised, I heard, $288K for pediatric cancer research.

You guys. The rest of this report, meh. THAT is what it's about.

The 18 minute PR (SPOILER) was just, like, a bonus.


Ate pasta. Crowned with a princess crown. Headed to our room (we stayed at the host hotel Saturday night, the Doubletree Irvine Spectrum), and hung out. Lights out at 9, and I think we all drifted off by 10. 

Sunday morning, the alarms went off at 5:13, and I got coffee brewing. Unlike last year, I managed to eat my breakfast (Luna Chocolate Dipped Coconut, delicious!). At 6:14 we were ready and headed out, and at the elevator, when The H realized he forgot his water. Good thing he did, because, duh, so did I. It's like i learned nothing from last year.

Got our water, headed downstairs, and ran into Jordan (running his first half marathon!) and his rad girlfriend Kaitlin (looking for a big PR). Kaitlin was running with Team Gavin. I met Gavin's parents through PCRF last year, and Gavin's mom, Kim, has been an enormous source of knowledge and sanity for me. She's also a published author, and you can snag a copy of Hope Room on Amazon (that's not an affiliate link, I just think the book is amazing). 

Headed over to the start area and picked up Snork and her friend, who were running together. Checked my bag - SO FAST AND EASY - and cycled through the bathrooms one more time - ALSO SO FAST AND EASY! I love races with excellent logistics.

I wiggled my way to the front of the pack to say hi to Pam (she ended up taking 3rd overall female!), and saw Monica and ChaCha lined up where they belonged, with the fast people.

I lined up just behind the 2:05 pace group, and just ahead of the 2:10 groups. I worked out a pretty elaborate pacing plan with Lesley, which I forgot at the hotel (oops), but since I'd been pretty much obsessing over it, I wasn't too worried. It was kind of burned into my memory.

Miles 1-5, Goal 9:45
These miles are a gentle downhill, down Barranca, onto the bike path, that I run every week. I was running a bit faster than I intended, but it felt pretty controlled. I'd been thinking about my previous races, and how I'm not super gutsy when I race. I play things pretty easy and conservative. I figured, if ever there was going to be a time to let loose and see what happens, the weather was good, and I was as trained as I could be. I might as well see how it went. 
Actual: 9:35, 9:31, 9:38, 9:39, 9:46

Mile 6, Goal 10-10:15
Slight uphill, heading over the 405 overpass. This was kind of the beginning of the end for me last year. This year, it occurred to me that... it wasn't all that bad. Walked for a minute to take a GU. Chocolate Raspberry. Delicious.
Actual: 10:14

Mile 7, Goal 9:35
Downhill, wheeeeee! I spent a good chunk of this mile passing a ton of people, and wondering if I was making a GIANT mistake by destroying this downhill. 
Actual: 9:09

Miles 8-9, Goal 10-10:15. 10:30's 8.5-9 if needed
This is where the course looped into Mason Regional Park. I hated this last year, and felt myself starting to hate it this year... But I focused on the scenery - turns out it's super pretty, and full of lovely wildflowers. It still sucked, the incline, but at least it was pretty, I guess.
Actual: 10:10, 10:19

10-13.2, Goal 10-10:15
Margot met me at mile 9, because she's the best internet friend ever. Quite honestly, I was pretty miserable. I was having a really, REALLY tough time, and she admitted I looked pretty uncomfortable. It was hard. It was getting hot. I was not feeling well. I had a BAD time trying to take in another GU. It sucked. But, y'know. I guess PR's kind of suck. Margot was a damn saint. I told her probably a dozen times that I couldn't do it. I told her I was walking. And she never let me quit. Last year, I almost walked off the course at mile 11. This year, she reminded me of why I'm doing this. It was pretty great. I spent a lot of time in my head trying to calculate what pace I needed to hold to hit my 2:10:59 goal, and it was pretty close, but in the end, I just couldn't quite pull it out. The small uphills at the end - there were a bunch of them - they just did me in. 

Margot pulled off the course just before the finish when my PCRF coaches joined me to run me in. Poor Coach Matt got my hand waved at him, which was me trying to indicate that I felt like shit and couldn't really communicate. I don't think it was super effective. I vaguely heard #1 yell mom, and she ran in next to me. Coach Doris ran me across the finish line, and like last year, I didn't believe her dirty lies about looking strong. I felt like hell. 

Actual: 10:27 (GU attempt), 10:23, 10:37, 8:59 (?!?)

Official time: 2:11:30. 

My garmin read 13.2 miles, so I'm totally claiming this as a sub-10 overall pace (9:57!!!). 

In February, I was REALLY hoping I could hold a 10:41 pace over 13.1 miles. Sunday, that was slower than my slowest mile. 

Who knew.

Turns out, when I race for REAL, I'm completely oblivious to things around me. Snork's husband was following us around the course taking pictures!
Mile 3 - this is literally across the street from my house. I kind of love that I know these trails so much, but it seriously made it hard to push when I'm so used to running easy on them. 

Downhill... wheeeeeeee

That's me, dying, at 13.05.

Apparently ChaCha and Monica were also spectating at the finish line, but... again, dying, and totally missed them. Boo! 

Lesson learned: I won't be going for a PR on this course again, ever. I'll run it, every single year I am physically able to. But I won't be racing it again. No thanks. My legs are more trashed today than they have been in MONTHS. 

The H finished his FIRST half in 2:02:38. Yesterday he said he was never doing it again, ever. Today, he's considering a fall half. It's addictive.

This is really long, so I'll cover the post-race separately.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Plan for the week!

Last week...

Tuesday, 6 mile tempo
Wednesday, yoga
Sunday, PCRF half

I kind of take taper to the extreme.

This week...
Tuesday, 6 easy
Thursday, 6, maybe some intervals
Saturday, 10 easy
Sunday, 4 easy

Name of the game is... Easy. I'm feeling kind of beat up.

I'll have a full recap for the half later. But, for now. I kinda PR'ed. My previous pr was Long Beach last October, 2:29.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Thanks, Cancer.

There are a lot of things that really suck. Pediatric cancer is one of the biggest.

Take a minute and read this post from Tuesday. It's important.

These are not statistics drummed up by a special interest group. This is Gabby's real, every day life. Our life.

On Sunday, I'll be running my 7th half marathon, with 20 friends, all on Team Gab, all to fight pediatric cancer.

There are better, easier, more effective cures out there. I support PCRF, and their commitment to funding those cures. You can help. 80% of your donation goes directly to funding research and cures. It goes to those projects IMMEDIATELY. The money you donate today will be helping children tomorrow.

Cancer has done a lot of super shitty things - it turned my youngest child into a pincushion; it wreaked havoc on my older kids' routines and grades (for a trimester, no worries, all is well now); it cut our income in half; it completely changed Gabby's personality.

It's taken away opportunities.

It's introduced a world of uncertainty.

There are choices, every day, that we make, determining how we handle these things.

It's easy to be pissed. It's easy to be sad. It's easy to take it sitting down.

If I wanted things to be easy... well. I guess I wouldn't be a runner.

I choose to focus on things I can change.

I choose to show my children cancer is not the boss of us.

The changes that I fight for - better treatments, better cure rates, more alternatives - these are not things that we will benefit from. Gabby's treatment is what it is. But for the kids following her, I want better.

Cancer has shown my family what hope looks like. It's brought us closer than we were; probably closer than we would be now without it. It's strengthened me as a mother, a person. It's introduced me to amazing people. It's bonded me to great friends.

Most importantly - MOST IMPORTANTLY - it's been a catalyst.

So, yeah. It's not often that I'd think to say this.

But, thanks, Cancer. As much as you've jacked things up, you've given us so much more.

So take that.


Yeah, it's race weekend.

I ran a pretty strong tempo on Tuesday, and nailed my goal paces, and felt strong. So....

Goal A: dun dun DUN. 2:10:59. Ambitious.

Goal B: 2:14:59

Goal C: PR (2:28), and don't die.

Weather so far looks pretty ideal - overcast and 55-60*. Last year The Sun was my undoing, so fingers crossed, this forecast sticks.

If I don't PR, I might cry.

That's a lie, I will definitely cry, and I will probably quit running forEVER.

Anyway. I'll be in a BRIGHT ORANGE PCRF shirt (VIP Runner on the back!) and gunmetal Team Sparkle Skirt - say hi!

Last request, for now....

Click HERE to donate to Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation. Help kick cancer in the face.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest.

Childhood cancer, in our numbers ....

487 days ago, Gabby had a lingering cough.

12 - the age my oldest was turning the next day; we had plans, and didn't have time for a sick kid.

1 - the number of birthday parties we had in the pediatric oncology ICU

485 - days ago, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia became A Thing.

485 - the number of days Gabby has smiled since then

481 - days ago, Gabby underwent surgery to implant a port on her chest to facilitate chemo. The port attaches to a catheter, which is inserted in the superior vena cavain, a large vein near her heart. It's placed here because it's the vein is large, and can handle the chemo. The chemo would destroy her veins if administered through an IV.

20 - the number of days we lived in the hospital.

11 - the number of different medications she was on when we brought her home from the hospital.

3 - the number of medications she's on right now at home.

12 - the number of pills she takes at home every Thursday night

22 - the number of days from diagnosis that it took for Gabby to lose her hair.

2 - the number of times she has lost her hair during treatment

2 - number of bone marrow biopsies Gabby has had so far

11 - the number of lumbar punctures Gabby has had so far

10 - pounds gained in the first month on steroids


95% - Gabby's 5 year survival rate once she completes treatment.

84% - Gabby's 10 year survival rate.

1,304 - the number of children expected to die from cancer in 2012

23% - estimated chance of infertility as a result of childhood cancer treatments

1 - the number of childhood cancer drugs approved by the FDA in 20 years.

9 - different chemotherapy drugs involved in her treatment

2 - the number of those drugs that specifically warn of potentially causing cancer

2 - the number of those drugs that we have experienced a potential shortage of

2,370 - the number of dollars we raised for Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation last year

56,000 - the number of dollars OC/IE Team in Training Team Gab raised last fall

63,000 - the number of dollars the PCRF VIP Training group has raised this year (as of almost 2 weeks ago...)
18 - the number of friends running for Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation on Team Gab with me Sunday

6,071 - the amount we've raised this year supporting PCRF

5 - the number of days before half marathon #7

5 - the number of days left to donate to fight pediatric cancer. CLICK HERE TO DONATE.

304 - days until remission


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