Saturday, May 31, 2008

Avenue of the Vines - May 18, 2008

It's been almost two weeks since my last race (and first of 2008) and this chik has barely had time to stop and take a breath. Blogging, while enjoyable and fun is not high on my priority list as I do not have a lot of free time.
Nonethless, my first race of 2008 was amazing and considering the stress fracture of this past year and my surgery, I did exceptionally well after a four-month hiatus (well not a complete one but almost). My best half-marathon time so far is a 2:05 (Four Bridges 2007) and at Avenue of the Vines I completed the course in 2:18:26. While I didn't set a PR, it felt great being part of a race again. I felt strong and there was no pain in my foot and it was very hot. In the mid 90's to be exact. It felt great!!! There was only a slight wind (just enough to not make it completely miserable) and the sun was shining and the sky was clear. The perfect racing day in my book. This is a race I will definitely repeat. Running through the Lodi Vineyards and taking in the beautiful countryside made the race even more enjoyable and made me glad to be part of my local running community.
Having a cheering section was great too and cheering for Cesar who ran his very first race was a great experience. He came in under two hours (1:57) and although he forgot his chip at home (he didn't listen to me when I told him to lay his things out the night before - a runner's ritual), he did have his newly-acquired Garmin.

The thing that made this race particularly enjoyable is that my daughter ran her very first race (1/4 mile kids fun run) and won first place! She was estactic! She has been asking me to run a race for quite awhile and when this opportunity came up I signed her up. Now she's asking me when I'm going to sign her up for the next one. I think it's quite possible she's caught the bug....

I have races planned for July (Wharf to Wharf) and August (San Francisco Half) but so far nothing planned for June. The life in the day of a runner continues as I go back to teach summer school a week from Monday. It's back to the trenches .... Stay tuned fellow runners... I'm looking for a race for June so if there's one you know about (preferably with a great view) and in Northern California let me know...

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mediocrity Rules

As most of you know I don't often blog about topics unrelated to my running. This is a running blog and personally I find it extremely annoying to log on to someones blog only to find their personal diary laid out for all the world to see. No, I don't need to know what you ate for breakfast, or what conversation you had with your neighbor unless it somehow relates to the topic at hand. And no, I don't need to know all the intimate details of your whole sorry life. Save it for your mom (that's what I do - sorry mom) or your therapist (some of you out there need one more than you think) and give the rest of us a break. I'll admit that these types of blogs are often amusing and yet offer little to move one forward.

In any case.... I don't usually blog about unrelated topics on this blog because the intent and purpose (audience and purpose) of this blog is to talk about my joys and struggles with running, thereby eliciting those in the running community to join in the dialogue. That said, perhaps it is time to graduate and write a different type of blog, one that deals with community issues, society and the like.

With that in mind, it has occurred to me lately that in this country mediocrity rules. I do not believe that it has always been so, for if it had, we would not be the great country that we are today. However, lately, it has occurred to me more than once that one is looked down upon, smirked at, placed outside the circle, and quite often completely alienated from said community if one attempts to move beyond mediocrity. If you are mediocre then you are accepted by others. But should you attempt to do more then what is required of you, those around you who may not have similar qualities as you and who may not be willing to rise to the challenge before them, may look upon you as a threat. And once you become a threat you must be taken out. You may disagree with me but I challenge you to look around you and analyze your community (work, church, school, youth organization, club, whatever) and those within it and I guarantee that you will find that mediocrity is at the forefront of your community or organization. Those companies and organizations that have not allowed mediocrity to rule are those that are extremely successful and competitive precisely because creativity is admired and desired and nothing short of your ABSOLUTE best is accepted. I could continue here and say a word or two about the state of politics in this country but I would be digressing .....

While I am a Type A and scream at the mere thought of mediocrity I have noticed that depending on where one works, volunteers etc.... it is quite possible that one might not be able to function if one does not accept and adhere to the rules of mediocrity. I know, I know, its seems like I am contradicting myself now but with all the rules pertaining to mediocrity there are also the rules pertaining to survival where one must appear to be functioning with the walls of mediocrity while all the while attempting to to do what we creative people do best - kick butt.

That's why I run. Here is a community where mediocrity will never rule. We go out and we kick butt every day. We don't jog. We run. We don't believe in mediocrity. We believe in challenging ourselves every time our running shoes hit the road and nothing less than our absolute best will ever suffice.

And you thought I couldn't bring it full circle huh?

I find it fascinating to observe people and how they seem to function so naturally with the confines of mediocrity. Pay attention the next time you are out there in your world. They do it so well that even they no longer know who they are. They have ceased to be and have become one with mediocrity.

I'll see you out there at Avenue of the Vines.....

Monday, May 5, 2008

When life gives you lemons...

You make lemonade. And so I've been having quite of bit of lemonade lately and have learned to enjoy it. "When it rains it pours" I guess the other saying goes and yes, in addition to lots and lots of lemonade it's also been raining quite a bit too and my running has suffered because of it.

If the stress fracture wasn't enough I found out in February that I would probably have to have surgery (unrelated to the stress fracture) and indeed as promised my doctor took me in for surgery on March 28th, 3 days after my 39th birthday. Not exactly how I had planned spending the weekend of my birthday but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do ...

Recovery was not pleasant and took about a month. I ran infrequently during that time. My foot was grateful of course and actually probably helped it recover that much faster. I can honestly say that now I am fully recovered but sort of off my game a bit. I have slowed considerably these last few months and this has been hard for me to accept. Thankfully I have never stopped running completely but certainly not the miles I have been accustomed to doing.

Because of the surgery I was not able to run Santa Cruz half which was hard to accept but again it was just one of those nice little lemons that is thrown our way every so often. I am getting better at just rolling with the punches and making lots and lots of lemonade.

I have managed to run the past three weekends and each time have run 11 miles each time. I also have taken my bike out more and two weekends ago I rode some trails for 23.5 miles. Very nice ride. During the week I have managed to run short runs of between 3 to 5 miles each time.

Avenue of the Vines is coming up and I am thinking of running that this year instead of running Bay to Breakers. I did Bay to Breakers last year and while fun and exhilarating (who could forget Hayes Street Hill?), I do love running in different locations. I have heard Avenue of the Vines is a very nice half marathon and what better place to run than among the vineyards? It will be a very nice way to get back in the zone and see if I am up to doing SF Marathon in August.

Stay tuned fellow runners... this Runnerchik ain't givin' up yet .....