Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Carlsbad Half from a Procrastinating Oceansider

Holy long overdue-ness. How lazy am I with the posting? Seriously. So, it’s been a week since I ran the Carlsbad Half Marathon and I honestly didn’t have high expectations for the race. Now, I’m not saying I didn’t care at all, because, I’d have to call bullshit on myself if I were to say that. Obviously, I don’t want to end up 30+ minutes off my last time, and would be bummed if I did, but I just wasn’t thinking it was going to be a necessarily good race.

I took off the Friday before my weekend was looking kind of crazy and I figured, even the few hours I got to sit around on Friday would be worth it. The weekend went like this:

Friday, pick up bib and last minute cheap cocktail dress shopping for the weekend.

Friday evening, second to last gig with the band – don’t get home until after midnight (yes, I am was in a band comprised of coworkers; I sang lead vocals and played keyboards. But I grew weary of the dynamic and constantly feeling stress over something that was supposed to be fun).

Saturday morning, taught two yoga classes and then decided it was “smart” to be on my feet for an hour and a half making home made butternut squash ravioli (I had frozen filling that I had made a few weeks ago and was hell-bent to use it). Then sat on the couch for a couple hours with my knitting.

Saturday, 5pm, we head out to my company holiday party (yeah, we wait until late January – I think because (a) it’s cheaper, (b) it’s not directly linked to Christmas so it’s more religiously ambiguous – that’s my theory). We stayed for 2 hours – just enough time to have the two free drinks and eat some grub. Thank God this year they did drink tickets, as last year it was open bar. All. Night. Long. Wasted, is what I was, last year. Good times. Not so much the next day. With the hangover. Anyway.

Given the above, I really wasn’t expecting to have a good race. I generally like to avoid teaching yoga the day before a race, but, because I transferred my bib in early December, my schedule for January had already been set.

So, we get there in the morning, and my friend goes, “Hey, you and J are in the same wave!” I look down and I see wave 4 on my bib. Wha? I definitely checked the box that said 1:41 – 1:50 on the form. This didn’t necessarily surprise me since the say before they would not let me switch my shirt size as it said I chose women’s XL. Which I didn’t. I figured I would sneak into my correct wave and hope no one said anything. Luckily, wave 2 was not crowded and no one cared. Or else I was considering pitching a fit about the face that I paid $100 and deserved to be in the right wave.

And can I tell you? Starting in the correct wave is the best thing ever. Like, better than a vanilla shake or crème brulee. And I love these things. This was the first time I started a larger race where I didn’t dodge people. It was incredibly freeing!

The rest of the race was kind of a blur. I remember in the first mile we danced with the Oceanside border – ran up the 101 and then pulled a U turn maybe 20 feet from the city limits. Then we got to run up the damn hill into downtown Carlsbad. I run this area nearly every week so that’s probably why I don’t have much recollection of the race other than being surprised at the number of spectators. For a not very large suburban community, north county people really came out and supported the runners (I was proud of us!). The other thing I remember is as we came up towards Palomar Airport Road, I saw the same woman I had seen the last two weeks in a row. Mary Akor leading the pack in the full marathon. I even blurted out to some dude that was huffing and puffing next to me that she had run two half marathons the last two weeks. I could tell he really didn’t give a rat’s ass about the fact that I recognized her. But I felt compelled to tell someone and he was the only person near me.

Anyway, the last few miles were rough – I think partly because you have to climb some long low-grade hills and when you’re tired, it kind of sucks to have these half-mile long inclines in miles 10-11. They were my slowest miles. Here are my splits:

Mile 1 8:23
Mile 2 7:52 (<—err, yeah, too fast)
Mile 3 8:03
Mile 4 7:55 (<—again, had to tell myself to slow down)
Mile 5 8:10
Mile 6 8:01
Mile 7 8:30
Mile 8 8:09
Mile 9 8:15
Mile 10 8:24
Mile 11 8:33
Mile 12 8:46 (<—yeah, I was getting tired)
Mile 13 8:25

Ended up running 13.17 miles (close enough), the last little bit at 7:51 pace. Final time 1:48:47! I was thrilled that I was able to get under 1:50 with a normal course (not like a cheater St. George downhill course). Initially, I was 12th in my age group because they had me as 54 years old. Yeah. How royally can they screw up my transfer? I paid $20 and all they changed was my name. I ended up bugging someone from the race results management company to at least fix my age (they have my city wrong, too, but that’s a minor issue). I think I was like 64th of 905 or something like that.

Overall, though, aside from the crappy transfer stuff, the race is really well run. Plenty of porta potties, plenty of race support, aid stations, gu (I didn’t grab any but I saw them at mile 3 and mile 9), not overly crowded. The parking lot situation is a mess, so if you do this race next year, park very close to the exit – it’s better to walk further to your car than have to wait to get out of the parking lot for 40 minutes.

Next up is the Mermaid Half Marathon in Mission Bay in two weeks! Hello, flat course!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

28th Annual Highland YMCA Half Marathon

I’m taking a break from being thoroughly disgusted by the Patriots. I am having a hard time repressing the profanities that are working their way to the surface.

I don’t know that too many people have reviewed this race as it is small, but it falls along the same lines as the Balboa Park 8 miler in August. Small, well run, cheap, and, well, a bitch of a race. This the first time I have run half marathons in back-to-back weekends. My legs felt recovered enough from the last one that I figured, “what the heck”, it’s only $40. And I need to do more hills in my long runs so this’ll be good training.

Around mile 4 I wondered to myself why I was again paying money to be tortured.

It was hot. By the time I finished it was 70-75, dry, and sunny. The course begins on an uphill – right away you are like “WTF?”. It’s about .3-.4 miles long, and then you take a right and continue going uphill till about 1.3-1.4-ish. This is where I was telling myself “Don’t go crazy and get pushed to go faster with these rabbits– they will bonk before 6 miles at this pace. ” And I was right. I had at least 3 females ahead of me, maybe it was 4, and I just told myself that I needed to conserve my energy. I ended up passing 3 or 4 by mile 5.

You get a mile of downhill (my fastest split of the whole race, 8:12) there and then you take a left and climb. And climb some more, and then some more. There’s a little downhill around mile 5 but I would have taken flat since I knew I was gonna pay for it on the way back. The turn around is up a hill at mile 7. At 6.5-ish I said “Eff it, I am walking and drinking some gatorade and eating a blok.” It was the only time I took a little respite.

The rest of the race wasn’t too bad since it was downhill and clearly the 13 miles I did last weekend helped me not bonk out early. I passed quite a few people, and was only passed by one or two guys. My time is nothing to write home about, but given how much of a pain in the ass the course was, I am fine with it. It was a bit short, I got 12.94 (not complaining about that because the finish? Ended on an uphill. I was ready to be done.) so I think I wasn’t even under 9:00 pace. My time was 1:56:32. But I was still the 5th female – there were 103 people in the race, so, probably 5th out of 50 or something. Not too shabby. If super-fast Mary Akor hadn’t shown up I’d have been fourth and first in my age group. Instead I was 5th and 2nd. Eh, given the heat and the course, it’s was a good effort for me.

Here is my bling:

IMG_2702

Alright, time to go yell at the TV now.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Because Igor Called Me Out

Igor has rightly chastised me for not providing details in my last post. I was in such a rush to post something of substance other than complaining about the rain, that I left out large chunks of the actual substance.

Ok, the TV: http://www.amazon.com/LG-INFINIA-47LE8500-Internet-Applications/dp/B0001YH7JW/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1295051386&sr=8-5

tv

We found an almost appallingly good deal at Fry’s where the HZ asked me probably twice if I had written down the right price on my little scrap of paper when we got home and started internet researching. It was $1099. Amazon is selling it for $1558. Some other no-name  internet place is selling it for $1349 today.

The car. This was a rather impulsive choice. When I got the RAV it took me weeks of analysis. I had thought I wanted another RAV4 but was bummed that at some point in the last 7 years, they dropped the manual transmission option. Then I looked at a Prius because it is a thrifty gas option, and then finally a Civic because you can’t go wrong with Honda, 0.9% for 2010 models, 35+ mpg, and $15-17K. After reading a review of the Civic on Edmunds, it said the Mazda 3 was much more fun to drive. Cut to nostalgic reminiscing of my Electric Blue 2003 Mini Cooper S. Which led me to the Mazda 3 hatchback.

car

(Not my actual car – seriously, if I had money to buy those nice garage doors would I actually be buying a Mazda 3? Probably not. I did get that color, the silver.)

I sure am a sucker for a hatchback. Especially one with 6-speed manual transmission. And that is where I landed, a 2011 Mazda 3 5-door hatchback. I got a reasonable price – lower than the Edmunds “true market value” and I also squeezed $5K out of my RAV after they first offered me $4500 for it. I might have been able to negotiate a bit more but I guess I’ll never know and at least I didn’t have to get all pissy with an otherwise reasonable car salesman. As we know, some car salesmen are f**knuts and insist on talking “payments” rather than real numbers, but this guy talked numbers which made the process less annoying and faster.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Spendy McSpenderson

Alright, so the last time I wrote anything note-worthy (my bitching about the ceaseless rain is just noise, really, who cares but us SoCal’ers) was sometime in early December. Since then:

  1. I have been swallowed up by Etsy which is going surprisingly well. This week it has slowed some so maybe the holiday rush has finally ended.
  2. I ran the Southern California Half marathon last weekend and did “OK” (might run the Highland Half this weekend for shits and giggles)
  3. I registered for the Carlsbad Half marathon (by transferring someone else’s entry since it has been sold out since early October).
  4. My Italian grandmother came for a visit last weekend so now i have been commissioned to crochet her and my second cousin some stuff which I’m trying to squeeze in between my create-new-stuff-for-Etsy daily routine.
  5. The audio receiver officially died in mid December. It would turn off and then we would “whack” the top of it. Really. We employed the “whack it and see if it works” with our electronics. That tactic did work for about year. Still haven’t replaced it since we had my old one upstairs. It doesn’t have HDMI inputs so it is only a temporary fix.
  6. On Christmas Eve the TV started its slow crawl to death. It’s a 42” non-HD plasma TV that we got in 2004. Every morning we would turn it on and it wouldn’t show a picture, though the power was on. After 30-60 minutes of letting it sit there it, we would recycle the power button and gather in prayer. We finally bought a new TV this week after the last “warm-up” period lasted more than an hour.
  7. I decided that dumping $2K+ of work into my RAV4 with 135K miles on it (only worth $5K tops) was not worth it. Unless I planned to keep my car to 200K+ miles. And the rain made my car feel unsafe without the  fixes (tires, suspension, at a minimum). So I got a new car.

Yes, I know. Husband still unemployed and I’m buying a new car and a TV. Soon a receiver. The neighbor joked with my husband and asked if we were drug dealers. I guess it looks a little strange. But I am a damn good saver because I am compulsive like that. And there is only so long I can be extremely thrifty before I explode. After two years of spending very little on stuff, never going on vacation (other than short-ish road trips), we went a little crazy and bought stuff. I am not overly concerned though; soon I will get a block of company stock from the stock purchase program and, well, the stock is doing very well, so, I feel less scared about spending. Hopefully the rest of the nation will feel this same vibe and start spending some so we can get some jobs created up in this piece.

That’s been the “happenings” in cha-cha land. Little work has been done in the bathroom (the one I am remodeling a bit – there is always daily “work” done in the bathroom! Ha!), and little work done on the chair – I am such a slacker on that front… eventually I will get to them.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Magical!

I was going to do a post recapping what y'all have missed with my ho-hum day-to-day stuff since mid-December (if anyone is still reading this sporadically updated blog and give a crap) but I have to post about something else instead because it’s baffling me.

As you may know, I have been swallowed up by the Etsy monster and have been knitting and crocheting up an OCD storm, hawking my tchotchkes. For whatever reason, of the 34 items I have sold since late November (which are varied in color and styles), there is one item that sells over, and over, and over again. Like the universe has converged upon the importance of having this item.

The black cabled ear warmer:

Picture 003 

Seriously, in the last two weeks I have sold five of them. I just posted the last one about 4 hours ago and away it just went. Another sale of three items to one customer were the result of clicking through the black cabled ear warmer listing. It must have a special aura. Maybe it promises free crack or something. I don’t know.

That or ladies are trying to match their black winter coats.  I’m going with the magical. Five in two weeks is just too weird.

………………………………………………………..

For the runners who might be reading: I ran the half in Irvine this past weekend after only running an 11 mile run two weeks ago, the longest run since early November. As I expected, I was somewhat miserable the last two miles but still managed to pull off 1:52:11 (I was on pace for sub 1:50 through mile 11). I figured doing a race would force me to get the miles in and I couldn’t get lazy and do fewer miles. Next up is Carlsbad on the 23rd. A coworker’s friend couldn’t run it so I coughed up the $20 transfer fee and the $80 race fee and decided to go for it since it’s just down the road from me and, apparently, the bling is pretty nice. Plus. everyone and their grandmother is doing it, so, figured why not jump off the bridge with everyone else.