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I am happy to announce that I have reached my first milestone on the path to August 3rd. I have finished my first “progressive marathon” – completed my first 26.2 miles (plus 2/10 of a mile for good measure) in just over 2 weeks! YAY ME!

😉 now all I gotta do is string ’em all together…

Today’s run was back to the park – I wanted to work on running uphill. And I have to go Peter’s direction next time, the counter-clockwise circle has the least steep hills. In the spirit of kicking off fundraising full steam, I took my little “sponsor me” cards along in my pocket and passed them out to people as I jogged by on the trail. I passed a lot of people several times (particularly those walkign aroudn the opposite direction) and they would smile and wave on the second or so pass so I think it was relatively well received. I’m thinking it would be nice to get a community running team together… anyone out there in ym neighborhood interested? 🙂

No running yesterday – spent too much time doing EVERYTHING but sending out my “please sponsor me” e-mails. Like developing the lovely socky graphic donation tracker…

All I have to say is… wow, asking for money is harder than running! 😉 I get so scared people will see me as a spammer, a telemarketer, an unwelcome intrusion in their lives. God, how DO people do this? So far I’ve gotten very good feedback, and it seems like people really love hearing how absolutely crazy I am, so I feel a bit better today. But wow, I hope that part gets easier…

BTW another frustration is the slow feedback from the AIDS marathon folks. Can you believe it takes almost a week for them to post web donations??? 😛 I don’t even know if people are annoyed or if droves of friends have showed up and sponsored me. 😛 I so need to nag them about this. At any rate if you’re one of those friends… I’d really appreciate if you drop me a line with the donation! On my sponsorship page, there is a little line on the left that says “e-mail the runner” I LOVE getting e-mails thru the site! 🙂 let me know what you think. Thanks!

So… You all remember how excited I was to fit into size 6 jeans, right? 😛 Seems in my sticker shock (what? a 6? on *MY* body???) I forgot the fundamental rule of denim. It stretches! Yup, them jeans that fit so comfy in the store, that look like they did in the photo… they were all universally too big for me after a few hours of wearing. They all went back to Macy’s today and I came home with an bag full of SIZE 4!!!! I’m like… WTF, how in {BLEEP} did size 4’s even fit around my legs??? I didn’t think my skeleton was that small. 😛 I keep wondering whose body I’ve been replaced with… Size 4??? me??? its all kinda mystifying… I think I wore that size in 6th grade…..

yeah, I’m bowled over. 🙂 this is too cool!

😛 I’m starin’ to feel repetitive here! You’d think all I do is run. Anyhow, I’m apparently in love with, so here is this morning’s run:

View Interactive Map on

Its more or less like Monday’s, with a few important differences. First of all, morning running was much nicer. A tad warmer, and there’s the mist filling the valley and lots of nice sun. Then, I saw this nice cute residential trail I didn’t try Monday and said, what the heck. Well… grrrrrr it lead me back uphill and off my route. Happily, it also dropped me off near the top of another residential trial I’d been wondering where it went, so I took that one back down to the main route. So in the end it was actually a very pleasant detour. And this time I found the road that would take me back up to the non-busy street above our house, so I could avoid the morning traffic on Ruby where there is no sidewalk.

Today’s goal other than that is to get going more on fundraising. Somehow I’ve posted my knitting ads (I’m used to posting knitting ads! Oh and the mini patterns are all written and edited) but I haven’t let even my closest friends know I’m in marathon training. We had a friend over for dinner last night and she was tres excited when she saw my blog reference on the e-mail. 😛 So today’s goal is to write up and send out the please for money. Then I can settle back into knitting…

Sugar and Spice socks detailKnitting, oi, MUST FINISH PETER SWEATER. I’m so bored with it… I’ve been finding myself going back to the Sugar and Spice socks which I had LOST in my miserable attempt at housekeeping (Thank you Anna and the housekeeping crew for finding them for me!!!), and then remembered why we do not put off second socks and start 8 other projects. I totally forgot how many stitches to leave at the center of the heel. After a few rows past the turn I looked back… and it was clearly wider than the first. *sigh* tink tink tink (for non knitters, please spell tink backwards…) I still have to say I LOVE PANDA SILK. 😛 Maybe I can convince Susan at CP to dye me up some in marathon colors…. The yarn is so soft to knit with and the 2 socks I have done (different patterns, lol) feel really nice on the feet. Don’t think its racing yarn, but they make very elegant socks, perfect for work shoes or looking a little nicer.

Any advice for getting second socks and second sleeves done without giving into the urge to start new projects? 😉 things are getting a tad insane over here…

I was off all weekend at a couples thing with Peter, scheduled before I’d signed up for the marathon, so I didn’t get to go to my 2nd formal team run 😦 I was a bit concerned about getting in to it again, after a short run Friday and nothing all weekend… but I’d been able to DDR at least over the weekend so I wasn’t totally fitness-less.

So today’s goal was to make up for missing Saturday’s 4 mile run. I decided I didn’t like hills and the track around the park was getting boring, so I whipped out some online maps and set myself a reasonably flat 4+ mile course:

View Interactive Map

It turned out to be a good run – starting thru the park to get to a main but much quieter surface street, then up a gradual hill, and down through a residential neighborhood.  It was actually a really nice ‘hood, slightly newer than our street, with…  🙂  RUNNING TRAILS between the houses.  I will definitely be taking this route again, maybe expanding it as I go.  The really nice part was, about 1 or 1.5 miles into it, something new happened – I hit my stride.  I just started being able to put one foot in front of the other, and it felt good, like I could just keep going until I ran out of roads.  I had to remind myself that I still had to get home in 1 piece and remember to take walks.  I think I completely ran the last 1/2 mile home, and I got home, 4.36 miles later, feeling energized, not dead.  If it hadn’t been dark I would have pushed on from there…  but I got started late (was hoping Peter would come along but he went for a shorter run in the park).  Its yet another one of those exercise things I used to swear was a myth…  I never used to get endorphin rushes and I’ve certainly never hit a stride like that before.  Knowing I’ve only been at this for a few weeks and already I COULD do more than the program really makes the goal feel within reach, not to mention making it feel like it’ll be more fun to reach than I had feared…  🙂

I’ve got to start taking cameras along for the run…  the sunset was gorgeous tonight, especially up on Merril where you can overlook the whole valley under the bright orange streaks of clouds…  Yeah, I could start to like this.

No running today – the rain won’t stop long enough and I’m not THAT dedicated. Hopefully by the time I need to be in full gear it will be more typical California weather. Right now I’m still getting my legs used to running, so a day or 3 off won’t be all that bad. And I did get in 68 mins of DDR instead… Got new dance mats to work finally!

I also slacked off on Peter’s sweater. After another 20 rows I was just about to die of second sleeve syndrome, and went back to my surprise AIDS marathon project: Mini socks!

I’ve been wanting to make minis to match most of my designs, and this is the perfect excuse. I’m offering the instructions to knitters as donation thank you gifts. I’ll be putting together another set of minis, as well as a full sized sock pattern over the next month or two. Only one snafu – 😛 I posted the photos and donation information and forgot to do the write ups… ooooooops…. Thankfully I’m not in trouble as the AIDS marathon donation page takes a few days to a week to show me who has donated what. So by the time I can confirm the donations, I should haev the writeups done. I took very careful notes (I think… lol) so it shouldn’t be TOO much work… 😉

I have been very good the last few days. Not only am I sticking with my DDR (totally addicted to it now, lol) but I’ve been out running both of the last 2 days. Today it looked like an indoor day, the morning started pouring rain. I was looking at an office in Morgan Hill on a total whim (hey, everyone needs 2 locations to market right? 😛 I think I’ll pass, I was hoping it would be an established group practice to join rather than an office to rent).  It rained the whole way there. I think the rain followed me south because when I got home it was the prettiest, brightest sunshine you’ve ever seen (not makin’ me love Morgan Hill there…  Oh yeah did I mention there’s not a SINGLE child psychiatrist to work with in MH?) and of COURSE Peter wanted to go running in the sun! He’s a Swede and they’re a nation of sun addicts.

So I figured out why Peter is more buff than me. Men are like this, you see. He runs *UP* the hills. I’m a lazy bum trying to see how far I can run, not how tired I can make myself. I like to run DOWN the hills and walk up them. 😛 But I had promised to let him set the pace since he’s only just back into working out at all after a winter couped up in doors, so I had to follow him on up that hill. *whew* I may need to do that more often, it is definitely more work.

And on the knitting front… I GOT A SLEEVE DONE! YAY! Now all I have to do is chop off one of Peter’s arms and his sweater is done. No wait… 😛 I’m supposed to knit a second one. ugh….. second sleeves are worse than second socks I swear. they come at the end of a whole rest of the sweater. If I never see brown and green fair isle knitting again, it’ll be too soon. Best of all, it FITS. Dare I say it even fits like it was designed for him… 😛 This took some doing.

I’m roughly using Ann Budd’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns as a guide. Well, 90% of the directions are “knit for ___ inches then do this decrease pattern, then knit for ___ inches” and so on. So row gauge matters not at all, just stitch gauge. Well, sleeves are not like that, you see. You’re increasing all the way up to the armpit, then decreasing the whole shoulder cap. So I’m merrily knitting along with the ratio in the book when I decide I better measure and do some gauge math. Apparently Fair Isle knitting changes your gauge (I know, DUH but…). In particular, my stitches are almost square – I’m getting fewer rows per inch than I normally would. Therefore, the sleeve as written would have been about 30+ inches long. This sounded somehow wrong… so I measured the boy. He needed 24 inches of arm. So I had to do some serious re-writing of the arm increases and cap decreases. But it seems to have worked – the cap fits nicely into the armhole, and its the right length on Peter when he tried it on with lots of clips holding it together. Here are some pics for your viewing pleasure:

One arm done!Sleeve Detail

Today was an interesting day.  Started out with one very happy realization – I woke up and wasn’t significantly sore.  YAY!  Since I was definitely feeling it right after yesterday’s 3.6 miles, I was happy to feel good today.  A bit stiff, but not achy and hurting.  I think both that my body is getting used to the idea that I’m going to ask it to pound the pavement on a regular basis, and that the new shoes have my legs aligned right to do so with minimal damage.

One of today’s activities was my monthly psychologists’ mentorship meeting.  Its a group of new and seasoned shrinks who gather in the home of Loiuse Stirpe-Gill, one of the 2 leaders.  Its been an interesting group, loads of advice, and also some struggles.  A long-term mentee member, Don Bradely, showed up again today and we made a rather fun connection.  Don came to psychology as a second career, in his 50’s, and has been attending the mentorship group off and on for most of its 10 years of existence.  He’s chatty and a good storyteller, and was regaling us with his tales of teaching psych 100 at a local non-psych professional school.  At which point I’m realizing both…  I do miss teaching, and uhhh….  what’s stopping me?  So I may be looking for a class or two to teach.  In a perfect world I’d be teaching child assessment.

I happened also to bring up in passing (someone made the “its not a race its a marathon” analogy) that I’d decided to run a marathon as part of my overall self-car/lifestyle change, talking about how our clients seem to be able to reach goals we ourselves have struggled with and won.  I learned after the group, as we were chatting our way out the door, that Don has run 4 marathons himself!  We chatted a bit about how great an equalizer distance running is – its not about winning times or competition, its about striving within yourself, and everyone out there willing to do that striving is a friend and welcome – black, white, gay, straight, young, old, you name it.  Its funny.  I’ve never wanted to exercise around others until now – I just was too uncomfortable with my body.  And I always saw running in particular as a solitary, almost meditative activity.  But now I know you can set a conversational pace, you smile, wave, even high-5 people you pass on the trail – its really does bring a camaraderie I hadn’t even known how deeply I was craving.  I think if I stick with running in particular after reaching this goal…  this will be what keeps me here.  That connection with other people who are willing to reach for their best, and encourage others to do the same.  Here’s to hoping that holds me through the work to come!

New running shoes“I’m running late,
And I don’t need an excuse,
‘Cause I’m wearing my brand new shoes.”
(song: new shoes sung by Paolo Nutini)

Today was a good day, running-wise. As planned, it started with a trip to an orthopedic doctor, to have a look at my left knee which has really bothered me in the past, to the point of limping for days. He talked to me about the symptoms, poked, prodded, bent, unbent, etc. my knee, got a few good pops out of it which he promptly brushed off as a loose kneecap (apparently not a problem since it seems to stay put) and ran me thru the xray machine, pronouncing my knee healthy. We suspect the problems before were a combination of bad shoes and weak muscles. He soundly dissed my old shoes, which were these cute black slip on things with some minimal arch support that even I knew weren’t gonna do the job.

So after that, it was back to the Runner’s Factory, which is where the team meets up, for some hard core shoe shopping. They got out the “basic” pair for my gait test and I was apparently laughable – the things had as far as I could tell NO ARCH SUPPORT and I felt practically pigeon toed my feet were curling inward so far. He offered to go one step up and I showed him my Dansko everyday office shoes, and said “you got any running shoes with that much arch?” He skipped me right up to the most supportive shoe in that brand… I ran around the building and came back with “well, they’re better…” He went to another wall and said, with mild chagrin, “Okay, this is the most supportive shoe in the store, see how IT works.” What can I say, it fit perfect. Arch not only there, but in the right place. Did someone mold my feet into these shoes? 🙂 I knew right away I liked them, and ran around the store again. He let me try on a few more pairs just for comparison and I didn’t do much more than walk across the store before soundly rejecting them. So yay for Brooks Ariel in stylish white, silver and lime green. At least it wasn’t the pink shoes that fit…

Then I went off for errands (cheap ass pedometer) and work, where I discovered one of my plants, one that survived the windowless kaiser office, had literally keeled over and died in the past 5 days (last time I saw it he was in perfect health!). Got to lecture clients on regular attendance, therapized a kid, bought a new plant, and came on home. Sadly I was unable to go out running with Peter, who likes to run more than me. His work had apparently shat upon him and he couldn’t pull the time away. Which is good because his brain usually shuts down in late afternoon so he’ll feel better for having been productive.

So I was off and running on my own, at 5:20. A little late for me but hey, the sunset was pretty over the hill. The shoes feel good. Bouncy almost. I’m not having to shift my feet and weight to keep comfy, I can just run. I could even run a little uphill. Since I’m trying to work my way up, I decided to add an extra lap around the park, a whole 5, for a grand total counting jog from house of 3.6 miles. Sadly my cheap ass pedometer got hit by someone’s hand (uh… would that be mine? oh. drat.) most of the way thru lap 3 and went flying, hit the ground, and bounced out its battery. I was going to get my average inches per pace on a long sample… oh well so much for that idea. I was definitely feeling it at the end of lap 4 but my lower legs didn’t hurt quite so much and I decided I’m never going to make 26.2 miles if I don’t push myself a little, so added the extra lap. I’m hoping that despite the extra distance, the better shoes will mean I don’t hurt as much tomorrow… I feel a little better now but tis hard to say. I came home in full twilight, somewhere between 40-45 mins later, and popped in the shower to warm UP. I must say this running thing is easier when its cold!

Today was my first day of formal training! So I got my butt out of bed at 0-dark-o’clock and drove off to a running store in Los Gatos that seems to be the local AIDS marathon hangout of choice. We got to stand around in the cold (everybody was huddling up, even tho my sis on the other coast would laugh at us for whining) and get a quick pep talk, then we walked over to the Los Gatos creek trail for our first run. We start at 3 miles, then every week increase a mile until we hit 13, then the program changes a bit as we build up to 26.2. Yes folks, in 11 weeks I’ll run a half marathon. So Mom, you can quit telling me I should do that first, don’t worry, I will! 🙂

Me with our coachesSo I started off at a good running pace, even decided to dart a bit ahead of the group I was chatting with… bad idea. They caught up to me and then some, lol… It is a LOT less hilly than my park trail, and I was running a good most of that first mile. I walked quite a bit on the return 1.5 miles, and kinda paced myself by watching one of the women I’d started with, Melissa. She had this nice, easy, even jog. My run was faster. My walk was slower. I could keep her about 30 meters up ahead of me pretty consistent without hurting myself. Then I finally saw the coach with the stop watch and BROKE INTO A RUN. 🙂 a real run. They laughed and cheered… and gave me my time: 34’47”!!!!!!!!! That’s 11.6 mins per mile! That’s more or less what I could do in jr high on just one mile, and I felt a lot worse at the end!

Me and teammate Ekta I’m now in a pace group with 4 women, and our target pace (about a min slower than 3 mile speed) is 12:30/mile, so about 5.5 hours for the whole marathon. I’m like, WOW, I might not only finish a marathon but do it in under 6 hours? DANG. 🙂 I’m very excited. Being the first day and more of a time trial/individual thing, everyone kinda took off when they were done, so I only got to meet one of my pace-mates for very long (Ekta Basu, with me in the picture). I’m quite certain I’ll be able to tell you all about them before long, as we’ve got a lot of miles to go together. We may also group up with Melissa, who came in the group before me, and is the only one in that group.

All in all I am very excited. I’m very proud of my pace, and I don’t hurt as much as I feared. There were a few little quirks with the run. Like these fancy runners water bottles. Yeah, I had to get taught how to get the darned thing to work. Oh well… 😛 But all in all I’m very excited and it was a BLAST to run with the group – everyone is extremely supportive and enthusiastic. Team in Training was also all over the place and pretty much any runner waved and smiled at any other. Lots of people starting marathon training at the creek today.

So as soon as I got in my car, totally high on adrenaline, first thing I do is call mom. 😛 who once again is like “can’t you just start with something easy like a 5 K or 10 K… uh mom, 🙂 I just ran a 5 K 30 mins ago… 😉 I think I’ll survive. She tells me my sister has also been talking about doing a marathon and twists my arm to call her. I never call my sis. dunno why… So as it turns out, my sis has a friend in LA who is getting married in August, and if the dates don’t conflict, she’s going to join me. Only, being the super-duper-psycho athletic little globe-trotting sister she is, she’s going to be shooting for about an hour less than me, LOL… I really hope that works out. I love being an enabler of my family, and it would be extremely amazing to have us both complete our first marathon together (well, together as in the same marathon, I don’t plan on trying to keep up with the girl!)

All in all a very good start. 🙂 I’m a lot less worried and very much looking forward to it!

SF AIDS Marathon 2008

On August 3, myself and about 500 other runners will complete the San Francisco marathon in an effort to raise $1,000,000 for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. This is the culmination of nearly 2 years of lifestyle changes and weight loss for me, and a chance for me to use my new-found energy and fitness to give back to my community. I hope you will join me in this effort by reading and offering your support through my blog. If you are able, I also welcome your contribution to the cause! Thanks and keep on running!

Progress Bar:

Marathon time: 5:40:22
Total Raised: $2,815.70

My Sponsors

I'd like to thank the following organizations and individuals for their support of the SF AIDS Foundation!

Dianne Whitfield of the Bunny Hay Loft

Ulf Anvin
Rob Millner
Scott Lamb
Jeff Barlow
Erika Duplantis
Nick and Carol Esser
Kathryn Mercer
Nicole Pauls
Kathryn Coll
Timothy Berger
Susan Druding
Jenny Forman
Kathryn Mulgrew
Jamie Piperberg
Lucia Sanchez
Fran Taillon
Douglas Leeder
Barbara Kirsch
Ellen Atkinson
Valerie Esser
Peter McCourt
Carla Schroder
Sandra Spicher
Matthew Wilson
Valorie Zimmerman
Kathryn Kramer
Roxanne Seabright
Gayathri Swaminathan
Jason Spiro
Dianne Schoenberg

Thank you so very much for your support!

February 2008

Knitting projects!