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So this and last week have been spring break.  And with me teaching 3 classes I was swamped and in much need of breakage.  So we set off for Tahoe and some good old fashioned spring skiing…  only…  it snowed 2 feet the day before we drove up.  🙂  weekday skiing, no lines, new fresh powder, spring sunshine and gorgeous views, what more can a girl ask for?  Here are a select few photos:

(Yes, that’s me going on a black-diamond access only lift…)

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Well, I mentioned a bit back, JUST before my beloved mini mochi yarn (YUMMY!) arrived, that I had finished my cathedral socks.  Well, I got a little lazy as the weather was being consistently Californish (70-80 degrees and sunny in January, OH YEAH, i know why I live here).  And this weekend was supposed to be photos and such…  and the clouds are back and its been raining off an on most of the week 😦  So the Cathedral socks will have to wait a while to get photoed.  Since I’m a bit busy with my new teaching gig and have some private practice work, it may be a while before I get those out.

The weather also has another affect…  I was ALMOST getting myself motivated out of the winter exercise excuse binge – I decided I needed a bit of a break, and really haven’t consistently run or done anything much physical since the Big Sur half.  Well, sunshine or no, its time to get moving. 😛  I’ll be lecturing on pharmacology for depression Tuesday and of course going on at length about alternatives…  and we all know exercise has somewhat similar effects to prozac and the SSRI’s – gets those endorphins and that serotonin moving.  And has a lot nicer side effects…  Since I’m gonna preach it, time to get back into practice.  It will probably be my old winter stand by, dance dance revolution, and running will come back in as the weather improves.  Peter has a vague goal to join me for a marathon late in the year so…  will see!  He promises to get up and running after some business travel in early Feb.  I will keep you guys updated!

I’ve once again not been a stellar blogger.  I actually had some WORK to do at work, then I spent all last week procrastinating writing newsletters and reports, and didn’t have much writing braincell activity left for blogs  😛

My training continues to progress.  We had our last 10 mile run Saturday, and it went kind of okay.  My right knee started hurting again not too long after the turnaround point, and I decided I really didn’t care  😛  It seemed like a good time in my mind to figure out how well I could deal with it.  I backed off a little from the stream of chatter and just really focused on my stride, making particularly sure NOT to let myself limp or slip into a funny gait.  And lo and behold, my knee didn’t get any worse, and seemed to get slightly better.  So I’m feeling a lot better about my ability to get through it for the actual date (august 3rd no longer seems forever away!), no matter what.  And we finished in perfect time, exactly 2 hours for the 10 miles.

Only problem with lifestyle lately has been motivation and sticking to the whole REST of the lifestyle.  I guess I go thru slums even WITH a major race on the calendar, but the past few weeks (since the 23 miler if the truth be known) its all I can do to stick to the running plan.  Cross training has fallen off to almost nothing, and well..  with 4th of July and such, my eating has been a bit indulgent.  But the scale is firmly holding still so I’m not worrying much.,  This week I shifted my runs a day earlier to get some extra rest before the last long run.  Melissa wont’ be there, but I’ll team up with Monica and Ekta, and probably the 13 min per mile SF team and actually try to do all 26.  My plan is to run 20-23 with our reduced ratio, and then walk in the rest.  I’m really hoping I will do well and get back into things again.  If not…  well, I had these slumps all along in my lifestyle change and I know they’ll pass.  Sooner or later something with spark me off again.

On the yarn front, spinning continues to be where the interest is (tho I have gotten 2 things finished enough to write up) and I *gasp* actually knit a pair of socks with some of my handspun yarn.  I checked in with Knitty and they’re eagerly seeking patterns for knitty-spin, since it seems spinning went and got popular now that the knitters from the last boom are looking for something new.  So no pics of those socks, hopefully you’ll see them in December in the winter Knitty.  if not…  😛  well I’ll put them up one way or another.  I’m also playing with some intentional striping effects in some other yarn, with one strand having very looooooong slow repeats, and the other color makign smaller band stripes, for a funky ombre look.  Haven’t gotten thru the spinning yet, let alone the knitting, so no pics (and really, I may just become a Knitty junkie and send that one there too…  😛 )  Here’s some pics of recently finished yarn:

Homespun yarn

Once upon a time, I raided my grandma’s closet for cute stuff from her working days that didn’t fit her (or me, lol) anymore. I had the vague hope since it was labeled size 12 that it would some day actually fit like a modern size 12. One suit managed to stay at the back of my closet through all the moves of college and marriage and grad school and in my fit of spring cleaning (I think I’m getting rid of more weight in clothing than I’ve lost in fat!) I decided, what the heck try it on, hope its not now too big.

The skirt is a little *snug* but it otherwise fits me almost like its tailored for me!

I’ve also repeatedly been told that maybe I just shop in stores that are more inflated than others. I’m a devoted Macy’s girl – seem to have the best trade-off between price and quality for my budget. Lately I’ve been doing a TON of Penny’s shopping because at the rate I’ve needed to buy clothes, $50 a suit and $20-30 for slacks really works… 😉 Several people told me they’re sure the small expensive boutique stores aren’t as prone to size inflation, so I decided to use my memorial day shopping errand as an informal size inflation survey. Results are in and I’m quite shocked at the consistency:

  • Ann Taylor Loft – 2 (I just tried on a 6 and it was HUGE, so this is an estimate)
  • GAP – 2
  • Banana republic – 2 – 4 depending on cut
  • Eddie Bower – 2
  • New York and Company – 2
  • Levi’s jeans – 4
  • Guess jeans – 4-6 when sizes not given in inches (yay inches!)
  • Talbots – 4
  • Nordstroms – 2
  • Macy’s most brands – 4
  • JC Penny-s most brands – 4
  • Sears – 2-4 depending on brand, IF they carry anything smaller than a 6

In nearly EVERY store, the smallest size available fit (Talbots is an exception but GOD I will hurt if I must shop there! $$$$$$$$$). In other words, if they HAD a 2 at all, I fit it. If they didn’t, their 4 was a little smaller and I fit it. BTW I have a 30 inch waist so we’re not talking super skinny here! YES, I can find smaller in petites but they’re too short, and jr’s are too narrow for my marathon training legs. BTW its just as bad in men’s… Peter can’t find any khakis with a waist smaller than 30 and can only rarely find jeans in a 29.

So if you read that Marylin Monroe was a size 12, we’re promoting unachievable skinniness, and you shouldn’t feel bad about your weight… Just remember, size 12 from the 50’s fits me snugger than the size 2’s and 4’s I’ve been trying on recently… Isn’t size inflation nuts?

Presenting the obligatory photo of person holding out their old pants, as these are long overdue for Goodwill. I’m tempted to keep a pair just for the memory…

So yesterday’s run was officially canceled – there are massive wildfires in the hills just above our trail and for some reason coach didn’t want us breathing in ash particles. Huh… go figure. So I went shopping instead. I got lazy and skipped the closet clean-out and inventory and just hit the memorial day sales. Wow, apparently I bought a lot of black pants in the size-6 phase… size 6 is lose but fine with a belt now, so I have oh, 5 decent pairs of black slacks now. Oh well… Still need some gray and dark brown. Biggest closet casualty was the suits. Apparently I’d bought nothing but cute summer dress suits since, oh, a year and a half ago. Sadly Penny’s (my I’m too cheap to buy a real suit store of choice) isn’t into suits right now so that will likely have to wait til fall. I DID find that the black suit jacket I’ve had since, oh, early HS now fits so in a pinch i can dress up nice. Need to try on the suits I stole from my grandma’s closet too, but got lazy.

The biggest coup was in bathing suit shopping. My mall is rather teen-ager (more than most) and after searching thru store after store and finding nothing but triangle bathing suits, I finally gave in and tried one on. Wow, I’m scrawny enough to wear nothing but triangles over my body and still look good. I still don’t think they flatter my more-ample-than-a-13-year-old chest but I found one where the squashing is less obvious than most, just to have one. Peter will like it at least… 😛

Today’s plan was to make up the 9 miler by driving over the hill to grant park for a little trail running. (rather than run the neighborhood twice). Much to my surprise, peter and Rob decided to come along, both intending to run with me the whole way (They’re men, you’ve got to understand. neither is very macho but…) We picked a trail that sounded long enough yet decently runable, “Dutch Flats” If you’ve ever BEEN up to grant park you are probably rolling on the ground laughing by now. Dutch must be trail-speak for NOT! It is an absolutely gorgeous dirt trail that goes UP to the ridge and then back DOW, nothing but hills, for 4.6 miles. I started running. The boys stopped. i decided this is funny… and told them hey, why don’t you walk, I run at my pace to the end, and then we meet half way and walk back down. Yeah

So I set off, and the first 4 min run interval is a bit more tiring than usual, but fine… at the end of the walk I’m thinking, what, was that a minute? I make it thru about 3 of the next run minutes, and then sorta pretend to half run half walk for the last. I give up rapidly in the first half of the next run interval and jog back down the hill to meet the boys. I like hill practice, sure, but I don’t really like 2 miles of it. So we decided that walking 9 miles is good enough, and every now and then poor Rob takes off running (inevitably at the steepest hill we’ve seen in a bit instead of the slightly flatter parts!) I decide to jog until I catch up to him trying to catch his breath, and we all slow down for Peter who has intelligently stayed at a walk up the hill. 😛 Rob makes an obligatory comment about not doing that to himself again, and then after a half mile or 2 of walking, lather rinse repeat. We finally get back DOWN the hill to a flatter 2 miles back to the parking lot, and I am duly accused of being a show off as I insist on running all the flat parts, and then because I don’t like to stand around waiting, RUN back from the top of the next hill to the guys walking along behind. I was just really happy to prove to my legs that they CAN go back to a run after miles of mostly walking, because in the heat wave last week that was a bad idea. That and I really felt I wanted to run SOME… All in all Grant park is a lovely place for hiking, but I’d not recommend at least the trail WE were on for running, and don’t take a bike there unless you have really good tires and breaks. 😛 its all hills!

Now we’re back home kicking back (and doing laundry and sorting out closets and whatnot). I’ll probably conclude the massive shopping trip tomorrow, and then actually (shock horror) take the pants that don’t fit to career closet and goodwill. I’m sick of them clogging up my closet and I’m pretty darned sure I won’t see size 12 or 14 for a while… its safe to get rid of the stuff.

Oh yes I also forgot to mention last week. I’ve signed up for 2 half marathons: San Jose’s Rock and Roll (which goes directly down my street in front of my office windows so I HAVE to run it you see), and the Big Sur half in Monterey. My idea is to spend the time between working up to being able to run the whole distance, minus walk breaks to grab water. Likely wont’ happen as SJ, since I suspect I’ll stop and listen to at least one or 2 of the bands (let’s try for run-dance instead of run-walk!) but I’d really like to pull it off for Big Sur in November. Won’t really start working towards that til after the marathon though. Its good to have goals for after so I don’t just flop in my chair and rest off the 26.2 miles for a year!

Yesterday, a lovely man named Jack called into my radio station, Mix 106.5, with the comment that women over 30 are no longer sexy and are therefore useless.  I, like most human beings on this planet, find this to be categorically wrong and thought it would be fun with the help of my readers to put together a list of truly accomplished women age 30 or higher.  Since this is mostly a marathon/running blog and I don’t think knitting would get thru jack’s head (unless the needles were raelly sharp!) I thought I’d start with one particular woman:

Paula Radcliff, currently age 35, is not just the current female world record holder for the marathon, she holds *4* of the top 5 race times in history!  She broke her previous record at age 29 in 2003 with a time of 2:15:25.  That’s the equivalent of running a 100 yard dash in 19 seconds AND THEN MAINTAINING THAT SPRINT FOR 26.2 MILES.  Frankly I suspect she can run a marathon at a faster speed than Jack can run a mile  😛  She can probably run a marathon and THEN beat Jack in a 100 yard dash.  In 2005, at the age of 31, she finished the London marathon in a leisurely  2:17:42 – not breaking her own record, but still running it faster than any woman on earth.  I really don’t think she’s feeling at all useless or dried up, and she’s certainly NOT unattractive
My challenge to you out there in blogland – PLEASE add your comments to this post, and tell us about a woman 30 or over who has accomplished truly amazing feats – changed the world for the better, done something no one else can do, etc.  Historical (I’m thinking Queen Elizabeth I belongs here along with oh, a few hundred female rulers)  I’d love to read the list and send it on to Sandy at Mix 106.5.  I’ll also be making sure my darling sister, who just turned 30, reads this list!  Woman’s life STARTS at 30.  The rest is just rehearsal!

Okay its time for a rant.  Peter and I are recently back from clothes shopping since the weather is clearly summer and neither of us has summer clothes that fit anymore…  and we are scared.  Both of us are certain that we have an inch or 2 still to lose around the middle and here’s the deal…  NEITHER OF US CAN FIND CLOTHES THAT FIT in many of the stores we tried.  I’m a size 2 or 4 now depending on the brand.  Several stores don’t even CARRY below size 6.  Peter wears a 29″ pair of pants, and couldn’t find a single pair of demin shorts in all the stores of the mall that fit.  Too big.  Universally.  Neither one of us is what you would call scrawny.  Peter in fact is still trying to shed 10-15 pounds and frankly still has a bit of a belly. (heck I have a bit of a belly still too!)  What is up with this nation that 2 more or less average height people, in the *top* half of the healthy range of BMI charts, CANNOT FIND CLOTHES SMALL ENOUGH?!?!?  I mean I know were a nation of obese people but this is scary.

Its discouraging.  It makes me wanna go eat Ben and Jerry’s until I can fit into clothes again!  Shopping for thin clothes is supposed to be fun, not yet another discouraging experience of not finding anything that fits.  In fact, I have MORE trouble shopping now than I did 50 pounds ago.  I wonder, I really do, if the lack of appropriately sized clothing is part of why people yo-yo?  I mean, what fun is being skinny if you can’t find clothes that flatter your new figure?!?!?

So this is my question to all of you skinny people out there in blogland.  Where do you shop???  I can’t fit jr’s clothes because I have these thighs that can run 18 miles and real grown-up hips…  by the time I find pants I can fit my legs into at all the waist is like 6 inches too large…..  I can probably survive hunting down the 1 pair of size 4’s in any given store, but I’m still shrinking.  Where the heck can I FIND smaller clothes? I’m not losing any weight but my size 4 jeans are already feeling lose as the weight moves from belly fat to leg muscle.  Where can Peter find MEN’S clothes with 29″ waist or smaller?  Where do all the skinny people shop???  Are there skinny people stores (opposites of Lane Bryant) that I just don’t know about?  If not, how do skinny people clothe themselves?

And is anyone else but me as utterly appalled by this trend?  It is so NOT FAIR to have achieve better than my goal and still not have attractive clothes that fit.  😦

I wanted to take a moment to say sorry to my sister for the comments a few days back. 🙂 Of course she has a better notion of what is healthy for *HER* than I do. She’s been running track since high school, and has never really been OUT of shape (at least by my definition, which is more forgiving than hers!) I got a little caught up in a difference of goals. Val is right now pushing herself – setting speed goals, etc. I’m not even right now trying to push my limits – maybe more like stretch and grow them, and find out where the heck they ARE now that I’m in shape. Its not safe for me to push myself like that, but I really didn’t have the right to say what’s right for someone else! Sorry sis!

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!

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