Friday, November 30, 2012

I'm running in the rain....

...what a glorious feeling!

For those of you who don't know it yet - I'm training for the Arizona Rock & Roll Marathon on January 20th. Not the half marathon, yes my first full marathon. Why did I decide to train for a major event in the winter? Well, coming down off of my epic summer and going into fall, I guess I just needed a goal. Besides, I haven't lost any of my winter weight from last year and I'd kind of like to maintain. (Yeah, yeah, muscle weighs more than fat... blah blah blah. It's still more difficult to carry that around with you.) Another reason is that I really don't like the holidays. Thanksgiving is ok, but then I start to feel sad, tired, sick, fat, and broke. Since humans don't have the ability to properly hibernate, I will make the most of it and get my endorphins up as high as possible.


A marathon is a big goal, but I'm trying to look at it as "just exercising" for, oh, you know, 4 hours or more. If I need to walk - no big deal. If I need to stop - no big deal. If I think most of the way through the race, "This ain't gonna happen," then I'll just follow the half marathon course and call it a day. I'm only up to 17 miles, so we'll see how the next 7 weeks goes. At this point Project Marathon is TBD.

Because it is winter, I am prepared to schulff off on some training days for holiday parties, and eat too much. All good things. On the other hand, I also have to be prepared to run on treadmills, in the dark, or in the rain which also leads to the potential for being bored, being cold and wet, and potentially falling on my ass. In preparation for Project Marathon I have done the following:

1.) Bought a headlamp.
2.) Bought some brightly colored clothing.
3.) Researched running groups that run at 5am. I haven't found one.
4.) Downloaded new music to my iPod in preparation for treadmill time.
5.) Tried to convince other friends to run a marathon with me. This did not work.

Last weekend, over Thanksgiving, my parents were visiting so I skipped a few training days when the weather was absolutely ideal to go running. The long run days I lost are now rescheduled for this weekend - the weekend of a torrential downpour in northern California. Just in time to do a 19 mile run. Eeee gawds!

So, trying to figure out how to keep 19 miles interesting in the rain. Should I just go out on the good ole Los Gatos Creek Trail like normal? Should I try a new location to make it doubly interesting? Should I break it up with a run to the gym, some treadmill time, and a run home? Should I hit a track?

Ultimately, I would love it if everyone would come out on my route and just run a piece or two with me. You know - Forrest Gump style. He starts out alone, and pretty soon there is a crowd of people that would start following him for awhile. Doesn't that sound like fun? In the process of his long run, he inspires the "smiley face" t-shirt design and creates the phrase, "Shit Happens." You know, because awesome things happen on long runs... in the rain.

Well, I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Being a Girl (Article 3): Not Clones

We are not clones. Seriously. (Thanks to CM, and her Photoshop expertise.)
I think people are generally clones. Women are terrible too. Sorry, I have to bust Pinterest again: but when something starts to have 10,000 repins, doesn't that bother anyone? Isn't that hairstyle becoming too popular. I live in the Silicon Valley, (wo)man! Aren't we supposed to be these great minds who think up new ideas? Or do we really just want to own the exact same pair of shoes or want to be quirky like Zooey Deschanel. I think Zooey's sister's character on Bones would have some kind of anthropological explanation of why we all want to be the same.

I despise women's magazines, Hollywood trends, chick lit, giggling, and I often refuse to participate in things I deem "too girly" like wearing all pink at a race, or driving a Cabriolet. But, resistance is futile. I still like brunch (the girliest meal of the day), getting my nails done, wearing dresses, and watching too much of the Housewives of Every Major City in the US. Except Miami. Those bitches are too crazy.

Just when you thought I might be a woman hater. I tell you that I most definitely am not. In fact, I organized the FIFTH ANNUAL Girls Hike and a Brunch over the weekend. This is not a brunch with a bunch of just any girls. This is an event with a group of my girls, who like to hike, and brunch, and meet new people too. Totally different.

A few years ago (like about 5), I was getting started with a career, paying my own way for the first time and realized that I had responsibilities. The same was true for many of my friends, and we just hadn't had a lot of time to catch up. I remember emailing my friend Kem, saying, "Gawd! I really need some girl time!" Anyway, she invited some of her friends, and I invited some of mine and now it's kind of a meeting of the minds of two good friends, and their friends, who are now all hiking and brunching friends.

I have an array of girlfriends, not all participate in the Hike and a Brunch, who are still my best friends. This Hike and a Brunch is not meant to exclude anyone, so please don't compare me to any of the Real Housewives episodes where so-and-so isn't invited to the launch party because of something she said on the reunion show. I'm not sure how it worked out this way, but there is always 3-5 of regulars, then everyone brings a new friend. Kind of like a meeting of the minds, or dare I say it - networking. There have been many friend stealers at these events. All of a sudden you notice two people who came to brunch are friending each other on Facebook, then they hang out. Then they are hanging out with each other and you are not invited. WTF! . . .

Ok, ok, I've hung out plenty with Kem's Maid of Honor on my own. (We missed you this time around, WC!)

I'm thankful to have a pool of amazing women around me: not just the hiking and brunching kind, but girls who run or tri with me, who share their family memories with me, and for whom I would bend over backwards. Women who have separate lives, separate interests, and come from different places, who have separate opinions, but are still accepting of one another. When people ask me if I moved to the Bay Area for the weather, I shoot down this notion immediately. I moved here to be around people who are different from me. I don't believe you truly know yourself or your own potential unless you surround yourself with situations and people who challenge you. I'm not sure if other women are as lucky as me to have that. I don't think I would enjoy as much hanging out with a group of women who are exactly like me. I find it silly even in political conversations to sit around and talk about how you are right all the time. What's the use in that?

In other words, I think my friends are not clones. Maybe everyone thinks that about their own group of girlfriends. . . but clearly, mine are the best. Seriously. Don't make me smack a bitch.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Being a Girl (Article 2): Why are boys so mean?

I begin with a couple of short stories:


When I began running regularly after college, I ran around the track at a local high school. One day I ran into a "running club" that would meet at the track once a week to do some speed work. I had never heard of such a thing as a "run club." Get this: you can join a group of strangers who also like to run? Wow. *mind blown* (This was in the young days of Google Groups, Yahoo Groups, and

One of the guys from the club sees me taking an easy lap, and joins me on the track to tell me all about their run club: which days/times they meet, which events members train for, fun activities they do on off-days, etc. It just so happened, that all of the members that day were men, so I asked, "Do you also have women in your club?"

"Yes, we have girls. The girls kind of form a group and do their own thing. They are a little slower than us."

It almost sounded like the girls just can't keep up with us manly-types. No offense dude, but not everyone from their club that day looked like a svelte athlete. We are not "girls." Secondly, why are the fem-bots doing their own thing? Perhaps the guys think the cowering females will get lost making loops around a 400 meter track so they need to herd together for comfort. And finally, are all of the vagina's really slower than the penises? I doubt it.


Much more recently, I went window shopping at a bike store, and what was the first bike the sales boy showed me? Well, it was pink. It may have been a nice model, but I was slightly offended that he would show me a pink bike before any of the other models. It's like going to the car dealership and they show you the vanity mirrors. I asked him, "So, what kind of model would you suggest if I'm on a budget, and I want to do hills and maybe a century?" Then he showed me an Italian-made small men's bike.


During Barb's Race this summer, I shared the course with some of the full Ironman competitors during the run portion. They were doing twice the distance, and had been up since 6am, but were still going strong on their marathon. These were not the pretty good guys, but the guys in the lead with a motorcycle leading them in to victory. Hotties! I remember giving some of them kudos on their way past me (because they all passed me), and none of them returned my enthusiasm. I was hurt and offended that they wouldn't recognize my athleticism as well. Doesn't everyone want to be cheered?


So, now I can hear my female friends all riles up and screaming, "Yeah, men are mean, and they don't take us seriously! We will revolt, and form our own clubs and have our own events, and we'll show them what we women are all about!!"

Here is my dilemma:

I don't presume that women and men are created as biological equals (yet *wink*). Currently, the fastest times in men sports greatly exceed the fastest times in women's sports. But, in an amateur setting, there are just as many slow dudes as there are fast chicks. Personally I feel that competing with men makes me a better athlete! I know I'm not going to place in the men's category, but man do I feel good when I finish with some 50-year-old bad ass dude who looks like he's been in the sport for at least 30 years.

Remember the pink bike? Well, I went to an all-women's triathlon the following week, and there were at least 10 of that exact bike on the course. Women will buy it if it's pink, so we feed into this separate but equal phenomenon that we also seem to complain about. I like pink just as much as the next gal, but I don't necessarily go around to sporting events yelling, "Look at me! I'm a girl!" I think (hope) people realize that I'm a woman. I don't get it. Does the pink make women feel good? Or do we think that a mob of pink is going to intimidate the men? By the way I'm wearing a pink shirt today.

Just like the men who can't stand being "beat by a girl" (whiners) women shouldn't be offended if they don't offer back a compliment or notice our pink tutu. Everyone has a different motivation for competing. And, now that I've done an event that takes over 6 hours, I might have limited my "You go girl!" and "Awesome job! s" to maintain a little more energy.

Perhaps we women are still making up for the past, when men dominated sports and determined, well, everything else too. In sports, Title XI afforded female college athletes to participate in sports that were previously deemed male only. Out of that, it is safe to say that this has changed the face of sports in American - look at the females who dominated the medal count in the Olympics this year!

I've been writing this over a few days, and had the opportunity to run some of my anxieties by a few friends. "I just don't really like being in large groups of women." This is a really hard thing to say in front of other women because I feel like it's the absolute wrong thing to say. I want to be clear I am not one of those people who like to hang with the guys or only has guy friends. I like groups of women - my group of women, like my friends and the women that I chose. It is fun to compete with a group of women once in awhile. Women definitely seem to have a better sense of camaraderie than men do in individual sports. But, I want to be an athlete, not a female athlete.

It is truly sad that in 2012 we have to have a War on Women and I will do everything in my voting rights to make sure women are taken care of. But, I still like men. They are not the enemy, and it doesn't make a difference to me whether they are at an event or not.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Being a Girl (Article 1): Women's Events

It has truly been an interesting year: Susan G. Komen decided not to renew funding to Planned Parenthood, then decided to give it back. Then, talks of universal health care brought many people's views of women's reproductive organs into the limelight, and caused general upheaval. Women's bodies are under attack! (And we don't earn as much as our male counterparts, which sucks.) On a positive note, the US women scored a big-time medal count in the summer Olympic Games, and golf finally decided to allow women access to the mighty green jacket.

I've been wanting to write something about being a woman for months, but something keeps holding me back. I literally have 4-5 different posts on my dashboard that I haven't finished or posted because I'm scared of being shunned by my own gender. So, I thought I would break it up into a few articles.

As you are probably also experiencing, there seems to be a rising number of invitations to "Women Only" events in my inbox:  make-up parties, kitchen product parties, jewelry parties, etc. Go ahead and tell me these parties are ok for men. Go ahead. Now think about who actually attends. . .  ok. Yes, they are for women. Women between the ages of 30-45 are the consumers of this country, and don't you forget it. We even tell men what to wear and decide which cars they drive. Anyway, I don't cook well so I'm generally worthless at buying kitchen gadgets. I've never understood the use for a cake plate since I will never bake a cake. That is what bakeries are for. As far as makeup is concerned, I've worn the same brand for a long time and tend to wear the same colors. Once a year I will venture out an try on a new color, use half of it, then throw it in my "pile of unknown beauty supplies" which I will rummage through for Halloween. Jewelry is pretty, but I've been wearing the same earrings for the past month. This year I've spent more money on my bike than on clothing.

Don't even get me started on women's magazines like Cosmo. The only time I read them is when I'm getting my nails or hair done. (See? I can be a girl!) Seriously, who cares about these clones in Hollywood? I've also had some very frank conversations with other women about the Real Housewives that make me cringe because we end up talking about them like they are our friends. That really freaks me out because I'm participating in this BS. Yikes!

I am a girl, so I'm supposed to like girl things. Right? Sometimes I even push myself to try and be more girly: hence the Pinterest challenge, the "Run like a Girl" t-shirt, or hosting a brunch for my girlfriends once a year (Brunch = the girliest meal of the day). But, I always feel like I should be doing more: supporting women's causes, doing cheers, joining women's organizations. . . but I just don't want to. I like a day out with a group of my (awesome) girlfriends, but don't necessarily want to be a part of a big organized group of women. Does that make me a bad person?

So, now I fear being shunned by my own gender.

Another reason I've been feeling mighty un-girly lately is women's athletic events in particular. This year has been a real eye-opener to how many events are women specific.  Now that I've participated in a few female-only events, I kind of prefer the co-ed stuff. I mean, I don't participate any differently in an all-women's event than I do in a mixed event: I train the same, I have a good time, I perform the same, etc. Sure, I still check times based on gender and age, but I don't have a great affinity for doing women-only events. I especially am not big on wearing pink, boas, tutus, or anything that screams "I'm a GIRL!" at an event.

My mother has a very strong aversion to working out with big sweaty men at the gym, and she was a member of Curves for years, before she realized that doing the same circuit routine wasn't doing much of anything anymore. Now she works out mostly with my dad. My mother also grew up in the 60's when men and women's sports were completely separate, and actually you could say women's sports were pretty much non-existent. My youth was in the 90's when public school gym class was co-ed, and you just kind of get used to the boys winning every game of dodge ball. My strategy for dodge ball was - just don't get hit in the face.

I often feel like an odd girl. I'm not sure if it's because I am different, or I just want to be different. It seems that those who fight conformity are just pigeon-holing themselves into another category of "conforming to non-conformity." So I tend to go back and forth between "Girl POWER!!" and "What the hell is a Blowout Bar?"