Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thankfulness - Better Late Than Never

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, but I think I was a little too stressed out preparing to host 10 people for dinner last week that I didn't really take the time to be thankful.  But it seems to be coming at me this week whether I'm looking for it or not.

Last night I was very thankful for my swimming breakthrough.  Tonight I was feeling very thankful for this overpass.

My overpass - picture from a bike ride last Christmas Eve.
That picture is an pedestrian/bicycle overpass that was recently built - I don't think it's even been two years since they finished it.  It is only a few blocks from my house and leads over the freeway to the Bay Trail.  And before you get to the trail, just at the bottom of the bridge you encounter this.

The baseball / soccer field
Just over the overpass is this sports complex.  The above picture is only about half of the main field.  Tonight - and most nights I've recently discovered - there were three different teams holding soccer practice.  This means the field is lit up like Broadway.

Why am I so thankful for the overpass that leads to this field?  I typically run outside after work.  And now it's dark by the time I get home from work.  But I can now run from my front door to the overpass and down to this field.  I can do laps around the field and feel safe because there are a ton of people around - coaches, kids playing soccer, the field staff, parents waiting for their kids - and it's incredibly bright.  I also only have to cross one small street to get there, so I don't have to worry about dodging cars.  I was able to get in three miles tonight from my front door with a few laps around the field.

It's the little things...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Let Me Set the Scene...

It was a cold night.  Steam was coming off the pools.  It was the first time I had gone for a swim when there was actually steam.

I wasn't in the best of moods when I arrived at the gym.  I was tired after the first day back at work after the long weekend.  I really wanted to just go home from work but I had packed my swim bag and put it in the car last night.  Apparently that strategy worked...this time.

I did a little warm up - a few 25s, 50 with a kickboard.  It was at this point while I was catching my breath at the wall that the man in the next lane pointed out the moon.  It was almost full - just a little sliver missing - and it was such a clear night that we had a spectacular view of it from up on the hill.

It looked something like this.

I set off for another 25.  I got to the wall and instead of stopping, I turned around and kept going.  Usually about halfway back I run out breath and need to stop or switch to a different stroke.  But tonight it was like magic.  I just kept going.  Before I knew it, I was at the wall.  I had done 50 yards of freestyle without stopping.

I must have had a look of shock on my face.  As I hung there catching my breath, I decided I would try it again to see if it was a fluke.  It wasn't.  So I thought I'd go again, just to be absolutely sure.  I am now absolutely sure.

I did 50 yards of freestyle without stopping tonight...not once, not twice, but three times!!!  I guess that means I can really do this!

It is so nice to finally have some measurable progress in my swimming.  I know 50 yards doesn't seem like much, but for someone who couldn't really swim just a few months ago 50 yards is huge.  HUGE!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Where have I been?

I've been a bad blogger...missing in action.  I wish I could say I was off having incredibly fun adventures, but the truth is that I just haven't had much to blog about for a bit, and then when I did have a race report to write I didn't have time.

So let's just say the last couple of weeks have gone something like this...battle a cold, do a 5k, work, take dog to vet, workout.

I guess the only thing you probably want to hear about is the 5k so here it is.  The Mermaid 5k was in San Francisco this past Saturday.  I've done the 5k a few times and the 10k once.  The Mermaid Series is an all women's group of triathlons, duathlons, and running events.  (I'm sure you could participate if you were a man, but I've never seen a man compete there.)  They also sponsor a "Mini Mermaids" program which introduces young girls to running.  The girls (ages 6-12) train with a volunteer coach and work their way up to running a 5k.  Pretty cool!

I had a couple of friends who were going to be there and it's a nice flat course with beautiful scenery so I decided to sign up again.  Sorry, no pictures of the scenery.  I can't run with a camera.  I texted Christina when I got there and she was just arriving, too.  I easily found Meredith.  She was coaching a group of Mini Mermaids, so I just looked for the little girls and she was among them.

Me and Christina "before"
Since Meredith had her hands full, Christina and I decided to check out gear and head out for a little warm up.  It started off freezing but by the time we warmed up it had turned into a beautiful day - sunny and not hot, perfect running weather.

Christina & I lined up in the middle of the pack and off we went.  It was a pretty uneventful run for me.  I stuck with my 3:1 run/walk intervals.  I felt good the entire time and even had a little left in the tank to sprint to the finish - as much as sprinting was possible.  The finish chute goes in a U-shape over grass, so it's tough to get a good sprint going.  I finished with a time of 38:39 - not a PR but more than a minute faster than this event last year.  I was happy with my time considering I had spent the week battling a cold.

Christina, me, and Meredith "after"
I've got another swim lesson next week, and another 5k on the calendar next month.  And I'm still considering jumping into a Turkey Trot 5k.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Best Place on Earth

I've heard it said that as far as weather is concerned, the Bay Area is the best place on earth.  This weekend, I would find it hard to argue with that statement.  It's been in the 70s all weekend.  Hello?  Is it not November?  I'm glad this beautiful weather wasn't wasted on weekdays!

Here are a couple of shots from my bike ride yesterday to prove my point.

The path I rode yesterday.

This was my view for the ride.  You can almost see all the way across the bay.

San Mateo Bridge
Today was no different.  Dan & I played golf and we both wore shorts - in November!  Not a bad weekend.