Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Insert Witty Post Title Here

So here's what happened yesterday and today:

Monday: Elliptical for 20 min & Spinning for 50 min
Tuesday: Lunch time 7 miler @ 9:28 min pace

I haven't gone spinning in a really long time and I forgot what tough workout it can be. I sweat so much when I go spinning, too. Last night was no exception! I got to the gym a little early so I also hit the elliptical machine for a little bit. As for today, it felt so good to run at lunch time. It's a pain to change, shower and get ready AGAIN but it was totally worth it. (I'm not the au-naturale kinda gal. I'm all about full-on make up and hair kinda chick so anytime I get sweaty is a huge issue.) Good thing it's a slow week at work!

Here's what's up for the rest of the week.

Wednesday: Track Workout!
Thursday: Silicon Valley Turkey Trot 10k
Friday: Rest & Recover!!
Saturday: 8 Miler... somewhere
Sunday: 6 Miler or Cross Train?

I am totally looking forward to the smoked turkey that Duane is planning on making!! I am also contributing to the Thanksgiving faire by making Sugar Free Cranberry Chutney and Low-Carb Pumpkin Cheesecake! Part of my low-carb endeavor to shed unwanted pounds. I'll report back on the food later. Especially since I don't cook very much it will be interesting to see how these turn out! We're doing Thanksgiving Potluck at my parent's house in San Jose this year and I can't wait to show off my "new" cooking skills.

Also, if any of you are planning to send out photo holiday cards this year, I have a Friends and Family coupon code for Tiny Prints for 20% off! Type in "FAM121" without the quotes when you check out. Seriously, they have the cutest cards! I just ordered ours today... Here's our holiday card preview. Too bad we did not have any good running photos together!
The message says: We went "green on our honeymoon and
planted a tree in Costa Rica! (Duane did all the work! Phew!)

Love, Julianne & Duane

Of course, if you're like my super duper crafty friend Heather, you can make your own but I'm not really a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) kind of a gal. Also, if you're looking for an amazing photographer for your special event in IDAHO, you should check out her photography blog!

Happy Turkey Day tomorrow everyone!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Great Running Week!

I was really happy with my running last week. With the belated 20 miles on Tuesday and with my 12 miler yesterday (along with the rest of my midweek runs), I reached 50+ miles this past week! I haven't run 50 miles in one week since July when I was training for the SFM. I ran my last of double digit run before the CIM yesterday morning with my training group and so glad that is over with. I ran my 12.5 miles at 9:44 min pace, finishing at 2 hours. Not the greatest pace but I'm happy with it.

This morning, I met up with Aron around 7:30am to get a good running start to the week... Had planned on an easy 8 miler but ended up (what felt like sprinting) running a tad faster than normal. I was huffing and puffing for the first half of the run. (Also, it was much cooler than I had expected! It must be in the low 50s. Hello, winter is upon Northern California!) That's what I get for trying to keep up with a faster runner. I will consider that my speed work for the week. Honestly, if Aron wasn't waiting to run with me today, I may not have gone running at all! I ran an average of 9:14 min pace for the 8 miles! Phew, no wonder I was so tired after!

I ended last week with 50.25 miles! Woohooo!! It's definitely taper time!!!

Happy Thanksgiving week to all! Duane and I have a Silicon Valley Turkey Trot 10k this Thursday... and then, I'm all over the low-carb Thanksgiving meal that day. We're planning on smoking our whole 20 lb turkey on the BBQ. I'm not quite sure what that entails but I hope to have some pictures of the bird later this week!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

i * h e a r t * r u n n i n g ... r e a l l y !

"The next time someone tells you they ran 100 miles this week, tell them 'so what?' The magic is in the man, not the 100 miles." -Bill Dellinger

Isn't that a great quote? You can replace 100 miles with any number, by the way. ;-)

It's TIaRT time again and the topic is Thank Goodness for Running! What a great topic. Running has brought me so many highs (and lows) in my life but it has brought out that MAGIC within me. I have run further than I ever imagined and found will power that I didn't even know existed! And it's also brought me to this wonderful community that I can't stop gushing about. Ok, I promise not to turn stalkerish! Well, unless you want me to!

I also am so thankful for the opportunity to volunteer and run for great causes. Today, I went to my first Running Buddy volunteer activity with Girls on the Run in the Greater Bay Area region. I got this email not too long ago and I just couldn't say no! I love working with kids and volunteering and to throw running into the mix... omg, it's like my dream job. (But no pay!)

I'd like to share an opportunity with you from Girls on the Run: our upcoming Lollipop Family Fun Run on Saturday, December 6. The race is open to the community, but is a special celebration for the girls in our programs, who will complete their first 5k or 1 mile run. We pair each girl with an adult Running Buddy, who meets her one time at practice (on either November 19 or 20, depending on the school) and then comes out to run with her and encourage her on the day of the race! The cost is $35, which covers the price of registration for you and sponsors your girl buddy. The application can be found at:

Please circulate this opportunity to your contacts - many of our girls are still without a buddy!

The mission of Girls on the Run of the Bay Area is to educate and build confidence in young girls through non-competitive, curriculum-based running programs in San Francisco, Marin, Alameda, San Mateo, and Contra Costa Counties.

I met about a dozen girls on the program for the firs time today and it was great. Most of the girls ran and walked 3 miles and even though it was tough for some of then, they stuck it out. And, they looked like they had so much fun. These 4th and 5th grade girls are precocious, wonderful, tough, innocent and yet, so grown up. They live and go to school in a pretty tough neighborhood in Oakland. An area that I usually avoid! Well, most people do... I am really thankful that I can give back to the community this way. And I am thankful that it involves running!!

And yes, I am signed up for the Lollipop Run on December 6th, which is the day before my California International Marathon! But, good thing my training calls for an easy 3 miler on that Saturday. There should be a Girls on The Run in your 'hood, too, if you're interested in volunteering!

This weekend is the BIG Philly marathon!!! BEST OF LUCK to my dear running buddies Denise, Flyers 26, Marci, Lil Runner ND (who is running for 2)!

And to Blyfinn and Coffee Betsy who are doing the Living History Farm Race, Holly who is doing an early Turkey Trot this weekend and to X-Country2 who is running her first marathon!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Drive By Blogging

It's been a crazy week at work. Back to back meetings, conference calls and lots of year-end project management stuff. And on top of that, I've been bogged down with a cold since Saturday. I've been away from my running blog way too long! I miss those slow days where I could sneak off to my own little blogging world! I'm hoping to catch up on all the blog reading this weekend. I have seriously missed all of your updates on your lives. Just to give you a brief update, D and I did go down to Orange County this weekend and had a great time. We didn't end up going to Disneyland because the fires in the area! We got to the Disneyland parking lot (withour pre-purchased tix) and saw ash and soot falling on our car. It was bad. I fell asleep in the car on the way there so I didn't even notice how bad the air was in the distance! I think there were at least 3 major fires down in SoCal this weekend. Yikes.

Woke up Saturday morning with a bad sore throat and it just got worse from there. I tried to go for a short run Saturday morning but it was tough. Not only was I under the weather but it was like 90 degrees the entire weekend. I think it was already in the mid 70s at 8am when I set out for the 6 mile run. Let's just say I walked a lot during this "run"! I give mad props to those of you in the Southern California who train in this weather all year round!

I had already decided on Friday that I was going to run Monday so I didn't worry about the long run over the weekend. We got back home on Sunday night after the weekend of birthday celebrations and I tried to prep myself for the 20 miler on Monday morning but just wasn't feeling it. I still was suffering from the cold on Monday morning so I decided to take the day off from running again.

BUT I FINALLY WENT ON MY 20 miler on Tuesday morning!! Even though, I still wasn't feeling 100%. But it felt good to be out there. The temperature hovered around high 60s during most of my early morning run and only stopped a few times to fuel up and fill up my water bottle at couple of water fountains. Total running time 3 hours and 29 min. It was about 10:30 min pace. Not the fastest but happy that it didn't hurt too badly. At least I have that under my belt.

I felt ok all day yesterday but woke up feeling like crap again this morning. I went into work but left early feeling sick. Took a long nap and now feeling a bit more alive again. (Which means I didn't go to my Wednesday track workouts! But my legs needed another day off.)

Shoot, really meant this to be a short post (hence the post title) but I guess I'm more long-winded than I'd like to believe!

Leaving you now with a photo of me and the nephews and niece down in Rancho Santa Margarita. (Nolin, Rily and Analisa are actually Duane's nephews and niece but we've really bonded!!) We watched Kung Fu Panda like 3 times on their laptop this weekend!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

TIaRT: The "Green" Runner in Me

This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. I try to recycle as much as possible, eat locally grown/sustainable/organic stuff, and conserve energy when I can. Duane and I even went to two hotels in Costa Rica that practice "responsible tourism" in areas that are "carbon off-setting". (Both which I highly recommend!!) I do have to admit that I'm not doing anything ground breaking. I'm still trying to figure out how to leave a neutral carbon footprint. And for the most part, I feel like I'm not doing a very good job. Especially when I run. I do few things that I know are "green":

- I always run with my own water bottle during a race. Not only do I not want to create extra trash by using the disposable cups but I like the comfort of knowing I have water at anytime.
- I reuse my bottles! Until they look like they've been kicked around by a soccer team.
- Whenever I fuel up, I make sure I put the empty Gu packet (or whatever empty package) in my pocket if I don't see a trash bin right away. (That's true for both races and during training runs.) I just have to remember to throw them out before I do the laundry!!
- I try to run near where I live as much as possible. I do hate those days when I have to drive 15+ miles to do a long run. :-(

They may not make a huge difference but I feel good knowing that I am doing *something*. I will also make a commitment to recycle my shoes and buy items that use more recycled parts. Even running shoes and clothes. Both Running Times and Runners World had issues dedicated to green running and they have lots of great ideas. I even flipped through them again last night to get some inspiration for this post. What I did find was that they use a lot of chemicals and other things that are bad for the environment manufacturing tech-shirts. Which is bad news!! What would I do without fast-drying or moisture wicking shirts? :-(

I'm also excited that this is a topic that I suggested to Tom and Amy at the Runner's Lounge. They sure do making blogging easy on Thursdays!

Last night's track workout was TOUGH. But I felt soooooo good when it was over. I swear, I think I almost hyperventillated at one point. I love pushing myself hard, though. Even if it's hurts so bad. Here's my workout:

2x 400s - Finished right around 1:37 on both times. Almost 5 whole seconds faster than last week!
4x 800s - Omg, I almost died on these. I averaged about 3:45 on most of these. I kept thinking, this speed workout better pay off!
2x 400s - Averaged around 1:50. By then, I was P-O-O-P-E-D!

Today, I decided to do a midweek long run. I have been totally inspired by D10 and Aron who run some crazy mileages during the week. So, I went out and did a 11 miler! I left work early today since I started at 6am! (Why do my East Coast counterparts set up meets at 9am EST??? Half the call was conducted while driving to work, hehe.) I started around 4:30pm but by the time I finished it was SO dark. I really need to go get a vest and/or a headlamp! So, 11 miles done tonight with about 8:51 min/mile pace! It took me all of 1 hr and 39 min. I feel pretty good about this. Maybe those track workouts *are* working!

I am off to Orange Country tomorrow and Disneyland for sure on Saturday with Duane's nephews! Yay!! I also decided not to do my 20 miler on Saturday or Sunday... Just too much to do this weekend. So, I'll do it on Monday morning before work. (Planning on going in late!) I WILL DO IT!!

Oh and on one final note, "Nike announced a voluntary quality return of the Nike+ SportBand following reports of faulty displays. This is not a recall, exactly, but an invitation for all consumers and retailers to return any defective SportBands for a refund or exchange." For more info, click here. It's about damn time!! I have had 3 faulty Nike+ SportBand and really, this is the least they can do.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My Run with Dean

My run with Dean Karnazes tonight was really awesome! I left work around 4:30pm today because I really wanted to be on time for the 6pm start. Traffic wasn't too bad since it was Veteran's day but it still takes time to trek through the Bay Area around rush hour. Especially trekking 50 something miles! Anyway, I knew I was going to cut it close when I was about half way there... When I finally got to Berkeley, I had 5 minutes to spare. I quickly changed in the car and rushed over the Fleet Feet store on Solano Avenue. I saw couple of dozen people already standing outside. Apparently, Dean was a running a little late, too! He showed up a few minutes after. Dean is a bit shorter than I imagined and looks even thinner in person. I have run in couple of races that he's hosted but I had never actually seen him! Once he arrived, it didn't take us long to set off. Fleet Feet told us we were going to do a 6 miler on the program but we ended up doing only 5. It was an out and back route from the store to the UC Berkeley campus.

Here's our group photo before the run. I had positioned myself right up in the front but some guy showed up last minute and ended up standing right in front me. With his bright reflector vest. Grrrr.
The run was relatively easy even though, I did keep up with him most of the time. Ok, let me rephrase that. He ran slow. Apparently, he just got back from the Sahara Desert on a 150 miler run. More on that later. I did get to admire his muscular calves for most of the run. Man, he has ropes of muscles for legs. I was just amazed at his powerful legs. (And, I usually check out other runner's legs. I have a thing for calves!) We got back and noticed that I was running about 8:20 min mile pace! Ok, so we weren't running so slow after all! (Well, "slow" and "fast" are relative words!!) Once we got back and stretched, Dean got settled in his spot and gave a short talk about his book. He was a great speaker and I really enjoyed his 50 marathons in 50 days synopsis. I cannot wait to read this book.

Here he is talking about his new book...

I had asked him what his latest challenge was and he shared with us that he is running "five of the planet’s most inhospitable places on five different continents, all in one year." He's finished 4 deserts and has one more left: Antartica in 2 weeks!! And, he just finished running 150 mies of the Sahara Desert and just flew home yesterday. You can read more about his Desert Grand Slam here and about the desert race series here.

He is just amazing! After his talk, the book signing began and I made a bee line to the table. Here is Dean signing... (for someone else!)
And finally, here is Dean and me. Omg, I *heart* Dean!!!
I love how we're right in front of the sports bras. Hehe. And he is such a cutie!
Meeting Dean Karnazes was quite an experience today. I am truly inspired and motivated. He said that if his book helps someone reach their dream then and "go far", he's done his job. Or something like that! I was so inspired, I went for another 2 mile run around my neighborhood after the book signing. I was supposed to get 7 miles in today. I didn't want to short change myself!

Dear Julianne,
Keep on smiling. & keep on running! May you go far...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Random Bits

Just an FYI to my readers: I still have not found a way to make money blogging about running. But I'm still looking and searching. If I find out, you'll be the first to know! Of course, if we're all doing the same thing, we'll probably just end up making money off of each other... which would just recirculate among our little community. Hmmm.

Can I continue complaining about this getting dark at 5pm business? It really sucks. I start panicking about my evening runs when I see the sun go down around 4:30pm. It's really sad.

Tomorrow night, my Mr. Right comes home from Boston! He's been away since Sunday on a business trip. We did long distance for over a year (cross country) but since we've been married we're like two peas in a pod. We're like inseparable. (And grossing out some friends in the process.) I can't believe I put up with long distance dating for that long!

Speaking of business trips, my trip to NYC next week got canceled. Thanks to the economic downturn, not only did my department have to give back $13MM dollars (that would be 13 million) all travel has been suspended. Usually, in my R&D new product development group, we're given more money than we know what to do with. This month, they asked for money back. This is baaad news. And no travel! I have to cancel all my restaurant reservations now. Boo.

So excited about my run with Dean Karnazes tomorrow night with the Fleet Feet Berkeley store team. I saw that there's about 26 other runners that have RSVP'd but I heard they are expecting more. AND, I am going to try my best to get a photo with him. Oh and get my book signed. Ok, I'm going to try!! I don't want to seem like an obsessed fan or anything...

And, one more random bit... I totally get excited when I get a real word like "ankle" when you get those word verification for Blogger. Maybe because on average, I have to type in the "word" like two or three times before I get it right. I don't like those, to tell you the truth!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Upcoming Week

After reading various TIaRTs from the running community last week, I felt a little ashamed. Compared to some of the serious and amazing transitions that fellow runners have gone through, mine seemed a bit trivial. My post last Thursday felt more like whining than anything. I was literally in tears after I read Danica's moving post about the loss her mom, very hopeful after reading TwoDog's battle with cancer and inspired by N.D.'s progress with her pregnancy and running... among others! Ok, I'll try not belittle my experience but I guess in the grand scheme of things, my transitions seemed not so bad. To so many of you who did open up and shared your story, THANK YOU. You put my life into perspective. I'm actually quite humbled.

I had a great running weekend, by the way. Friday morning, I went out for a 6 hilly miles and felt really good. I did stop and walk up the hills (twice) but the last time I did the same run (about a month ago), I walked a lot more than that. Saturday morning, I had to change my training plans from 12 miles and run only 6 due to a baby shower that I was throwing for a very good friend of mine. The hubby and I ran with my training group and ran on the Nimitz Way Trail at Tilden Park in Berkeley. It's a beautiful trail with rolling hills and on a clear day, you can see right across the Bay! The 6 miles were done in less than an hour, averaging about 9 min miles. Again, I felt pretty goo about the run and felt like I was finally getting back into the groove of things. Sure, the body still "hurt" during the run but it felt good! So, this morning, after much hemming and hawing I decided to go out for my 12 miles. I slept in like a lazy bum and didn't start the run until about 10:30am. Good thing we started mid morning because it was a sunny, cool 58 degrees and breezy. Love that crisp morning air! I also love that I have a constant running buddy who sticks it out and runs with me... even when he doesn't feel like it. My husband is the best running buddy ever. Even if he did quit on me around mile 8 this morning. ;-) Ok, he *did* have a good excuse... his Achilles was acting up. Poor guy walked back most of the way hoping I'd catch up to him. Which, I didn't!! I finished the 12 miler around 1:53 at about 9:09 min pace. Woohoo!

Ok, here are some activities this week:

Monday: Rest (Yay!)
Tuesday: Run with Fleet Feet Berkeley... a 6 miler with Dean Karnazes! Anyone else in the area interested???
Wednesday: Track Workout
Thursday: 8 miler planned (not sure when I'll squeeze this in)
Friday: Rest... Flying down to Orange Country at 8am to visit Duane's nephews & niece!! There's a birthday party for his 8 year old nephew. MIGHT squeeze in a 6 miler in the PM?
Saturday: 20 miler planned (before Disneyland maybe????)
Sunday: Hmmm... maybe have to do the 20 on Sunday before the birthday party. Fly back to the Bay Area in the evening.

Yeah, I got some serious activities planned for this weekend. Still trying to figure out where and when I can run 20 miles this weekend. Hmmm. Anyone down in SoCal got any ideas? I've searched for runs on Mapmyrun.com but haven't found anything, yet. I'll be in Rancho Santa Margarita!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

TIaRT: What Doesn't Kill You, Will Only Make You Stronger

The Take It and Run Thursday (TIaRT) theme for today from Runner's Lounge is TRANSITIONS. I've heard somewhere major stress in life are caused by transitions or living through through them. They say, some of the major transitions in life are life/death, new job, marriage/divorce, aging, moving, health and etc. In the past 6 months, I've gone through some big ones myself. I've moved cross country, got a new job, got married, moved to new town (that I'm not really crazy about) and blending two lives into one. And I have to tell you, it has not been an easy transition. (Especially figuring out the close space thing!) Leaving NYC was tough but moving to a small suburb outside San Francisco was even harder. The new job isn't that new because I was transferred within my company but still it's a new surrounding with new people - new challenges. (And, I'm not really crazy about this new job. Especially since I commute 50+ miles each way.) Getting married was stressful enough and now learning to live together has it's ups and downs. (Having a wonderful husband does help, though... ) Through it all, I ran. As a matter of fact, with all the different changes within the last six months or so, the only consistent thing in my life has been running. Maybe that's why I felt the need to train and run a marathon 5 days before the wedding. And why I continue to sign up for races. Maybe it's to keep me busy and distracted from life's issues. Maybe I need the endorphins to keep me going. It's been a tough six months, to say the least. I keep thinking the transition period is now over but something else keeps popping up. Maybe this is just life. But whatever it is, the running part has kept me SANE. I'm sure I'll have other challenges to look forward to and transitions. But let me tell you something, I know I will always have running to get me through it! As that saying goes: What doesn't kill you, will only make you stronger... AND I feel I've become very strong (physically & emotionally) in the last 6 months.

Last night's track workout kicked my butt. 3x 400s, 2x 800s and 3x 400s again. It doesn't sound that hard, I know! I was thinking, piece of cake. But it was! I averaged about 1:42 per lap (400) and it felt good!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

You Learn Something New Everyday

I absolutely love this running community. Thank you for keeping me accountable, encouraging me and going on this running journey with me. It's really amazing how my running has become such a huge part of my life. JoyRun's post today really summed my feelings... and funny enough, she said it was my post that "rang true" for her. *sniff*

I also learned something new yesterday! Did you know there's a term for "mental psychology of reaching a euphoria and just a deeper understanding of yourself as an athlete, and your purpose on this planet"? (That's a direct quote from Marci's post "Find Your Flow".) It's called Runner's Flow! Apparently, there's even an entry on Wikipedia on this "flow" terminology. I have felt this feeling at various times during a marathon but I had no idea there was actually a word to describe it. I love that this feeling has a word and it's real!

I've also been spending so much of my free time writing and reading blogs. Do you know a way I can make money blogging about running? ;-)

Last night, I went on my 8 miler in the dark. I love Daylight Savings but I don't like how it gets dark at 5pm. Boo. Thank goodness my husband went on the run with me because the trail that I usually go running on is near the Bay and sometimes pretty desolate. There were a few parts where I was so glad I was not running alone. Another thought, maybe I do need to invest in some good headlamps and reflective gear! I also ran on my brand new Asics Kayano 13s. They were fantastic! It felt like I was bouncing off the pavement. Love that brand new cushion. The 8 miles went relatively easy at about 9:40 min pace. Tonight, track workouts!

And on top of everything, I am still awed that we have our first African-American president of United States of America. It's truly historic and incredible. Wow. It's almost on the same level as, "Wow, we're married! You're my husband!". (As I tell my husband at least once a day, in a very happy way. :-)

OH and I just found out my little sister is having a GIRL!!! Omg, I am so excited!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Did you know?

For those who haven't checked the results of Sunday's New York City marathon, Magdalena Lewy-Boulet ran 2:33. She was 11th woman and 72nd overall. Magda is a local legend here in the SF Bay Area.

I got this from Wikipedia:
Magdalena Lewy Boulet (née Lewy; born August 8, 1973) is an American runner from Oakland, California. She finished second at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Women's Marathon, held on April 20, 2008, in Boston, Massachusetts, in a personal-best time of 2:30:19.

She led the race for the first 24 miles before being overtaken by eventual winner Deena Kastor. Blake Russell, the third place finsher in 2:32:40, will join Kastor and Lewy Boulet in Beijing.

"Some amazing times were recorded, apparently! Paula Radcliffe was first woman with a 2:23:56. Chasing her up to the last couple of miles was Ludmilla Petrova of Russia who ran 2:25:43 to set a master's world record. First American woman was Kara Goucher who ran 2:25:53." **

Wow. I am inspired. Yes, I am! Totally looking forward to my 8 miler today after work! Hope it doesn't rain too much! AND, GO VOTE! I can't wait to go home and watch the election results!!

** I got most of this information from a local email distribution list for local road/trail/ultra running. Just got this email about Magda and I wanted to share! If anyone in the Bay Area is interested (mostly in the East Bay running clubs and meet ups), I can send you the info on how to get on the list. :-)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Thank You for Reading

Thank you for reading this in advance. It's hella long! And, it took me pretty much all day to catch up on the blog reading. I didn't realize I was "following" so many blogs. Phew! Good thing I'm not that busy at work these days. :-) There's so much to write about, I had to make myself a list (kinda in chronological order):

Rain on Saturday
Russian River Wine Tasting
18 miles in Santa Rosa on Sunday
Luna Moons
Madonna - Sticky and Sweet Concert Tour
NYCM on DVR/Lottery

Halloween - No trick-or-treaters at all. Zero. Zip. Nada. Good thing because we didn't even have any candy to pass out. We had a feeling no one was coming to knock on our door, though. I had no Halloween spirit this year!

I'm sure by now, you've heard that it rained most of Saturday. All over the West Coast, I think. On Friday afternoon, Aron and I had tentatively planned on doing our long runs together on Saturday morning (Aron 20 miles, me 16) but we both knew it was going to rain. After all, it rained most of Thursday and Friday and so rain on Saturday was no surprise. I got up around 6am on Saturday morning and heard the rain falling. I text'd Aron to see if she was going to run in the rain but she text'd me back saying she decided to go run on Sunday (and she's been sick all week). I was secretly glad because I really didn't feel like running 16 in the rain and really really wanted to sleep in. I got my wish! I slept in until 11am. (Yes, I also ditched my 8:30am run with my running group. I had already made up my mind to run on Sunday by the time Aron texted me. And to be honest, I had thoughts about skipping out on this long run altogether. And hoping to make up for next couple of long runs. But, I knew my online accountability group was waiting... That'd be you! You guys are the best accountability group I ever had! I couldn't let you guys down after I said I was going to do the run, you know?)

My husband and I drove up to meet our friends on Saturday afternoon for the Russian River Wine Tasting up near the Healdsburg area. We left a bit late (due to the sleeping in) and it took us a lot longer to drive up there due to the rain and traffic. We missed most of Saturday's wine tasting activities, unfortunately. Not that it stopped us from eating and drinking with our friends at a restaurant in downtown Healdsburg. Our friends were already a bit tipsy from the 8 wineries that they checked out but ready to imbibe some more. I was a little disappointed that we missed out but we figured we still had Sunday to partake on the wine tasting.

Sunday morning, I got up at 7:30am refreshed (thanks to Daylight Savings) and set out for my 16 miles. Well, I ended up doing 18 because I found a great route on Mapmyrun.com that started very near from our hotel. And really, I felt I could do 18 comfortably. I was pumped. I love waking up excited about my long runs. Maybe because I knew this was going to be a good route to run or maybe because I knew there was so much eating and drinking ahead of me on Sunday. I even have the handy 18 miler map right here:

It was mostly flat route, uninterrupted country roads, mostly paved and quite beautiful. There were some parts that were on the "highway" with very narrow shoulders and kinda isolated areas but other than that, it was a great run.

My husband came out on the run with me but he decided to turn back around mile 8. Poor guy has been suffering from Achilles Tendinitis all year and it was acting up pretty bad around mile 7 mark. He didn't think he could finish 18 miles with me so he turned around at that point. Up until mile 12, I was thinking, "This is a piece of cake! I'll be done in a jiffy." I underestimated the 18 miles, or rather, overestimated myself. I ran out of water around mile 14 and it was kinda downhill from there, so to speak. I was s0oooooo thirsty around then. As you can see from the photos, the patchy clouds provided cool temperatures but as I neared back into town, it got very warm. I got very parched when the clouds parted, too. Right around mile 14 when I ran out of my water, I got really tired and super dehydrated. All the wine from the day before didn't help, I'm sure. I struggled the last 4 miles in pain but I was SO happy to finish. Even if I ran pretty slow at the end and walked quite a bit:

First 11 mile pace: 9:10
Last 7 mile pace: Ranging from about 11:00 to 13:45
Average pace: 10:24
Total miles: 18:03
Total time: 3:07'43

Santa Rosa/Sebastapol scenery was beautiful and with so many wineries and vineyards, I really enjoyed the run. I did see some gnarly roadkill but I tried not to look at it. Eeek. But here are some photos that I took while I was out running:

Side note: Holly! I did think about you on my run! I belatedly realized you live in Santa Rosa (around mile 10)!

Another thing, I decided this weekend that I really don't like Luna Moons very much. I have tried them on various distances and I just don't like having to chew for that long. And I don't like how they stick to my teeth. I spend more time trying to get them out of the teeth crevices than chewing them. So, I need find another alternative.

The wine tasting/food pairing on Sunday was amazing. We must have hit 10 wineries in 2 hours. The first few we lingered and tasted all the samples but after while, we just wanted the food. And I was starving from the run. My post run meal consisted of a Luna Bar, which was not quite what I had hoped! Just to give you an idea of the type of food the wineries had, here's a short list:

Truffle Mac & Cheese
Biscotti with Chocolate Fondue fountain
Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Mushroom Ragout with Mezzo Sauce
Beef Short Ribs with Olives
Blackened Tri-Tip Sandwich

One of the wineries that we stopped at
And that's not even all that we ate. There were so much more and we didn't even get to hit all of them! Next year, we need a better action plan. Less drinking, more eating.

Did I also mention unlimited wine tastings??? I was tipsy after 2 wineries. ;-)

Anyway, enough about the wine and food. I'm sure I gained back all of the 2000+ calories that I burned off during the run.

After the event, we drove home and got ready for the big concert!! Madonna - Sticky and Sweet Concert Tour came to Oakland Coliseum this weekend and we had tickets! Yes, we had two pairs of $100 tickets (each)... way up in the nosebleed section. I could not believe how expensive the tickets were for those crappy seats. As you can see from my poor quality Blackberry Pearl camera that we were pretty far away. But thank goodness for the big screens! I'm not too crazy about the new Madonna stuff (although, some of them are not bad), I'm a huge huge fan of the Immaculate Collection days. And she sang them to the audience's delight and mine! She put different twists to some of them but still, brought back great feelings! The concert was definitely entertaining although, not as scandalous as some of her earlier concerts. Not sure if it's worth $100 for the nosebleed seats, though.

Yes, the Material Girl herself on center stage! Too bad we're so far away!

While I was out running, I did think about all of your who were racing on Sunday morning. Although, I was out doing my training run, it felt really good knowing there was a community of runners out there that I can support and be supported. I also got a call from my friend Jason who completed his 3rd ING New York City Marathon with his fastest NYCM course time! Congrats Jason! I figured out how to DVR the NYCM online and so I plan to watch it when I get home later. I am really inspired by the NYCM itself and plan to throw my name in the lottery early Spring for 2009 NYCM!