Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Nice ...

You just never know when some unexpected "niceness" is going to come along. Today, it came along at noon in the parking lot of the Tulare County Courthouse. I'd finished filing the document for work and was returning to my car when a woman sitting in her car on her phone said, "Excuse me." I thought she'd need direction or instruction or something re: the court house but it was quite the opposite. She wanted to compliment me on what I was wearing. She said she'd majored in fashion design. And she ended a call with her dad just to share her kind words with me. Totally made my day. So I'm going to challenge myself to pay it forward and bestow a compliment on someone when they're least expecting it. I think the giver gets as much as the receiver out of the interchange.

Another nice thing ... free shoes. No strings attached. HA!! Well, sort of. All I have to do is run in them and share my thoughts about them so they can be rolled into everyone elses for publication in running magazines. SWEET. And I LOVE the colors!! Finally something other than boring white shoes. Thank you Cregg!!

Let's see ... what else is new. Life has certainly been full ... Tuesday night a "milestone" birthday celebration at Bravo Farms in Tulare where I made a new friend. :-) She's from MN but works much of the time in CA. She's going to be back next week and will be here for her birthday, so we're going to have a "girls night out" next Wednesday. Can't wait!!

I've been running LOTS and feeling better about my running. 78 miles for last week, down from 92 the week before. I feel like I'm regaining some speed. I don't know if my hamstring will ever be 100%, but I'm hoping I can maintain at about 75% without further injury of some sort. I'm hoping to improve on recent marathon times at Two Cities in Fresno/Clovis on 11/4. Marathons this year have been quite disappointing.

In the kitchen ... some really good Cooking Light recipes. Pasta with Brussels Sprouts ...

pork tenderoin with pears (not CL, but oso delish!) ...

and another CL recipe ... pumpkin cheesecake.

Sunday afternoon brought some fun with Yvonne and Ragan at the Calico Art Festival in Hanford. Yvonne was (wo)manning the PlInKo! booth, which I played,

Fun afternoon. Saturday brought a double loop of Rocky Hill (never get tired of it, even in the dark) followed by a delicious breakfast at Valhalla, a Swedish restaurant downtown Visalia.

Then a trip up to Three Rivers (not much happening up there).

Though the temps are cool this week, the weather is still beautiful here. And the flowers are still in bloom. Even my impatiens. (I think this one is an azalea, outside the office.)

Last week, my Cooking Light group met at Rosie's. We had a delightful evening. Not sure all are OK being on my blog, so I'll just post this one. Or two.

Our meal was sooooo tasty.

The weekend before, I'd organized a little 50th Bday party for Michele and Sheri. 18 people showed up at a Mexican restaurant downtown. Another fun evening.

As I got less than 5 hours of sleep last night (rolled in from Bakersfield at 11 PM and was running a tempo run at 4:30 AM), I'm going to finish watchin the Vikings implode vs. TB and then call it a night.

Toodles .....

Monday, October 15, 2012


It's that harvest time of year ... and for that I'm thankful. The temperatures here in the valley have moderated and the weather is now beautiful. It went from 100 degrees to 70 in just a week, totally skipping the 80s. But now this week we're back in the 80s. Perfect. The windows can be open. It's delightful to be outdoors. Just wonderful.

Harvest time also brought the Harvest Run on October 6. I was a last-minute, almost, race director for this cross-country 5K in Cutler Park here in Visalia. It's a nice park on the far NE side of town. We had a nice turnout ... 131 total registrations for the 5K and 1 mile, up quite a bit from last year. Great food (thank you Applebees for the breakfast burritos, Pro Citrus Network for the oranges, Raisin' Dough for the cookies, Sequoia Beverage for energy drinks/tea, Noah water for the bottled water). And we purchased pumpkin pie. It was a veritable feast! Or at least a very nice post-5k breakfast! My volunteers were outstanding, as usual, so the race went off without a hitch. Thank you all that helped, ran and donated!

Marisol and Isabella at Lifestyles taking registrations

Our beautiful cut out cookies

Post-race food and fun

Winner of the women's race

Finish line

They're (almost) off!

The winner, in 16:53
The following (last) week was pretty quiet. I got in LOTS of running miles, since I did my long runs on Sunday and the following Saturday. 92 miles total. Whew. Unofficially tapering for Two Cities Marathon in Fresno on November 4. I also signed up for Sacramento/CIM which is December 2. You have through today (the 15th) to sign up with a qualifying time. I'm doing a 10-mile trail run (Coyote Ridge Trail, just north of San Francisco) on 12/8. And the Death Valley marathon on February 2. I just have to stay healthy and uninjured.

Friday I organized a little 50th birthday dinner at Alejandro's for Michele and Sheri. 18 people showed up, which was great. A fun evening!

This last Saturday brought a trip to the Big Fresno Fair. What a wonderful county fair. Really nice grounds, lots of live music, fair food everywhere. :-)

Don't worry...I just ate a small fraction of this huge HALF order of curly fries. They were over-fried, so I didn't much care for them. I allow myself to eat whatever I want after a long run and I'd run 21 that morning (a triple trip up Rocky Hill) so I indulged in these fries and a Cow Pie (ice cream on a flat waffle). MUCH preferred the cow pie.

Our friend Larry got us: free premium parking, free admission, a blackberry margarita, and a free entry into the horse races. I'd never seen a horse race before, so it was fun. We also got to have our picture taken in the winner's circle. Guess it helps to have friends in high places. Or at least friends on the fair board. :-)

The produce here is amazing. Mostly a different selection from MN, though. Lots of citrus and grapes. More varietes of grapes than I ever knew existed.

Yesterday, I finished my book club selection for November, when the club will meet here. Anna Quindlen's Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake. I enjoyed it, and I think there will be plenty to talk about.

Well, I guess that's all I know for now. Morning, which will find us doing 9 x 800 on the track, will come quickly.

Good night ....

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Wascally Wabbit Half Mawathon

I decided this week to register for today's Wascally Wabbit Half Marathon in Fresno. Some friends from Visalia were also running and

Dave, Michele, me, Mike, Dan

it sounded like a fun event. So bright (well, it was still dark at 5:00 AM) it was off to Fresno. Got there in plenty of time to pick up my shirt and number/chip.

The shirts are fun and long-sleeved technical and fits perfectly. The event took place in Woodward Park. Part of the first mile was on paved trail and then we were onto dirt trail just past mile one. The dirt continued until about mile 5 when we got back on asphalt. Lots of turns on the course, and lots of hills. Not long, but numerous. A long out and back from mile 5 to mile 10. During this stretch, I encountered the leader running toward me. He was really cruising, especially on this course. (Winning time was 1:11). We ran through the start and retraced some of our early steps until getting on the 2-mile race course to bring us in to the finish. I didn't cramp until the last mile, luckily. I could feel them coming on so held to a conservative pace. My finish time was 1:48:06 (8:14.76 pace). Not what I'd really like to be running, but on this course I was OK with it. It was good enough for an age-group win which was fun.

It was a fun morning. Here's the morning in photos ...

WHAT. A. FACE. Mile 11.

Mike and Dan
Everyone that I knew placed ... Dave, me, Dan, and not pictured Mike, Al, Matthew. A good day for the Visalia Runners!

After wiping off what I could of the sweat, salt and trial dirt, it was off to Sam's Club and then Pismo's for lunch. They had breakfast after the race but the pancakes were awful. After one bit I had to throw them away. :-/

Biggest chicken sandwich I'd ever seen. I didn't even eat half of it. But it was really delicious ... it had arugula on it and cilantro aioli. I also got sweet potato fries for something different. They were hearty and delicious and didn't seem like they'd soaked up tons of oil.

No shower. No make-up. Bad, bad look but still a fun pic.
Then it was off to Steven's Bicycles in Fresno. I have been thinking about getting a cruiser on which to toodle around town. I saw a sweet hot pink Electra townie with lime green rims. But I'll have to think about it ...

Fun, fun day. Until next time ... be well.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Catching Up

I've been inpsired by the positive feedback I've received from my one post recently ... the first one since late May. So, my new goal is to blog at least once a week. Starting today!

I left off (abruptly) with the Santa Rosa marathon. It was very slow (hamstring has been injured all summer and my training was all slow) BUT ... for the first time EVER in a marathon, I didn't cramp. Amazing! I was very pleased about that. It was a two loop/figure 8 course. Quite flat, with several miles on gravel (which I didn't care for ... kept getting stones in my shoes, and my shoes, socks and legs were absolutely filthy), but overall it was a very good race ... one I'd recommend.

The next weekend brought a 50th birthday celebration for friends Sheri, Art and Yvonne ...

The weekend following Santa Rosa (labor day weekend) it was off to beautiful Santa Barbara for the Pier to Peak half marathon ... a grueling 4000 ft. climb during those 13.1 (or 13.42 or something on my GPS!).  Probably one of the hardest events I've ever participated in. It took several miles to get my breathing settled down and into a pace I could comfortably maintain. Except for .2 of a mile at mile 11, we climbed and climbed and climbed. It felt like running Viola Road (Rochester, MN) for 13 miles! Finally at about mile 9 I had to start walking. I was shot. But I'd do it again, and the scenery was spectacular.

The rest of the weekend was spent with friends, eating!, and wandering State Street.

Bad hair, baaaaaad hair (wind)
Thai food at Galanga on State St.

Santa Barbara is a beautiful town!! On the way back to the valley we stopped in the quaint Danish town of Solvang. Just for an hour or so, but I definitely want to get back.

My hamstring is finally healing after many weeks of getting back in the gym, stretching, icing and foam rolling. The valley floor where I live is flat as a pancake, so on weekends I like to get out to Rocky Hill and run two loops (8.6 mi/loop) plus. Weekdays are spent on the flat land. I don't get tired of running Rocky ... the scenery is beautiful and there are always many walkers, runners and cyclists out there.


I've started a Cooking Light (magazine) cooking group here in CA and we got together for the first time for a meal last week (minus one member). The meal was delicious (thank you to all the cooks!) and the chatter was constant, so I think we'd all consider it a success! Looking forward to next month already.

I've joined a book club and for October we are reading Corduroy Mansions, a light but enjoyable read. I read most of it on the flights to and from MN this weekend. But that will have to wait for the next post. I've been up since 1 AM Pacific, will be on the track at 4:30 AM running 8 x 800m, so it's time to call it a day.

Be well .....

Ramblin' Renee