Girl Gone Loco

I got my custom orthotics the other day (Wednesday). I had meant to post just how excited I was to be getting them. Yes, you heard that right… EXCITED! Me. The girl totally against wearing orthotics. But, not running for 4 solid months can drive a person crazy and I think that is what has happened. I’ve gone loco.

The orthotics are half hard plastic, something you would think is totally uncomfortable to wear, and half soft.

hard plastic and extra cushion beneath small toes
hard plastic and extra cushion beneath small toes

But they are actually almost unnoticeable. With the exception of my left foot with the PF, there is a slight indication of their presence in my arch. This is because that poor little arch has been so unhappy and in pain for so long, that it is going to take up to six weeks to get used to feeling better. I don’t think it will take that long.

The right foot feels great. Mine are already a little broken in as you see. So far, the PF has not been bothering me. Also, notice that there is a thicker section of padding under the outer toes on my left troubled foot. This is to help me not get blisters from putting added pressure on the ball of my foot which always gets swollen when I run. I hope it works! There is also a hard plastic heel that is slightly raised with ridges on the bottom. I guess that is too keep them from sliding around when I run? I didn’t ask.

typical foam tops ~ can you see the heel?
typical foam tops ~ can you see the heel?

I will confess, I started running a little about 5 days before I got the orthotics. Just quarter mile jogs with walk breaks. I wore my old green Superfeet with a hole cut out for the ball of my foot. Those actually felt WORSE than the new orthotics. I am so happy to be starting back. Just that little bit of running makes me feel so much better!

Now for the real loco part…

The other exciting thing that happened to me on Wednesday was I got to pick up something I ordered a week and a half prior when I was down in La Jolla for a mini break with Tom. It wasn’t too crazy a purchase, as I have been looking at these things for over a year now. It was crazy in that I have opened myself up to other possibilities than just being a runner. Yes running… you have to move over now for some other activities.

Meet my new friend.

shiney bright red fuji ~ it was love at first sight!
shiny bright red fuji ~ it was love at first sight!

Isn’t she just B-E-A-UTIFUL! I knew the moment I saw her that she was going to be mine. I seriously haven’t been all that excited about a bike the whole last year looking at them. Funny, that old saying, what a difference a year makes! (I need to remind myself of that often I think.)

Tom was as excited as me, if not even more so, as now we will be able to ride together on occasion. I am really looking forward to spending that time together.

I have so much to learn about bikes. I am really a total newbie. In the bike shop the specialist there, William, fitted me to the bike. He was talking derailleurs, and cranks and hoods and well… he might as well have been speaking to me in Chinese. I just sat there pedaling along nodding my head for the most part acting as if I understood everything.

getting fitted, it was fun
getting fitted, it was fun, and yes, those reflectors had to go

I did understand the idea behind fitting me to the bike and that worked out well. Tom got me these awesome clips, that match the pretty red on my bike and my white shoes and a helmet I dubbed the batman helmet. He is the best!

We He set the bike up on my trainer (that I had previously rode a very old, flat tired mountain bike on-don’t ask) so I can practice clipping and unclipping. I rode it for about 30 mins the other night.

indoor use
indoor use

It is a really nice bike. It’s the Fuji Gran Fondo 2.3 carbon frame something or other. Yes, I have a lot to learn. I think Tom needs to make me a chart with all the fancy names a bike now has. What ever happened to seat, brakes, pedals and gears? Now it’s so complicated (and ESPEN$IVE!) I bet the folks back in the early 1800’s on the first bicycles made would fall off their bikes at the prices and think we were speaking Chinese too!

I just love the red color. I think I have a thing for Fuji’s. I am really into these red ones too.

the only apple i'll eat!
the only apple i’ll eat!

I’ve already bought a few cycling skorts to ride in. Super cute stuff I found at Team Estrogen. I’m not a huge fan of regular cycling shorts, but that is because I beat to a different drum. That’s not to say I will never wear them, I would rather wear the skort. Much more feminine. I like my running fashion, and I plan to be the same crazy fashionista on the bike. That’s half the fun!

Last night Tom took me over to the local high school football field to practice riding and clipping in and out. He said the soft surface is a good place to practice in case I fall over. I may have been a little smug in thinking that there is no way I am going to fall over. That theory lasted for the first few clip in and outs, which at least my feet clip out fairly easily. And then boom! I actually fell over one time. Just went PLOP! I couldn’t believe it. Just me and the bike laying together on the ground, still attached. Damn, I hate it when Tom is right. Hit my knee pretty good on the fake turf, and my entire left side was covered with the prickly green shreds, but overall, it was pretty frickin funny! I hope that doesn’t happen on the road. I did a few laps on the track, which felt great and practiced slow and fast stops. No more falls at least. Riding a bike is trickier than you’d think. As I’ve said… I have much to learn.

I decided that the best way for me to avoid the PF is to run 3 days a week and ride 3 days. I’ve already worked out how I will divide that time. Right now I’m waiting for the raining skies to clear so Tom and I can do my first real ride. I’m not sure that will happen today as the weather is not cooporating, but I am excited! I might even be up for a short spin in the drizzle… yes, I have gone loco and loco feels good!


Highlights From the Napa Valley Marathon, Part II

One year ago yesterday, I ran my first marathon, the Napa Valley Marathon.
NVM has a great course and is touted as one of the top 10 marathon courses in the World. Incidentally, in a recent National news piece, Napa was named the number one city in the U.S. claiming it’s the happiest city to live in. It’s the city where my boyfriend Tom, a very happy person, lives, and so an obvious and easy choice to participate in its Marathon.

Tom, ran this marathon last year too. We were not acquainted with one another at that time and little did we know that we would meet a mere two months after that race, connecting after not seeing (or hearing) of one another after 29 years. You see, we went to the same high school together and graduated the same class (a class of over 500 students), which is why we really didn’t know one another very well. My memory of him is one class that we had together, Italian. That’s it.

We got up at the crack of dawn, 5:30 a.m. and I drove Tom (because I could not run) the 26 miles to the start in Calistoga. It was a beautiful morning and perfect California winter temperatures for a race (50 degrees) with no wind.

so beautiful it looks fake
so beautiful – i think it looks fake

I walked with him to the start. We had just about 10 minutes to talk and then they started the race. I felt a small ping of longing watching all the runners get fired up before they set out. After the gun went off, I walked back to my car, stopped in town for a latté and headed down the road to the 8 mile marker on the Silverado Trail to cheer Tom on.

go tommy go!
sidelined cheerleader!

I got there before the first of the runners arrived. This race is not so easy to watch, you can only view it from a few crossroads. The first of the runner didn’t look like they were running that hard/fast and all I thought was… Tom runs this fast, why isn’t he with these folks? I’m not sure what I thought the front runners would look like running past, because I’ve never really spectated a race before, but I guess I thought they would look like they are flying, which in reality I guess they were. About 45 minutes into the race I saw Tom approaching. I had a water bottle with his special drink in it, Hammer Heed, and he ran up and took a big swig. He mumbled something about his time not being so good, but after he left I looked at my watch and thought… what’s he talking about? He’s running in the 7 minute mile zone.

I then took off for the next meeting spot, 5 miles down the road, the halfway point.

i did a lot of driving that day, but the views were gorgeous!
i did a lot of driving that day, but the views were gorgeous! i know, bad to drive and play w/ phone!!

Here I met up with his friend Diego and his girlfriend Casey. Diego planned to hop on his bike and give Tom company while he ran along. Diego and Tom are huge cyclist buddies. This time when Tom came up for a drink, he was much more ecstatic about his performance.

this from a great video that i can't seem to post
feeling good… this pic from a great video that i can’t seem to post

I chatted a bit with Casey after the two took off. She is also a cyclist and runner and has done 3 marathons; Napa and CIM twice. Ugh… CIM.

tom and diego
tom and diego

At mile 18 I captured this of the two pulling up.

Tom got one last swig of his drink from me and then gave me a kiss (a kiss during his race!!) and ran off. That was an unexpected treat, that he would do that during his race. Bliss.

At this point, Casey was joining a friend to run the remainder 8 miles to the finish. I headed back to my car again, and drove to the finish, Vintage High School to watch Tom come in. I got a little lost, ok, I missed my turn and then there was no parking and I had to run (yes, I ran a little on my PF!) to make it to the finish line. I just barely got there in time to see him run across the line. Well, he actually just stopped once he hit the line, since he was quite tired of running at that point.

I am so proud of him… he finished just a tad faster than what he had said his goal was a couple months ago. Final time: 3:10:34. That’s 14 minutes faster than CIM last December where he already qualified for Boston, although he doesn’t care about going to that race. And this isn’t even a PR for him. Still, at his ripe old age… I won’t say it, but it’s rather close to the one they call “over the hill,” he did pretty damn well. Fantastic really. He placed 99th overall in a field of 1794, 86th out of 920 men and 15th in his age group!!

superstar marathoner, tired but happy

So that’s it. He is done with running for the time being (maybe some easy runs with me if I ever run again.) Now he going to get back on the bike and train for some miserably long races. Tough races. 100 mile races… 200 mile races… the Death Ride later this summer in Lake Tahoe. Wonder if I will see him much now with his next training schedule? Hope so.

As for me… and the small amount of running I did today… not so good. My PF feels as flared up and shitty as it did 5 weeks ago. Super sad face. But I still have hope. In the meantime, I have started P90X that Tom’s friend Diego loaned me. So I will report on that next. I’ll just say, having done just two of the 12 videos, that it looks like a good program and even though I’m not running, maybe, just maybe I can get ripped!!