Posted by: lizwerhane | July 6, 2014

My First Race Shirt in Awhile…

“Oh, a 5K? Half marathon?” you ask. Nah, I actually completed fewer than 2,000 steps (according to my FitBit, which has no reason to lie).

But I still earned it at a race. I volunteered at Semana Nautica’s 15K.And the shirt I received is below.

I joined RightScale employees — even though I work at Citrix — at the mile 4 water station and was very impressed with their 4th of July spirit and company pride. (I’m still not sure what the large inflatable monkey has to do with anything.) But I was, as usual, more impressed with the runners putting in more than 9 miles before the day’s first World Cup game.

DSC00482

And now a public service announcement for anyone who may volunteer at a water station in the future:

  • The sweet spot for filling the water cups is just barely above the halfway spot on the cup.
  • If the course allows for it, it’s good to have people handing out water on both the right and left side of the runners. This way if they’re carrying something, they don’t have to reach across themselves to grab water. Also it allows for right- or left-handed preferences. Yes, there are all kinds of exceptions to this rule depending on how the course goes.
  • If you pinch the cup a little, it’s easier for them to grab. That’s what the lead runners are trying to tell you when they make lobster claw gestures at you as they approach.
  • Do not hold the cup in any way which would provide a braking force to the runner. I often tried to move my arm holding the water forward in the direction and at the pace of the oncoming runner. This only resulted in a few instances of pulling the water away from the runner. “Would you like some water? Psych! Come and get it!”
  • You may have a trash can for the cups, but it’s just for decoration. ALL of the cups will go on the ground until you put them in the trash can.

image-3Since names make news, I’ll add a shoutout to some of the many cool people who impressed me as they ran by (although not in the order they ran by): Elda, Ida, Dan, Gina, Ricky, Aaron, David G., Al, Gary, Ed, John H., Jana, Stephanie, and John B..

Well done to you and to all 267 finishers!

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Posted by: lizwerhane | May 14, 2013

Break a sweat

Not having much time to run this morning, I set a modest goal to get myself out the door: Run until you break a sweat.

I’ve traveled to such exotic places as Dubai in the UAE, Sri Lanka, Brazil and Las Vegas, so I know that breaking a sweat does not always require exercise. But this is Santa Barbara, where temperatures swing from 68 to 73 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year, and it was before 7 AM. I would have to earn my sweat.

I laced up my shoes, jogged to the sunny side of the street to expedite things, and began to run.

I ran faster than normal, thinking this shouldn’t take long. After all, I ran the 440 in high school, and I was always sweaty after that one lap. To be honest, I’m an excellent sweater (not the fuzzy warm clothing kind, but a person with the ability to sweat).  One of my closest friends admitted that way back in elementary school, she was jealous of my sweat. It would trickle down the sides of my face as we lined up after recess, and she wished she could sweat like that.

I ran down the next street. As I approached one of the houses, I heard the hiss and sputter of sprinklers turning on. I ran faster. If the sprinklers got me wet, I wouldn’t be able to tell if I was sweating or just irrigated!

I turned another corner. Hmmm. I wasn’t sweating yet. After most runs, I’m so wet that my hair has that fresh out of the shower look. Again, I’m an excellent sweater. This is reason #8 that I don’t ride my bike to work as often as I should and reason #3 that I think it’s only fair that I do most of the laundry in my house.

I ran a little faster. My head started to feel warm. Yes! Was that a drip by my eyebrow? No, a gnat. Drat.

I don’t always claim my sweat so boldly. For years I’ve stood by one bold lie: “I don’t sweat. I glisten.”

I pushed up a gradual hill. I usually hate getting that sunblock and salt combination in my eyes, but now I was breathing hard and quietly begging for it. I needed to hurry up and sweat because I had to get home and get ready for work.

I reached up, tracing my hair from my forehead to my ponytail, and I knew my work was done.

I turned for home, which I had been orbiting on side streets. Once inside, I kicked off my shoes and walked to the mirror. The mirror reflected my wet forehead and flushed cheeks. It said, “Glisten? Yeah right.”

Posted by: lizwerhane | April 24, 2013

This Is Not a Food Blog III

People have all sorts of reasons for exploring healthier foods — weight loss, training, fighting disease, wanting to hang out with the cool kids at Whole Foods … but for me, my recent forays into healthier eating can only be traced back to one thing: silent auctions.

At an impeccably organized and executed fundraiser for the Howard School, I purchased a three-day juice cleanse from Vibrant Earth Juices.

At a lovely afternoon tea fundraiser for the Junior League, I purchased a gift basket full of Bragg food products and books. My groceries in the checkout line don’t normally look so colorful and healthy. Please note, just outside the frame to the right of the raw, organic honey is a tub of ice cream and a wedge of gouda.

I am glad I made both purchases/donations.

At my most recent Bite Club meeting, we prepared a meal entirely composed of recipes from the Bragg vegetarian cookbook. It was nutritious and, yes, delicious. And I'm not just saying that because it rhymes. We made a kale/apple/red onion salad; maple glazed carrots; curry tofu; and pineapple sorbet. Thanks, Bragg!

At my most recent Bite Club meeting, we prepared a meal entirely composed of recipes from the Bragg vegetarian cookbook. It was nutritious and, yes, delicious. And I’m not just saying that because it rhymes. We made a kale/apple/red onion salad; maple glazed carrots; curry tofu; and pineapple sorbet. Thanks, Bragg!

One of my most recent food adventures was not quite food. It was a 3-day juice cleanse from Vibrant Earth Juices (which really deserves a post of its own). Each day, I drank six 16-ounce juices. The afternoons were a little tough, but overall I was far less hungry ad grumpy than I expected to be. Photo by Sygyzy

One of my most recent food adventures was not quite food. It was a 3-day juice cleanse from Vibrant Earth Juices (which really deserves a post of its own). Each day, I drank six 16-ounce juices. The afternoons were a little tough, but overall I was far less hungry ad grumpy than I expected to be.
Photo by Sygyzy

Posted by: lizwerhane | April 24, 2013

This Is Not a Food Blog II

Cheese. I love cheese. When I drank only juice for three days (stay tuned), it was cheese I missed most.

A few of us attended the cheese tasting featuring cheeses of Northern Italy.  Oh the tastes of 2008.  Photo by Sygyzy

A few of us attended the cheese tasting featuring cheeses of Northern Italy. Oh the tastes of 2008.
Photo by Sygyzy

In honor of Grilled Cheese Day, I journeyed to C'est Cheese (for the second time in one week). They scored lots of points with me for serving free tomato soup with a grilled cheese purchase in honor of the holiday.

In honor of Grilled Cheese Day, I journeyed to C’est Cheese (for the second time in one week). They scored lots of points with me for serving free tomato soup with a grilled cheese purchase in honor of the holiday.

Posted by: lizwerhane | April 24, 2013

This Is Not a Food Blog

This blog is usually about burning calories, not consuming them. But lately I’ve been consuming some interesting calories. And while I’m not one of those people who often has reason to take a photo of my food, I noticed my phone was filled with food pics from the past couple of weeks. I feel compelled to share.

This may appear in a couple of posts since when I tried to post a series of photos, I broke my blog.

Since life is short, dessert first!

Speaking of cake, these choo choo cupcakes were adorable. Way to go, Ava. You made Owen's Planes, Trains and Automobiles party extra adorable.

Speaking of cake, these choo choo cupcakes were adorable. Way to go, Ava. You made Owen’s Planes, Trains and Automobiles party extra adorable.

Thank you, Wayne Kjar, for making a special flavor by request for our wedding cake tasting. Delicious.

Thank you, Wayne Kjar, for making a special flavor by request for our wedding cake tasting. Delicious.

Posted by: lizwerhane | March 21, 2013

What’s my next challenge?

The neighborhood challenge is complete. I finished it in 7 runs over 9 days. Before this, I can’t remember the last time I ran five consecutive days! I was running so often that there was a noticeable increase in my laundry. This little task got me out the door consistently and with purpose! Special thanks to Jess, who joined me on a couple of these runs, and to my housemates, who didn’t throw away my map.

And now I need new motivation. Running my streets isn’t nearly as satisfying when I don’t get to go home, uncap my Sharpie and trace my path, celebrating each white line as it turns black. I need a new reason to lace up my bright green shoes.

I thought about expanding the perimeter, biking all the streets, trying to do it in fewer runs or miles … but none of these ideas excite me.

What should I do next?

6 runs into the neighborhood challenge

6 runs into the neighborhood challenge

 

Final map for the neighborhood challenge after 7 runs

Final map for the neighborhood challenge after 7 runs

Posted by: lizwerhane | March 12, 2013

The neighborhood challenge works!

I’ve run four days in a row. I haven’t been able to say that in a long time. I credit the neighborhood challenge. I’m eager to lace up my shoes, conquer new streets and return home to my Sharpie and map to document my progress.

Special thanks to Jess, who joined me for a few random cul-de-sacs and didn’t hesitate as I led her along a very non-intuitive route.

Now I’ll share my progress with you.

2 runs into the neighborhood challenge

2 runs into the neighborhood challenge

4 runs into the neighborhood challenge

4 runs into the neighborhood challenge

 

Posted by: lizwerhane | March 10, 2013

The neighborhood challenge

If you’re one of my regular readers or running buddies, you know that I like to motivate myself with tricks and games. I’m not talking about standard motivational techniques — like joining a training group, registering for a race or keeping a journal — no, no. I’m talking about things like my blender challenge or the 12 routes in one month challenge.

Today I have a new challenge.

I want to run every street tucked within my neighborhood perimeter route , bordered by Glen Annie, Cathedral Oaks and Calle Real, in the next month. Actually, I want to do it all in one week, but I tend to stay away from challenges that are too challenging.

Screen Shot 2013-03-09 at 8.25.39 AM

Note how many silly cul-de-sacs there are on this map! I’ve lived in my neighborhood for about a year and a half, and even though I mix up my routes pretty frequently, there are streets on this map that I’ve never run.

I look forward to seeing the nooks and crannies of my ‘hood. I may even get some landscaping ideas!

My only rule for this challenge is that I cannot drive to any starting points, so I will be covering a lot of ground multiple times. Anyone want to join me for a jog around the neighborhood?

Posted by: lizwerhane | March 4, 2013

Something IS better than nothing

The other morning, with a loaf of banana bread baking in the oven, I thought, “I suppose I could do a short run.”

I would need to check on the bread in just 25 minutes, but I could still run around the neighborhood and enjoy the morning sunshine. So I did.

It was difficult to turn off the inner monologue that says “short runs don’t count.” I used to do 4-mile warmups, and now 4 miles is a perfectly acceptable run. In fact, 2 miles is a perfectly acceptable run. And even half of that is a perfectly acceptable run.

The point is that running is better than not running.

And sometimes, as I discovered in the past week, not running is ok, too.

Last week I ran in Oakland, took a long walk on the beach in Aptos, hiked through Big Basin Redwood State Park, danced in San Francisco and hiked up Snyder Trail in Santa Barbara. Most of those days, I didn’t even run. But just as running a little is better than not running. Walking, hiking and dancing are all better than not walking, hiking and dancing.

Still, if you’re going to eat a lot of banana bread, do something.

Posted by: lizwerhane | February 6, 2013

I should stick to running

Alternate title: Why I may not be cut out for tango.

Tonight I completed my fifth hour of Argentine tango lessons. I am not good.

I cannot blame the wonderful instructor, the kind and patient classmates or the facility. This is on me.

Until now, being a natural leader was usually a good thing. I believe I can follow when I’m told what to do: Set my expectations, and I’ll fall right in line. But when I’m supposed to simply go with it while someone else leads, I flounder.

The instructor told me not to anticipate the next step. Don’t they understand that I want to be prepared?!

Lean forward while you walk backward. Extend your neck. What does that mean? Lower your shoulders. Lower your elbow. Lower your chin. Raise your ribs. No, not your chest. Listen to the music. If I’m supposed to be following, does it even matter where I hear the beat?

For me, the very worst part of this supposedly fun thing that isn’t fun yet (and that I’ll probably do again anyway), is hearing that one magic five-letter word. It’s a word that when spoken aloud causes the exact opposite reaction its speaker intends to evoke: “Relax.”

If you want me to tense up, tell me to relax. Ask anyone who has ever tried those words on me while drawing blood, nudging me onto stage for a speech, correcting a yoga pose or, sadly,  giving me a massage.

The word “relax” is not comforting. It is scolding. It is telling me that I am doing something wrong. I am supposed to be relaxed and I am not; therefore I am doing something wrong, and if I’m doing something wrong I can’t possibly relax! My shoulders are nearly hunched up to my ears just writing this!

As I write, I’m reminded of something else that I’m not good at where I’m coached to “relax and just go with it” — speaking Portuguese. The good news is that I have found one thing that helps loosen my tongue and give me courage: beer. But I can’t remember the rules for drinking and dancing. How’s it go? “Beer before mango, better go tango”? Or was it “Beer before dance, don’t have a chance”?  Shoot!

I doubt my incompetency in both Argentine tango and Brazilian Portuguese has to do with the fact that they’re both related to South America, but just in case, I won’t take up soccer, growing coffee or cooking feijoada.

Tchau! (That’s Brazilian Portuguese for “bye.”) I need to tend to my stepped-on toes.

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