Baseball, Father’s Day, and a New Surfing Record

If you were a dad and you could pick your best Father’s Day ever, what would you do? If I asked my husband, I know that he would say that if he could spend a lot of time with his grandsons, take them to a baseball game, go for a run and do other fun things with them, he would have the best time ever. Well, that’s what we did. I’d say we had almost a full week of Father’s Day celebration!

Fathers Day CollageI’m so lucky to have so many great fathers in my life. Clockwise from the top left: My dad, who I think of every day even though he’s been gone almost 30 years. We shared a birthday and a lot more. My husband Alan, who was denied a chance to be a dad to his two “real” sons when they were young, but helped my own boys become better men by being a part of their life. He’s an amazing grandfather too! My youngest son, David, who, though he doesn’t have children of his own yet, is an wonderful father figure to his girlfriend’s children. My stepson John, and of course, my son Nathan, father of Samuel and my future granddaughter Emma.

So let’s back up to early last week. After a lovely May, the weather has finally heated up in the desert. With the high forecast up to 116, the only way to get in a run is to get out early. Alan and I weren’t totally successful with that goal, getting out about 6:15. We ran on the trails for about an hour and it was pretty darn hot by the time we finished.

FD Week 8

FD Week 9Our grandsons were in town for the week, so after the run we picked them up with plans for cool activities (in both senses of the word!).

First, we headed over to see Jurassic World (in 3D of course!).

Jurassic World

It was quite good by the way, though quite violent and gory. It brought back the spirit of the original and, of course, the special effects have come a long way.  And Chris Pratt makes a pretty good action hero (remember when I met him?).

Chris PrattAnd yes, he actually competed in that triathlon.

After the movie we headed over to an arcade that was close by. It was way too hot for miniature golf or go carts, so we went into the cool indoors, where the boys played video games for about an hour (and got their butts kicked by grandpa in air hockey).

Arcade GamesAbout that time I was wavering a little. I hadn’t planned on such a long afternoon and hadn’t eaten properly. The boys (including grandpa) had filled up on popcorn and other junk at the movie, but I needed food fast. Fortunately there was a Trader Joes right across the way, so I popped over and grabbed a snack. Whew!

On Wednesday I did a speed workout on the road near my house. I got out a little earlier, but it was still hot. I did eight quarter-mile intervals, plus a warm up and cool down. Not bad for the first speed workout in a while.

Speed work w/Asics Electro 33

On Thursday the plan was to pick up the boys around noon and drive them back to Huntington Beach. Their mom was going to follow later. Long story, but my stepson and daughter-in-law had a funeral to attend, so the plan was for us to stay at their home with the boys. No complaints from us! It was about 40 degrees cooler along the coast!

We had a late lunch at one of our favorites in Huntington, Coaches. It’s a Mediterranean restaurant and they have a great falafel pita.

Felafel at Coach's

Cash

DaneAfter lunch we had to hurry home and get the boys off to basketball practice. No pictures because Alan and I ran to pick up a few groceries while they played.

Every morning when we’re in Huntington Beach, Alan gets up and makes a trip to Starbucks, where he picks up coffee for the adults and hot chocolate for the boys. Friday was no exception. Then we took off for a short run. They boys stayed home (their mom and dad weren’t leaving until the evening) so they could keep their legs rested for their basketball game that evening.

FD Week 5So, so nice to run along the ocean, at 8:00 instead of the crack of dawn like at home. The rest of the morning was spent playing a little ball, and generally hanging out.

Huntington BeachWe drove the boys to their basketball game, and this time stuck around. It was pretty exciting. The other “team” was actually members of their own team (it’s complicated), but it was a real game. Cash played excellent defense, and Dane made some great shots. Here are a couple that I posted on Instagram (<– Follow Me!)

@chipperw getting it done.

A video posted by Debbe Woodruff (@coachdebbieruns) on

On Saturday we all took a run together, including Tito, their dog. Family Run Then somehow we missed seeing this:

They broke the world record for people on a surfboard! The surfboard itself was 42 feet long, and Alan and the boys did go down and see it before the attempt, while I stayed with the dog. Our timing didn’t work out to go back, which is too bad because the boys had a chance to be on the board for the world record attempt. Here’s the full story:

Saturday afternoon we wanted to go to the baseball game because Alan’s Giants were playing at Dodger Stadium. We didn’t have tickets, but we decided to go anyway and maybe find a scalper or something. As we pulled up to enter the parking lot, we were told that the game was sold out. Did we have tickets? I fibbed, yes we did, in hopes that we would shortly actually have tickets.

It seems that the Dodgers do an excellent job of keeping the scalpers away from the actual stadium. The last time I was there was years ago (with tickets), and I seem to recall them outside of the parking area. Not this year, and not anywhere else either. I was really afraid that we’d have to turn around and go home. Fortunately, Alan decided to check at the ticket booth, and sure enough, there were plenty of tickets available. Weird.

Dodger StadiumAppropriately it was Pups at the Park day! If we’d known we could have brought Tito along with us! As you can see, we had pretty good seats. One problem though. It was about 90 degrees inside Dodger Stadium and our seats were in the full sun for the entire game. In fact, at 7:10 or so, right after the final out, the sun was just getting ready to dip behind the stadium. It was hot!

Dodger Giants Baseball

That didn’t stop us from having a great time though!

Yasiel PuigThe boys were sure that rightfielder Yasiel Puig was returning their wave.

We even found vegan food! Here’s mine:

Vegan at Dodger StadiumLet’s see, $8 for the “Veg Out” cup, which was some stalks of carrots, celery, cucumber, a couple radishes, and a tiny cup of hummus; $6.50 for the veggie dog, and $13 for the “premium” beer. That brought the total for just my food to $27.50. Well, at least the Giants won, so there was some consolation.

Sunday, the actual Father’s day, was quite a bit quieter than the rest of the week. We took the day off of running, and the water was pretty cold so the boys didn’t go swimming. They did play a lot of ball though, and just generally spent quality time with their grandpa.

We were anxious to get home, in spite of the heat. We haven’t been away for three nights for a long time. As you know, we have a handicapped dog, and it’s hard to trust anybody with her care. Our dogsitter came through, though, and everybody, including Goldie, was fine. Alan calls this practice for when we go to Hawaii in December for the Honolulu Marathon for 10 days. Yikes!

I took a run alone on Monday, while Alan headed to the pool. I got out late again, but ironically, I felt better than I had running at the overcast beach. I guess I’m just a desert rat at heart!

Running in the heat

Gosh, that was a long one, wasn’t it? Sorry, but we just had so much going on last week. How was your Father’s Day? I hope everyone had a chance to see their dads or to spend it with their children and their dads. Bad sentence, I know, but hopefully you know what I mean.

 

On Loss: Thinking Out Loud

Bear with me today if you will. I’m still struggling with dealing with the death of my friend and colleague a few days ago. And since Thursday’s are for Thinking Out Loud, today seemed a good time to get some of my conflicting feelings out. So, if reading about death and loss isn’t what you’re looking for in blog reading today, please feel free to move on. I completely understand.

Becky 2

I feel a little guilty making a big deal of MY feelings. After all, my friend’s husband and family are going through hell right now. What right do I have to make this about me? Well, I’m not, really, I’m just sad and grieving, and Becky’s death just hit close to home. An active and fit, 60 year old cross country coach. Sound familiar? Alive one day, then suddenly gone.

Becky QuoteI posted this quote the other day, and Coco replied on Twitter that she disagreed, that the world was brighter because of that light. That’s quite true. Some people bring so much to this world that they do light it up, and of course that light remains after they gone. In Becky’s case, that light is the children whose lives she influenced. But I still think that the world seems darker when the special people leave us.

Grief is somewhat selfish. The process includes anger, feeling of betrayal, loss, guilt, and so many other emotions that seem to make it all about the person grieving. “You left ME!!!” It is about the people left behind, of course, and all of those feelings are normal, necessary steps in coming to terms with the death of someone close.

I have lost too many people way too early. My father, my mother, and perhaps hardest of all because she was so young, my little sister. There is no rhyme or reason to it.

Wilma 001

The age 60 scares the hell out of me. That was Becky’s age. That was my dad’s age when he died too. My mom made it to 65, but still. I have three years until I hit the big 6-0. I’m not in a hurry.

Susan 007

My sister Sue was only 43 when she died from cancer. Forty-fucking-three. I still think about her every day and I have tears in my eyes as I write this, even though it was almost 12 years ago. Does the pain ever go away, or does the edge just get smoothed a bit so the loss is not quite overwhelming anymore?

One of the points in writing this, besides allowing me to wallow in self pity work through my emotions, is to remind you (and myself), to take advantage of every moment that you have. Live fully, love deeply, laugh out loud, dance like no one is watching. Experience all that you can. And be sure to let your loved ones know how much you love them. Because you never know what tomorrow will bring.

love deeply

I linking up with Amanda today for Thinking Out Loud.

Thinking-Out-Loud2

Happy Mother’s Day! Memories of Mom

In honor of Mother’s Day, here are some memories of my own mom, which I originally wrote in 2010. I’m also thinking of my daughters-in-law, Sarah and Lisa, mothers of my grandsons (and future granddaughter!).

Mom

Memories of Mom

I realized today, as I planned to write this, that I didn’t have a single digital picture of my mother, who died in 1993. This is a photo of a large picture that hangs in my hall. The color didn’t come out very good, but I still think it is a beautiful photo. I’m not sure how old she is there, probably a few years older than I am now. Anyway, on Mother’s Day, here are a few memories about my mom.

Mom 2

My mom won a Shirley Temple lookalike contest when she was about eight years old (she was the same age, born only five days after Ms. Temple).

When my mom experienced her first kiss, it was with the man who would be my father. She was 21 years old and it was love at first sight.

My dad, who was raised in a male-dominated Danish household, tried a “white glove” test early in their marriage. My mom responded by going on strike, until my dad realized that it wouldn’t play in the USA. He never tried that again!

rp_wilma-005.jpg

When my mom visited Denmark for a couple months, before we were born, she managed to learn Danish (not an easy language to learn!). When she lived in Southern California, she learned to speak Spanish. She learned so easily because she was not afraid of failure and didn’t care if anyone laughed at her if she made mistakes. I hope she passed a little bit of those traits on to me.

When my parents realized that they were unable to conceive, they adopted three children. First me, followed by my two sisters. I’d say thanks, but I know it isn’t necessary. We were as much a part of you as if you’d given birth. I will say thanks, though, for making us feel so special for being adopted. We knew that we’d been chosen.

Wilma 001

My mom made me take ballet, piano lessons, tutoring for my bad handwriting. I fought all of those every step of the way. Thanks, Mom, for standing firm.

My mom allowed me to “sneak” in hamsters, a Guinea pig, a couple kittens and several dogs. Thanks, Mom, for not standing firm.

Wilma 002

My mom worked all her life, teaching (she worked as a substitute when we were little). Mom taught us that we could do anything that we wanted to. There was never any talk of “female jobs” vs. “male jobs.” It wasn’t even a consideration.

My mom was always happy to have all our friends at our home. She hosted slumber parties, pool parties, and my house was always the place that my friends (and my sisters’ friends) wanted to hang out.

When the first African American family moved into our neighborhood (this was in the 60s), Mom was the one who welcomed them, in spite of the negativity of other neighbors.

My mom volunteered at Fairview State Hospital (for the mentally handicapped) when I was a teenager. She made me volunteer, too. Thanks, again, Mom, for helping me learn all the things that experience taught me: the importance of volunteerism, how to help people who really need help, how fortunate I was to be healthy.

When I was a kid, my family hosted foreign exchange students, our own Danish relatives going to school in the US, other family and friends who needed a place to stay for a while, and we fostered special needs high school students. Our home was always a madhouse of people, different languages, confusion. A little late, Mom, but I apologize for sometimes being such a little bitch to some of those visitors. I hope you know that I finally learned what a wonderful person you were and how many people you helped, and that the small inconvenience in my selfish, teenage life was inconsequential.

My mom earned her Master’s in Special Education when she was in her 50s. At the time of her death, she was working for Riverside County, working with families in the east Coachella Valley to help them deal with theirs special needs children.

Wilma

Mom loved to dance, and when she discovered Jazzercise when she was about 60, she was in heaven. She was an ardent follower.

My mom died of a heart attack at the age of 65. Obviously a shock that someone so full of life could die so young. At her packed memorial service, so many people, many of whom couldn’t speak English, came up to my sisters and myself, to tell their stories of how my mother had helped their lives.

Your feet were size 5, Mom, but you left awfully big shoes to fill. I hope you know that I’m doing my best. Happy Mother’s Day.

Wilma Christensen
April 28, 1928-July 5, 1993

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms out there!

Why this isn’t a SLO Marathon Race Recap

So, I’ve been lying to you. Well, just a little. (Which begs the question, is there really such thing as a little lie?) Anyway, I haven’t told you the whole truth. Which starts with, I didn’t run the SLO Marathon yesterday.

SLO Recap

Before I get to that though, I want to congratulate Tina Muir, who ran the London Marathon on Sunday. She sweetly emailed me on Saturday to wish me luck, commenting that we have both worked so hard for this. While this is true, I have to laugh because Tina, who ran 2:41:19 (!!!!), was so kind as to think of me, who would have been about two hours behind her.

Why this isn’t a SLO Marathon Race Recap

Back to my story. I pretty much knew by last Wednesday that I wasn’t going to be able to run the SLO Marathon. I was in denial though. I really had worked hard for this. While I’d had a hard time getting my total mileage up where I wanted it, I had done the workouts. My long runs had gone well for the most part, at least until a couple weeks ago when I’d developed some exercise induced asthma issues. I did my tempo runs, marathon pace runs, and even hill workouts. I’m in good shape.

The asthma had given me some doubts though. After the incident two weeks ago it took me most of the day to recover! What would I do if it happened during the marathon? I’ve pushed through in the past, but do I have it in me to do it still? Do I even want to? Strike one.

Then Alan and I made the decision that I would go alone. I’ve told you before about Goldie, our handicapped dog. We really don’t want to leave her in the care of a dog sitter. We just don’t trust anyone enough to clean her, change her diaper, and to be there in case anything happens. Heck, sometimes she gets stuck in the dog door when we’re home, though we release her quickly. What if the sitter wasn’t there for a couple hours? We are both resigned to the idea that, for the rest of Goldie’s life our travel will be limited.

Anyway, that meant that I would have to drive to San Luis Obispo by myself, run a marathon, then drive home afterward. Um, that’s about five hours in each direction. Strike two.

I still didn’t want to let go of the dream though. There must be some way, right? I even would have invited Christina, my running partner and neighbor, but she was out of town at a wedding for the weekend.

Then last Wednesday I ran five miles, moderate pace, with a couple bursts of marathon pace. About halfway through my run I felt a weird pain in my mid-back that actually made me stop for a moment. It went away when I stopped but returned when I ran again. I made it home, but through the rest of the day I had twinges, now in my low back and right hip.

When I woke up on Thursday morning I knew right away that my marathon probably wasn’t going to happen. The pain was still in my low back and hip, with occasional random spasms just to keep me on my toes. I could hardly walk, let alone think about running 26.2 miles!

Strike three and I’m out.

I still held on until Friday morning to make the decision. My back was a little better, so I gave myself a little hope, but my wiser side took over. Back pain + 5 hour drive + marathon = Bad idea.

So, I stayed home, wished my follow SLO Marathon Ambassadors good luck, and didn’t run a step all weekend. I did, however, get to spend some time with this guy:

Samuel

Yes! If anything could make me feel better about staying home and missing my marathon it was having Samuel and his parents visit us! I took tons of pictures, but since he’s in action all the time most of them were blurry! Here are a few when he was still for a moment.

Samuel 6I don’t think Samuel realizes how honored he should be to get Coco kisses. She usually delivers them to Alan and me in the middle of the night.

Samuel 4It’s hard to explain to a two year old about handicapped dogs, but Samuel seemed to have a connection with Goldie. We just had to make sure that he didn’t sit on her.

Samuel 2Penny is obviously a good sport. She’s not used to kids but was very patient with Samuel. He is used to Chloe, their young Australian Shepherd, who puts up with all his antics.

Samuel 3Grandpa was happy that someone finally wanted to play with the finger lights he bought at Christmas!

Samuel 5Since both his parents wear glasses, Samuel thinks they’re pretty cool (the glasses, not sure about the parents). So when he found an old pair of readers lying around he thought that he was pretty cool too.

Samuel 7Nathan and Sarah just purchased a brand new Ford Fusion. On a recent trip to Orange County my son got over 90 mph! It’s a nice looking car too.

Samuel 8We went to lunch at PF Changs. I ordered the Vegetable Lettuce Wraps and Alan wanted the Buddha’s Feast, at least until he saw all the broccoli that it came with. So we traded dishes and I got my broccoli ration for the week.

Samuel 10Grandson selfie!

Samuel 9I was sad that this picture turned out a little blurry thanks to trying to hold Samuel still with one hand and take a picture with the other. Still, they look awfully cute, don’t they? Their daughter (my granddaughter!!!) Emma Marie is due on September 2.

We had a great time and I was able to forget my failure missing the marathon for a while. And the good news is, my back is feeling much better. I’ll probably try a little run on Tuesday. I’d like to hold onto some of this fitness I have right now. I might convince Christina that a semi-local half marathon might be just the thing for May!

In other adventures, did you see my Instagram post the other day? The consensus was that this is a king snake. What do you think?

 

Anybody know what kind of snake this is? Not dangerous I hope! #snake #snakes #snakesofinstagram

A video posted by Debbe Woodruff (@coachdebbieruns) on

Thank you to all of you who wished me well, supported me and had faith in my efforts. I’m sorry that I couldn’t live up to your (or my) expectations. I promise to share the links to some of the SLO Marathon recaps so we can all see what I missed. And don’t miss Tina’s recap. She was really happy and excited about her experience and I can’t wait to read all about it.

How was your weekend? Any races, events, or family adventures? Let’s hear about it!

In case you missed it…

In Case You Missed It

I rarely post on Saturday, but this is such big news I just have to share right now. In case you missed it on Instagram

Its a girlYes, we’re going to have a granddaughter! Her name is Emma Marie and she is expected the first week of September.

This family needs a little sugar and spice. With two sons, two stepsons, and three grandsons, I am just a little over the top excited. I can’t wait for a little pink!

Baby Girl

(I am being a little bit silly here. She may hate pink.)

Ahh, but this one:

I love grandmaSomeone’s going to have a baby sister!

Big Brother

In Case You Missed It (#2)

I’m guest posting over on Rachel’s blog! Check it out!

Lessons from RunningBack to regularly scheduled weekend activity. Have a great one!

Recap: The Week in Training and Life

Countdown to the SLO Marathon

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SLO Marathon

The countdown to the SLO Marathon has begun! In less than four weeks I will be in San Luis Obispo at the start line of my 37th marathon. Will I be ready? Yes! Will I be able to rock the race as I’d planned? Um, maybe.

If you’ve followed my training recaps you know that life has interfered a lot in my training plan. While my long runs have been pretty much on target, my mid-week training has not been what it should. I’ve been getting in some of the planned speed work, but my efforts to get my total weekly mileage up where I’d like it have not been very successful. Last week I managed for the first time to get over 30 miles. This week, a long run cut-back week, I just barely managed 28 miles.

So to look at the big picture, and to stop whining about things I can’t change, I will have an okay race. Not great, but, barring any severe exercise induced asthma issues, I’ll be fine. And I still have two weeks before I start my taper, so I have hopes for these next two peak training weeks.

This week I got all my planned training runs done {high five!}. On Monday I was out the door at 5:15 in the morning. After a one mile warmup I did four half mile intervals on the road followed by two quarter mile repeats. I was running out of time, so I couldn’t get the three miles total in intervals that I wanted, but I’m happy with that.

morning run 2It was barely getting light when I finished my interval workout on Monday. Can you see the old man in the mountain in the picture below?

Morning run 3On Wednesday I ran a total of six miles, with three miles at half marathon pace. I ran with my neighbor Christina, and we got going at 5:15. I’m not crazy about running alone so early, so I was happy to have a running partner.

As I mentioned it was a cut-back week for my long run this week. I had 15 on the schedule with four miles at marathon pace in the middle of the run. Christina ran with me for most of it, and we did manage to run miles 5-9 at my goal marathon pace, which is about 10 minutes per mile. At that pace it’s not like I was sprinting, but I still found it challenging (which I have to admit concerns me at this late point in training). Anyway, I got it done. After I split off from Christina I had about four more mile to run, but I was really dragging, so I ended up finishing with 14 miles for the day.

ChristinaAlan’s hamstring is bothering him, so we didn’t do our normal dog run on Sunday. Instead I ran four slow recovery miles on my own, choosing perhaps the most challenging route, which is a big loop around our neighborhood that finishes all uphill for the second half. Oh well, I got it done, and took a few photo breaks so I survived.

Recovery 3Pretty, huh? You wouldn’t guess that the day was going to heat up to about 100 degrees (on March 29!!!!).

The Life Recap

I’m not really sure why I’m including a life recap this week since it was generally pretty boring. Alan was away for a few days visiting our twin grandsons in Huntington Beach and cheering them on at the Jogathon at their school. Cash managed 31 laps in 30 minutes! I think this put him in second place overall.

CashAlan also went to their baseball game where both boys had some great plays. They all also played baseball with grandpa, rode bikes together, and of course, went to the beach (it was in the mid-80s!).

DaneMeanwhile, I stayed home to work. I also have been having afternoon headaches this week, which sucks. Unusual for me, they come on in the early afternoon, send me to bed for a couple hours, then seem to go away by early evening. I think it is because I recently got back on my hormones (Obamacare finally kicked in!), and my body is adapting. I’ll have it checked if I’m still having problems next week, but the last couple days seems a little bit better.

I did drag myself out on Thursday to see Cinderella with Christina. More on that tomorrow, but I will say that I loved it. I was fighting the stupid headache through the whole movie though, so I may just have to see it again when I feel better.

Pizza!

The food was pretty boring while Alan was gone. Between having only myself to cook for and not feeling good I kept it simple. Leftovers for the win! Also my favorite comfort food when I don’t feel good: a baked potato with salt and (vegan) butter. Not sure why this makes me feel better, but it’s been my go-to since I was very young.

Alan got home on Saturday and I was feeling pretty good so I made a pesto pizza. It was really, really, really good.

Pizza 2And worth a second look.

PizzaI have a 22 mile run on the schedule for next Saturday. I’ve been fighting a lot of doubts throughout this training cycle, so I admit that I’m fearing this distance. I’ll have to get a really early start too because I don’t think the weather is going to cool off very much.

Coming up on the blog this week I’ll have a comparative review of Cinderella 1965 vs. 2015, a great giveaway for desert locals, and the return of the Pin It Party with Lindsay and many other bloggers.

And finally, here’s something to make you smile:


How was your training week? Any events, races, or other fun times? Want to join the Pin It Party (it’s on Thursday if you’d like to participate)?