Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon: Chasing Julia with nothing to Wine about!

•May 8, 2010 • 7 Comments

Manly Men!

The boys and I head over the hills this morning for a little grape action at the 2010 Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon.   

All week I sported a pair of seriously fatigued legs.  I believe their words were, “Race and we will kill you.”  Of course they don’t speak English, but you get the idea.  Hence, the coach that knows gave me three options: 

a.  Run 6:25-6:20 to mile 7 and then race if feel good. 

b.  Run 6:25-6:20 to mile 7 and if feel not good stay on pace. 

c.  Run 6:25-6:20 to mile 7 and if feel terrible STOP at mile 8 and jog on home.  (To the finish line, not to Santa Barbara.  He is not that mean.) 

Wednesday afternoon I was crawling along the bluffs trying to run.  Thursday my calves were screaming.  Friday I sat on a roller.  I had no idea what to expect.  Ricky was along to race, but on the slightly conservative side.  Tim had to run a tempo and blast only the last two miles.  Mike was all business: go big or go home. 

I cannot help myself from scouring the crowds looking for fast stems as we line up.  “I wish I could blind fold you!” Rusty said, “Just run the workout!”  What?  Moi?  Compete when I am not supposed to?  Naturally I was shocked.  

I spotted Julia Stamps Mallon.  OK, I didn’t know who she was, but her bib said “JULIA” and her leggies said Watch Out.  “She’s fast,” I said to Tim and pointed at Julia who was wearing number 5.  I had number 9 which I liked a lot because it rhythms with WINE.  Nine…Wine…Nine…Nien?  No…Yes…Wine for number 9.  Catchy! 

Star Spangled Banner….rockets….glare…and we are off.  Julia is gone.  I reluctantly sink into my 6:20 pace with the help of Tim.  “Dre slow down,” Tim dictates the pace.  “But Julia,” I protest watching the black sports bra fade.  “You’re not racing,” he reminds me. 

I stay put.  Tim is supposed to drop to 6:10 pace at the 3 mile mark and he politely waves good-bye as he quickens his step.  I run along my pace.  It is easy running and the miles go quick.  Before I know it I am at Corkscrew Hill.  I got up it no problem and found the 7 mile mark waiting.  Options…options…a, b, c.  I pick a. 

Mile 7 to 8 5:45 mile split.  I already see Julia again.  Excited, I plant my eyes on her speedy self and pray that I can reel her in. 

Mile 8 to 9 5:55 mile split.  I am closer.  A lot closer. 

Mile 9 to 10 6:03 mile split.  I am the closest that I get to Julia.  A roadie on a bike following her keeps glancing back and relaying information.  I watch her drop the hammer.  I plug along and cover the remaining miles efficiently and in control.  Mile 11: 6:01.  Mile 12: 6:07.  Julia keeps looking back.  I see Travis standing on the side line.  “She keeps looking back Dre!” He shouts at me.  I give a little smile to both him and myself.  I am amazed that I do not feel tired.  Mile 13: 5:45.  I round the final turn and surge to the line: 1:21:33. 

I have a big smile.  I high five Julia.  We get our picture together.  I walk off to grab a water.  I am not so very tired.  That was awesome!  Mike Takeuchi of The Santa Barbara News Press finds me later.  “Do you know who that is?” Mike asks. 

“Yeah,” I answer, “Julia.”  He laughs with a bit of an eye roll and then explains.  Ohhhh!  I love being beat by bad asses!  Even better!  I later find Julia in the elite tent at the Wine festival.  A mother of a beautiful 16 month old girl, she is as sweet and lovely as she is fast and strong.  It is a pleasure. 

Speaking of……I said nine rhythms with wine right?  Therefore it only fair that I should sample the local selection.  Sampling got a little serious until Tim cut the fun off, “Um Drea, they are giving the awards.”  Oops. 

I run over to the stage late.  Just as Julia and the third place woman are walking off, I run up onto stage.  I mean, I heard I get a check $ and free wine.  “Wait a minute,” the announcer jokes, “Were you drinking?” 

Yes.  I had 64 ounces of regular H2O and recovery fluid first, but perhaps one or four sips of vino snuck in with the L-glutamine carbo protein tastes like junk-junk. 

The boys?  Oh they had good ones: 

Mike: 1:17:50  BAM! 

Ricky: 1:18: 50 (I think) 

Tim: 1:20:00 Running the first 11 miles at 6:10 tempo effort and making up time in the last two miles: 5:20!!! 5:15!!!!  Who does that?  By the way, one of those miles had a pretty good hill in it! 

Tim, Drea, Mike

Look Refreshed Not Scared

•May 5, 2010 • 6 Comments

Yesterday during my second photo shoot with Title Nine, photographer Martin Sundberg gave me some good directions.  Oh to be a running actress!

Before I met the team, Martin, Joan, and Carl, at City College track, I had my own track workout with Rusty.  Shockingly, I am my own harshest critic.  I left the breakfast oval bummed.  The workout: 3 miles @ 5:40 pace.  T1 was to start thirty seconds behind me, run 5:30s and then we finish together.  T2 has returned Boston fresh with a shiny PR in hand, but he still watched T1 coolly round out 5:27 paces and “Oh I can’t wait to get back!”  I get it T2!  A great race’s satisfaction settles about as long as a good meal.  You might untuck your shirt and swear you will never eat again, but come breakfast you are rattling cupboards and writing out grocery lists.  Welcome back!

My legs are tired.  Not burnt like deep trouble, but crispy as though they have run a whole bunch of miles on little sleep.  They are toasty.  Yep, that sounds about right.  [Sip-sip coffee is a beautiful thing].

85″ for 12 laps makes 17 minutes.  That easily makes a 17:40 5K on a Tuesday morning workout.  I delayed starting running because once the watch is punched, I am in it.

Lap 1, “Good one down, 11 to go.”  Mile 1 went by well: 5:38.  Mile 2 disappears by pretty nicely: 5:41.  Only it felt more like let’s-pull-the-plug than chug-chug.  My pace dropped and my effort climbed.  T1 cruised by me with a lap and half to go, “How you doin’?”

I watched him glide away.  Mile 3: 5:50.  Total 17:09.  Bummed!  OK so this was a 17:50 5K.  The fastest I have ever ran a two mile set on Rusty’s track is 5:38/5:41 and I repeated that again today adding another mile.  The last time I ran a 3 mile set on the track I ran 17:11 and put a huge smiley face in my log.  Here is the difference Chubbsie, instead of looking behind me, I have started looking way ahead of me.

The T’s and I cruised a cool down confessing our running obsessions in our movable support group. 

“How is the running going?” Martin asks.

“Great!” I remark in honesty.  It is.

“OK,” he relays, “So we’re gonna get some stadium shots.”  I line up on a step at City College track and repeat two steps at a time stadiums over and over and over and…..

“Drea is your leg shaking?” Joan asks.  Why yes Joan, yes it is like a leaf on a tree.  I rethink the morning’s workout.

“Ok, let’s do it again,” Martin snaps his camera, “Again.  OK ready.  Again.  Go.  Again.  Let’s just keep doing this.  Again.  Ready.  Go.  Yep.  Again.”

We stop to blot the shine on my face.

“Now, more bounding, less arms,” Martin instructs, “Look ahead. Cheat left.  Cheat right.  Again.  OK ready.  Go.  Again.”

We head to the track for more shots.  Like any good model shoot, we end with my shirt off and me getting really wet.  I was really slow on the wanted wet look.

“OK, hold the bottle up and squirt yourself in the face,” Martin instructs.  I squeeze water all over and it goes up my nose leaving me choking and gagging.  “Um, hold it four inches, squeeze the bottle harder, little lower, mouth open, in the mouth, close the mouth….”

Gag!  Cough!  Big laughter!  Now people rounding the track are wondering what is going on.  “OK, Drea, I am looking for refreshed, not scared,” Martin says with patience.  OH!!!!

One soaked Drea later, we got the shot.  Thank goodness for digital photography, I don’t feel bad for wasting film and in general, I think that is pretty darn good advice.  “Look Refreshed, Not Scared.”

I am going to try that look out next track workout.

Put The Cake Where Your Mouth Is….

•May 3, 2010 • 4 Comments

Critical CupCake Critic

  

 Dwayne, Amber, Serene, & Jasper Izzle were patrons of local cupcake artistes to determine Santa Barbara’s choice cake in a cup.  The Izzles, well renowned in New Jersey for impossible to please palates, strike fear into the batter of unbridled bakers.    

Best known for classic cake literature as “What The Cake?”, “Fake This Cake,” and the New York Times best seller “Cake That,” it is said that the Izzle children make Martha S. want to go back to jail without passing go.   

Critically speaking, Izzle comments carefully capture the cake.  For shizzle.  Masters of disguise, the Izzles went incognito to fool these local houses of cake into thinking they were just another everyday family visiting from New Jersey.  Loaded with as many identities as taste buds, Jasper [pictured above] finds solace dressed as a 4 year old Caucasian male.  Not an easy task for a 27 year old NBA player from the south side of the Bronx.   

Cupcakes were ranked on seven categories not answered in question form: Look, Selection, Frosting, Cake, Staff, Price & Fun Factor.  For control, chocolate cupcakes were consumed at each stop as well as one variety full of fun-to-be-determine-if-fabulous flavor.  Shops shell shocked are listed below with comments by our cake-dified connesuiours.  Enjoy the tasting notes.   

Crush Cakes   

“Creamy chocolate forward frosting lingers longingly on palate.  Cuttable cake evokes desert memories.  Looking for milk, a fun frill free atmosphere pops with peace.  Red Velvet classically folds under Amber’s wave of grain.  Smokey, cake forward appeal, whiff of spice and everything nice.”   

$3.00 per cake.   

Dwayne says: Decent.  Amber says: Decadent.  Serene says: Dry.  Alec says: Mumonouanmmm.   

Whodidily   

“Bold, frilly, satin long dress chocolate rich in moisture like an afternoon purple rain.  Vivacious variety mixed in dizzying circus music sprinkled with Wonka wonder.  Not a man’s cake, men can take this cake that women won’t fake.  Ahh-ahhh-ahhhhhh-oooh so good.  Galactic spot hit, no lactose needed.  Marshmallow buttercream clouds showered in easter-ed coconut conjures childhood memories of microwaving peeps.  Who-da- Whodidily mixes Monkey Love on a Sunday Stroll.”   

$3.50 per cake.   

Dwayne says: Dynamite.  Amber says: Divine.  Serene says: Deistic.  Tyrone says: Ambrosial and Daoummmemmm.   

Jeannines   

“Modest selection captured behind uninviting glass surrounded by customers consuming omelettes.”  The Izzles did not even try them.   

Sprinkled Pink   

“Who-done-it? In the parlor with the cupcake twas Cornell Captain Cake.  What a fake out!  Sprinkled Pink is WHODIDILY!  Were we Wonka’d?”   

Lazy Acres   

“Lazy flavors push no mess chocolate and flower topped cream cheese vanilla.  Served cold aged seventeen hours, these cakes please the senses as well as the wallet.  Bigger bang for the buck and the salomni sample comes free.”   

$1.99 per cake   

Dwayne says: Dough.  Amber says: Indulgent.  Serene says: Thumbs up.  Garret says: Grougnnoehmmmmm.   

Pull up a Cake and Enjoy the Show.   

Celebrating Christina

•May 2, 2010 • 1 Comment

Miramar Morning

  

This morning I went as a runner and as a friend to a remembrance paddle being held at Miramar beach for Christina Kinsky who passed away only a few days ago.  

The waves gently rolled in as the air warmed under a striking sun.  Several dolphins jumped playfully only meters from shore.  As beautiful a morning as ever led the many gatherers to smiles.  Christina has touched many lives and she will continue to do so for many years.  

I would not say that I knew Christina well.  I knew her sweet smile from Santa Barbara Running & Racing.  I saw her persistance and enjoyed her compliments when she said that my running inspired her.  That was a week before her last run with the group.  She ran out along Mountain Drive and never came back the same.  The woman who returned from that run faced an unthinkable reality.  Her determination, will, and grace throughout her fight lives on as genuine inspiration.  For the strength that she exemplified, Christina is a world-class athlete.  

I wish that I had known Christina’s sweet smile more.  It hangs in my mind.  I last saw her sitting in her living room holding her youngest child.  She was exceptionally beautiful and poised.  Her eyes bright and optimistic.  She was calm and in control.  How many times do we pray for strength like that?  How many of us achieve it?  

From shore we watched Christina’s friends paddle out to sea carting colorful Gerber daisies tucked in wetsuits and resting on heavy boards.  “Do you want to go?” Debbie asked.  I untied my running shoes and grabbed a board.  Claire, Tim and I jetted into the water daisies in hand.  We got soaked.  We got cold.  We were warmed.  Christina’s friends celebrated her life.  They screamed out to her.  They said good-bye and at the same time they did not.  

Christina was there.  She even knocked one of the paddlers into the ocean just for fun.  “Thanks Christina!” she called as she climbed upon her board.  The dolphins jumped again and the daisies floated away.  

Thank you Christina.

Blow Me Not

•May 1, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Chubs had a grand time this morning huffing great gales at us plodding along mountain on a meandering should-be tempo run.

“I’m gonna tuck behind Drea,” T2 declared on the warm up, “Nevermind, no wind resistance there.”

Chubs’ laughter echoed through the gusts.  Clear as milk, I heard him tease.  “Watch them stand still,” he taunted before blowing dust in our faces.  Rusty and Mike were both absent this morning and I received clear instructions to not-run-faster than 6:20 splits.  T1 was supposed to start 70 seconds behind me and catch me at the finish line of the seven mile tempo following our eight mile warm up just before a five mile cool down.

“I want it to feel easy,” Rusty instructed.  With walls of immovable air being pushed into me, I with a saddened heart realized 6:20s were not going to be easy.  Ugh.  Chubs.  Nice try, but I ran 6:20s all the way to the line and Tim ended exactly as he should have.  However, there was not much should-feel-easy about it.  My pace waffled from multiple halves at 6 minute mile pace to just as many half miles at a 6:40 pace.  Yo-yo a go-go and I was glad to be done.  Another one in.

I really wanted today to feel easy.  Go suck on some Helium Chubbsie.  I hope it gives you a headache!

Butch Bakery NYC! Say What????

•April 29, 2010 • 12 Comments

Butch Bakery NYC advertises “Where Butch Meets Buttercreme.”  Apparently cupcakes are not manly enough and need to be camo’d up and covered in edible tire tracks.  Really?  I mean really? 

Nothing says Homo-phob like, “Dude, no dude is gonna see me eating that pink frosted sprinkle cupcake,” grunt grunt, “I needs me a cupcake that reflects my manliness.”

While the theme is absolutely adorable, oops not a dude word, I honestly would think that this shop would be frequented by moussed hair walking mini dogs in pink coats.  Long finger nails would Oooh and Ahhh at how cute that cake is for the man in their life.  The actual man would be more interested in, well [Chomp-Chomp] tastes pretty good to me.

I know I am going to hit a sore spot, but by trying to make this cake straight, I think Butch makes it so damn gay.

Dude where’s my car meets Pretty in Pink, even Ducky might have trouble truly appreciating a masculine sweet treat.  However, the reviews are good.  Daily Candy calls it a “Buttercreme Bromance.”  Yep that sounds full of sexually firm (hee hee) identity.  The Village Voice announces “Cupcakes for Dudes: finally testosterone injected into the cupcake craze.”  Yuck, that does not really sell me on taste.  Do not INJECT man stuff in my cake!

David, you better send me Butch cake to prove me wrong.  Wait, hold on, you know I mean the cupcake that you make that looks more masculine right?  FED EX probably would not comply with Butch cakes.  Next up, the Dyke’s Donut!  Extra large holes and nothing pink.

Somebody stop me!

Jillian Michaels’ Bad Message

•April 28, 2010 • 8 Comments

Michaels

 In a recent interview with Women’s Health magazine, Jillian Michaels said, “I’m going to adopt. I can’t handle doing that [pregnancy] to my body. Also, when you rescue something, it’s like rescuing a part of yourself.” 

Media interpreted her words to mean, “I work hard to look good and I will not be gaining weight so that I can pop out a child.” 

People have gotten upset.  Jillian is a role model to women all over the country.  Her success works to empower women to reach any goal that they set before themselves.  She hopes they feel confident, sexy, and in control. 

OK, that sounds good.  However, what about empowering women to feel beautiful, strong, sexy and in control in pregnancy?  If you do not want to be pregnant, perhaps it is better to make comments along the lines of oh you know, “I don’t want to be pregnant, but hats off to anyone who does!”  Fresh as canned pineapple, the excuse of not wanting to become pregnant because you cannot stand the thought of gaining weight smells of Disorder: eating, compulsive, narcissism.  Take a pick. Motherhood and pregnancy is not for everyone.  There is no crime in not wanting to become pregnant, but if you want to be an inspirational role model to women it is probably best to not say that pregnancy ruins your body. 

Eh-um, no it does not.  Changes it?  Yes.  Ruins it?  No.  Less you want to pick a fight with me right now Jillian?  Are you calling me fat?  Do you see stretch marks? Women should be made to feel that they can be beautiful with any choice that they make in life.  Pregnancy can be a woman’s most glorious moment.  It is what you make of it and as always TAKE THAT!

Wazup Jill?