Sunday, August 28, 2016

Saturday Seashore Scenes

Saturday solo run from home, the morning after a full moon. When I don’t meet my fellow runners, I exit my door and follow my feet which, this time, took me to the beach——OH I remember why! I’d read a “big wave warning.” Yep, I wanted to see the crashing breakers. And the full moon pulled back the tide, so I was able to run on hard-packed sand one way out.

Planning to run thirteen miles preparing for a half marathon, I ran six  and a half miles from Newport past the Huntington Beach Pier, right along the surf. No particularly impressive swells, but I did see a group of “downward dog do-ers" taking a yoga class right by the surfline. Their yoga teacher walked among them, correcting. People of all ages took her morning class, their yoga practice enhanced by cool breezes off the water. 

Beside them were five “twenty-somethings,” athletic looking guys two in matching t-shirts. One shoveled sand into a garbage can, while others walked purposefully down to water’s edge, filling buckets with wet sand. Behind them in exacting straight-line order were dozens of buckets, arranged by size.

“What are you doing?” I stopped to ask one of the group, a tall rangy guy with beach-tousled hair. “We’re building a sandcastle,” he said and snapped right back to work. 

Still wish I’d have come back to see their creation which I’d estimate from the size of their bucket collection would grow to small-city-size.

At the Huntington/Newport border, just north of the river jetty I stopped. A big stainless steel 50,000 BTU gas grill, the freestanding kind weighing over 100 pounds, with two cupboard doors at the bottom sat in the sand under a pop-up tent.

“HOW did they get that thing out there?” I asked anybody within earshot. 

“Did you notice those three dollies by the pop-up?” a more observant beach-goer than I replied. 

Still, I marveled at their determination to give their friends a real Saturday dinner with an ocean view. 

Other days, running from Newport to Huntington, I’ve seen a paint-ball contest, surfing contests, and co-ed-football. 

On longer runs, I pass Huntington’s dog beach with it’s smiling canines showing anybody who’ll glance in their directions, what joy it is to be a dog, free of backyard fences and confining leashes. 

Look what you’re missing if you’re not out Saturday morning, ambling about the seashore. 

Oh, I didn't say that I finished thirteen miles exactly in front of my doorstep. Yeah, it took me a long time. NO, sand running is not a sprint. But, yeah, the scenery is unequaled and the salt air is magical. 

Friday, January 29, 2016


Original Article by Carolyn [Carrie] Slayback, Writer, Daily Pilot Fitness and Health Column:
Brought another first place home from the Carlsbad Marathon. That's one part of the story, I ran my slowest marathon by an hour, coming in at 5:28 (five hours and twenty eight minutes,) that's another part, but before I tell you the conclusion, here's the way it all "went down," as they say.
Our Team Evie Shirts: "Run Now, Wine Later."
Don, Evie's partner picked us up at 10:30 Saturday. Cristina, Evie's daughter-in-law, celebrating Evie's first ever marathon, made us all shirts saying "Team Evie" and "Run Now, Wine Later."
Rolling into Carlsbad, Don dedicated his day to taking us sightseeing along the marathon route. Curled up in the backseat of Evie's smooth driving Mercedes, I didn't notice the rolling nature of next day's marathon, but Don's reaction was, "Just driving this exhausts me."
Lunchtime, we found an organic taco place where we befriended a six-month-old mastiff puppy with size-eight-feet and watermelon sized head. Cristina and I cooed over his soft cuddly coat, while he focused on our fish tacos. Tantalizing organic beans came with lunch, but we couldn’t risk eating beans, day before the marathon, nor could we toss them, so we packed ‘em into our water cups. Yum, post-marathon bean snack! 
Night before the race. Our style of red carpet. 26.2 miles tomorrow!
Next, Don good-naturedly accompanied us to the EXPO where we picked up our “goodie bag” with race numbers, shirts and an unusual marathon perk—a fitted athletic jacket. Then he tagged along as we meandered through booths of energy bars, racks of running socks, sunglasses, displays of upcoming races, and sign-ups for adventure vacations.
Finally Don dropped us at the hotel, hurrying home to watch football. Instead, he watched break lights, stuck on the 405 for four hours, due to a vehicle fire.
That night’s pasta dinner, we met Cindy, a local runner whose parents, glued to the Green Bay game on the restaurant's tvs, were in town from Wisconsin to cheer her on. Cindy said, “I run this race for the jacket.” I reminded her we’d paid, between $95-$145 to participate, making a pricy workout jacket. 
Bedtime at Best Western, Evie, in silk PJs, Cristina and I in T-shirts, were determined to sleep. Alarm set at 4:00 A.M for a 6:15 marathon start. Sleep took turns with trips to the john. We’d “hydrated” at dinner. 
Spandex on, numbers pinned, breakfast downed, we set out for the start in pitch-black Carlsbad. No streetlights, Evie ignited her iPhone flashlight. A scant two miles from the motel to race, our desk clerk and a policeman we met, judged it an impossible distance to walk. For “Team Evie” two miles was a light pre-race work-out.
The morning of the race. Dark outside at 5:00am.
Arriving at the marathon line-up, we jumped into Port-O-Potties, dropped post-marathon warm clothes at “gear check” and stepped into a crowd of 1,500 runners listening to the National Anthem. Horn sounded. Evie and Cristina flew off, 26.2 miles to go. I’d see them at the finish.
I’ve seen more than one racer take a spill at the start, so my head’s down for the first half mile, dodging hundreds of running feet. With the temperature at about 60 degrees, I finally got my wish for a cool race day. I set to work to keep a pace at 11:30 which I achieved for the first 13.8 miles.
Though Evie and I had run 10 miles of the course weeks ago, racing it was “a whole new ballgame.” There’s only one real hill at Mile 19, but the course undulates, slowing runners on the many inclines. I liked the inclines because they gave my feet something new to do but uphills break my pace. Downhills require short steps—potential knee damage.
Mile 9, I got high fives from Evie and Cristina. At Mile 11, a young man joined me saying, “You move your left foot, to the rhythm of my right foot and we’ll finish this thing.” I agreed, having no idea what he was talking about, but soon, I outran him with my fastest 2 miles at 10:22. Hours later he showed up again, accusing me of “Kicking his butt.” By then, I felt like kicking myself in the head for doing this marathon.
I forced my feet on, eyes glued to the horizon searching out the next mile marker. This is a scenic course, beside the blue Pacific, but I wasted no energy gawking at whitecaps. I keep to myself on race day, but when a lanky gray haired guy passed me, I read his shirt out loud, “Leona Divide 50-mile-race!” “Yeah, he said, “and it was yesterday.” I laughed through my weariness.
A young woman thanked me for my even pace which slowed to 11:48 by Mile 18. Then I found an empty port-o-potty for a dreaded stop. Thinking I’d go lots faster post-potty, I willed a second wind but instead, slowed to 11:54.
I’d taken a hint for marathon food from the book, Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes. He runs 100 miles+, all night, keeping a rapid pace with handfuls of chocolate-covered-coffeebeans. Giving myself chocolate/coffee doses every five miles, I now hate them.
Approaching the end, I agreed with a guy who ran past me saying, “The ONLY thing that keeps me going is that I have to get back to my car.” I shuffled along convinced I had only one mile to go when I saw the Mile 24 sign. Drat! 2.2 miles remaining. Approaching the chute, another young man who’d been at my pace for miles, shot ahead, calling back, “SPRINT IN! You’re not tired, it’s all mental!” “Yes!, I agreed, GO!” Only my feet ignored my command to dash.
Evelyne being awarded a medal after crossing the finish line.
Recovering in the medical tent after the race. 
I crossed the finish line, Cristina greeting me, fresh untried. I hit the chain link fence with grabbing links with both hands to remain upright. An hour before, Evie and Cristina crossed the finish, holding hands. Evie headed straight for the recycling bin with dry heaves. A paramedic saved the recyclables, diverting her to the medical tent where she recovered, replenishing her electrolytes.
Don found us collapsed on folding chairs outside the medical tent. I looked like a bedraggled waif and the glamorous Evie’s skin was the color of her platinum blond hair. Watching gurneys of fellow runners wheeled out to ambulances, IV’s attached, Don commented “Isn’t this a great sport!”
We hobbled over to find our times, discovering Evie’s name was nowhere. Her time matched Cristina’s, so we knew it was 4:30. Searching out the guy with the computer, compiling race results, we asked about Evie’s time. He found it and announced, “You’ve won third place.” Team Evie celebrated, a winner in her first marathon!
Then we asked my place. “You got a first,” he said.
“How many in my age group?” I asked.
“You were the oldest women on the course,” he said, “the only one in the 70-74 age group.”
Nice to be first, even when you have no competition, but I just looked up the 65-69 age group and I would have come in 4th there. I’m signing off to eat my left-over beans for lunch.
Cristina, Evelyne and Carrie at the finish line.
Shocking news when we returned. Evie’s dad hospitalized, far from her helping reach, in Switzerland.
By Wednesday, his condition improved greatly and he spoke to Evie, feeling much better.
No sooner had Evie cleared her mind, relaxed with the good news of her father’s speedy recovery than I got two texts:
 “I’ll pick you up to run Friday.”
“We going to run Huntington Half Marathon, 2/7/16?”
I texted back, “I’m not prepared to answer.” 
View More Pre and Post-Marathon Photos Below: 
Evelyne, Cristina and Carrie in front of the Marathon "Pace Car" the day before the race.
Evelyne and Cristina, at mile 20.
Evelyne and Cristina after crossing the finish line.
A medal makes all the hard work worth it.
Cristina, Evelyne and Carrie on a 10 mile hike the Monday after the race.

Friday, January 8, 2016


In ten days I'll be out working my way though 26.2 miles of Carlsbad, California coastline/streets..

Naturally I caught the flu. Luckily it was only a two-day-thing and those two days were rainy. 
No running.

In any case, all the long runs are done, and I’m in what’s called “the taper.” 
I really tapered. I’d been running between 37-47 miles a week. 
I ran a paltry 4 miles this week.

However, I ran 22 miles last Friday. Then, Saturday, just because I didn’t want to miss the reunion hike with my Switzerland group, I trekked ten miles up “Dreaded Hill” in Harding Ranch.

I think the hike actually helped my legs recover from the 22-mile-run but the rest of my body succumbed to virus. Yes, I had a flu shot. I look upon this short period of illness as adding more to my immune system. I’ve been sick with flu’s so much worse than this one. I don’t even have  a lingering cough. What a miracle.

As far as whether I’m prepared for 26.2 miles a week from Sunday—I’m still mourning my loss of speed  in running. See my Daily Pilot article of 1/4/16. 

Secretly, I wish for a miracle—I take off at the starting line at a 10:00 pace and sail on though. I may expire at the end of that dream as it’s a couple minutes-a-mile faster than I’ve been able to do practice runs, but I can dream. 

Wonder if I should eat ice cream and cookies every night, put on a layer of fat to use up on the morning of the marathon? Maybe I should buy one of those big 1 pound dark chocolate and almonds hunks at Trader Joe’s and eat the whole thing. Nowhere in any marathon training guide does it say to pig-out pre marathon but I can dream.


Thursday, December 10, 2015


After my heroic accumulation of mileage Tuesday and Wednesday, all came to a stop. I joined my daughter who’s husband is out of town, to care for her 2-year old. 

Laughing replaced running for me. My granddaughter did the running on very short legs. From the back, she's a tiny copy of her grandpa, a  linebacker, broad shouldered and fast.

However, she stops in the middle of a run to give her doll a little bottle. Funny she’s so fixed on bottle-feeding her “baby” because she was a nursed baby. 

Anyway, I did NOTHING for five days, right in the middle of marathon training. My back hurt and my knee pained me. Unusual for me, I struggled and groaned getting to a standing position from the floor where I spent lots of time with a 2-year-old. 

Got home Monday night, rolled on the rumble roller. It hurt. Spent an hour at the gym stretching. Went to bed in pain.

Got up 5;30 a.m. Tuesday in a dreadful mood. Held on to my back as I went out the door to run. Met my fast friend, Evie  pulled me along for 14 miles. Said “Bye” to her and added  7 miles to reach my goal of twenty-one miles. 

Wednesday, I ran 8 miles around a dirt track, fast as I could. 

NOTHING HURTS. Talk about counter-intuitive! By the way, I am not here to explain why running way too much on a aching back and bad knee results in the disappearance of pain. I’m not recommending running twenty-one miles to everyone. 

You never know where writing takes you and I didn’t start this to say the following BUT—I do think the human body is made to move in a natural fashion. Not necessarily running long distance, but brisk walking, mixed with some comfortably-paced running. 

I’ll put lots of money on this wager: If everyone did a comfortable walk/run six days a week, there would be less heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, colds, depression. 

I just betcha.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

GOOD KNEE/BAD KNEE: Who can predict?

Just completed 20-mile-run in preparation for the Carlsbad Marathon in January. I’ve added one mile a week, starting with 14 miles in October.

Here’s an example of the weirdness of training for distance running: 

I have a bad left knee. Without my friend, Evie’s enthusiasm, I would not have signed on for this marathon. 

One minute, I doubt my sanity and the next, I’m euphoric. Yesterday, I ran sixteen horrifying, painful, gimpy, tortuous miles. My knee hurt and I had a back-attack. The knee is always there, but the back is something new.

In any case, I came home, stretched, rolled and slept all night. Woke up to a sore knee and slight back ache. I NEVER EVER get out of bed hurting, but today I did.

I will be out-of-town and unable to run through Sunday so I had to get one more long run in today. Getting up with aches and pains, I almost tossed out the “long run idea.” Nevertheless, 
I’d promised to meet Evie.

We started out for ten miles, me exhorting her NOT to wait for me. I planned to walk, but I started out running. 

1. My knee did not hurt.

2. My back did not hurt.

3. Said “Bye,” to Evie at nine miles and completed the next eleven by myself, finishing strong. 

4. Go figure.

OK, I am not hitting the pace I have run previously because I cannot pound down on my sensitive knee. All I can work on is long mileage endurance.

It’s a thrill to observe the body and the mind adjust to training and gain ability to persevere.  



Monday, March 30, 2015

I’m sitting here, holding a clear plastic bag with a drawstring and my L.A. Marathon number inked on on the front. I can’t toss the bag because it holds some of the magic of last Sunday; waking up at 2:20 a.m., getting into Dodger Stadium in black darkness, handing this “gear bag” full of post-marathon shorts and shirt, to a guy in standing in the open door of a UPS truck and then, over five hours later, limping to pick up the bag. It’s a talisman, a souvenir, a relic.

I always keep my numbers and put them in a scrap book. Years later, I turn the page to these numbers and feel deeply attached to the wrinkled scrap. I sweated, poured water on, and ran my guts out, wearing that paper. My grit, heart, and spirit, osmosed into that paper. I’m back to race day.

With my blog readers, I’ll share LA Marathon happenings  I couldn’t or didn’t put in the Daily Pilot article you can read by googling carrie luger slayback Daily Pilot March 20, 2015. 
First, getting into Dodger Stadium at 4:00 a.m. has a nightmarish quality. The lot’s not well lit, but the marathon organizers hire a bunch of people with flashlights so there’s a human light path guiding cars and runners. Inside the stadium is pretty dark too, but getting there at 4:00 a.m., I ate my peanut butter and honey sandwich. Maybe it was early enough for some of it to digest and give me energy for the race…

If you’re an endurance athlete, you know that hours leading up to the event are all about going to the bathroom, waiting in line to get in the john. One runner I know waits in line, does her business and gets in line all over again. I went twice but that didn’t prevent me from holding it in for the last half marathon. 

Runners talk about things nobody else does. Bodily functions cannot be delicately ignored. In my case, the extra pants in the plastic gear-bag were there in case I had an accident. However, butt muscles held it in as I preserved through the last half of the marathon. Still, I was fully thrilled to find the port-o-potty at the finish.

Back to the run, I’d made up my mind to take everyone’s advice and walk through the water stops, making myself drink Gatorade which, to me, is “throw-up juice.” I expected one water stop per mile but, due to the heat, extra tables were set up randomly before the mile marker, after the mile marker, between mile markers. 

My plan was to stop ONE TIME each mile, walk and drink as much Gatorade as I could tolerate. As I said, the marathon organizers had all those extra water stops. I had a bad case of runner’s brain and lost track of whether I’d stopped that particular mile, so I probably stopped more than once a mile. I did drink the sports drink and I DID NOT HAVE LEG CRAMPS EVEN THOUGH IT WAS HOT. Was it drinking more fluids, or the compression pants and socks or simple good luck? I do not know. 

For me, to run a hot marathon, have energy all the way through and no cramping was a great gift. My marathon history—Chicago, 10-10-10, a 90 degree marathon, I cramped and walked in. Last year, LA, a hot marathon, I cramped and walked it. 

Walking in is demoralizing to me. I’m not the fastest thing out there, but I keep trying all the way through. Cramps take everything away from me. 

This time I came through the finish at 5:06 which is my slowest time ever. However I never bonked and ran the last .2 miles. Walking all those stops and the heat may have slowed me down but something gave me power when I’m usually half dead. I ran in!

That something may have been chocolate. I’m not crazy about Goo’s or Chew’s with electrolytes  and vitamins or whatever they claim. I love chocolate so I had a chocolate bar and chocolate balls. I portioned them out to have a bite every mile from Mile 10 to Mile 25. Chocolate gives me a sense of well being. Maybe that was what helped me on Mile 26.
I’m not in the mood for chocolate right now. Unusual but even a good thing can translate into “too much of a good thing.”
Finally, I did not really train for this marathon. Signed up just weeks before it, did a few 20 milers, two 18’s and one 15 and I did o.k. marathon day. Gives me confidence in my weekly work-outs. I always do hills, speed work and a distance run. YES, I ran my slowest marathon but I enjoyed it. Also I got first place in the 70-74 age group for the second year. 

With all that said, I think I’m done with L.A. for a while. Maybe when I’m 80, I’ll run it again.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

LA Marathon Tomorrow--------SIZZLE

Tomorrow is the LA Marathon.

Last time I checked, it will be 89 degrees.

THAT is my definition of a lousy marathon.

I ran last year. Heat gave me 100-jolt-leg cramps at Mile 20 and I was forced to walk in.

Had leg cramps just one time before. Chicago 10-10-10 at 90 degrees.

SO, tomorrow.

Yeah, I'll drink that vile yellow so called electrolyte juice. I'll dilute it in water to help get it down.
Yeah, I'll take advantage of every drop of shade and cool cloth handed out.
Yeah, I'll have to moderate my pace----DAMN.

I'm not that fast anyway but I had a race plan. Now I'm flummoxed. At the Expo yesterday, some "running know-it-all" was speaking and repeating that our bodies are 14 degrees hotter than the weather. SO, that makes me 104. And that's a "really bad flu temperature" NOT a "running a marathon temperature."

My friends have been beautifully encouraging.

However, I had my visualizations all in order for the race I thought I'd be running.
Now friends are suggesting new strategies that make good sense. I really listen but somewhere in my heart, I'm having a bit of trouble making the change from a good fun but, by definition tough race----to a steaming, suffering, slow compromise.