Sunday, September 30, 2012

Locked Out

I'm feeling pretty boring and restrained in my blogging lately.   It's not as easy to write whatever I want without worrying about the reaction as it was when I first started.  I'm getting the vibe from people in my personal life that the internet sucks, you have to be careful what you make public, you should be boring and neutral.

First, I complained/joked about something personal on Facebook, and was warned by a number of people that despite the fact I can control my privacy settings and technically nobody should be able to see what I write if I don't want them to see it, that it was a risky move.  But I complain/joke in real life, so I don't really see the harm in acting like myself on the internet.....?

Second, the Gentleman said something that made me LOL that basically made fun of what he has perceived from the running blog world.  I asked if I could repeat it on the blog, and permission was deeeee-nied.  Judgment by strangers isn't his bag.  And I want to share bags with him.

So I'm feeling like there's a big basket of sensitivity out there and thus, bland posts only for sale.  Here's my bland recap of my days since my last post.

Sunday: 0
Monday: 0
Tuesday: 0
Wednesday: 13.7
Thursday: 12.7
Friday: 0
Saturday: 20.2 a.m., 4.5 p.m. (what!?!?)
Sunday: 0 (but 10+ miles of walking, for a very good reason, below)
[Total: 51.1 miles ran, 10 walked]

Possibly my lowest milage week of the year.  (I just checked, I had a 50 mile week in August, that was likely when my calf was bothering me.  The second runner up was a 61 mile week).  Not what I want while trying to whip into marathon goal shape, but given that at many points this week I dramatically decided that I wouldn't be running the marathon at all, 51 miles is a pleasure.

Saturday was whatever the 2012 word for "the bomb" is.  It was great.  I woke up at 7:00 a.m., checked myself, and decided that YES I definitely wanted to join trail and ultra runner extraordinaire Aron on a 35k trail run in Tilden Regional Park.  (35k = just under 22 miles).

Photo of part of the Tilden trails we ran, swiped from XLMIC's blog

This is something I had wanted to do for a while, but I held off because I wasn't sure whether my body or weekend plans would permit.

After the Dirt Inspires trial half-marathon, I knew I wanted to run another trail race to strengthen my quads, glutes, fear of mountain lions and poison oak, etc.  Plus, when you live in the Bay Area, you kind of reach a point where you have to admit that not taking advantage of the access to hundreds of beautiful trails makes you a moron.

I think I had originally imagined myself running the thing hard, to trash my legs and give them a good hard challenging workout.  The decision to run it purely for a good time was spontaneous and unplanned.  I started out running with Aron, who was beginning to pack on the miles for a 44+ mile weekend for herself, and within 3 miles realized I had no intention of trying to dominate the trails, or run ahead without Aron.  Why?  To be nice to my hip; to not get lost (Aron knows these trails backwards and forwards, and carried a map); to keep the great company; and to properly learn what to eat at the rest stops ;)

We missed a rest stop so didn't find one until somewhere past mile 9, at which point I was hungry and thirsty and hot.  The wise Aron taught me well.  I went for a boiled potato dipped in salt, and some fizzy cold Coke.  Oh my gosh, THIS is why people love trail running! So much more awesome than sprinting past some volunteers while grabbing a dixie cup of sloshing water that mostly lands on your shirt.  I also took some Clif shot-blocks and munched on my merry way.

The course was a bit confusing, and some vandalism led to a missed loop which is why we ended up with 20.2 miles instead of 21.7 (35k).  After 3.5 hours on my feet, in the heat, with some serious climbs, I was okay with the early finish ;) wink wink wink wink wink.  No more emoticons, promise.

The extra 4.5 miles that evening was an easy, flat, lake run with the Gentleman after he came home from work.  24+ miles in one day during a week when I am complaining of hip pain? Not wise you say? Yeah, I know.  But no exaggeration, the best my body felt all week was during the 20 miles of trails.

We watched Looper that evening.  I had a serious panic attack at about two scenes.  Movie is intense, and has some scenes that visually disturbed me enough that I now have new nightmare material for years.  But it was TIMELESSLY good. Geeeeeez, it's been a while since I left a theatre feeling so impressed by a script and acting.  JGL rocked the house, nothing surprising about that.  And it IS about time traveling, so let some of your logic take a nap.

JGL covered in make-up

Sunday wasn't supposed to be zero miles, but fate intervened in the form of us locking ourselves out of our apartment at 10:00 a.m. on our way out to brunch.

It was a slow motion disaster, where as I was shutting the door behind us, the Gentleman cried "nooooooooo" (slow mo) and I watched the door close after us.  First time in 4.5 years living together that this has happened....I usually ask "you got keys?" before closing the door.

Luckily, we had one wallet and one phone to work with (why be mysterious, it was his wallet and his phone because I hate carrying stuff and left the house empty-handed).  So we ate this amazing brunch at Flora while using Sherlock Holmes' skills to track down our landlord's phone number (we usually only email him) and beg him to let us in.

Fresh donuts....chocolate sauce, jam.

His

Mine

The landlord's response?  "mmm.  Maybe I can let you in at 4:30 this afternoon."  Shhhiiiiit.

So we moseyed around Oakland and Berkeley for 6 hours, 10+ miles, one slurpee, one Gatorade, one coconut water, one purchased bottle of sunscreen, and many "our landlord is a dick" before finally getting word from our landlord that he would indeed help us out.  We were let in just before 5:00.

I was toast from the sun, so a run wasn't in the cards.  And I always check with fortune teller cards before deciding whether to run or not.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Collection of Really Hard Workouts

Hey niggles!

Ok, we are officially changing that word.   It's just as bad as if it were faggle.  Henceforth, the term shall be....horcrux.  No....that sounds like it should be for a permanent terrible injury.  How about...you help me.  New word, please.

Update on my niggle/horcrux/______: I took 3 days off running, at which point nothing really seemed to be changing, and so I did the brilliant thing and tried to run anyway. A little pain in the front of my right hip (what used to be the good hip), kind of feels like I just need to punch my hip back into place.  I've run twice now, and I tend to feel fine enough after about a mile of gentle warming up.  Only slow runs, nothing close to the tempo run I was hoping for this week. Buuuuut, something seems off.  Definitely a little off.

Anyway, in a paranoid and hopeless state, I googled the eff out of femoral neck stress fractures and other sad things.  I have no idea what a normal amount of running pain is anymore.  This could be a minor muscle strain, or a stress fracture, I have no idea.  I further self-diagnosed by buttcrease issue by reading Inspirunning's blog, and am convinced my chronic left buttcrease pain is sciatic neuralgia.  But if that was it, wouldn't my chiropractor's ART sessions have made progress?  Wouldn't I have experienced some back pain?

I'm frankly just overwhelmed.  There is too much.  Too much advice, too many possible diagnoses, too many unknowns, too many homework assignments.  I'm supposed to do yoga, and stretch, and strength train, and swim, and foam roll, and stand up more, and take this supplement, and take that supplement, and visit your chiropractor, and visit your physical therapist, and get an x-ray, and get an MRI or an MRA, and put my butt on a tennis ball, and run less, or run not at all (fuck that).  There are so many specific stretches and exercises.  I can't keep them all straight.  I have no idea what to do, I have no steady regimen, and the more options that get thrown at me, the more I don't want to do any of them (classic decision hater.  That's me).

Kind of makes me wonder how much I really care to fix it.  The more homework I hear about, the more I just want to simply run.  So simple.  Just turn off all the advice, and simply run.  Or simply not run.  I don't want to touch this complicated long list of homework.

My butt is pretty much made of steel by now.  Or so I think.  I've done all the bridges and donkey kicks that were asked of me.  No real change in the buttcrease pain, which just kind of comes and goes while running.

So just to be clear: not officially injured, still able to run long miles comfortably, still something seemingly wrong with my hip/butt system, now sadly effecting the front of my right hip.

*****

While I'm wasting away not running, I like to think about all those workouts I could be doing and have wanted to do but am not doing.

I invite you to: A Collection of Hard Runs to Try if You Dare.

I marked a lot of these from magazines, overheard them, or made them up.  They are all intensely difficult sounding, so I would be ecstatic to accomplish just two of these before a goal marathon.


  • I think courtesy of Kara Goucher: 5 mile tempo at marathon pace, followed by 5x1 mile repeats at half marathon pace, followed by 5 mile tempo at marathon pace.  (I will most likely never, ever, ever succeed at this.  Even getting through the first 2/3 would be amazing).
  • 15 miles at or close to marathon pace.  (This one might be overkill, but sounds fun and hard.  I would have to do it on a treadmill, I can't focus on pace for that long in a non-race atmosphere.  Nowhere near able to do this right now, but I think it's doable one day).
  • 16 mile long run, with 3 miles at faster than race pace.
  • 3x3 miles at half marathon pace-to-10 seconds faster.
  • 5x1 mile at [specific to me] under 6:00 minutes each. (this should be attainable for me soon....if I stay healthy...)
  • On a long run, sprint for the first minute of each mile AFTER you hit the one hour mark.  (I've done this before, it is not all that hard, but fun!).
  • Run one mile at 30 seconds faster than goal marathon pace, then one mile at 30 seconds slower than goal marathon pace; repeat 4 times. 
  • 2x6 miles at 10 seconds faster than goal marathon pace, 10 minute recovery jog in between.  (ouch ouch ouch! Love it!)
  • 1x1600m; 2x1200m; 3x800m; 4x400m; 5x200m; 6x100m.
  • 12x400 at [specific to me] under 80 seconds.

What would you add to this list?  Have you ever hammered out one of these?

*****

My few miles this week have been with the Nike Air Pegasus 29.  In this color, since they didn't have black in my size.

"night blue"


Looks like purple to me in real life.  Pretty confusing, but the box says "night blue."

Not my feet, too lazy to take a picture, but these are the "night blue" in all their purple glory.  source

I bought them because I am hunting for a marathon shoe.  Or a great training shoe.  I don't "love" any shoe right now, none, all are just fine or whatever.  I tried these on and couldn't help it, they had to be mine.  They had to $100-Nike-style, never-ever-goes-on-sale-ever, be mine.   I do NOT consider myself a Nike girl -- I've always been resistant, ever since high school, since my mom taught me that you only buy things on sale.  I'm not yet convinced that they are an excellent running shoe maker, but they do have a knack for making the try-on experience so comfortable that you end up buying them.

They feel similar to the Nike Free's I have been wearing about once/week since the spring especially in terms of the glove-like fit, but with significantly more cushioning.  This is a plus for me, since my feet arches tend to sometimes get sore after wearing the Nike Free's on a hard run.

Since purchasing them, I haven't run hard or fast or long.  I did give them a whirl for a 13 mile run, and they really are plush and comfortable, not much stability, based on my phony understanding of the term.  No complaints yet.  If they seem to hold up to a little bit of speed, and a 20 miler, they may very well be my new marathon shoes.  

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Likeliest of Things

For the early part of last week, I paid some good attention to the foam roller that I stole from XLMIC months and months ago (literally, I've "borrowed" it since early March) and the likeliest of things happened: my body was happy with some extra miles.

I comfortably fit in several double days this week.  I swear my body completely forgets that it ran within 5 hours, so I can run before work and after work, with the after work run feeling fresh and fine.

By the time Friday was over, I had already hit about 65 miles for the week, and knew I would likely run another 20+ on Saturday, and so I thought....100 mile week? Maybe? Why not!

And then the likeliest of things happened.

On Saturday I was too tired for my weekend long run, and so I only made it 11 miles.  (I did run a few more miles later that day to try on a new pair of shoes I purchased that afternoon, the Nike Air Pegasus 29, I'll try to talk more about this on another post).  But overall, I was bummed that I gave up my weekend LONG run, which I so enjoy, just to get some useless extra miles in during the weekday evenings.  They definitely caught up to me, even if I felt fine as I was running them.

And then Sunday came and I couldn't run at all.  A little "niggle," as the elites call it, on my right hip (my good hip) caused me to take the day off.  I'll take my usually Monday off as well, and hope that the niggle was just a niggle and that it goes away.

Week in Summary:

Monday:         0
Tuesday:        12.3 a.m.,  10 p.m  (8.5 in one hour, staring at oysters)
Wednesday:   13.3 a.m.,   7 p.m.
Thursday:      11.4  (track workout, below)
Friday:           10.8 a.m.,  4 p.m.
Saturday:       11.2 a.m.,  5.7 p.m.
Sunday:         0
[total: 85.7]

Check it.

Thursday was a track visit.  I thought it would be unsuccessful because of tired legs, but happily I bumped my way up from 5x800m to 8x800m within just two weeks by doing....one set of 11x400m.   Even though I remarked that 400m repeats feel easy because they are done so quickly, they do seem to be the magic piece that helps all other track workouts improve.

2:56; 2:54; 2:53; 2:55; 2:54; 2:55; 2:55; 2:57.

Sweet.  This means I can run 4/5 of a marathon in two hours and 55 minutes, right Mr. Yasso?

As my milage died while the week progressed, so did my Garmin Forerunner 305.  It won't start on its own ever now.  I have to do a "hard power start" each time or whatever it's called where I press like four buttons at once and hold them down for 3 long seconds.  Has it run it's course?  It's a few months shy of 2 years old.

*****

This morning we went to our friends' housewarming party-slash-baby shower.  Their awesome new craftsman home is in Alameda, the new hippest of hip cities to live in, and the baby shower games were actually kind of cool.


My cute dress and cute headband which I failed to fully capture.  It is a ribbon with multi-colored buttons on it that was used on an Anthropologie gift bag.  I now use it as an accessory cause I'm just SO CRAZY. 

Deceptive: she was actually only pregnant with one baby, not 30 babies.

I checked out the new home and gave it my most enthusiastic approval

Baby shower games: draw the baby on a paper plate on your head.


The Gentleman's
Mine


I also got to decorate this onesie.  The Gentleman made fun of me for my overuse of the word "button"

I celebrated having to take the day off of running Sunday by eating everything during the baby brunch party.  Why do I seem to eat the most junk on days I don't run? Anyone else?  I think being active actually regulates my cravings/blood sugar or something, because I usually don't need a croissant AND a cupcake AND two muffins AND two slices of blueberry bread AND a biscuit (etc. etc. you get the idea) at 11:00 a.m.  But then again, I guess I'm not usually at baby showers with awesome food spreads at 11:00 a.m.

....Seriously, "niggle"? There must be a better word to describe a minor running concern that requires just a day or two off.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I Can't...



I spent a good chunk of time yesterday restraining myself with all my might from letting loose and blogging like a mofo.

It was reaaallllly time for me to blog.  More than any other time, I needed it.  I needed to vent, and write and write and write, and I needed someone to listen, and I needed support, and ears, and criticism, and advice, and I needed all of YOU.  I have become accustomed to receiving a trail of feedback whenever I put something out there, whether it is a thought, a question.

So I had/have a dilemma.  I really think I could use your help.  But BUT BUT, this blog is not private.  And I simply have no way of knowing who is reading.  I really am not trying to be a tease here.

This post now has a picture.  Face. 

Oddly enough, I feel much safer on Facebook, where I have control over who is my friend and who I share information with via privacy settings.  So if you are my fb friend, you may already have a taste of my issue.  I posted about it, and got feedback.  But knowing it was still risky to share even there, I wasn't able to tell more than a mere snippet of what's going on.

So cryptic! The best I can do is to say that I feel trampled on and disrespected. By asshats.

*****

With this load brewing inside of me all day (not THAT kind of load), I came home with all sorts of energy to burn.

I occasionally, but rarely, will go for a short run in the evening.  Always less than 8 miles, and almost always as a "second" or shake-out run -- i.e., usually a run that doesn't really "count" as anything but easy empty miles.

Even more rare is running on the treadmill in the evening.  I have virtually never done it.  Ever.

But with my blood hot, I wanted to run hard and zone OUT, and I knew the best solution was to plug in the pace into the treadmill, and just go.  So I did a first; I ran on the treadmill in the evening.

(There were 12 easy miles earlier that morning, which weren't intended to be easy, but LET'S JUST SAY my co-worker's shared grocery store Chinese food from the day prior did not sit well.)

Ok no seriously, there's a story here, and it's a good one.  Keep going.

I go to my gym for a treadmill run yesterday evening, first time EVER.  I call dibs on my favorite treadmill, which is obviously the one on the end because it means I am suffocated by only one other sweaty body to my side, while the other side is free and open for passerbys to stop and stare.

I get on.  Now think about this: what is one thing you can think of that would be terrible to have in front of you during a one hour treadmill run?  What is the WORST thing you can think of?  Anything.  Fang-toothed spiders?  Mitt Romney?  Justin Bieber?  Old people doing naked yoga?

No.  Here's the worst thing.

The worst thing.  Is.

A BIG FUCKING HUGE TABLE ENTIRELY FILLED WITH OYSTERS.

My gym had an open-house party to celebrate it's name change.  It is a SMALL gym.  They decided to celebrate by slapping a few balloons up, setting up 3 tables at the walking path right in front of the treadmills and ellipticals, and some moron decided that nothing said "Welcome to our Gym!" like a vat of oysters.

Not only did I run my butt off while staring at and smelling oysters, but I also had the pleasure of watching the evening rush hour gym members brush off their scheduled workout to gorge on oysters.  And hey, wait a sec....there's no way that hipster belongs to this gym....they're letting anyone in here to eat these oysters!  Ew.

The whole time this was happening, believe it or not, I was actually so tickled with how absurd and hilarious and gross it was that I really wasn't all that disgusted.  Very, very amused.

I started at a comfortable pace, worked my way up, and spent the last half hour between an 8.8 and 9.2 mph pace (6:48-6:31 pace).  8.5 miles in one hour.

Hey, one more thing.  Thanks to Netflix, we watched an old favorite last night, Hot Shots Part Deux.  Who knew Charlie Sheen used to look like....this?



"I loved you in Wall Street!"....anyone?  anyone?  Go rent Hot Shots.  You'll laugh more than you would be willing to admit. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Party of Five

What follows may be a collection of unrelated thoughts, but they are all worthy of some blog space, so let this proudly be a mish-mosh post.

Part 1) my world beliefs are turned on their head. 

I have long considered myself a great fan of Indiana Jones.  I whistle the theme song all the time! (no exaggeration, at least once/week.  Do it before a run if you need to pump yourself up).  I can't get enough of the Disneyland ride!  I grew up watching the movies and I love them all so much! I went to the theater to watch the fourth Shia LeBeouf installment even though it was really terrible!

Check it out.  A remastered version of the Indiana Jones' movies have been released in limited theaters.  We went to our beautiful Grand Lake theater to watch Raiders of the Last Ark on Friday night.  I was excited because it is always fun to watch a movie you haven't seen since you were a kid, only to learn how much less scary/wondrous/grand it is than you remember.

Within moments, the truth barreled upon me like a huge rolling ball that attacks you after you steal a holy treasure from a booby-trapped cave.  The truth: I had never. ever. seen Raiders of the Lost Ark before.

Oh no.  A movie that I have always claimed to be one of my very favorites.....is a movie I had never seen before?

Well, I'm a pathological deranged liar it turns out.  But the movie was extremely fun, Karen Allen is cute as a button, and I can now say without lying that Raiders is a great movie.



Don't forget that the bad ancient spirits will only melt off the faces of Nazis who keep their eyes open 


Part 2) I find my people.

"East Bay Atheists"

I met XLMIC today for a trail run (details below), and did a warm-up mile before we met up.  I ran by this picnicking group, mostly older folks, with their flag proudly waving.  You can kind of see the group below the flag.

Touchy subject, but now that I've gone so far as to flash you my underwear, I think it's fair enough for me to hint at my spiritual life....or lack thereof.

I also talked about this back when no one read this blog.  In short, spirituality is something I never think about.  On the rare occasion that I do think about it, my simplified thought process goes something like this....."invisible magic all powerful man who disapproves of gay love, unmarried sex, and makes some people believe they can kill others for not also believing in their god?  I....respectfully do not wish to partake."

Of course, my personal thoughts are more complicated than this.  I have my own very strong moral compass.  I don't need to believe in anything other than myself to live a peaceful, motivated, and loving life.

I also don't judge people who have very different beliefs.  Many of my best friends and family members are and have been religious or spiritual in very different ways, and I love that everyone can find their own version of comfort and peace, without it causing a rift in friendship.  However, if my best friend were to run for President, I would ask them to shut the effing door to their religious beliefs and keep them far, far away from running our country.

Part 3)  I share brilliant running fueling tips

~I am flipping, quickly and bored-ly (read: I do not recommend it) through this book that my mom picked up for me from a garage sale.

"Foreword by John 'the Penguin' Bingham"....makes me laugh everytime


But I finally found something useful from this book, aside from the repetitive advice to NOT try anything new on race day (I got it, I heard you, and yes, I will definitely be trying something new on race day so pthhhh).

The advice was to carry a small straw while running so you can stick it in the cups you pick up from water stations.  I can't decide how practical this is.  I may try it sometime.




~ I have been using dried cherries as my long-run fuel lately, because a big bag of dried cherries from Costco is cheap and lasts me more than one month.  That's like $0.10 per run, instead of $3.00 in Gu, so I win.

However, my long run last weekend was lacking with just the cherries.  I was sick of the sweet taste by the 18th mile, and could kind of tell I needed some electrolytes, not just quick carbs.  So this weekend on my long run (more below), I sprinkled salt on the baggie of cherries before tucking them into my pocket.

Did that work? I dunno.  I didn't have that sick-of-sugar, craving electrolyte feeling I had the prior week.  So yes?

~Cucumber lime Gatorade is the bomb.blogspot.com.

I can't recommend it enough.  It is so delicious and will hit your thirsty spot so hard.

Cucumber Lime


Part 4) I recap my week of running

Monday: 0
Tuesday: 16.5 a.m. (2x5mile tempo) 5.3 p.m. (shakeout run as per chiropractor's recommendation)
Wednesday: 12.4
Thursday: 11.6 (11x400m track workout)
Friday: 0 (hamstrings not feeling good)
Saturday: 22.1
Sunday: 13.3
[total: 81]

I am signed up for the San Jose Rock n' Roll half marathon, which takes place in 3 weeks.  I have never run a Rock n' Roll event, and I am pre-pissed off at how expensive it is.  I used a $13 off code to purchase my entry, but is still whoa expensive for a half.  If cutting out Matt Nathanson is the answer to making these races cheaper, then please dears cut him out.  I swear I don't need a completely average male singer-songwriter at mile 5 to pump me up.

Saturday was 22 hilly and s-l-o-w miles, which made for the longest time I have spent running ever outside of a marathon.  It was just over 3 hours and 20 minutes.  I know a lot of you have gone on runs for even four hours or more, but my max is usually around the 2 hour 45 minute range.  This long run was fine, I didn't hate being out for almost 3.5 hours, but it's not my jam.  I have too many other fun things, like napping, that I'd rather be doing on a weekend, so the longer a run gets the more annoying it is in terms of being a time-stealer.

Sunday was another great, challenging, chatty trail run with XLMIC.  We hit around 9.5 miles together, and I ran a few extra as a warm-up and afterwards while checking out the animal farm and the atheists in Tilden Regional Park.

Part 5) I make a public service announcement on behalf of litigators and the court system.

Don't pretend you are a biased asshole just to get out of jury duty.  Everyone can see through it, and it actually makes you more of an asshole than the one you are pretending to be.  This is your civic duty. The justice system is not always perfect, but it is a really good justice system, it works, and you are needed do your part.  We all have jobs and a life that we would rather not put on hold to sit on a jury.  You can be vocal about any hardship that serving on a jury would lead to, and the court will take it into consideration.  You will be respected much more than if you lie that your brain is broken and you can't be a fair juror.

Five parts.  I'm done.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Thing That Scares Me Most When Running


The Gentleman and I celebrated the fact that we were both home from work before 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday night by heading into Berkeley for a fun night out, eating tater tots.  

Why did we celebrate with tater tots?  I had texted him, “let’s do something fun tonight!” and he replied, “let’s get tater tots in Berkeley and then go to half-price books!” and so we did.  


text text texting my cutie

Well golly, I am cute

These aren’t your first grade cafeteria taters.  They were crispy and dense and delicious.  But I was ravenous, at which point anything is delicious, which explains why I was very impressed by ketchup at the time as well.



The Gentleman walked around half-price books looking for good cheap records (we have a fantastic record collection that needs to get even more fantastic) while I searched for a sports section to see if any fun running books could be browsed.  I couldn't find one, so I gave up and wandered into the law section, which turned out to mostly be legal thrillers.  Everywhere else I turned was vampire books and young adult fiction (redundant?).  Everywhere I turned.  It was that or cookbooks.  Which reminded me I was still hungry, so we got pizza.  

The point of this was to say, I love when weeknights don’t feel like weeknights.  We fall into a routine during the week, and weeknights are usually a blur of eating and unwinding before going to sleep to start it all over again. 

****Running****

I visited the track this morning, and settled on 11x400m.  I haven’t done 400m repeats in a couple months, and one thing I forgot about them…is…how relative easy they are. 

They can and should hurt for those very few seconds when you hit the 300m mark, your legs burning up, and you can’t wait to hear your watch beep after hitting 0.25 miles.  But in general, 400 meters goes by so quickly that there isn’t a whole lot of time to feel them hurt.  I also find that they because they are are so short, the recovery is rapid and I quickly lose any memory of the previous repeat being anything but easy. 

81; 82; 82; 82; 80; 82; 81; 81; 79; 80; 78
(and a 12th half-hearted repeat at 83 to burn out my leftover steam)

Like whoa, I finally hit the sub-80 second 400m barrier! I was wondering when that would happen.

I intended to do 10 repeats, then needed to do the 11th because I wasn’t feeling properly spent.  I tried to whip out a 12th repeat but kind of decided otherwise halfway through.  Slow jog of ½ lap in between each repeat. 

Here’s what I think.  These splits would suggest that I am just as strong, if not stronger, than I was several months ago when I was hitting the track regularly.  I was around 80-82 seconds per repeat at that time.  But I can tell I’m not yet back where I was.  

So in conclusion, I doubt that 400m repeats are a good predictor of capability for distances like a full or half marathon.  I think they are probably helpful for getting your legs used to a faster turnover, but not an indicator of stamina or strength or any other element that is necessary for runs that last longer than one lap.

****** 

Another thing that has been happening a lot lately during runs is that I have been running into spiders.  And their webs.   People aren’t getting up early enough to walk their dogs and break the seal of spiderwebs before me.   Spiders usually start coming out in late September/early October.

I have a mild-to-medium spider phobia.  If I force myself to think logically about spiders, I think I could stay calm and not squeal and shudder when I find one in our apartment.  But at this point it feels like second nature that it’s what I do, I freak out when I see a spider.  I’m trying to change this, because I really don’t think it is a true phobia, just a freak-out habit that has been reinforced by heroes like the Gentleman saving the day with a tissue (yes, we are bug killers, I have never been that person who grabs a jar to trap a bug and set it free outside).  And I'm trying to change this because in a parallel universe I hate idiots who squeal over bugs.

oh dear nightmare

Why is this a running theme where we smile cute right before being ATTACKED by an insanely huge spider!?

Of late, when I am running outside, and I suddenly feel that stringy wispy creepy web string hit my arm or legs or face, I focus and make myself think, “IT’S OK! STAY CALM! We’re good.  Keep running.  Calmly check yourself to make sure the spider isn’t laying eggs in your ear.  Peel the web off.  It’s ok.”

That works for about 10 seconds.  Then I start to lose it a little.  

What was that I felt on my head? IS THAT A SPIDER? Swat, swat, swat.  Nothing there.  Wait, I feel something on my neck, WHAT IS THAT!? Swat, swat, swat.  

So I run and swat for a good five minutes.  Because somewhere deep inside, I know that if I ran into a web, there is a very good chance that the spider was latched onto that web, but I can never seem to figure out where on my body it is.  Never find it.  Creepy suckers. 

The honest thing that tends to help me not hate spiders with the heat of one thousand suns, is to think of Charlotte’s Web.  That spider, whether or not voiced by Julia Roberts, is sweet and wise and beautiful and has adorable swinging babies, and I empathize with her plight of having people hate her and trying to ruin her web.  Charlotte, I can deal with.  

But remember what spiders actually look like?  Monsters come to life.  Science fiction killers.

Do you have any true phobias? Have you gotten over it, and if so, teach me how….

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Ugly

Since readership tends to lag over the weekend, I'll take this opportunity to travel off topic (like I never do that...)

As someone who has been a blog reader much longer than a blog writer, I have made it pretty clear that  I really enjoy reader participation, I embrace all comments, I will not delete anything, and I will not be upset if you disagree with anything I write.

Over time, as more and more readers have visited, the closer some comments get to testing the limits of what I will actually embrace.  Rare as it is, I will get a comment that speaks not to the post at hand, but to a judgment about me as the writer--I'm jealous, I'm a hypocrite, I'm arrogant, I'm the worst.

I'm ugly.

This week, someone stopped by just to tell me I am ugly.  To be specific, I am "ugly looking"--just to be clear, not metaphorically ugly in spirit (oh, phew).  Also that I am manly.  And despite all these unfortunate qualities, I still manage to be arrogant.

Obviously, I'm not crazy, and I'm not letting a trolling comment get under my (uggggllllyyy) skin.  I am only slightly bothered.  My first reaction was to giggle, because I know now this blog has really come a long way from the days of me fishing for just one dozen friendly readers.  I now have anonymouses!  Too many readers to be named!

The thing that bums me out is that having a running blog gives readers license to judge my appearance. This isn't a modeling blog you stupid heads.

So do I draw the line here?  No.  I don't delete these comments.  I even still believe that this person has a right to voice that what they learned from my post was that it is confusing that I call myself Rose since I look like a Ross. Tee hee.

LISTEN PEOPLE.  Your comment stays.  You don't need to try and test my feelings here.  Empty insults aren't going to do anything but lead to boring blog posts in which I wonder what the point of empty insults on physical appearance are, and then make me flashback to the last time someone told me I was ugly.

The last time someone told me I was ugly? to my face?  I was 11.  In a bathing suit.  That I had carefully selected because it made me look more flat-chested than I actually was, because I hated my new boobs.  I wanted to look like a kid.  But some punk boy that I didn't know pointed at me, looked at his friend, and said "now SHE is ugly," as if they were having a conversation in which they could not quite illustrate with words how to describe an ugly person, and then they luckily spotted me, and were able to finally reach an understanding and move on.

Because of this one person, ages 11-13 was a time when if I wasn't locked in my room dreaming about JTT, I was drowning in worry about my appearance.  Pimples, boobs, Jewish nose, all of the above.

Sorry this is the only picture of me at age 11 that I have access to.  I was obviously adorable. 


These concerns faded as other more important ones entered my life.  I haven't spent many minutes since that age worrying about being ugly.  After nearly five years with the Gentleman, who tells me I am beautiful daily, some days I almost believe he is telling an objective truth.

Anyway.  I don't appreciate the flashbacks, anon's of the world. If you use grown-up words to describe what you are thinking then this will continue to be a fun place to talk about running, blogging, and a mix of the two.

I know 99% of you are able to handle this societal norm, so I'm kind of preaching to the choir.  Have you ever dealt with personal insults on the internet? If not, it's probably cause you are pretty so ptttthhh.

*****

Running! The prettiest thing there is!  (don't ever let me say those words out loud)

Monday:     0
Tuesday:     9.8 (fail, too tired to hit the planned-for 12-14 miles)
Wednesday: 16.7
Thursday:   13.5
Friday:        13.2
Saturday:     21.6
Sunday:       13.2
[total = 88 miles]

I tried to make Wednesday's run count towards a good effort for "marathon training" with a spontaneously-made-up workout of 2 x 4 miles at goal marathon pace.

It didn't go very smoothly, I was feeling low-energy, and holding anything under a 7:00 minute pace while running around the lake was feeling harder than it should on a better day.  It is always so much harder for me to run fast anywhere but the track, the treadmill, or in a race.  The four-mile sets were also interrupted by my loud urges to stop and stretch a couple times in the middle of each set.

Set 1: 6:53; 6:48; 6:53; 6:46
Set 2: 7:02; 6:51; 7:04; 6:42

I then tried to make Thursday's run count towards another easing-back-into the track workout.  I aim to get back to 10x800m at under 3:00 minutes each (Yasso's), but for now, I started with a measly 5 repeats.  Partially because I ran out of time, partially because I was toast after 5 repeats.

2:59; 2:59; 2:55; 2:54; 2:56

Neither of these runs are where I'd like to be, but I guess the idea is that they are the building blocks to help me get there!

Saturday's 21.6 miler was boring and long and slow, and I would have stopped at 16 miles if I wasn't already so goddamn far away from home.  But I'm glad it happened, I hope to keep building up to 23 or 24 miles so that 26.2 miles sounds like a piece of cake and I can just focus on my goal pace.

Sunday's 13.2 miles (this morning) was a hard dusty trail run with XLMIC in the Berkeley hills.  We ran just under 9 miles together, and then I ran a few more on my own.  The first 9 miles of hard climbs was so much easier than the last 4 miles on my own, because I got to listen to first hand Nuun HTC gossip ;)  Actually it was easier because XLMIC is a crazy strong hill climber.

Now I have a blood blister.  It is pretty.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Still Standing

Let's revisit the topic of Standing Up at work.

I was recently chatting with fellow lawyer-runner Penny about my standing-up at work situation.  I originally started standing at work at the advice of two separate physical therapists, who attributed the running pain I was/am experiencing in my hip/buttcrease to hamstring tightness and glute weakness, both which could be attributed to my relatively newer habit of sitting all day on the job.  I had been working, and therefore sitting more than ever, for about 8 months when I first noticed the running issues.

I'm going on nearly six months of standing while working now, so I can confidently call myself a BLOG PRETEND EXPERT on the subject, and share what I have learned.

First, it is very tiring in the beginning.  I had to take many sit breaks, and couldn't last longer than 3 hours on my feet.

After several weeks, the standing became more second nature, and I now rarely find myself getting tired from standing.

My current work station sitch.  Count 'em, four boxes.
Second, everyone will want to talk about the eyesore that is your work station, if you create a standing situation with boxes, like I did.  

A lot of people want to know why I am standing, and then they share how they know xx many people who also stand while they work.  

Some people want to share tips on how I can buy a different kind of chair if I am having "back" problems (I....am not having back problems.)  

Some people just make fun of me, and then call me out when they catch me leaning against the desk with my arms for support (I do that regularly).  

And lately, people have remarked upon it because it was in the news in August that sitting for extended periods of time shaves a few years off your life (likely because sitting long hours tends to mean exercising less, eating more, etc.)

Ideally, I will one day get some apparatus that can be raised or lowered, and has two levels -- one for the computer, one for the keypad.  I've been searching, they are in the $300 range.  Despite the eyesore that leads to all these conversations, I'm confident my work does not care about me enough to consider setting me up with the real deal.  So boxes for now, until I find an affordable replacement. 

As you can see from the photo above, my work laptop is nice and high, at eye level, and my keypad is quite low, so my elbows are just barely bent.  I rarely have issues with the ergonomics of this arrangement, only wrist pain if I am really, really typing up a storm for a few hours straight.  

If I want to sit, I go on the other side of my desk, where my work chair and empty desk space is. I can review documents or bring my laptop over.  However, now that I have been standing and really acclimated to it, I find that I...literally...start to fall asleep if I try to work while sitting.  So I relegate sitting only to times when I am wiped from a hard morning run, or am working on something that involves a lot of page flipping.  


Looking down at my work spill mat, which used to be for popping wheelies with my desk chair.  

Third, and probably the most important part, my body feels much better--both throughout the day, at the end of the day...but only maybe a little while running.  I still haven't managed to fix that.

It used to be that if I ran in the morning before work, my legs would creak and crack with stiffness and pain when I got up from my desk after sitting for a long period of time.  Now, my legs are loose and happy all day long.  In fact, now when I sit, my buttcrease pain becomes really pronounced.  I get squirmy and miserable after about 30 minutes of sitting upright (I seem to feel just great sprawled around on a couch :) ).

I also think my hamstring flexibility has improved.

A happy butt makes a happy RoseRunner ;)

Fourth, I focus better at work while standing (see above, I now fall asleep while sitting) because I am more alert, and that hopefully means better work product. Try falling asleep while standing!  It doesn't happen.  I am also less tired at the end of a work day now.  Sitting makes me sleepy, and then I go home and want to sit some more.

Fifth, an issue that probably shouldn't have been as surprising to me as it was, is that I have to (get to) eat more at work.  Standing is clearly burning through more energy than sitting, even though I do often lean against the desk.  I found that I had to bring an extra snack (200-300 calories-ish, like an extra protein bar) to work almost immediately once I started standing.

Sixth, it's true.  I don't wear heels to work anymore. Oh wait...I never wore heels to work.  I will wear them to court, to an event, to an interview, but then they come straight off.  I have a couple pairs of shoes that are "kitten heel" height, and even those, I have to take off more than half the day while working.  My feet smell like roses, don't worry.

My advocacy for standing at work has rubbed off on the Gentleman, who has been trying to get a stand-up situation going at his work as well.  He has seen that I have more energy and feel better at the end of the day.  He has back problems, and a work schedule that sometimes requires 12-13 hours of sitting....ugh...that just cannot make your body happy.

His firm is very large, but he also does not feel comfortable asking for a flexible/stand-up desk, even with a doctors note.  Therefore, we are kind of on the hunt for a good apparatus that allows us to sit or stand.  I'm fine with my boxes, but if we get one for him and it is awesome, I will upgrade...

In sum: I totally recommend standing while working.  I know that it may be more difficult depending on your job, due to factors such as the office environment (will people super make fun of you?) or whether you have a lot of clients in your office (an official raised desk would be fine, boxes like mine are probably too ridiculous).

Any experiences to share about standing at work?  Any discomfort from sitting all day?  

Monday, September 3, 2012

Climbing Back Up

Happy long weekend if you were lucky, let's review last week in running shall we!?

After not running Monday-through-Wednesday due to post-Dirt Inspires trail run angry quads, I still ended up with 60-something miles for the week due to a run-heavy Thursday-through-Sunday.

Thursday: 15.8 miles a.m., 4 miles p.m.
Friday: 13.7
Saturday: 21
Sunday: 12

Details? Sure.

I ran just under 16 miles Thursday morning, in my first attempt at waking up earlier and pushing my morning runs a little farther to build mileage.  Felt great, about a 7:45 pace, except my buttcrease pain was a little angry.  I will never understand why one day I feel completely whole, and then the next day I feel injured.  

Friday I finally visited the track again in, I don't know, a month.

I didn't know where to start with my return to the track.  400 repeats? 800's? Miles? Tempo? It's intimidating, because I know that I worked hard to build up my speed earlier this year when I first started visiting the track.  It's also intimidating because....obviously....when you are at the track, you are hitting lung-burning speeds.  Some days when the alarm goes off, the idea of running hard makes me want to gag and cuddle harder with my blanket.

On the other hand, I am excited to climb back up via kicking it at the track.  I know the results actually arrive quickly--I could tell the difference in my leg turnover after only about 3 track visits earlier this year.  I keep reminding myself: so what if it is harder right now? So what if I run slower splits than I have in the past?  I'm still working.  Climbing back up.

I decided to run 5x1 mile.  I love mile repeats because they mean less repeats.  I would rather do five 1-miles than ten 400m's, even though I know I am running way farther with the five 1-miles.  Brain trickery.

The results weren't terrible....everything felt right except my legs felt a little stiff--not used to moving fast on the track.

6:09; 6:12; 6:05; 6:17; 6:33

The first 3 were done on the track (faster), the last 2 were done while running home from the track (slower, lots of wind, careful sidewalk winding).

Saturday, I booked a long run, not anything too exciting to share about it.  21 miles that included a couple laps around Lake Merritt and some climbing into the Oakland hills.  I thought about it, and if I knew how to upload my Garmin information to look at the elevation climbed, some of my tried-and-true Oakland runs probably have elevation gain similar to any given tough trail run.  The obstacle is shitty drivers instead of roots and mud.

I ate 2 Luna bars right before the run, and some dried cherries throughout.  Somewhere along the past year, my stomach seriously toughened up.  I used to only be able to eat pretzels or a banana before a run. Now, anything seems to go!

Sunday, I was starting to feel the heaviness of running four days in a row (I usually, but not always, take a day off after 3 consecutive days of running).  I was craving a run anyway, and ran 12 miles that were sweatily tough, by throwing in 12 stair repeats on some stairs near Lake Merritt.  I can't say how many stairs there are, but usually by the last few steps I am begging to be done.

I think the glute strengthening is actually, finally, happening and maybe working.  My buttcrease/hip pain may be improving.  I've been wrong before...

ugh, that was too much writing about running.  so bored, let's talk about something else.

*****My Super Awesome Oakland Weekend*****

My plug for Oakland, land of purple mountain majesty, where the hipsters are taking over and police are laid off even though we need 3,000 more of them.

I had a memorable, wonderful, only-in-Oakland Saturday night.  Michelin-star restaurant (snob alert) Commis, followed by my freaking favorite band at the freaking best music venue in the whole wide world.  I could do this night over, and over, and over, until I had $0 in the bank, which would actually happen very quickly.

The mood:




I suited up in a Target dress, darkened hair, and a sports bra chafe line from my 21 miler.  The thing with me and hair is, I always imagine changing it is going to be "the thing!" that makes me the prettiest version of me.  And then I hate it and move on to the next thing.

The food:

or is it food?

This was an egg yolk in onion soup with balsamic and steel cut oats and....heaven

There were seven courses

and 7,000 flower petals

The music:

Yeasayer.  I can't describe music.  You fall in love with whatever moves you, and Yeasayer has topped my list for 3+ years now.  They always have a spot in my race ipod playlist.  If you want a list of their best songs to start with, to make your runs 10x more fun, seriously please ask.  I could talk Yeasayer all day.


I know, this is about 0.000000003% as cool as being there

Even in this sea of people, Chris Keating only had eyes for me, I could tell ;)

And finally, in miscellaneous thoughts:

  • I heard from multiple sources that while the Nuun blog chatter was mild, that's because people were vomiting Nuun all over Twitter.  Sucks to be on twitter.
  • Thank you for all of your thoughtful advice on whether I should run the St. George marathon this October.  The majority of you advised against it, and while I think some may overestimate how many eggs I am putting in the CIM basket (I will be more than fine if it is not a perfect race), I am probably not going to run St. George.  The cheapest plane flight I could find was $400.  
  • How do I get out of a parking ticket that I received on the labor day holiday? I assumed parking was not enforced on holidays.  I even looked it up online for the San Francisco parking, and misread that it was not enforced (turns out it was street cleaning or something stupid that is not enforced).