Sunday, September 8, 2013

Running Stories

Where my running at!?

First stop, blog reading.

I'm using inoreader.  One of you recommended it, and I like it.  I wish there was an app (wait, is there?) Still not my beloved Google reader, but I'm catching up on old posts, and happy to see we all still sometimes have great runs, bad runs, and hot runs.


My blog readin list.  I subscribe to me.

Inoreader.  I like it.  Hopefully they send me some free blogs for mentioning it.

****RUNNING****

the hip flexor pain I referred to has been destroyed.  So I've got that going for me.

This summer I had a love affair with not worrying about getting enough speed or miles in, and instead casually maintained a "base" so I can dive into a race whenever the urge strikes.  I don't think I've lost all the speed....maybe half of it.  The impressive speed work I mustered over the summer is as follows:

4x1 mile at the track at 6:15 pace
3 mile tempo at about 6:40 pace

The end.

And it probably comes as no surprise since I'm a running junkie, my weekly mileage all summer has been solid (outside of the approx. 2 weeks where I was having some hip flexor pain).  A little lower than my norm when I'm looking square into the eyes of an upcoming race, but solid.  Flipping back to the beginning of August, my weekly miles have been:  62; 80; 59; 88; and this week was 87 in large part thanks to a very energetic weekend where I stomped out 39 miles.  More on that below.

Recently, I looked at the clock and realized I am signed up for a half-marathon that is in less than 4 weeks!  I have never felt so ill-prepared to run a race.  Yes, I will run it "for fun", but I also don't see any reason to disappoint myself too much, so this week I decided I can handle one hard run a week.  All the other days I can do what I want.  Just one hard run a week.

This past week I settled on 5 mile repeats. I really enjoy mile repeats.  Slow enough that my lungs aren't bursting, and I get a recovery every mile.  And I only have to do 5 of them. Tempos are my fear--no rest breaks!  I like rest breaks! But then when I'm racing, I realize I am accustomed to them.  Whoops?

I picked a 6:10 pace for the mile repeats, which is about 10 seconds slower than what I am capable of when I've been working hard.  I told myself something that I usually don't: that it was non-negotiable.  That I had to finish the workout.  Even if it was hard, I would run as close to a 6:10 mile as I could, exactly five times.

It worked.  6:09; 6:07; 6:08; 6:06; 6:03.

In between each repeat I slowly jogged a lap around the track.

Mental trick: I run on the outside lane, which ends up being about 3.5 laps for a mile (by my Garmin) instead of 4 full laps.  When you are running in circles, it's nice to cut down on the number of circles.  I would LOVE to find a track that has a 1-mile loop.

My left leg still seizes up around my quad-knee-calf during speed work.  Leg-lock.  Still working on my new insurance plan so I can meet with a physical therapist on a regular basis.

I also have been occasionally remembering to try this hocus pocus thing I read in a very old Runners World (I'm about 7 months behind on magazines) about breathing patterns while running.  Matching your breaths to your foot fall, the rule is: in, in, in, out, out; repeat forever.  It's supposed to balance the repeated stress on one side of the body that could be caused by an "even" breathing pattern.  I tend to only remember to practice this when I'm running hard or up a steep climb.  It's a nice little brain mantra.  I've been running a lot of hills.  My niece is the cutest.  What are we talking about?



****RUNNING STORIES****

The creepiest thing I ever did while running:  this Saturday I set out for a fun long run on a hot day at about 10:00 a.m.  On these weekend runs, my goal is to do whatever I want and soak in the beautiful day.  Because they are so aimless, I tend to find myself lazily knocking out 8:30-10:00 minute miles.

On mile 2, I was right on pace with a checked-out 8:45 minute mile on my watch, when this perfect little runner girl in her perfect little spandex and her perfect swishing ponytail blew by from behind me.

Wha--hey! I can do that TOO!

And so I sped up.

I fell into pace behind her (check it: this is the creepy part) but gave her a distance of about...20 yards? We were running around the busy Lake Merritt, so it wasn't particularly unusual for me and dozens of other runners to be on her tail.  As I creeped, I found we were running a steady 7:20-7:30 pace, and noted that it felt nice, not crazy hard, and wondered why I normally slog so unmotivated at my slow weekend long run paces when this felt...better.

I stayed behind her, very pleased to have my secret special pacer, and a very compulsive pacer at that.  She would look at her watch about every 30 seconds.  That's nuts.  I check mine when it beeps at the mile mark, and that's it.  So I continued to pace behind the nutso compulsive pace-checker perfect little runner girl.


Chasing that ponytail (or one that was similar to this)

After 4 miles of creeping, I found her route too boring to continue following (she was running small 3-mile circles around Lake Merritt...when I do Lake Merritt loops, I spice them up into LONG loops of about 6-7 miles by taking all the zig-zag trails).  So I turned up towards Montclair and immediately fell back into my slow slog pace.

Weird.  I never thought I was one for needing a pacer, but it sure makes the pace feel easier, and it feels better than what I have apparently termed "slogging".  Slogging almost makes me tired and more fatigued from the run.  I also never knew I was a creepy stalker.  Sorry perfect little runner girl.

Ended Saturday with 18 miles in the bag, fueled along the way by 3 tootsie rolls (the skinny long ones) and a G2 grape flavored gatorade from 7-11.

The desperate-to-like-San-Francisco thing I did for running: Today (Sunday) it was slated to be another hot one in Oakland (88 degrees) so I had this magical thought that I would BART to San Francisco, where it is always cold and foggy and miserable and urine-scented, and beat the heat.

Back in 2008 when I lived in the City during my 1L year of law school, the only thing I really liked about the City was my running routes.  Ocean views are pretty cool.  So with nostalgia-tinted glasses, what I actually thought was I would BART to San Francisco and have a sweet dance through the beautiful, adored, running routes of my memory.  I wasn't thinking about the urine scent and such.

I ran all over that City.  21 miles (the longest I have run in...geez...4 or 5 months?).

I ran along the Embarcadero, Fort Mason, Crissy Field, Golden Gate bridge, Baker Beach, Coastal Trail, Ocean Beach, Golden Gate Park, Pan Handle, Hayes Valley, Financial District, ALL OF THE PLACES.

And nowhere did I find a single moment where I felt peaceful.

Coastal trail--a jewel. (photo source)

This CITY man, it's just soooooooooooooooooo crowded.  I spent every second of that 3+ hour run mentally preparing for which way to dodge to avoid a billion people and 2 billion dogs (2 dogs per person for EVERYONE in San Francisco).  There was a ton of stuff going on in the city--America's Cup, Giants game.  hipster sit-ins on grassy patches.  6 billion dogs needing to pee.  Maybe it was an unusually busy Sunday.  I don't every remember it being THIS crowded.  I mean, the coastal trail? Since when is there practically a line to hike/run there?

Well, got that out of my system.  Nostalgia tint gone, back to hating San Francisco.

I'm also angry that all of the water fountains I used to rely on during my routes were gone for pretty tourist renovations.  A lot of things looked different. CHANGE? Don't speak of it.

(It was nevertheless a nice, cool temperature run, and I felt strong enough to finish with 21 miles on the back of an 18 miler Saturday. Who knows why.  One highlight was turning my head to see what all the tourists were looking at during my climb up Fort Hood and seeing team Oracle sailing like whoa.  Next time I'll go for a run earlier to avoid the crowds.)

The "W" word: I will eventually blab about the wedding. For now I'm going to keep soaking in the memories, and wait until the professional photos are delivered so I can decorate my fancy words with pictures.  I have to apologize for talking about the "W" word repeatedly over the past 4 months during planning....the second the thing was over, I realized that nobody gives a shit, and I should have kept it all to myself and my lovely friends/family who were supporting the planning.  Every day since then there have been 12 pictures of girls in white dresses posted on my Facebook feed, and I'm like, DON'T GIVE A SHIT.  Sorry for getting caught up in it all.  When it comes to me and the Gentleman, turns out I give a shit.  If you also give a shit, like I said, I'll recap it eventually.

Shittyblogger:  So glad you enjoyed meeting her, she loved all your suggestions for what to blog about next time and will definitely make another guest appearance.  The content is neverending y'all....as long as running blogs exist, there will be a plethora of hilarity....good times for all. 

42 comments:

  1. OMG. This was the most boring post I have ever read. I love you.

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    1. I really really do. In fact, I'm inviting you to my return to running party. You'll be the only invitee. I am bribing you with kombucha and fun. Only catch is it'll be mostly walking and I might cry.

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    2. RSVP yes. I'll bring the tissues and a boombox for motivation.

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  2. About a month ago, apparently, the internet decided that breathing/running thing is out: http://www.outsideonline.com/fitness/fitness-coach/Can-Breathing-Incorrectly-Cause-a-Running-Injury.html -- though, honestly, I still think it sort of makes sense.

    And, yes, today was an incredibly unusually busy day in the Bay Area. Um, there was like every major sporting event happening.

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    1. thanks for sharing this link! I naturally use a 2-2 pattern therefore I accept this science as useful and valid! :)

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    2. The internet, you've done it again.



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  3. I read that article about the "3 breaths in, 2 out" rule and tried to put it into practice for a couple of weeks. tried. After a while I grew very resentful at having to control and manipulate something that normally happens automatically. It never felt natural, and so, after a couple of weeks, I rejected it as total junk science (as I do every running "rule" that does not work for me!)
    And I, for one, enjoyed hearing about your W!

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    1. Everything I "try" to do while running feels unnatural--changing my form, my posture, my landing, my turnover, etc. Same for the breathing, although, I find it is still a somewhat nice pattern. I never remember to do it for more than like 2 minutes max.

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  4. I think SF is experiencing a bit of a boom, thanks to the (possibly somewhat obnoxious) tech industry (people live in SF, commute to Silicon Valley). http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-silicon-valley-backlash-20130814,0,7114762.story

    Also with the breathing: one of the only two useful tips I have ever received on breathing is to exhale sharply when you have a side stitch, and hold for a couple of beats, then resume. (The other useful tip is 'don't stop'.)

    As for the W, as someone with an international marriage who had to have one micro-wedding and two parties of varying sizes in various places to feel like I had included sufficient people in the happiness, I am quite interested. Don't stop posting about that please!

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    1. SF has been a gloomy crowded cesspool of people since I can remember. Which is about 3 years old.

      Don't stop breathing?! Excellent, I can do this. Feeling accomplished already.

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    2. Oh. God. Never come to Singapore, then. Or if you must...well, at least it'll be sunny. And tropical. And you *might* feel like you're at the beach - when you're not sweating puddles just getting out of the house in the morning, never mind standing nose to pit with dozens of people on the train. The same goes for running trails, except you're sweating voluntarily.

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  5. 21 miles is no joke and dodging crowds of people gives you 2 miles worth of bonus points.

    The breathing thing is too complicated for me. Breathe in, Breathe out...that's it!

    Stalking a girl for that many miles. She never turned around and gave you the evil eye? ha. I admit I fall into the looking at Garmin every 30 seconds trap. It's compulsive. That's why I won't even wear it during races anymore.

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    1. ha, no evil eye! I was a good half-block behind her. She was none the wiser.

      I'm sure compulsively checking your Garmin every 30 seconds is directly correlated to being an AMAZING ACCOMPLISHED RUNNER (or a perfect little runner girl). I don't check my pace often 'cause I get too lazy to care.

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  6. Haha I was amused by your creeping on the perfect little runner girl story. Good thing there were plenty of people around and she was too busy checking her watch to notice you creepin' ;)

    And I'm also interested in hearing about the big W! And I expect it to be fully illustrated with pictures.

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    1. You better stick up for me then when I post 100 wedding pictures and people peg it the worst. blog post. ever.

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  7. Hm, maybe pacers actually work. I only tried one once, when I was a TOTAL newbie, as in I signed up for a half marathon that was three weeks away - and I was one of those people who occasionally jogs 3 miles. I showed up at the start having done a long run of 10 miles (which almost killed me) and, as I didn't even own a watch, fell in with the 2 hours group. Didn't work. They got off pace and I ended up leaving them! I charged ahead and still missed 2 hours by a minute or two! So funny to look back.

    Would you use a pace group for a marathon maybe?

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    1. I should try a pacer! Maybe Boston will be the time to try. I think CIM this year will be an...awkward race. I'll be running it mere days after returning from a long-ass honeymoon.

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  8. I will probably not try the breathing thing. I find that whenever I start thinking too hard about something like that, it will usually lead to disaster. I might swallow my tongue or accidentally pass myself out or something.

    Congrats on completing the pre-wedding obstacle course and getting to the actual day intact!

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  9. I was enjoying this until your last few paragraphs. Girl, I take you the Presidio or Marin where no one will bother you for miles & miles. Lands End is one of the worst, esp. on weekends!

    All that aside, good riddance to your good running.

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    1. then take me already!! here I am! rock me like a hurricane!

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  10. Yay new post. I ran that same path Saturday morning and it was not toooo crowded. Also, I like hearing about the W word. Congrats!

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    1. I ran it Sunday at 10:30 a.m., which makes me not smart. Next time lets run at the same time and high-five!

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  11. I did actually give a shit about your wedding posts. I do agree that with most bloggers I'm falling asleep at the very mention of a wedding, but I found yours interesting, and I've always been fascinated by the wedding dresses people choose (I have no idea why - perhaps it's the 1% of 'girly' personality I have) as well as the dynamics surrounding a wedding. Not that one will ever happen for me, but in the hypothetical scenario that it did, I swear I would get married in a white running outfit with white running shoes embossed with silver. Clearly, I have given this far too much thought.

    I'm glad your hip flexor has sorted itself out and it wasn't anything serious. I do hope you can see a physio soon to get some answers about your leg lock...I know firsthand how frustrating a problem these types of injuries can be.

    And I demand that Shittyblogger has an encore!

    xxx

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    1. A white running outfit! My, you are a changed woman! I see at least 7% girly.

      I'm also always fascinated by dress choices. I am confused by 95% of the dresses I see, they often look so...uncomfortable, or structured. How is that flattering?

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  12. I really do want to see your wedding photos. I'm a sucker for wedding photos and I was out running with the lovely Jen on your big day so I feel like I was kind of there!

    How was the Coastal Trail? I've read that it can be a bit sketchy but it sounds like it was too busy to be sketchy? I'll take crowds over muggers so I'm excited now.

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    1. Can I join you and Jen next time?

      Coastal trail has never struck me as sketchy. Just rooty. As in, watch out for tree roots and such. I fell once.

      GG Park, on the other hand...I ran through it once in the dark at 9:00 p.m. and that was the sketchiest run I've ever been on. Yikes.

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  13. Your casual weekend summer miles make my head spin.

    And that chick checking her watch, maybe she was doing speed work...or watching heart rate zone....or, who the hell knows.

    Come to PDX. Beautiful places to run, barely any people :)

    AND GIVE ME WEDDING PHOTOS NOW DAMMIT.

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    1. I promise to make it to PDX soon. That city has been high, high on my list for years. Maybe President's day weekend?

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  14. There was a race on the Coastal Trail on Sunday. Otherwise, I'm out there all the time and there are just enough people to feel safe, without being crowded.

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    1. A race!? Neato. I didn't see many runners, but it was getting pretty late when I was there (maybe noonish)

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  15. Haha, you're a stalker slogger! I knew it!! I've only followed people during races, never around the Lake, though I have been caught up a couple of times doing intervals where I'll pass someone and then they'll pass me during my rest interval. It gets pretty awkward when this happens 2-3 times.

    You should've run the Bay Trail with me on Sunday! It was cloudy until about 10am and not crowded at all! But then you would've had to run slower than slogging (i.e., my pace). :)

    And yes, wedding photos PLEASE!!

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    1. What exactly....is the bay trail? I'd love a new route, take me. Do you drive there?

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    2. Oh, it's just that "trail" next to the frontage road that runs from Emeryville up to Richmond. I usually drive and park in Emeryville Marina or Cesar Chavez Park.

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    3. I've always wanted to run there! looks perfect for a tempo.

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  16. The breathing reminds me of swimming and I can't handle any thoughts of swimming ever again LOL. I admit I've sped up the pace and followed people before but that really doesn't happen too much...since everywhere I live there are not many runners.

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  17. I've just started running the past month and I'm sometime lurker of your blog. I like how detailed you go in each of your posts and it encourages me to strive harder for each run. I'm also learning a lot from your running tricks and the way you put your thoughts into words- a far cry from the courtroom, I'm sure! :=) Anyway, just want to thank you and keep them posts coming!

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  18. I creep on other runners too. My long runs tend to be the slow "slogging" runs but when I see another runner going my way at a pace I think I can manage, I jump on the wagon and go. Having a "pacer" like that is fun and gets me through some runs. :)

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  19. In reference to your comments about the wedding - I want to hear about it!!! I mean I know I was there, but I love hearing about my friends weddings. When they are cool like yours. :)

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