Sunday, January 27, 2013

Go Runner!

It seems like things are progressing really well for 85% of the running blogs I read.  Everyone is conquering injuries; getting PR's; following training plans and then some; getting in their stretching and strength training and foam rolling; getting a coach; running a super hard tempo run and finishing so strong that they felt like they could keep going!

How the hell does everyone make it look so easy?

That is one of the many appealing things about running.  You can always improve.  You really can.  Until you are an Olympian or are already devoting 40+ hours a week to it.  And so it's only natural that most of us would keep getting better and stronger at running with some effort.  Not even all that much effort really, just 5-10 hours per week.

I'm at a fork where I feel I've plateaued at getting stronger/faster with the current routine I'm operating.  I'm not surprised or disappointed, but the path I chose after resting to try and rid my buttcrease pain in October 2012 hasn't been conducive to getting better at running.

What path? My path has been to run miles at goal marathon pace regularly, a pace that is unclear to me yet, but has generally been between a 6:45-7:10 pace.  Plus occasional fartleks.  Plus a  run over 18 miles on the weekends.  The idea was that with all these miles at 6:50 pace, that pace would start to feel easier and easier.

Well what in the hell, it doesn't feel any easier.  Not one ounce easier than it felt before I dug out probably more than 100 miles at that pace.  4 miles at 6:45 pace still feels like one helluva speed workout to me.  Moreso in my legs than in my lungs.

I'm clearly missing some ingredient--whether it is that track workouts really DO matter and are necessary; whether I need to do more strength training (big surprise, I haven't done much at all the past two months); whether I need to take more days off, run less miles, run more miles, change my diet, add more iron supplements.  I don't know what it is, but right now the combination I'm working with has left me feeling like I'm going nowhere.

To be clear, that's okay with me.  I'm looking forward to not having a marathon in my view so that I can put even less effort into wondering what runs I should be doing.  For instance, this weekend, I really did not want to go on a long run.  Not at all.  But with 5 weeks until marathon day, I have limited weekends left to try and hit 21, 22, or 23 miles.  So I was feeling a lot of pressure to get 22 miles in.  And I hate when running feels like this, when I feel forced to do something I'm not looking forward to. It will be nice to not worry if I'm doing the right run, and just head out for 12 fun miles and then come home.  Or 22 if I happen to be feeling like it.  (spoiler: I did not hit 21, 22, or 23 miles this weekend).

It's also okay with me because I'm content with where I'm at (to some degree).  Knowing I can run a sub 1:30 half  marathon will always feel nice, no matter how many times it happens, even if I'm stuck at the same 1:27-1:29 result over and over again.  Progress would feel better, but it is still a fantastic feeling to know what my body allows me to do just by indulging in my hobby most mornings of the week.

So this reflection comes because this week was pretty sluggish.  Almost every run felt sub-par in one way or another, and almost every run was interrupted by some stomach issues.  (I feel healthy, but suspect my stomach is fighting off a minor bug? Or I developed a new sensitivity where I used to have stomach of steel?).

Monday: 0.  Kind of regret this -- it threw me off.  I was feeling great after my 102 mile week, then decided I should take a day off even though my body was craving a run.  I never fell back on track after taking Monday off.  Hmm.

Tuesday: 10.2 a.m., 4.7 p.m.  I had a date with the treadmill to try and best my 9.08 miles in one hour that I hit last week.  I hit 9.18 miles, but it doesn't count so much.  It was a terrible run.  Normally when I tempo on a treadmill, I'll hit 30 minutes and think "Nice! Only 30 minutes left, feeling good!"  This time, I hit 30 minutes and thought about giving up because I couldn't believe I had a whole 'nother 30 minutes to go.  I felt like crap.  And I stopped to stretch/drink too many times during that second half.  Fail.  I started at 8.8 mph, and bumped it up every mile until I hit 9.4 mph at mile 7, and then started bumping down.  Average pace around 6:32 or so.  Definitely did not feel "like I could to a few more miles!! Yippee!! So easy!!"

Wednesday: 11.8.  easy.

Thursday:  13.  Um, this was supposed to be 20 miles.  Yeah, I woke up extra early to get 20 miles in, thinking it has been hard to cram 20 miles into my weekends lately, but nothing was working in my favor.  I got in the car to head to the gym near my work, and the gas tank was empty.  Got gas.  Lost 10 minutes, maybe I'll still have time for 18.5 miles. Got on the treadmill; had to get off THREE times due to stomach issues.  Quit at mile 13 due to feeling awful and running out of time.

Friday: 13.  5 miles of fartleks at the front end.

Saturday: 4.5 a.m., 8.5 p.m.  Ran the with Gentleman in the morning.  I had slept in until 11:00a.m.  Yes, I really did.  After going to bed at 11:00 p.m.  Which is to say I slept 12 hours.  I don't know how I do it.  There was crazy construction going on in the apartment above, and I slept through it because of my superpower weekend lazy skills.  So, I ruined any chance of running in the morning, and didn't want to be running a 20+ miler through 3:00 p.m. on a promising Saturday.  I did have a minor freak out in my head about how I have a marathon coming up and SHOULD BE running at least 20 miles, and 4 was pretty pathetic.  I ended up compromising by sneaking in a one-hour treadmill run in that evening, 8.3 miles in one hour, progression run starting at 7.0 mph and ending at 9.3 mph.  Surprising how crowded the gym is at 8:00p.m. on a Saturday.  We headed out to a movie right after, which I'll mention more below....

Sunday: 18.6 slow blah miles.  Ate a honey stinger gel at mile 12.5 and felt a small surge afterwards, but still mostly blah.

total: 84.3 stupid miles.

I would love to feel better.  Possibly this is still an iron issue.  I have never figured out why I feel high on energy some weeks and completely drained on others.  Anyway...

****MOVIES****

I never think to describe myself as "someone who loves movies" because that seems like announcing "I'm a human in a developed country."  Everybody loves movies, right?  Well every now and then I meet someone who is like, "oh I haven't been to the movie theatre since 2008."  WHAT!?!? why!?!

I do love movies.  I love the movie THEATRE experience.  It is the only way I can give a movie the full attention it deserves, because a movie at home means I miss 23 scenes while browsing my ipad, eating food, taking a phone call, etc.  At the theatre, I'm all in, focused, crying all over the place.  There's nothing I love more than sending or receiving a text with the Gentleman on Friday afternoon at work that says "so-and-so movie at 8:15 tonight?"  YES.  Yes please, I DO want to to check out of this work week and sit on my butt while I transport to another time with beautiful actors.

I don't check in with the blog every time I see a movie, so I thought I would do a quick recap of the movies I have seen in the last 3 months or so now that Oscar season is approaching.  Inspired by my absolute favorite movie experience this past weekend.

Looper: while it has been a while since I saw this film, it still stands out to me as one of my favorites of the year.  It reminded me a little of another Bruce Willis film, and one that I have always been a fan of--12 Monkeys--in the way that the time-loop aspect gets your brain all hyped up for days afterwards.  The only problem is I don't think I will ever watch it again due to a few scenes that were hard to watch.   JGL for the win, I give this 8.5 out of 10 "go runner!" shout-outs.

This should be my new blog header photo.  JGL.
Darn it.  There is this picture of me where I swear I look like JGL, but I can't find it right now.  I'll share it in the future.  Get ready to have a crush on me.

Moonrise Kingdom: If you like one Wes Anderson movie, you'll probably find some joy in all of them.  This was better than the last few (Steve Zissou, Darjeeling Limited, Fantastic Mr. Fox) but I wasn't as enthralled by it as some friends and critics.  It was long; the main actors were children; I can't think of what else to complain about.  Bruce Willis was a perfect addition to the cast of regular (adult) Wes Anderson players, and Ed Norton is so likable when he is doing comedy-ish roles.  7 out of 10 "go runners!".

I'm a quirky movie

Argo: Ben Affleck is a fantastic director.  He's 3 for 3 in my book.  This was also a nice little dip into history for someone like me who was not alive to remember the Iran hostage crisis, and didn't get to experience the sideburn bell-bottom era that was 1979. I can never pinpoint what it is about John Goodman that makes him so likable, but he and Alan Arkin provided some comic relief from the hand-wringing tension of the hostage escape plan.  8.8 out of 10 "go runners!"

This movie needs more bellbottoms.  And mustaches. 

Lincoln: Yes, DDL worked his tail off to portray Lincoln, the movie was interesting, beautiful, political, exciting.  I can't say anything else without sounding like a douchy historian.  JGL didn't impress too much here, but the mean old grumpy Tommy Lee Jones did.  My dad played football with Tommy Lee Jones, so I'm just one level away from having the chance to see his scowl in person.  8 out of 10 "go runners!" Minus one point for sadly learning that Lincoln's voice was nowhere near as strong as I always pictured the voice that would boom "Four Score....." Minus another point for Lincoln not being a vampire killer.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey:  I saw this to keep my husband company.  Kept the expectations reaaaallll low, which helped me only feel bored 20% of the time.  The sudden outburst of songs was super odd.  And kind of funny.  And why did one dwarf get to look normal while the rest had huge honkers? It passed the time. A lot of "there is no way they would have survived that" moments.  6.2 out of 10 "go runners!"

How'd Kili get so lucky?

Brave: I watched this at home on DVD which means I hardly paid attention.  So I hated it.  Also the twist is very....huh? Turns out this movie is about....huh? okay.  4.8 out of 10 "go runners!" Minus 5.2 points for Disney forgetting that the best Disney movies have songs.

Skyfall: This blog review was a bad idea.....I'm getting impatient and running out of adjectives....  What to say....the first Craig Daniels Bond movie, Casino Royale, is still the best one hands down.  I don't know if we're supposed to like M or not, but I'm with the bad guys on this one and think she is a cold-hearted B who I would seek vengeance on if I was Javier Bardem.  The villain who rocked the house.  7.3 out of 10 "go runners!"

Les Miserables:  Oh, my sweet Les Mis.  My love Les Mis.  I fell in love with the story when I was just six years old and my mom snuck me into the show in San Francisco (I think you had to be 8 years old).  I have since seen it several more times, fell deeply and shed tears with the Victor Hugo novel, and rocked out to the PBS soundtrack in its entirety during long runs.  And long drives.  I am not a fan of musicals -- I hate Rent; I hate Wicked; I like Jersey Boys; etc.  But Les Mis holds a very special place in my heart.  That said, I don't have a lot to add to the reviews that have all been told already.  The film was lovely in that it took you visually where the broadway performance can not.  The opening scene itself is stunning.  The actors don't hold a candle to the powerful voices of broadway trained actors, nor to the talent that is required of that unmatchable soundtrack.  I do think Hugh Jackman did justice to one of my favorite characters in literature, Jean Valjean, but nobody else quite hit the mark.  Maybe adult Eponine...regardless of the voices, it was still a joy to watch.  I spent most of the movie trying not to cry since my cool husband was busy being all "I'm bored, is it over yet." Sacha Baron Cohen sucked balls.  Because the story is still Les Mis, 8.1 out of 10 "I'm Jean Valjean's!!"

Well done monsieur Jackman

Everybody hates you Cosette.  Don't you know how much your father has SACRIFICED?!

Silver Linings Playbook: I believed the hype and got my expectations way too high.  In the end, it was no different than the myriad other films out there that romanticize mental illness.  Garden State, As Good as it Gets, etc.  The ending was stolen right from Little Miss Sunshine.  It was nice to see Bradley Cooper not play a hot suave guy.  5 out of 10 "go runners...I guess..."

Life of Pi:  Now. THIS is a movie.  I was blown all sorts of away.  I haven't had such a magical experience at the movies in a long time.  A beautiful story, and my eyes lit up like I was on a Disneyland ride the entire time.  I wouldn't save this for a home viewing, it is far too lovely looking on the big screen.  Just a beautiful film.  I'm not sure how word of mouth hasn't spread this movie harder.  10 out of motherfucking 10 "Go Richard Parkers!"

We saw Life of Pi this weekend at a speakeasy theatre in Oakland.  It's awesome.  We sat on a couch.

The couch to the left of the one with the people in it. 


Movies I haven't seen yet but still want to: Zero Dark Thirty; Django Unchained (afraid of the violence, never seen a Quentin film); Beasts of the Southern Wild; I think that's it.

Do you love the movie theatre experience? Favorite movie of 2012? 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

102 Miles

The third week in January is supposedly the most depressing week of the year.  The holiday spirit is long gone; the days are still cold and short; you get your holiday shopping bill in the mail; all your new years resolutions are broken; Valentine's day is coming and OMG you're still single. Officially the most depressing day this year is January 21, which means....tomorrow. Or right now depending on when you are reading this. Sorry.  Hope you aren't depressed.

Thankfully, for me, the latter half of January hasn't been so depressing.  I'm starting to love running in 40 degree weather (if you're thinking "dang, I would LOVE 40 degree weather right now, this 3 degree weather business sucks," I should clarify that 40 degrees is COLD in these parts.  My warmest running clothing item is a long sleeved race shirt.  But I'm enjoying the cold.  The relative cold.).

Other reasons the third week in January was a good one: I became the new owner of some great running gear; I maybe discovered my new best pair of running shoes; and I ran 102 miles with legs that feel just as normal as any other 50-80 mile week.

Part one, new running gear:

I got ALL OF THIS



 for $2.55!






How!?

1) Because of my awesome extreme coupon-ing skills.

Lie.  Falsity.  I do not have any running shoe coupons, but if you ever learn of one, send it to me.

2) It's because I finally sold out my blog, now, at this opportune moment in time when the blog is more boring than ever and anonymous links to vacuum cleaner sites are more common than legit comments. (Are you with me? who's bored? I feel bored.  Which in the words of Louis C.K., is unacceptable.)



This is also a flat-out Armstrongian statement (has that caught on yet to mean "a lie"?)

3) Is it because Brooks felt sad for me and sent me a reject chocolate egg filled with running shoes?

Also no.  I don't want shoe-flavored chocolate, or chocolate scented shoes, and Brooks doesn't want to give extravagant gifts to runners unless they have a certain tens of thousands of readers to bleat to.  It is a 3% cute marketing idea.  Cute like Oakley's marketing strategy of showing off how select women athletes love champagne and spa days or something.  It's okay I'm not picking on Brooks/Oakley, almost all marketing makes me laugh/roll my eyes.

GET TO IT ALREADY.

The $2.55 goodies includes Brooks running shoes, a Nike running tank, and 11 pieces of various running fuel.



The Shoes.

I got to select a free pair from A Runner's Mind in Burlingame as a prize for placing 1st woman at the Run with the Jets Half Marathon.

The shoe expert who helped me out guided me to a revelation.  Apparently all other shoe store people just wanted me to buy some Nike Air Pegasus' and get outta there, because they all led me to believe I am a neutral runner that needed a neutral cushioned shoe.  This fellow noted some clear pronation on my right foot, told me I needed a stabilizing shoe, had me try on two solid Nike's and two solid Brooks, and while I liked them all and the runner up was the Brooks Pure Flow, I went with the Brooks Pure Cadence 2.

My only other Brooks shoe experience is the Launch.  I like them.  I tried racing in them once for a half-marathon, and they weren't meant to be my racing shoe.  Still, they are a regular in my rotation and they work well for tempo runs/ runs with some speed.  My running shoe rotation currently consists primarily of the Brooks Launch (I bought them 1.5 years ago, so they are an earlier series) and the Nike Air Pegasus 29.  I occasionally wear Asics Gel Nimbus but find them far too cushiony and thick for my recent preferences.  I'll wear the Newtons that I won after the See Jane Run half marathon maybe 1 time per month, and haven't grown any love for them at all.  I feel slow and clumsy in them.  Although I still enjoy how they propel me up hills.

I wasn't really planning on running today (Sunday) since that would make it 7 days in a row of running, something I haven't done in a really long time, but I was excited (aren't all runners!?) to try out the new shoes.  And, watching football is always more fun when you feel like you've earned 3+ hours of couch/beer/food time.

Crock-pot pulled pork was my sweet reward and perfect company for watching the Forty-Niners lock their spot in the Super-Bowl!!!

17.3 miles in the Brooks Pure Cadence, I just ADORE them.  I know I've said this before on my first run out in a new pair of shoes, so my word can't be trusted yet.  The true test will be wearing them for a half-marathon in 2 weeks.  I really hope they work, because if not, it's the Nike Air Pegasus for the Napa Marathon.  And they were okayyyy for CIM, but not perfect.  I think I need something a little stiffer than the plush cloud that is the Pegasus.



As for the rest of the goodies, the lovely Sesa gave me a tip that a Runners Mind had a Groupon ($25 for $50) so I bought it moments before heading out the door to pick up some free shoes, and then selected $50 worth of running fuel and a lightweight sexy Nike running tank top.

So technically, I spent $27.55.  And technically, some couponing was involved.  Either way, it was a successful store visit, and if I lived closer to A Runners Mind I would be there more often.  It is a runners paradise--especially for people seeking a community of runners to run with.

Part two, 102 miles.

A few disclaimers.

Running more than 100 miles in a week is stupid.  DON'T DO IT.  There is no reason to strive for this goal.  I don't feel particularly smart about doing it, I don't recommend doing it, unless you are literally paid to run, I just don't see the point.  I think running 80 miles/week builds just as much strength and endurance as running 100 miles.  But with less wear and tear.

Proof, is the fact that I have been running just around 70 miles per week for the last several, and low and behold it pumped me up with enough endurance to run 102 miles this week without much trouble at all.  I feel fine.  Normal.  I wouldn't know this week had been any different than others unless I looked down at the numbers in my dorky log.

Which is to say it felt good and not hard, otherwise I wouldn't have done it.  If I ran 100 miles every week, I would probably feel depleted.

Other reasons why I did it? One is that I ran on Monday, a day I usually take off, and that is because I didn't run last Sunday.  It bumped my week off a little, but ultimately I didn't feel like I really needed a day off this week, so I didn't take one.  Running 7 days of the week was the key ingredient for hitting 102 miles.

Another reason is that I am 6 weeks from a marathon.  I will be tapering any second now, knowing how fast the weeks zip by.  These next few weeks are my last chance to build some endurance so that 26.2 miles feels easy-peazy, and since I am running a half marathon in 2 weeks and will likely take the week preceding it fairly light, this past week was kind of the perfect time to challenge my legs with some heavy mileage.

Lastly, this is only the second time that I have hit 100 miles in a week.  I don't plan on doing it again anytime soon, as I like taking days off.  I also like the 70-85 mile range per week.  It works really well for me, allows me to take 1-2 days off per week, and just feels good.

With that:

Monday: 14.25 (easy run)
Tuesday: 12.6 (alternate one easy mile with one mile at about 6:45 pace for all 12 miles)
Wednesday: 10.6 a.m., 5 p.m., total 15.6.
The morning run included 9.09 miles in one hour on a treadmill, which was the hardest run I've done in a while.  Started out at 8.8 mph speed (6:48 pace) and bumped up the speed each mile, until I was at 9.2 mph (6:31?) at mile 5, then rotated between 9.2 and 9.1 mph for the final miles.  1.0 incline.  Some leg-lock issues, not as bad as it has been in the past.
Thursday: 10.9
Friday:  12
Saturday: 19.5
I was hoping to make this a long 22 miler, but I died at mile 17 and headed home with plenty of walking for the last 2 miles.  My legs felt fine, and I had plenty of fuel with me.  Based on my experience with this low-energy sensation, it is a classic iron issue.  Makes sense because I haven't taken an iron supplement in weeks.  I'll go back to my unprofessional prescription of 1-2 iron pills per week.
Sunday: 17.3 (to try out the new shoes, felt so nice I didn't want to head home until mile 17).

total = 102 miles.  Ish.  I did the math in my head.

Lesson of the week: Brooks shoes are as great as everyone says; don't run 100 miles in a week stupid; bloggers are not always shining examples of what to do, so again unless you are comfortably there already or are paid to run, please don't aim for 100 miles in one week.

There are people out there who run 100 miles in one go, right? Ultra runners, as they are called? Idiots.

Monday, January 14, 2013

An Uhmazing Journey

It's Bachelor season!! You know what that means.  That means it is time for an amazing journey.  A perFACT date.  A strategically placed, "I think I'm starting to maybe fall in love with you."  A girl with a secret boyfriend back home.  A girl who didn't learn from seasons past that you should never be the one to tell the Bachelor that his front runner "is a completely different person around the house."  A guy who works out with his shirt off at the beginning of every episode.  A lingering close-up on the sexy stub of the one-armed girl.

Ah, I didn't know it was possible to love a show, yet love to mock it so hard.

Speaking of champagne and schmoozing...(admittedly dumb segue, owning it)

We went to the Gentleman's "holiday" work event this weekend (so brilliant that they do it when all the venues are open and people's schedules are more open).  We take photos of the four times/year that we put pretty clothes on.


Take One
Take "really capture the Orange Blanket"
The event was at the "Olympic Club" in San Francisco, which I think has a $1,000,000 initiation fee (guesstimate)--OR you have to know important people--OR you have to be a great athlete.  A great athlete I am not, but one of the lead partners at the Gentleman's workplace has bonded with me over our marathon geekdom, and he seems to think he can work me into the grand "Olympic Club."  It was the champagne talking.  But I'm going to entertain that dream for a few weeks and act like it might happen.  An exclusive indoor track! They fly you out to the Big Marathons on the east coast! Wow.

As for the rest of the night, there was a badass magician just "mingling" with people (so cheesy but SO good).  And then the food....I truly don't understand how people restrain themselves at buffets.  I love buffets.  I believe in going back for a second plate, but based on my first plate, you would never know it.

Stuff underneath you don't even know about.

Meanwhile my darling husband acts logically and tries "a little of everything" on his first round.

Now I know this doesn't look appetizing, but the lump of yellow was possibly my favorite thing in 2013.  If you have ever had rum cake, it is just like the rum-flavored cream in the middle of the cake.  And you can just eat it by the spoonful.....yes yes yes.

Oh sweet, beautiful, filthy crowded San Francisco.  There's nothing like leaving a glamorous ball on a Saturday night in a little dress when it's 40 degrees, and then cramming onto a BART train with 12,098,384 people who are leaving a 49er game, and then the BART train stopping due to a servicing issue for 45 minutes.

I have so much BART rage.  This seems to happen at least one out of every three times I travel on it.  Major case of claustrophobia when those things stop running and everyone's body is crammed up together waiting for the train to start while more people keep pressing in.

This is 100% normal for rush hour

If BART could be summed up in one expression

I'll share one remarkable piece on running.

I ran 20 miles on Sunday (wait--ahem--it was 19.88 miles.  Bet all you neurotic/OCD runners would have run the extra 45 seconds to make it 20.  I love landing odd numbers much more than perfect ones).

Okay so I ran 19+ miles, and just like last weekend, I made up a workout that would incorporate a little but of hard work and speed into my long run.

Spontaneous non-plan plan: try to hit goal marathon pace or faster at miles 5, 10, 15, and 20.

Actual:

Mile 5: 6:22
Mile 10: 6:18
Mile 14: 6:05
Mile 18: 6:37

So, I went way, way faster than goal marathon pace, and I got really bored in between miles waiting for the fast miles, so I skipped ahead and did miles 14 and 18 instead of 15 and 20.

Mile 14 was extra fast because I happened to be running by a high school, so I popped in to run 6 laps around the track.

Mile 18 was a little slower because....it was mile freaking 18, and because it was mostly downhill and running really fast downhill freaks me out.

Last but not least, I was so sad to learn that Claire Danes and I actually do not share thin straight drab hair like I thought we did.

Thin hair champion


Interrogation thin hair


















It turns out she actually has bombshell hair.

You WIN Claire Danes

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Salads are for Babies

I'm just going to dump out the photos on my iphone to create a guide of something to talk about.  That's how blogging works, yes?

Thank goodness for sisters and birthdays.  One of them had these show up at my office.  That's bananas and apples up top.  I very reluctantly shared with my coworkers ;)

We started Netflixing Homeland.  Sometimes when you press pause at an awesome moment, you have to take photos to commemorate it.

No....no she isn't....

Yes! She is! She's eating lettuce!

She's probably under the influence of healthy food bloggers.

We went after pastries instead of lettuce.  My dear friend, who hung out in a crib with me when we were naked babies, helped me pick the perfect dessert at the Oxbow Market in Napa. 

four inches of cream to a centimeter of pastry.....perfection

Running:

I signed up for a half marathon that is in early February, exactly 4 weeks before the Napa marathon, so I can check myself and see what kind of shape I'm in.  Practice operating with my leg-lock issue, strategize when to stretch and how to do it quickly while racing.  No goals, just a "practice" run.

You'd think signing up for a marathon would be the thing to get me working extra hard, but, it isn't meant to be right now.  I have been working "eh" hard.  Normal hard, for me.  Not "I want a PR" hard.

It's not a lack of motivation, or a burn out.  It's just what is working for me right now, and what I think my legs want.  I've avoided the track, and while sprint repeats never test my body the way tempos do (in terms of my leg-lock issue), I figure toning down the frantic speed work can only make my body a little happier.

And so without the track, I have only a few options: easy whatever run; steady "tempo" style runs; and fartleks.  And I've been doing those, kind of.

For example, this week, on both Wednesday and Thursday (today) I ran 8-9 miles outside at a steady harder pace.  On Wednesday it was 8.6 miles in one hour at between a 6:45-7:10 pace; on Thursday it was 9 miles at something like a 7:05 pace.  (warm-up and cool-down miles not included).

The good news is that my legs felt AWFUL both days (not sore, but weirdly...weak or something.  Like that tingly feeling when you have wine after running), and I still was able to hang onto those paces somewhat comfortably.  7:10 is almost comfortable right now.  6:50, not so comfortable.  All I have to do is hit a slight incline and then I struggle to hit under 7:00.

Oh right, anyway, back to the point which is that I am signed up for a half-marathon.  The Kaiser half marathon in San Francisco.  I signed up after seeing the date (perfect distance before the Napa marathon!) the time (8:00 a.m., neato!), and the location (San Francisco is my posh neighbor!).  I haven't seen the course because the website is poorly designed enough that I gave up looking for it, so for all I know this is a trail run.  That's cool with me.

*****

Work is busy and exciting, and if it keeps up I may stick with 1 post/week....which bums me out a little.  I like to feel like I'm part of the blog community, and lately I feel all out of the loop.  Did the holidays throw us all off? Or am I alone on that?

Also, my brain is afraid of something.  I've been having nightmares constantly! The best part about my nightmares (because I get to laugh at it later) is that when I try to scream in my dreams (usually at a burglar trying to get in our apartment, or already in our apartment) I sometimes...succeed.  hehe.  But instead of a real scream, it sounds like a ghost.  Like "oooOOoaaAAooo."  And I work hella hard in my sleep state to make this little wimpy warbling noise.

Sign up for the Kaiser Half Marathon with me?

Who else talks or screams in their sleep?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

3849 Miles is Probably a Lie

Ok, FINE.  Fine.  Here are some stats about my 2012 in running.

(All are approximate, this is based on my math with numbers I wrote down in a Day-by-Day Calendar Log).

Total Miles: 3849 (What!?!?)**

**this number is confusing because it appears as though for the first half of the year, I was including "hiked" miles in my weekly miles total.  Then for the second half of the year, I was excluding "hiked" miles.  To be more precise I might subtract somewhere between 100-150 miles from this, to make my total miles "run" more like 3700.

**compare to 2011, total miles were 3162.  I definitely don't feel like I ran more this year than in years past....and I took time off on multiple occasions this year due to running pains.  I'm not sure how 2012 ended up significantly higher.  I'm going to go ahead and blame you.

Average miles per day: 10.55
Total number of days run: 259
Days not run: 106
Average days off per week: 2
Average miles per days that I ran: 14.29 (based on 3700 miles for the year)

Miles hiked:  204
Miles swam: 30ish?

Highest Mileage Week: 94
Lowest Mileage Week: 40 (excluding weeks completely off).

In conclusion, looking back on 2012 with a very introspective and analyzing eye, I run a lot and mostly go on long runs.  I like hiking too.

Speaking of hiking, for New Years Eve weekend and my birthday (haha, made you not wish me a happy birthday last week.  That's cool though because nobody cares about your birthday), we went up to the Northern coasts of California to a sleepy little beach town called Gualala.

California won't quit being gorgeous

Checking out the Gualala river where it meets the Ocean


Turns out I am an amazing photographer


Turns out the Gentleman tries to copy my photographing skills

We celebrated the weekend by walking around nature and beaches.  Van Damme state park and Salt Point state park.  I can't wait to go camping somewhere up here next summer.  Here is evidence that you will want to as well.


I was chasing a fairy

He was guarding the hobbit forest


Obviously, I found that fairy, and then turned into one

These are campsites.  Can you imagine waking up to these creepy beautiful trees!? I need to try it.

This meadow became a marsh and we had to turn around once our socks were soaked
 The only place to run here was up highway 1, which is dangerous as heck.  So despite the fact that I embrace running as the best way to learn about a new city/town while on "vacation," I saved my energy for two delicious hikes.

Literally, delicious.  We parked ourselves on a log for 3 cheeses, a jar of olives and jelly, a log of pepperoni, and crackers.

Since returning, the only notable runs to speak of are a 12 miler with 7.5 at "goal marathon pace" (between 6:45 and 7:05) and a 21 miler where I ran medium hard (just below a sprint) for the first quarter mile of each mile.  You better believe that by mile 19, it was damn near impossible to get below a 7:00 minute mile pace for that quarter mile burst of speed.  But it was a really fun way to mix some speed into a long run, and I'll take credit for inventing an awesome workout.

If there is one thing that 2012 wants you to know, it is this, and listen carefully because I know you will just brush this off.

Hide your wife, hide your kids, then get in your van and stop in the population 147 town of Valley Ford, California.  Park here.



And buy this.




Homemade beef jerky.  You AREN'T listening to me, you need to eat this stuff.  It is the best.  The best jerky ever known to man.  The flavors just melted...oh man.  It is good.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Christmas Attack


Well, it only took me one year to post about getting hitched, so I'm feeling realllly great and timely about posting about my Christmas a mere one week after Christmas.

(And thanks ^1million for all who commented on the non-proposal post for being so cool and supportive of our choice, you made me feel like a much more acceptable participant in society!)

We both thank you

For letting us be us

Christmas week was pretty high mileage, which makes sense given I only worked 2.5 days (26th-28th) and I gift myself the pleasure of a run on Christmas morning almost every year.  It works out easily enough since our family obligations tend to begin around 10:00 a.m., which gives me plenty of time to go on one of the loneliest runs of the year.

Lonely? Yes! Families start pouring out of their homes around noon for walks, but if you hit the roads at 7:00 a.m. you will not see a soul (except for a few homeless folk...sad but true).  There were no cars on the roads, no walkers and runners where I usually see them.  It builds up a sort of sweet excitement for me because I know many families are cozy inside getting/gifting the stuff they wished for, and I build anticipation to spend the day driving around the bay area to spend time with family and eat, eat, eat.

Running all this dang cold winter long.  Thanks for the photo SF road warrior

It's been at least two weeks since I've recorded any of my miles up here.  No track work as promised, some hilly runs as also promised, and I have thrown some "goal pace miles" (anywhere between 6:35 and 7:10) in the middle of many of these runs.  Definitely still does not feel like marathon pace, it feels way too hard, but....I am making some sort of attempt to put the work in.  Hopefully I'll feel inspired to put some more work in during January so that the Napa marathon isn't a miserable attempt at something around 3:05 (or lower? Not seeming likely).


Two Weeks of Miles:

Dec. 17-23: 70

Dec. 24: 0
Dec. 25: 15.3
Dec. 26: 16.5
Dec. 27: 10.1
Dec. 28: 15 ish? (just over 2 hours, Garmin died after mile 10).
Dec. 29: 16.4
Dec. 30: 15.4
Total: 88-ish


I've experimented with all sorts of comfortable combinations of harder miles: 3 x 2miles at effort, 2 x 3miles at effort, 2 x 4miles at effort.  One really fun run was 16 miles with the first 4 easy with the Gentleman, and the rest I "sprinted" for the first minute of each mile.  The sprints started out around a 6:00 pace, but by the 16th mile it slowed to a 6:30 pace.

The week prior was about 70 miles, only ran 4 days of the week, with two longer runs making up the bulk. (One 20 miler outside, slow hilly; one 20 miler inside on the treadmill, 7:30 average pace, kind of kicked my butt).

Body check: buttcrease is still feeling loose and solid, but the leg-lock is still happening whenever I run several miles consecutively at a harder effort.  It's not too miserable, I just have to stop and stretch, but that is a huge bummer for races.  Stopping kind of doesn't help with all those goals against the clock.

My holidays included a stop at the Dickens Fair (secret: go after 4:00 p.m. for half-off and smaller crowds, and plenty of time to stare at humungous boobs in corsets and the like).

Some official old timey laws being passed.  The ladies are only there to bounce their ringlets, no law participation allowed!
A poster that I love

We went on a hunt in the pouring rain for possible wedding party locations.

I dunno, I guess we can party on this bench?

I did anything and everything to make my niece smile or laugh.  It's stupid but I can't stop.

Her face is ridiculous!


Which is why I perfectly understand her mesmerization with her own reflection

I received an iPhone, my very first smart phone, so I can finally maybe be as cool as Page and get some apps going.  I'm bookmarking her post on smartphone nerdiness so I can start getting seriously addicted to staring at a box in my palm.  Don't worry that won't happen.

But I love having a camera at the ready.  So many self-pics in my future, woo-hoo!! In the bathroom, in the dressing room, in the car while holding a starbucks coffee, you can't stop me world, it's self-photos all the time, 2013!

My 2013 resolution is to remember to start writing the date as "2013" on my shit sooner than March.  What's yours? (You're only allowed to share your resolution with me if it is fake, petty, mean, appalling, or funny).  Thanks, and happy new year!