Tuesday, July 18, 2017

If life could stop kicking the crap out of me, plzthnx....

Ugh. I can't say I'm not beating myself up a little over this past week's mileage and other various running failures. I've been super swamped with work stuff, which actually should not affect running that much time-wise (I mean, weekdays I'm generally running *maybe* 2 hours tops?), but it's been sapping all my energy and motivation.

On top of that, there have been a lot of social things going on. And don't get me wrong, I have wonderful friends and I love the social things! They are good for me in lots of ways, and when I'm feeling rested and motivated it's not usually a problem to plan ahead and get done what needs to get done. But this week I completely failed at that, and it feels pretty terrible. There is definitely a part of me that is looking back at those posts about big-hairy-audacious goals and trying to peak at 75 miles a week and run a 1:35ish half in October and then looking at myself in the mirror with a raised eyebrow like, "Are you sure you really want that? Because right now you kinda seem like maybe you don't really want it all that much."

It's not that I'm unmotivated; in some ways, I'm extremely motivated, which is why it feels so bad. Instead it feels more like mileage and workouts were something I used to fight for, desperately (because that's the only way it ever happens), and lately I don't seem to have much fight.

But, what happened happened (or didn't), and all I can really do is look forward to the 11 weeks I have left and try to do better.



Anyway.

* * * Rock 'N Roll San Jose Half: Week 3 of 14 * * *

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Books 2017: Quarter 2

Guys. Where is the year going. July?? Crazy pants.

As you probably already know, I've been reading a classic a month for the last two years. It started as a one-year project in 2014, but I've enjoyed it enough to keep going with it & will probably continue until it starts to feel like a chore. You can find my past reviews by clicking on the "books" tag at the end of this post, or be my friend on Goodreads. (You can also just go to the site & hunt down my review feed without being my friend, if that's more your speed.)

ICYMI, the classics I selected to read in 2017 are here.

On to the reviews!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

So far, so good + Another 5K?

Happy post-Fourth of July! As usual, we mostly just saw glowing clouds here.


#summer

Nothing super exciting to report this week; still pretty low mileage, but a gradual bump up from last week, including a bit of speed work (with no calf pain! Yay!), which is what we call progress. Also, it's kind of funny how quickly you start to lose your endurance. Going into those 8-10 milers, I'd be thinking, "Maybe I'm being too conservative, maybe I should go a little further." And then 75% through or thereabouts, I'd find myself thinking, "Nope, that was just about right!" I've also been lifting more consistently (#goldstars) but my legs aren't quite used to it yet, so that also makes things a little harder than usual. But overall, I'm happy with how the week turned out.

In other news, I'm debating taking another crack at 5K on the track next Tuesday in San Rafael. I'll be working in Sacramento that day so the only reason it's even a possibility is because the 5K is the last event, but I might also be completely exhausted by then & just want to go home & sleep. I also know that I won't really be ready for it the same way as I was on the 17th, coming off of a pretty low mileage month and just a couple of short speed workouts vs. a pretty decent mileage month with quite a lot of 5K-focused speed work. But I definitely have a habit of only ever wanting to race when I know I'm in really good shape & well-tapered & etc., which honestly means I don't just race for fun as much as I'd like. So....maybe??

* * * Rock 'N Roll San Jose Half: Week 2 of 14 * * *

Friday, July 7, 2017

SJRNRHM Week 1 of 14: run in tahoe, try not to faint

Oof. This training cycle is not starting out the way I'd hoped! My plan was to race an awesome 5K on 6/17, then spend a couple of weeks building easy mileage back up to the ~40 range, then start workouts & gradually build to training mileage. Alas, that calf strain or whatever it was during the 5K really threw a wrench into that plan. Instead of easing pretty much right back into easy miles, I had to take an entire week completely off, so obviously the week after THAT I was not going to immediately jump back to 40+ weeks & speed/tempo workouts.

Instead, the story of this first week of SJ Half Training has been let's-try-to-get-maybe-some-nonzero-amount-of-miles-in-without-re-injuring-the-calf. By now I've learned my lesson about trying to do too much too soon after even a minor injury, so my only goal was just to take it day by day & see how things felt.

And, it was not a bad week. We ended up going to Tahoe Friday through Monday so that Don could ski (yes, there is still skiing in Tahoe because #california) and I could spend a few glorious free days working, reading, running, & lounging by the many many swimming pools. (We had to Hotwire a swanky resort because we waited too long to book anything reasonable. It was not cheap but at least we did get a pretty huge discount on the normal price, and I gotta say, man, sometimes I totally see why people go to resorts.)


Skiing in July!


You didn't know there was a swimming pool & a hot tub at the top of Squaw, did you?

Tahoe adventures included kinda sorta pretending to (briefly) be a trail runner, seeing a real live bear way too close for comfort, & nearly passing out on a run. (Heat! Hills! Altitude! They do not screw around.)

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Clamoring back on the wagon....

In a way, the timing of my ill-fated 5K was good. My taper happened to coincide with some busy weeks at work, and the week after when I couldn't run because of my messed up calf, I was traveling for a kind of intense workshop with K-12 math teachers. I usually stop lifting the week or two before a race, which worked out well since there was no time for it anyway, and I didn't feel the need to jump right back into it the week after.

But now I'm back home, and not traveling for more than a day or two at a time (that I know of) for a good while, and work is a bit calmer, so it is time now to clamor my way back up onto the srsbzns training wagon and get my shit at least in the same general vicinity as together.


How the wagon feels sometimes

(Also, I ran just a few easy miles on Monday and Tuesday for the first time since the 5K and my leg feels back to normal, so hopefully it won't revolt again!)

I know that sometimes people lament their inability to do something consistently, day in and day out, but honestly, I've come to realize over the years that that's just life. It's impossible to train hard core day in and day out, to eat like a lean mean machine year round, to get in the strength work and stretching and rolling and whatnot come hell or high water. You just can't. Nor should you!

And that doesn't just apply to we humble age groupers. Even most professional and elite athletes make a real point of taking breaks and letting their bodies and minds fully recover before launching into another super intense training cycle (and the internet is littered with the cautionary tales of those have tried to go hard week after week and year after year and suffered physical setbacks, mental burnout, or both). So I don't feel bad about having had a few easy weeks and one completely off before I for-realsies put that 1:35 half marathon in the crosshairs & prepare to take a big ol' fatty swing at it come October.

While training for CIM last year, I kind of threw the time goal out the window & instead focused on process goals, which worked out pretty darn well, so that's what I'm trying to do this time around as well. (I mean; I still have 1:35 in the back of my mind, but on a day-to-day, week-to-week basis, I'm going to not worry about the numbers on the clock & instead concentrate on the process.)

So. Here are the goals:

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Race Report: SF Track & Field Club Pride Meet


Photo credit: SF Track & Field Club

TL;DR - I was having a GREAT race until pretty much right at mile 2 when something in my calf felt like it just popped and I nearly fell over due to the ice pick-like stab of pain that went screaming through my gastrocnemius. It was an instant race ender, which is super disappointing, but there's also some pretty amazing silver lining.

THE LONGER VERSION:

I'd been excited about this race for a couple of months now. I've wanted to dip my toe back into the world of track racing for a while now, but the timing has never worked out -- I've either always been injured, recovering, traveling, or aiming for some other big race that conflicted with the Bay Area track meets I knew about. This was finally the year!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Some 5Ks I Have Run (and taking bets for Saturday!)

Since I'm about to run my first 5K in over a year and a half, I thought it might be good to do some sort of planning in terms of vaguely what pace I should be running and what kind of time would be reasonable to expect. (I mean, the time will be whatever it is but I would like to have some sense of whether, say, a 1:30 first lap is something to panic about.)

Unlike with the full and half marathon, my 5K history is kind of nebulous in my mind, and I've never had big, multi-year goals around that distance. (Not for any particular reason -- I don't feel like it's any less of a "legitimate" distance than longer ones, and I think it's kind of a shame that the 5K gets so ignored and dismissed by recreational road racers obsessed with going longer and longer and longer just for the sake of bigger numbers on the bumper sticker, or something.)

So, just for funsies, I decided to look back over my past 5Ks and see if I can spot any patterns & maybe come up with some sort of reasonable expectations.

Which I have to admit, was pretty amusing. It was actually kind of fun to read back over some of my old race reports and relive details I no doubt would have completely forgotten otherwise (for better or worse!). What I learned was:

    1) I almost never run 5Ks (as in, seven in my entire adult life),

    2) A weirdly large percentage of them were run when I was just starting to run again after an injury (go figure), and

    3) An equally weirdly large percentage had some kind of wonkiness about the course length or timing (probably related at least in part to how a lot of local 5Ks are tiny community events where people understandably aren't being as anal about the course & timing as they would be at a bigger/pricier/higher stakes event).

So, ultimately, not that helpful in terms of goal setting, but at least moderately entertaining! Read on, and at the end we'll take bets on Saturday's performance.