Monday, August 14, 2017

SJRNRHM Week 7 of 14: Cut-Back Week / Cookin' in the Bathroom

A couple of solid workouts still this week, but cutting back on the total mileage a bit. Going into it I found myself thinking, "Do I really need a cut-back week? I feel fine!" Come Tuesday evening, though, the answer was a clear, "Uhhhh, yes. Yes I would very much like a cutback week, please and thank you."

To be honest, I am definitely feeling more beat up so far this training cycle than I ever did training for CIM last fall, and running WAY less mileage on average (and less than I'd planned, at least thus far). I'm not really sure what to chock that up to, except maybe that whole thing about your body doesn't distinguish physical stress from mental/emotional stress, and last fall we definitely, DEFINITELY were not living in a construction zone and, oh yeah, without an actual kitchen. (Until you've scrambled eggs in the microwave and washed your dishes in the bathroom sink, you have not lived.)

Current state of the kitchen

Also we just learned that they want to demo the bathroom in a week or two, so while I'm proud of us for sticking it out for nearly six months, it may actually be time to move out & let them finish the rest of the work without us in the way.

* * * Rock 'N Roll San Jose Half: Week 7 of 14 * * *

Monday, August 7, 2017

SJRNRHM Week 6 of 14: Drama-Free Training

I'm sure you've all seen this meme floating around:

Now I am under no illusions that I'm one of the truly fast kids, but I generally finish in the top 5-20% when I race and have podiumed my share of small local races here & there, & that sometimes seems to give some people the idea that I feel like the lady in the top picture when I'm running.

I find this hilarious. Like. I've been long-distance running since the mid-90s and I can count on maybe two hands all the times when I've felt like the lady in the top picture. On a good day I feel a lot like the kid in the bottom pic; on the tougher days, I feel maybe a little more like this:

And you know what? I'm really 100% fine with that. Not feeling fresh and peppy every day is the reality of cumulative fatigue and actually training hard enough, in terms of quality and/or volume, to improve. Honestly, if I started to feel like the lady in the top picture too often, I'd assume I wasn't training enough & needed to step it up.

I definitely went through a phase (around the time I started doing races more frequently and actually making an effort to get faster, ca. 2008-2011ish) of feeling like the lady in the top photo is what it should feel like, at least once you're in decent shape. The running blog world of that time did not help matters, with all its #blessed this and #humbled that and post-workout pictures featuring peppy smiles and perfect makeup and nary a hair out of place.

Seriously, I could not figure it out. People seemed absolutely brimming with joy and bursting at the seams with #gratitude after every [flawlessly instagrammed] run. This was before it was trendy to #keepitreal, and I remember wondering as I perused the internet if I was doing this training thing wrong somehow because where were all the posts about "Eh, today was a run" or "8 easy miles, fine" or even "Ugh, tired today, really wanted a nap instead."

As it turns out, those make for less heart-able Instagram posts.

At this point I feel pretty comfortable in my own running skin. I know I don't look like a lady in a Nike ad, even on my best days, and I don't expect to feel like one either. My bar for what counts as a "good" run is a lot lower. (Did it get done? Am I not injured? #winning) I've embraced my slow, comfy 10-10:30 easy pace, even though most of the time it feels more like a shuffle than really running (because guess what, results, bitches). These days, for the most part, the thick of training for a goal race feels neither fantastic or awful. It just kind

I was reading on some coach's blog or newsletter recently (though I can't find it now) about how that's how he knows an athlete's training is going well. Their training log notes aren't filled with breathless raves about how magical a run felt or how #blessed they, nor with angsty rants about how terrible it was; for the most part it's just full of miles and ticked-off workouts and quick notes about how most runs were just kind of fine.

He referred to this steady, unremarkable, sometimes boring ticking off of workouts as drama-free training, which I immediately wanted emblazoned on a T-shirt, because yes! More of that! I don't need scads of effortless tempos that feel like I'm flying or spiritually fulfilling, life-changing runs that I can plaster all over Instagram. All I need is the work, mostly slow and steady, plugging away, unceremoniously depositing workouts into the First Bank of Training, one mile at a time. I don't need to feel like the Nike ad. I just need to get it done.

* * * Rock 'N Roll San Jose Half: Week 6 of 14 * * *

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

SJRNRHM Week 5 of 14: Getting in Miles, but Losing the Kitchen

Things at our house have been getting interesting.

Did I mention that we're five months into a massive remodel? We're five months into a massive remodel. Now that there's a real floor, stairs, proto-walls, and windows, the (previously unpermitted and very very not-up-to-code) downstairs area is starting to feel like a real house!

The next step is to demo our crappy upstairs kitchen & start building a fancy MORE BETTER kitchen and powder room, and then finally demo our crappy upstairs bathroom & turn it into a smaller but much nicer en suite. Demo on the kitchen starts Wednesday, so we spent a lot of our Sunday cleaning out the various cabinets & drawers.

Meanwhile, the "kitchen" is now in the living room.

There are a lot of unanswered questions currently, like how are we feeding ourselves without resorting to takeout every night, where is the large refrigerator going, and what happens when they finally come to demolish our bathroom. Fingers crossed the vast majority of the work will be done within the next three months, but honestly I'll just be happy if things go back to normal by the end of this year.

In the meantime, training for stuff!

* * * Rock 'N Roll San Jose Half: Week 5 of 14 * * *

Monday, July 24, 2017

SJRNRHM Week 4 of 14: More like it (+ some thoughts on disordered eating in sport)

While in Tahoe over 4th of July, Don & I got into talking about the extremes of disordered eating that pervades our respective (current & past) sports--rock climbing for him, distance running & (in my younger days) gymnastics for me. We'd been talking about rock climbing & how a friend of his had mentioned how she'd recently lost like 5 pounds and how it made a real, noticeable difference in how easy climbing felt, & from there about the siren call of weight loss in endurance sports in general ("If I can just lose 3/5/7/etc. pounds, x/y/z will feel easier/I'll be faster/more powerful/etc.") & how then depending on your personal background, psychology, & environment, it can be such a short, slippery leap to really dangerous, misguided stuff like skipping meals and cutting out entire food groups and intentionally not fueling your workouts in order to create a larger calorie deficit.

Then completely coincidentally, this Outside article popped up in my Facebook feed the very next day, which I found fascinating and sent on to Don.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Race Report: Tamalpa Runners Track Meet 5K


To summarize some semi-relevant stuff I've posted in the past, I've only really ever run one 5K in my adult life where I was healthy and in good shape & training kinda-sorta heavily (to the extent that I ever train "heavily"), which is where I set my current PR (20:44/6:40 pace) in May 2012. It was so much faster than nearly every other 5K I've ever run that after a while it didn't really feel real, like "WHO ME RUN MULTIPLE 6:40 MILES IN A ROW? Phhhbbbt, that's not a thing that actually happened." Well, after massively PRing the marathon in December, I figured, what the hey? Let's take a crack at thing and see just how sturdy that dusty old PR is.

So, I registered for PrideMeet on June 17. (ProTip: If you want to run a fast, accurate 5K, do it on the track. Just don't weave too much.) I was in 60/40 not bad shape going into it in early May, then spent about 6-7 weeks adding some serious speed workouts. The workouts were tough but made a nice change from marathon training, and other than a sketch right calf muscle, I felt good going into the meet.

One sentence race recap: I ran a 6:52 mile which felt weirdly easy, then a 6:41 mile and still felt good, then proceeded to pull my calf so badly I couldn't put weight on it for several days. {Shakes fist at sky} Sure, I was bummed and frustrated, but another part of me could not believe I had run those splits and felt so good doing it. Sure, the plan had been to run this one 5K and then get serious about San Jose half training (10/8), but somehow I just could not let it go. What if I let the calf heal and run another?? Could that seemingly-untouchable PR seriously be about to fall??

And you know where this leads.

Tuesday, July 18 was soon circled on my calendar.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

SJRNRHM Week 3 of 14: 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.


* * * 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!