Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Hardcore January!

OpHardcoreFitI've never done a monthly recap before, and to be honest I don't see them becoming a regular thing. (Alright, I know we're well into February; the beginning of the month sort of got away from me.) I tried to write a monthly recap back in August & the whole thing just felt a little rehash-ey and un-genuine. This month I'm doing one for #OpHardcoreFit, which feels less re-run-ish and more genuine because I actually have stuff to tell you about that is actually NOT the same stuff I've been writing about all month!

First among those things is, well, Operation Hardcore Fit. OHF is the baby of Meg O (of Watch MeGo Run), who is training for her first marathon this year & gunning for a sub-4:15! (GOOOO MEGAN!!) As she put it in a December blog post about marathon training, "The only option is hardcore."

"So, once I was all registered, I was all, "I'm so cool, I'm gonna run a marathon" and so I decided that one thing and one thing only could happen at the gym today: HARDCORE. No wimpy workout. Go big or go home."

Then in January:

"Recently I've been thinking about Operation Hardcore, my mission to train for the marathon and be an overall better runner this year. I'm terrified, to say the least. What if I don't have what it takes? Then, I thought, 'you know what would make this better? If I had other people on the same page as me.'"

And thus #OpHardcoreFit was born, its essence being thus:

"Operation Hardcore is a project to push yourself past your comfort zone into a territory you may not even know existed. I have a feeling 2012 is going to be my year and I want you to join me in it, by making it your year too. To push yourself past your limits, test yourself, and prove you ARE stronger than you think, faster than you feel, and better than you know. It will motivate you on the days you think, "I'm too tired" and will convince you that you, do, in fact, "got this" on the days you feel unstoppable."

The idea is to choose one big goal and maybe a few other smaller ones for the year & support each other in doing what we have to (even when we don't feel like it) to make it happen. My big goal is to run 2,000 miles this year, and my smaller goals are a sub-1:40 half marathon and a sub-22:00 5K.

Now, I will be honest with you. These goals are not going to "push [me] past [my] comfort zone into a territory [I] may not even know existed." They are 'safe' goals that I feel pretty sure I can achieve in a year without taxing myself overly much. I decided to "HardcoreFit" them, though, because over the years I have had a very bad case of the "I-have-nothing-to-prove"s. Ie, "It would be kind of cool to run a marathon, but I know I could do, it takes a lot of work, & I have nothing to prove. So whatever." It turns out, though, that no one is very interested in things you know you could do if you wanted to but haven't actually bothered. For me, I guess that's what #OpHardcoreFit is about.

So what did I accomplish this January in that vein?

  • I ran every single day that I had scheduled for a total of 131.5 miles.
  • I've recovered from my post-marathon 4-week period of holiday sloth.
  • I've lost 6 of the 8 pounds I gained during said period of holiday sloth.
  • I've averaged ~4 strength workouts per week.

Other more and less hardcore things that happened this January:

1Q841) I finished reading this book, which, at 925 pages, I had been putting off for a while. Yes, it took me a month, but it was a fantastic read and well worth it. Like just about all of Murakami's work, it's a bit strange in places, but the story is really sweet and about as original as they come. (Runners may also want to check out his autobiographical What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. I confess that I haven't read it yet but I've heard it's fantastic.) #hardcorereading

karate2) I found out that I was being tested for 1st kyu on Feb. 6th. (Note: It's over and I passed! :) ) Kyu ranks are student ranks and go from 10th (white belt) to 1st (3rd degree brown belt). 1st kyu testing is kind of a big deal because it's the last one before black belt. #hardcorefighting

3) Volunteering at Coyote Hills 5K/10K/Half. I've run two Brazen races & really enjoyed both (even though neither were among their *real* hardcore trail-ey ones), but this was my first time volunteering. I was up at 4:30 & at Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont setting up tents in the dark by 6 am. (In retrospect, I should've brought a headlamp.)


From about 7 to 9:30 I worked at the bib table, then spent 9:30 - 11:30 pouring gallon after gallon of water into tiny Dixie cups for the finishers. And OMG, I had no concept of how much water even smallish races (2000 people?) go through!

reg table

water bottles

Maybe two thirds of the gallon jugs of water we went through.

For the last half hour I sorted trash & recycling (which was kind of gross because they were giving away It's It ice cream sandwiches, the discarded parts of which were melting all over EVERYTHING). I will not lie to you and say that I wasn't mainly doing all this for a free entry into next month's Bay Breeze 10K, but I am also not lying when I tell you that it really was a lot of fun and I would totally do it again. Jasmin & Sam are great & I can highly recommend their events. #hardcorevolunteering

4) I went to Sonoma with Don & his folks. If you have never gone wine tasting with someone who works in the industry, you absolutely must get on that shit. It is no secret that I love me some good wine or that Don & I spend several weekends a year in Paso Robles & Napa/Sonoma, and it's also not too terribly uncommon for us to chat up the folks pouring & end up not paying tasting fees and/or tasting things that are supposedly not open / VIPs only / sold out / etc. But when one of your party is a wine educator & buyer & has done a bunch of consulting with well-known wineries, that experience is increased by an order of magnitude. No tasting fees? 30% discount? An hour & a half in your caves tasting everything you make? Yes please.


My top Sonoma / Healdsburg / Santa Rosa wine picks:

  • Porter Creek - Super tiny; $5 fee waived with purchase; tasty pinot, award-winning viognier, & a really unique food-friendly zin. Plus reasonable prices!
  • Williams Selyem - Mostly pinot, but they're making a few other things now as well. Not cheap, but hands down the absolute best California pinot I have ever had.
  • Bella - This was a first for me on this trip. Don's dad wanted to go to pick up some of their Late Harvest, but we ended up tasting through everything. The Late Harvest & Late Picked were both amazing, they had an excellent pinot & chard (under their Ten Acre label), and several very tasty zins. Plus, very reasonably priced for the quality.
  • Siduri & Inspiration - These two are right in the same little plaza in north Santa Rosa. Siduri makes a TON of stuff under that label and another one called Novy Family wines. Very tasty pinots, a FANTASTIC $17 syrah (!), and a lovely dessert white. Inspiration has only a few wines, but their chard & viognier were lovely, and I enjoyed the zin, pinot, & syrah very much as well.
  • Yoakim Bridge - A long-time favorite mom-and-pop winery. Don is a member so we go there any time we're in the neighborhood. Uh-may-zing zin, syrah, cab, and petite sirah.
  • Ridge - Not cheap, but reliably good. Taste the Montebello if they offer it because you probably won't ever get another chance. They also have a tasting room in the Cupertino hills.
  • Seghesio - Reliably good zins, a lovely field blend called Marian's Reserve, and a tasty 60/40 cab/sangiovese blend called Omaggio.
  • Twomey - It's been a while since I was there but I pretty much loved everything I had and the tasting fee is cheap even if you don't buy anything, so just go.
  • Wilson - Lots of really good zins, & several other things that are worth tasting as well.


So that's really it for my hardcore January. For February my only real goals are to keep building mileage & stay healthy, and to run strong at Bay Breeze 10K on Feb. 18.

How was your January? Anything hardcore to share?

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