Sunday, January 6, 2013

Post-Holiday Exhaustion & Some Race Talk

So, I am finally back from the most exhausting winter holiday vacation ever. On Dec. 23, Don & I flew to Texas & made a whirlwind tour of our family members in that area, tried not to get sick, then got up at 5:30am on Dec. 30 to fly home. We arrived back in SF around 10:30, spent the day preparing for our Rose Bowl trip, then 24 hours later got in the car & headed for Pasadena.

Tailgating! Dittmer's brats FTW.

The obligatory logo pic

Winning the Rose Bowl!!


While making the trip was TOTALLY worth it and tons of fun, it was still one grueling, logistics-heavy, sleep-deprived trip stacked on top of another grueling, logistics-heavy, sleep-deprived trip, and by the time we got home in the wee hours of Jan 2, we were both sore, stuffy, coughing, and only functioning as human beings by the slimmest of margins. Back when I was requesting vacation days, I'd kind of suspected that would happen & planned ahead to work from home that day. By which I mean keep my work email open in the background while lying on the couch sipping tea & desperately trying not to get sick.

Training / physical health-wise, I'm at a bit of a nadir currently. After taking all of December 2011 off post-CIM & then feeling like I was going to die on my Jan 2 2012 four mile run, I vowed this year that I would make no such mistake. Which was all fine & good until the whole tendinitis-foot doctor-running-verboten thing.

In addition to some lost fitness, I'm still having foot problems various & sundry, and my right hip flexor / piriformis / IT band / whatever decided to take this month of alleged rest to act up again. Just sitting in the passenger seat on the way to Pasadena had me in eye-watering amounts of pain, & standing up after sitting for more than half an hour or so kind of feels like the muscles in my hip are ripping apart. I've been having allergy & asthma problems basically since we got to Texas (the air there never seems to agree with my respiratory system), and lastly there's the five extra pounds I brought back with me. Y'know. For good measure.

In my mid-twenties I would've almost certainly slid into a depressive funk over all this, but I've been through the cycle enough times at this point to remember that it is just a cycle, and I've never dug such a deep hole for myself health/fitness-wise that I haven't been able to get out of it again with a little commit.plan.execute. So yes, there is work to be done, which is tedious & daunting & unglamorous & something we can totally put off discussing for a little while longer.

Instead, let's talk about the fun part.

One of my favorite New Year's rituals is formally sitting down with all the races I've been eyeing & putting things (at least tentatively) on the calendar. Undoubtedly some of it will get chopped, but here are some races I'm thinking about for the next few months:

2/2 and/or 2/16 - Berkeley All-Comers Track & Field Meet (Berkeley, CA). I had no idea until recently that these even existing. I am hoping to hook up with SF Track & Field sometime soon since they often go to these & see whether there may be an opportunity to run a track 5K because the track & field kid in me is having an absolute fit inside over the mere possibility.

3/2 - Hellyer 10K (San Jose, CA). I threw this one in there because I'd really like to run at least one solid 10K before the Oakland Half, and although it's a Brazen event, the course is on pavement & I think close enough to flat to serve as a reasonable fitness gauge. (They're also doing Bay Breeze in February, which I ran last year, but the usual course is under construction so they've moved to another temporarily which looks a little too gravel-ey for my tastes.)

3/24 - Oakland Half Marathon (Oakland, CA) (**confirmed**). This is the next race I'm actually registered for. There was a super-cheap early registration code back in July or some such, and I enjoyed it last year, so why not. I doubt I'll be in shape to PR by then, but I'd love to at least beat my time from last year.

4/7 - Santa Cruz 10K (Santa Cruz, CA). I have unfinished business in Santa Cruz. In 2011, this race marked my return to 10Ks & I took 5th at a pace that is now only slightly faster than my half marathon PR pace. I want another crack at this one. It's just two weeks after Oakland, though, so I'll have to think about how practical it will be. If I go, it will be to race hard and AG place.

5/26 - Mountains 2 Ocean Marathon (Ojai, CA) (**confirmed**). I am so excited about this race. So, so excited. Originally I'd planned to just drive there & back (~5 hours), but after making that drive twice in 24 hours for the Rose Bowl, I remembered how much it sucked ass & how much more it is likely to suck post-marathon. (Seriously - the first thing I did the next morning was book a flight.) Can you beat a 6am, downhill, coastal, sea level, SoCal marathon in May? Nope; you really can't. The stars haven't yet aligned to give me a good, clean crack at a solid marathon, but I feel like this race is probably about as good as it gets in terms of variables you can control ahead of time. All I have to do is not get hurt or sick. (And, like, train & stuff.)

6/16 - SF 2nd Half Marathon (San Francisco, CA). Still on the fence about this one, but I've got time to decide. If I did it, it would probably be more of a tempo run kind of a thing rather than a balls-out PR attempt or anything given that it'd only be 3 weeks post-marathon. We'll see.

6/29 - SF Pride Run 5K (San Francisco, CA). Because it's cheap, fun, close to home, & for a good cause. I ran the 10K in 2011 & the 5K in 2012.

7/?? Pride Meet (San Francisco, CA). I haven't seen a date for this yet, but last year it was 7/22. Hopefully another chance to race on the track.

I am not even kidding you that this is their logo. You know I go for the classy races.
8/4 - SausageFest 10K (Campbell, CA). If you're having a good laugh at the name of this race & are all like, "Hardy-har-har, this *totally* sounds like a DUDE race!!", then you, my friend, are absolutely right. There are mile girls to hold up mile markers & everything. Ladies are still allowed to run it, though, and I really want to get a 10K in in August on a flat fast course. Plus, free beer & sausages for all at the end.

That seems like enough to be getting on with for now. I have a good handle on Oakland, SF, & PrideRun; anyone else out there familiar with any of the others? What do you think about them?

Also, M2O will be the first race I've ever flown to. Any marathon travel tips? Am I totally going to get a deep vein thrombosis from marathoning & flying in the same day? If so it would be good to know ahead of time for planning purposes.

Hope your 2013 is off to a fantastic start!!


  1. Sounds like you have some fun races planned for the new year! The sausagefest logo is hilarious. I am sure that they have great t-shirts! :-)
    I only have a couple of races planned so far. The hot chocolate 15K in Seattle March 3rd and the Windermere Marathon May 19th in Spokane. I also might run a 1/2 marathon in February depending on how confident I am feeling...

  2. Stanford's Rose Bowl drought came to an end when you were there -- coincidence?!

    Regarding flying/marathoning, I think you'll be fine. You won't actually be sitting on a plane for hours on end, and you'll first have some walking and standing in the airport. Get an aisle seat if you can, so that you can stretch your legs and stand up. And wear the race shirt: I've done that on more than one post-race plane ride, and passengers have been very sympathetic when they see me trying to stretch out in the aisle.

    1. Ooh, smart! I will definitely have to wear the shirt. Thankfully I booked the flight early enough that I could get an aisle seat near the front.

  3. SAUSAGEFEST. I ... want the shirt from that race, if nothing else.

    I flew two days out from Berlin on either side (in Friday, out Tuesday morning with a Sunday race) and had no problems -- and yes, that was more distance from race day than what you'll have, but it was also a longer flight. My feet swell like MAD on any flight of 3+ hours anymore -- seriously, it didn't happen for years, but once it did it was like breaking the seal or something because now I can't go anywhere without it happening -- but I just kept my compression socks on, which also helped send the "just ran a marathon; not moving too fast over here" message.

    1. Heh...that happens to me some, so compression socks are probably a smart move.

  4. You should def do sf 2nd half, I'm doing it and it seems like loads of local bloggers are, this year. And OH that drive down to LA is awful. We did it in Oct and I don't want to do it again! Flying was a good call.

  5. Sausagefest -- awesome and in my backyard. But alas, I'll be at a wedding in TX that weekend. Drats.

  6. I'm doing M2B as well and their two recommended hotels are sold out so I suggest looking for some place to stay soon; there is probably another event or 20 going on in Ventura that weekend. Hope training goes well for you!

    1. Done & done! is a magical thing. :)

      Best to you with your training!