Monday, August 26, 2013

I. Am. BACK.

I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but my boyfriend is a rock star:

Actually, that's inaccurate. Really, he is a funk/soul star, since his band plays funk & soul music & not rock music. For the most part they've spent the last 15 years or so playing bars, weddings, & smaller local music venues, but this past Saturday they had the chance to play one of the bigger name clubs in the city, Bimbo's 365 Club in North Beach. They opened for another band Don used to play in, a 14-piece Michael Jackson tribute band that has skyrocketed to national recognition in the last few years. (Don had to quit because they got too busy.) Both shows were fantastic & it was so much fun to see Don's band on stage at Bimbo's.

I even got a haircut to mark the occasion:



Getting my hair cut is not something that happens very often so it is kind of a big deal.

(I may or may not have also been feeling a little too in touch with my inner Shetland pony.)


On Saturday I'd planned to run 4 easy miles, but we had errands to run & a bunch of stuff to do before I headed off to get my hair cut & Don headed off to set up for the gig, so in the end it didn't happen. In retrospect, though, that was probably for the best -- it meant I was fresh and rested for Sunday, and that I didn't increase my mileage too much over last week.

On Sunday, my original plan had been to just try another five miler like the previous Sunday & see how that felt, but since I didn't run on Saturday and was feeling pretty good, I decided, "Screw it. We're going to six."

Six is significant for a couple of reasons. Most obviously, it would be my longest post-M2B run to date. But the other thing about six miles is that it's always been my standard day-in, day-out, just-get-the-miles-in distance. There is a perfect little loop that runs from my house to Golden Gate Park & back that I'm pretty sure I could navigate blindfolded and backwards, and if whatever else I'm supposed to be doing falls through, odds are good I'm out on that loop. Six miles, to me, feels long enough to count as a "real" run, but short enough that it doesn't require extra time or planning or actually having to think.

Attempting it made me a bit nervous because 1) I'm still having trouble running at an "easy" pace, and on some days even four miles at definitely-faster-than-easy-Run-With-The-ButtTM pace still still feels really hard, 2) 2/2.5/3 miles is a long walk home if I got that far & suddenly my hip started to hurt, and 3) I really, really, *really* didn't want to try for six and fail.

I compromised a little by running my first mile maybe half with the butt -- I tried to focus mostly on leaning forward at the hips while keeping my shoulders back, chest up, and elbows in, still clenching my abs, glutes, & inner hamstrings, and to think about getting my calves maybe 75% of the way to parallel with the ground instead of all the way. (I have found another mental trick for this -- think about showing the soles of your shoes to someone behind you.) This let me run at a more reasonable pace (maybe 8:30 or so) and still protect my hip flexors. (BTW, that is one nice thing about the tiny tiny twinge of pain that still remains -- I get really good feedback from those muscles about how good my form is at any given moment.) After a couple of miles I warmed up and settled into full Run-With-The-ButtTM mode, and although my pace did start to drop, I found that it wasn't exhausting me the way it has been. I think they call that, like, training or something.

I won't tell you that I wasn't tired when I hit the turnaround, that I didn't take full advantage of stop lights and water fountains, or that it didn't take significant effort towards the end to keep my glutes & hamstrings fully engaged. But I will tell you that I finished six miles at 8:08 pace, that my hip felt great, and for the first time since being taken to the airport in a wheelchair after M2B on Memorial Day Eve, I finally feel like I can honestly say:

Look out, baby.

The bitch is back.

* * *

Grand Total: 17.4 miles

    * 15 easy
    * 2.4 tempo


Lunch time yoga + p.m. karate / strength work


3 easy. I was meeting a friend from out of town for dinner, so this was all I really had time for. (Also, I forgot to take my inhaler before I left & ended up having terrible asthma for the last two miles, which majorly sucked ass.) On the other hand, dinner at The Abbot's Cellar, which is something every Bay Area food / beer nerd should experience at least once.

via Eater SF

Yes, they need that many / different kinds of beer glasses. via SF Weekly.

The beer list slides out of the table. OUT OF THE TABLE!!! via


Strength work only. I had an all-day meeting & was meeting another out-of-town friend for dinner in the South Bay, so that's how my day was spent. (In other Bay Area food news: Curry Up Now. Go there. You need to.)


a.m. strength work + p.m. 4 easy. This was my morning with Coach Nate & after some plyometric push-ups & Oly lifting work, he had us running 200m sprints while clasping barbells to our chests (in between bouts of push-ups & other barbell stuff). It was kind of amazing core work. On the other hand, I was not sprinting for very long.

As for the 4 easy, I absolutely could not stomach the thought of looking at my same old route again so I tried a different route, which was meh. Also being unable to run at a casual pace with good form is getting really old (not to mention exhausting).


4.36(ish?) tempo. The short story of this run is 1) I was sore & tired & didn't feel like running but forced myself to anyway; 2) Garmin hijinks ensued; and 3) Garmin is kind of irrelevant any time you attempt intervals shorter than a mile in an urban setting. In the end, I'm pretty sure I did something like 1 easy + 4 x (.5 mile @ ~7:00-7:15ish? / 1:00 jog) + 1 easy. Oddly, once I get going, I find fast interval runs MUCH, much more bearable than short, steady, "easy" runs. I still prefer to do them at the track, though.


Rest / cut hair / moon at rock star boyfriend


See above.



  1. Wow, your hair was long! Pretty both ways, I think. Nice to see you moving along toward longer runs. I like the "Show the bottoms of your feet" thing. I know I could work on that. Instead I point my toes when I kick back. Try it - it totally changes which muscle groups you work. Not in a good way!

  2. Loved reading this, so glad the run turned out well. I am working hard on fixing my form and have thought of you when you said that your run with the butt method makes you run faster but it's also harder; totally there.

  3. I am shocked how long your hair was!!! Was Don surprised when you got it cut for his gig?

    I LOVE that you are back at running and feeling so confident. I think that you are going to have some great races in the near future.

    PS- I also think that it is really cool your boyfriend is a rockstar.

  4. I tried the "run with the butt" method last night. It was really hard to focus on keeping the correct posture, but I totally thought about showing the soles of my shoes to the person (or squirrel or car) behind me and that helped a LOT. It totally made me faster too. I ran 4 miles and had splits of 9:37, 9:30, 8:17 and 8:21. While not my fastest 4 miler ever, the last 2 miles were my fastest last 2 miles of a 4 miler. I actually felt like I progressively ran easier (less effort) in the last 2 miles which is odd. Anyhow, I am definitely going to continue trying to focus on my form when running.

    Also - super glad to hear your hit the 6 miler. AND an average pace of 8:08 while you are still sorta on the mend! AWESOME!

  5. Great news about your longer runs! And wow about Don playing at Bimbo's, that's so cool. When we first moved here, I saw Bimbo's from the outside and thought it was a strip joint ;)

    1. Heh, I know. The first time he played there with the MJ band I'd never heard of it & I totally thought it was some kind of gentleman's club. It's super fancy & gorgeous inside, though!