Sunday, December 8, 2013

Brilliant Feats of Athleticism: Year-End Edition (NVM T Minus 12 Weeks)

Let me tell you, there's nothing like watching a bunch of your friends & fellow bloggers set *huge*-slash-jaw-dropping marathon PRs in sub-freezing temperatures to make you feel like a total slacker. (And by "watching," I mean perusing my Twitter & Facebook feeds while sipping chai from the comfort of my bed at 10am. Part of me wished I'd gone up to spectate, but my company holiday party the night before & the cold I've been staving off since Friday evening made that kind of a tricky-slash-moderately unwise proposition.)

To me, anyone who even shows up & finishes in sub-thirty temps is a trooper. But 7 minute PR? 12 minute PR? 15 minute PR? 26 MINUTE PR???

Seriously. Beasts.

Which only topped off an already amazing weekend sport-and-athletics-wise, since the night before we'd watched Stanford kick some Sun Devil booty at the PAC 12 Championship & secure a spot in the 100th Rose Bowl.

Needless to say, we're making travel plans.

At the 2013 Rose Bowl. There's something kind of cool
about starting & ending the year at the same event.

I'm pretty psyched.


Running lately has been rather touch-and-go. I was doing fairly well, & then we went to Hawaii for a week. I did pretty well once we came back & even had a fairly not-too-terrible "race" race, & then we went to Texas for a week for Thanksgiving, where my choices were basically a) get some running in, or b) sleep adequately & don't alienate any of the 50 or so relatives that I only ever see once a year. Given that many of those relatives are over 80 or under 10, I went with option b), and came back sleep-deprived as it is.

I don't regret that choice--family trumps running now, always, & forever--but the timing of our vacation & the holidays has certainly made things harder for me as I start burning through NVM training time at kind of a terrifying rate. (12 weeks left, if anyone is counting.) This past week was not the training jump-start I would have chosen, but I did manage to salvage something from it, both mentally & physically.

Wednesday: 3 easy a.m. / karate + light strength p.m. This was my first day back from Texas, and after waaaaay too many near-sedentary days & five full Thanksgiving dinners (ah, the joys of large blended families), I was feeling desperate for some exercise. I got up early to hit the gym for a few treadmill miles, & while I'd vaguely planned on maybe four, the sharp painful place in my right tibia that's been bothering me ever since Berkeley started acting up around 2.5, which was just as well since one I hit three, I was not sure I could've gone another step. (See: sleep deprivation / general travel fatigue.) I was feeling a little better by the time karate rolled around, & it felt good to work hard & sweat for 90 minutes or so.

Thursday: Strength work a.m. / 6 easy p.m. Feeling energized (and rather delinquent in the strength department), I got up early to get in some push-ups / clamshells / squats / weird (and deceptively challenging) ball-sitting exercise that my PT has put me onto for the one rogue left glute muscle that doesn't seem to be firing quite right with all the rest. The run was not particularly fast but felt surprisingly good. (See: fresh legs)

Friday: Friday was when the wheels came off. I'm guessing I just tried to do a little too much too quickly after doing almost nothing since Berkeley, because WOW, were my adductors sore. Clearly no running was going to happen, since frankly walking from my office to the kitchen at work was barely happening. Which was just as well anyway, since later that evening I started feeling like I was trying to catch a cold.

Saturday: Still sore + still borderline sick = more rest, lots of tea, & a mildly amusing, alcohol-free (for me) company holiday party, in which I encountered this for the first time:

My 65-year-old boss requested this song special & was shocked & appalled to learn that most of the 20- & 30-somethings in the crowd didn't know it (though Don did, apparently). Afterward I had many questions, like, is my boss cooler than me? Is this what counts as 'cool' now? Have I avoided pop music for so long that I've lost the ability to understand it? And what the hell is going on in Norway?

Sunday: 10 easy. After spending the evening stalking Facebook & Twitter for CIM results, I decided I was feeling good enough to try to get in some double-digits (bringing my post-injury double-digit run total to three). It was only once I was done that I realized the plan had actually only called for 8-9 , which means I am a winner (as long as you ignore then two eight-milers I skipped on Friday & Saturday).

Ocean Beach windmill at the west end of Golden Gate Park.
Lots of rolling hills = great NVM training!

Things I pondered on this run:

  • The longer the run, the faster my average pace, even with the same level of effort. (3-4 miles = 8:35-40 pace; 10-11 miles = 8:15-20 pace) I suspect that this is a combination of a) having more time to get warmed up & b) the 2.5 pedestrian-and-traffic light-infested miles I have to slog through to get to the Panhandle / Golden Gate Park.
  • I'm in pretty decent shape in that 8:00-8:15 feels comfortable once I get going; I'm in rather shitty shape in that *nothing* feels easy once I hit double digits.
  • I really, really suck at breathing cold air. Yet another reason why not being able to run CIM this year was a blessing in disguise.
  • I most definitely do not feel like I'm 12 weeks away from marathon shape. Finishing a marathon shape? Not embarrassing myself marathon shape? Fine. Really good, worth-all-the-time-and-money, PR / BQ / sub-3:30 shape? Not so much. (On the other hand, if I stick to the plan, I will have more and longer long runs going into this race than I have with any other marathon I've run, so maybe that'll prove me wrong.)

So I finished this week with 19 miles, which is pretty piss-poor in general but not totally abysmal for being out of town for two days & under the weather / too sore to walk for two more. Next week's goal is 30-33ish, which I think should be very do-able with a little advance planning.


  1. Hahahaha...don't alienate the hard! You're so stressed about saying the wrong thing that the wrong thing pops out! It's a challenge!

  2. I found about the "What Does the Fox Say" thing from my friend who has a 1.5 year old, back in October. Then I saw tons of signs at MCM. It was one of those things that had totally escaped me until I knew about it, at which point, I saw it EVERYWHERE. Here's a funny parody from SNL

    1. I know! The same thing has happened to me now. Now it's stuck in my head & I can't get it out. :P

  3. I still don't know anything about what the fox says, and I'm afraid to watch that video at work! Ha!

    1. Oh, you should be. It's profoundly disturbing.

  4. Seriously props to any runner who did CIM in that cold lol. Go Cardinal! That was an absolute smashing. I think we definitely will beat Michigan State. I already booked my flight and rental car on Southwest flying to Burbank airport. Awesome on the Sat run, if you live close to Kezar Stadium you have a great spot for running in the park all the time. Awesome place to run.

    1. I'm sad that it looks like we'll be driving again. We have to be home that night, & there just aren't many good night flights that we'd be able to make that aren't absurdly expensive. Will absolutely be there though!!

    2. Yea, that is tough about needing to fly back right after the game. That drive is going to be long. I had to fly back the day of the game last year, I ended up flying through Monterey airport (MRY). Worked pretty well, I just checked this year, they have a flight that leaves LAX at 820, which would probably work for you. Only problem then is having to drive from Monterey to SFO at night on the 1st. An option to consider though in case you don't want to drive the whole way.

  5. I only know about the fox due to some preschoolers. That is how cool I am these days!

    Yeah, I was pretty inspired by the CIMers too...they were all incredible! They got me out in the cold in Colorado for a run! Try not to worry too much about NVM...12 weeks is a LONG time, think of how far you've come in the past 12 weeks!

  6. No idea what happened to my ID up above. It's Cat by the way.