Monday, September 29, 2014

Pumpkin Spice Nightmares & Some (very very preliminary) Race Talk

First things first: We all know that the best thing about Runner's World is Remy's World.

I mean seriously. If you still had any doubt that things have gone too far....


And of course, I assume you are all familiar with the popular urban legend:

I kid, I kid.

(No but it is liquid diabeetus, tho.)

On the other hand, I will brook no hatred toward my pumpkin beer.

Nothing like a Dogfish Head Punkin Ale after a fall long run.

There's a real art to pumpkin beer. I do not want a beer that tastes like drinking pumpkin pie. (Unfortunately, I get the sense that this is the type of thing a lot of pumpkin beer haters have tasted.) What I want in a pumpkin beer is something dark and rich that hints at cinnamon, nutmeg, & cloves, with just a kiss of pumpkin. (I almost want to just smell it, rather than taste it.) A pumpkin beer done well is a beautiful thing. A pumpkin beer done poorly makes one want to hurl.


After declaring my Month of (Relative) Sloth at an end, I did some chatting with Coach Tom & another of the RunCoach staff, Coach Ashley, about setting goals for the next year & getting back on a real schedule. I told them about wanting to do nothing but super easy base training for a couple of months, then adding in one marathon pace run per week for a couple of months after that, and about feeling unsure whether I want to use my deferred Napa Valley Marathon entry (Mar. 1) since I don't feel like that's enough time to solidly base train AND fit in a marathon training cycle.

Their take was that devoting some time specifically to base training & nothing else was a good idea, but that waiting four months to add back speed/interval work was probably overkill. So I imagine it will probably end up closer to six weeks & six weeks instead, & I'll start adding some speed work in mid-December. They also thought I should go ahead and race Napa rather than doing it as an easy run, but as more of a fitness check than a goal race. They agreed that five months isn't long enough to be at my best (which is fine because it's not a GREAT course anyway), but it's long enough to make some significant progress, & running a full around that time just to see where I am isn't a bad idea. (Again, always assuming my right leg doesn't sabotage me between now & then.)

The two other races I'm thinking about right now for 2015 are the Newport Marathon on May 30 (Oregon) & Santa Rosa again on Aug. 23. I'm not sure right now whether I'd want to run one or both or which it would make the most sense to target as my "A" race; most likely it would depend on how the next few months go and what happens with NVM. The nice thing, though, is that both of them are great courses, small, pretty cheap as far as marathons go, and unlikely to sell out early, which means I can take my time deciding what I want to do.

If things go well for the rest of 2014, I'm also thinking of potentially running a half sometime in December, the most likely candidate being Walnut Creek on 12/13. Obviously I won't be in shape to race a half or shoot for a PR, but training for too long without a race gets boring, and doing a half about halfway between now and NVM could be a good way to see what kind of shape I'm in & how I'm progressing. I could race it as a half (knowing I won't be in top shape for it) just to see how I do; another option would be to run it at 8:00 pace (the marathon pace I'm shooting for long-term) & see how that feels; a third would be to run it at marathon effort level & see how that shakes out pace-wise. Options are many.

WEEK OF 9/22-9/29

    * 25 miles, all easy
    * 4 x 45:00 strength workouts, plus a smattering of random push-ups/crunches/clamshells/etc. here & there

The thing about the low-heart rate stuff is that, although it's only 25 miles, it's closer to the amount of time I'd usually spend running 30 miles. Ie, although my easy weekday runs have mostly been 6 milers, that's actually slightly over an hour of running now, which is about the same thing I'd be doing on my maintenance days in the middle of marathon training when I'm doing mostly 8 milers (though I'm taking more rest days right now).

Similarly, I'd been planning to run another 8 on Sunday just like the previous week, since time-wise it would actually be more like 10, which would be the longest period of time I've run since Santa Rosa. But that was before my plan from Tom & Ashley was in place, and that called for ten (which, time wise, would feel more like twelve). It was fine except for that same pain in my right foot that I've been having on and off all summer (and which I am just sure is related to the hip/upper right leg thing).

Monday: a.m. strength work / p.m. karate

Tuesday: a.m. strength work / p.m. 3 miles with 4 x 0:30 hill sprints

    This was the day I was supposed to go to RunSafe, so my original plan was to get a few miles in after work, knowing that I'd be doing more running there. Unfortunately there was apparently a scheduling mix-up, and they had to reschedule me for Oct. 6. At that point I was cooled down, showered, & changed, & just really didn't feel much like going back out for more miles.

    Also, let me just say that if you really do go all-out, thirty seconds sprinting up a hill is maybe more of a workout than you'd think. Four of them were plenty.

Wednesday: afternoon 6 easy / p.m. karate

Thursday: a.m. strength work

Friday: a.m. strength work / p.m. 6 easy

Saturday Rest

Our friends had a fancy black tie wedding on Saturday, so we had fun dressing up.

That one's mine ;)

I suppose I cleaned up okay as well.

Sunday: 10 long

Hope you're enjoying all your favorite things about fall, even if that thing is hating on fall. :)


  1. That condom feels like the Internet is trolling me, yet again. If I click it, do I get Rick-Rolled?

    Also, you and yours look great! Very nicely cleaned up.

    1. Lol....I like your instincts.


  2. Hah, disturbing use of pumpkin spice!!

  3. What is this obsession with pumpkin spice? It's not something we have in Australia. We have pumpkin but not the need to flavour everything with it once Autumn rolls around. I feel like I'm missing out on something potentially amazing.

    1. I really feel like it's kind of a double-edged sword. Obviously I love my pumpkin beer & I do enjoy the occasional pumpkin spice dessert, if truly worthy. But like all good things, it is best when used in moderation.

  4. Good luck with your race goals! March 1st for another marathon does feel a bit soon, but I suppose your coaches know what they're talking about. I'm very much questioning myself whether a 50K in early March is a good idea or not.

    1. I think it will very much depend on how the next few months go. Under normal circumstances, I'd say it's plenty of time -- it's just the extra base training that stretches everything out. If things go well & I feel like there's actually a point / some value in testing myself, I think it'll be fine, but if I know going in I'm not ready, I'll adjust accordingly & take it easy / DNF / skip it (because hey, only $50).

  5. I'm sorry to say the pumpkin spice condom is as real as the trick with "Pumpkin Spice Latte" and a mirror... :)

    Five months is plenty to get some of your fitness back, but man, I don't know if I'd want to run a marathon as a fitness test. Unless you're using it as a long, slow, fully-supported training run for racing a May marathon... that's one option; the other would be to run it, see how it goes, and look at Santa Rosa in August as your A race. But without having done RunSafe yet you don't know how much work the gait stuff is going to need... Good luck with figuring out your racing goals!

    1. While I'm mostly relieved, I'd be lying if I said there wasn't some small part of me that was kind of disappointed. Lol.

      I think 'fitness test' gives the wrong impression -- I don't mean like the way you'd run a 5K or 10K "just to see what kind of shape I'm in." I mean it more like in terms of running a marathon when the stakes are low without a real goal in mind, in order to see how much progress I've made & help me set a real goal for the next one.

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  7. I am not a fan of pumpkin beer. Admittedly there are a few good pumpkin beers out there, but I have had to wade through too many that are too much pumpkin, too spice, too much, too much; so I just gave up. But there is plenty of other Fall beer to enjoy!