Monday, August 29, 2016

CIM WEEK 4 of 18: 18/day, 47.5/week, 205.5/month.

This Sunday was kind of exciting as RunningAhead informed me that my 18 mile long run put me at 205.5 miles for the last 30 days. Not an all-time record, but it's been quite a while since I broke the 200 barrier for a 30-day period! (I think I'll be just a few miles shy of it for the month of August, just because of how the days fall. Not that I'm counting because who does that.)

Grand Total: 47.46 miles + 1:00:00 strength

    * 16 easy
    * 7.4 speed
    * 6.06 tempo
    * 18 long

    Monday 8/22: a.m. strength/p.m. karate. As I mentioned last week, Week 4 was not a good one for consistent strength training. I've planned to be in the gym lifting Monday, Wednesday, & Friday mornings, but 8/19-21 was a long weekend out of town & I got to bed later than intended, so this time an extra hour of sleep won out over the gym.

    Tuesday 8/23: 2 warm up, 3 x 800m @ 5K pace / 2:00 jog, 30:00 @ marathon pace, 3 x 800m @ 5K pace / 2:00 jog, 2 cool down = 11.4 total. Bitchin'.

    Wednesday 8/24: a.m. strength/p.m karate

    Thursday 8/25: 8 easy. Last week's post-speed "easy" runs definitely did not feel very easy, so I was happy that this one actually felt okay.

    Friday 8/26: a.m. strength work / p.m. 2 warm up, 50:00 @ marathon pace, 2 cool down = 10.06 total

    Once again, I planned to lift Friday morning but woke up with my lower back feeling like someone had taken a baseball bat to it. One emergency sports massage later, it was feeling not 100% but significantly better. Running didn't seem to bother it that much so I went ahead with my run as planned.

    This workout was not god-awful (I did complete the whole thing at a completely within-expectations pace & heart rate, pausing only for traffic lights in the Park + 1 water stop), but it was definitely MUCH harder than the 11.4 mile speed workout three days prior.

    Saturday 8/27: Rest. A friend of Don's was visiting from Austrailia, so we took him on a hike of Land's End/Sutro Baths. One of the nearby beaches is known for people making stacks of rocks, & their immediate reaction was, "How can we win at this?"

    Sunday 8/28: 18 long.

    I did not expect to be running 18 miles a week before my 10K, but there it was on the schedule, so I dutifully went out & did it. My legs felt heavy & tired from the very beginning, but stayed strong the whole way, & I actually think my last few miles were the fastest ones. It was not fast and far be it from me to ever call 18 miles "easy," but it was for sure among the easier 18 milers I've done, which is encouraging.

Now, time for a bit of a cut-back week before next week's 10K in San Jose. :)

* * *

CIM 2016 Week 1 of 18

CIM 2016 Week 2 of 18

CIM 2016 Week 3 of 18

Saturday, August 27, 2016

MP miles, back sprain, lobster

While I'm still sort of in "pre-season," I've been trying to get to the gym to lift every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning. Sadly, this has not been a good week for it. We got back from LA on Sunday around 6 and I immediately set out on a long run, meaning I wasn't done until around 9. I got to bed late and was more exhausted than usual when my alarm went off at 6am, so I figured it probably made more sense to sleep for another hour rather than drag myself to the gym.

Then on Friday morning, I woke up with my lower back feeling like someone had taken a baseball bat to it. I don't remember doing anything to it Thursday and it was perfectly fine when I went to bed, but when I got up I found myself completely unable to bend more than about 30°forward. Thankfully it was a good day for working from home!

My massage guy is 30 miles away in Palo Alto & usually takes at least a couple of weeks to book, so I was thankful that I managed to get a same-day sports massage with a reputable place here in the city. In addition to a bunch of stuff I already know (I live on the outside edges of my feet, have a super effed-up right hip/groin situation, a petrified left ankle, & generally insanely tight leg muscles all around), the therapist told me that it looked like I had basically sprained my right SI joint, i.e. threw my back out, probably via running (because seriously what else).

It was much improved after the massage though not perfect, and he said I could expect it to take another few days to a week to get back to normal. In the mean time, he said I could do whatever I wanted as long as I could tolerate the discomfort & it was pretty unlikely I would make it worse. Running didn't seem to bother it that much so I went ahead with my Friday pace run as planned -- 2 warm up, 50:00 @ marathon pace, 2 cool down.

This workout was not god-awful (I did complete the whole thing at a completely within-expectations pace & heart rate, pausing only for traffic lights in the Park + 1 water stop), but it was definitely MUCH harder than the 11.4 mile speed workout three days prior. (It was also on rolling concrete instead of the track, so there is also that.)

Part of me really wonders what would happen if I swapped Track Tuesdays with F-pace Fridays. Those speed days don't really feel that hard at the time, but I think they really do have a lingering effect in terms of general fatigue.

At 7:30 I was sitting on the couch in sweats & wet hair when Don texted me like "Let's go out for a nice dinner!" and I kind of snorted because the idea of getting a Friday dinner reservation in SF anywhere good when it's already dinner time is hilarious, but I dutifully fired up OpenTable & SeatMe to see what was available. In a completely random & bizarre turn of events, I snatched up an 8:30 res at Nightbird, a new restaurant that I remembered reading about recently. I didn't remember much about the food except that it was supposed to be really good & people were super excited about it opening.

Well, it turned out it was only their second night, so I have no idea how such a prime reservation for a highly anticipated opening was just sitting there an hour beforehand! The food was an absolutely brilliant five-course pre fixe (plus a couple of snacks) with wine pairing.

Lobster with grilled hearts of palm, chantarelles, & black truffle.
This is the only picture I managed to take because too busy eating.

They also had some really interesting & tasty cocktails. So Bay Area peeps, if you're looking for a splurgy, amazing dinner in the city, check it out!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

"Big Workouts"

As I get further back into this actual training thing, it just becomes so, so completely clear that (to the extent that I was meant to run anything), I was meant to run 5K (or shorter) races and not really marathons. I always get so worried about going back to the track after a big chunk of nothing but super easy miles, but get me part way into that first workout and it's like, "Yes, this is my core competency, I know how to do this. I know how to go fast (for me)." I have never once come even close to running the marathon times I'm "supposed" to be able to run based on other races, but I almost never finish a speed workout, even quite long ones, feeling like I've worked all that hard. (And that's almost always having run a little faster than the assigned paces.)

Last week's 9 mile workout including 10 x 600m @ 5K pace? Not a problem. This week I was a little surprised to see what RunCoach refers to as a "Big Workout," an 11-12 mile workout consisting of a chunk of marathon pace running sandwiched between two sets of harder intervals.

  • 2 mile warm up
  • Drills/dynamic stretches
  • 3 x 800m @ 5K pace / 200m jog
  • 30:00 @ marathon pace / 1:30 jog
  • 3 x 800m @ 5K pace / 200m jog
  • 2 mile cool down

In my last marathon cycle, I wasn't assigned this type of workout until about six weeks before the race, and I think I only did it maybe twice. Looking over my current training plan, though, there are about nine more of them between now and CIM. Which I suppose is just what happens when you, like, train consistently for more than a few months at a time & don't keep getting hurt or whatever. (Hopefully I haven't just jinxed myself.)

And honestly, a thought I kept having throughout this entire workout was, "This doesn't even feel hard." I mean, it didn't feel effortless, but for some reason running 800m @ 5K pace actually felt easier than running 600m @ 5K pace felt last week. And most of the "effort," I thought, seemed to come more from watching the pace & trying to keep it right around 7:00/mile. Towards the end there were a couple of times when I saw my one lap split & thought, "Hmm, slipping a little," but then it was no problem at all to kick it up a notch & find that next gear. The target heart rate for those intervals was around 200, which I did not even come close to averaging.

For now I've been defining marathon pace as "somewhere between 8:00 & 8:30, that feels like work but not TOO much work, with HR somewhere roughly between 167 & 182." The middle 30:00, I ran at 8:04 pace & 175 average HR, so I'm pretty darn happy with that as well.

Grand total = 11.4 miles

Again, I know there are still 14 weeks to go, and I won't *really* be happy until the tempo/threshold runs are feeling just as good, but things are encouraging right now, and that's not nothing.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

CIM WEEK 3 of 18: A discount code to share, back on Strava, & threshold run #1

This week's big news is no, I have not completely lost the ability to move my body at a sub-7:00 pace. #smallvictories

FIRST: So when I started counting weeks for CIM, I updated my defunct Strava profile & started posting runs again. I don't know why, or what I hope to get out of it. I don't know why I signed up for Strava in the first place. I don't even read other people's workouts because who has time for that once you finish reading blogs, facebook, twitter, & instagram. But there it is, so if seeing my weekly miles unfold in real time before your very eyes will somehow improve your life, by all means click over.

SECOND: I think I've mentioned the awesome folks over at RaceRaves a few times. (See the badge in the right side bar.) They've been kind enough to give me some shirts to race in which, honestly, is pretty flattering because it means they seem to have a reasonable amount of confidence that I won't do something horrifically embarrassing while wearing it in public.

So far I have managed to avoid vandalizing any gas stations and/or public urination, so the way I see it we are both winning.

I wanted to mention them again because if you are angling to run the Golden Gate Half in San Francisco on Saturday, November 5, you can get 10% with discount RACERAVES10. I'll be out of town but you should totally do it!!!

THIRD: Actual running stuff.

This week marked my first speed & threshold workouts since last April, and I would be lying if I said I hadn't been just a tad nervous about how hard they would feel after so many weeks of nothing but super easy runs. As I wrote last week, though, the speed work went just swimmingly and the pace actually felt a little easier than I thought it should (especially as I got further along in the reps).

The threshold run on Friday, though....oh my. I'd thought hard about whether I wanted to add both workouts in all at once vs. just adding speed for a couple of weeks to give myself sometime to adjust and THEN adding then tempo/threshold, but ultimately just decided I'd give the whole thing a shot & see how it went.

For all that I felt great after my Tuesday speed workout, it was pretty clear in my easy runs on Wednesday & Thursday that my legs had worked a lot harder than they were used to. I ran four super easy miles on Wednesday & was very thankful I wasn't going further, and eight on Thursday felt *slightly* easier, but still tougher than usual.

Friday's threshold workout was supposed to be 2 x 2mi @ half marathon pace (~7:40, though let's be honest, I haven't run a half at that pace in years). During my Eugene training, I found that tempo/threshold paces were the ones that seemed to vary the most in terms of how hard they felt, depending on heat, wind, terrain, how tired I was, etc. On some days 7:40 felt like no big deal while on other days even just 1-2 miles felt impossible. (I still remember doing a threshold workout on a treadmill while traveling & honestly worrying that I was one false step away from flying off the back of it at all times.) So before I started doing these runs again, I checked in with Coach Ashley about whether there were heart rate guidelines for different paces. Behold:

  • Short intervals (200-400m) - 100% of max HR
  • Speed work @5k pace - 94% of max HR
  • Speed work @10K/threshold/tempo pace - 85-92% of max HR
  • Marathon pace - 78-85% of max HR

Interpolating, it looked like ~85% max was about right for HM pace.

I'd hoped by Friday I'd be feeling back to normal, but as soon as I started my warm up the answer was obviously no. I wasn't even worrying about the pace during the first tempo mile because it was uphill and into the wind, but even just going by heart rate, I had to laugh; no matter how hard I pushed, my HR just flat-out refused to rise very much, but even so, the thought of running more than a mile at that level of effort was horrifying. I don't know if it was a smart decision considering how worn out my legs were or if I just wussed out, but I ended up doing 4 x 1mi @ HMP instead of 2 x 2mi, and even that felt WAY harder than it should have.

I was shooting for about 180 in terms of HR, so you can see that it took some time to actually get there. The interesting thing about base training is that although the engine is not yet very big (it's hard to generate much power for very long), there is a decent amount of efficiency (even at heart rates a bit below the target, I was hitting the pace or slightly faster with no problem).

So yeah. It was not easy, but this was only week 3 so I'm optimistic.

Grand Total: 45.9 miles + 3:00:00 strength

    * 20 easy
    * 5 speed
    * 4.6 threshold
    * 16.3 long

    Monday 8/15: a.m. strength/p.m. karate

    Tuesday 8/16: 2 warm up, 10 x 600m @ 5K pace / 200m jog, 2 cool down

    Wednesday 8/17: a.m. strength/p.m 4 easy.

    Thursday 8/18: 8 easy.

    Friday 8/19: 2 warm up, 2 x 2mi 4 x 1mi @ HM pace / 2:00 jog, 2 cool down, get on plane.

    Saturday 8/20: Obscene brunch followed by epic dinner at N/Naka

    Giant pan charred pancake with strawberries at Dudley Market.

    Seriously, if you're ever in LA & can get a reservation at N/Naka, just do it.

    Sunday 8/21: Ridiculous brunch #2, get on plane, get off plane, 16.3 long.

    Sweet white corn pancakes with roasted blueberries & lemon zest at Local Kitchen.

    Actually this run was supposed to be 16, but I miscalculated a bit. Finished in the dark, but got it done. #thepancakeswereworthit

* * *

CIM 2016 Week 1 of 18

CIM 2016 Week 2 of 18

Saturday, August 20, 2016

How to tell if your base training is working.

All you need is a GPS watch (or a stop watch & a course whose distance you know) and a heart rate monitor that records data!

I think most of us would agree that endurance athletes tend to have a certain temperament, part of which is the ability to make a long-term commitment to consistently do incremental, sometimes-boring, not-necessarily-gratifying work on a day-to-day basis without much in the way of immediate feedback. Like, if you're the type of person who needs to see progress on a daily or even weekly basis, you probably won't find endurance sports very satisfying.

For the most part, I do okay with the day-to-day grunt work. I'm mostly fine with delaying gratification, but it is still nice to see some evidence that the work you're doing is accomplishing something. I get this urge even more when I'm doing nothing but slow, easy runs, I suppose because it can get soooo monotonous.

Anyway, if you come here often, you probably know that this summer has been a VERITABLE THREE-RING CIRCUS of aerobic base training up in here. Garmins! Heart rate monitors! Maaaaaaaybe breaking marathon pace + 1:30 going downhill with a tailwind!

Settle down, y'all.

I'm not going to completely rehash the whole "Why aerobic base training?" schpiel here, but you can check out the following posts if you want to read more.

Because numbers are my favorite (also because I enjoy a little validation as much as the next gal), I've been collecting data on my runs this summer & putting it all into a nifty little Excel table, plotting the date on the x-axis and my running economy (or, really, a decent proxy thereof) on the y-axis. (Units = miles per heart beat. Technically speaking running economy is about oxygen consumption, but heart rate is a pretty good indicator of that and is much easier to measure directly.)

So, after 9 weeks, what have we got?

(See this post for information on my methodology/math.)

Not bad, eh?

As you can see, the data jumps around a lot from day to day and even week to week because there are so many factors that can affect your pace & heart rate on a given day (weather, sleep, stress, medications, general fatigue, GPS issues, HRM accuracy, etc.). Because of this, you need rather a lot of data points before you can see the trend clearly.

BUT, after 9 weeks, there is a clear trend. We can have Excel calculate & plot the line of best fit (which you can see running through the data points.) Much, much cooler, though, is the fact that we can also have it calculate the variance (the number labeled R2). What is variance? Basically, it tells you what percent of the trend the x variable is responsible for. In the data above, R2 ≈ .33, which tells us that the x value (the date, ie, how many days of base training I've done) is responsible for about 33% of the variation. That means all those other things (weather/sleep/stress/GPS/HRM accuracy/etc.) account for about 67% of it.

Essentially, this is telling us that about a third of how efficiently I've run on any given day has been a result of how far into the training I am (and also that there is a lot of noise caused by other factors--weather, device accuracy, sleep, stress levels, etc.).

Now, we can't automatically assume all of that 33% is due to base training, because there are some other things connected to the passage of time besides how much base training I've done. For example, how many days of strength training I've done, or the fact that I have gradually been losing a little weight these last few weeks as my mileage has picked back up. If I wanted to be SUPER rigorous I'd have to control for all those things (which is a little impractical if you're just a normal person training to do your best at a race).

Obviously I expect to still continue getting faster as I add in speed & tempo work due to improving my VO2 max & lactate threshold, but I am curious to keep tracking this data for my easy runs to see if my running economy continues to improve between now & CIM, or if it levels off.

Want to track your own running economy (or proxy thereof)? I have a spreadsheet with all the formulas already set up which I'm happy to share with anyone who's interested. Just let me know.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Speed work, I have missed you.

This place.

It's not sarcasm! I really have!

Something I love about distance running is the periodic nature of training cycles. After giving 110% at a target race, it's so nice to have a week off, followed often by a chunk of easy base training. I like training for races, but there's something very calming about having some time away from that where all I have to do is come home from work, throw on running clothes, grab my watch, & turn my brain off while I log mile after mile of relaxed, easy running. Inevitably, though, I start to get a little bored with the same-ol', same-ol', & find myself longing for faster paces and the sensation of zooming around the curves at the track; before you know it, I'm eagerly counting down days until my first speed workout of the next cycle.

And, full disclosure, I usually also have some butterflies about going back to those fast workouts, too. I always wonder whether I'll be able to hit the same paces as before, and how hard it will feel after a couple of months of hanging out in zone 2, and how my injury-prone body will acclimate to the added strain. I have always been more of a 5K-10K runner than a marathoner, though, so for the most part, knowing it's almost time to get back out on the track gets me excited.

This past Tuesday evening was my first speed session since April, with ten 600m repeats / 200m jogs on tap. The goal was 2:38 for each interval (7:05 pace), and I was curious to see just how easy or hard that felt after such a long break from fast running. Happily, they really didn't feel very hard at all, and I easily kept them between 2:33 & 2:37 (~6:45 pace on average).

  • Lap 1 - 2:35
  • Lap 2 - 2:35
  • Lap 3 - 2:34
  • Lap 4 - 2:33
  • Lap 5 - 2:36
  • Lap 6 - 2:34
  • Lap 7 - 2:37
  • Lap 8 - 2:33
  • Lap 9 - 2:36
  • Lap 10 - 2:33

Something that I've noticed about going back to the track after a chunk of base training is how, although it doesn't necessarily make the pace feel any easier, it's kind of dramatic how much easier it feels to do a longer speed session (9 miles in this case) and feel almost as good by the end as I did at the start. In addition to hitting the pace with no problem all the way to the end, I also did the whole thing start to finish with no pauses or breaks. (Sometimes I end up stopping once or twice for water but I am trying to get out of the habit of that whenever possible.)

Up next: Tempo run #1 on Friday!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

CIM WEEK 2 of 18: Escape From NY (barely)

The Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park. How many times have I met up with friends here for group runs or looped past it during long runs? The world may never know.

This wasn't the dumbest week ever but it was kind of close. (That distinction probably still belongs to this week.)

Grand Total: 46 total miles, all easy, + 1:00:00 strength work

    Monday 8/8: a.m. strength/p.m. karate

    Tuesday 8/9: 10 easy, destroy left calf/Achilles. Spend the rest of the evening limping around the house & trying not to panic. You can read the deets here.

    Wednesday 8/10: Rest from everything, constantly stretch & roll left calf. (Not because I think this will fix it, but because I suspect the lack of keeping up with that stuff over the last couple of months probably contributed to the strain. It's happened twice before.)

    Thursday 8/11: 8 easy.

    Monday morning I got up at the ass crack of dawn to catch a plane to NY at 7:45am, an hour which I consider completely obscene for plane catching. Fortunately, everything ran on time. Unfortunately, we ended up landing at La Guardia in a kind of scary lightening storm & learned that the rest of the airport had basically been closed down for like an hour with approximately a bajillion flights cancelled. This meant that it took me 90 minutes waiting in a taxi line in the rain in 95F & 95% humidity to get a cab to my hotel. (East Coast, what even is the point of you? Ah, right; bagels.)

    It was 10pm by the time I finished dinner, but still being on West Coast time & wide awake, I decided to jump on the treadmill & see how my leg was feeling, since it would be easy to jump right back off if I felt any pain. And, I was kind of stunned to find that it felt completely, 100% normal for six miles. In the last two I kept thinking, "Is that a twinge? I'm not sure. It might be a twinge. Maybe?" But if it was there, the pain was in the 1-1.5 out of 10 range, so I felt totally fine completing the full 8 (and then, yes, stretching it really, REALLY well).

    Friday 8/5: Travel shenanigans!!

    Here is where the fun begins.

    Sadly, though I was wide away the night before & went to sleep at a very reasonable hour relative to West Coast time, I still had to be up at 7am East Coast time, so you can do the math there. Work was fine; I'd been told I would definitely be done by 3pm so had booked my flight for 6pm just to be safe. It turned out we finished more like 1:45, so I had plenty of time for a nice, leisurely trip to the airport and a late lunch around 2:15-2:30.

    Then I got a text that my flight had been delayed. Instead of arriving in Denver at 8:40 to catch a 10pm flight to SF, I was now arriving at 9:10. This was no big deal so I pretty much ignored it.

    Then I went through security & scurried down to my gate, where I was greeted with a kind of barely-controlled bedlam. The weather was getting nasty again and several flights were getting badly delayed or cancelled. I had a bad feeling about this but I proceeded to buy myself a book and snag a prime spot near some outlets & settled in to wait for my flight four hours from now.

    Then, another text. Another delay; I'd now be landing at 9:45pm & trying to make a 10:00pm connection, which is not completely impossible but also not exactly how shall we say probable. The message on my United app: "We're so sorry that your travel plans have been compromised! Please select another itinerary if you'd like at no charge." So I promptly search for another itinerary & learn that "Sorry, there are no other itineraries available at this time."

    At this point basically everyone around me is shouting (at gate agents, bored children, each other). The customer service line is 30 people long. So, I get on the phone with customer service and am told it will be a 5-10 minute wait to speak to someone. 20 minutes later I explain my situation to a nice lady who proceeds to tell me about all kinds of fantastic options for people who are not me. ("We have a direct flight to SF leaving out of JFK in 40 minutes." Great?) Finally I accept that I am not getting out of New York tonight and next best thing is getting rebooked on a 7am direct flight out of JFK on a different airline. I tell her to do it. We are promptly disconnected.

    I call back and wait another 20 minutes. I have the same conversation with someone else. He starts to rebook me. We are disconnected.

    New text. I am now scheduled to land at 10:05pm for my 10:00pm connection.

    Desperate times call for desperate measures, so I sigh and abandon my prime spot by the outlets, dial customer service *again*, and also jump in the physical customer service line, now probably 40 people long. Will I reach an actual person on the phone before I get to the front????

    The answer is no.

    The poor gate agent at the front looks as if he is living in a war zone. I try to make things really easy for him & tell him about how two different people have tried booking me on this 7am JFK flight but we keep getting disconnected and if he could just finish it up that would be GREAT.

    He taps on the keyboard for a moment, eyes glassy and empty, and shakes his head. "Full."


    More tapping. More head-shaking. More rapid blinking of hopeless eyes that have seen too much.

    "I have a couple of seats on a direct flight at 10pm," he says finally.

    "GREAT!" #winning

    "It's out of Newark."

    "The one in New Jersey?"



    Apparently there's a shuttle bus I can take for $47, and since it's 6pm now, I *might* get there in time.

    "It's up to you," he reiterates. "All I'm saying is, if you want, I can book you on this flight."

    "DO IT," I tell him.

    The clock is now ticking so I sprint down to the ground transportation info desk & enquire about this alleged shuttle. At first I am told "No problem," but after a few minutes on the phone, the gentleman manning the desk tells me, "The shuttle is unavailable," but would I rather take the Express Shuttle instead for $27. I like the sound of 'Express' so I tell him "DO IT."

    He walks me and another woman down to where the Express Shuttle leaves from. On the way we learn that the Express Shuttle is more like the "Express" Shuttle, actually, in that, after leaving LGA, it drives all around Manhattan before reaching the spot where the Newark bus picks up.

    There is a stern-looking woman guarding the "Express" Shuttle line. "These two ladies need to get to Newark," he tells her. She looks skeptical. "When's your flight?" she asks. "10pm," I say. She nods. "You may get in the line." Then to the other woman, "When's your flight?" "8:30pm," she tells her, and the stern woman shakes her head. "You may not get in the line."

    I get in the line. "There is one leaving at 6:30 but you won't get on it," she warns me. "Just wait here. There's another one at 7."

    I wait. Another woman sells me a ticket and asks me where I'm going. I tell her. "You want the second stop," she says, enunciating carefully. "Don't get off at the first stop. You want the second one. It's called Bryant Park. Don't get off at the first stop." Careful eye contact, and again, slow, careful enunciation. "The bus driver will show you where to go to catch the Newark bus."

    I commit this to memory and it gives me a bad feeling.

    The 6:30 bus comes and goes. So does 7pm. There is no second bus. Someone comes to tell us that don't worry, it's stuck in traffic but it'll be here. I get nervous but it pulls up at 7:20pm & I jump on, thankful I have only my small overnight bag to deal with.

    We proceed to drive all over Manhattan. There's a lot of honking and shouting. We arrive at the first stop and I do not get off.

    However. I do hear a Canadian couple at the front of the bus ask, "Is this where we get off for the Newark bus, eh?"

    The porter stares at them like they have seven heads. "The what?"

    "The Newark bus," the man repeats. "For Newark airport, eh?"

    "It's called Bryant Park," adds the woman. "The stop is Bryant Park."

    "This bus doesn't go to Bryant Park!" He looks completely indignant. "Who told you it went to Bryant Park?"

    "The woman who sold us the tickets, eh."

    The porter shakes his head as if this is complete crazy talk and what kind of idiot would believe something like that. "Psh. Bryant Park."

    There is some additional conversation. I'm in the back so I don't catch it all, but I do see the three folks I know on this bus are going to Newark airport frantically making their way towards the door so I grab my bag and follow them.

    It takes me a while to get out & by the time I do they're almost a full block ahead of me, the bus driver walking with them. I have no idea what's going on but I run in my very non-running-friendly office shoes to catch up.

    We stop at a corner. "Just wait here and a bus will come," he tells us.

    We stare.

    I am acutely aware of the fact that I am now farther away from an airport than I have been for this entire trip. Geographically, this is indisputable anti-progress.

    But, against all odds, a bus DOES come, a bus clearly marked as the "Newark Airport Express," and we get on it. However this also ends up being an "Express" rather than an Express, and we're treated to another tour of Manhattan with all the same honking & shouting, just in the dark this time.

    I keep checking the time & try to relax. My phone is about to die (that sweet seat by the outlets feels like a lifetime ago) but I risk pulling up Google Maps to see how far we are from Newark Airport Terminal B. 22 minutes and it's 8:40? That'll do, pig.

    At long, long last, we pull up at Newark Airport, which you would have thought was Valhalla from my reaction. I thank the gods of air travel for TSA Pre-Check, breeze through security, & walk approximately half a mile to my gate, which is about as far as geographically possible from security.

    I have received no more United texts, but there is nothing anywhere at this gate about a plane going to San Francisco. I check the Departure boards and find that my gate has been changed (because of course it has), which would not be a big deal except that the new gate is, it turns out, about as far as it is physically possible to be from the old gate and still be in the same terminal. This time I thank the gods of marathon training for my fitness and race-walk about a mile through the terminal, finally arriving at my gate.

    San Francisco. 10pm.

    These shoes are not made for walking and my heels are now a bloody mess, but I collapse in a chair and try not to think about it.

    I grab some terrible airport sushi and wash it down with a $4 bottle of water. It's a shit show here, too; everyone around me is shouting and jockeying for position in the boarding lines. This flight has been delayed a bit further due to a personnel problem (it was originally supposed to leave at 6:40pm), but I couldn't care less. There is a plane outside and it is going to San Francisco and so help me I am getting on it.

    The rest of the trip is uneventful. I arrive at SFO at 1am, take a shuttle to long-term parking, drive home, eat something, and pass right the f#ck out.

    Saturday 8/13: 10 easy. I'm still not fully caught up on sleep so it is not the easiest run, but it is also not terrible.

    Sunday 8/14: 18 long.

    I'd debated turning this run into a trek out to the Palace of Fine Arts so I could take some sweet pictures, but I'm still not feeling 100%, so I opt instead to do nice, predictable loops of the east side of Golden Gate Park. It was cold and mizzly (mist + drizzle) and a bit on the windy side, so I was surprised that there were so many people out still. This is definitely the earliest in a marathon cycle that I've run this far, and I'm pleased to find that although I'm certainly ready to be done by the end, it doesn't feel that hard and I don't feel completely awful.

  • Do you also abhor the East Coast?
  • What is the longest taxi line you've ever waited in and was there also a lightening storm?
  • What is up with NY/La Guardia airport transit, anyway?

* * *

CIM 2016 Week 1 of 18

Saturday, August 13, 2016

What's a blog good for anyway?

Well, so much for not injuring myself early-on.

On my long run last Sunday, I felt a tiny twinge in my left calf/Achilles area. Nothing major; just one of those niggly little pains that shows up sometimes for no good reason and disappears quickly enough. Otherwise I'd had a great run so I barely thought anything of it.

On Tuesday, I had an easy 10 on the schedule. The first bit was fine, but then after two or three miles, I started to feel something in that same calf. You know how it is; I waffled & wavered about whether it was really there, and how bad it was, and whether I was being smart or paranoid by considering cutting the run short.

Mile 4: "Mmmm, yeah, that kinda hurts."

Mile 5: "Yep, still hurts, and now I am five miles from home."

Mile 6: "Yep! Pain! Ow ow ow pain!"

I had my phone so I could have called a cab but to be honest I'm pretty sure no one would have let me in their car at that point. Also, it would definitely feel worse after stopping for a traffic light, but then kind of-sort of feel a little better after a few minutes of running, and I'd find myself thinking, "Ugh, this sucks, but it's not that bad, just ____ more to go." But then every now and then I'd feel a very sharp pain in my Achilles tendon and panic a little. After a while I also noticed that my right knee was starting to hurt (and I don't generally have knee pain).

The bad news is, by the time I got home, I was actively limping. The good news, on the other hand, is that at least after an hour or two of walking around barefoot, it felt about ten times better (but still hurt pretty badly if I tried to stand on the ball of my left foot).

For all but the most charmed of runners, this (some injury that seems to appear out of nowhere) is a thing that sometimes happens. It has certainly happened to me more than once!

And here's the other good news: I have gotten waaaaaay better about how I handle it.

  • Angela handling a sudden, debilitating running injury ca.2008: "INJURED WHO'S INJURED LA LA LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU!"
  • Angela handling same, ca.2011: "But, like, injury's just a state of mind, man. All that matters is whether I feel like I can run 10 miles safely."
  • Angela handling same, ca.2014: "I am definitely, definitely injured and cannot even THINK of running and this SUCKS and I hate my body, running, life, the universe, and EVERYTHING. If anyone needs me I will be sobbing under the covers with a bottle of cote d'rhone."

The nice part about becoming older and wiser is that you remember going down all those paths, and also how much they sucked and also did not fix the situation. When all this happened Tuesday night I could sense how easy it would be to let myself fall into the Pit of Despair that running injuries have been for me in the past, especially since this was supposed to be my "peak" week of base training, 50 easy miles before cutting back to add speed & tempo & prep for a September 10K.

But, thankfully, I caught myself falling into that trap & instead tried to react to it the way I know I should react in a race that has taken a crappy turn: "Well, look, this is happening, and throwing a tantrum about it isn't going to make it NOT happen. So let's just accept it and start from there."

I think just getting into that state of mind let me think more rationally and come up with some objective, non-emotionally charged facts, like:

  • It isn't even mid-August and my 'A' race isn't until December.
  • Trying to run on it every day or every other day "just to see" is almost guaranteed to drag the healing process out even longer.
  • A few days or a week or even two weeks of not running will suck a lot psychologically, but it is unlikely to have a huge effect on my race day fitness this far out.

The other thing that's helped, honestly, is having this blog, where I've recorded just about everything that's happened to me running-wise for the last five years. When this first happened, I remember thinking, "Didn't something like this happen to me two years ago in Vancouver? Also, I have a vague memory of something similar happening like five years ago too during the summer. Or was it the other leg?"

Nope; it was the same leg, both times. Not surprising, considering this is the leg my PT was always raising his eyebrows about & constantly cupping & grinding on with various tools, and also the leg where I've had the plantar fasciitis (mostly caused by tight calf muscles, it turns out).

And guess what also definitely happened the first time? The weird right knee pain, which I'd completely forgotten about until I went back and read that blog post. (I'm pretty sure it's some kind of stride/compensation thing.)

The icing on the rational, objective, non-melodramatic cake? Being able to look back at exactly how long each had taken to heal. Both times it seemed like the end of the world (or at least my 'A' race), but in June 2011, the injury apparently happened on a Tuesday & I was back to 6 easy miles the following Monday, and in 2014, the worst of it happened on a Thursday & the following Tuesday I was healthy enough to run a 10 mile track workout.

So. Self, I know you won't like it, but can you handle 4-6 days of taking it easy/cross training?

Answer: Yes. Yes, I can. (Thanks, blog!)

(Update: I wrote this a few days ago and I think it's mostly fine now.)

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Worth Repeating: Running & Self-Defense

Given the three recent murders of young women out running alone, there is a lot of talk happening & a lot of ink being spilt currently re: women, running, and safety. (For the record, it seems that so far police do not believe that the three murders are related.) As someone with a black belt in karate who has been doing and teaching martial arts for nearly 15 years now and also runs around a major city alone a good bit, I've gotten plenty of questions over the years about these topics, so back in 2014, I decided to write a post about it. This seems like an appropriate time to re-post some of that; hopefully some folks will find it useful.

(Original post here)

Day or night, crowds or solitude, highway shoulders or urban sidewalks or forest trails, there are always potential hazards to look out for, and paying close attention to our surroundings isn't something we can ever let slip. In the wake of these tragic events, I've seen many of my friends and fellow bloggers posting or musing about their own safety habits (or lack thereof) and steps they are thinking of taking to be safer when out running alone.

One that has come up fairly frequently is the idea of attending self-defense classes. This is one of the things I've been asked my opinion on a lot, usually by other women, and my thoughts on the topic are mixed. It worries me when I see or hear people talking about self-defense like it's something you can learn from watching a video or attending a day-long workshop: people see how easy and simple it looks & maybe try it a few times with a friendly, cooperative partner, and it gives them a false sense of security, which in some cases can even lead to people taking additional risks because they feel overconfident.

The fact of the matter is that being able to use self-defense techniques like breaking someone's grab or escaping a choke hold effectively when someone is actually trying to hurt you requires A LOT of practice. There are couple of reasons for this.

For one, it's a skill, and you have to learn to do it properly. It took me several years to feel very confident in my ability to break grabs & escape holds & what have you immediately, without thinking or pausing to go, "Okay, I put my hand here, and grab you here...Wait, how does this go?" Just like someone who's never played piano can't learn to play a complicated piece by watching a YouTube video or having someone show them a few times, you can't learn self-defense that way either. (And in the heat of the moment when you're afraid for your life, what are the odds that you'll be able to call all those details to mind anyway?)

For another, you have to do it often enough to undo all the conditioning that civilized humans (especially women) have that tells us we shouldn't be aggressive & violent towards other people. Yes, some of the time we have a fight-or-flight thing that kicks in when we really need it, but you might be surprised how often people freeze up in the face of violence and can't bring themselves to get aggressive with their attackers. (I hate to say it, but this is often especially true for women. See Harriet J.'s amazing post on why, if we teach women that there are only certain ways they may acceptably behave, we should not be surprised when they behave in those ways.)

If you have it in your head that these self-defense moves are something you might need to do one day, get a partner & practice, practice, practice, until you can do it immediately & accurately, every time, without a second thought.

I am not saying that self-defense classes are worthless. I haven't attended every self-defense class on earth and perhaps some of them are indeed better than nothing. But if you feel like this is a real threat you need to deal with and are serious about doing something useful about it, I would recommend a series of ongoing classes, ideally weekly, for *at least* a few months. (For comparison: I do not think I was even remotely halfway competent in self defense until maybe 2-3 years into practicing karate 3-5 hours a week. And that's only cases where the attacker is unarmed.)

Don't get me wrong; backed into a corner, I'm not saying don't do whatever you have to to defend yourself. I'm just saying, don't count on something to save you in a stressful, chaotic situation that you haven't practiced a thousand times with full speed & power & can do on auto-pilot.

So if you haven't practiced a bunch of self-defense moves ten thousand times, what can you do? So many things!! Here is some straight-talk about combat & self-defense from someone who's been doing it for 15 years. I give you...

The Top 5 Self-Defense Moves For Runners
(and, actually, anyone, including martial artists):

MOVE #1: Stay out of situations where you might need to defend yourself. I can't say this enough times. The best way to get out of a dangerous situation is to do whatever you can not to get into it in the first place. Sometimes people have made remarks about how it must be really nice not to have to worry about walking down dangerous streets or being out alone at night or someone deciding to mess with me because "you know how to defend yourself." Wrong. If anything, my martial arts training has made me that much aware of how dangerous those situations can be and how much and how quickly things can go horribly wrong any time you have to resort to defending yourself with physical force. It's not a trump card; it's an absolute last resort, with dubious odds at that. All martial arts training does is give you a fighting chance, maybe, depending on the situation.

The best self-defense move out there is avoiding risky situations. If you must run in the dark, pick your route carefully & try to go with a buddy or stay where there are plenty of people. If you must run where there are no people, stick to daylight and stay in areas where you have good lines of sight (as opposed to lots of good places for potential attackers to hide). If you must run with headphones, keep the volume turned down so that you can hear footsteps and voices of those around you (or go with one headphone only). If you're already doing something slightly risky like running alone in the dark or somewhere unfamiliar or in an area where there aren't other people around, leave the headphones at home. And for the love of god, don't real-time social media to the whole world exactly where you are.

MOVE #2: Pay attention to your surroundings. This is a habit I developed through karate without even realizing it. When I walk into a store or parking lot or bar or BART station or whatever, I find myself pausing for a moment to take in the whole scene. Who is standing where? Where is their attention directed? Anything seem weird or out of place? Eventually that habit worked itself into running as well. Any time I feel like I'm already taking chances with Move #1, this spidey sense goes into overdrive.

I think it's hard for a lot of us to really pay close attention to our surrounding when we're out running because it's so easy to get caught up either in your thoughts or in paying attention to your body. It's easy to just put one foot in front of the other without much thought for what's going on around us. But try to develop that habit if you can. Try to look at people while you run. Try to listen to their voices and the other sounds they're making. Pay attention to where and how people are standing/walking and where their attention is.

This move is a double-edged sword, because not only are you more likely to notice something/someone out of place and/or dangerous, but it also gives you an aura of being alert & with it & generally having your shit together. The fact that predators choose their victims based on posture, body language, & other behaviors that indicate a person is timid/passive/not paying attention to their surroundings is extremely well-documented; being alert & with it is like wearing a sign that says, "Not the easiest target, maybe choose someone else."

(Incidentally, this habit has a lot of other side benefits as well. It lets me avoid running into people who are walking right at me who I can just tell by their demeanor are not really "seeing" me and not going to move. It's helped me avoid getting hit and/or backed over by cars. It's helped me dodge more dogs/children/drunk people/construction areas than I could possibly ever remember.)

MOVE #3: Listen to your gut. Getting a weird feeling? Hairs on the back of your neck standing up? Find yourself saying over and over again, "I'm sure it's nothing"? Do whatever you need to to get rid of that feeling--stop & look behind you, go back the way you came, take a different road, duck into a storefront, whatever. The good news about weird gut feelings is that whatever it is you're subconsciously worried about hasn't happened yet, so you still have time to avoid it.

And you know what? Most of the time, maybe even 99.9% of the time, that weird feeling really will be nothing. But people are good at getting weird feelings when something isn't right, and your safety isn't worth gambling with on the off chance that it isn't. Do whatever you need to to feel safe in the moment. Anyone who tries to make you feel silly or dumb about it is not your friend.

MOVE #4: Run away, preferably towards people. If someone really looks/sounds/seems legitimately threatening, put as much distance between them and you as possible as quickly as possible. (This is the great thing about being a runner--odds are good you can outrun anyone giving you the heeby jeebies!) Even though these types of situations are pretty rare, most of the time the person acting threatening isn't all that focused on you in particular or willing to put much effort into continuing to harass you. Most casual threatening behavior is opportunistic, so if you can gun it a bit for a few blocks/tens of yards & get some distance between you, that may take care of things.

If someone does seem pretty focused on you personally and committed to getting at you, run as fast as you possibly can to the closest safe place (again, preferably where there are people). Even someone with truly bad intentions isn't likely to follow you into a group or a well-peopled building. (This is the main reason why running alone, out of sprinting distance of other people, really skeeves me out.)

(Related -- Don't engage with someone who seems threatening, even if they're talking to you. Again, most of the time this stuff is opportunistic, and it's been shown over and over and over again--see Chapter 8 of Gavin de Becker's The Gift of Fear--that by ignoring it and not giving the person the satisfaction of responding, they're less likely to get invested in bothering you. Any attention you give someone in this kind of situation is rewarding the behavior and only likely to escalate it.)

MOVE #5: Make as much noise as possible. A great one to use in conjunction with Move #4. Like I mentioned above, you would be shocked to learn how many assaults take place within earshot of other people where the victim stays disturbingly quiet. (Again, see Harriet's post for the some of the reasons why.) Remember that most assaults are opportunistic, not personal, and most predators are looking for as un-challenging a mark as they can find and the absolute LAST thing they want is to draw attention to themselves. So if someone is acting threatening & you really want them to GTFA from you, scream your little head off & draw as much attention as possible.

Cool. But what are some physical things I can do if someone grabs/corners me that don't take hours and hours of practice?

There are some! Obviously any amount of practice/drill you do with another person is going to make you that much more confident should you ever need to defend yourself with physical force, but the moves below are pretty basic & forgiving in terms of practice or getting them *exactly* right.

  • Kick the shins. HARD. You know how much that hurts! No, this will not put someone on the ground, but it may distract them long enough for you to be able to pull away & run. Always cause a pain distraction before you try to pull away, especially from someone bigger & stronger than you. It's surprisingly effective! Truly, there is never a bad time for a shin kick.

  • Go for the nose! We have a saying in our dojo: No one has a strong nose. It takes remarkably little force to create a LOT of pain & a veritable FOUNTAIN of blood. (I know! I've bloodied noses! I've bloodied my *own* nose!) Noses are really, really easy to break and quite painful (again--I can attest to this personally!), and even if you don't break it, you'll likely distract them long enough to get away.

  • Similarly, fling your fingers at the eyes like you're flinging water off your hands. It has a surprising sting, & anything in the direction of the eyes makes an excellent distraction. I don't recommend trying to jab/claw people's eyes out, because getting involved with the body fluids of strangers is something to avoid if at all possible (though obviously, if you are feeling seriously threatened, you do whatever you have to).

  • Fingernails to the face in any way you can manage. Just raking your hand tiger-claw style down someone's face is pretty darn disconcerting and can also be a great distraction. Consider pairing with a shin kick.

  • Avoid punching if it is not something you have been taught to do & practiced extensively. Instead, pull your fingers back & go with the heel of the hand--just shoot it at at your attacker's face like a rubber band. BAM! It's hard enough to inflict a non-ignorable amount of pain but also padded enough that you're unlikely to hurt yourself. (Poorly executed punches have a habit of spraining/breaking fingers & wrists, and are also unlikely to do much if you haven't practiced it with something hard thousands upon thousands of times.)

  • If you're grabbed bear-hug style from behind, don't try to pry their hands up. Hands are strong. If you can manage a heel kick to the shin, start with that. (Always cause a pain distraction first.) Then, instead of trying to pry the hands away, start with a pinkie & bend it back as far as you can. As with noses, no one has a strong pinky. This is kind of magical in how effective it can be, but be prepared to follow it up right away with a shin kick, whack to the nose, etc.

  • Another possibility if you're grabbed from behind is to heel kick the shin (always cause a pain distraction first), then throw an elbow back into your attacker's ribs/sternum. How possible/effective this is really depends on how you're being grabbed/held, and sometimes it won't really work, but if you can manage it, it can be startlingly effective. Elbows are SHARP and make excellent weapons!

  • YELL. It seems hokey but I am not joking about this. If you have to defend yourself against someone who is trying to hurt you, scream in their face every time you strike or hit them. It seriously freaks people out & can sometimes even cause enough of a distraction to give you a chance to escape. Also, see Move #5 above.

  • ***Don't count on the crotch shot.*** I have lost track of the number of women who believe they are invincible to men because "I'll just kick/knee him in the balls." Maybe you will, and maybe it will work, but more likely you will miss, or won't be able to manage enough force, or he'll move/block you, or you'll make contact & cause some pain but rather than disabling him, it will only serve to make him angry & more violent as adrenaline tends to blunt pain but not emotion. In a chaotic, fast-moving situation, the targeting is trickier than you think, and dudes are really good at protecting the crotch region. Again, I'm not saying don't try it, but know that it is FAR from a trump card & have some other moves in mind to follow up with.

Last but not least, if you ever do find yourself needing to use physical force, remember that the goal is not to incapacitate the person--the goal is to run away. At the first opportunity. As quickly as possible. Do NOT hang out & try to start a boxing match.

Some Final Remarks

Again, I am not categorically against self-defense classes. I am not against learning & practicing self-defense moves (obviously). BUT, I am VERY much against giving people an unrealistic view of what they can depend on when it comes to protecting themselves, and I am very VERY *VERY* against presenting self-defense "moves"/physical force as if they should ever be the first line of defense. Fighting is chaos. There's no predicting how things will go. You never know when someone has a weapon. You never know when someone's buddies may be backing them up. You never know when someone may suddenly grab a broken bottle. In those situations, the odds of a favorable outcome for even the most highly trained martial artist plummet pretty quickly. (Seriously. The more self-defense I learn and practice, the more terrified of weapons I become, which is a good thing because it means my brain is operating more and more in reality where the odds of an unarmed person successfully fighting off someone with a weapon are just about zero.)

Backed into a corner, truly afraid for my life? No question; I will do everything in my power to lay you out, inflict permanent injuries, & not even think twice about it.

But lemme tell you; first & foremost, I'm going to fight 90% of that battle by doing everything I possibly can to not to be in it in the first place.

Be safe out there, folks!!!

Monday, August 8, 2016

CIM WEEK 1 of 18: It's on.

I suppose when I start actually counting down weeks toward a race is pretty arbitrary (and to be completely honest, I'm not even sure why I do it except to entertain myself). Originally I thought, "Eh, I'll start when I add speed & tempo runs," but this was such a great week capped by such a great long run & first of the cycle that I kind of just said "Screw it, let's do this."

Question: Do I ever get tired of this view, or of marking long runs by
posting pictures of it? Answer: No. No, I do not.

Grand Total: 46 total miles, all easy, + 2:00:00 strength work

    Monday 8/1: a.m. strength/p.m. karate

    Tuesday 8/2: 8 easy

    Wednesday 8/3: a.m. strength work/afternoon 4 easy/p.m. karate

    Thursday 8/4: 10 easy

    Friday 8/5: a.m. strength/p.m. 8 easy.

    Thursday night a friend was in town for his birthday, and I may have stayed out a bit later & had maybe more cocktails than initially planned. Since I'd already planned to work from home on Friday, I skipped morning strength work in favor of extra sleep & did part of the workout (the easy part) at home later in the afternoon.

    Being social with non-runners for once. I know; I am shocked as well.

    Saturday 8/6: Rest

    Sunday 8/7: 16 long.

    I don't know why 15 is the dividing line in my brain between medium/longer-ish runs and true long runs. Maybe it's because 13-14 miles is still in the realm of things that can show up as workouts mid-week during peak training, but 15 would be crazy talk. Anyway, this run felt like my first real long run of this training cycle, but also, weirdly, was one of the easiest long runs I can remember. Almost always if a run is 16+ miles there will come a point where it feels at least a little tougher in a way that weekday 8-10 mile runs never do, but this time I finished feeling not appreciably different than I do after shorter weekday runs. (Also, I kind of kept forgetting it happened. Like later that night I kept thinking, "Why do I feel so tired? Oh, right." I know it's only week 1 but I'm taking it as a good sign.

Exciting training plans????
What do you count as a *real* long run?
What do you count as the *real* start of a training cycle?

Thursday, August 4, 2016

It is once again time to make fun of Pinterest.

Before we get to the main event today, I thought I would just mention that yes, I am still love love LOVING running right now & basically want to do it all the time. I ran 183 miles in July and could have run even more if I weren't restraining myself for the sake of not getting hurt before my CIM training even starts. I have run more than that in a consecutive 30 day period a few times in the last couple of years, but I have been logging miles in RunningAhead since 2011 & the closest I've ever come to running that much in one calendar month was October 2011 at 178 miles. Here's hoping that my enthusiasm & free time continues to cooperate between now and December 4.

But enough about that. Friends, the time has once again come to paste some dumb fitspo / runspo into a blog post and examine the wisdom therein.

I will skip the part where Jillian Michaels tells you how to lose 5-8 POUNDS THIS WEEK!!! by drinking nothing but kale juice and despair and jump directly to the hilarity.

(You're welcome.)

Pithy Quote:

Real Talk: False. If you're in the middle of a tough training cycle and think you might feel a niggling injury coming on, for example, this is EXACTLY the question you should be asking. If you are signed up for a marathon this weekend and come down with the flu on Friday, this is EXACTLY the thought that should be running through your head (for about two seconds before you remember you're not a complete moron). There are times when you probably shouldn't be running, even if you want to or are "supposed" to, and doing it anyway doesn't make you "hardcore" or "baddass" or whatever; it just makes you kind of an idiot who can't think beyond the short-term.

Pithy Quote:

Real Talk: Why would you even say this? This is not a thing people are worried about. Like, I could see a hat that was all, "No lady ever got so ripped she looked like a man from lifting weights two hours a week," because that is a thing that, although equally impossible, some people are actually worried about. But drowning in sweat? No. No one is worried about that.

(Also, gross. Why would you even bring up that image?)

Pithy Quote:

Real Talk: Look. A, you don't have to "suck it in." And B, if the implication here is that having to "suck it in" means you're not skinny, I've got some news for you. Plenty of hardcore, baddass people in this world "suck it up" early & often & are not skinny. And finally C, if all your chosen form of physical activity is for you is something you have to "suck up," then maybe it's not the right form of exercise for you & you should look for something different that you actually, like, enjoy.

Pithy Quote:

Real Talk: I've said it before and I will say it again: Quitting the right things at the right times is a life skill that all adults should seek to master. It's not a character flaw. (I also just kind of have beef with the phrase 'character flaw.' If you tend to quit at the wrong times or refuse to quit at the right times, maybe it's something you should reflect & work on in your life, but 'character flaw' has an unfortunate note of finality about it.)

Pithy Quote:

Real Talk: If something hurts every morning you are doing it wrong. Seek professional help plzthnx.

Pithy Quote:

Real Talk: It's...I just....what?

Pithy Quote:

Real Talk: What does this even mean? How do you forget your are running? Is that actually a thing? Does this happen to people?

And speaking of beginnings...

Pithy Quote:

Real Talk: I understand the sentiment, here, but let me just say, I have done some damn fine living nestled right inside my comfort zone. Mostly involving brunch and/or wine.

(Seriously, though, so much love for whoever straight up pinned this recipe for banana split bites right up in the 'Health & Fitness' feed. Sir or Madame, you are my spirit animal.)

Pithy Quote:

Real Talk: FALSE. I tried this once and it turns out that if you throw all your bills in the trash you actually end up losing some stuff you might want like electricity and running water and your car and your house.

Pithy Quote:

Real Talk: What the actual f***? Are you a runner or a terrible high school poet? LESS TALKING MORE DOING.

(Also, running until you cry and/or collapse = doing it wrong. Like. Really wrong.)

Pithy Quote:

Real Talk: Stop when I'm tired? *When*?? Bitch, I can't REMEMBER the last time I wasn't tired. How does tired even enter into it? If I stopped when I was tired I'd spend the afternoon passed out on the couch every damn day. Shit.

Any other awful Pinterest memes/fitspo you'd like me to mock? I'm here all week.