Tuesday, November 15, 2016

CIM WEEK 15 of 18: Hang in there.

Sunrise at the Berkeley Marina

Ugh. This week.

I'm not sure what I can possibly say that hasn't been said a thousand times. However, if you're having a hard time right now like so many of us are, here are some things I read in those first couple of days that didn't make me feel better, exactly, but maybe gave me a tiny bit more courage. I am the type of person that feels calmest when I have concrete things I can *do* (as opposed to wringing my hands or sharing alarmist articles of questionable origin or writing misty-eyed Facebook statuses), and some of these posts have been very helpful with that. So maybe they will be useful to someone else as well.

If there is one thing I've learned from running, it is that the magic (read: things that actually work) really does often happen at the edge of your comfort zone, so something I am personally going to be working on in the upcoming months and years is trying to walk the walk a bit in whatever way I can. I'm really going to try to take to heart the idea that if people of Color, religious minorities, LGBTQ folks, and others in marginalized groups can deal with x/y/z horrible treatment on a regular basis and still keep fighting and taking risks and making sacrifices because they don't really have a choice, the least I can do as an extremely privileged person living in an extremely progressive & supportive city & state is put up with a little psychological discomfort, a little inconvenience, and a few less lattes, because that's what an ally is. Someone who's like, "I'm with you! Look at my safety pin!" and then doesn't actually *do* anything...well, no offense, but you're not actually helping.

So, yeah. I am ready to fight this fight in whatever small way I can, but that up there is probably the extent to which I'm willing to do it on my running blog. (Do drop me a line, though, if you've always thought that what this space was missing was more political rants.)

{Takes deep breath}

{Breathes in the love}

{Breathes out the jive}

Let us speak of Week 15!

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

This was supposed to be my highest mileage week of the cycle at 60-some-odd miles, and I didn't quite get there (womp womp). BUT, it still basically tied my previous high mileage week for this cycle at ~57 miles, which is okay and most definitely not a disaster. Ideally I would have liked to have gotten in another 6-8 easy miles somewhere, but I did complete both workouts AND my longest long run this cycle, so I'm still pretty happy, especially considering how broken I was for a lot of the week.

The highlight of the week was definitely Sunday's 22 miler with Jen and Sesa. The fancy new Bay Bridge that connects Berkeley to Treasure Island/Yerba Buena has a bike & pedestrian path along one side (separated from cars by a very serious barrier), and this past weekend, the last little bit finally opened, meaning you can now go all the way to the Island if you want. Our friend Layla had the idea to organize a bike across it & back, and since Jen, Sesa, & I all had our last 20+ miler to do that day, we decided to kinda-sorta tag along.

Approaching the base of the bridge (photo credit: Jen)

Fearless leader Jen had done a previous 20 mile run across the part of the bridge that was open, so she worked out a nice route for us along the Berkeley Marina, through downtown Emeryville, and over the bridge. In terms of cool views of SF and the East Bay from the bridge, the weather was an utter disaster--the Bay was completely socked in, so visibility was maybe 50 yards or so. However, for marathoners running 3.5+ hours without shade, it couldn't have been more perfect!

There's a bridge in there somewhere...

Almost to Treasure Island!

They are still in the processing of dismantling the old Depression-era bridge. We usually drive across the new bridge twice a week for karate, but it was pretty cool to get such a close-up view of the old one.

It's crazy how close together they are.

The idea was to meet the bikers at Treasure Island, but unfortunately they were detoured a bit and instead we ran into them on our way back to Emeryville and paused long enough to say hi & snap a picture.

Photo credit: Jen

Stolen from Layla. Apparently the cyclists got a clearer view from Treasure Island than we did!

I am so glad it worked out for all of us to run together and that the weather was so perfect (for running, if not for epic views). While nothing that starts with a '2' is easy, chatting with friends really did help the miles roll by, and I couldn't believe how fast we were a quarter done and then a third done, halfway done, two-thirds done, etc.

I can also tell how doing more and longer long runs this cycle has benefited me. In 15 weeks I've done 13 runs of 16 miles or more and 4 in the 19.5-22 range, which is WAY more than I've done for any other marathon. Again, I'm not saying this run was easy, but I really did feel comfortable and strong the whole way and even picked it up a bit toward the end. It's been quite a while since I've had that "Ugggghhhh let it be overrrrr" long run feeling, which is encouraging.

* * *

Grand Total: 56.7 miles

    * 19.7 easy
    * 6.1 speed
    * 8.9 tempo/race pace
    * 22 long

Monday 11/7: Karate

Tuesday 11/8: 2 warm-up, 3 x 800m / 300m jog, 40:00 @ MP, 800m jog, 3 x 800m / 300m jog, 2 cool-down = 13.5 total.

    And with that beast of a workout, I'm now officially on the downhill side of track mileage. It's ~11.5 next week, then ~9.5, then ~7.5, then sit on the couch basking in victory. This sounds like a really hard workout in theory but honestly I think maybe I was too distracted that night to care. I did the same workout back in September with 800m's in 3:15, 3:16, 3:19, 3:18, 3:17, 3:17, so it was kind of cool to see splits like these:

    I went out of my way on the MP section to shoot for 8:10-8:15 rather than 8:00 flat since I think that's likely what I'll be running at CIM (at least in the beginning) to get a feel for the pace. I averaged 8:09 & was pleased to find that it felt not easy but just, like, a moderate amount of effort. Like, "Yeah; this could maybe work for 26 miles."

Wednesday 11/9: Karate

    I'd planned a short, easy run on Wednesday and/or Saturday, but we had a meeting with our architect that afternoon so there was no time for a run. It was a good day to go hit things, in any case.

Thursday 11/10: 10 easy

    Tired, heavy legs, but my heart rate stayed quite low & I was even able to pick it up a little at the end. The bad part of Thursday, unfortunately, was waking up with extreme pain on the right side of my neck and back that never really went away. It felt like the muscles were on fire & I couldn't turn my hear more than about 45 degrees to the right (though, weirdly, running didn't make it worse & the pain actually went away for the most part while I was running). I also tweaked a muscle in the arch of my right foot during this run, which sucked.

Friday 11/11: 2 warm-up, 4 @ HMP / 5:00 jog, 10 x 100m / 100m jog, 2 cool-down = 11.2 total.

    I woke up Friday feeling like I'd been in a car wreck. My neck and back still hurt pretty badly, I couldn't put much weight on my right foot, my chronically stiff left ankle was unhappy, and my shin splints (which haven't bothered me in quite a long time) decided to make an appearance as well. I also thought I could feel some tenderness in the spot on my left tibia where I had the stress fracture last summer. It was super disconcerting, especially considering that when I've injured myself in the past, it's almost always been about 3-4 weeks out from a goal race.

    When I looked at this workout, I kind of wanted to cry and gave serious, serious, thought to taking a rest day, because better slightly undertrained than injured. In the end, I decided that I WOULD go out for a run but would just play it by ear. If the warm up felt good, I'd give HM pace a try & see how that felt. If that went well, I'd try the sprints. But I decided ahead of time that if at any point any of it it started to feel like maybe a bad idea, I would be 100% fine to just do an easy run or even just take a cab home. Like most runners, this kind of thinking is super hard for me, and I had to keep reminding myself that the most important thing was getting to the starting line healthy and feeling good.

    And, as usually happens, once I got going, I felt fine. Yes, the "sprints" were kind of comical and not really very sprint-like at all, but I tried hard and finished the workout and that's a win.

Saturday 11/12: Rest

    Since I didn't run on Wednesday, I'd initially planned maybe an easy hour-long run on Saturday. But we had plans to spend the day in Napa & then join friends for a movie that evening in SF, which meant that if I was going to do it I'd either have to get up early Saturday morning or do it late after the movie. Well, I DID set my alarm and I DID get up early, but as soon as I got out of bed my body started giving me all kinds of yellow flags, like Friday but worse. Since it had only been about 12 hours, I felt like the smart choice was probably listening to my body & giving it a little more rest.

    I could have done it that evening when we got home, but similarly, it seemed kind of dumb to run 6-8 miles less than 12 hours before you're supposed to run 22. So I did what I think was probably the smart thing & just didn't worry about missing one short, easy run when my body was feeling particularly awful.

Also, we went to Napa & caught this lovely sunset at Darioush. :)

Sunday 11/13: 22 long

So, yeah -- running-wise, still a pretty decent week. However, I have to say I'm super pumped to start dialing it back a bit. I think I've really pushed my body fairly close to its physical limits considering how awful I've been about sleep and rolling/stretching and massages, and considering how often I've suffered some kind of major setback 3-4 weeks before a goal race, to get to this point with all my bones and joints and soft tissue and what have you in one piece is super exciting.

* * *

CIM 2016 Week 1 of 18 - It's On

CIM 2016 Week 2 of 18 - Escape From NY (Barely)

CIM 2016 Week 3 of 18 - A Discount Code to Share (+ back on Strava!)

CIM 2016 Week 4 of 18 - 18/day, 47.5/week, 205.5/month.

CIM 2016 Week 5 of 18 - That cutback feeling

CIM 2016 Week 6 of 18 - french toast, trail shoes, & a little race fatigue

CIM 2016 Week 7 of 18 - Big week & feelin' fine!

CIM 2016 Week 8 of 18 - Knee Troubles :(

CIM 2016 Week 9 of 18 - Improvement on the knee front!

CIM 2016 Week 10 of 18 - Train kept a-rollin' (+ free shoes!)

CIM 2016 Week 11 of 18 - Texas Half Marathon #1 (+ my sister's wedding!)

CIM 2016 Week 12 of 18 - Race Week Cutback, blah dee blah dee blah...

CIM 2016 Week 13 of 18 - One More Block....

CIM 2016 Week 14 of 18 - Fun mileage facts & some HR wonkiness


  1. Wow! That is some mileage you put up!! Those foggy pics look super cool, too! Great week

  2. Loved running with you ladies :) - Sesa

  3. I love the new pedestrian path. I can't wait to go back to the Bay Area for a visit so I can run on it.

  4. Thank you for the links! I'd read a few of those, but a couple I hadn't seen. I didn't get fully into the Southern Poverty Law site yet, but plan to spend some more time there. I'm going to try to go to a de-escalation seminar being held next Monday (it's for our local emergency shelter, but I suspect it will be useful in a broader sense) and have signed up/donated to some important causes. Plus I subscribed to the New York Times online because I'm really worried about what might happen to our first amendment rights, and we need good journalists to report on everything going on. I hope to get more involved as I find out more about the organizations around me. I wish it hadn't been this particularly odious kick in the pants to get me involved :(

    I'm looking forwarding to seeing how more/longer runs help your marathon. I feel like I mentally have gotten so much out of cycles with 5 20+ milers like I did this last marathon training cycle.

  5. You were so strong on the 22 miler, especially towards the end! Thanks again for the company.