Thursday, January 31, 2013

While It's Still January...

(Just FYI, it is still New Year's Month (ie, January), so writing this post is TOTALLY not weird or late. My blog, my rules.)

I really do get unreasonably excited about the start of a new year. I don't think it's really about the dates or the fact that the numbers change; it's probably more because the end of the year tends to be so insane with holidays and parties and traveling, and Jan. 1 kind of marks the end to all the crazy & a return to more or less normal life.

It's tempting in the middle of all the insanity to start straining forward toward a clean slate and thinking about all the exciting things I want to do with it, but more often than not that ends up derailing me from stuff I need to do now, in the throes of the crazy, so I try to at least wait until post-Christmas to get too deeply into any of that.

I have also learned that it's really, really (REALLY) easy to over-commit myself (shocking).

I'm sure this never happens to any of you.

I think in 2012 I made the mistake of getting too complicated with my goals, so this year I want to keep them simple. A few categories, with one "reasonable" and one "stretch" goal for each.

    1) 5K. Run another sub-21 5K / Run a sub-20:30.

    2) 10K. PR (sub-44:21) / Sub-44:00.

    3) Marathon. Sub-3:45 / BQ (sub-3:35).

    4) Mileage. 1500 miles / 2000 miles.

These are the big goals -- the end results that I actually care about. There are some supporting goals that I think are probably necessary in order to meet the big ones. Mainly they involve the following nebulous stuff:

    1) Eat better

    2) Do strength work

    3) Work on flexibility

(Sound familiar?)

It took me a few weeks to figure out the specific details of how I was going to approach these things (you might recall that the lack of specificity was part of my downfall in 2012 with these very same items), but I think I've got it figured out now:

    1) Eat better
    • Salad every work day
    • Default to plant-based meals
    • Pack in the (mostly lean) protein
    • Plan the week's meals ahead of time & make a grocery trip for necessary ingredients at the beginning of the week (or whenever is possible / makes the most sense)

    2) Do strength work

    • Pilates or yoga twice a week
    • Lunch time strength work twice a week

    3) Work on flexibility

    • Yoga at least once a week
    • Purposeful stretching (say, 15-20 minutes) at least one other day per week (Ideally I'd be hitting two yoga classes, but I can only reliably get to one, so this is sort of compensating for that)

We'll see how these work out over time. I'm about two weeks into trying to follow them, and happy to report that so far they feel like reasonable steps that aren't too onerous to stick to.

I'll get back to you in a month or so with how it's going....

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

It's Called the 130% Rule, Right?

...for increasing weekly mileage, I mean?

Grand Total: 37.7 miles

    * 26.05 easy (I think I did that math right...)
    * 10 long
    * 1.65 speed / intervals

Whatever. Running too much is definitely not a problem I have right now & I'm pretty sure 38 miles is not going to kill me (at least not spread out over a week).

Monday 1/21: 6 easy + a walk across the Golden Gate Bridge & back. So I felt alright foot-wise on my run, but the walk across the Bridge & back with Don & his folks was apparently just not the ticket. Halfway across it really started to hurt, & by the time we turned around I was almost limping. By the time we were halfway back I was actually limping. This was a low moment as I had really thought it had been getting better. The plantar fasciitis & tendinitis together create a great synergy of lose.

But hey, pretty pictures! Look at us being all touristy.

Hey there San Francisco! Looking dapper as always.

Massive cables

Imposing tower is imposing. #nofilter, as the kids say nowadays.

Tuesday 1/22:

  • Lunch time - strength session
  • Evening - 5 speed work (1.5 warm up; 3 x 300m @ 6:11 pace / 100m jog; 400m jog; 3 x 300m @ 6:11 pace / 100m jog; 1.85 cool down)

Wednesday 1/23:

  • Lunch time - Pilates. This was my first Pilates class ever, and let me just tell you right off the bat that Pilates is not for the faint of heart. It kind of wins the prize for things that look fairly easy but in actuality are INSANELY hard (if you're doing it correctly & not cheating). It probably deserves its own post at some point, but I will just say that it was sooooo abundantly clear that this is totally the thing to do if you want to work on your core. Ouuuuuuccchhh.
  • Evening - Karate (as per usual)

Thursday 1/24:

Friday 1/25:

  • Lunch time - Karate. So I have this black belt test coming up, & I'm trying to, like, practice more & stuff. There are no mid-day classes at the gym on Friday, so I have the yoga room to myself, which is pretty much perfect for martial arts.
  • Evening - 6.2 easy. Like, actually easy. I am still very, very far from racing shape, but making some progress. Also 2 runs in a row without any foot pain!

Saturday 1/26: 4.5 easy. I cut this one a little short because I didn't want to risk wearing my legs out for my long run on Sunday. No complaints, & so far so good in terms of my foot.

Sunday 1/27: 10 long. An absolutely GORGEOUS day for a run in Golden Gate Park. Seriously. I meant to snap a couple of pictures for this, but I was just too busy enjoying it & totally forgot. So please enjoy these pictures of a similar-looking day from the interwebz.

Knowing that this was my first double-digit run since CIM and that it was coming at the end of my first solid training week since mid-November, I made a conscious effort to go into it with only two goals: 1) finish the distance, & 2) don't feel miserable after. I tried to keep it truly slow & easy, give myself 20-30 second mini-breaks pretty much whenever I felt like it (within reason), & just keep reminding myself that marathon training is itself kind of a meta-marathon & this run was about the miles & time on my feet, not speed. Yes, I was happy to be done, but definitely finished feeling good & not miserable. I have some niggling pain in my right piriformis / glute area, but okay, I can admit that that may be the 130% increase talking, and just to finish ten miles and my fourth run with no pain in my left foot is pretty exciting.

Up next week: NOT a 130% mileage increase.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

In Which I Attend Yoga

Back in 2011, I attended Lululemon Grant Street's Thursday Night "Roga" a few times, wherein you'd meet up with some folks & run 3, 4.5 or 6 miles depending on your desire, then come back to the store for an hour of free yoga from a local instructor. That was my first experience with yoga, and skeptical as I was going in, one session had me completely sold on the benefits of pairing it with running. So much so that when I wasn't able to go anymore, I spent months trying to finagle some way of marshaling my temporal and financial resources so as to be able to get back to it at least occasionally.

So I've been SUPER excited to start going to some classes at my new office-gym, and Thursday evening I made it to my first class. Friends, I present to you Random Thoughts About Yoga, in No Particular Order.

  • If you are new to / out of practice at yoga, get there early for a spot in the back so you can follow what everyone else is doing. You never know when the instructor will abandon you to walk around & correct people.

  • Pay attention in case other people are all getting weird props that you don't have. Even if you don't know what they are for, it is just better to have them than not. Assume that all will be made clear in time. NB: This is true in most types of exercise. (ESPECIALLY running.*)


    (Also, it was kind of funny to learn that they actually are called "props" officially, I can only assume because you literally use them to prop yourself up in certain poses.)

  • I know you're not supposed to think about what you're "good at" & "bad at" in yoga, but two things: 1) You don't do 11 years of martial arts without learning to breathe like a champ, and 2) If it's an ab move, I am the winner, hands down. I can sit in boat for days. For DAYS, son. This concludes the list of yoga things that I am good at.

  • I love how every yoga instructor I've ever had has always been like, "So now we're going to do [whatever pose]. [Meticulous discussion of pose]. Unless you don't want to. Which is totally cool. You do what you do." This instructor was particularly fond of the phrase, "You're doing healthy things for yourself just as you are."

  • It's cool that people feel empowered to not do whatever it is the instructor is saying, but it does make it really, REALLY hard to figure out what the, um, most strongly suggested (?) movements are if you have trouble keeping up with & processing the verbal descriptions (I do) and/or are not super familiar with the short-hand (I am not).

  • I really just could not help snickering to myself like a middle schooler any time he talked about loving yourself. Seriously, how do adults say stuff like that with a straight face? The first time I totally thought he was being ironic & then I remembered I was at yoga. I kept wondering if I was the only one thinking about this. (Also if I was the only one wondering about the subject of farting. I mean this guy was just getting all up behind people adjusting their poses, and I couldn't help thinking that what with all the crazy inhaling & exhaling sooner or later this was going to go very badly for him.)

  • If you end up behind that one SUPER good yoga girl that there's inevitably one of in any given class, you win, because you can just do whatever she's doing (if you can) and no one can complain.

  • It's incredibly difficult to get that 'no-mind' thing going on when the music keeps taking you back to an episode of Battlestar Galactica.

But seriously. I love yoga. I love yoga paired with running. I can't really get behind all the spiritual/self-love talk, but what I can tell you is that Thursday was the first time in a long time when I have come home after a run not feeling like a train wreck, which was exactly what I remembered & was hoping for again. Even my feet feel better.

So a couple of questions for the yogis in the room -

What do all the different types of yoga mean? I realize I could just google this, but I'm lazy. I know I don't want the bikram one, but I've been to classes described as "vinyasa," "hatha," & "flow," & as far as I can tell they are all the same. Am I missing something?

Seriously - What is the deal with farting in yoga? Surely this must happen. Does it totally kill the mood? Is there some sort of rosary you say to absolve yourself afterward?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

I'm sure it will shock you to hear that getting back to being fit and strong after a few weeks off for whatever reason is my least favorite part of running (because sooner or later, it does happen to all of us). I feel slow and clunky and sluggish & generally unfit. These periods aren't all bad, though. In fact, I would say I had a pretty darn good Tuesday, all things considered.

So let's consider.


1) Major work project finished. Boom.

2) Lunch break strength work. There is no yoga or Pilates at my office-gym on Tuesdays, but I figured it couldn't hurt to go & get my little key chain tag, figure out where the lock room is, etc., & as long as I was there I might as well get a few sets of something or rather in.

Friends, sets were done. Muscle groups were worked. Core stability was attended to. I'd kind of forgotten how efficient that kind of stuff can be. You can get a lot done in 45 minutes in a weight room.

3) Evening track session. I will not lie to you and tell you that this workout did not suck giant elephant balls in terms of reminding me just how out of racing shape I am, but for the most part the experience was mostly pretty good. I love being at the track and I love running fast, and it was good to be reminded of that after several weeks away from it.

    1.5 warm up;
    3 x (300m @ 6:11 pace + 100m recovery jog)
    400m recovery jog
    3 x (300m @ 6:11 pace + 100m recovery jog)
    1.85 cool down
    = ~5 miles total

4) Purchasing of fruits & vegetables. I can admit it; I get completely over-impressed with myself any time I go into a grocery store & come out with mostly produce. As if this is somehow a challenging prospect, & the produce section is surrounded by barbed wire & electrical fences & armed guards.

Still, there are few things that make me feel as much like a real grown-up as making a list of healthy foods & methodically ticking them off as I drop them into my environmentally responsible canvas bag.





5) Cooking ALL the food. Something I have been trying to do for a while now is get in the habit of preparing food in bulk that I can store for a few days & grab for lunches & quick dinners, as supposed to realizing at 9pm that we're both starving & there's nothing even remotely meal-worthy in the house that takes less than an hour to prepare. Tuesday night, though, I managed to throw together not only stuff for dinner but also a few options for the next few days' lunches (& dinners, should we need them).

I made a big batch of Cate's chard & lentil stew (delicious & nutritious, & will keep for a few days in the fridge, plus salad fixings that could be thrown together in three minutes or less (Greens, Greek peppers, Gorgonzola, & a garlic-cilantro-lime dressing mixed with chicken). Salads every day this week, my friends. True story.

But it was not all sunshine & rainbows (or chard & free-weights, as the case may be).


1) I am wicked sore. It may or may not be a great idea to do serious strength work & a speed workout in the same day. (Actually, I have a feeling it's fine -- my body just isn't used to it yet. But still. Sore.) On a related note, it turns out that even when I'm so sore I'm kind of walking funny both before & after, I can still magically run six miles totally pain-free.

2) 300m repeats kicked my ass. Basically this workout was called, "In case you forgot, you have NO functional VO2 right now. None. Nada. Zilch. Zip. Zero. Have fun with that if/when you race that 3200m in a couple weeks." Beforehand I was thinking that this looked like sort of a paltry speed workout & I would at *least* need to add one more set of of 300's in order to feel like I did anything.

Um, no. Not necessary.

I struggle with short repeats sometimes because the paces are not ones that I run often enough to be able to dial into them easily, and it's not like you have much time to adjust if you go out too fast or slow. Also, given my current lack of fitness, 6:11 is just a hair away from an all-out sprint. So in both sets my splits (in terms of average pace) more or less went 6:05, 6:15, 6:25. Oops.

I also had to run them on the concrete upper track due to a soccer game (fail), and though I was feeling optimistic about my left foot for most of the workout, that last mile or so of the cool down was a BITCH. I pretty much limped my way through the Safeway produce section.

And finally...


I think my left ankle may actually be fossilizing in places. Can that happen? Seriously. I have about three degrees of range in terms of dorsiflexion (pointing my toes up); much beyond that, and it feels like the joint is about to snap. Part of me wonders if this is what arthritis feels like. I hope I don't have ankle arthritis.

Not much else to do right now but keep plugging away. The plantar-fasciitis-ey-peroneal-tendinitis-ey parts of my foot have been feeling a little better & not killing me during my runs, so that's progress.

Soon, I am going to write a post about strength work, since I've been doing more of it lately. Seems to be the topic du jour, so I'm going with it. ;)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Your Wine Tasting Guide to Paso Robles

Grand Total: 16.5 miles

    * 13 easy
    * 3.5 speed / intervals

The month has been off to a slow start, but it's still more than I managed last week, Psuedo-win? At least not losing too badly?

Monday: Karate + strength. I'd also planned to go to a yoga class on my lunch break, but then I ended up having to spend the day at an off-site meeting in San Jose. Curses.

Tuesday: 4 easy. I spent most of Tuesday frantically preparing for a work trip & then driving to said work trip. I finished my prep around ten, and as much as I wanted to go to bed, I knew I'd be a happier person if I jumped on the hotel treadmill for at least a few miles. Lo & behold, I was right.

Wednesday: 3 easy / 3.5 speed work -- 1.5 warm up + 1600m @ HM pace / 1:30 jog + 2 x (800m @ 10K pace + 2:00 jog) + 1600m @ HM pace + 1.5 cool down. Another evening on the hotel treadmill (which I've become pretty adept at doing speed work on). This was my first speed session of the new year, and although it was not particularly speedy (a few months ago I was doing this workout at 10K / 5K pace rather than HM / 10K), it ended up not killing me, so hey! Progress.

It is totally easy to beat people when they don't know you're racing.
Can I use this to my advantage in future races?

As long as I was trapped in a hotel room without much to do, I also did ~45 minutes of internet yoga on Wednesday evening post-run. OH MY GOD, I can't even tell you how good it felt. I am more excited than ever to FINALLY actually go to a real class at my new gym (someday...).

Thursday: 6 miles easy. Two miles into this run, I felt a familiar pain in the outside edge of my left foot which only got worse. By four miles I'd reached eye watering levels of pain & spent most of Thursday evening & Friday morning half-limping. Grumblegrumblegrumble.

Friday: 1.5 wu+ 2(1600m @ HMP / 2:00 jog) + 1.5 cd. Rest. I think there is a training rule that says if you're still limping halfway through the day from the previous day's run, another run is a bad idea.

Instead I packed up to spend the weekend with Don & his folks in Paso Robles drinking wine. Although Don & I are usually down there a few times a year, this was the first time for his parents, so we took them to all our favorite spots. If you ever make the trip, here are our "can't miss" places:

  • Tablas Creek - Kind of a drive and also not terribly cheap, but well worth a stop if you've never been. VERY very very very French, several fun & unusual varieties, & just about everything *spectacular*.
  • Lone Madrone - Super conveniently located, LM is the secondary project of Tablas Creek's winemaker. Their stuff tends to be a little more affordable & a little less French, but still very very nice. We've gotten some great deals here.
  • Kenneth Volk - In the same building as Lone Madrone & run by the wine maker who used to run Wild Horse. Tons of unusual / cool varietals & interesting blends, impeccable wine making, & reasonable prices for the quality.
  • L'Aventure - Big French wines made to age. Drinking them in the tasting room is only the faintest shadow of what they're actually intended to taste like, but even super-young, their stuff is hard to beat. It's pretty rare that I think a wine with a $60-80 price tag is worth it, but these are. Lay a few bottles down & in ten years or so you'll marvel at what a great bargain you got.
  • Terry Hoage - I went through a period of being kind of down on Terry Hoage, but we stopped by again this weekend and everything was fantastic. Big, rich Rhone varietals & blends. Not cheap, but a lovely tasting spot (with a great view). Their whites are my favorite.

The view from Terry Hoage
  • Turley - Big, bold California zin, mostly, though they occasionally do other varietals. I would say that 90% of the wine I've had done in this style ends up tasting like high-alcohol fruit bombs, but Turley pulls it off. Not necessarily great with food all the time, but well-balanced & delicious.
  • Fratelli Perata - Now this is where you go for restrained yet delicious, high-acidity, food-friendly wine. They mostly do Italian varietals but also have a few French-style offerings done in an Italian style. And so reasonably priced!!
  • Alta Colina - Tiny tiny little family operation tasting out of a tiny tiny little upstairs room on the north side. Really lovely Rhone blends for quite reasonable prices.
  • Caperone - One of the oldest wineries in Paso by far, Caperone is worth a stop just for the fun of it. Which is not to say that the wine isn't good -- mostly Italian varieties, very acidic / food friendly, nothing for sale less than ~5 years old, & everything $14 per bottles (before half-case / case discounts). No fancy castles or manicured lawns, but some damn tasty (CHEAP) wine.

That's where we took them off the top of my head, but if you're ever down there & need recommendations, I will totally hook you up!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Triumphant Return: In Progress

I am currently working on my triumphant return to road racing, and so far (read: four runs in) it hasn't killed me. I was really, really dreading that first run back, & since I haven't messed with my foot much, I decided to keep it short & easy. I even went Garmin-less because it's been in my duffel bag dying for a month I didn't want to get too preoccupied with my pace. Three miles went by pretty quickly & painlessly, though, so the next day I did four. A little more taxing, but still pretty reasonable after what essentially amounts to a month off & nowhere near as miserable as it could've been.

On Thursday my goal was to try to get to six. It's so, so funny to me how quickly my perceptions about distances change. On November 11, I didn't even blink at the 21 miler on my calendar. Driving home yesterday afternoon, I was legitimately nervous about less than a third of that. Just bizarre.

But I got through the six with no problem, and at a pretty decent pace, even. Weirdly, I've been super sore through the quads, which is not something that really ever happens to me from running, so I'm kind of wondering if in trying to use my arches more and not land on the outside edges of my feet I'm somehow using those muscles more than usual. I haven't yet attempted a speed workout, but I'm hoping I'll feel up to it by next week.

So I'm started. I'm going. Still, I feel like I've been a bit sluggish out of the blocks this year, & there have been a few days when frankly I just really didn't feel much like a run. This state of affairs was just starting to worry me when I got this:

Given that SFM is sort of my home-town race, I've always felt like I should run some part of it, but I've never been able to get past the thought of paying what is rather a steep price tag to run basically the same routes I run all the time. The sub-seeded prices, on the other hand, are more in line with what I consider reasonable, so I sort of promised myself that once I had a qualifying time I would at least apply. I've also since found out that a lot of people I know are also planning to run the 2nd half, meaning there will totally be some post-race beer action happening. So w00t!

Interestingly, this has had the unanticipated effect of motivating me to get up off my butt & start actually, seriously thinking about training again. When you enter a race under normal circumstances, I think there's a bit of a your-race-your-business kind of vibe. But there's something about the thought of being in the first corral and having my fee discounted based on running a fast time that really, really, really makes me feel obligated to work hard & give it a strong effort (and generally not embarrass myself).

At the other end of the spectrum, there's this coming up:

On one hand, I was a little disappointed that there's no 5K & the longest race is the 3200m. On the other hand, I am a little intrigued by the concept of racing a 3200m for the first time in 15 years or so. It would be kind of an experiment, but for $5 I can afford a little experimentation (& it would still serve as a reasonably good fitness gauge, which is half the point). Part of me kinda-sorta remembers that can't-feel-my-skin, fire-in-the-lungs feeling of that last lap, but only vaguely, which I think is probably for the best or I wouldn't even be considering this.

Finally, I've decided to actually do something about the fact that my body spends most of its time a tangled mass of tight muscles & myofascial scar tissue & joined the gym by my office that offers lunchtime yoga & pilates classes. They had a pretty good new year's deal going, and if I don't do something drastic about the situation I'm kind of afraid I'm going to end up staring down the barrel of a marathon with too many soft tissue issues to train as hard as I want to. For all that my good intentions of stretching, rolling, & getting my PT exercises done are, y'know, REALLY good, they haven't accomplished much lately. So hopefully handing over my credit card once a month will motivate me to get over there on a regular basis.

(Also, I hate stretching on my own. I would really, really prefer someone else just told me what to do.)

(Second also, I am REALLY looking forward to attending some yoga / pilates because I anticipate having all sorts of amusing stories to relate.)

What I imagine it will be like:

What it will probably actually be like:

I am not even joking.

Yoga: Love it / hate it?

Pilates: Have you tried it? Did you ever think it was pie-laits? Or an Italian pastry? (I spent most of seventh grade thinking an onomatopoeia was a Mexican desert. True story.)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Post-Holiday Exhaustion & Some Race Talk

So, I am finally back from the most exhausting winter holiday vacation ever. On Dec. 23, Don & I flew to Texas & made a whirlwind tour of our family members in that area, tried not to get sick, then got up at 5:30am on Dec. 30 to fly home. We arrived back in SF around 10:30, spent the day preparing for our Rose Bowl trip, then 24 hours later got in the car & headed for Pasadena.

Tailgating! Dittmer's brats FTW.

The obligatory logo pic

Winning the Rose Bowl!!


While making the trip was TOTALLY worth it and tons of fun, it was still one grueling, logistics-heavy, sleep-deprived trip stacked on top of another grueling, logistics-heavy, sleep-deprived trip, and by the time we got home in the wee hours of Jan 2, we were both sore, stuffy, coughing, and only functioning as human beings by the slimmest of margins. Back when I was requesting vacation days, I'd kind of suspected that would happen & planned ahead to work from home that day. By which I mean keep my work email open in the background while lying on the couch sipping tea & desperately trying not to get sick.

Training / physical health-wise, I'm at a bit of a nadir currently. After taking all of December 2011 off post-CIM & then feeling like I was going to die on my Jan 2 2012 four mile run, I vowed this year that I would make no such mistake. Which was all fine & good until the whole tendinitis-foot doctor-running-verboten thing.

In addition to some lost fitness, I'm still having foot problems various & sundry, and my right hip flexor / piriformis / IT band / whatever decided to take this month of alleged rest to act up again. Just sitting in the passenger seat on the way to Pasadena had me in eye-watering amounts of pain, & standing up after sitting for more than half an hour or so kind of feels like the muscles in my hip are ripping apart. I've been having allergy & asthma problems basically since we got to Texas (the air there never seems to agree with my respiratory system), and lastly there's the five extra pounds I brought back with me. Y'know. For good measure.

In my mid-twenties I would've almost certainly slid into a depressive funk over all this, but I've been through the cycle enough times at this point to remember that it is just a cycle, and I've never dug such a deep hole for myself health/fitness-wise that I haven't been able to get out of it again with a little commit.plan.execute. So yes, there is work to be done, which is tedious & daunting & unglamorous & something we can totally put off discussing for a little while longer.

Instead, let's talk about the fun part.

One of my favorite New Year's rituals is formally sitting down with all the races I've been eyeing & putting things (at least tentatively) on the calendar. Undoubtedly some of it will get chopped, but here are some races I'm thinking about for the next few months:

2/2 and/or 2/16 - Berkeley All-Comers Track & Field Meet (Berkeley, CA). I had no idea until recently that these even existing. I am hoping to hook up with SF Track & Field sometime soon since they often go to these & see whether there may be an opportunity to run a track 5K because the track & field kid in me is having an absolute fit inside over the mere possibility.

3/2 - Hellyer 10K (San Jose, CA). I threw this one in there because I'd really like to run at least one solid 10K before the Oakland Half, and although it's a Brazen event, the course is on pavement & I think close enough to flat to serve as a reasonable fitness gauge. (They're also doing Bay Breeze in February, which I ran last year, but the usual course is under construction so they've moved to another temporarily which looks a little too gravel-ey for my tastes.)

3/24 - Oakland Half Marathon (Oakland, CA) (**confirmed**). This is the next race I'm actually registered for. There was a super-cheap early registration code back in July or some such, and I enjoyed it last year, so why not. I doubt I'll be in shape to PR by then, but I'd love to at least beat my time from last year.

4/7 - Santa Cruz 10K (Santa Cruz, CA). I have unfinished business in Santa Cruz. In 2011, this race marked my return to 10Ks & I took 5th at a pace that is now only slightly faster than my half marathon PR pace. I want another crack at this one. It's just two weeks after Oakland, though, so I'll have to think about how practical it will be. If I go, it will be to race hard and AG place.

5/26 - Mountains 2 Ocean Marathon (Ojai, CA) (**confirmed**). I am so excited about this race. So, so excited. Originally I'd planned to just drive there & back (~5 hours), but after making that drive twice in 24 hours for the Rose Bowl, I remembered how much it sucked ass & how much more it is likely to suck post-marathon. (Seriously - the first thing I did the next morning was book a flight.) Can you beat a 6am, downhill, coastal, sea level, SoCal marathon in May? Nope; you really can't. The stars haven't yet aligned to give me a good, clean crack at a solid marathon, but I feel like this race is probably about as good as it gets in terms of variables you can control ahead of time. All I have to do is not get hurt or sick. (And, like, train & stuff.)

6/16 - SF 2nd Half Marathon (San Francisco, CA). Still on the fence about this one, but I've got time to decide. If I did it, it would probably be more of a tempo run kind of a thing rather than a balls-out PR attempt or anything given that it'd only be 3 weeks post-marathon. We'll see.

6/29 - SF Pride Run 5K (San Francisco, CA). Because it's cheap, fun, close to home, & for a good cause. I ran the 10K in 2011 & the 5K in 2012.

7/?? Pride Meet (San Francisco, CA). I haven't seen a date for this yet, but last year it was 7/22. Hopefully another chance to race on the track.

I am not even kidding you that this is their logo. You know I go for the classy races.
8/4 - SausageFest 10K (Campbell, CA). If you're having a good laugh at the name of this race & are all like, "Hardy-har-har, this *totally* sounds like a DUDE race!!", then you, my friend, are absolutely right. There are mile girls to hold up mile markers & everything. Ladies are still allowed to run it, though, and I really want to get a 10K in in August on a flat fast course. Plus, free beer & sausages for all at the end.

That seems like enough to be getting on with for now. I have a good handle on Oakland, SF, & PrideRun; anyone else out there familiar with any of the others? What do you think about them?

Also, M2O will be the first race I've ever flown to. Any marathon travel tips? Am I totally going to get a deep vein thrombosis from marathoning & flying in the same day? If so it would be good to know ahead of time for planning purposes.

Hope your 2013 is off to a fantastic start!!