Saturday, April 19, 2014

So I signed up for a marathon. Again.

On Sunday I am getting on a plan to Italy & not coming back for three weeks, & since there's a price increase during the first week I'll be gone, I finally took the plunge & signed up for the Santa Rosa Marathon in August.

I exercised a lot of patience with this one. Ever since I started running again after my stress fracture, a part of my brain has been looking at this race & whispering doitdoitdoitdoit whenever I spotted a Facebook status or got an email from SRM. Any time I was tempted to pull the trigger, though, I managed to restrain myself, reminding my impulsive side that the price didn't go up until late April, it wasn't going anywhere before then in terms of selling out, & the smart course of action was to give myself at least until a few days before the price increase to see how my running was going and how things were feeling as I increased my mileage. If I was having doubts in mid-April, I could always put off registering & suck up the price increase & wait to see if things started looking up. Better to be (more) sure & pay a little more than get a good deal on a DNS.

So I put it off and put it off and put it off, having no desire to make the drive to pick up race schwag for yet another race I couldn't run. "Eh, another week." "Just a few more days." "Once I get to 3 miles." "Once I get to 25 minutes." "Once I get to 30 minutes."

And then yesterday it hit me that in spite of bumping up the mileage and keeping up a full complement of cross-training and strength work, I haven't had any significant pain in my left fibula or right hip flexor in months (er, except for my week of sloth in New Orleans. Apparently inactivity makes me feel awful). Sure, the left calf gets a bit sore now & then, but even so, I can grind a lacrosse ball right into the spot where I had the stress fracture with my full weight on it with only mild discomfort, which only reinforces my PT's theory that the sfx was caused by a muscle issue. (For comparison: I started suspecting I might have a bone issue when bumping gently into the couch cushions with my left calf made me yelp.) I do have to make sure I continue taking care of the muscle, but the bone is solid, my friends.

And running is going well. Yes, treadmill runs still make me want to stab myself in the face even at long run pace, but outside I can lope happily along for 3-4 miles at goal marathon pace with (pretty) good form, and as long as I'm diligent about rolling & stretching, I feel pretty darn good. I've even got a touch of speed back at short range, which is encouraging.

A couple of months ago I made a last-minute checklist for Italy & put it in my Google calendar for Monday, April 14, which went:

  • Refill prescriptions
  • Reserve long-term parking
  • Get international driver's license
  • Pedicure that shit (so as not to be mocked on The Continent)
  • Register for SRM (?)

I've been going down the list, checking things off, & paused briefly when I got to SRM. Doitdoitdoitdoit went the impulsive side, & finally, the rational part was able to think objectively about the last few weeks & go, Seriously, what are you waiting for?

I am hoping to get in 15-20 miles a week in Italy & work up to a six mile "long" run. We get back on May 11, so starting for-realsies training on Monday, May 12 gives me 15 weeks, which is not too bad in terms of prep time. Probably not enough to run my best possible race, considering where I'm starting, but as long as I don't get sick or injured & do all the work, hopefully enough for a BQ.

(I just keep coming back to missing it by 88 seconds at M2B, running in the heat with quads long since destroyed by the extreme downhill & (oh yeah) a torn hip flexor. Heat could be a factor, but the SR course is kinder, and I definitely won't run it if there are any injury questions. I mean shaving 90 seconds seems completely reasonable. Right?? Someone tell me I'm not crazy.)

I don't really know what my posting is likely to be like for the next few weeks. I am not organized enough to arrange something like "guest blogging" which I heard is the hip thing to do during an extended leave of absence, but I have posted like *ten whole pictures* on Instagram, so you know. There is that. Also, the Twitterz.


(But seriously. Someone please tell me I'm not crazy.)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler!

I went to New Orleans with what I would describe as the best of realistic intentions in terms of keeping up my training. After all, in addition to eight hours a day of conference to attend, there would be po' boys & muffelettas to eat. Incredible seafood to track down. Amazing cocktails to enjoy. And also the super-fun work travel phenomenon where, while you're sitting in talks and workshops and what have you all day, it turns out no one is doing your normal job for you (RUDE). So you get to deal with all that in the evening as well.

Getting to New Orleans was how do you say an adventure. My flight out of SFO boarded on time (+1) but then we sat on the runway for 40 minutes (-1), which meant I missed my connecting flight (-2). Luckily, when plane #1 landed, I got a text that plane #2 was delayed, which meant I stood some chance of making it (+2). Unluckily plane #1 apparently landed in Mississippi & had to taxi 200 miles to the terminal (-1), leaving me 9 minutes to sprint across the terminal & get a new boarding pass, but luckily I am good at sprinting & managed to slide through the gate just as the flight attendant was closing it (+3). Unluckily, since bitches can't use storage bins properly, I had to gate check my carry-on (-1) which meant that I although I was able to sprint across the terminal to make it to flight #2, my bag did not (-2).

Luckily, airport said they'd deliver it to my hotel by 11pm (+2). Unluckily, I arrived at said hotel to find that someone at the Marriott had (oops!) deleted my reservation in a week when New Orleans was already bursting at the seems hotel-wise thanks to Wrestle Mania, the French Quarter Festival, Jazz Fest, & at least 3 conventions (-10). Luckily, the manager there knew the manager at the much fancier JW Marriott across the street, who agreed to put me up for the entire week at the same rate (+12). Unluckily, my bag did not arrive until the next day (-3), which meant I got to spend another full day traipsing around in my boots, which are extremely cute but not really all that ergonomic (-2).

Luckily, one of the restaurants my New Orleans-savvy friend had recommended was two blocks from my hotel and open til 11:00, and after eight hours of dealing with all this on an empty stomach, I had my first amazing NOLA meal (+about a billion).

Swordfish, crisped kale, & French chardonnay. LOADS of yes.

It's amazing, just how quickly good food and good wine can make everything alright.

* * *

I did manage to get a respectable number (for where I am right now) of running miles in, although they were all done on the hotel gym treadmill which sucked mightily. And even a tiny bit of biking. But that was pretty much it.

Grand Total: 19.5 miles

    * 13 running
    * 6.5 bike (easy)

Monday: 3 run + 6.5 bike

    After work stuff I hit this place in the French Quarter for dinner:

    Incredible blackened tilapia w/ shrimp etouffee and the BEST biscuits I have EVER HAD..

    I was pretty impressed with myself for getting down to the hotel gym afterward.

Tuesday: Nothing.

    I had grand ambitions Monday night of getting up early for some strength work Tuesday morning, then doing some more running & cycling in the afternoon. Unfortunately it was all I could do to drag myself out of bed in time for morning sessions, so nothing happened before work stuff.

    After work stuff, I made plans to meet up with my friend Nicole & her husband, whom I hadn't seen since we'd all lived in Boston ten years ago, & the three of us went to a favorite of theirs called Toups' Meatery.

    DO NOT TAKE VEGETARIANS HERE. Everything has meat in it.

    Even the cocktails. This is a Toups' Manhattan, which has rillons (candied pork bits) instead of cherries. And Tabasco sauce. It was everything I dreamed it would be.

    After that I had to catch up on some work, & figured I'd do some running & cycling when I was done with that. Alas, it was more work than I'd realized, so my evening basically went like this:

    "I'll just take care of urgent work stuff & then hit the treadmill / spin bike."

    "Holy crap, how is it 10:00???"

    *Pass out in clothes while still sitting at computer.*

Wednesday: Ditto.

    Wednesday played out pretty much the same as Tuesday, except with conference / social / networking events during the evening as well, which pretty much blew any shot I'd had to begin with of getting in any physical activity.

    On the other hand: rabbit stew & dumplings, and an *amazing* bourbon cocktail called a "Scootaloo."

This was probably the best meal I had on the whole trip.

Thursday: 3.5 easy

    Another day in New Orleans; another incredible meal.

    I don't know what kind of fish this was, but it was INCREDIBLE.

    Blah blah corn bread blah blah maple syrup blah blah butter.
    All I know is it pairs damn well with a Vouvray chenin blanc.

    When I got back to the hotel, I was absolutely determined to do SOMETHING physical, so after banging out all the work stuff I could mentally handle, I hit the gym around nine. And WOW, were the last few minutes of this one tough. I wasn't even running that fast. Still, it was my longest run time-wise so far--30:00--so maybe that had something to do with it. I felt so incredibly awful after that there was just no way I was getting on the bike for another 30:00. Nope nope nope.

Friday: 3 easy

    By Friday I was barely a functional human and I think it was in fact 10:00 by the time I got myself to the treadmill, but godammit, I was going to keep the momentum (such as it was) going if it killed me. This didn't suck quite as much as Thursday's run, but it was still not fun and I was getting on that bike when hell froze over.

    (Here's another reason I just couldn't work up any enthusiasm for the bike. The view from the treadmill:

    The view from the bike:

    Eff that noise.)

Saturday: Rest

    The conference finished at two on Saturday, & after grabbing a muffeletta from Central Grocery in the French Quarter, I put on soft pants, started myself a tab at the hotel bar, & spent the entire rest of the day just plowing through work.

    Apparently Central Grocery is where the muffeletta was invented.

    Not to be missed!

    This, at least, was the good kind of work-plowing where you get into a groove & when you next look at the clock somehow six hours have gone by. In that state, I basically turn into a machine for converting wine into research papers / beautiful charts / math curriculum. (I did get a little rolling & stretching in, but other than that, this was a rest day. Which, honestly, my feet needed more than any other part of me, thanks to all the walking I'd been doing in shoes that are rather less biomechanically friendly than running shoes.)

Sunday: 3.5 easy

    Checkout was at 11:00, so I dragged myself out of bed around 8:00 & hopped on the treadmill. Boy, this was miserable. I think it was actually more mentally hard than physically; on the roads, I can run for hours and be mentally fine, but boy, some days on the treadmill, I am lucky to get to ten minutes. The only way I could face this run was by breaking it up into ten minute chunks with water breaks in between, and then I had to break the last ten minutes into two five-minute chunks on top of that. If I ever see another hotel gym treadmill (which...I will), it will be too soon.

    I finished out the week with brunch at iconic Mother's, where I had the best biscuits I've ever had in my life (yes, again) while a sixty-year-old waitress called me "sweet chile'" & kept bringing me more biscuits.

A fun week, but my guts are definitely happy to be home!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Race Report: Spring Forward 5K

Holy shit I almost smiled in a race picture.
Soooo I may or may not have spent the night before this race eating a giant Italian dinner, drinking over half a bottle of wine, & staying up past midnight, and I also may or may not have been *incredibly* depressed when my alarm went off Saturday morning at 6:15 a.m., but I was pre-registered, and had plans to meet up with bt (who was running the 10K) after the race, so I sucked it up, got dressed, & drove to Mountain View.

The Microsoft (one of the big race sponsors) campus is right off the 101 & I'd been there before, so getting there was easy, & parking was no problem thanks to the campus's huge lot. I am a bit of a fanatic about giving myself plenty of extra time before a race, but since getting there was so easy I arrived an hour before the 8:30 gun. Everything was well-laid out & well-organized, & in less than 15 minutes I'd signed all the waivers, picked up my bib, hit the port-a-potties, & taken the requisite blog pics of the staging area.

I was excited to be able to warm up for this race (small victories) & as I jogged/strided/butt-kicked my way around the parking lot, my legs felt good & keeping good form felt easy. There was a little confusion about when exactly the 5K was going off (the 10K had started at 8:00) & I had a hard time at first figuring out which direction was the front & which was the back (a course map wasn't published & there were people facing both ways), but finally all the strollers migrated to one side, so I took that as my cue to go to the other one, lining up not right at the front with all the lanky cross country-looking dudes but just a few rows back & hoping I was more or less in the right spot. (There was no starting mat & the timing chips registered only at the finish, so this cost me a few seconds in terms of my official time, but whatever.)

One of my goals for this race was to go out at a more reasonable pace, which I kind of-sort of did. I ran the .1 from the start to the Shoreline Park entrance at what felt like a fast but comfortable pace, figuring I was probably around 7:00/mile & wasn't sure whether to feel annoyed or reassured when I looked at my watch & realized I was running ~6:33 at that point. It was nice, though, to let myself slow down pretty significantly and know that I was still running faster than I'd averaged at Get Lucky three weeks earlier.

My main goal in mile 1 was to keep the pace right around 7:00, so I was pleased when my watch ticked it off in 7:02. I am definitely out of practice running 5Ks, though, so there was still a part of my brain that was a little freaked out by working as hard as I was after only one mile. I know that I have a habit of slowing down in mile 2 because that's where it starts to feel uncomfortably hard, but there's still too much race left to start telling myself "only x left!" So in that mile, I wanted to push myself just a little, just beyond what felt safe and comfortable, knowing that I nearly always find something extra for the last mile. As expected my watch marked mile 2 ~0.1 mile before the marker, but I was happy to see the 6:58 split.

I don't want to say that I was comfortable at this point exactly, but there was a point not far into mile 3 where I did a quick body check & had to admit, "Nope, *definitely* not hurting enough for the last mile of a 5K." So I stepped it up a bit, started counting back from 400 (the best mental trick I know for getting through a tough final mile), & tried to just embrace the suck. I kind of felt like I could be running faster but, in contrast to how I felt toward the end of Get Lucky, had a really hard time forcing myself to dig for a little more, which I think means that I've got some mental work ahead of me in terms of getting back to that place where I can force myself to punch the accelerator even when I know it's really going to hurt. On the other hand, my third mile split was 6:52, so Operation: Negative Splits = accomplished.

There is something magical that happens once I can see the finish line; can I run any faster right before it comes into view? Positively, absolutely not. No way. But once I can see it it's like a switch is flipped, and suddenly I am sprinting close to a full minute per mile faster. Based on where I'd hit the various mile markers, I was expecting the course to run about .1 long, so I hit 'lap' when my watch hit 3.1 (0:37 / 6:10 pace) & crossed the mat at 3.21 as expected. I am definitely not one to rant about inaccurate course measurements at small community races, but I did want to know what my time was at that point (you know, to within the precision of my watch) for my own information.

Home stretch

Garmin (whole course): 3.21 miles / 22:13 / 6:56 pace
Garmin @ 3.1: 3.1 / 21:29 / 6:56 pace
Official: 3.1 miles / 22:15 / 7:13 pace

I'd run hard in the last couple of minutes & was obviously happy to be done, but if I'm honest, I knew that I felt way too good & recovered way too quickly for a hard 5K. Like, after maybe 2-3 minutes I felt completely normal. I'm guessing this is connected to that mental skill of digging really deep in the last quarter or so of a race & forcing yourself to the very edge of your ability, knowing it's going to be excruciatingly painful, against the objections of other parts of your brain. Feeling that good that quickly, I knew that physically I'd very probably had more to give towards the end & I'm just not in the mental shape to be able to do it yet.

Now, obviously the 21:29 I clocked on my watch is not official, and that's fine, but like I said before, knowing what that number was (more or less) gives me some interesting information:

  • It's 37 seconds faster (!) than I ran at Get Lucky three weeks ago.
  • It's a solidly sub-7:00 average pace, which I really truly honestly did not think I was up to.
  • It's the second fastest 5K of my adult life, edging out PrideRun '12 by seven seconds.
  • It's unquestionably the best performance-to-average weekly mileage I have ever thrown down *ever*. My 5K PR of 20:44 was set when I'd been running 40-50 miles / week consistently for at least a couple of months, and the 21:36 at PrideRun '12 happened just a few weeks after that (granted, it was a harder course & I wasn't feeling well, but still). I mean, I've been averaging less than 10 miles a week.

So, *obviously*, we can conclude that:

  • Cross-training totally effing works. OR...
  • Putting a shit tonne of effort into improving your form is absolutely worth it. OR...
  • Consistent, high-quality strength work makes a big difference. OR...
  • Getting your nutrition in line & paying super close attention to what you eat has a huge impact.

...Or none of the above & Saturday was a total freak accident. YOU BE THE JUDGE. Or don't.

In all seriousness, though, it does make me feel very optimistic about the summer, when we get back from Italy & I'm able to get my mileage back up to what I think of as "normal." If this is what I can do on ~10 miles / week plus cross-training (and consistent strength training, and improving my form, and eating really well), I'm excited to see what I can do on 40-50ish.

I hung out while the 10K-ers finished & not long after heard bt calling my name. (Apparently she recognized me by the back of my legs! Aren't blogs crazy??) We chatted about our races for a bit, went out to brunch (FRENCH TOAST OMG SOOOOO GOOD), then came back at 10:00 for the awards ceremony. Apparently my 22:15 gun time got me 2nd place in the 30-39 bracket, which was pretty cool.

Overall: 27/628
Women: 7/380
A/G: 2/86

So.........yeah. That's how I spent my Saturday. :)

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*LOGISTICAL STUFF~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

The Deal: A small charity race benefiting Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, sponsored by SGI & Microsoft (among others). Stroller-friendly (asked to start at the back); dogs are not allowed in Shoreline Park.

Location: Mountain View, CA (staged in the Microsoft Silicon Valley campus parking lot)

Date: Early April (April 5, 2014 this year)

Price: $40 for both the 5K & 10K & $15 for the children's race, & $5 more on race day. Groups of 10 or more could get a $5 discount, plus there was an online coupon circulating for $5 off individual entries (which I used). With a discount I feel like this is *pretty* reasonable for a charity 5K, and really not bad for a chip-timed 10K even at full price. (Although, see reservations about the course below.)

Deadlines/sellout factor: Online registration closed on April 2 (three days before the race), but race day registration was allowed for $5 extra.

Field Size: 628 finishers listed for the 5K, & probably comparable for the 10K. So bigger than I was expecting for a small local race.


The Microsoft parking lot is kind of perfect for staging a race; plentiful parking, open space for registration / bib pickup / snack tables / etc., & easy access to the Shoreline Park trail. The campus is super easy to find right off the freeway, but volunteers were still stationed at the three turns to direct people to the right place. Once in the parking lot it's pretty obvious where to go.

All the different tables one might need to visit (waiver, race day registration, bib pickup, T-shirt pickup) were well labeled & easy to navigate, & I did not have to wait long at any of them (I arrived ~7:30). On the other hand, bt registered that morning pretty close to the 8:00 10K start & said that there was a longer line for that.

Port-a-potty count seemed up to the job. There were lines pretty much from the time I arrived until the races started, but I don't think they were ever more than a few people long. I don't know if there was a bag check; I didn't see one, but I also didn't look since it was such a short walk from my car to the start area & it was easy to just throw everything in my trunk.

Starting area

"Why is that girl taking pictures of the port-a-potties?"
Because shut up, runners know what runners care about.

The Course:

Both courses (which are basically the same, except the 5K turns around sooner) are out-and-back, starting on the road in front of the Microsoft parking lot & then pretty quickly turning onto the paved trail that runs through Shoreline Park. There was mention on the website of dirt trails in some places; this must have been part of the 10K course past the 5K turnaround, because my race was 100% paved.

Of course you never know what you're going to get with small, community races & I always do my best to go in with no expectations, but it is worth noting that most of us marked the 5K course as 3.2 miles instead of 3.1 (the first/third mile was ~.05 long going by my watch, which would do it) & most of the 10K-ers marked that course closer to 5.9 than 6.2. (bt remarked that mile 3 in particular seemed SUPER short.)


Like I said, in the Microsoft lot, which is plentiful & like ~1-2 minutes' walk from the staging / start area.


A nice tech shirt, plenty of post-race food, and FREE HIGH-QUALITY RACES PICS FOR DOWNLOAD. They were even searchable!

Overall male & female winners in the open & masters categories got gift certificates to a local running store (I think?); race logo medals were awarded three deep in (mostly) 10-year A/G brackets.

Overall Assessment:

Not a bad little local race. Well-run & and fairly reasonably priced. I probably would not run it for a PR because of the aforementioned issues with the course length, plus there was one spot where the course actually crossed over itself which resulted in the outbound 5K leaders & home-bound 10K leaders having to run through/around each other. It worked out fine for me, but it wasn't exactly ideal.

Monday, April 7, 2014

3.5 Miles, Baby (& then 4+)

On Thursday I set a new 2014 PDR of 3.5 miles, and nothing hurt. Better yet, this really was one of the best, most satisfying runs I've had yet post-sfx. My form felt good & my stride felt smooth & comfortable, and since I did it outside in SF, I didn't want to stab myself in the face every 90 seconds, which is basically how treadmill running goes for me.

(Yep, I'm back to hating it. T-mill & I went through a briefly honeymoon period when I was first allowed to run again because I was just so happy to be running at all. Once the shine was off the apple, though, I remembered why we broke up the first time & went back to mostly dreading runs on the 'mill like a normal person.)

Unfortunately, this run also reminded me how much I hate running downhill. Yes, uphill does require more effort (HI, it's RUNNING), but I find that that it's pretty easy to keep good form & stay biomechanically comfortable. Running downhill, though? Not so much. The best way I can describe it is to say that when I'm running downhill, it's tough to keep everything "in alignment" and PARTICULARLY tough to run so that I'm absorbing force properly with each step. (I can tell when I'm not, because that's when my shin splints & the area where I had the stress fracture tend to get whiny.) I think form is also harder for me going downhill because I've been working so much on the forward lean, which is just a lot more difficult logistically because physics.

On a related note, Buzzfeed wrote something funny! I know, I know. But hear me out:

This is basically how I feel about training runs. You should give the rest a read; I honestly can't remember the last time I actually laughed at something on Buzzfeed.

Lastly, I'd like to take this opportunity to show you what the Road to Freakin' Recovery looks like:

I'll just leave it at that, I think.

* * *

Grand Total: 54.2 miles

    * 14.2 running
    * 40 bike (easy)

Monday: a.m. strength work / afternoon 3.2 run + 5.3 bike / p.m. karate

    God, I'll be glad when I finally work up to running for 40-50 minutes straight & won't feel the need to do make-up minutes on the bike. I am going throw my head back cackling as I drive past the gym on my way to running ALL TEH TRAILZ. (Or, like...Sawyer Creek or something. Basically anything that's not a treadmill.)

Tuesday: a.m. 3 run / p.m. 13 bike

    Somewhere between running, biking, & karate Monday night, I managed to tweak both my right hamstring and quad. Nothing serious, but both muscles were feeling sore & achey enough Tuesday morning that I almost skipped my run. Instead I spent ~10 minutes rolling some tight spots & figured I'd give running a shot, but if anything hurt I'd stop. Both muscles hurt before and after, but not during, and they weren't any worse after, so hey. Winning.

    Normally on Tuesday afternoons I do my "speed work" on the spin bike, but given the precarious state of that right leg, I decided to play it by ear. A little over 12 miles in I started getting some of that yellow-flag-type pain so called it good at 13 fairly easy miles.

Wednesday: a.m. strength work / afternoon 11.7 bike / p.m. karate

    I kind of played with the idea of doing some speed work on the bike on Wednesday afternoon, but my quads & hamstrings were still feeling weirdly trashed, & I wanted to be sure I'd be able to run at least reasonably well on Saturday. So instead I just did 45 easy minutes with three 5:00 pickups at maybe LT effort. Post-karate my legs still felt pretty trashed.

Thursday: 3.5 run

    Although I was *really* just running Saturday's 5K for fun, I didn't see any point at all in running it with totally trashed legs (might as well stay home & do an easy 3 or so), so I decided to treat Thursday mostly as a rest day & try to give everything a chance to heal up. Honestly, this probably would've been a smart idea anyway; it's been a long time since I've had this kind of soreness in my quads, which is weird since I've been working so hard on using the hamstrings/glutes & leaving the quads alone. Rest days. They're. Y'know. A thing.

Friday: 6 bike

    OMG. Apparently I went 48 weekday hours without going to the gym, which, I am somewhat saddened to report, was the strangest feeling ever. I was all like, "I wonder if people will still remember me there!" Which, no, they didn't, because I am a staunchly asocial gym goer, and no one ever knew I was even there to begin with.

    There were a few reasons for my mini-vacay from the Den of Chatty Women & Cleaning Fluid Smells. One was that I was starting to get those worn-down, yellow-flag signals from my muscles, particularly in my quads & hamstrings, the kind that goes *just* one step beyond the healthy, satisfying, I-can-tell-I-worked-hard-this-week feeling. This was more the remember-you-actually-get-stronger-on-rest-days feeling, so I figured I should respect it by letting my various tissues catch up to the damage I've been inflicting on them before, y'know, inflicting more.

    The second reason was the 5K on Saturday (see above). The third reason was that my Thursday night got reeeeaaaalllly long thanks to a work project, so I was up til nearly 2:00 in the morning, and ain't nobody getting up early to do a strength workout after that nonsense (I hope). But I figured a few easy miles on the bike after work couldn't hurt & might help me loosen up a bit after my run Thursday.

Saturday: Race Day! (1.1 mile warm up + 3.2 race = 4.3 LIKE WHOAH.)

    The short story: Slightly long course, but a good run for me. Race report soon!

Sunday: Travel to New Orleans & have approximately 18572839 snafus on the way. I will tell you more about this next week, but seriously. It was a god damned miracle that come Monday morning I was where I was supposed to be in grown-up clothes having gotten some nonzero amount of sleep.

Being on travel this week, I'm going to try my best to get some running/spinning/strength work in, but everything is harder when you're traveling, so we'll see how exactly that works out.

Later, Space Cowboys/girls.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

So I'm Running This 5K On Saturday...

...Because if you can only run 5Ks, you might as well run all the 5Ks, amirite?

The race, Spring Forward 5K/10K, is down in Mountain View on the Microsoft Silicon Valley Campus & Shoreline Park. It's another charity race, but thankfully significantly cheaper than the last charity 5K I ran. Weirdly, although I've been to a bunch of concerts at Shoreline, lived on the Peninsula for three years, & even worked near Mountain View briefly, I've never been running there, so all I know about the course is that it will be a mix of concrete & packed dirt trail. (Anyone run down there before & have additional info?)

Ostensibly, I'm just running this race for fun and because I had a discount code for it. But, now that I've run one 5K post-injury & established a baseline, it's hard not to approach this one with the goal of beating my time (22:06). Which, honestly, shouldn't be very hard since 1) I have three additional weeks of running 20+ minutes at a time without walk breaks under my belt, 2) I can run long enough now for both a race AND a quick warm-up, & 3) it won't be 80F out (unless something truly freakish happens). So while a post-sfx PR isn't guaranteed, the odds are definitely in my favor.

Honestly, I would be perfectly happy just to run under 22:00, & at the the low end I think a sub-7:00 pace (~21:40) is the absolute fastest I could reasonably dream of at this point. (My guess is that's probably still out of reach for now, but it's good to have stretch goals.) My other big goal, to the extent that I really have any, is to go out at a more reasonable pace given my current fitness. At Get Lucky my first mile was 6:45, which is a great 5K first mile for me when I'm in good shape, but given that my 2nd & 3rd miles were 7:14 & 7:13, it's definitely not defensible right now. I'm willing to cut myself a little slack in the negative split department given how out of practice I am at this distance, but if I can hold myself to say 7:05-10ish out of the gate, I think I'll be much better off.

I have spent the last few days (apparently) utterly trashing my quads & hamstrings, so until Saturday, the name of the game is rest up. Because while I am *really* just doing it for fun, I would also prefer not to suck.

Update: Oh, hey, part of the trashing of my quads is apparently an enormous bruise across my right thigh! #karateproblems #goodtimes