Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Evolution of a Distance Runner: Systems & Process Goals

I wrote a few weeks back about how I'm not really hitching myself to a particular time goal in this race. I've done that lots of times in the past because it's a very bloggerly thing to do ("My A/B/C/D goals for xx race next week are this/that/the other thing!") and because if you're not setting goals how will you ever make any progress ("goals are dreams with deadlines" or some such). Regardless of whether I achieved the goal or not, though, something about defining things that way always felt kind

There could be a lot of reasons for that. This research, for example, that found that stating a goal publicly can actually make you less likely to achieve it, because "announcing your plans to others satisfies your self-identity just enough that you’re less motivated to do the hard work needed." And if you set a goal and then don't achieve it, how do you understand that? Or this bit from Scott Adams' Secret of Success: Failure:

    "If your goal is to [accomplish x], you will spend every moment until you reach the goal—if you reach it at all—feeling as if you were short of your goal. In other words, goal-oriented people exist in a state of nearly continuous failure that they hope will be temporary. If you achieve your goal, you celebrate and feel terrific, but only until you realize that you just lost the thing that gave you purpose and direction. Your options are to feel empty and useless, perhaps enjoying the spoils of your success until they bore you, or to set new goals and re-enter the cycle of permanent presuccess failure."

Then recently I read this post by James Clear (thanks Mario Fraioli via The Morning Shakeout, btw), which is about that exact thing--about why setting goals the way most of us tend to (run xx:xx time, run y miles in z year, qualify for this/that/the other event, finish in the top x, etc.) is maybe not the most productive and effective strategy. Of course, there's nothing wrong with having a dream, an achievement that drives you to work harder and give more, but just saying, "My goal is to run a xx:xx marathon" or "My goal is to BQ" or whatever it is doesn't make it any more likely to happen.

Instead, Clear talks about focusing on systems:

    "What’s the difference between goals and systems? If you’re a coach, your goal is to win a championship. Your system is what your team does at practice each day. If you’re a writer, your goal is to write a book. Your system is the writing schedule that you follow each week. If you’re a runner, your goal is to run a marathon. Your system is your training schedule for the month. If you’re an entrepreneur, your goal is to build a million dollar business. Your system is your sales and marketing process. Now for the really interesting question: If you completely ignored your goals and focused only on your system, would you still get results? For example, if you were a basketball coach and you ignored your goal to win a championship and focused only on what your team does at practice each day, would you still get results? I think you would."

What Clear and Adams call "systems," I've been calling "process goals," something I've gotten more and more interested in in the last couple of years. Essentially, you consider the thing you want to achieve (run a certain time, qualify for whatever, etc.) how close or far you are right now, what your timeline is, etc., and then come up with a list of behaviors that support that achievement (the "system"). The behaviors, the habits that support the dream, become the goals.

In the past couple of years my process goals have usually been things like "Strength train 2-3x per week," "Sleep 7-8 hours/night," things around nutrition, etc. In 2014 when I DNF'd the Santa Rosa Marathon and took a long hard look at my past marathon training cycles, I made some process goals around running that included things like "Base train at least 40 miles per week at an appropriate heart rate for at least 6 months" and "Strategize/rearrange commitments ahead of time to minimize missing runs/mileage." The idea is that if you get the systems/process goals right and then meet those goals, the "outcome" goals--the achievements, the dreams--tend to take care of themselves. (Well; to the extent that they are reasonable, anyway.)

When I started training again in June, it seemed logical to look back once again over my past marathons and how I trained for them & see what process goals might come to light.


Friends, let me take you on this same little journey I undertook before starting this training cycle, of looking back at my previous marathons and thinking about what I could/should be doing differently. I think you'll find it amusing.

    #1: CIM 2011
    • Total mileage: 542.7
    • Average mileage: 30.15
    • Highest mileage week: 55.5
    • Longest run: 20 miles
    • 16+ long runs: 3
    • 19+ long runs: 1
    • Notable circumstances: Sick with asthma the prior week
    • Weather: Perfect

      Result: Couldn't breathe for most of the race, but still ran 3:47

This race gave me such a false sense of my own abilities! Basically, I finished going, "Meh, I barely trained for this race AND I had an asthma attack! Imagine how fast I'll be when I actually train hard & don't get sick!"

    #2: CIM 2012
    • Total mileage: 394.8
    • Average mileage: 21.9
    • Highest mileage week: 40.8
    • Longest run: 21 miles
    • 16+ long runs: 5
    • 19+ long runs: 1
    • Notable circumstances: "pineapple express" super storm & 30mph headwinds in the forecast
    • Weather: Torrential rain + 20-40mph headwinds

      Result: The timing mat near me malfunctioned due to flooding so I didn't get a chip time, but gun time = 3:55

Credit for this amazing photo, as always, to hmgiraffy

Final thoughts as I crossed the line: "F--- this race and the horse it rode in on." Except for the marathon, 2012 was the year I PR'd every major distance, so between that & my first marathon, I went into this race absolutely convinced I would waltz my way to an effortless PR. Instead I left feeling like I'd gotten robbed by the weather. My memory was that I trained super hard that year (because how else so many PRs??), but seriously. Look at those numbers. Pathetic. The hard truth is I didn't *remotely* earn a fast race & it's probably actually a miracle I managed the time I did, considering the weather.

    #3: Mountains 2 Beach 2013
    • Total mileage: 495.3
    • Average mileage: 27.5
    • Highest mileage week: 48.3
    • Longest run: 20 miles
    • 16+ long runs: 2
    • 19+ long runs: 1
    • Notable circumstances: I badly strained a muscle in my right leg about three weeks before the race, spent that time getting PT & cortisone injections instead of running, & almost didn't even bother starting
    • Weather: Bright, sunny, & 80F+

      Result: Ran a 3:36 (huge PR!), but also further strained said muscle so badly I had to walk most of the last 3-4 miles, went home in a wheelchair, & was on crutches for a month.

Again, considering it was 80 degrees and I walked a lot of the last few miles of this race and STILL set a 11:00 PR, my memory was like, "Surely I trained stupid hard for this race?" Um, no. Sure, I ran over 100 miles more than I did for CIM '12, but 2 long runs? One 17?? and one 20?? Da fuq?

    #n/a: SRM 2014
    • Total mileage: 441
    • Average mileage: 29.4
    • Highest mileage week: 52.2
    • Longest run: 20 miles
    • 16+ long runs: 3
    • 19+ long runs: 1
    • Notable circumstances: Still having problems with my right hip
    • Weather: Perfect

      Result: DNF at mile 14 due to hip pain

I always knew this race was a long shot. Coming off of a stress fracture in fall 2013, my spring training was pretty low mileage/intensity, & then I went to Italy & mostly sat around eating pasta & drinking for 3 weeks. I only had 15 weeks, not 18, & had clearly just not done the work yet to get my hip better. I gave it a shot but honestly was not surprised when I had to quit because I was really worried about another M2B situation, and I knew I honestly didn't have the training for a fast time anyway.

    #4: NVM 2015
    • Total mileage: 566.4
    • Average mileage: 30.4
    • Highest mileage week: 50
    • Longest run: 20 miles
    • 16+ long runs: 4
    • 19+ long runs: 1
    • Notable circumstances: I base trained only for this & ran it at an easy, comfortable pace
    • Weather: Warm-ish & sunny but not *too* hot

      Result: 3:52 & felt really strong & good start to finish

Clearly I did the volume for this race, but my long run game was still pretty weak. At that point I was just glad that my hip finally seemed 100% and was pretty pleased to find that my 6 months of base training had made 26 miles at easy-but-not slow pace feel like a cake walk. Hence getting super excited to train for...

    #n/a: SRM 2015
    • Total mileage: 253.7
    • Average mileage: 24.6
    • Highest mileage week: 44
    • Longest run: 22 miles
    • 16+ long runs: 5
    • 19+ long runs: 3
    • Unfortunate circumstances: Felt really strong until ~3 weeks before the race when I got a stress fracture
    • Weather: No idea, I wasn't awake

      Result: DNS

I feel like I can barely call this a training cycle. I only actually trained for like 8 weeks before I ended up with a stress fracture. Again my memory was sort of like "But I ran so much that summer??" No; no, I really didn't. In fact I apparently took like an entire month off after NVM. In retrospect maybe the stress fracture was not surprising given how I did two 21 mile runs & a 22 after only about 5 weeks of less than 40 mpw?

    #5: Eugene 2016
    • Total mileage: 478.3
    • Average mileage: 29.9
    • Highest mileage week: 44.2
    • Longest run: 20 miles
    • 16+ long runs: 5
    • 19+ long runs: 2
    • Unfortunate circumstances: Started the training cycle pretty much 100% detrained from the stress fracture, & most of the early weeks involved lots of elliptical & not much actual running.
    • Weather: Warm-ish & sunny but not *too* hot

      Result: 3:53

I knew this would not be a fast race for me, but I was at peace with it, & just tried to run the best I could & enjoy the ride.

So yeah--looking back at these statistics left me scratching my head. Wait, I trained really hard for that race...Didn't I? Ha! Apparently not! Face to face with the actual numbers, it's like, Well what did you expect? Sure, I've had my share of bad luck with illness, injury, & weather, but still. That 3:36? In retrospect, it seems like an absolute miracle from the gods as I really, really do NOT feel like I earned it. Looking back at the numbers, my mindset suddenly switched from, I don't know what else I can possibly do to Uhhhh idk but maybe start running actual marathon training volume consistently, and also maybe like do long runs more than 3-5 times a cycle or whatever, just a thought.

Therefore, some process goals for CIM 2016:

Before jumping into the training plan:

  • Establish a solid base of 40+ mpw of easy running for at least a couple months before jumping into marathon training.
  • As part of that base, work up to 16 mile long runs so I can START my training cycle with a 16 mile long run.
  • Hit the gym for 2-3 hours a week consistently so I can get everything strong while I'm not under the stress of mileage & tough workouts.

During the training cycle:

  • Do not not NOT miss a run if there is any way around it! Do risk planning at the beginning of the cycle & of every week, & move things around as needed. Always be planning.
  • NEVER miss a long run. If all else fails, DO THE EFFING LONG RUNS! (Again...planning.)
  • If injured, do time/effort equivalent cross-training. No copping out.
  • Attempt every workout. Plan A: Do the whole thing as written. Plan B: Do the whole distance as close to written as I can manage. Plan C: Do the whole distance at any pace possible. Plan D: Do as much of the distance as possible at any pace & cross train the rest. Plan E: Cross train @ time/effort equivalent.

(Obviously this excludes being sick/injured/any days when I'm getting those srsbzns red flags from my body.)

Have I been perfect? No. But I've been pretty darn close. How does training for marathon #6 stack up to the first five?

    #6: CIM 2016
    • Total mileage: 760
    • Average mileage: 42.2
    • Highest mileage week: 57
    • Longest run: 22 miles
    • 16+ long runs: 13
    • 19+ long runs: 4
    • Notable circumstances: None so far (fingers crossed)

I'm not going to pretend to know what these numbers portend. I'm not going to make the mistake of saying "Well I ran x time on y mileage, so I should run z time this time around" or feeling like I've earned a certain time or I'm entitled to it because LOOK AT ALL THE TRAINING!! or like the universe "owes" me a sub-whatever whatever because numbers.

But, the truth is, when I look back at those numbers and at how hard I worked during this training cycle, I kind of feel like I already won? I set the process goals, and I met them. I ran more and more consistently and hit higher mileage and more and longer long runs than I have in *quite* sometime, AND even managed not to injure myself! Now THAT is a victory. I'm excited for CIM and to see what all this crazy (for me) mileage produces, but even if I have a horrible day and run a completely mediocre race, I still feel so thankful and proud for having been able to do the training and meet my process goals. No matter what happens, I still feel like I'll finish out this year feeling like I'm on the right track.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

CIM WEEK 17 of 18: Deep Breathes

Man, I do NOT understand people who talk about the "taper crazies." I love taper. I'm great at it. I don't even see why I have to run as much during taper as I do. I still had a couple of workouts this week, but outside of that, put my feet up, you say? Get lots of extra sleep, you say? Eat plenty of carbs, you say?

Done, done, and done.

I always worry that I'm not tapering enough or my taper is too short & then panic when 3-4 days into the taper I don't feel peppy & rested. My philosophy has always been better over-tapered than under-tapered, but then recently I've read a bunch of articles from coaches who say they more often see recreational runners make the mistake of tapering too much than not enough, so I'm trying to just follow the plan & not panic too much. (Then again, the plan did not take into consideration spending week 17 at altitude, so there's also that.)

It wasn't that cold (upper 30s/low 40s), but it was a LOT colder than I'm used to!

* * *

Grand Total: 42.6 miles

    * 35 easy
    * 5.6 threshold
    * 2 race pace

Monday 11/21: Karate

Tuesday 11/22: Fly to Spokane/rest

    On Tuesday we flew to Spokane, Washington to spend the week with Don's parents. I didn't even bother trying to do my track workout before our flight since it was at 10am and I would have had to get up at like 4am. In fact don't think the track even opens until 7.

Wednesday 11/23: 2 warm up, 2 @ marathon pace, 6 easy

    On the schedule, my Tuesday speed workout was 2 warm up, 6 x 200m/200m, 2 @ marathon pace, 6 x 200m/200m, 2 cool down. Alas, running on hilly country roads mostly without sidewalks, the 200m's were rather impractical. I thought instead I'd try some short marathon pace intervals, but WOW, the altitude was wreaking complete havoc on my heart rate! Not wanting to push things too hard with only 12 days to go, I decided to run the rest of the distance "easy" & let the altitude do its work without any extra effort from me. 700 ft of elevation gain seemed quite enough to be getting on with.

It's what you'd call a "curvy" landscape.

Thursday 11/24: 6 easy

    Definitely still acclimating. I did that unfortunate thing on this run where you convince yourself that it's basically nothing & then as a result it feels super hard and waaaaay longer than it is.

    On the plus side: Turkey.

Friday 11/25: 2 warm-up, 4 x 2K @ HM pace, 2 cool down = 5.6 threshold/9.6 total

    (I did these as 1.25 miles since that's easier for my watch to autolap than 1.24 miles.) I really had no idea if I would be able to pull off this workout given the altitude, but I figured I'd just put the effort in & see what pace I could manage. It was hard, but not harder than I expected. The target time was 9:35, & I managed the intervals in 9:39, 9:33, 9:38, & 9:20 (so 7:44, 7:38, 7:43, & 7:29 pace-wise).

    Also ran into a deer family visiting when I got back!

Saturday 11/19: 5 easy

    On Saturday we all drove down to a nice, flat, pretty bike path by the train tracks. I ran 1 mile out and back along one trail head while Don & his folks walked 1.6 miles out and back along a second one. After I finished my two miles out-and-back, I did the same on their trail to make it 5 miles total, and we all walked maybe the last third of a mile or so together back to the car.

Sunday 11/20: 12 easy

    I'll admit to going into this run with a bit of a grumpy attitude. It was cold and windy and part of me felt kind of annoyed at having to run double digits just a week before a marathon. Those Spokane hills were starting to get to me, too--I didn't really mean to run nearly 1000' of elevation gain but apparently that's what happened.

It's always nice to knock out that last double digit run before a marathon. Just one more short track workout, an easy three on Thursday, & a two-mile shakeout on marathon eve!

* * *

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.

CIM 2016 Week 15 of 18 - Hang in there.

CIM 2016 Week 16 of 18 - Opioids, speed work, & a soggy weekend

Thursday, November 24, 2016

'Race' Report: Berkeley Half Marathon

I signed up for this race back in September back when I was looking down the barrel of a dozen+ CIM long runs and already dying of boredom from running my same old routes over and over again. I'd run the inaugural Berkeley Half back in 2013 and been disappointed by the course (which spent about 8 miles dog-legging along freeway frontage roads), but since then it seems like they've been able to get the permits to create something more interesting & scenic where you actually get to see a bit of Berkeley. My schedule called for 17 miles with a fast finish and doing it on a race course seemed more appealing than doing it on my own with pedestrians and traffic lights to contend with, and since BHM was close to home and not stupid expensive, I figured what the heck.

Inaugural Berkeley Half 2013 with IronHubs, the Dude, & friends of Cat.

Moments later with Courtney, Cate, & Renee.

I got to Berkeley around 6:30 & easily found street parking two blocks from the start. (Our wave was starting at 8:12.) The forecast called for rain all morning, and though there were definitely plenty of ominous clouds, there was no sign yet of rain. I walked over to the staging area to find the port-a-potties, then started my 4 easy pre-race miles around 7.

Pretty sure I was the first one here.

Those first miles felt so awful. Like I almost think if I hadn't paid to run a race I would have scratched it. My feet and legs felt sore and heavy and "easy" effort was getting me like 10:30-11:00 pace. I just felt completely awful, and when my watch ticked off mile #1 I kind of wanted to cry at the thought of running 16 more.


I felt *slightly* better after three more miles, then headed to the bag drop in the Berkeley High School to meet Jen & get my bib from her. We made our way to the corrals and found our wave and also Jen's friend K (who is also running CIM). We were all running pretty much the same pace and I was happy for the distraction.

Around mile 4, maybe, it started to drizzle, which was actually nice and refreshing. It was cool but not cold and not at all windy. In the second half of the race the rain picked up at bit and by mile 10 it was full-on raining. (Coming back across the University bridge from the out-and-back section at that point, we past a lot of walkers at maybe mile 6 just headed out, and as the rain intensified I thought that if I were facing the prospect of walking 6-7 more miles in this, I would have probably quit.)

I now present for your enjoyment a collection of facial expressions from the Berkeley Half:

And the pièce de résistance (courtesy of Kimra):

EXTRA CREDIT: Caption this picture.

Mile markers matched my watch exactly until mile 10, which appeared when my watch read 9.86. Every mile marker after that showed up at exactly x.86 by my watch, and I got 13 exactly at the finish, which seemed in line with what most other folks got. Given the accuracy of the later mile markers, I kind of wondered if maybe we went through a GPS dead patch in that two-mile out-and-back section & lost .14 miles somewhere. Then again I don't think the course is certified, so it could also have just legitimately been short.

Something else strange happened in that section. We started the out-and-back in the north lane, with folks running back in the south lane, but the mile 8 marker was in the south lane and the mile 10 marker on our side (facing the other way). Then suddenly out of nowhere we found ourselves running straight at people heading back in our lane! People were suddenly frantically trying to switch sides so that outbound runners (us) were now in the south lane and those returning were in the north lane. Weird, but we just went with it. After the turnaround, we ran in the north lane for a good bit, and all our mile markers were on the correct side, but then were directed by course marshals in a smart cart to cross over to the south lane. Now our mile markers were on the wrong side of the road.

Not long after that, we heard someone screaming behind us, "LOOK OUT LOOK OUT!!" It turned out to be probably the 10K leader, running, I dunno, 5:30-6:00 pace & desperately trying to weave his way through our crowd running 9:00-10:00 pace. More super fast 10K runners followed him. We tried our best to stay out of their way, but it was still a mess for the faster 10K runners. I still don't know what happened with the course during that section but it was a mess.

I was never running even remotely hard in this race but even so, by mile 10-11 I was *SO* over it and ready to be done. On the plus side, once we finished and I wasn't running anymore, I actually felt fine almost right away and was fine for the rest of the day, so I suppose that's the combination of peak cumulative fatigue along with being in pretty much peak shape endurance-wise. I felt horrible, but I felt horrible from the first step and it never got any worse than that.

You can't tell but all three of us leapt into the air at the finish. Apparently I was the only one the photographer caught. #lame

Soaked. (Also, it took me until maybe mile 7 to realize that the 'B' on the shirts was supposed to be a '13'. GET IT???? SO CLEVER.)

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

Location: Berkeley, CA

Date: Mid/late November (Nov 20, 2016 this year).

Field Size: 4225 in the half, 1544 in the 10K, 1472 in the 5K

Deadlines/sellout factor: This year all three races sold out. I think the 10K went first and the other distances sold out closer to race day. (Weirdly, there was a "Race Registration" tent in the staging area. I'm not sure what that was about. Maybe early registration for next year?)


It looks like the website now has only the most recent price ($110), and I don't remember what it was when I signed up or how many times it increased. Fail. It might have been like $80 in September & I think I had a discount code. If you decide to run this race, I recommend poking around the internet for Groupons, race ambassador promo codes, and other discounts.

The Expo:

The expo/bib pickup was Friday and Saturday at Berkeley Sports Basement. There is no race day bib pickup, but you can have a friend pick up for you. (Since she lives closer, Jen volunteered to pick up my bib for me. THANK YOU JEN!!!)


Race Start was on Milvia St. at Kittredge St., & the finish was just a block or two away, on Milvia at Allston.

Bag check was in the Berkeley High School gym right by the start, and when the rain showed up it was REALLY nice to have an indoor area available after the race!

As mentioned above, there were plenty of port-a-potties. I also appreciated all the picnic table seating (though due to weather there wasn't much use for it). Often after races I find myself lamenting the lack of available seating areas that are not on the ground.

The Course:

The course was a big loop with lots of turns, a few steep-ish hills, and one nasty two-mile out-and-back section along the Bay. This year's course was MUCH nicer than the first year I ran it, meandering through various parts of Berkeley. I've been told that in the second and third years the course actually wound through parts of the UC Berkeley campus, but no such luck this year. Some of the roads were fine but a not insignificant portion of them were chewed up and riddled with potholes. (Between this and the rain, I decided to wear trail shoes.)

Aid stations were every couple of miles with water and Nuun, which makes the second time I've run this race without any useful sports drink out on the course. Nuun is electrolytes; it contains no calories. This makes it next to useless in terms of distance running. One of the aid stations had chews and a few had granola bars of some kind, so there was that. But still. I don't understand why so many races seem to be switching away from calorie-rich sports drink to low- or no-calorie drinks. It makes zero sense to me.

Like I said above, pretty much everyone I know clocked a short course, starting at the mile 10 marker. The course isn't certified, I believe, so it's hard to say whether this was a GPS issue or a legitimately short course. Also there was definitely some sort of issue in that out-and-back section that will need to be sorted out, as well as the issue of the fastest 10K runners getting stuck behind thick crowds of half-marathon mid-packers. Either something went very very wrong with the 10K or someone just didn't think the whole situation through.


Long sleeves tech shirt & finisher medal, plus post-race snacks and free race photos.

If you decide to run:

  • Poke around for discounts from race ambassadors and other sources. They've usually been out there & you can often get ~$10 off or so.
  • There is plenty of street parking along University if you get there a bit early, or you can be a good person & pay $20 to park at Berkeley High School (though I think it's actually not closer). But do not repeat DO NOT pay any for-profit company $21 to reserve you a parking spot ahead of time. It's a total racket.
  • If you're driving back toward SF after the race while it's still going on, just remember you can't take University or realistically anything south of that. Instead head up to Gilman & take that to I80 & the Bay Bridge.
  • There are no super bad hills, but two reasonably long-ish ones that definitely take some extra work. Just know they're there & adjust your time goals accordingly.

Overall Assessment:

This race was fine, I guess, but I didn't love it. The course is okay but not particularly fast or scenic, and there is some question in my mind as to whether it might be short. (Though, I think the course has been different every year, so who knows what future years will bring.) It's not stupidly expensive, but not particularly cheap either (~$80-110, I think, maybe a little less with a discount), so the only real reason I can come up for running this particular race is that it's nearby and the date most likely means cooler weather (though you could also get a downpour as we did). Due to all the turns, the few hills, the uncertainty about the distance, and the funkiness with the course in the out-and-back section, I don't think I'd recommend this race for a PR/time trial course.

Monday, November 21, 2016

CIM WEEK 16 of 18: Opioids, speed work, & a soggy weekend.

The upside of shorter days is catching these gorgeous sunsets at the track.

Oof. Taper is here, & not a moment too soon. I'm super excited to have made it through my last big(ish) week of training injury-free, but I can tell the miles are beginning to pile up & take a toll on my body. My feet & lower legs ache constantly, & my hip/glute/hamstring muscles are reaching that point where my brain says "Let's go!!" but the muscles are like, "Sorry, Chief, that's all we've got." Cumulative fatigue: It's a thing!

Luckily, we'll be spending most of the week at Don's parents place sleeping in & lounging around by the fire & generally being super lazy.

No shame.

* * *

Grand Total: 51 miles

    * 19.6 easy
    * 6.9 speed
    * 7.5 race pace
    * 17 long

Monday 11/14: Rest / massage.

    Towards the end of last week I found myself dealing with a very sudden, extremely painful something-or-rather in the muscles on the right side of my neck and back. Like, maybe 6-7 out of 10 on the pain scale, just sitting & doing nothing. I had to work from home on Friday because I couldn't turn my head enough to drive safely. Even riding in a car was quite painful due to accelerating/decelerating/turning. (Weirder still: Running didn't bother it. In fact it actually didn't really hurt while I was running unless I stepped funny & made some sort of jarring motion.)

    On Monday morning I made an appointment at a reasonably good massage place here in SF for that afternoon & spent an hour having a young lady grind the crap out of my neck, back, & shoulder. She was like, "Yeah, this is kind of a mess" but had no idea why it would have come on so badly so suddenly.

Tuesday 11/15: 2 warm-up, 10 x 1K / 1:00 jog, 2.6 cool down = 6.9 speed / 11.5 total.

    Oh ho ho, folks. If you've never done a track workout on Vicodin, it is an experience.

    On Tuesday morning, the neck/back situation was worse. A lot worse. (Most likely from the massage work, I think.) Now, I don't want to brag, but I have kind of a high pain tolerance. I mean. I've never given birth or lost a limb or anything, but I basically don't take pain medication, ever. In the past when I've had minor surgical procedures and been told "Here's some Vicodin, you'll probably be in a good bit of pain for a few days," I've always been like, "Well I guess I can *sort of* feel something there" & never taken anything, not even an Advil. (Which means I have a nice little store of pain pills sitting by untouched.)

    Which is all to clarify that when I say the pain was so bad I couldn't sleep or work, I mean it was really bad. I gritted my teeth through an early-morning conference call & then hunted out the Vicodin & swallowed a pill. When I felt nothing after an hour, I took a second one, & tried to get on with work. When I didn't feel anything after a couple more hours I was kind of annoyed but did not want to exceed the dosage on the bottle. Then somewhere around hour four, I found myself getting a little dizzy & starting to have trouble concentrating on my work & getting a little nauseous. Also--WOOHOO!--no more pain in the neck.

    Alas, this kind of amounted to trading one focus problem for another. Modern medicine, you disappoint me. I spent about two hours accomplishing very little & then apparently passed out on the couch. When I woke, it was time to go to the track.

    At first I felt pretty normal, which was good since going to the track required driving. Once I got out there, though, it was clear that NOPE! Definitely was not in anyway back to normal! During the intervals? Fine. No problem. During the recoveries? Desperately trying not to weave into the railings or other runners or throw up. Thankfully it all seemed to have worked its way out of my system by the time I finished & needed to drive home.

    Even without opioids, doing speed workouts this cycle has gotten kind of weird. Like even just a couple of months ago I feel like this would have struck me as a formidable, super intimidating workout so it's weird that my reaction now is, "Oh cool, just 10 x 1K." Honestly it felt more like a nice, brisk shakeout after Sunday's 22 & Monday's day off. (I GET THAT THIS IS NOT NORMAL AND NO I CANNOT EXPLAIN IT.)

Wednesday 11/16: Rest

Thursday 11/17: 8 easy

    OMG everything about this run. It sounds paradoxical but somehow in spite of the fact that my legs felt heavy and tired, I still felt as if I were running lighter and stronger than ever. Sure enough, efficiency-wise, this run just barely nudged out Nov. 2 as the best I've ever recorded. If I could just please please feel like this on race day.

Friday 11/18: 2 warm-up, 60:00 @ marathon pace, 2 cool down = 7.5 race pace / 11.5 total.

    Just like last week, I felt terrible on Friday, muscle/energy wise. Everything felt sore & tender & my shoes seemed to be made of lead. After Thursday's fabulous run I'd been telling myself, "Just wait & see, it'll really surprise you how easy those 8:10s-8:15s feel!" Alas, my first 10:45 warm-up mile begged to differ. I honestly had no idea how I was going to magically rustle up an hour's worth of low 8's, certainly not without running way too hard for a marathon pace workout.

    The first pace mile was uphill and into the wind and it just took me foreeeeevvveeeerrr to get up to pace. I think it was actually 8:21 but I felt okay about that given the uphill/into wind situation. For the rest of the miles I kept thinking, "Ugh, I am so tired, I *can't* do this..." And then I would see like an 8:07 mile tick off on my watch. In the end I managed 7.5 miles at 8:09 average pace at what felt like an appropriate effort. I felt terrible, but got the workout done & mentally tried to file that one under "Workouts to remember at mile 22." Race pace miles don't have to feel good at that point; you just have to be able to churn out one more, and one more, and one more.

Saturday 11/19: 3 easy

    Just an easy shakeout. Which Sucked. So. Hard. In fact this might have been the hardest 3 mile "easy" run I've ever done.

    On the plus side, we went to see Cirque du Soleil!

Sunday 11/20: 17 long

    On Sunday I ran the Berkeley Half Marathon with Jen, plus four easy miles before the race. This run was supposed to be a fast finish so I thought an actual race might be a little more amenable to that than just running my usual route; BHM is practically in my backyard & not that expensive, so I figured what the heck.

    OMG. I felt so, so, awful from the very first steps. It was just one of those runs where you get one mile in and then kind of want to cry at the thought of running double digits more. Given how terrible I felt & that I was only 2 weeks out from race day (GAH!), I thought it was probably smarter to just run at whatever pace I could manage & get it done. If it had just been a matter of general fatigue, I probably would have given it a shot because the whole point is to try running fast when you're tired. But since a lot of this felt more like particular beat up muscles in places where I've tended to get injured in the past, I wasn't so sure. Better just to get to the starting line in one piece.

    I ended up running with Jen and her friend K, which definitely made the miles roll by a little more quickly than they would have otherwise (even once it started pouring rain). Though I was super happy to be done, it was nice to see that I actually felt okay afterward and not trashed & exhausted like I half expected, so I suppose that's the endurance piece.

    In the Berkeley High School gym afterwards, feeling like a drowned rat.

    (Race report here.)

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some tapering to do.

* * *

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.

CIM 2016 Week 15 of 18 - Hang in there.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Evolution of a Distance Runner: Running & Privilege

I wouldn't blame you if you cringed a little when you read that title. Privilege is a hot, touchy subject these days. Seeing as it plays an important role around a lot of the work I do re: access and equity in math education, though, it's hard for me to ever completely abandon that lens.

I actually started writing this post over a year ago for a variety of reasons and have worked on it on and off, because it's a tricky one and I want to get it as close to right as possible (though I'm kind of just accepting that it won't be perfect and please let me know if I miss or screw up something important). Unfortunately it feels a bit timely right now, so while that wasn't intended, perhaps it's fortuitous in some ways.

In a (really oversimplified) nutshell, privilege just means anything about your appearance, background, experience, etc. that makes it so that certain situations are a little easier for you to navigate than they would be otherwise. I'm white so people are less likely to assume I'm doing something criminal and more likely to assume I'm educated, so that's a certain kind of privilege. If I'm feeling lazy I can grab takeout for dinner and not really worry about how it costs like 3x as much as it would cost to buy groceries & cook, so that's another type of privilege. I grew up in an environment where people told me, "Of course you are smart and will go to college and be successful," so that is another type of privilege. I've sat in any number of classes or meetings where a dude repeated the same idea I just said and instead of ignoring it people would tell him how smart he was and what a great idea he'd come up with, so that is a kind of not-privilege.

Basically, it just means that some of us get to play the video game of life on harder or easier settings because of things we didn't choose, like race, gender identity, who our parents are, where we were born, how our bodies are made, etc. You can still win the game if your settings are harder; you just have to work a whole lot harder than someone playing on the easiest settings.

Some people really, truly don't believe privilege exists, and that if you got something good in life, it's either random good luck or because you worked hard and earned and/or deserved it, and if something turned out shitty for you, it's either because you didn't work hard enough or are just super unlucky. (This idea is called meritocracy.) And, I get it; it's really comforting to think that we all get exactly what we work for and deserve, and scary to think that there are parts of that that are completely out of our control. And if you've never been exposed to anything different, your own privilege very well may be completely invisible to you. Alas, privilege is extremely real and has been scientifically documented over and over and over.

(If you are interested in learning more about privilege in general and how it works, I really like these two posts:

Something I've thought a lot about in recent years is how different types of privilege play into what I think of as "recreational fitness," ie, spending more time and effort on athletic- or fitness-oriented than is strictly necessary for making your living and/or maintaining reasonably good health & wellness. For example, if you do endurance sports or other athletic/fitness related things and spend time on the internet, this will probably not be the first time you've seen memes like these:

Like I've said before, I understand that most of the time pithy sound bites like this are intended more to motivate than to describe philosophical positions or literal beliefs. And as long as people get that, it isn't really the end of the world. But I have read enough blog posts and talked to enough overly zealous athletes/fitness buffs to know that, for an unsettling number of people, that is not the case.

These folks comprise what I have started to think of as the fitness meritocracy. (Again meritocracy is the idea that people get what they've earned, and have earned what they've gotten.) So, I call these folks the fitness meritocracy because they seem to believe that if your body or physical fitness or abilities are not to your liking, it is mostly because of your own actions and choices and if you want things to be different, all you have to do is make different choices; and likewise, that people who are strong and fit and have nice bodies (read: bodies that fit a certain rather narrowly defined stereotype) got that way mostly from their own hard work, sacrifice, perseverance, etc.

Again, it's a nice idea. It's comforting and lets us feel in control. Like social meritocracy, however, "fitness meritocracy" just doesn't pass muster.

Do people's actions and choices play important roles in how their lives and situations turn out? Are there things we can do sometimes, in certain situations, to make changes? Undoubtedly, YES. I'm certainly not saying that our lives are pre-determined and we're all just adrift in the universe, at the complete mercy of our circumstances. We all get choices and we all have to live with the consequences.

Are people's actions and choices the sole determinants of those things? Do we have the sole power to make and re-make our lives and bodies and situations in any way we like, if we just work hard enough? Unfortunately, NO. There are a lot of things we can control, but there are also plenty of things we can't, and sometimes those things are way, way bigger than we are.

I think about this in my own running. Obviously my goal is to get stronger and faster, and there are a lot of things I can control around that:

  • I can do my runs, even when I'm tired or the weather is crappy or there's something else I would rather be doing.
  • I can go to bed on time so that I'm not dragging myself through workouts, even though I'd rather stay up into the wee hours reading the internet great works of literature.
  • I can eat nutritious foods in reasonable portions at the right times, even though life would be so much more awesome if I just had half a pizza & three glasses of wine every night.
  • I can think through my week ahead of time and plan and move things around and negotiate and whatever else I need to do to make sure I get, if not all my running in, as much of it as possible.
  • I can be consistent about my strength work and massages to help me avoid injury, and see appropriate doctors/PTs/etc. if I get injured anyway.
  • I can stretch and roll and do all the good recovery things, even though it sucks and I'd rather sit on the couch drinking wine & watching Netflix & playing 2048.

But, it's worth thinking about why I'm able to control these things:

  • I can do my runs *at all, ever* because I am able-bodied and (by and large) free of major health problems and have the expendable income for serviceable running shoes & clothes.
  • I can exercise in public without fear of body shaming or mistreatment because by and large I 'fit the mold' of what society thinks of when they think about ladies doing exercise (fairly average size & body shape, cis, etc.).
  • I can do my runs in my own neighborhood because I live in a safe, clean neighborhood with serviceable sidewalks, and even if I didn't, I could drive my car to safe, clean trails or to the gym that I pay for with my expendable income.
  • I am able to control the minor health issues I do have thanks to the health insurance (that I have thanks to my full-time job with benefits) that lets me see doctors and get prescription medications at affordable prices.
  • I can sleep eight hours a night because I only have to work one full-time job and have no dependents to care for.
  • I can choose nutritious foods because my paycheck and lack of crushing debt means I can afford to buy and eat pretty much whatever I want. Also I can afford to live not in a food desert, and have a car, and access to easy public transit, which means it is fairly easy (parking non-withstanding) to get to any number of stores that sell fresh, nutritious foods. (Hell, I can even get a fancy take-out salad at about fifty restaurants within a three block radius, because San Francisco.)
  • I can get quality massages and strength coaching because 1) job 2) no dependents/crushing debt 3) free time (one job, fairly flexible, no dependents) 4) car.
  • Yes, I've worked very hard to get into the schools I've attended and earn the degrees I needed to get the jobs I've had and to be successful in those jobs. But that stuff was made at the very least more probable in part thanks to growing up in a white, suburban, working/middle-class family near reasonably good schools that prioritized education and supported me however they could. Privilege often has a domino effect that way (as does lack of privilege).

Not everyone has those things, which is why fitness memes & articles that offer advice like, "All you need is a pair of running shoes!" "Running is free, just go outside!" "Just start with 30 minutes!" etc. are a bit problematic. I understand that this intended to encourage people and make getting started feel less intimidating, but often it misses some critical challenges and makes some serious assumptions about fitness privilege.

A pair of running shoes is really not all you need, and even if it were, not everyone has that. (For a while I helped "coach"--which mostly meant organize and cheerlead--a small running group at the high school where I taught. We found out through a series of conversation that one rather unlikely boy kind of wanted to join & run the 5K that the group had targeted for later in the year but never came because he felt ashamed that he didn't have running shoes and his family couldn't afford them. The faculty took up a collection & we took him to RoadRunner Sports & got him a pair. He came to every run after that and eventually ran the 5K and it kind of changed his life, at least for that year.)

Not everyone can "just go outside" (many of my students lived in an area where it was literally not safe to be outside your house beyond going to and from the car/bus/etc.) and not everyone has 30 free minutes a day or even each week (many of the adults at the community college where I taught briefly managed school on top of multiple jobs, single parenting multiple kids, and other responsibilities, like the woman who cried in my office about how she never slept enough because she was up most nights caring for her father who was dying of stomach cancer).

Not everyone can shop for, pay for, and prepare a kale-quinoa-beetroot post-run recovery salad.

Is this post meant to make you feel guilty about getting your hours of running/riding in in your lovely safe neighborhood and/or using your expendable income and/or somewhat flexible schedule to eat well and/or get to the gym/that group fitness class/run a million races a year?

Not at all! I think one of the most pervasive myths surrounding the idea of privilege is that we should all feel guilty for the privilege that we have and apologize for it and/or not use it. No one is saying that. Certainly not me, who pays a coach and has a gym membership & shops at the ridiculously overpriced local organic market half a mile from my house and spends 10 hours a week running.

However, at the bare minimum, I do think it's important for those of us with certain kinds of privilege to a) recognize that that we are privileged in those ways, and b) appreciate everything that privilege allows us to do. I think it's important for us to realize that not 100% of our success in the health/fitness/endurance sports world is due to our own efforts, and not to jump to making judgments about the decisions other people make around health/fitness/etc. and assume that they *could* do x but are just *choosing* y because they're lazy/undisciplined/lack work ethic/don't really care/whatever.

I also think that, ideally, with great privilege comes great responsibility--that we have an obligation to use at least some of our privilege to improve the lives of those with less privilege in whatever way we can, whether that means volunteering or donating or mentoring or helping out someone in need without any expectation of getting something in return. Your privilege is a wonderful thing when it is put to good use to help out those around you! (Full disclosure -- Personally, I can't claim a *stellar* track record around this, but in light of recent events, it's something I'm planning to work harder at in the near future.)

I have more to say on this topic in the future, but I felt like I needed to get my general position out there with a little explanation first. Hopefully it was useful or informative!

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