Monday, October 30, 2017

Books 2017: Quarter 3

Friends, it is fall. And fall is definitely the best time for talking about books.

As you probably already know, I've been reading a classic a month for the last two years. It started as a one-year project in 2014, but I've enjoyed it enough to keep going with it & will probably continue until it starts to feel like a chore. You can find my past reviews by clicking on the "books" tag at the end of this post, or be my friend on Goodreads. (You can also just go to the site & hunt down my review feed without being my friend, if that's more your speed.)

ICYMI, the classics I selected to read in 2017 are here.

On to the reviews!

Monday, October 16, 2017

What to Do with the Medals

Don't worry, this isn't a rant-y post about "always earned never given" or why we should or should not give grown-ass adults participation trophies. Take the medal. Don't take the medal. Wear it. Don't wear it. Put it a trophy case or a trash can or wherever makes your little heart the happiest. (File under: internet arguments I have no energy for.)

Emergy for a snarky gif, though? Always.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Because Boston's Not Enough.....

Sure, everyone's so obsessed with That One Marathon in April, but it turns out that there are a few others. Pretty highly regarded ones, even. One of them is just down the road from here, along Highway 1.

I have lots of friends who have run this race (multiple times, even!) and absolutely raved about it. You also can't really argue with it being on the short list for marathons with the best views. So I've definitely been a bit Big Sur-curious for a few years now, but never pulled the trigger.

There are some good reasons for this. The main one is that my focus as a runner tends to mostly be on speed and working hard to have the fastest race I possibly can, and Big Sur does not really lend itself particularly well to that. It's not the Pike's Peak Marathon or anything, but there is 2,000+ ft of elevation gain (as opposed to, say, 200+ in the Eugene Marathon, 300+ in the Napa Valley Marathon, and 400-500+ in CIM) and there is the potential for heinous wind. Sure, I'm up for running the occasional casual race for the experience, but marathons suck up so much time and energy--to say nothing of the money involved when it's a destination race--that I've mostly limited that stuff to shorter races where I don't feel like I'm giving up 6 months of training for something I know isn't going to be a fast race.

Another reason is its insane popularity. I am super super turned off by races that sell out in minutes or hours or where you have to send your credit card info off into the void, cross your fingers, and hope you're randomly selected by the running gods. I just could not get that excited about the uncertainty of it all.

But then at some point last year I remembered the existence of the Boston 2 Big Sur Challenge, wherein anyone registered for Boston can sign up to also run Big Sur 6 or 13 days later (depending on the year) and also get a bunch of nice perks as well. Since I was already committing six months to for-real marathon training and wouldn't ever be betting on Big Sur for a fast race anyway, I decided, what the heck? Let's see how these old legs handle two marathons in less than two weeks. (Thankfully, 2018 is a 13-day gap year; I don't know if I'm quite crazy enough to try this in a 6-day gap year!)

Since I have a conference to present at in DC in during those two weeks, however, things will be a bit shall we say interesting next April travel-wise.

Le Plan:

    Friday, April 13: Fly to Boston, do fun Boston-ish things

    Monday, April 16: ***Boston Marathon***

    Tuesday, April 17: Train to NYC, do fun NYC-ish things

    Saturday, April 21: Train to DC, do fun DC-ish things

    Monday, April 23: Speak at conference

    Wednesday, April 25: Fly to SF

    Thursday, April 26: Drive down to Big Sur, do fun Big Sur-ish things

    Sunday, April 29: ***Big Sur Marathon***

The plus side is that thanks to my conference, work will cover my flights; the downside is that there may not be as much rest & recovery during those 13 days as one might ideally hope for.

Eh, I suppose it's not called a challenge for nothing....

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Race Report: Rock N Roll San Jose Half Marathon (& 5K/10K)

***Update: You guys, I just realized that this was my 20th half marathon!!! I'll just be sitting at home awaiting my extra-special bonus medal that I assume someone somewhere will put in the mail to me, since there is apparently one of those for every possible running accomplishment imaginable.***

I've had a super tough time lately getting back to this little corner of the internet, but last week I did manage to post a pre-race update on The Instagrams:

My friends are the best.

ICYMI I had one of the worst races of my life a month ago (Race to the End of Summer 10K), which felt extra-special bad since last year in that same race I was 2nd overall, 1st in my age group, and came within spitting distance of felling a four-year-old PR. My training had been better this year and I thought for sure I'd at least beat last year's time and maybe even PR.

But you know what they say: Never tell the universe your plans!

Even before that, though, 2017 had been one awful race after another in spite of the fact that my training has been going reasonably well. So, there is definitely a part of me that was trying to a) brace myself for an awful RNRSJ and b) figure out what the heck I was going to do with myself emotionally if it happened.

And you know what? That's exhausting.