Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Race Report: Wharf to Wharf Six-Miler

I've known about Wharf to Wharf for a long time, but I don't think it was until last year that I learned enough about it to realize that it was kind of this crazy historic beach party thing that people fight to get into.

I also think this was right after Boston, when, after having finally achieved a big goal I'd been after for a while, I was feeling sort of adrift in terms of what big goals I wanted to chase next. Box-checking goals such as running a certain distance in every state, every continent, running all the marathon majors, etc. have never appealed to me; I wanted something performance-based, but I was also feeling really done with double-digit races for a while. The short fast stuff was calling to me, so when I heard about this top 100 business and looked up past race results, I thought, You know what, why not chase this for a while.

Of course, "Top 100" means there's not a particular time cutoff; it just depends on who shows up and how fast they are, and there tend to be a lot of really fast people! (Also it's gun time, not chip time, so if you're not in the elite corral, you need to be right up at the front of corral 1 to even have a chance.)

Looking at past years' results, the cutoff had usually been somewhere between ~6:50-7:00 pace, which, depending on the year, has been somewhere in the 5K-8K pace range for me. Meaning to snag even the 100th spot I'd need to run six miles faster than I've ever run six miles in my life, but not by all that much. Unlikely? Yes. Completely and utterly beyond the range of possibility? No.

So I decided, what the heck. I've got one year to become a beast at short-course racing, let's get in the gym and out on the track and do this.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

"Race" Report: Across the Bay 12K

I've been aware of this race in its various incarnations for the last ten years or so and always had it in the back of my mind, but never actually run it. It starts in Sausalito on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, then runs over the Bridge to finish on the north side of SF. The race has been around in some form or another since the early 80s so it's sort of a classic, but any year that I considered it, something didn't work out. Either the timing was wrong, or I wasn't into the distance, or was out of town, or just had other things I wanted to run.

This year as I put together my summer of short, fast racing, it popped up again, and I added it to my short of list of nearby events that might be fun if the timing worked out. When I decided on Wharf to Wharf as my peak race, though, my coach suggested that I not try to race Across the Bay just two weeks before because it was unlikely that I'd be fully recovered & ready to race 6 miles just two weeks later. But if I wanted to do it as a tempo workout, that was fine.

I'd gone back and forth about it because it's hard to spend money on a race, especially a local one with a route you could run any time, just to do a workout. On the other hand, the tempo workout I'd have on tap for that week was one I know I struggle with (3 x 2 miles at HM pace / 2:00 jog) and I thought that maybe the race atmosphere would keep me motivated and honest (and maybe make it more bearable). At the last minute Represent Running Race Ambassador Erin gave me a comp code she wasn't going to use, and I figured, "What the heck. Let's do this." (That would also mean getting the run out of the way early in the day, which would be nice since we had plans to spend most of the day at a birthday barbecue.)

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Race Report: SF PrideRun 5K 2019

(**Quick Editor's Note** No, I have not stopped blogging--for behold, a blog post appears before you!--but it's been hard lately to find time to do it regularly, so I've been posting more frequent quick/short stuff--micro-blogging, if you will--over on Tha Insta. Just, y'know. If you ever start wondering what I'm up to when I'm not over here.)

I had a pretty sweet May of training with close to 180 miles, which is a lot for me these days. However, in June, work stress & travel was back with a vengeance, and while I did do *SOME* training, including several workouts and long runs, it wasn't the month I'd hoped for. PrideRun had always been one of those "maybe" races on my summer list; I'd been planning to target a fast July 4th 5K (PrideRun is NOT a fast course), and racing a hilly 5K five days beforehand seemed not conducive to running my best possible race on July 4th. On the other hand, PrideRun is *SO* much fun, cheap, really close to home, and always benefits a good cause (this year it was Gender Spectrum); since I wasn't in peak shape or anything & didn't feel like I'd be blowing a chance at a PR on July 4th, I decided what the heck, let's go have some fun on Pride weekend.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Race Report: Statuto 8K

I ran across this race, put on by the San Francisco Italian Athletic Club, when I was looking for stuff 10K or shorter close to home that fit my summer schedule. Despite the fact that it's one of the oldest road races around (run every year but once since 1919), I'd somehow never heard of it. But hey, small, short, community race three miles from my house? Sign me up!

I always felt a little wishy-washy about what to shoot for at this race and what to reasonably expect fitness-wise. The first four months of 2019 were kind of a hot mess, training-wise, but in May actually got my act together and ran nearly 175 miles and never missed a single workout or long run (though I did miss a couple of short, easy runs). Also, I'd never run an 8K, so I didn't have a good sense of what pace to shoot for. RunCoach predicted 7:03 pace for a 35:03 finish, so I decided, what the heck, let's shoot to break 35:00, and if I can't do it, hey! Information!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Last Workout Before Statuto Race + Race Preview!

Last night was my last workout before Sunday's Statuto Race on the Embarcadero, an 8K put on by the SF Italian Athletic Club going back nearly 100 years. (The first running was 1919, but there was one year during World War II that it wasn't run.) I have never run an 8K, but something small and cheap and right in town in the 5-10K range seemed like a nice summer racing kickoff. It's new distance for me but one I'm kind of excited about, and I can't deny feeling just a bit giddy to race again as I put this last workout away.

The workout was nothing fancy, just some mile repeats at race-ish pace. RunCoach is predicting a 35:06 / 7:03 pace finish for me, but I think I can do a little better than that. Originally, I'd planned to run this race as more of a workout than an all-out race, but after a pretty decent month of training, I decided, what the hell. Let's just race and see how my fitness is. My target race (Wharf to Wharf 6-miler) is still nearly two months out, so there's no risk of blowing that race, and nothing else between now and then that I care all that much about. Also if you're going to get a shiny new automatic PR, why not make it a good one, amirite?

8K is 4.97 miles, close to halfway between 5K & 10K, which is sort of interesting in terms of trying to come up with a goal time/pace. Back in December I ran a strong-for-me 5K at 6:51 pace, even though I had not been training that much or that seriously, but it's been a very, very long time since I ran a fair 10K course in good shape. (I ran Shamrock Shuffle 10K in March in 43:05, though I think we can all agree that that course was closer to 6 miles than 10K, so maybe ~7:10-11 pace.) I think it's going to be a bit of a guess no matter what, but since my training for the last month has been going well, I don't think it's unreasonable to shoot for 7:00 pace for five miles, which gives a nice round 35:00 total.

Tonight's workout was 4 mile repeats this time with 90 second jog recoveries, so I basically went into it viewing it as a sort of 8K race simulator (just 4.36 miles instead of 5--4 hard miles plus the recovery intervals). Since I'm shooting for 7:00 miles on Sunday so I tried to stay pretty comfortably in that wheelhouse, with interval times of 7:01, 7:01, 7:00, and 6:57. I think that's the fastest set of mile repeats I've ever done, so I just hope I didn't push it too hard & am able to recover well enough by Sunday!

Monday, May 27, 2019

Cut-back (ish) Week

On paper this was a cut-back week, though since last week's 46 miles became 40, it didn't *exactly* work out that way. On the other hand I did have a shorter, easier track workout and no real long run.

Not that I've really done anything truly big lately, but this was my last "big-ISH" week before tapering for Statuto 8K next Sunday, and I'm pretty happy that I've been able to run 40+ miles for four weeks in a row leading up to this race. You never know what will happen but I'm feeling pretty excited to go into a race feeling like I did *some* kind of real training (the first time that's happened in several months).

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

One More Gear

It's cut back week over here, so today's track workout was a luxurious six miles, just a handful of 400m's at increasingly faster paces to work on turnover and I guess the neuromuscular stuff:

    1.5 warm up

    2 x 400m @ 10K pace / 1:00 jog
    400m jog
    2 x 400m @ 5K pace / 1:00 jog
    400m jog
    2 x 400m @ 3K pace / 1:00 jog
    400m jog
    2 x 400m @ mile race pace

    1.5 cool down

Really, not bad at all. A quarter mile at 5 or 10K pace is not a big deal. 3K pace is pretty fast but still shouldn't be TOO awful for just a 400m. But man, I'd be lying if part of me wasn't a *little* nervous about those last two 400ms.

I haven't raced a mile all-out since high school but, extrapolating a bit, my (very) theoretical mile race pace is probably somewhere in 6:10ish range. AKA, a pace I haven't seen in my workouts in quite a while. Every now and then 300m repeats show up at 6:11-6:14ish, and on a good day my 200m repeats are usually in the low 0:40s / ~5:30ish pace, but what I'm saying is IT'S BEEN A WHILE and I was curious what it would feel like (if it were even possible).

I became even more curious when I found myself struggling more than I would have expected to run even a 400m at 10K pace. I mean, like, I could do it, but part of me was definitely going, "Wow, I feel like this should be easy and it is definitely kind of work, I am so confused." I also kind of felt like I wasn't even sure I could run any faster than 10K pace that day for whatever reason, but hey, I was there to try, so.

And, funny thing, if this workout had a theme, that theme was called, "Surprise! You always have just one more gear." After the two 10K pace laps (7:01 & 7:03 pace, OK FINE NOT 10K PACE), I hit the 5K pace laps just fine (6:50 & 6:45 pace) but definitely was thinking "Well, that's it; no way I can run any faster than that." Yet a 400m jog later, I hit those two laps at 6:31 & 6:28 pace. "OK fine, but that was *definitely* the top speed I'm capable of today," I thought, before running the last two at 6:10 and 6:02 (!) pace.

Honestly, at the beginning I was thinking that if somehow magic happened, *maybe* I'd eek out a couple of 6:15 pace laps.

So, yeah. Apparently there's always one more gear, so don't count yourself out til you're out.

"What just happened. You know what, who even cares, someone just get me some better sunglasses."

Monday, May 20, 2019

W2W Week 3 of 13: Do People Still Wear Newtons?

This was a tough week for us for reasons I won't go into detail about; just, know that things were very hard for a few days and I missed one of my easy runs. Otherwise it was a solid training week, though, and one of the nice things about running is that it can serve as reasonably effective therapy in the immediate wake of a tragedy.


In other news, I switched into a new pair of long run shoes. The background is, for anything over about 12 miles I prefer something with a little more cushion like a Brooks Launch or Saucony Kinvara (as opposed to say my Altras or Brooks Pure Drifts), but I also find that for me, once a pair reaches about 200 miles they're not as comfortable for long runs anymore.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

W2W Week 2 of 13: First Pancake Workouts

So here we are in week 2 of 13 and my body is like

For most of March & April it was a few easy miles here & there, karate when I felt like it & wasn't too busy with work (read: almost never), & I hadn't touched a dumbbell since nigh on February (maybe? Let's go with February). Now here we are in Week 2 & it's back to semi-real mileage, karate twice a week, & regular weight training, & my body has no idea what is going on.

Monday, May 6, 2019

W2W Week 1 of 13: Training Cycle Reboot

Okay, universe....let's try this again.

To recap: I am definitely going to run an 8K in SF in a month, and I am definitely going to run Wharf 2 Wharf 6-miler in 2.5ish months. If I can manage to actually-for-real train between now and then, so much the better!

After a pretty packed and stressful late winter/early spring, my days have freed up a bit latelt, my weekend travel commitments have abated, and I have been in SUCH a better place psychologically now that there is more light and warmer weather and it's not pouring rain every day. A girl could actually-maybe enjoy getting a workout done in this?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Off to the Races

HEY HEY! Me again.

Let's get the preliminaries out of the way. I am a) still running, and b) still blogging. (At least, when time allows.) Since Hellyer 5K the rule has been "do some running when possible, if you feel like it," with the intent of following a real training plan starting in May. My next goal race is Wharf to Wharf 6 miler, and while my original goal of finishing in the top 100 women is almost certainly out the window, I am still planning to train hard (read: whatever life & work allows) & do my best.

(I mean, like. It *could* feasibly still happen, but going by recent years' results, I'd have to have one HELL of a three-month training cycle with no interruptions & basically turn my recent best 5K pace into my 6-mile pace, and then I MIGHT squeak into spot 100. So. Not impossible, but if I were you I reaaaaalllllly would not put money on it!)

From a running perspective, April really was lovely. All in all I wrapped up the month with 120 mellow miles, no workouts and nothing over 10 miles, just a bit of easy jogging here & there to keep the cobwebs clear. Sure, there were days when I would have preferred to get a few miles in & didn't; such is life. There was also a lot of travel, especially on the weekends, and although I did get a little running in in exotic locales, I didn't push it. The weather has been beautiful and I am digging on the extra daylight both in the morning & evening.

Monday, April 15, 2019

My First Boston-niversary

Ah! Boston! I have been reading the interwebs & it seems that on Boston Marathon day, all running bloggers and/or social media runners are REQUIRED BY CUSTOM to post Boston Marathon related photos if they have them. #tbm #orsomething

This is the first Marathon Monday that I've had anything to contribute so please enjoy some of the insanity if you missed it the first time around (or even if you didn't):

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Race Report: Hellyer 5K

If you caught this post, you know I've been feeling overwhelmed at work and also a bit burned out on running and especially hard training lately, so I've been giving myself a little break from the pressure of sticking to a training plan. I decided not to run Stowe Lake since I am now in terrible (or at least far from great) shape and had not actually registered for it yet. However, since I'd paid for this race and it was just a low-key community 5K, I decided to go ahead and do it.

Originally this was supposed to be an all-out race pace effort, sort of a dress rehearsal for Stowe Lake in two weeks. But given the burnout situation I told myself that the point was now just to have fun and enjoy running (remember how you LIKE running and it's actually FUN when you don't put tons of pressure on yourself???). All I had to do was show up, run whatever pace felt good, and if it was slow and bad, oh well, at least I got out of the house & got a workout in and an Alice in Wonderland medal & had fun.

(Now, here is some honest talk that I don't know how I feel about. I think I've always placed in my age group at Brazen 10Ks and sometimes been top three overall, but I took a peek at last year's Hellyer 5K results and, based on the times, saw that if I ran it with any amount of speed, even way off my recent 5K times, I actually had a shot at winning overall. And I would be lying a little bit if I didn't think to myself, "You know, San Jose is a long way to go for a 5K, but if you have a chance at actually winning..."

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Life Lately + The New Agreement

So, fleshing out a bit more of something I mentioned in my recent race report.

First is just the simple fact that work (and work travel) has been taking over my life lately. A couple of my work projects are legitimately high stakes right now (like, people's jobs on the line if I can't make some things work out) so I've been under a lot of pressure. Those things really do have to be my A-#1 priority right now. Unfortunately, the rest of my work hasn't conveniently shrunk to allow me to spend a greater portion of my day on the high stakes stuff, so I've had a lot of very long days. Working a 6-8 hour day in the office and then coming home to work *another* 4-6 hour day in the late afternoon/evening has, sadly, become a thing, as has working on the weekend (sometimes in airports and on planes).

I suspect it's probably not unrelated, but I've also started to feel really burnt out on running. No one is super excited about every run and workout all the time (I don't think??), but usually my bad days are limited to feeling super tired and unmotivated when I get home, forcing myself to put on my shoes and get out the door, and almost always feeling better. Lately it's been so much worse--lots of days when I'll think about the fact that I have a run on my schedule and want to burst into tears. Or I feel tired and sour about going on a run and then it never gets any better. Sometimes getting ready for a track workout and feeling like I'm about to have a panic attack, except it doesn't go away once I've gotten started.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Race Report: San Jose Shamrock Run 10K

Long time, no post!

To be honest I've been a bit down about running lately & didn't even bother running the March 3 5K I was signed up for a couple of weeks back because it was stressing me out so much. I have more to say about that, but the tl;dr of it is that (thanks in part to bt), I WAS able to psyche myself up for a local 10K over St. Patrick's Day weekend and it went relatively well, so for now, let's all just enjoy a relatively positive race report!

I found this race when I was just going through lists of races that could work with my schedule. There were a few different Bay Area options for a St. Patrick's Day race, but this one was the closest & looked to have the best course and was also put on by Represent Running, a reputable Bay Area race company, so it made it to the long list and then the short list of spring options.

It was the first one I was really supposed to RACE-race, but given how spotty my training has been lately, it was hard to get too excited about that. I did not feel like I was in great shape and it's hard to get psyched for an all-out effort when you're pretty sure you're only going to end up with a mediocre result. Sure, I could just go and do it as a workout (or even just an easy run), but I never find that very satisfying, and if I'm just going to do a workout or easy run, let's be real, I'd rather not get up at ass-o-clock in the morning and drive for an hour.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Racking Up Small Victories

Slow working my way back up towards what feels like "real" mileage. I think in my schedule this was supposed to be a cut-back week, but because of all the little physical niggles I've had in the last couple of weeks that resulted in missed runs, this actually ended up being the highest mileage week I've run so far this year. Which is fine. Progress is progress.

Also, hey! Not only attempted but COMPLETED all my runs this week!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Cocktails: How to make a reeeaaaalllllly good gin & tonic (even if you don't like them)

(If you are only interested in running stuff, or actively NOT interested in alcohol stuff, feel free to skip this one & come back next time.)


Friends. A word about gin & tonics. It seems they've been gaining popularity amongst the non-cocktail crowd as of late, so I feel the need to share, & this is my platform.

What is a gin & tonic? This seems obvious, but I keep seeing internet recipes that get it really really objectively wrong, so.

A gin & tonic has at least two ingredients: 1) gin & 2) tonic water. The biggest mistake I keep seeing on the internet is using gin & soda water (ie, ordinary carbonated water), which is not right. If you want to have a gin & soda, cool! But that's different from a gin & tonic.

For the history buffs in the room, we got gin & tonics from British India. A substance called quinine was found to prevent & treat malaria, & the easiest way to deliver the stuff was by dissolving it in soda water. Thus tonic water was born!

Alas, tonic water on its own was quite bitter, so British officers took to mixing it with their military gin ration, sometimes with a bit of sugar & lime. The molecular structure of gin & quinine, happily enough, bond to each other in a way that greatly reduces the bitterness, though today tonic water also contains less quinine & usually a little sugar as well (meaning you don't have to add sugar anymore).

So on the one hand, G&Ts are quite simple: Get some gin, get some real tonic water, mix em up over ice, add a little lime or something else flavorful if you want, & you're good.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Tell Me It's Just Stress

This week wasn't perfect, but, hey! It makes one more where I've had the time & bandwidth to at least ATTEMPT every run on the schedule, and it also included two double-digit workouts. Honestly I'm kind of amazed at how beat up my legs feel after this 33+ mile week (they feel like it was at least 50), but I think that's at least partly still working back up to higher mileage & longer/harder workouts after a bit of a holiday break.

(I've also had a lot of work stress recently, and I think we all know that mental/emotional stress slows healing/recovery, so that could also be part of it.)

~*~*~ STOW LAKE STAMPEDE: Week 6 of 14 ~*~*~

Grand Total: 33.15 miles

    * 7.5 easy
    * 6.65 speed
    * 6 threshold
    * 13 long

Thursday, February 14, 2019

6 x mile @ 10K pace

Tuesday's track workout: 2 warm up, 6 x mile @ 10K pace (7:09) / 1:30 jog, 1.5 cool down

Guys, two things. 1) I was absolutely quaking in my boots about this workout for DAYS beforehand. I literally cannot remember the last time I did SIX mile repeats (possibly, never), and 2) I do not not NOT believe that 7:09 is my current 10K pace, even fresh & tapered. At first when I saw this workout, I was like, "RunCoach, you are smokin' some crack."

But then I put my recent 5K time into a (non-RunCoach) race pace predictor and guess what:

Ugh, fine, whatever.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Stow Lake Stampede: A Bumpy Start...

Sooo a few weeks back I was emailing with the erstwhile Faster Bunny about 5K training plans and how most of the ones on the internet are of the Couch-to-5K or otherwise rank beginner variety, for good reason; when most people are just getting started with running or coming back after a break, 5K is the logical place to start and a kind and gentle plan is called for. Hence lots of nice, mellow 5K plans that are light on workouts and low on mileage.

But, sometimes, people with lots of experience and a reasonable amount of fitness and tolerance for discomfort also want to run a 5K, not just to finish but to utterly destroy it, and those folks also need a solid training plan that meets their particular needs and goals. That's part of what I've really liked about RunCoach--you tell the system what and when your goal race is and how you want to organize your week, and it takes into account your entire history (particularly training volume and performance) and uses the algorithm to generate a plan that in my experience has been pretty darn solid. (I give RunCoach a lot of the credit for going from a 3:47 marathon to a 3:36 and then 3:31.)

Before these last couple of 5K-focused cycles, I had personally never seen a 5K training program aimed at a more experienced, competitive-but-still-recreational runner vs. a more beginner plan. (I'd seen excerpts from a few pro 5K runners' training logs but those were hardly relevant to me either.) It's been cool to see 10-12 mile speed-focused workouts on the plan regularly, though, as I told Faster Bunny, it also kind of scares the shit out of me a bit.

Though, if we're honest, I have yet to follow it consistently in 2019. Which I guess makes it both less and more scary.

Which is all a roundabout way of saying I've been meaning to train my butt off for a wicked fast 5K in April, but the universe and my body have just not been very cooperative over the last couple of months, which is frustrating when you're PAYING for that sweet-but-utterly-terriying training plan. There's not really been enough to make it worth (in my opinion) writing entire weekly logs, but here's a quick overview:

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

"Race" Report: Kaiser Permanente 10K 2019

So, first, a little background. I ran this half marathon in 2010 and the 5K in 2011, and registered for the half on two other occasions where I was unable to run because of an injury. Last year while training for Boston I signed up for the half *again*, super excited to run it when I felt like I was in pretty good shape, but alas a couple of weeks beforehand I did something terrible to my hip and couldn't run for a week. It was on the upswing so I decided I'd go ahead and start but fully expected it would still hurt too much to run 13 miles when I'd only gotten back to running 2-3 easy miles at a stretch, and sure enough, I had to drop out at mile 4. Feeling like I had unfinished business, I immediately took advantage of the cheap "re-run" registration.

Then Boston happened, and Big Sur, and a two-month break from running, and deciding to target Wharf-to-Wharf six-miler in summer 2019 as my next big A race. So when Kaiser announced that they would now be adding a 10K distance, I jumped at the chance to practice running sixish miles in my backyard.

Imagine my confusion when I got TWO different-colored bibs in the mail! I completely forgot that I'd registered for the half already when I registered for the 10K, kind of a bummer since I probably could have just dropped down in distance for free. Ah well!


Monday, January 28, 2019

OMG can we talk about Marie Kondo for a hot second

As a kid I was an extremely messy, super hoarder-y person. I almost hyperventilated when somewhere around second grade my mom suggested that perhaps we didn't need to keep every single paper I ever brought home from school, and I definitely kept mental track of every toy and piece of clothing I had and fished them out of the trash/donation bin any time she tried to sneak something out that I didn't need or use anymore. I even hoarded a dead pet fish once because I couldn't bear the thought of parting with it. I can't possibly describe the face my dad made when he found it a week later.

But, somewhere along the way (late high school? College? Just after? I suspect having to pack and unpack and move around a lot had something to do with it), I began to abhor clutter. Having too much stuff, especially stuff I didn't really use anymore, started to bother me. Don't get me wrong, I was still super sentimental about stuff & had a hard time parting with stuff if it still seemed kinda-sorta semi-useful, but the time and effort and energy spent dealing with extra stuff sometimes started to win out.

I think every time I've moved, I've gotten a little more annoyed by clutter (mostly having to move & store it) & a little more courageous about thinning the herd of things I don't really use (including sentimental stuff). More and more I appreciate open, empty spaces and the idea that every material object I own pulls its psychic weight in some way.

So, when I first ran across The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I was intrigued. Not every detail of Marie Kondo's now-famous system resonated with me, but I found it thought-provoking and definitely found a number of her suggestions useful. And I really liked the underlying message (or, at least, it seemed to me) of really, truly appreciating the material belongings you have and avoiding the consumerist trap of more is always better. As with most self-help-type things (and I am kind of a self-help junkie!), I basically took what seemed useful to me & ignored the rest.

Unless you've been living under a rock you've probably heard that Marie Kondo now has a Netflix series of the same name where a person or family or couple request Marie's help with organizing & decluttering their space. Marie & her interpreter then descend on the home in question and lovingly (so lovingly!) guide the clients through a month-long process of "KonMari-ing" their space.

Friends, I binged the whole first season over the winter holidays & I regret nothing.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

The Case for Quitting Workouts

I've seen a lot of conversations lately about the whole #nodaysoff campaign Tracksmith has going on, particularly around whether or not it's maybe an irresponsible message given that so many runners are competitive, super-driven Type A's inclined to git'er done no matter what the cost.

Personally, I don't see it that way; to me, #nodaysoff means not "no days off from running" but "no days off from focusing on your goal," which doesn't always include running, or even cross training. It means making the best decisions for your training every single day, and sometimes the best decision is "You know what, the training plan says xxx, but I'm most likely to get to the starting line healthy if today I sleep in, stretch, & maybe do some PT intead."

Not usually. But sometimes.

I think it's the same with quitting workouts. I've been injured or about to get injured often enough in my running career that it's an extremely familiar mental conversation with myself--"Hmm, that doesn't feel good. Maybe we should quit before something disastrous happens? Eh, I'm probably being dramatic, just freaking get it done. But what if I can't run for the next week as a result?? Won't it feel soooo good to just get it done? I mean, yeah, but how bad can it be to miss the last interval or two just to be safe? I mean??"

Et cetera.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

In Which SF Road Warrior Lives Up to Her Name

So, hey! It's 2019 & the holidays are over & there's some kind of 10K on February 3??? Time to start doing some running, I guess!

Happy Mexican New Year from me & my hunky boyfriend!

Happy New Year from Don & his massive biceps!

Although, I'm not gonna lie, I'd planned to start last week when we got back from Mexico, but that plan sort of fell through. How so? Let me count the ways.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Taking Suggestions for 2019's Classic Reads

It's that time of year again!

Each year since 2014, I've chosen a classic book to read each month, where "classic" is pretty loosely defined. A book doesn't necessarily have to be super old, it just has to have been around long enough that it's stood some test of time to some degree and it's clear that something about it has contiuned to resonate with people. I also try to choose books from a diverse group of authors, as opposed to the standard cannon of old white men. I try to include books from a good number of women and people of color (at the very least I like to read a Black author in February, an Asian author in May, and a Latino author in November). I try to include books from genres beyond the standard literary fiction (ie a sci fi or fantasy classic), and I also like to read at least one banned book per year.

Of course there is no shortage of classic books in the world, but it does get a bit more challenging once you're trying to limit Old White Dudes and/or The English (all apologies to the English, it's just that you've created SO MUCH amazing literature!). So each year it's always nice to poll the throngs of brilliant readers to see what other works of genius you've run across. (For some reason, runners & bookworms seem to hugely overlap & I've gotten TONS of excellent recommendations from fellow bloggers in the past.)

If you're curious, here's what I've read in past years:

The Classics: 2014

The Classics: 2015

The Classics: 2016

The Classics: 2017

The Classics: 2018

(I'm a lot smarter now than I used to be.)

So what do you think? Any classics (for a very loose definition of classics) that you'd recommend for someone who's looking for a diverse selection of authors?

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

The Year of No Shopping: What I Learned

A little over a year ago I decided that 2018 would be The Year of No Shopping. The decision was inspired by a NY Times article by Anne Patchett, who did the same thing in 2017, inspired partly by a friend who'd done it years ago and partly by the gross, crazy-making-ness of our current world.

    "After traveling for much of the previous year, she had decided she had enough stuff, or too much stuff. She made a pledge that for 12 months she wouldn’t buy shoes, clothes, purses or jewelry.


    At the end of 2016, our country had swung in the direction of gold leaf, an ecstatic celebration of unfeeling billionaire-dom that kept me up at night. I couldn’t settle down to read or write, and in my anxiety I found myself mindlessly scrolling through two particular shopping websites, numbing my fears with pictures of shoes, clothes, purses and jewelry. I was trying to distract myself, but the distraction left me feeling worse, the way a late night in a bar smoking Winstons and drinking gin leaves you feeling worse. The unspoken question of shopping is 'What do I need?' What I needed was less."

Now, the idea wasn't to completely 100% stop purchasing any and all things; it was more about breaking a few particularly bad habits. For me, the pathology wasn't purses and jewelry but clothes and shoes were definitely in the mix, and I also found myself purchasing wine, new books, & gadgets at a rate that was influenced less by what I actually needed and more by anxiety, shiny thing syndrome, and craaaaaazy deals. Like, I wasn't trying to become a monk or some kind of extreme minimaist living in a plain white room with two chairs, ten books, and a bowl, but I was starting to become super weighed down by all the STUFF in my life that felt like it wasn't necessarily earning its psychological keep.

So the rules were:

Monday, January 7, 2019

Race Report: Silicon Valley Santa Run

Woohoo, last race report of 2018!!!

To recap the context: The plan this fall was to run a bunch of miles, race a bunch of short stuff under 10K, & get wicked fast. Alas life has not quite work out as I'd planned & there have been more than a few super frustrating weeks lately.

But, the nice thing about 5Ks is that there's not a ton of pressure at any given race. Unlike longer distances, finishing is trivial, and if you have a shitty 5K one week (or get sick, or life gets in the way) you can take another crack at it a week or two later. So this fall I'd signed up for three, one per month in each of October, November, & December.

Prior to OktobeRun in Redwood City, my physical niggles were at their worst so I was surprised to run 22:23, my slowest ever 5K race, sure, but not by all that much! I'd been worried my body wouldn't even let me break 8:00's, so even managing to run 10K pace kind of felt like a victory. After that I'd thought, "Cool, good to have a stake in the ground. I can build on this. Four weeks until Oakland Turkey Trot, plenty of time to get some solid training in & shave a few seconds off!"

But then life happened, I got sick, spent most of November traveling, California caught on fire, etc. etc. and I only managed to get a few workouts in during that time. Yet, somehow, I showed up in Oakland and ran 21:46. Again, it's not that this was a *great* time in the grand scheme of my historical 5K performances (in fact I think it's kind of right in the middle), but given everything and the fact that I really had not trained AT ALL since OktobeRun, a 0:37 improvement in such a short timespan just seemed completely insane. But hey, I'll take it! And once again, my thoughts were, "Hey, 3.5 weeks until Santa Run, I am DEFINITELY DEFINITELY going to get some solid training in and shave just a few more seconds off this distance in 2018!"

Friday, January 4, 2019

Books 2018: Quarter 4

As you probably already know, I've been reading a classic a month for the last few 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. Don't worry, you won't hurt my feelings.)

ICYMI, the classics I selected to read in 2018 are here.

On to the reviews! (Settle in, it's not a short one)