The Rich Life

After last week's treadmill speed workout, I entered this week with the promise that I would accomplish another treadmill speed workout on Wednesday.

Like Marathons, many things seem easier in hindsight than they actually were. 

I thought to myself, "if 5 minute intervals at a 9.5-10.0 mph speed was so easy, this week I will do 6 minutes per interval."

My plan was:
  • incline at 1.0
  • 4 minutes at 7.0 mph
  • 6 minutes at 9.6 pmh (6:15 minute mile pace)
  • repeat for full hour -- 6 total repetitions.

I really did convince myself this would be easy, since I remembered the 9.6 speed feeling like a piece of cake compared to the 10.0 speed. 

Dudes: it wasn't easy.

I stuck to my plan, teeth gritted, and with a headache from my rubber-headband thing

Check out the blue headband

I've been trying to stretch out my new bunch of Goody headbands for a year, but they still give me a headache from being too tight.  And my head is pretty small.

I cranked the incline down to 0.5 at the 50 minute point.  I dangled that carrot to keep on going, telling myself when it got TOO HARD I could take the incline down a notch.

After the hour, I ran 20 more comfortably slow minutes, with the occasional 1 minute pick-up at the same 9.6 speed. 

My shin splints started hurting at that point, and although I feel 100% fine today, I have some shoe issues.

I'm on the hunt for something new.  I promise to never go minimalist on you (vibrams, go away.)  But as I try to increase my speed, I realize that my clunkier, cushiony shoes are holding me back.  I feel like I might trip when I try and sprint in them.

I came to this realization after doing some runs in the "lighter" shoes below.  I don't even know if they are running shoes.  My mom gave them to me after she bought them to teach aerobics in, and decided she didn't like them.   They are called Dual Fusion ST.

My feet are fans of Saucony's (but I hated the first Kinvara's) and Asics.  Any suggestions for a shoe that can handle a marathon, but is built light enough for speed? I really lack shoe knowledge.  Help.


I haven't talked about work in a while because it freaks me out to think that one of my co-workers would ever find this blog. 

Fake Happy to be at work

I think it's 100% safe to say that they never go on the internet though, since my boss has never heard of Sasha Fierce, and another partner took a guess as to who was hot on the music charts these days: he guessed Moby.  It's ok, nerds are in right now.

Whether they find the internet or not, I have a word about work.

We had a marketing event yesterday.  It was from 3:00-8:00 p.m.  It was rather lovely -- at a gorgeous winery, with good food and endless wine.

The event had a marketing expert lead a discussion/presentation, the summary of which was: in order to reach your greatest goals in business, you need to have a plan.  The plan needs to be written down.  The plan needs to be followed up on regularly, and adjusted when necessary. 

Then a co-presenter handed out an example of a written plan outline.  It included gems such as "eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner with one business contact every day."  "Once a day, cold-call a potential client."  "Join the local Chamber of Commerce and the city's leadership group."

At the bottom of the plan was a list of "Things Not to Do."
My eye zoomed in to one of the not-to-do's.  I read it 3 times.  I sighed with pity at the idiots who waste their lives as a slave to money and their jobs.

"Arrive at work after 8:00 a.m. 
Leave work before 6:00 p.m."

That's right.  The shining example of how to be a successful person is to never, ever, not for one single day, work less than 10 hours.

Here is what my master plan would read under the category "Things Not to Do."
  • Ruin my relationship by devoting my life to work
  • Destroy my family life by staying late every night
  • Cease to have a social life so I can sit in my office
  • Run less just to be in the office at 8:00 a.m. every day
  • Generally be unhappy so I can increase my earning potential

I swear, if someone told me all I had to do to make a guaranteed $1,000,000 a year for the next 40 years was work 60 hour work-weeks, it would be an extremely easy choice to turn it down.  It astounds me that people value being rich more than having a rich life.  And my only definition of a rich life is maximizing time spent with those you love, and maximizing time spent exploring -- exploring nature, exploring your city, exploring books and information, and exploration while traveling. 

I know I've blabbered about this before.  But I work in a field where bragging about late nights in the office is the norm.  And that "perfect plan" just re-ignited my shock at what people value.  Most lawyers are so smart, but my goodness can they be stupid.

Ye Ole Tread Mill

I am officially in pre-marathon mode (I can't honestly call it "training") with exactly 10 weeks until the California International Marathon.

I got on the treadmill this past Wednesday for the first time since....April?  Well aware that it is the only way to get me to run hard, I showed up at my stinky gym and made up the following workout:

Incline: 1.0

Minutes          MPH
1-5                  7.5
5-10                9.5-to-10.0
10-15              7.2
15-20              9.5-to-10.0
20-25              7.2
25-30              9.5-to-10.0
etc. etc. until 60 minute mark.

Followed by an easy 25 minutes between 7.5 and 8.0 mph.

I turned the incline down to 0.5 around the 40 minute point.  Yeah, so what?

total: 8.42 miles in one hour.  Plus another 3+ miles.

9.5 is a 6:18 minute mile pace (I think) and 10.0 is of course a 6:00 min mile pace.  It certainly wasn't a cake-walk to sustain that for 5 minutes while watching traffic updates on the news (my gym is not hip; we have about 5 channels).  There were certainly times where I grunted to myself "3 more minutes at this speed.  Come on.  You can do anything for just 3 minutes."

And although there were those dramatic moments, I was generally relieved to find that the pace felt nice -- smooth, easy breathing.  That might be a treadmill trick.  Sometimes I feel like I'm standing still on the treadmill even when I'm flying at a 6:00 min/mile pace.

My unplanned plan is to repeat something like this once a week, and then come December 4th, I will magically PR.  3:05-ish.

I hate writing that goal down, I feel like it makes it much less likely to come true.

Other than the usual running (topped 80 miles this week thanks to a 17-miler on Saturday and an 18-miler on Sunday), I experienced a lot of loveliness this week.

Unfortunately, I don't document anything with a camera (and if I do, it is done very poorly), so I try to spare you from picture-less stories.

Nonetheless, I share the following, accompanied by $hit pictures:

We watched Moneyball Friday night, in our beautiful and historic neighborhood movie theater in Oakland.  Oakland, of course, is the hometown of the baseball team that the movie is based on: the Oakland A's.

Movie still.  Mr. Brad Pitt.

The movie was fabulous.  The crowd was behaving as if we were actually at a ball-game.  Cheering, clapping, stomping, leaving peanut-shells in the hair of the girl in front of you (I have done this, accidentally, more than once).

At an Oakland A's game 2-3 weeks ago.  I warned you the picture would suck

Saturday, we went to the Eat Real Fest in Oakland's Jack London Square.  It is your dream event, if you are a human and you like to eat food.

Ignore the "Eat Real" part of the title; it's not about any sort of slow-organic movement.  It mostly promotes local deliciousness, all types of cuisines, and especially food trucks. 

We had: Chinese buns; calamari; flat-bread; empanadas; sliders; tamales; grilled cheese sandwich; Afghan bolani; kombucha; a salted caramel and peanut butter bar....etc. 

Oh and an apple.  Guess what we got a picture of, out of all those stellar bites?

I have never, ever seen a bigger dork.

 The hat I am wearing was yet another freebie sent to me for placing in the Giant's Half Marathon.

After the free Sketcher shoes and all the Chocolate Milk gear, I was also sent the hat and a Safeway gift card.  Keep it coming...

I hung out with a lot of babies this weekend.

The Gentleman and his nephew, Robert, at the food fest
 You like those bright green sunglasses?  No, I know you don't.  We share them (we actually share all our sunglasses) and got them for free in San Diego from some meathead promoting Midori Sours.

Despite their somewhat-ridiculousness, I am saddened to say that Robert suddenly whipped out his super-strength and broke them.  The sunglasses are now dead.

Robert was so unadventurous.  He only ate milk.

Sunday, I visited my niece Gemma in Napa.  We are best buds.

that face means she is farting.  (seriously).

Now you have seen my weekend through the eyes of a horrible photographer.

*Note: I will be signing up for either:
The Livermore Grape Stomp half marathon on October 23, or
The CA Wine Country half marathon in Healdsburg on October 16.
last chance to share your advice!  They are both smaller races, so if you have run them please share your experience with me.

Onkel Hankie Pants

Onkel Hankie Pants

12 Craziest Bowling Balls

10 Most Beautifull and Worst 9/11 Tattoos

You Know What I Mean?

I hope this doesn't appear as though I'm bombarding you with chain mail.

The following is a partially adapted, partially revised list of things that I found Highly Relate-able (how is relateable not a word?).   These made me laugh and enjoy the truth of these thoughts that I didn't realize were true until I read them.

  • I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger
I used to lay on the "nap mats" in pre-school with one eye open, pretending to sleep.  Never fell asleep.  I wish I had a nap mat in my office.

I could totally lie in a tent all day

  • There is great need for a sarcasm font
  • How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?
Good enough for me

  • Google Maps really needs to start their directions on #5.  I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.
  • Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.
  • I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired. (See: the very first thought)
  • I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my thirty-page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.
  • I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? **** it!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voice mail.  What did you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?
CUTE.  and kind of irrelevant.  Sorry.
  • I think the freezer deserves a light as well.
  • Sometimes, I'll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the heck was going on when I first saw it.  (And no idea how bad it was.)  
I used to watch "The Client" all the time when I was like 11 because I had such a major crush on Brad Renfro.  No idea what it was about.

  • How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?

Faking it

  • I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front.  Stay strong, brothers and sisters!
  • Shirts get dirty.  Underwear gets dirty.  Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.
  • Do high school kids get dumber & dumber every year?
If you've read just one prior post of mine, you could probably guess that I hate this show.  I'm bitter like that.

  • As a driver I hate pedestrians, and as a pedestrian (or runner) I hate drivers, but no matter what the mode of transportation, I always hate bicyclists.
  • Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.
  • Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey -- but I'd bet my *** everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time!

Those thoughts are the highlight of this post, but I'll also share a brief running recap since I haven't in a while.

Tuesday:     none
Wednesday: 11
Thursday:  16
Friday:      3.5
Saturday: 19.8
Sunday:    17.7
Monday:   none
Tuesday:   17.3

I feel myself slowing down.  Ever since playing soccer two weekends ago I haven't felt that speed in my legs (except for Friday's 3.5 -- that run felt great). 

I need to force myself to get on a treadmill as soon as it isn't 100 degrees in my gym, where it is always 15 degrees hotter in there than it is outside, because that is the only way I really push it and gain speed.

As I feel I am in a slow funk, I'm planning on finding a half marathon in October to reinvigorate my desire to run the California International Marathon.  Sad but true: I won't especially want to run the marathon (time, money, and tapering) if I'm not feeling at least somewhere in the 3:10 arena.  Ideally, I wouldn't run it unless I was actually in the realm of earning a PR.  But I really don't smell a PR this time, so 3:10 range will do. 

Which of those thoughts rings especially true to you? Have you heard them before, and I'm just late to the chain-mail game?

Do you recommend any Bay Area half marathons in the next 6 weeks?  I have some great options that Aron has suggested, but I'd love to hear more advice.

More than A Feeling

So I heard it's time to register for Boston.

Every now and then, someone asks me if I'm planning on registering, or they ask me why I haven't run it yet.

I've qualified for the thing every year since 2006, but not once have I seriously considered running it.

Am I crazy if I go my whole life without running Boston?  Because I think there is a very real chance that I won't.  I don't see what could change my current mindset to make me one day think that the trip is worth it.

Boston is a fantastic city.  I've been there twice with my Dad.  So while it seems fun to make it a destination race where I could explore the city, it seems like a really, really bad weekend to be on "vacation" in Boston.

The city that weekend in April is saturated with runners and running excitement.  I don't know what this says about me and my sense of belonging in the running "community," but that sounds like a really, really sucky vacation.

There is seriously such a thing as too much running-community-energy.  I like certain things about expos, but my stomach turns when I see hundreds of other runners with their nerdy gear and their exuberant conversations with the people at the Gu booth.

Running for me always has been, and always will be,  very strongly associated with my alone time.  It is an isolated sport (if you want it to be).  Aside from the occasional run with the Gentleman and run with other bloggers, running is as close as I get to meditating and to solitude.

Seeing massive packs of runners -- whether it is at Expos, at races, or what I imagine the entire city of Boston to be like that weekend in April -- really warps the sport to the point where it becomes an entirely different sport in my mind.  That's not necessarily a bad thing.

So for me, there is running...the sport where I can burrow in my head, and do whatever my legs want, think about heavy stuff or about nothing at all.   Then there is Running....the sport where I focus hard and become part of a herd, and share compliments or encouragement or tips about Gu.

This blog is a nice combination of the two.  It allows me to be a part of the running community, without having to enter a large and intimating crowd of people who suffocate the sport for me.  And still share tips, encouragement, compliments, etc.

In my own little world...keeping a distance from the crowds

To sum this up, Boston celebrates the side of Running that I kind of dread.  Maybe I don't like sharing my sport that intensely.  Maybe I'm too cheap to spend $1k on something I can do in my city for $100.

Either way, I'm skipping Boston for the foreseeable future.  Maybe, like motherhood, I'll end up doing it just out of fear of missing out.

And just in case you didn't get the title of this post:

Who is signing up?  Who thinks I'm a little brat for belittling Boston when some people devote their life to qualifying?

You're Fired

My primary outlets for stress, extra energy, and my compulsion to sweat, are running and hiking.

But if you have read my About Me page (and I apologize if you's been months since I've looked at or edited what is probably a sloppily organized smorgasbord of non-importance) then you may also know that for a large portion of my life, soccer was my one and only.

In fact, I first started running (track) because I realized I was fast....and I realized I was fast because of soccer.

Next, I started distance running (i.e. more than one sprinted lap around a track) in order to improve my endurance for soccer.  At the orders of a coach who I played for in Marin, I started running 30-45 minutes a few times a week by the time I was 16.

I swiped this from a facebook friend.  I am top-left, brown hair and obnoxious smoochie face

The focus was always soccer, and running was just a necessary burden that came along with it.

Today, the focus is running.  All I want to do is run up hills and around lakes for no purpose at all.  I never think about soccer anymore (which I played ages 5-18, and then casually in college for one year plus a couple of indoor games at law school) except for the occasional nightmare where my legs won't do what I demand them to while playing, or I where I delay a very important game because I can't get my shoes or shinguard on.  Serious PTSD from stressful soccer games?

Well what do you know: I played soccer this weekend.  I tried at least.

There is a turf field in San Francisco along the waterfront of piers (it's called Telegraph park, and is appropriately in the vicinity of Telegraph hill) that hosts a pick-up game on Saturdays at 1:30-3:00.

I showed up with the Gentleman, who was also a soccer stud growing up (yes it's true, if we had kids they would be very good at soccer...and if they weren't I would go all Tiger-Wood's-Dad and force them to be).  I ran 12 miles prior to showing up, out of Saturday-habit and because I had the time.

Soccer Studs

There were about 16 people there -- all adult dudes, many with doucher attitudes, and one other woman.  By the end of the 1.5 hour slot, there were 27 people, 3 of which were women (including me). 

It became pretty immediately apparent that this was an advanced pick-up game of sorts -- the other players took it very seriously to the point that the Gentleman and I were disturbed by the lack of sportsmanship.  There was heckling of certain players, and anger when a team wasn't doing well. 

Long story short, it felt really good to run around chasing that ball like old times.  I was wearing sneakers instead of cleats which I totally blame for my decline in ball control (couldn't be the years of not practicing!).  One highlight was getting slammed in the face by the ball....with sunglasses on....which led to a righteous cut on the bridge of my nose. 

Note to all runners: do not play hard soccer if you want to improve your long runs. 

Sunday, I tried to run, BUT: my butt was sore; my calves were sore; my back muscles were EXTRA sore; my left ankle feels a little strained; my shins are bruised; my face is throbbing; and I have a nice new set of blisters on my feet.

I have one more very good and one very very bad thing to share about my weekend.

The Good: we got a last minute invite to see the Fleet Foxes (with The Walkmen) concert at the Greek Theater in Berkeley.  Fleet Foxes have steadily been my favorite band for the past few years, so it was really enthralling to get to see them live for the third time, and at a gorgeous venue.



the Very Bad:  a really unique, valuable, and sentimental piece of property in San Francisco that my mom inherited from her father in 2007 suffered a devastating fire on Saturday, right about the time I was playing soccer just a couple miles away.

Picture from the local newspaper

My poor mom is inconsolable, even though luckily, no one was hurt. 

The top apartment flat and all the tenants' belongings are demolished; the second floor flat and the business on the ground floor (a Radioshack) had minimal physical damage, but have to be rebuilt because of smoke damage.

Can you imagine losing all your belongings?  Yeesh. 

Honestly, it was hard for me to feel much sadness after watching footage all weekend of 9-11.  Nothing seems like a tragedy in comparison to that. 

Still, the fire has brought a lot of drama and fear into our family (how much will insurance cover? How can we convince Radioshack to return after reconstruction?).  My mom had just finished with a long remodeling job this past July.

Anyway let's end this on a happy note!

What sports did you grow up playing? Were you competitive, and do you still play now?

What band have you seen in concert more than any other?  For me, Incubus and Dave Mathews Band are both in the 5-6 times range.  hehe.

New News


1) There were  great tips from commenters about Eating While Running. 

Christie suggested eating dates, which I loved because it is a perfect excuse to buy one of the most delicious and expensive things.  A really melty soft one is dreamy. 

Which makes me think, I guess this method would involve some sort of packaging to prevent my running shorts from getting sticky from dates in my pocket.

One thing I won't be trying out is running with a hand-held.  Or the fanny-pack water belt things.  Not for me. 

2) Back to the Giant Race: 

I was notified that as a top-10-woman, I would be recieving a free pair of running shoes from Sketchers!

This is kind of the coolest thing to ever happen to anyone, ever ever:  I got to run a race for free, and in return, I got:
  • a $100 pair of running shoes; 
  • an awesome Nike dri-fit Giants race shirt; 
  • a Tim Lincecum bobblehead; 
  • a Refuel with Chocolate Milk tech running shirt; 
  • a Refuel with Chocolate Milk hat; 
  • 3 canvas bags; 
  • all sorts of post-race snacks and goodies.  

Sketchers Shoes won in another 1/2 marathon

BUT.  I have a feeling I will be receiving the same pair of Sketchers shoes I won for the the Oakland half in March (See Pics Above).  I don't exactly need a new pair yet.  I'll consider a giveaway...

3) Movie Review

I don't care if I have a reputation as being the harshest movie critic in the world, as it is probably accurate to say that I dislike more movies than I like (despite the fact that I love watching movies).

Over the weekend I watched "Take Me Home Tonight".  I tallied my votes, and the results show that I didn't really like it.

I don't think I laughed once (for comparison, I laugh about 17 times per 3 minute webisode of Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis).

However, I was slightly obsessed with the fact that the lead lady looks identical to Kristen Stewart, and I think the director thought he could trick a few stupid 12 year olds into thinking it was her.

I wasn't the only one who noticed this -- these comparisons popped up right away when I googled it

Girl from movie on left


1) I can't believe I never noticed this until this morning during a 14 mile run:

My ipod nano has access to the Radio!!

upper-right icon...just touch it and pick a channel

This is life-changing for me!

I download a lot of podcasts to listen to when I run, and one of my regulars is KLLC 97.3 Sarah & Vinnie morning radio show.  Problem is, listening to podcasts means I'm listening to last week's news.

Now I can listen to the real show! dude!

Of course, then I got pissed at all the commercials I had to suffer through.

It's still pretty amazing to know I don't have to worry when I have no time to upload new podcasts; I can just listen to the radio.

2) High School Reunion Next Summer

I recently caught wind of the fact that there is a Facebook Group for discussing/planning my high school's 10 year reunion which will take place next year.

I joined the group because well, it's my high school and I wanted to learn what was up.

Upon checking out the group Wall and perusing conversations that have been taking place since this past April, I do I say this nicely... Horrified (alternate options: appalled, enraged, shocked, dismayed, disappointed) to learn that it was under serious consideration that our reunion would be a Joint Reunion with our town's rival high school.

Two things I should reveal.

First, my high school was not so small that a lone reunion would be lame.  My graduating class, I believe, had over 700 people.  Our rival high school had equally high numbers.

Second, somewhere along the path of this Facebook Group serving as a forum to share opinions and ideas about the planning of the reunion, the Group became an ugly word-war whereby the few people who expressed that they did not like the idea of a joint reunion were attacked for not being open-minded enough to want a party with 700 extra (mostly) strangers.

So this being said, the Group is not exactly a place where I can submit my opinion (which is that a joint reunion is ABSURD) without some idiot calling me anti-American-troops.

Seriously.  One dumbass suggested that those who want a non-joint reunion are selfish, and should be thinking of the troops.  What?

Back to ABSURD.  I would never go to a UCLA reunion that was merged with USC's.  Harvard would rather enroll Paris Hilton before agreeing to a reunion with Yale.  America's troop reunion won't be shared with Iraq's troop reunion (there, I made the troops relevant to this discussion.  Goodness that guy was an idiot. ugh.)

Still, to me this really is not about maintaining a rivalry: a reunion is about celebrating the very rare and amazing gathering of YOUR high school class.  Celebrating the memories and acknowledging the passage of time with those that you shared arguably your most important developmental years with in class every single day for four years! At soccer and track practice every single day for four years! Suffered through zero-period 7:00 a.m. classes with; ditched campus with; commiserated about teachers with; had crushes on; cried with when four of our fellow classmates died in the span of one year.

Junior Year.  This is just how I dressed for school one day.

This is MY high school.  These are the people I want to see again. 

My memory is fading enough that I'm concerned about having to figure out if the reason I don't recognize someone is because they look different, or because my brain cells have died, or because I didn't friggin go to school with them.

Now that you have suffered through my extremely valid and warranted rant (right?!), I really want to hear your thoughts.

Have you ever heard of a joint reunion with a rival high school? Have you been to your reunion?

Please try and help me sway my dear friend, who reads this blog and is in charge of most of the reunion organization, by commenting away.

And of course, if you think a joint reunion is awesome, then share those thoughts as well.  I may need you to convince me if I end up stuck at such a reunion next year.

(Brittani, consider this my 2 cents for you and the other organizers, since it is clear that not all opinions are welcome on the Group page).