The Run That Got Me Thinking...

I did my first ever TEMPO run on Friday!

Here's what happened.

Apparantly, my alarm has been set incorrectly all week (for P.M. instead of A.M.), but I typically wake up 10-20 minutes before my alarm because I have a spastic brain -- so Mon-Thurs I turned the alarm off before it was set to go off.

Friday morning, drained from the work week and some family drama, I never awoke on my own.  And my alarm never went off.  I woke up an hour late for my daily pre-work endorphin fix with the Gentleman's alarm.

I got outta the house in record time, and knowing I had less time than normal (usually in the realm of 90 minutes) but tons of energy to burn (the family drama gave me that feeling where you need to RUN out some feelings) I decided to do an impromptu treadmill workout instead of the easy elliptical+magazine deal I usually do on Friday mornings.

Gotta get my Bieber fix somehow.

This is more like it.  I'm 3-4 issues behind because I've been neglecting the elliptical for a few months.

I hopped on the treadmill and skipped the warm-up cause I was buzzing to go.  I pumped it up to 8.7 mph (6:53 min/mile) and spent the entire next 60 minutes between 8.7 mph and 8.8 mph (6:48 mph).  I finished with 8.73 miles in one hour.  Yum!

Now what is a tempo understanding is that you more or less run race pace for an hour, or 5 miles, or something like that.  Maybe you're supposed to run faster than race pace.  Who cares.

But lets pretend you are supposed to run race pace.  So let's suppose that 6:53/6:48 min/mile is my "race pace".  Do you see where this is going??? Some of you might.  Some of you probably don't.  Here's where I'm going.

6:52 min/mile ---------->>>>>>> THREE HOUR MARATHON.

To be precise, I think the idea is to get a 2:59:59 marathon (or anything starting with a TWO), so one of those 26 miles has to be 6:51 to fit the bill, nadda mean?

I will surely tackle the 3-hour marathon one day.  I was 89% certain leading up to CIM that I wasn't ready for it -- I wasn't ready mentally, nor training-wise, and especially not hip wise.

3:05:08, 7:02 pace by my Garmin

Not yet ready to dip under the 3 hour mark

I'm still not ready for it -- especially not hip-wise.  (This is making me think of "Samwise".  Lord of the Rings, what what).  But, I do think I'm mentally getting there.  Knowing that a 3:05 was not miserable -- fun even -- and was done with some body problems, I have the confidence that a 2:59:59 is totally attainable with this body, brain, and work schedule I've currently got.

And, this 8.7 mile "race pace" run this morning was totally comfortable! I have no idea why.  I've done a pretty bad job of getting in speed stuff in since December 4th 2011 (marathon day).  I've been keeping it cool, just running whatevs.  So if I can handle that pace now for about 9 miles, surely I can handle for 26 with some good hard work?

But for a dose of humility, during my easy/lazy noon run on Saturday, I didn't hit 8.7 miles until nearly 75 minutes -- almost 2 min/mile slower than my treadmill tempo run!  Most days of the week I'm very much an average runner.

Anyhow, I will be keeping my ear/eye open for a good marathon this year.  Part of me wants to wait until next December and do CIM again.  Part of me wants to tackle something this spring.  And part of me wants to get on a plane to Chicago in October (especially for the tourism factor, because the massive number of runners there FREAKS ME OUT). 

But first, figure out the hip.  I keep meaning to freaking make a physical therapist appointment, but you know, work and other stuff takes over.  So figure that out.  Plan A.

The 2:59:59 is on my radar.  Just so you know. :)

Please share any tips -- as to tempo runs or any other great training runs -- that I can put in my pocket to help reach a sub-3 hour marathon this year.  Or next year.  Or just some day.

Run with Wings

I don't have a large enough readership to get the awesome freebies that some big blogs come home to on their front porch regularly.

Instead, I have to earn my freebies. By placing in races!! Ohhhh, snap.

As a blast from the past that is November of 2011, I placed 2nd (1:26) among women in the Run With the Jets half marathon in San Mateo. (I placed 2nd in a lot of races last year. Never first. But second place still means freebies!). I later learned that the top three women won a pair of Mizuno running shoes. The running store providing the shoes was in Burlingame, a city 45 minutes away that I never found my way to...until this weekend!

Running with the Jets!

Getting chased down by the 1st place woman

Paparazzi'd by the Gentleman

The running store, A Runner's Mind, was wonderful in so many ways.  First, it is owned and operated by a family -- how dreamy is that!? They were, as most devoted runners are, really lovely people. Second, there was a bigass bowl of jelly belly beans with a spoon for scooping at the checkout. I will have to be back....they know what runners want (sugar?).  There was a bowl of sticks of gum too! Third, based on the whiteboard calendar in the store (and based on their website), they host group runs and support local races all the time. If you live near Burlingame, this is the place to support and hang out with if you need a running group.

And very first pair of Mizunos.

Check it out -- $115! In my pocket!

Mizuno Wave Rider 15.  We'll find out how they work for my feet.

I probably won't try them out for another couple months, while I work through the other million running shoes I have (more like 7 or 8)

Hidden in my closet

At the front door (two of these are the Gentleman's)

While I was out near Burlingame picking up my free Mizunos, we stopped for lunch in San Carlos at The Refuge, known for it's excellent Belgian beers, the best pastrami sandwich in Northern California, and terrible service that is only tolerated because the sandwiches are so good. 

My beer.  So loved it.

The Gentleman's beer.  Flavor: snail with a saxophone.

Sandwich (whoa) from the website.  I split this with the Gentleman...and finally found the one meat that was WORTH it.  Back to vegetarianism now, for real.  Until I come back to The Refuge.

Back to Running.

Today presented me with a 17.5 miler with wings.

Wings? Like, I had Red Bull beforehand? Nahhhhhhhh.

Let me try and describe this kind of run. This is the kind of run that keeps me coming back day after day after year.  It is the ultimate running Nirvana.

This euphoric run is especially prevalent on winter days like this, where the freshness of the air and the crisp scent of rain and wet trees heightens your awareness of each breath you suck in. And then you notice that you are on mile 15, and your body is so strong and adapted to the heavy mileage, that you are just gently opening your lungs with each breath, and you don't even feel the effort of your legs pumping forward; you are just flying.  Effortless.  The winter air makes me feel weightless.

This kind of day, you know?  Picture of Sunol from a hike last year.

Now I'm off for a day of football.  49ers v. Giants.

What makes a euphoric run for you?  

Embarrasing Thoughts

1) I don't understand twitter.  Not like, "I don't understand why people like it so much!" but like, I don't get the "@" and the hashtags and how you follow someone, etc.

2) Further living under a rock, I don't know what a tumblr is.

3) I also don't do Linked In.  I think this is a bad career move.

4) And while we're at it, I don't do Daily Mile.  I don't really want people spying on my exact daily mileage, thankyouverymuch.

5) When I'm at home, really cold, I sometimes grab a hair-dryer and use it as a personal heater.

6) I have been laughing for 3-days straight when I think about the most recent episode of the Bachelor.  Highlights: Courtney-the-model ambivalently accepting her rose by saying that the night, with the surprise of Shawntel, "has been a know, cuz of whats-her-butt..."  I will never stop saying whats-her-butt now.  Another highlight: Ben making out, very badly, with every girl.....while all the other girls watch from 8 feet away.

This is the face Courtney-the-model makes after subtly insulting someone

7) On the same note, I always root for the villain.  I loved Vienna, I loved Bentley, I loved Michelle Money, and now I love Courtney-the-model. 

8) I have never liked Mexican food (in California, this is a party foul) until this year when I learned that "tacos" at food trucks are soft tacos, and are really just small flour-tortilla-pizzas.

9) I don't own nail polish remover, so the only way I lose a coat is through chipping or outgrowth.

10) My dad still isn't speaking to me (or the Gentleman), ever since the Thanksgiving nightmare where we disagreed about running.

11) I'm often dismayed that the high-school personality revolving around "duuuude, I drank/smoked/snorted so much last night, that makes me soooo cool" persists in many, many adults.

12) I stopped giving a $hit about political elections in 2005, right after spending the 2004 election season in Washington D.C. during the Kerry/Bush election.  It's an angry, disgusting game to follow.

13) I refuse to watch Modern Family -- I've seen the curvy woman with the exaggerated-sexy-accent act dance around in enough Pepsi commercials to know I can't stand it.  I also refuse to try Glee.

Just....shhhhh, Sofia Vergara

14) Ever since becoming a lawyer, I look at calendars in an entirely new light.  They bring a new sense of panic, and dates are like puzzle-pieces.  

15) I've been eating meat for about a month now, mostly because I gradually became less appalled at the lingering memories in my head from the movie "Food, Inc."  None of the meat thus far has been worth it (not a single thing made me think, YUMMM, this is what I'm missing!?) so I'm back to not eating it already.  Although, I will adopt a flexibility so I can try some on special occasions (nice restaurants, holiday meals, weddings).

16) I still steadfastly do not want to have kids, which completely contradicts my absolute obsession and craving to constantly be around this little gem.

6 months, almost crawling!

17) I revert to an 8 year old when the electricity goes out.  Which it has about 6 times in the last 3 days.  I immediately figure someone cut the power so they could break in and stab me.

18) I think 40 degrees is really, really, really, really, really cold.  This week has been rough.

19) The Gentleman and I split a green smoothie 4-5 days a week.

20) I wanted a nose job extremely badly when I was about 16 years old.  Then I forgot about it for 12 years.  Now I hate my nose again.  (Not fishing for a compliment here, just sayin)



21) I can make a meal out of condiments.  Cream cheese; nut butter; nutella; olives; spoon; good to go.

23) I cannot stand Jennifer Hudson and her Weight Watchers commercials.  I'm sick of her flaunting her "new" bod, deflated boobs and all.

I find this cleavage to be....yucky. 

24) Recent soundtracks I have slipped into my car during my commute to work: Les Miserables, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Wall-E.

25) I think about quitting the blog-world about once a week.  Somehow, I've made it one whole year!

Your turn to reveal!

This Day Happened

*Note: I won't be writing about the Olympic marathon trials that occurred today, because I didn't watch them and I'm a rude runner who loves the sport but is not particularly interested in the elites.  I am only aware that trials happened because the runner blogs in my reader can be rather redundant.

Today was the kind of Saturday that reminds me that all days should be Saturdays, and that I should revamp my efforts at winning the lottery so I only have to work when I want to.

I slept in until 8:30 (ahhhhhhhhhh -- like the spa "ahhh", not "omg ahhhh there's a spider), spent some time with the Gentleman (interpret this however you want, but be a grown-up about it), and then headed out for a perfect run on a perfectly crisp 60+ degree sunny-vitamin-D filled Oakland day.

I ran 19 miles -- the most since running a marathon like 6 or 7 weeks ago now -- and felt so ON.  Back to my old, pre-marathon self (lame hip and all) where 19 miles felt like nothin'.  

Some guy riding his bike approached me and said something about how I looked like "a real runner," and I later got a couple "hey speedy!" comments, which made me smile and just want to give running a BIG FREAKIN HUG, and never let it go, never let injuries take me away.  Such a drug...I sailed off the good vibes and finished the run at a 7:50 avg pace--something that never happens when my run includes some steep Oakland hills, which this one did.  I would have carried on past the 20-mile mark if I didn't have to get home to...

Help my cute guy set up some delicious food for a football viewing bonanza!  The San Francisco 49ers were playing their first game of the play-offs (big freaking deal), and they won, which means this exact fun Saturday scenario will occur again next weekend.

First, we got all the fantastic food out and ready, and I don't know how to reveal this without sounding like a lazy-ass, but the food was entirely prepared by the Gentleman.  He gets excited about recipes and cooking, while looking at a recipe card makes me depressed (24 ingredients? Do I have to get all Rachel Ray and carry them all at once like a toppling pyramid from counter to table?)  I footed the grocery bill, so I contributed in my own way. 

*I will say, I have helped him cook before, and I find it very rewarding and even fun if I am in the right mood to stir and stir and stir for 30 minutes.

The chef, setting the table

The living room, set and ready, with our now-adored new TV with some talkers talking

This is the kitchen where I watch him cook

His hearty homemade bread (NO breadmaker involved)

Plus dairy

Italian sausage chili....yeah so I may have failed to mention that I've been eating meat.  For about a month now.  Edamame guacamole on the upper left.

More cheese, wine, chili in the crock-pot, quinoa salad in the front.

close up.  Quinoa, corn, black beans, lime, scallions, etc.

I suited up in the cute new dress my sister found me for Christmas, from a vintage shop.

The boots may have been overkill, but I decided to pretend it's a little bit Winter in California


It's kind of a relief I don't always keep a camera with me, right?  Otherwise posts would be loaded with this nonsense.  Which is your fair warning that more pictures are coming.

Cause next, we ate that food and watched that football!

The appropriate way to watch football

First, we were all serious: "Actually, in 1824, Sir Footballius stated that there shalt be four downs"

Then we had some beers, loosened up, and made fun of Tim Tebow the appropriate number of times

Whatever made me laugh this hard is probably not blog appropriate

Simmering down

And the whole gang.

 Happy running and sport watching!

This girl....

Is murdering the reputation of Bloggers.

What a mess...I can't say I've ever known someone who was able to combine 12 incomplete sentences into one sentence.

"I mean the -- here's what it -- so I feel that -- and, to be clear there's -- you know, the way I am -- does that make sense?"

followed by some manic crying.

I know we don't all watch this show, but I must talk about it a bit on this blog because I wait all year long for this, my favorite guilty pleasure, the one and only thing that helps me not hate Mondays entirely.  Seriously, how cool is it to find Monday approaching and to think, "oh, that's not bad! The Bachelor will be on!"

Sadly, I don't think I'll be posting much more about the show this seems dreadful.  Is that something that is always said? Ben is such a drab guy.  Doesn't do it for me in the slightest.  He is awkward, boring, not funny, and seems to think that Sonoma revolves around him (come on Bay Area folk, did you find it ridiculous that he painted Sonoma as a tiny sleepy town?)

And while I'm selfishly writing about things that only I care about, check out this NUMBER FIVE ranked place to travel (that's out of the WHOLE WORLD y'all!) in 2012, by the New York Times. Excerpt below:

5. Oakland, Calif.
New restaurants and bars beckon amid the grit.
Tensions have cooled since violence erupted at the recent Occupy Oakland protests, but the city’s revitalized night-life scene has continued to smolder.
The historic Fox Theater reopened in 2009 and quickly cemented its status as one of the Bay Area’s top music venues, drawing acts like Wilco and the Decemberists. Meanwhile, the city’s ever more sophisticated restaurants are now being joined by upscale cocktail bars, turning once-gritty Oakland into an increasingly appealing place to be after dark. James Syhabout, the chef who earned Oakland its first (and only) Michelin star two years ago at Commis, followed up in May with the instant-hit Hawker Fare, a casual spot serving Asian street food. Big-name San Francisco chefs are now joining him. Daniel Patterson (of two-Michelin-star Coi) opened the restaurant Plum in late 2010 and an adjacent cocktail bar later, and another restaurant, called Haven, in the recently renovated Jack London Square last month.

I could add 3 million and eight other reasons that Oakland is awesome (ok, and 2 million things that suck), so if you ever find yourself in Oakland and need to eat or entertain yourself, I would love to assist!

Chillin on the infamous BART
Oakland Library patron

Last, I also want to say something to hold me to it: A reader asked a while back how it was that owning a Garmin made me faster.  This reminded me that in general, I wanted to do a post, or a series of posts, about the things that helped turn me from a 3:30 marathoner one year into a 3:05 marathoner the next.  Hands down, without a doubt, the #1 thing was owning a Garmin.  A running watch.  To be continued.

The 2012 Goal Post

Today is January 8.  I guess it's time I address the mandatory blog post on "my goals for 2012".


I've read a lot of runner's goals this week.  A lot.  Really ambitious, detailed, calculated stuff.  I totally enjoy reading these goals, but I don't quite know where it all comes from.  This may sound weird, but I don't sit in my head very often thinking about my "future goals" -- and especially not with any kind of precision.  I kind of picture y'all sitting in an office chair with a notepad and silence on December 31st, reflecting and analyzing the past year, and creating The Perfect List for the coming year.

I can't compete with that.  This is NOT the running blog for those looking for a majorly inspirational character who has Deep Thoughts about Running and then tackles those goals.

Driving aimlessly.  Metaphor.


First: I Don't Do Goals.

Really.  And this has totally worked for me.

Of course, you know, I can show up at the starting line of a race and have an idea of the time I want to finish in.  And there is this fuzzy expectation, either created by me or by others who know I am already scratching the surface with a 3:05, that I will aim for a sub-3:00 hour marathon one day.  But generally, I don't create annual or monthly goals.

And this goal-less philosophy certainly doesn't apply just to running.  It applies to all that other good stuff in life. 

Analysis #1: I am afraid of failure, and thus do not like to create a goal that could possibly not be reached.  

Analysis #2 (and the one I will insist is true): my favorite version of life is a calm one.  I'm not the most zen person you will ever meet, but in general, I prefer to live life on a day-by-day take-what-comes-your-way basis.  I don't look one year in the future.  I don't look five years in the future.  If you ask me where I see myself in ten years, I will punch you in the face.

You may judge this to be a pretty weak-sauce way to live life if you are a hyper-driven person.  And I do have drive, but, it is an instant-gratification kind of drive.  I will work my ass off during a run that I am in the middle of, but I won't look ahead to create some killer training plan.  I will bust out a term paper for school or a brief for work because I want the instant pat on the back, but I won't create a plan for how I can work my way up to CEO of my own company.

So how is it that this goal-less life has worked for me?  It has worked because I'm totally satisfied with the various aspects of my life.  I don't mean to say that life has been handed to me on a platter -- I mean that I am able to accomplish well enough things without being anal about the journey to reach those accomplishments.  For example:

Education: I floated through college without a plan--which resulted in a stupid double major of sociology and political science--but ended up receiving a Juris Doctorate degree 7 years later.

Running: I ran a marathon in 2006 without the slightest clue or training besides my daily sanity runs, and found myself at the finish line at 3:33.  I started 2011 without a plan, began this aimless running blog in February, and ran a 3:05 marathon and a 1:26 half-marathon based on the excitement of keeping written tabs on my races.

Love: I flirted with the guy in my law school classes without a plan, fell madly for him within weeks, moved in within months, and have embraced every single goal-less day with him since.

It works.  Goals can create stress and confine you.  Living for each day creates freedom, happiness, and for me usually finds success.

Second: Running is Just Running.

It really is.  I love it--it is my religion and my therapist--but it isn't my job.  It is just my joy.  Since it's not life or death, I don't have much calculating to do for this thing.  And I think I need running to be flexible to love it.  

So I won't plan the heck out of it.  I will embrace each run as it's own, whether it ends up being a slow aimless run or a short burst of intervals.

There you have it.  I don't have a single goal for 2012.  I only hope to enjoy most days, if not every day, and to more or less do what I want as I meet each day.  Whether that is run hard, run easy, work hard, sleep hard, travel hard, or love hard, it is not to be planned for me. 

We shall see what 2012 has in store for me.  In the words of my dear pal Kirsten Dunst: Bring It On.  (And, I never should have dumped Jake Gyllenhaal.)

Hot Lawyer

I'm either a sucker or a saint, but reading some of your comments about wanting the Runners World daily calendar made me want to give one to everyone.  I momentarily considered buying 20 so that everyone could have one.  YOU get a calendar! and YOU get a calendar! and YOU get a calendar!

The random number generator, between 1 and 30, selected number 19 -- Maggie Wolf!

Congratulations Maggie, I would have picked you anyway ;) Email me your address at, and I will send it to you on Saturday!

Sucker or saint, yesterday I was also a hot lawyer.  Hot, that is, if you like weather girls.

We had picture day in our office.  Good decision all around, as it will be nice to have a lawyerly portrait for everyone in the office, and to update the firm website.

In general, lawyer portraits are extra silly.  Arms crossed (power pose) or noble stare (I want to WIN for you).  And always a wall of law books in the background.
Our firm offers....camel toe?

So I get to work, dressed in a great suit and ironed shirt, having spent a little extra time on makeup that morning at home (for a grand total of 2.3 minutes instead of the usual 1 minute).  I learn immediately that a makeup/hair girl will be prepping us for the pictures.  All the men in the office will get a quick touch-up to hide redness or puffy eyes.  But I will get the works!

The beauty woman introduced herself as a makeup artist for Dancing With the Stars.  Wow! Ok.  Surely she knows that lawyer pictures are different from the look that professional dancer Makshiavel Dianova wants (made-up name, probably close to something on that show).

Well, I'm not sure if she knew the difference.  You decide!?  A partner at the firm snapped the following pictures of me so I could send the Gentleman a teaser of my new career as a newscaster.

I also want to WIN your case for you

I will WRITE in my BOOKS for you!

I will CURL MY HAIR for you!

I'm going to hire the beauty woman full time.  Those curls look great! Wish I had beauty skills...

Question: she put Visine in my eyes (and I think everybody's eyes) because we are lawyers who don't sleep enough and stare at screens too long, thus, bloodshot eyes.  It instantly made me look better, and made my eyes feel less dry.

I asked, "are there any bad side effects of using Visine?" because I was certain I had heard that you should not use it regularly no get rid of red eyes.

"Oh no.  You would have heard about it if there were! I use this on everybody."  But...I did hear about it.  And all of her beautiful clients might now die from eye whiteness.

In all seriousness, I know google is right at my fingertips but you are much more fun to engage with.  Do you use eye drops for superficial purposes?  Have you heard of or experienced any bad side effects?


I'm still running.  Still with an imperfect hip.  Doing strengthening moves every now and then.  Losing my speed, and as soon as the weather gets bad (it has been SO NICE here in California!) I will get on the treadmill and do some speed workouts.

Sunday: 12 miles
Monday: 5 miles
Tuesday: 13 miles
Wednesday: 13 miles
Thursday: 7 miles
Friday: 11 miles

I accidentally ran every day in 2012!! Dare me to keep it up? (I won't accept the dare).