Apartment Runner

Hey let's talk about running! Whose running!? My running. Sorry if you came here looking for something else....

A couple things.

First, lately my "easy/normal" runs have been kind of a lot slower than they were at about this time one year ago.  My classic "normal" run is 4 laps around Lake Merritt in the morning before work, which adds up to 12-14 miles depending on which sidewalks and short-or-long cuts I take.

Back when I started blogging last year, with a running watch in tow for the first time in my running life, these runs were usually in the 7:45 min/mile range.  This became my "comfortable" pace.

Right now, my normal lake run pace is closer to 8:10, on average.  The miles that I dip below 8:00 are pretty few.

This is not a concern to me at all.  I think the most likely reason for this, is that ever since adding one-to-two track workouts per week to the mix, I have needed to take my normal runs at a slower pace and at less miles (haven't hit over 18 miles in at least a couple months I think).   It's also possible I am mis-remembering those 7:45 paced runs, and I was working for it rather than taking the run "easy".   So in sum: slowing down, but not worried about it.

Running in March 2011....faster on normal runs, slower in races

Second, I usually don't hit the track until I have "warmed up" for about 6 miles.  Does anyone else shove a track workout into the middle of a normal run?  I wonder if this is a bad move.

It usually plays out like this: run one lap around the lake with the Gentleman, see him home (4 miles), then run from our place to the high school track in the hills (about 2 miles), hang out at the water fountain for a couple minutes, and then start a 30-45 minute track workout.  Afterwards, I run the 2 downhill miles home.  Usually comes out to 13-14 miles total.


This week, it didn't seem likely I was going to get a track workout in.  I was wiped from lack of sleep.  Moms out there: I hear the rumor that you don't get much sleep.  I don't know how you ever get a quality run in.  I need a solid 7-8 hours of sleep, and if I sleep less than 5, I swear I cannot stand the sight of the sun.  It feels like it is burning holes in my brain.

For about 4 nights in a row (starting Saturday night) I was pushing 5 hours of sleep each night, tops.  Very tops.  BECAUSE APARTMENT LIFE IS HELL.  It is SUCH EXTREME hell.  I could write 25 blog posts, each devoted to one fucking terrible apartment neighbor.  I would devote one to the jackass girls who live above me who would come home, trotting around in high heels every night at 2:00 a.m., when I was sleeping while studying for the Bar exam.  I would devote another to the terror below me who goes on 2-hour yelling rampages in the wee nighttime hours (and in the day...) at his adolescent sons (and since I can hear everything, one example of his tirades? It was about one of the sons moving his batteries.  Don't touch his batteries!).  I would devote one to the dickwad who rode his low-rider into the parking lot at 1:00 a.m., and turned his high-bass volume ALL THE WAY UP to blast his apology song to some woman who was probably trying to sleep, and not in an apology-accepting mood.

And on and on.  This week, (and the last few months, truly) my sleep was interrupted by the cigarette smoke of a neighbor who puffs out his window in all hours of the night, and it wafts right into our bedroom.  We can't sleep with the window shut in these warm nights; we've tried, and the stuffiness is just as impossible to bear as the smoke.

Apartment life (circa 7 months ago).  I dress down while heading out for errands.

So I've been tired. Sorry for the rant.  Maybe some of you can relate to apartment living hell and we can feel better about sharing this misery (come to think of it I feel like we have done this together before at some point....but I'm not touching the archives to search for it, for fear of gagging at my writing).

Tuesday: way too damn tired to hit the track.  Run normal, take a couple walk breaks and almost fall asleep.

Wednesday: repeat

Thursday: slightly better night.  I had some energy, so I hit the track and decided to do mile repeats.  I planned to do 3, 4, or 5 depending on how I managed.

Feeling 85% like myself, I managed 5 mile repeats, with a one-lap jog recovery (and a bathroom/water fountain stop in between miles 3 and 4).  I hoped for 6:00 minutes for each repeat.  I was either close, or very far, depending on whether you think 7 seconds is a lot or a little.

6:02; 5:53; 6:04; 6:07; 6:02

One thing I noticed that I really liked: my recovery was very quick.  Within 1/2 a lap of jogging, I felt good to go again.

One thing I noticed that I didn't really like: my legs tended to burn up right at the end of the first lap of each mile repeat, making for 3 kind of torturous last laps.  What is that, lactic acid?  Get outta here lactic acid!

When I feel 95% (I mean 'cause cummon, when does anyone feel 100%?), I will hit 5 repeats in the 5:50-6:00 range.  Maybe. Hopefully.

I have a wedding and a barbecue to go to this weekend--two of my very favorite things in the world--so despite my very cranky/zombie state, I'm in a great mood and reminded how much I LOVE summer.  So many friendship events! So much eating outside!

Summertime happy! In the bathroom!

And who isn't stoked about taking next Wednesday off work to watch fireworks and eat some extra barbeque?  I was thinking either hike up a hill in Napa and watch them from there, or go to Six Flags Marine World in Vallejo.  If you can recommend any good fireworks/parades/events in the Bay Area, please do!

I recommend

Advice from a blogger girl behind a computer screen is something none of us need.  So let's not label any of this advice: consider this me sharing my amateur observations of late that you may find useful or interesting.

I recommend...

Kristen Lawrence's blog.

GET THIS.  She is a BAMF runner.  You need proof?  She already has a 2:52 marathon under her belt, and after obliterating some injury issues, is back to racing and aiming to shave off a few minutes until she has a 2:42 marathon in time to qualify for the 2016 Olympic marathon trials.

Not only is she an incredibly talented runner, but she is as humble as they come and doesn't like talking about herself or posting pictures of herself racing, which we all have to convince her to change because reading about her training and running makes for a very good time.  Sorry to make you squirm, Kris ;)

Finally, for some completely unknown reason, she likes reading and engaging in the blogs of non-Olympian runners (like mine).  Oh, and she balances this with three children.  I'm not sure if that's her only job or not.  And she's hot.  I'm going to steal her life, shhhh.

I do not recommend....

the Skinny Confidential.

It would be straight up bitchy of me to say "don't read this other blog out there" so let me try and rephrase: if you are a healthy strong runner, and if your brain works to some degree the way my brain works, blogs like this (and there must be hundreds of 'em) make me sad.

I found the blog because it was featured on Sarah's blog, and I gave it a try.  It reads like something I would have enjoyed back in college, living in Los Angeles, seeing how all the thin blonde girls live.

Now that I'm a grown-up, blogs with dieting tips from a (too) thin, young, model-esque girl makes me fear for the young girls on the internet.  There will always be blatant thinspiration/eating disorder support blogs out there....but this is a brand of subtle eating disorder support shielded under the guise of just being fun "tips" for how to make lunch for only 200 calories!

In the world this blogger comes from, with skinny girls left and right, these probably don't strike the author as unhealthy or unusual.  They are just the facts of how to maintain a 5-inch circumference upper arm.  But in the real world, this has gotta ultimately lead to self-hate for readers who don't look or eat the way that the Skinny girl does (and the vast majority of women naturally should not look this way).  Anyway.  Despite my non-endorsement of the blog, I'm sure it will get a good number of clicks from my discussion and some of you may even stay to read (if only for the entertainment value).  So I've served no purpose here, except maybe to get a conversation going.  Go.

I recommend....

Root Beer See's lollipops.


I heard recently that people in some European country (Britain maybe?) dislike the taste of root beer flavor because that is what they flavor their medicine.

Luckily for me, everything tastes more delicious with a Root Beer drink on the side (even Mexican food, as proven this weekend during a belated father's day outing).  I also love See's lollipops, as I've probably mentioned too many times.  This isn't a contender with the Butterscotch lollipop, but it always makes me happy to find one in my desk around 2 or 3:00 p.m. on a workday.  Type type type, suck suck suck. (TWSS?)

I do not recommend....

Root Beer gum.

I had high hopes.  Non-mint gums never, ever, ever, EVER work out for me.  But I never learn.  So I tried it, and it was not tasty. The only way to save this gum is to erase the root beer flavor and replace it with spearmint or peppermint, and then we're all good.

I recommend....

Grabbing a handful of Trader Joe's dried/sweetened strawberries before a run.

It's been a while since I had dates on hand to bring with me during a long run or a race, but they worked so well that I assume other dried and sugar-heavy fruits will work well too.  I haven't had the chance yet to try these during a run, but they worked perfectly before a run and are REALLY YUMMY.  Working on my food writing vocabulary.

I do not recommend...

eating a Cliff Z-bar 6 minutes before running.  It is so small, I thought my stomach could handle it.  Turns out this is not at all the same as eating a quick shot of sugar or half a banana, which I can do while running without any problems.  My body attended to digesting that thing and made for an uncomfortable first 5 miles of a 15 mile run on Sunday.


I recommend...

Kiehl's Super Fluid liquid sunscreen.

I have never had a drip-into-eye attack while wearing this on my face, not even on the sweatiest of days.  It also goes a long way--I've had it since Christmas 2011, and worn it regularly (only on the face, I save the yuckier sunscreens for my body) at least 2x a week since.

My boss also recommended a kind of sunscreen called something frog....or maybe toad....that is from Australia and very hard to find in the U.S., but apparently a superior sunscreen.  Anyone heard of this?

I do not recommend...

Running between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., which is exactly when I do almost all my weekend runs.  Despite my best sunscreen efforts, I have a mad block tan on my legs.

You can see the beginnings of my saucy white upper thigh

I recommend...

Fiona Apple's new album.

Setting aside the fact that she looks like the crypt keeper nowadays (watch the video for proof...), Fiona Apple is probably the coolest chic in the U.S.  Especially if you measure "cool" by how talented one is at song-writing/piano-playing/sing-growling.

I do not recommend...

Purchasing Adele's album.

Just turn any radio station on for 24/7 Adele songs.  No reason to shell out the bucks.

This is a terrible blog

I spent a little time--for the first time since beginning this blog in early 2011--tending to the page tabs on the blog.  I added a new tab that is basically a "popular posts" compilation, fixed the "races and PR's" tab, and got rid of the absolutely useless FAQ tab.

Creating the new page meant that I had to dig through the archives.  Really go month by month, looking for posts that received the most feedback.

I thought it would be cool to revisit my old thoughts and create a "best of" center.  It turns out, reading your own old posts isn't cool.  Not cool at all.  A better term....might be....horrific.

I hate my blog. 

Hate is a strong word.  Hate is a word I reserve for spiders, and for the tradition of engagement pictures (get a room, you kissy-faces in a random meadow!).  I dislike my blog? Am annoyed by my blog?

I'm not fishing for a compliment here, I don't need any "no, silly I love reading your blog!" so shut it.  Don't! I said don't.  That's not why I'm spilling my beans here.  Maybe everyone with a blog feels this way? Can't stand reading their writing, the way hot actors always claim they can't watch themselves on the big screen (suurrre, you're so ugly superstar, I'm sure it's dreadful to watch yourself).  

Well, I don't know what to do now.  I can't recall exactly what I wanted out of a blog, although I do know one of the primary incentives was so I could put a face to my name when I commented or interacted with other blogs that I read.  But surely one of the reasons I started was because I hoped/expected that it would be fun to read through at some point, for the memories, much like any diary.  Turns out that aspect sucks.  I think I will only cringe harder when I read this stuff as I age.

Am I threatening to quuuiiiittt??????  Is that a threat!? I don't want to shut down yet.  But I also don't want to be accredited for crappy material.  I'm in a real pickle here.  I don't know what to do to improve, and I'm certainly not interested in becoming a better diary-writer or anything.  Stuck here in limbo, servicing a blog I wouldn't want to read myself.  I guess I could just come to terms with that?  Yeah, I'm a shitty blog-writer, but I'm owning it!

boy.  I still have brown hair, so here's a picture.

It's getting lighter (even with permanent dye) which is gross

And we are dropping a new record.  The title/art is all pretty meaningless, so just let it be.


Two track workouts this week, my favorite two, and the exact same as last week except for bumping each one up by one repeat, for: 8x800m on Tuesday, 12x400m on Thursday.

For the 800's, still aiming to build up to 2:59-ish for 10 repeats.  One lap jog recovery in between each.  For this week, I got away with:

3:03; 2:59; 3:00; 2:57; 2:55; 3:01; 3:01; 2:56.

I felt good, none of this "I'm gonna diiieee" feeling I used to get when I first introduced myself to the track a few months ago.  Jogged 2 miles home afterwards comfortably.

For the 400's, my legs were trashed and I knew this could be a poor workout (trashed because of more hill dominating the night before with XLMIC, and we're talking 20% grade hills, whoa).  However, while running each repeat, I felt good and thought I was hitting 81 and 82 seconds for most of them.  I felt like I ran the last one so hard, it would be 79 seconds.  (When I program a workout into my Garmin, I can't see the time for each split until I review the workout afterwards, maybe someone can tell me how to change that).  Anyway, my times were way off how I felt, and while these repeats are just fine with me, I was surprised.  1/2 lap jog recovery in between each.

86; 84; 84; 83; 84; 84; 83; 84; 83; 84; 81; 82.

Can you stand reading the archives of your own blog?


Just some running thought bubbles today.

1) I can no longer run with a running headband without getting a headache.  So after years of running with an elastic band to tame the flyaways, I have given the thing up, and it turns out nothing bad happens when you run with flyaways.  I thought I would lose my eyesight and run in figure-8's in the street with my wisps flying in my face.  (No, I'm not interested in trying a "Bic Band".  Out of principal at this point.)

2) I've been running without the Garmin a few days a week lately, and besides the fact that I fear losing track of time in the morning, it is a lovely break for my wrist.  I feel like I run faster on days without the watch...

3) I think I will sign up for a trail half marathon that is taking place near Santa Cruz in late August.  Sounds cool, right?  I need to buy some trail running shoes....never owned a pair.  Recommendations welcome.

4) I ran 800m repeats at the track last Thursday, the morning after burning up my calves by climbing this insaaaane 1.3ish mile hill (twice!) with my sister from another mister.  I aimed for seven 800m repeats with a one-lap recovery, at 3:00-3:05, and more or less succeeded. 

3:04; 3:03; 3:01; 3:00; 3:01; 3:02; 3:01.

My goal is to eventually run 10 repeats at 3:00 or less, which as you've probably heard, would be a solid Yasso workout.  Do I believe that will mean I am ready for a 2:59 marathon? No, not really.  The more I hit the track, the more my long runs suffer, so I don't think that is the magic ingredient.  But it is a fun goal, so I'm going to try and do it.

5) This might be a touchy subject, so I'm only going to share my superficial thoughts on it.  In the past few years, I have watched many friends and family (in real life), and friends/strangers on the blog world, grow little babies inside their belly.  Just miracles and stuff. 

I've noticed that some women (who are all in relationships) have husbands that keep their activity level on an even keel with their pregnant wife--that is to say, if the wife can't hike far, the husband turns back to the car with her instead of marching on and saying "sayonara!".  I've also watched pregnant runner(s) whose husband(s) adopt a (seemingly new) love for hard training while the wife is pregnant and she is slowing her workouts down. 

Me? If I was pregnant (which all sources say will likely never happen), I would be so green about having to be the one with the ovaries, the swelling body, the run-turned-into-a-waddle, so jealous of my baby-daddy who doesn't have to do anything but grow a sympathy belly...that I don't think it would fly if he was off running 60+ mile weeks while I was squeezing out a slow 10.  This applies to ME, and the the dynamic of a relationship like mine, where my guy never runs more than me to begin with.  I can understand a situation where the guy was always a hardcore triathlete or something.  But for a guy to choose the time period when his lady is pregnant to pick up the training...seems unthoughtful.  I swear I'm not high maintenance.

6) I have, ohhhh, about one week left to decide if I really want to bite the bullet and do the 1.5 mile swim from Alcatraz.  I was gung ho about it a month ago. The real thing holding me back is the price tag.  It is about 3x what I would pay for a running race (and about 10x more than I would pay to run a race "for fun"), and there is no incentive for placing and reaping some of the cost back in prizes! Plus, I would be doing it with the double the cost.  Anyway.  I have to decide this week so that I, uh, have the time to learn how to swim in open water.

7) Not relevant, but I had this thought tonight: I wish badly that every chocolate bar ever made was also made in white chocolate.  White chocolate Snickers! White chocolate Baby Ruth!  White Chocolate 100 Grand! Oh dear.  That would be my jackpot.

8) My niece is still cute.  And I learned something about my dad on Father's day that made me realize what a stud he is.  Something intimidating, manly, and bold that caught me off guard.  Go dads!

9) It was over 90 degrees on Saturday, and so I chose to go running at...11:00 a.m.  When I got home from 16 sweaty miles, all I could do was nap.  I don't know how you Boston marathoners did it in the 88 degree (or more?) weather in April.  Heat saps the life right out of you.

And I'm ending on 9 just to drive you crazy.  What's your 9 running thought bubbles, tee heeeee???? (fake question).

Classic Running Blogger

Today I did the most running-blogger-iest thing that a running-blogger could do.

I geeked out.  With a famous runner.

A famous runner is someone who would not make 99.89% of the population turn their head, because to 99.89% of the population, they are a nobody.

Knowing of "famous" runners is new to me.  Two years ago, a time during which I had been running for for a solid 14 years, the only runners that I could name were Michael Johnson and Jackie Joyner Kersey.  Maybe I knew that Jared Leto played some skinny guy with a 'stache in a movie called Pre.  At some point, Marion Jones was on my radar.  That's about it.

Now, thanks in part to my love of Runner's World magazine, and thanks to this blog connecting me to a bunch of you running nerds, I've got some new names in my vocab.  I know the women and the alternate from USA that are running the marathon at the London Olympics.  I know the names of the fastest women in the bay area (and would spaz out a little if I ever saw Oakland's own Olympian, Magdalena Lewy-Boulet, running around my hood).

So having rambled about nothing important thus far in this post, I bring us to this: when Alyssa mentioned that Scott Jurek was making a book tour pit-stop in San Francisco that included a group fun run, I felt like how a baseball fanatic might feel if they learned they could play catch with Tim Lincecum.  For free.  (With 100 other fanatics).   I felt like saying DUH, YES!

Things to note:
  • Scott Jurek is tall.  Very tall.  Skinny little legs.  All around, he looked like he came right out of a 1980's college cross country team. 
  • One token guy in the group who showed up to run, ran in sandals.  I think some people might think Scott Jurek is Caballo Blanco.
  • I didn't buy a copy of his book, because long story short I didn't have my wallet.  I'd like to hear about it, if anyone has read it or heard a review, let me know!
  • The Gentleman came with me, which was awfully fun.  

Well I also did one very non-running-blogger-y thing.  I didn't take any pictures.  I didn't have a camera with me.  Neither did the Gentleman.  So that's that, but he looked like Scott Jurek, and I looked like me.  Here's an idea of what our picture together would look like.

So that was fun and I'm glad I sucked it up and drove into the piss-pot covered in fog that is San Francisco.  We ran something like 4-5 miles.  Scott Jurek is slow as shit.  Ok ok, running in a group of 100 people makes for a slower run, and maybe he's not a big old slowpoke.   I didn't mind a bit, just soaked in the good company and the most beautiful time of day in San Francisco (that would be 7:30 p.m.).

I hit the track yesterday morning and decided that I like track workouts, but I only like them when they aren't too hard because I guess I don't like to push it too much in my world of running and that's just the way it is.  So I did 11x400m (I think this is my favorite track workout...probably because it's easier) with a half-lap recovery in between each.  I ran a few degrees below HARD, which definitely helped me finish the workout without walking during the recoveries or taking any water breaks etc.  Splits were as follows:

82; 84; 84; 84; 85; 84; 86; 86; 82; 82; 84

One day I'll feel like more of a rockstar and run them all under 82 seconds.  Not today.

Alright runners, that's all for me.

P.S. The Gentleman noticed that blogs often have questions at the end, and in the spirit of being a classic running blogger, he suggested I ask the following question:  Prefontaine, or Postfontaine?

Back to My Roots

I recently mentioned that I went to my 10 year "high school" reunion (June 2nd).  "High school" is in quotes, was more a reunion of "the 60 people out of 750 who weren't too snotty to boycott the reunion".  In other words, it was very small, and I saw less than 10% of our high school class.  Word of the reunion spread on Facebook, and people fussed about various things, including the location at a family Mexican restaurant, so a whole lotta people chose not to go.  We are the whiner generation.  (Or alternatively, since my high school mascot was the Wine Crusher...we like to wine a lot).

Me and my tiny friend from high school and from grown-up land.  (My parents front yard is beautiful, no?)

Just goofing off before heading to the reunion

I try not to turn down an invitation to any event, so I was totally in.  Even though I only got to see and talk to 20 or so old friends, it was worth it to see each one of them.  I had a great time.  I was stunned to learn how many old friends knew, thanks to these obnoxious internet ramblings, that I love to run, and had a lot of excitement to share about the sport.  Running is a common ground for so many people my age!

Home, afterwards, surprising the Gentleman with the dark hair.  I didn't bring him to the reunion would have been cruel small talk.  Just miserable.

In honor of revisiting high school, via my reunion and via a return to my natural hair color (which I rocked in high school....among unnatural shades of red), I thought I would do that thing that blogs are pretty much made for.  Give you a list of random facts.  Random Facts, Some of Which are Running Related, from My High School Experience.

1) I traveled 45+ minutes one way for soccer practice to play on a team in Marin, and then in Rohnert Park (I lived in Napa).  The Marin coach, who I pretty much dreaded, is the reason I started really running-- that is, running distances longer than 2 or 3 miles.  I tried to work myself into shape by running 30-45 minutes at a time on my own outside of practices, an assignment he gave us.  I left for college having never run further than about 50 minutes.  Probably around 6.5 miles. 

2) I was a very shy student, even though I worked hard, did well, took all the honors classes.  I think I was terrified of being wrong, so I never wanted to volunteer an answer or my thoughts.  This pretty much followed me through law school....which blew, since most professors demand participation via the "cold call."

3) The first thing I did with the freedom of having my drivers license, to Mervyn's.  For some reason, that really represented how free I was--that I could drive somewhere to shop, and then shop, without anyone's permission.  But still being a 16 year old mama's girl, I remember calling my mom the second I got there to tell her I was at Mervyn's by myself!

4) I got in all sorts of stupid trouble, mostly with my parents but occasionally with cops, for alcohol related shenanigans.  I was by no means an alcoholic, just following the herd and drinking with friends for fun.  This was my "I hate the police" phase....which quickly diminished the second I moved to the San Francisco tenderloin and then Oakland.

5) This one is more middle-school than high-school, since the high-school cafeteria had a different cafeteria recipe...but...cheese zombies.  Holy crap those were good.  One of my sisters found a recipe online and made them for Christmas 2010.  So satisfying.  Closely followed by the school cinnamon rolls, and powdered Hostess mini-donuts.

The black background is spooky, but this accurately captures the cheese ooze and doughy bread of my memories

6) I never had a boyfriend.  Not one.  Thank goodness.  I get the shudders when I think of some of the guys I went to high school with now.  They weren't raised right.

The girls were cool though.  I am lower right.  I wonder why none of us brought sunglasses to school?

7) Me and one of my best friends were two of the fastest white girls in our high school track league.  She always edged me out in the 100m; I always edged her out in the 200m.  When I was pushed into racing the 400m, my poor body would break down after 300m of sprinting.  I threw up after the 400m race at least twice....

8) I wore really tight shirts.  It was the Britney Spears era.  Most girls had a thin strip of tan skin above their low-cut jeans, from wearing midriff bearing shirts.  I was just a participant...

9) I only received ONE "B" grade amidst straight "A's" in all of high school.  The class? Was typing.  TYPING.  The teacher hated me.  She was crazy evil.

10) I learned about 9-11 by walking into my zero period (7:00 a.m. class) algebra class.  The rest of the day, none of my teachers allowed the TV to be on, "because you'll be hearing about this for the rest of your life."  I worked after school that day, as a busser/hostess at a restaurant, and we had zero customers.


I've participated in a race for the last three weekends (this one not included), and have posted about those race experiences, but it's been a while since I've talked about my weekly running.

Same old same old.  I haven't done much at the track, especially since I have been spending Monday through Wednesday letting my legs recover from a weekend race, than Friday & Saturday taking it easy for an upcoming weekend race.  The few times I have hit the track, it was without any workout planned and more with the general idea of running some variation of 1600s/800s/400s until the 7:30 a.m. kids start walking across the track to get to class.   At an easier pace, of about 6:02-ish for everything more than 400m.

The last 2 weeks are a fair example of what I've been up to...pretty much all year.

Monday: 7-8 (memorial day 10k, plus 1-2 mile warm up)
Tuesday: 12.8
Wednesday: 14.5
Thursday: 14
Friday: 0
Saturday: run/walk to expo (5 miles?)
Sunday: 13.3 (See Jane Run)

Monday: 0
Tuesday: 10
Wednesday: 14
Thursday: 14
Friday: 0
Saturday: 18
Sunday: 16

If I flip through my weekly desk calendar, most weeks this year are between 60 and 80 miles, with a couple hovering closer to 90. 

After upping my intake of iron-rich foods (thanks injera!) I felt pretty good this week.  For a while there, I was taking walk breaks during runs because it was feeling rough.  It must have been the blonde hair.

Just a couple more photographs from See Jane Run, borrowed from the professional race photographer.

This course runs along the Alameda bay and is really pretty for some stretches

Being chased down at the 12th mile :(

So well matched -- even down to the shoe tag and the bib

Would we be friends in high school, or was I too much of a tight-shirt-wearing-beer-drinking-nerd?

Loose Ends

There is not much left that can be said in revisiting Monday's post, given the large amount of contributions and varying opinions, all of which I really appreciated and which made for a highly entertaining day for me.  However, as this is my territory, I'll take a stab at the last word with these final thoughts, in summary, before it lays to rest.

First: of the many thoughts voiced, a lot were in line with ChaCha's, who stole my thunder by being smarter and more eloquent than I about the whole situation. Go see what she had to say if you haven't already.

Second: a lot of people hate the term "runboner".  The comments were hijacked by this conversation, which I have no problem with at all--that comment box is a free for all.  The strong sentiment that developed amused me when I pondered whether runboner will be one of those search terms that brings a lot of unsuspecting internet browsers to a running blog, looking for pictures of men who wear soft fabrics while running, aroused.  

Third:  I noticed that the discussion thread almost became a forum of thoughts that were directing a strong message to Oiselle, in case they were checking in.  If you're wondering whether Oiselle eavesdropped, or cares at all about the reaction that happened here to their contest....I have no firm answer.  I did receive a "thanks for the video entry!" email from Oiselle yesterday, within which it was made clear that the email author had recently been to my website in order to find my email address.  But, no mention of the post, so...I have no idea if they heard your message.

Finally, since again this is my platform, my blog, I think it's worth taking a moment to make one thing clear and evoke a sentiment that I hope came across last time, which is that I really like Sarah OUaL, have nothing ill at all to speak of Emily, and I don't care at all what words are in their written blog vocabulary.  I'm guessing "runboner" was intended to be a funny way to summon the image of how much spastic love one has for the sport, which is hard to convey in writing.  It may not be the most graceful term, but whatever.  Sarah and I had a good adult mature talk, so it turns out we can both be graceful.  All is good.


Flashback to the funnest-yet-maybe-most-tragic half-marathon I have run yet.  Here is a saucy photo of me and my favorite bike lead Mary, followed by Ray.  Ray is the man who got to run many miles of the dang thing with me, fake win the whole thing, and then get none of the awesome schwag I do because he is a man.  (Men don't count towards the final results, sucka).  Poor Ray.  This is around mile 5.  Good enough lead on girl number two that I think she is barely in sight here...

Also, how surreal was this: Mary was capturing pictures of me during the race with her smart phone, and using the phone for a number of other things....such as friending me on Facebook, during mile 7.  It was unlike any other race experience, I'm telling you.  I had loaded up my ipod with music, remembering the loooong stretches of loneliness and boredom on this course from last year, but Mary and I chattered enough that I completely forgot the ipod was there.

And so here is a picture that Mary took of me, and sent to me on facebook...while I was racing.

That's all.  I just watched Inception at home so I'm trying to decide if I am awake or dreaming...which is making for a bad state in which to write a blog.

Just Because I Can

Hey party people. 

To my surprise, XLMIC tapped me on the shoulder today (through the interwebs) to tell me the Oiselle contest winners had been announced.  I had no eggs in that basket, but sauntered off anyway to read Oiselle's twitter announcements of the winner.  I thought XLMIC did such a great job on her/our entry that Oiselle's "judges" would agree and her entry might have a chance.

fyi, lest you think that our entry deserves less credit due to my admission that I spent little time helping with it, the contest was posed as "enter this contest, and then bring your best running friend!"  XLMIC slaved away on her entry for 32 days straight, sleeping only 2.3 hours per night so she could edit it, all in the name of earning the chance to be a groupie for the baddest running athletes of the year.*

*Exaggeration for effect.

Winners, announced at noon on Oiselle's twitter page: two cool ladies blogging as Sweat Once a Day and Once Upon a Lime (aka Sweat Once Upon a Lime?).  I'm a happy reader of the latter, I don't know much about the former.

But what did mine eyes see next?

Oiselle's playful tweet, a few minutes before making the announcement:
   LOL. We're almost on that level just thinking about our BIG announcement!

Still don't know how twitter works, nor what that means, but here's what I read: "hehehehe friends friends friends, I'm going cray-cray with anticipation to announce that you my friends get to win my contest, friends!"

In other words, the judge is friends with one of the parties on trial.  Who can blame the judge for favoring their friends?

Oiselle will probably maintain until the cows come home that they picked the winners of the best video, and nothing more. Oh, but Oiselle, my not-friend, how do you strip away a bias while watching videos, when one video has persons in it that you tweet with and blog with and photograph yourself with?  

Oh my goodness, the love fest on twitter just goes on and on (both well before the winner announcement was made, and after).  Compliment orgies.  I mean what is this?  Really what is this!?  What the heck is twitter for?  Giggling praise, I love @you :) :) :) no I love@YOU!

I'm totally kidding (I'm not kidding) totally this is all in good fun.  I'm sure this wasn't an instance of flushing ethics down the drain and hosting a faux contest to get your name on a number of blogs (ahem, including mine) for exposure.  Because seriously, I know what this is all about.  This.  Is about.

Nose discrimination.

Team me and XLMIC:

We've got noses.  Strong ones.  Oiselle may make good running shorts, but they discriminate against larger noses!  You heard it here first!

Hummmmm.  I know what's coming.  The "what does it matter to you what other people do, RR? Keep your hefty nose out of other people's business, if they like each other so much then power to them!  What's wrong with compliments!" or, of course, "you're just jealous," followed by "why so negative."  Interspersed between those of you who let me be the bitch (thank you:) ).

But this is MY platform, and I'm saying what I'm thinking.  This is a good opportunity to embrace my role as the internet running bitch, and say something true because I don't know who else is going to say it.  I smell shit.  And it stinks.

I don't think badly of the winning bloggers (I don't, I really do not).  I am making fun of this whole scenario that I had a bystander view of through joining XLMIC in her application.  Maybe I'm crazy and negative to have this perspective.  But I cannot help myself in questioning the hilarious scene I am viewing on twitter...especially when I was warned from various sources days ago that it was highly likely these two would be the winner.  Video entries aside.

These poor companies that feast off the running blog community...they have yet to realize that the harder they try, the greater the divide.  We have all seen some degree of Nuun backlash, and now....I never would have questioned Oiselle and their products.  Do I question the brand now? Just a bad taste in my mouth.  But, I've been wrong all over the internet before.

You are banished, Oiselle shorts! Just kidding.  I can't quit you.

See Jane Run half marathon 2012

This race is a little bit of a heartbreaker.

First, I didn't get my goal time of <1:26.  I basically ran the exact same pace I ran at the Oakland half marathon, and I figured I would get my 1:25:xx by running on a course that put me at 13.1 miles, based on my watch.  The See Jane Run course was a little more spastic this year (we did some odd loops within business center parking lots...) and just like Oakland, my 6:30 average pace going by my watch still brought me to a 1:27:xx.

Second, I never saw another runner's footsteps in front of me until the end of the 12th mile (11.8ish).  That is to say, I led the entire race.  The bike leader was so friendly, so motivating, and let me know mile by mile that 2nd place woman was "about 40 seconds behind me."  It stayed that way until mile 11, when I started physically but MOSTLY MENTALLY dying, and the pressure of holding on to 1st place for another 1.3 miles was too much for me to handle.  The more that my biker, Mary, pushed and encouraged me to hold my place and stay strong, the more I felt like giving up.  It was a terrible mind game and I hated myself while it was happening, but I really felt it was the pain that was stopping me.  Of course, feeling spritely and energetic once the race was over, I now know it was not so much pain as it was mental wimpy-ness.  Seriously.

All that said, I had such a wonderful race.  I mean, leading, with a personal bike friend, for almost 12 miles, was so flipping great.  The race was so improved this year, with exceptional organization (aside from some timid volunteers that got whipped into shape by the bike lead for not telling us both to turn...until we had passed the a gentle whisper...).  The weather was great.  I felt good, especially hip/buttcrease wise, aside from the last 2 mile march of misery as I lost my lead.  And what the heck, I got second place out of over1400 women, and a FREE PAIR OF NEWTONS running shoes for placing first in my age group! (1st place woman was 33 years old, out of my age group.  Phew.)

Now, just so you don't get startled as I dive into the recap and race photos, I should warn you.

I am a brunette again

Big sigh of relief.   It will now be that much easier to keep track of me apart from all those other blonde runner girl blogs.

I thankfully was able to sleep in until 7:00 a.m., since the race began at 8:00 a.m. only a 15 minute drive from my home (and I am a pro at getting ready for a race fast.  The secret: eat caffeine the second I wake up so the bathroom business is done fast, and then I don't warm up besides walking or jogging from my parked car).   It was especially nice to sleep in until 7:00 because I wasn't in bed until midnight due to my 10-year high school reunion Saturday night.  Hence the cute dress above, and I'll post more about it later.

I walked right up to the start at about 7:52 a.m., looked for Katie who WON this race last year, and never found her because I later learned she wasn't able to race due to health concerns.

Mornings are rough for me. 

We started just about on time, and I was fairly surprised to learn as I jumped out of the gate that no one else was flying out with me.  Because the woman who got first place is smart and knows how to reign it in for that first mile.  Ugh.  Classic lack of restraint.  For my credit, the first mile was too fast, but it was  gently downhill.  And I was chasing the hot cops on bikes! How could I not speed up to show off for them!?

Mile 1: 6:06
Mile 2: 6:23
Mile 3: 6:28

Thar I be behind the neon yellow biker, in the orange shorts

I think first place is in the red just to behind me to the left

So check out Mary, the bike lead in bright yellow in the photo above.  God I wish I could stick her in my pocket and use her at every race.  Examples of why I love her: she yelled at people who were walking their dogs on the trail that the race was on to Move Out Tha Way.  She yelled at volunteers who weren't signaling which way to turn to TELL US which way to turn (so I wouldn't get last year...) and she also yelled once for some squatting volunteers that I would like a Gatorade, since no one was holding any cups out.   Man, I love race volunteers, but something is so ODD about the See Jane Run volunteers.  They were like this last year.  So timid at the lead runners, afraid to hold cups out or yell directions.

After my first mile at way too fast a pace, I cruised steadily between 6:20 and 6:40, including a good mile or more somewhere between miles 4 and 8 that was a steady climb up a maybe 2% grade.  Nothing to tough, but it was getting hard to hold my pace under 6:40 for those miles.

Mile 4: 6:19
Mile 5: 6:33
Mile 6: 6:38

While keeping me company on her bike, Mary was confounded as to why I didn't have a "fueling plan".  I told her I had 3 "chews" in my pockets around mile 7 when she noticed I hadn't eaten anything yet, and at that point I wasn't sure whether I would eat them or not mostly because the idea of eating while running a half still sounds uncomfortable and painful and just easy to neglect during a short 1.5 hours when you aren't thinking about food.  She admonished me, and noted that if I want to work on negative splitting or avoiding the last few mile fade, I need a fueling plan.  She was right--when I took 2 chews at mile 7-8, I was propelled to a faster speed for miles 9 and 10.  I had one last one at mile 9.5, and then fade...fade....fade...

Mile 7: 6:46
Mile 8: 6:40
Mile 9: 6:31 (the chews kicked in!)
Mile 10: 6:35

Oh, how could I forget RAY!?  Ray.  So, men are allowed to run See Jane Run, but they do not count towards the winner results.  Therefore, when Ray caught me around mile 3, I wasn't worried about him taking my lead.  I said hi and got him friendly, so he ran with me all the way through miles 11.5, with the exception of the uphill mile where I lost him behind me for a while.

He wasn't very talkative, but it was nice to pace with him for a while.  He tried to get in front of me at the end of mile 11 when I was fading, so I could draft off him (it was windy!!) and keep my woman's lead.  But I just couldn't.  He sacrificed himself for me, and I couldn't pull it up.  Thanks for trying Ray! I believe he finished just ahead of the first place woman.

Now that last 1.5 miles.  I let 1st place pass me, I held her in my sight, but ultimately she finished about 30 seconds ahead of me.  She is an Impala.  Another sign I need to join the team!

Mile 11: 6:39
Mile 12: 6:47 (giving up...)
Mile 13: 6:58 (shut the FRONT DOOR and stop being such a baby.  This was so not necessary...I was not hurting enough to run my last mile my slowest.  B.S.)
Mile 0.3: 1:52 (6:34 pace).

Homestretch.  Getting hot out!

Time: 1:27:19
Overall: 2nd woman of 1424
Age Group: 1st of 201

Lessons learned: a) fuel.  b) runner a slower first mile.

The end.  Thanks for listening!