I'M SO BUSY (but not too busy to post)

Thank goodness for tapering.

This is the one of the only times I can remembering "tapering" fitting into my life perfectly.  I have been much too busy, too stressed, and too tired this week (and the forecast is the same for next week) so I cannot think of a better time to be restricted to running 10 miles or less each day.

So, truly, my apologies but this will have to be one of those, "I'm so busy, just popping in" kind of posts, and I really hope I can get in here to evaluate my running body and my marathon goals before next Sunday (Napa marathon!) but there is a decent chance that just won't happen.  I will at least be having that talk (about the state of my body and my goals) in my own head, and would much rather have that discussion with you, but I'm not ready yetttt.

Here's a quickie on where I'm at after the end of taper week 1 out of 2:

1) excited to run a marathon.  I can NOT say this was the case for my last marathon.  I was dreading it. I felt torn about whether I was just torturing my already seemingly broken body.  I knew I wasn't in great shape because nagging pains of various types kept interrupting my training.

Not that my training has been uplifting or perfect this time, but I did learn at CIM  to accept "failure." I ran a fairly comfortable 26.2 in super shitty weather in 3:11:47, and that was good enough for me.  7 minutes off of a PR, but good enough for what I was presented with on that given day. I am content to enjoy Napa marathon for the experience, no matter what happens, no matter how much the weather or a given body part betrays me.

I don't think I am in better shape than I was when I ran a 3:05:08 marathon, but, I may want it a little bit more this time.  Hopefully that makes some sort of difference.  I want a marathon PR. Gimme gimme!

2) My shoulder still hurts.

This is about as obnoxious as not being able to run because my tooth hurts.  But, it seems to maybe, slightly, be feeling better.  Don't work too hard with paper products, my friends, or your shoulder may scream while you sleep and run.  (My test of injury pain is how much it interferes with sleep.  My shoulder interferes with my sleep).

3) I am 86% certain I am going to wear the Brooks Pure Cadence as my marathon shoe despite many of you warning me not to.

I stopped in with my dear chiropractor this past week for the first time in months and months and months (summer 2012), despite it being a very hard week to find free time, because I needed some freaking help with my foot, my shoulder, and maybe one last attempt to scare away the buttcrease pain.

He fixed one out of three things (maybe?)--my foot.  My foot has not been bothering me.  And I've been wearing the Brooks WITH the original high-arch-lump inserts.  I really like the Brooks, and I really have not been enjoying the Nike Pegasus lately, so it's one non-perfect shoe over another.  A lose-lose situation.  But I'm betting on the Brooks this time, and I may lose, but that's a risk I am willing to take.

4) Here is my taper week # 1 in running: 30-ish less miles than usual, but with the normal level of intensity.

Monday:       0
Tuesday:      11.3 (dragging, but 2x4 miles at 7:10-7:25 ish).
Wednesday: 10.6 (with 4 at 6:45-6:55 pace, and 10 hill sprints of various lengths).
Thursday:    10.3 (with 6x1 at 6:20-6:45 pace)
Friday:         0 (one hour swim)
Saturday:    14 (slow, easy)
Sunday:       8 (fartleks the entire time, about 20 pickups total).
Total:           54.

5) not running related.

I put my hand in so you could understand that we were served an entire cow.

This experience (at Sidebar in Oakland) has basically made us both swear off steak for the next eternity.  At first we were like, "hey, dang, this is good!" and then we both felt the kind of regret that one has after....they eat....a huge steak with a ton of butter on it.  Never again.

I ordered a pretentious latte, and somehow managed to drink the entire thing without ruining the design on the froth.  Does this happen to everyone, or am I awesome?

I have become completely complacent about choosing a wedding party site, because our one big exciting plan fell through (we were trying to book a group camp site at Big Basin so we could force all of our friends and family to come camping with us, which is basically my dream day).  We checked out this site as a Plan Z, captured in the photos below, and since I didn't hate it, that's good enough for me.

This is where we will fake laugh for the cameras, or fake solemn, and then post a picture of it on Facebook, so everyone can say how adorbs we are

The event building.  Cute, right?

The other side of the building, lakes and stuff.

You will DANCE here, or you will be escorted OUT of the wedding

The Gentleman practices for our wedding photos.  If I was better at computers, I would photoshop my head in there.  Not the body, just my head.  Someone...please do this for me and I will send you some Sees lollipops.

And one more of the lake.

And finally, this picture below may seem completely out of context, but the focus is on the lower right. My sweet little Paco, who came into my life when I was 13, barked away while I posed for sepia-toned photographs when I was 16, was put to sleep Friday night.  I cried like a baby.  I can not handle the sadness of never petting him again, of him being alive one second and gone the next, because some humans (doing the humane thing) chose in a moment of hardness to put him to sleep.  I wished I believed in dog heaven.

Paco being the coolest in my lap. 2007. 

I know I don't owe the blog world anything, since I DO THIS SHIT FOR FREE (I mean I do it for the ego boost, I mean I do it for the entertainment of the trolls, I mean I do it for the sense of community) but I really hope to get one of my dozen half-written stir-the-pot posts up so we can TALK together about stuff besides my running numbers.  I haven't felt fully engaged in a while, I have black-listed my home computer many-a-night, but like many passions that ebb and flow, I hope to feel inspired to meet you here more regularly than just a weekly recap.

Which is to say if this post felt rushed, that's because it was.  See you soon you stars! Life of Pi is still the best movie of the year!

Vals Day

I just looked at my running calendar from 2012 to see how I tapered for CIM, since I'm exactly 2 weeks out from a marathon and thought I should try and do something smart.  How do I usually taper? I can't remember at all.

I wanna do whatever THAT girl is doing.  She looks amazing! Go # 35! Your hair blends seamlessly into your skin!

Looks like last time, I ran 75 miles the week before "marathon week".  Seems like a dumb idea.

I guess this time I'll aim for less.  60 miles? 50?

On an unrelated note, it turns out that I suck at hole-punching, because I hole-punched two case binders worth of documents, and now have....tendinitis in my shoulder?  It was like 13 minutes worth of hole punching, that's it.  Then my shoulder hurt.  Then I swam the next day and my shoulder felt fine.  Then I ran on Saturday and my shoulder did not feel fine.  I had to switch my Garmin to my right hand, and hold my left arm close to my body to avoid shoulder pain.  I imagine I looked like an adorably shy runner.

Legal secretaries must have shoulders of steel.

I am still figuring out this newer foot issue (and of course the ole buttcrease problem), but nothing is out of control, nothing too painful.  I'll do a full body check-in closer to the marathon for anyone who is keeping tabs. I'm expecting the shoulder thing to be on its way after I give it a good lecture, and avoid any binder making workshops.

My week in running:

I didn't feel great enough this week to accomplish a stellar tempo or something else to be proud of....but looking back at the week, I'm happy I found a way to incorporate a challenging element (hill sprints, stairs) into most of the runs, despite my body not feeling like it wanted to.

  • Monday: 0
  • Tuesday: 12.4 (with 10 hill sprints, the hill was about a 75 second "sprint," or 0.2 mile).
  • Wednesday: 14.5 (with 8 miles--not consecutive-- at 6:35-6:55 pace).
  • Thursday:  14.5 a.m. (Progression run, about 10 seconds faster each mile: first mile at 9:00, fourteenth mile at 6:41).  3 p.m.
  • Friday: 0 (one hour swim)
  • Saturday: 18.2 (first 4 miles with fartleks and two hill sprints)
  • Sunday: 13 (with 10 sets of stairs at Lake Merritt's Cleveland Cascade.  Described by one Yelper as the "outdoor stairmaster".  Picture below)
  • Total: 75.6

Thursday morning's progression run was spontaneous (i.e. not planned, much like every run I've ever met) and is a run I have never done outside before.  I'd say 92% of my treadmill runs are progression runs, and I love them.  I find it the best way to get the most out of 1 hour.  But it is VERY hard for me to mentally focus enough outside on pacing to nudge it up each mile.  My mind wanders without the belt beneath my feet forcing me to keep a certain pace.

This outside progression run was much easier than a treadmill progression run, because on a treadmill I usually start around 8.0 mph (7:30 pace) and end up around 9.3 mph (6:27 pace) ....whereas here, I started slower (9:00), so all of the first 10 miles were comfortable.  In fact, everything about progression runs is pretty comfortable, since the speed sneaks up so slowly you are suddenly blasting away at full throttle, not sure how you got there.


Hey girl.  Let's age really badly together. 

I go by "Rose" in these parts, so you'd think Valentine's day would be my holiday.  Wait no.  Actually, you'd think "she can't even get married right, of course she hates Valentine's day".  Both of youse is wrong.  I got "youse" from my ironically favorite band, "Personal and the Pizzas."  They rock.  I don't wanna be no personal pizza, I just wanna live my life.  

I think Valentine's day is a sweet holiday.  I love seeing flowers come into the office (for other people), I love that people are happy and thinking about **LOVE** all day--and don't give me mouth about it being a sad holiday for people who are single, there is always love.  For your mom, or dad, or grandma, or grandpa, or siblings, or niece, or nephew, or children, or best friend, or neighbor.  It is very sad if none of those exist in someone's life, but when I say it is a sweet holiday, I mean for the reminder to think of those you love, and not just your boyfriend/girlfriend/wife.

Here's what I don't like about Valentine's day:

1) stereotypes of men running around like a chicken with their head cut off to buy roses and/or diamonds at the last minute in order to appease the stereotype of a high maintenance woman who demands acknowledgment via expensive material things that she is beeeaautiful.

2) when people give me a sad look of concern when I say that I won't be getting flowers/chocolate/diamonds from my husband, and that I like it that way.  Nobody believes that you don't want flowers.  Everybody believes that I am telling myself a sad lie in order to cope with the devastation of being in a relationship with someone who doesn't run around like a chicken with his head cut off to buy last minute $80 roses on his way home from work.

The only person who I consent to giving me flowers is my mom. Remember these?

I forgot to reveal that these were from my mom after we told our families we were married.  Everyone else sent me hate texts.   

I know a ton of us don't "celebrate" Valentine's day with gifts.  Maybe even the majority? There are many other beautiful ways to celebrate without the heavy-handed reminders to do it with roses and jewelry.  We had a delicious crock pot meal of chicken and dumplings for dinner (a coincidence; we had been planning on making it one day and Thursday morning was the morning we had time to get the crock pot cooking), but since it was V day, we also opened a bottle of wine, put on the slow jams (not), and had one of the 365 days filled with love that we have each year.

Even though diamonds are my greatest enemy, not my best friend, you bet I still wore hearts.

It's a vest that comes out once a year.

I wish each and every one of you a mega amount of love in your life, yes, even TODAY (plain old February 17), and tomorrow, and all of February, and all of March, you get the idea.

(And let me know if you are interested in a comforting and easy chicken and dumplings crock pot recipe.  Salty, doughy goodness).

Ice Cream Headache In My Foot

Starting this week with a jambalaya of random.  First, in running.

  • Monday: 0
  • Tuesday: 0 (one hour swimming)
  • Wednesday: 9.2 a.m., 4.4 p.m., 13.6 total.
  • Thursday: 14.2 a.m. (6 x 1 mile at 6:45-6:55 pace, 1/2 mile easy in between, and 2 long-ish hill sprints) 3.3 p.m., 17.5 total.
  • Friday: 13.2 
  • Saturday: 22.3
  • Sunday: 12.5
  • Total: 79.1 miles

I spent the first part of the week resting my legs, which were sore after last weekends half marathon.

The shorter evening runs are always with the Gentleman, and usually take place at 7:00 or 8:00 p.m., at which time we get home and neither one of us is brave enough to turn down the others' suggestion that we run around the lake.  Thursday's evening run was in the pouring rain, followed by picking up a Round Table Pizza, because desperate times call for desperate measures.  And we were desperate because we forgot to grocery shop the prior weekend.  Hey, did you know that fancy pizza is more affordable than Round Table? Cheers to that.

The second part of the week was mostly easy, fun miles.

Saturday's 22.3 miles is the only one worth a minute here on the blog.  I'm finally feeling okay about the endurance angle.  I ran 26.2 just...9 weeks ago I think, and have sprinkled a few 20 milers in since then.  And this weekend was a nice solidification that the endurance is there.  I felt energetic at mile 22, and while the miles were much slower than marathon pace (8:00-8:30 on the flats, 9:00-10:30 on the hills), it reminded me that 26.2 miles is not that intimidating.  It's not.  Of course, it's the whole running 26.2 miles in a row at a fast pace without stopping that is intimidating...

Part of why the 22.3 miles felt good may be that I've been taking an iron supplement regularly for 1-2 weeks now.  I should fully be able to tell if it has kicked in within another week or two, but as of now, this supplement is treating me well:

I ordered this on Amazon recently after bookmarking it when I read Inspirunning's endorsement of it.  So far, no stomach problems.  So far, not as fatigued as I had been on long runs a few weeks ago.  It's not a cheap habit (30 pills/$15 after shipping), so I'll probably only use it to pick myself up when I'm feeling lower energy, as I had been in January.

Another notable thing about this run, was my attempt to deal with my right foot and the possible plantar fasciitis I experienced during the Kaiser half marathon while wearing these shoes:

Brooks Pure Cadence 2

Several of you encouraged me to give these shoes the boot after they made my foot go stiff and numb while racing.  I plugged my ears and sang, "la la la la," because I had convinced myself they were my marathon shoe, that they were going to give me a faster and springier turnover than the plush Nike Air Pegasus' that my feet sank into while running CIM.  With 3 weeks until Napa marathon, I don't know if I have time to start experimenting with a new pair of marathon shoes.

The foot issue came back full force when I started on Saturday's long run.  I can only describe the feeling as an "ice cream headache," but in my foot.  You know? It's that lingering shock feeling like when you jump off the monkey bars at recess and land on your feet too hard.

I ran four miles in the Brooks, then came home to switch shoes because it felt awful.  I put on the Nike Air Pegasus, and had zero problems with my foot the rest of the run.

But, my hope for the Brooks was not lost!  My friend Jessica suggested I take out the inserts and replace them with old ones from another pair of shoes.  I did that.  Then I went on a 12 mile run in the Brooks.  Success!?!? I didn't have any foot problems.  I'll keep trying that, and hopefully time will prove that the inserts were the problem.  They do have a visibly stronger arch lump than the flatter inserts on all my other shoes.  I'll be trademarking "arch lump".

Random stuff to catch up on:

1) Chobani hasn't sent me any free shit.  I recommend this Fruyo stuff from Fage instead, eat that, Chobani.  It's good.

ladies and gents, it's just YOGURT.  WHO CARES.

2) My niece finally likes me about 3% as much as I am obsessed with her.  She used to like me significantly less.

poor kiddo was sick

My first hug from her!

I was in heaven.  She kept running back to give me hugs.  Swoon!

These pictures are from my parents home last Sunday, Superbowl.  I had run the Kaiser half that morning, and I actively noticed that my running life is distinct from my family and friend life.  The race never came up, and I'm not one to shove running in non-runners ears, so the day came and left and I never had a reason or opportunity to share.  I'm curious if anyone else has an active running life and/or blog, but keeps it mostly to themselves.  In my day to day life, I'm not associating with many people who care about running other than as a thing they joke about doing because they ate too many donuts.....

Too bad my parents will HAVE to act like they care about the Napa marathon, since I will be sleeping all up in their home before it, and all up in their shower after it.

3) Look who I got lunch with!

The one, the only, blurry,
Page and I work in the same city and have finally initiated what will soon be a very common occurrence by getting lunch.  RIGHT Page? We got delicious pho.  It's a Vietnamese noodle soup dish, but you already knew that.  I also savored half of an avocado shake.

The special kind of look that bloggers exchange over an expanse of table

4) A story.

This speakeasy movie theater that I saw Life of Pi at, was such a great experience that we soon returned, not once, but twice.  We saw Beasts of the Southern Wild last weekend, and Jack Reacher this weekend (as for the latter, can't be too choosy at this theater.  They feature few movies at a time, and this weekend, Jack Reacher was one of them).

This place is all sorts of quirky

Theatre 1, all set up for eating and movie watching

The upstairs comfort zone

We order a million things from their delicious kitchen, park ourselves on a couch, eat, and watch.  Most recently we got a quesadilla full of vegetables, an almond butter and jelly sandwich, a bucket of popcorn, and these fried cheesy rice ball things.

Between the food and the vibe, we love this place.  There is, of course, one problem.

The problem is that Oakland is a divided city.  There are relatively safe places, and by relatively safe I mean that muggings, burglaries, penis flashings, and vehicle theft occur, but a lucky majority who pass through probably do not experience it.  In my neighborhood, I've had the joy of my car being broken into and a penis flashing.  Pure joy. And I consider my neighborhood a good one.  L.O.L. with sadness. yuck.

Then there are places where all my hairs stand on end the second I drive through.  Or accidentally run through.  I quickly learned that you can't just go "wandering" while running in Oakland.

This theater is on the cusp of one of those areas that make my hair stand on end.  All of a sudden the streets are more shadowy, more deserted, more filled with liquor stores, more filled with people who have tourette's syndrome (which is to say, people who have no reservations about spewing nonsense and threats as they walk by strangers).  Just two blocks away and I'd be fine walking around by myself, but on this street, no.

And this is why on our second trip to this theatre, we went during the day.  Daylight equals safety, no?

On our third trip, this weekend, we thought it was silly to waste a beautiful 60 degree day inside of a movie theatre.  So we opted to go in the evening.

As soon as we parked my car, I secured the Club on good and tight.  I gave a kiss goodbye to my car.  I don't take the loyal thing for granted since it was just stolen from me by some crooks last summer (and recovered by the Emeryville police one week later).  In fact, every time I park that car in public, I half expect it to be gone when I return.

We walked towards the theater, just 100 yards away, and in that short walk I saw a very pretty car with its window smashed out.  "Honey.  honey, LOOK.  shit.  I don't know.  I don't know about parking here....I'm sure the neighborhood has learned that all these cars' owners are gone for a solid 2 hours in the movie theatre."

He said "I see it."  And then for no good reason, I said, "If that happens to my car, you're paying for the window."  As if it was his fault that we both decided to see a movie....

For two hours we zoned out with Jack Reacher, who put me on edge well enough since he is like kill, punch, shoot, stab, kill.  The movie finished, we made fun of it, began the 100 yard walk back to my car, and as soon as my sweet little car was in eyesight, I gave it a good scan to make sure the windows were intact.

I could not. believe. my motherfucking eyes.


This was a moment I DREAM about.  In a vengeful kind of way.  Ever since my car was stolen last summer, I have had daydreams about getting back to my car JUST in the nick of time before the thieves broke in and drove away, giving them a loud and bitch gone crazy piece of my mind, and scaring them away and into the arms of the heroes, the Emeryville police.

Trust me, I was NOT happy to see someone breaking in to my car, but on the other hand, I was PUMPED that I was about to catch them.  And also in the back of my head, a little worried I was about to get shot.  Fucking Oakland.

The mess of adrenaline has kind of obscured my memory of what happened next, but I think it went like this:

Me: grabs the Gentlemans arm, "there's someone! at my car! trying to get in!"
Gentleman: starts SPRINTING towards my car, yelling "HEY! HEY!"
Me: sprints after the Gentleman, yelling "that's my CAR, what the HELL are you doing!?"
Gentleman: "what the FUCK are you doing!"

Thief: nonchalantly, slowly, steps away from my car, walks away, acts like nothing is going on.

Me and Gentleman: have sprinted well enough that we are now at the car, defending my sweet little 1999 Honda.  awaiting some sort of stand-off.  prepared to fight to the death.  (not really, not at all, but we were kind of stupid pumped and not prepared for anything).

Thief: ever so quietly, "my car looks the same.  I'm sorry.  Sorry." and.....he was gone.

The kicker is, he wasn't lying.  We watched him get into his car.  It was silver, mine is white, his was parked on a different side of the lot, so he is fucking stupid, but he wasn't lying.

Then we felt pretty bad.  I think that guy had also just got out of Jack Reacher, and was just as paranoid as we were that the real world is all about guns and kill and guns.  He was scared shitless that we had just come charging at him with threatening voices.

Moral of the story: we now know how we would react if we caught someone trying to break into my car.  And we now know that IF this ever happens for real, um, we will not run TOWARDS a crazy person who is desperate enough to break into a car.  Shout, maybe.  Blow a whistle, I dunno.  Not run towards them.  Decision final.


Kaiser Half Marathon 2013

Aw crap.  I waited too long to do this recap.  Let's see, what do I remember....

This race experience is a little familiar.  It goes something like, "things went okay" but "damn I had this PAIN I was dealing with the whole time" and "I wish I could just race all out with a pain-free set of legs."

Only the pain wasn't the kind I was wasn't the kind I was prepared for.

In hindsight, of course, I should have seen the signs.  Earlier in the week, I noticed a couple aches in my right foot, but I am so focused on paying attention to how my buttcrease/leg-lock feels that I brushed it away without thinking about it at all.

The race:

I had a pain in my right foot that began at mile 3 (note: chronic buttcrease/leg-lock issue is the left leg).  I'm going to go ahead and guess it is plantar fasciitis.  First it stiffened my foot up, kind of crawled up to my calf, and I couldn't shake it off, but tried my best to run through it.

Luckily I was gifted the downhill miles of 6-7, which gave me a sweet reprieve from my prior inclination to drop out and shake my foot back to life.

From miles 8-11, the foot went totally numb.  Then the inner ankle began to throb because who knows why.  I guess the whole dang foot wanted to have a fit?

I have been golf-balling the outside-bottom of my right foot since the race. It felt fine right after the race, feels fine when I walk, and today felt fine while on an easy run.

I really want to stick with the Brooks Pure Cadence.  I should obviously worry about the shoes I was wearing since this was a big old FOOT problem, but I really don't want to blame them.  I like them so much.  What to wear for the Napa marathon in 3 weeks!?

As for the dreaded leg-lock, I really only remember it causing me despair during mile 3.  We had turned around the Golden Gate Park panhandle and started going up an incline, and the leg-lock feeling reared it's head (along with the foot pain).  It was demoralizing.  I slowed down and thought about how I didn't want to run 10 more miles like this.  Then I decided, "shut it down you fergy ferguson, just keep running until you CAN'T".  So I kept running, and suddenly it was already mile 7, and there's no quitting when you're already halfway done!

Besides my foot and the mile 3 leg-lock scare, I felt solid and strong, the weather was just GORGEOUS, the course is my new favorite find for a race (more on that below), and, drumroll, I GOT A PERSONAL RECORD Y'ALL!

My Garmin tweaked to a screen that was unfamiliar to me, so I never knew what time I was on track for until I started steaming towards the finish line.  Darn it would have been nice to get under 1:26:00!

Official: 1:26:21, 6:35 pace, 4/565 place in age group, 22/2994 place woman.

Garmin: 1:26:21 for 13.24 miles (I likely did not run the tangents well because the crowds were pretty thick), 6:31 pace.

Mile 1: 6:20
Mile 2: 6:15
Mile 3: 6:38  (The mile in which I start to give up because...I hurt)

Mile 4: 6:29
Mile 5: 6:34
Mile 6: 6:13
Mile 7: 6:05  (The point where I gain momentum from downhill miles and decide not to quit)

Mile 8: 6:41
Mile 9: 6:55  (The mile where I think "no problem, that mile was uphill, I'll make this up later" only to learn every mile along a boring highway feels uphill).

Mile 10: 6:41
Mile 11: 6:43
Mile 12: 6:38
Mile 13:  6:28 (The mile where I thought "pick it UP YOU'RE ALMOST DONE.")

0.24: 1:29

I went with compression socks that I got from a secret santa this year.  

FINALLY I meet someone with calves bigger than mine

I ran 3.4 miles before the race and 5.4 miles after, which was the distance from my car parked in the Civic Center to the start, and then the distance from the finish back to my car.  For a total of 22 miles.

The 3.4 miles before hand was not as leisurely as I had planned.  I ran my guts up the big climb from Civic Center to Golden Gate Park (if you've run Bay to Breakers, you know the one) to try and make it to the start on time.  The parking lot I had banked on using was CLOSED when I got there at 7:15 a.m., so I scrambled to find somewhere else to park (STREET PARKING ISN'T FREE IN SAN FRANCISCO ON SUNDAYS DAMMIT) then shot out of my car and ran the 3+ hilly miles to the start with exactly 2 minutes before the starting gun.  No time for a bathroom stop, barely shoved my timing chip on my shoe, tried to stretch after cramming myself in about 12 rows deep to the front.

The 5.4 miles back to my car were slowwww, as I juggled a swag bag of chocolate milk and bananas.

Let me swoon over this race for a minute here.  I cannot wait to run it again next year!

It felt like one big gathering of Bay Area superstars.  I mean, I spotted a lot of my local heros (Devon Crosby-Helms, Caitlin Smith), which I was not expecting because I was under the false assumption that this was a pretty small race.  I think there were at least 5,000 half marathoners! Perfect balance of mass energy but manageable crowds!  Other than that, I just remember tailing several strong, beautiful women in their spandex shorts (men, it isn't only you who can't look away) and being inspired by how many bad-ass runners live in this half of California.

The first half of the course is through Golden Gate Park, which bless the Tenderloin's urine smelling heart, is the one thing about living in San Francisco that I miss with a passion.  I loved those first 7 miles through the park, with the the museums, the greenery, the ups and the downs, I just love it.  Reminder to myself to BART into the city on the weekends and run around GG Park when I have a free day.

The course is then followed by 6 miles along the beach highway.  I was warned this part would be tough, and it is, but because the toughness was almost entirely MENTAL (staring down a straight never-ending highway for 3 miles, begging the whole while for any hint of the turnaround) I actually enjoyed it in a masochistic kind of way.  I found myself hating it (see: my mile 9 pace) but because I purposely chose NOT to run with music, I had the time to talk to myself and remember things like "pain is temporary, you will regret not running harder here," and thinking, "foot, ow, foot, what is wrong with my foot, not cool, not cool at all."

I can't wait to face those tedious last 6 miles again year after year of this race, and laugh in the face of the beach wind, the monotony, and the phantom turnarounds.  +1 San Francisco. 

Get up already

Hopefully I'm not repeating myself with this post, but it occurred to me that except for this topic occasionally coming up in the comments section, I've never discussed my routine as a steadfastly morning runner.  And I've gotten enough questions ("how do you have time to run so many miles a week!") that I might as well walk through it with y'all.

There are so many different ways to go about morning running.  You can be really prepared about it by getting up hella early and taking the time to fully wake up, eat some food, warm up, stretch, get a lot of miles in.  You can wake up with just enough time to have coffee, hit the bathroom, and go.  You can sleep in your running clothes.  You can run in the dark, with a headlamp or a friend.  You can head to the treadmill in your basement or drive to the gym or a lit track.

You can also forget about all the logistics of being a morning runner and run instead during your lunch break, or after work, or when your kid is napping/at school, or after dinner.

Probably not surprising to those of you who noticed I am prone to cut corners when it comes to saving time (arriving at a race 4 minutes before it starts....not stretching, not doing yoga, not doing squats....eating pre-packaged food instead of planning out a nice evening meal), but my morning running is all about minimalism.

1) I WILL NOT drive anywhere.  It's out my front door or nothing.  Occasionally I will run to the gym (0.5 mile away) and sometimes I will drive the half-hour to my "temporary" glamour gym near my work so that I can swim in the a.m.  But for time saving purposes, all of my outdoor morning runs are out the front door.

2) I do not take the time to wake up.  I often start waking up when I hit 20 yards of running and realize my legs are moving and I'm not dreaming.  My first mile is usually 9:00 minutes on the dot.  Slow and steady, waking up.

3) I do not eat.  Do not eat, do not eat before a work morning run.  I do eat on the weekends before a run, because those runs usually start at 10:00 a.m. or later, and I wouldn't make it 2 miles without eating.  But weekday runs, no food, which feels fine up to 18 miles.  I do drink water while I run.

This has always felt 100% fine for me energy wise, and I know a lot of other runners operate this way. I attribute it to years of adjusting to morning running (I first tested out running in the morning in high-school to get a leg up on my soccer endurance, so we're talking around 12 years).  Since those high school years, I have eaten high calorie dinners, and I think my body kind of knows that it needs to store up for the next morning because it loves to eat right before bed.  I'll eat dinner sometime between 7:30-9:00, then snack or dessert until bed.  I don't go to bed stuffed, but I never go to bed anything close to hungry.  If I even think I might be almost near hungry, I have a snack.  I guess that is called "topping it off" before bed.  And I feel great on morning runs thanks to it.

4) No coffee.  It would sure help to get the bathroom sitch done quicker, but I don't want to take the time to make it, drink it, and I like the boost caffeine gives me on race days as someone who is not immune to it from drinking it daily.

5) Alarm.  Once I wake up, with an alarm or on my own shortly before the alarm, I'm up for good.  No snooze button necessary.  I will turn off the alarm, and just lay there for 5-10 minutes.  Soaking in the warmth of the bed.  Consider not running and going back to sleep, but somehow, I always choose the run over sleep.  Then I get up, and unless I have a battle with my Garmin or the bathroom, I'm out the door in 15 minutes.

6) Post-run.  Only the rest of the world has to suffer from the fact that I don't put much time into beautifying myself.  I stretch for 2 minutes, shower in 3 minutes, put clothes on in 3 minutes, put make-up on and brush my hair in 2 minutes, throw my breakfast/lunch/snacks into my workbag and drive away.  Average 10-15 minutes.  This means I get to run 2 more miles in the morning than if I took 30 minutes to get ready! yay!

20-minute face.  You're welcome EVERYBODY

10-minute prep.  Sorry world!

As for the evening, I can run up to maybe 5 or 6 miles, but in general evening running is not for me.  After commuting home, I want to go on a slow walk or hit the couch.  Since I stand most of the day at work, the couch feels welcome.

My standing work station keeps evolving.  This is the current creation.  

Also, I am typically a solo runner, but when it comes to evening running I prefer to have company.  Analyze THAT.

7) Depending on when I wake up, I usually give myself time to run from 1-2 hours, which means anywhere from 7-16 miles depending on how fast I'm going.  I seem to hit the 11-14 mile range most often.

What's your morning running routine? Or lunch, evening? Does anyone switch it up?


I'm running a half marathon tomorrow in San Francisco.  Since I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt of being TOO COOL to stay at home on a Saturday night reading blogs, and TOO AWESOME to be awake before 10:00 a.m. on a Sunday, I will probably have finished the thing before you read this.  So....I just ran a half marathon.  Unless something went terribly wrong.  Hopefully I didn't just curse myself.

I'm hoping to run a few miles before and after to make it a long run, even though last time I did this I regretted it fiercely.  But since I don't know where to park, I'm forced to use running as my means of transportation to the start line.  And back home.  It works out.

Plan: run hard, see how my leg-lock/buttcrease behaves.  It's so off and on these days.  There were a few days earlier this week where I was like "yes! It's gone, I can't find it!" and then woke up the next day with a tight buttcrease.  blerg!

Plan Ruiner: the story of a toothache is not a very interesting one, but it is a true story and it has attacked my running this week, in a few ways.

See, I have a toothache.  It developed last Sunday evening, and by Wednesday morning after two nights of laying (lying?) awake in pain, I made an emergency dentist appointment.  I had been loading my body with all sorts of pain relief drugs (something I never do....I hate drugs) and none of them were doing a thing.

I either have an infection underneath a crown (I had a root canal on this tooth 8 years ago) or the tooth is "cracked" underneath the crown.  I'm on day 4 of penicillin (which I was warned may have unpleasant side effects that nobody wants to have while trying to run a half-marathon...)  I'm on day 7 of avoiding crunchy foods, and of chewing on my non-dominant side of my mouth, both which make one of my favorite things (eating!) less enjoyable.  And I'm on day 3 of blissful sleep, pain free, thanks to codeine.

I'm not too worried about how the drugs and tooth pain impacts my run tomorrow, but if the pain persists, I'm going to have to schedule surgery to get it yanked which may mean having to take a week off (at least that's what I recall happening when I got my wisdom teeth removed).  This makes me worry a little, since I am 4 weeks out from a marathon.

But then I can say, "I should have PR'd, but, my tooth!" and I will gracefully bow, having gifted the blog world the lamest marathon fail excuse ever known.

Week so far:

Monday: 9.2 miles.
Tuesday: 15 miles a.m. 4 miles p.m. (19 total).
Wednesday: 11.3 miles a.m. (3 x 2 miles at about a 6:55 pace with a half mile recovery in between).
Thursday:  12.8 miles a.m. (4 miles of fartleks followed by hilly slow run); 3 miles p.m. (holding a massive burrito from a taco truck for the last mile for strength training). (15.8 total)
Friday: 4.6 miles.
Saturday: 0 miles.

Now go watch the Superbowl and update your Facebook status so everyone knows that YOU are watching it and that YOU especially love sports.  Damn, you're cool!