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Running!

Has been nice.

Still trying to work on the leg-lock, including sitting on a tennis ball (no baseballs in this house) with my ankle over my knee, total torture.  I have no idea what I'm doing, which is probably dangerous.  But several wise runners have given me that advice, so I am sitting on that ball.  I have also been thinking really hard about doing lots of squats and lunges every day.  Thinking about it is half the battle...right?

Two more treadmill speed sessions since we last met.  Who knows if it will translate to running faster outside, but so far it has translated to running faster on the treadmill!

1) 10x800m repeats at 2:58 (10.1 mph/ 5:56 pace) with quarter mile recovery
--Compared to a couple weeks ago, where I needed longer recoveries towards the end, and was doing 2:59's (big difference, I know not really)

2) 4x2 mile repeats at 6:18 (9.5 mph) with quarter mile recovery
--Compared to a couple weeks ago, where I ran 5x1 mile at 6:18, and needed longer recoveries towards the end.

I tried to squeeze another treadmill speed workout in this morning (tuesday) but it wasn't happening.  I immediately felt overworked by the relatively attainable paces, so I called it off, shall try again later in the week.

These attempts at speedwork have some purpose, because a notion of my 2013 running future is beginning to take shape.

The first race on target: the See Jane Run half marathon in Alameda in early June.  Just a little over five weeks away already, whoa!  


I only found out this week that I would get to run it, and I'll be running it for the third year in a row (danger! did not love running Oakland for my third year, boredom possibly to blame).  I had been holding out because of the possibility of a complimentary race entry, and yippee ki-yay, I got a golden ticket!  See Jane Run has generously SuperJaned me (that's official language) which makes this the first time I have said "yes" to a sponsor relationship opportunity.  Even though I don't run for chocolate and champagne (I don't think that's in my SuperJane contract at least), I'm more than happy to throw my SuperJane cape on and link arms with this local running store.  I've been a patron to the bay area See Jane Run stores since I was a teenager, including to buy the cute orange shorts on my tush in the pic below. 

See Jane Run 2012
See Jane Run 2011

After two disappointing race experiences where I ran significantly slower than expected , had some body issues, and generally didn't feel sharp/energetic/fast, (Napa, Oakland) I have a lot of fear going into my next race.  My fear is that now that I know what it's like to expect to run a 1:26 and instead run a 1:31 (or to expect a 3:03 and run a 3:09), that I have no control over my goals.  I would love to aim for a PR for this next See Jane Run half (under 1:26:21), and given I've been working pretty hard on the treadmill for a few weeks now I like to think that would lead to some results.  But I have no idea what to expect now.  I felt stronger than a 3:09 in March when I ran Napa, even with my leg-lock problems.  I feel stronger than a 1:26 some days of the week.  But I haven't felt great on race days on my last two attempts.  That's scary.  I keep imagining myself hitting mile three or four of any future race and falling apart or just stepping aside to quit.  I know it's not actually that big of a deal to have two bad races, and I totally expect and have excitement about the fact that I will get to redeem those races at some point.  But since that redemption is still a question mark in the future, I have this fear that I am perpetually only going to get slower and have more body problems.

Next up is a similar story for the San Francisco half marathon (the second half).  I think it's in June or July, and I am waiting to find out if I can run it "on the house" because I applied for a free entry (sub 1:30 runners get to apply to run for free).

Then I've got the San Jose Rock n' Roll half in the fall, signed up for it a while back because of a good coupon code.

And I'm locked in for CIM already, I signed up extra early for a race for the first time ever thinking it was smart to save money with the early $85 fee, and learned my lesson.  Right after I handed over my credit card I realized I will likely be on my honeymoon next December. Dumb.

SO.  With CIM out of the picture, I'd like to set my sights on some other Fall marathon.

Chicago would have been perfect.  But as with all the big ones, I understand you are too late if you don't sign up in a flurry within the hour that registration opened, and then tweet/facebook/blog about it 300 times.

So a brief search has found: Portland; Long Beach; and Grandma's in Minnesota.  I want the answer to be Long Beach so I can do the least/cheapest traveling.  Anyone feel strongly either way about the Long Beach marathon in October? Thanks.

IN OTHER NEWS

Shit, life is happening this year.

In the past week, we have made headway on our goals to 1) buy a house, 2) have a wedding, and 3) book our honeymoon.

1) buy a house.

We started the ball rolling on getting a home mortgage loan, and went on a city hike popping into open homes to get a feel for what's available at what price listings.  One of the open homes we found ourselves in was a small, bizarre home in Piedmont that was selling for $1.2 million.  Let me repeat: small and bizarre.  That's what $1.2 million gets you in the snobby island carved into Oakland where rich people move so their precious children don't have to associate with non-rich black kids in their precious school district.  (That's my take on Piedmont anyway. Not like I wouldn't snap up one of those beautiful homes if I could!)

2) Wedding.

We booked a date! And a location! August.  Now all I need is to go on the bridal crash diet so I look orange and stupid thin on my wedding day and everyone can fawn over me.

Of course, it will be casual, and I have the right to wear grey or gain extra bride pounds if I feel like it.  But I'm very excited with our decisions so far.  Hopefully family and friends appreciate that this is our celebration, the only celebration, instead of getting hung up on the fact that they weren't there when we signed a piece of paper.

3) Honeymoon.

South America!?!?

We have our eye on Peru and whatever else in South America can be hiked, eaten, explored.  Argentina? Chile? Brazil? Galapagos?  Suggestions welcome.

Bonus round of In Other News:

4) One half of two little runners

An internet blind date success! I've always loved the two little runners because they are both lawyers,  who have gained much strength and speed in a short time, who know and share a lot of running wisdom (strength train those glutes already!).  And they are the authors of one of my favorite race recaps ever, because of how they tag-teamed the recap, because the wind descriptions make me laugh, and because it reminds me to find some humor in the bad races.

I forced Penny to have dinner with me while she was in town for work and tried (maybe unsuccessfully) to prove that Oakland is super cool despite her dodgy hotel.  She's running her FIRST marathon this Sunday with huge ambitions (sub 3:30? no, lower... sub 3:20? no, lower...) so go wish her luck and any first-timer advice.  Kristen (the other half of the two little runners), I'm coming after you next.


Just imagine us three cute lawyers yelling "objection! Tort! Res judicata" while running.

Finally,

5) Twitter.

I'm giving twitter a trial period.

During the scary hours on the Monday of the Boston marathon, it struck me that social media can be useful in urgent times.  You can connect to people you know, or follow news outlets to get instant answers.  I want to taste it and see if I need it or if I can continue to live without.

I would love it if you follow me, perhaps it will prove to be an excellent and easy avenue to connect with internet blog friends.  @RoseRunnerBlog.  @your service.

I guess you can watch me have private conversations with friends, publicly?  Is that what it's for? I desperately need a tutorial, for real, I don't know how to do anything but read my home page.  Anyway, no promises for any sort of consistency.  Posting every day? multiple times a day?! Every hour!!!?? No way am I going to share that much of my life.  Sounds boring for everyone. Strange.

So far my home home page primarily consists of comedians being hilarious (that's who I follow) and oh my god I have never laughed so hard at my iPhone (besides the times I FaceTime my niece and she shows off by jumping on the bed while holding the handrail in this really spastic way.  Then she always hits her head and cries.  It's sad, but mostly funny).  The laughter is primarily thanks to @michaelianblack and @Will_Ferrell, even though I never understand what the hell Will Ferrell is re-tweeting.  Usually it has something to do with Kim Kardashian's butt?  But seriously, Michael Ian Black.  I am saddened to think of all his tweets I have missed out on in the past.

####Tweetles!

Catch Up

A lot of blog-worthy material has fallen between the cracks in the last few weeks, as our attention was focused on Boston, and before that my attention was devoted to reading the many, many contributions to our roast of blog product-placement.  I spent the evening time that I would normally devote to tossing up a blog post to reading and replying to all of your contributions, which in turn made me realize how HARD it must be to blog full time.  Not.

Also, there were many, many words in defense of having a running coach.  It sounds like it is purely a personality thing.  Some personalities love or need that extra push.  For others, the joy of running is lost when you are following orders.

Ever since my dreadful Oakland half marathon performance, I have listened to my coach (me) and got my bad self on the treadmill for various workouts, all of which I really enjoyed, all of which I feel do help me as a runner.

I know there is a lot of debate about the laziness of choosing the treadmill over the open roads.  I would say 24 out of 25 of my runs are normally outside, the remaining one on the treadmill, and usually because of rain or darkness.

However, right now I have been choosing the treadmill once or twice a week, despite the gorgeous California weather, because my coach (...still me) is kind of a pushover, and lets me compromise between my desires to work hard and my desires to "check out" mentally when I am running.  The treadmill lets me work hard and check out.  6:30 pace? Sure, plug that pace it, turn brain off, go.

The famous "is the treadmill easier or harder debate."  Whatever the answer, which for me is often that the treadmill feels harder just because of the freaking hot sweaty smelly factor of the gym (and the headache I get from staring at the news), I always set the treadmill to a 1.0% incline to supposedly level the playing field a little bit.

The following were all done at 1.0% incline, in 60 minutes on the treadmill, in this chronological order, over the last three weeks, all but the last two workouts made up on the fly for the most part.

*(I know I'm about to lose many of you here who do not care about the technicalities of a running workout, or who don't care for treadmills, but many of these would easily translate to the road or track.  Meet you on the other side to those of you who don't care)*

Workout # 1:

PLAN:
Start at 7.0 mph
Bump up 0.1 mph every minute
at 30 minutes (10 mph, or 6:00 minute pace), start bumping down 0.1 mph every minute.

ACTUAL:
This workout did not go as planned.
I got to the 30th minute, ran my 10.0 mph minute, and then had to take a break.  I finished the remaining 30 minutes by hanging around an 8.8-9.0 mph pace.

Workout # 2

PLAN/ACTUAL:
Start at 7.5 mph
Bump up by 0.1 mph every two minutes.
at 40 minutes, (9.5 mph, or 6:18 minute pace), start bumping down by 0.1 every 2-3 minutes.

Workout # 3:

PLAN:
One mile warm up.
6 mile repeats at 9.5 mph (6:18 minute pace) with a quarter mile recovery (7.0 mph) in between each.

ACTUAL:
This worked for the first 3 repeats; then I started taking a half mile recovery in between each.  Like I said, my coach is a pushover.

Workout # 4: 

PLAN:
Ten 800m repeats
quarter mile recovery in between each
at 2:59 each (10.1 mph speed mixed with 10.0 mph speed).

ACTUAL:
This worked out fine (for each repeat I started at 10.1 mph (5:56 pace), then after 2 minutes of grunting I would bump it down to 10.0 mph (6:00 pace) and figured that made for a 2:59 repeat).  After the first 6 or 7 repeats, I started giving myself a longer recovery (0.30-0.40 mile recovery).

Workout # 5:

PLAN:
A lactate threshold wave tempo workout that I learned by following a coach's Facebook tips.

5 mile tempo where each mile is divided in half by 9.1 mph (6:35 pace) for the first half mile, 9.8 mph (6:07 pace) for the second half mile.  I picked these paces based on a 6:20ish "threshold" pace.

ACTUAL:
This went well, except I did have to stretch out my leg-lock issue a couple times, but at least waited until the 6:35 pace portion to do that and tried to keep the stretch to 10 seconds.  Finished the hour at 8.8 to 9.2 mph paces.

Workout # 6

PLAN:
Full hour aerobic wave tempo workout, also found by the Facebook coach.
Hour tempo run alternating one mile at 8.5 mph (7:03 pace) with the next mile at 9.3 mph (6:27 pace).

ACTUAL:
This one also went well, except for some leg-lock stretching.

Leg-lock: I could use your help.

I've often associated this feeling with the buttcrease pain, but lately, I haven't really had buttcrease pain at all.  Just the leg-lock.  While trying to really pay attention to the source of the locking sensation (it is very hard to even recall the pain/sensation when it is not happening, making it hard for physical therapists to help me out), I have noted that it now feels like the locking happens around my knee.  The outer knee, inner knee, upper knee--like the whole thing kind of seizes up, and that sensation sometimes spasms down to my calf, making my calf cramp.

Any similar experiences? Cures? Your advice will be useful in the meantime, before I visit a new PT.  I've been trying to meet her but she is in San Francisco, which basically requires I miss a half-day of work to make an appointment (my office is 45 minutes away).  It's not easy to do that.

**Other Stuff That Happened** 

Oakland Runners for Boston

Thursday evening I ran 3 miles to our local See Jane Run running store with the Gentleman, because that was the headquarters for a 3 mile run in honor of the victims of the Boston bombings and in support of Boston.  The lovely and always amazing Oakland police came out to escort us as we took over College ave, and the long trail of runners (I would guess about 300 runners?) got solid attention which was a nice visual reminder to Oakland residents and to myself that runners are indeed so crazy that running is the least they can do to show their support for people hundreds of miles away.

6.6 miles total with this stud, which is the most I have ever seen him do!

Beth was also there, and we ended with a candlelit moment of silence in Snow Park. It was great to see so many local runners for the impromptu event, and thank you to See Jane Run for organizing!

In other news, Oakland has been both beautiful:

Lake Merritt's Dr. Suess pink cottonball trees

Let's get a closer look

Just napping in the park.  But since it is still Oakland...clutching my iphone while I sleep...

And hipster weird to a ridiculous degree:

Drive-by photo of a literal circus in my neighborhood.  Tightrope walking (rope tied between trees) is a daily staple in my neighborhood.  And now, juggling.  Strange.

I've spent some time with family in Napa, dancing and running as always with lil Gemma.

She takes after me, always topless (ahem, when I was that age)

While digging through one of my old jewelry boxes at my parents' home, we found a pile of fake tattoos.  I was really into the whole fake butterfly tattoo on my midriff with the low-slung jeans look in high school.  We went to town with them (and for some reason, there were many that were not butterfly-esque).

Mine--Justin Timberlake circa 1999, with sparkles

The Gentleman went with a ninja turtle on one arm (flexing, nice touch)

Aaaaannnd...Nelly on the other arm.  Definitely hot in herrr

This past weekend included a hot city hike through Alameda, that unintentionally involved falling for a lot of cold, liquid sugar.  I stopped first for a jamba juice smoothie; then a beer; then a push-pop; then a foster-freeze dipped cone.  A little different than our normal GORP hiking food.

In a desolate docking area for retired navy ships.

At the prettiest little front yard of Alameda.  Yeeeeah, I hiked in a dress.

mid-hike pit-stop

Sufficiently caught up. 

April 15 2013

This morning I totes ran 10 miles and my pace was great, and it included two hill sprints...

Yeah, no.

I'm also writing about Boston today.

I know, just what you needed...another heartfelt outpouring even though everything has already been said, including--literally--"everything has already been said."

Sigh.

The day started out so well. I was excitedly tracking over a dozen friends, most of whom I have grown to call friends because of blogging.

The moment I found out (sitting on the toilet peeing--yeah I do that--my heart flipped as I read desperate pleas on Facebook for friends in Boston to post they were okay), it felt like it had always been written in the cards. Of course a marathon would be attacked. Of course the “greatest” marathon in the United States (or anywhere?) would be attacked. Of course a place where the celebration of being alive and active and full of physical sensory overload and cheering and pride would be attacked. Terrible people who want to make people hurt know exactly where to hit.

Since everything HAS been said, I want to say just three short things to three groups of people.

To every person who has ever spectated a race for a friend, a loved one, or just for fun. Thank you, and you rock. You are the support system for each of us who has ever run a race; you drop us off at 6:00 a.m.; you beeline around town to cheer for mere seconds; you make those mere seconds last for miles.

To all you internet chatterheads. Thank you, and you also rock (this time). Responses to tragedies online can vary from annoying to false to self-absorbed to moving, but in this event, I felt cradled each time I found myself online reading other people say what I couldn’t find the words to say, and I felt that I was not alone in my grief and runner pride and spectator love. The internet is okay on this one, even with all the exaggerations (please, most people except for cops/medics were running away, as they had a perfect right to do; and 99.9% of the marathoners were not trying to donate their blood).

To everyone who ran Boston yesterday: You rock. I am proud and excited for what each of you accomplished.

I'm so sorry that you had to see, or hear, or experience what you did.  It must have been terrifying.

I want to tell you that in celebration of running, and in celebration of the Boston marathon, and in celebration of the spectators, I hope you may be able to allow yourself to find some joy in the earlier part of the day. I’m sure many would say it is insensitive to care anymore about your Boston performance. But why? Everyone is on the runners’ side this time. This isn’t Hurricane Sandy where runners became the target of the struggle to grasp the unfairness. You can still be proud that you ran and (if you were able to) finished, especially on behalf of those of us who have never run Boston (yet), and who will never know what it was like to run Boston when it was innocent. It was the last time that you or anyone will cross the finish line at Boston with it just being, “Boston.” Instead of “Boston…never forget.”

And I’m sorry that so many of you didn’t even get to finish. It’s okay to be sorry about that. Of course it doesn't compare to losing a limb or a life, but it is a sad situation indeed. I understand that many years went into that single day for many of you.

I want you to know that when you are ready, I hope you remember the happiness in the first half of April 15, 2013, and hope that you share your racing experience. The thousands of people cheering out on the sidelines, including your family and friends, too many of who are now severely injured or worse, were there to help you soar during that marathon. I, for one, would like to hear about the part where you soared.

Hopefully Facebook isn't lying about this one.  Early in the day on April 15, 2013. The good part.

I am planning to break my cheap rule to not spend hard-earned traveling money on a marathon, and I am planning to break through my fear of super-marathons crowds, so that I can (hopefully) run the Boston marathon in 2014. I recognize that it is a privilege to be able to try and enter, and to be a part of something so big next year.

And now, for some words from Patton Oswalt.

(Just kidding. Who knew he was the spokesperson in defense of the Boston Marathon and the good nature of humanity? Oh, Patton Oswalt.).

Roast

A reflection on running-blogging today! Let's get meta.  

The myth of the blogging formula.

There seems to be a formula, originated and spread from popular bloggers who likely learned through trial and error what drives readers to come back (did I win that giveaway?!), what drives readers to comment (questions at the end of a blog post), what leads to income for the blogger (be very kind to brands and companies that may want to advertise or gift you things).

There are, obviously, no actual rules you have to follow to run a blog.  When I started blogging in early 2011, I knew this to be true, and I purposefully intended to not sound like the blogs I was reading.  I intended to document my running, to call out blogging bullshit, to have some fun, to communicate with like minded bloggers.  And still, I fell into some elements of the blogging formula.

For instance:

  • I often posed questions at the end of posts (and I reserve the right to do this again! Sometimes it is the only way to get concentrated feedback if I desire it--otherwise the comments are all over the place.  Since my posts are often all over the place); 
  • I felt some obligation to try and post every other day, and when that proved to be too unrealistic, I aimed for twice a week;
  • I tried to swap comments with every blogger who commented here.  It only seemed fair?
  • I tried to find a way to get a picture of me in every post.  I truly thought that posts needed pictures to be complete, and needed a picture of the author for the reader to feel like they were connecting and remember exactly who was talking.

Of the many elements to the blogging formula, the element that drives probably most of us crazy is product placement--typically via giveaways and reviews.  

When I first started blogging, within several months I had a giveaway.  For no fucking reason at all.  I was sucked into the blogging formula trap, and I figured that as a blogging rule, I owed it to the world to have a giveaway.  It was pretty pathetic; I scoured through the "last minute gifts" bag in the closet at our home and gave away a book and some food.  Really pathetic.  But I did still try to have fun with it by "hiding" the giveaway for readers who were doing more than skimming.

The only other giveaway I recall was a running calendar I was gifted for Christmas and I didn't want.  Since then, nothing for you.  But a bunch of selfies of me.

I do have a couple things lying around that were sent to me via contact to my blog email that I should probably give someone (Aquaphor sunscreen chapstick anyone?) and a number of emails I never replied to with offers (headphones or a free running e-book?).  I haven't figured out when, if ever, I can bundle these things for a proper giveaway.  

You know what the best free thing would be? Free race entries.  Let's do that.  That is something that would legitimately enhance my life.

Anyway, since we have to sit through blog post after blog post of product placement, here today and now, we have earned our right to be entertained by these brands.   Today, we do a running-blogger-brand roast.

Here are the brands on the chopping block:

1) COMPEX

Where to start, Compex.  One of your problems is that you sound like a legal discovery/court reporter vendor.  Because there literally is an e-discovery legal vendor called Compex.

TOO COMPLICATED!


Every time I see the word "compex" at work, I think about what a stupid legal vendor name that is.

It's also a stupid name for an electrostimulation product.

The bigger problem is that I don't know anyone who uses compex, except for people who are paid (via free Compex) to use compex.   Has anyone ever purchased a compex?

Whatever science is behind it, the cavemen didn't need electrostimulation to recover from their deer-hunting runs, so I will surely survive without it.  I barely believe in the foam roller or the ice bath, so this one can be thrown in the pile of "do not want to add wires to my normal running routine thanks for the $$$ option though."

Compex is good practice for disassembling a bomb


2) NUUN

Whooops.  Did Nuun just discover that nobody cares about Nuun except the eager beavers who have already ambassadored for Nuun in the past?

I haven't heard a word about Nuun hood-to-coast this year outside of the alumni more or less saying "it's so great, we have been expelled from the opportunity to run it again, but YOU should!"

crickets.

no thanks?

Sure, running HTC is expensive, I hear, and getting to run it for free thanks to Nuun is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

I dunno.  If it's that expensive, and that worth it, you can make it work without repping Nuun.  We can save some money like we do for all the other races we run each year.  Invite some real friends.  Rep a company that loves all athletes regardless of gender and whether they have a blog.  Or rep Nuun if you really love Nuun, I guess.  Water is pretty awesome for quenching thirst though.  Have you heard?

Or you could have an Airborne, which seems like the same thing...
   

3) PRO-COMPRESSION

My in-laws got me a pair of these for Christmas because I specifically asked for a good pair of compression socks.  I've had a lot of problems with my left calf this year that seems to me to be directly related to the leg-lock sensation I get when running fast.  Thought compression could be worth a try.  I don't know the difference from brand to brand, but my pair seem nice.

The reason Pro-Compression is on the chopping block today is because I DON'T NEED TO HEAR ABOUT YOU EVERY WEEK because of a 35% off sale or a special holiday design.  Goodness they've done a good job of keeping themselves relevant by having a Groupon deal everyday, a discount code everyday, a new design everyday.

$50!? Maybe!? Oh oh, $38 with a coupon code?! totally worth it for SOCKS.


This is called creating a false sense of desire.  Ooh! New color!? Must buy so I can wear it on the ONE St. Patrick's day race of the year!

(On a related note, paying $70+ for a Halloween costume has always blown my mind.  All that money for ONE wear? Dude, if you're going out in a $70 slutty Alice in Wonderland outfit, you're probably going somewhere where everyone is too drunk to notice your outfit anyway....)

Aaaand, let's roll out the orange and black compression socks for sale in October.

4) OISELLE

Let the brand speak for itself--they make really good running shorts.  I have been loyal to the Oiselle distance running short for over a year now.  However, I've found a couple other pairs of shorts by other brands that I like just as much, so they don't have a monopoly on good women's running shorts....one more wrong move and I can easily move right on (5-pocket RoadRunner brand short; RaceReady shorts).

But, Oiselle of course doesn't let the quality of it's clothing speak for itself.  Instead they promote flowery running diaries about self love (at least that's what I've gleaned from my cursory reading of the blog world), they have pretend giveaways for self-promotion, they have fashion shows, they tweet tweet tweet tweet tweet tweet tweet, and then they kidnap Lauren Fleshman.

Lauren Fleshman is one girl I will listen to.  So instead of considering Ms. Fleshman poisoned, I will consider Oiselle slightly redeemed.  Ever so slightly....

****AND NOW.  Moving on from blog-branding to other blog trends on my mind*****

5) COACHES

Coach.  Everybody has a coach.

I feel like my side-eye towards this one is supposed to be derived from jealousy.  But I can't get jealous about this one.  The idea of a coach sounds like being stripped of all my freedom and taking ten steps backwards to the days when I played high school soccer and I was disciplined with 4 laps for having too much fun while playing soccer.

We are grown ups.  If we want a training plan, can't we follow directions without someone being paid to hold our hand?  Like, aren't there 18 billion training plans on the internet and in bookstores?

Perhaps it's a problem for me and my potential growth as a runner, but no part of me is interested in following a mandatory email plan from a coach.  I can do a general instruction of "one tempo/week, one track day/week, one long run/week".  And then sorta kinda follow that.

Maybe I'm completely naive and coaches do things for amateur runners that books and online plans can not.

*note--"amateurs".  If you're knocking on the door of a 2:50 marathon, I completely understand that this requires a different level of training, attention, direction, safety, and motivation.  Elites can have coaches.  Duh.

Actually, fine, amateurs can have coaches too.  I just do not understand why anyone would want one.  A coach seems like overkill for a hobby.  Let's say your hobby is cooking and making recipes.  Maybe you go to a class? One or two? but no coach.  Your hobby is photography? Again, read some books, some blogs, maybe take a class.  No coach.

I love to run and learn about running my own way.  I can very clearly see the ways that I am a terrible self coach, but let me learn from my mistakes on my own. Hokay coach?

If I wanted the discipline, oh boy I could dish it out to myself.  If I needed to reach a running goal THAT BAD, I could make myself a plan and follow it.  Nothing has sparked the desire in me for that kind of discipline though.  In fact, running is kind of my escape from the sometimes four rigid corners of my day.  I get to do what I WANT. My deadlines are my own.

And lastly, why are the coaches never ever ever ever ever a woman?

5) GIFS

GIFs on a blog are at first glance a good thing.  They indicate a funny blog.  Or at least a blog that is trying to be funny.  Some really good blogs are GIFaholics.

But I think, perhaps, we can call for a one GIF per blog post limit?

As far as I can tell nobody on the internet is complaining about GIFs, so they aren't causing any harm.  The reasons I can't handle GIF-based blog posts:

  • When the little moving pictures do all the work, the entire blog post can become derivative.  Find 10 funny GIFs created by someone else, throw them on a blog post, and add some captions to work around them.  GIF first, writing content second.  
  • GIFs freeze on my ipad (or other device).  I end up sitting there trying to read a blog post, a GIF is moving at about one frame per 20 seconds, and I can't decide whether to move on or whether the GIF could be so awesome that I should keep staring and waiting.  Technology hasn't caught up with a page full of GIFs, and so I'm stuck developing rage from a slowly jerking image of an animal/infant/celebrity making a hillaaarious reaction.
  • When the GIFs do work, that's another headache in itself.  The whole flipping page is dancing.  I'm tryin to read here, eh!
  • They can be very, very funny.  But sometimes I have no idea what I'm looking at.  Is this a zombie television show reference? I don't get it.
6) SOLID FOODS

Solid foods are gross and overrated, they don't taste that good, liquid foods are way, way better tasting.  Anybody who happens to be trying to heal themselves on a juice fast is not missing out on anything!

(For Ali).

Your turn to roast please

Oakland Half Marathon 2013

Alternately titled, "How to go from half-marathon personal best to half-marathon personal worst in 7 weeks."

My neighborhood running festival took place the weekend before last, with a half, full, 5k, and relay.

I naturally defaulted to the half.

Or what I like to call, a half-plus.  Oakland's evolving course has been frustratingly long no matter what changes they make to the course and no matter how tight I run those tangents every year, and this year the course was even longer than the last two.


13.41 miles by my watch (and by the elevation map?), and I'm telling you, I was so desperate for this course not to be long this year that I even cut into turn-corners where I could, which explains why I got 13.4 while others like Cathryn got as much as 13.6 (!?).




The long course doesn't matter because I was not going to PR today, but it is still frustrating because it partially led to my demise (more below).


I did not, in the end, call him

credit Beth for the photos!

The course length matters much less when you are not gunning for a time goal.  Still, the long course was my downfall...

you see, I have clocked over 13.35 miles each year I run the Oakland half.  The course changed again this year, but I still expected it would be a long course, so my MISSION # 1 was to try to run the tightest tangents possible.  The tightest.  It seems like good practice. Like something I should learn how to do.

When I headed into the first mile at 9:15 a.m. (which was cursedly warm already....it really seems like these U.S. coasts are experiencing complete opposite weather) I felt nice, and decided that the many turns in the first mile WOULD NOT GET ME.

The first mile turns....
So I did my best to skirt through the crowds of people and get an inner-tight turn.  What I was doing, without realizing it, was speeding up to get away from little crowds of people, so that I could get that tight turn.

This resulted in a first mile at 6:05.

Typically, I can recover from this.  I've gone out at a 6:10-ish pace before (See: Run with the Jets 2011, See Jane Run 2012) and managed a 6:30-ish pace overall.

But, I could not recover from it this day.  I am not in that kind of shape.  Two weeks of tapering for a marathon + 3 weeks of recovering from a marathon = very little speed work, and I'm simply not in great shape right now.

By mile three, I could tell it was going to be a rough day.  Not only was I feeling concerningly wiped already, but I hit the mile 4 marker at 4.2 on my watch, which was defeating.  I mean for fucks sake.  I tried SO hard to run the tightest tangents! This course is frustrating.

From miles 6-12, I tried my hardest to hang on, and every time I felt like I was running the effort of a 6:30 mile, I looked down and saw 6:55, 7:02, 6:58.

6:05, 6:25, 6:37, 6:18, 6:45, 6:43, 6:55, 6:59, 7:20 (stretch stop), 6:58, 7:10 (stretch stop), 7:01, 7:03, 2:45/6:41 pace

I felt all sorts of not good.  The usual leg-lock felt about as bad as it had last October, during the San Jose half, and so I stopped to stretch twice (miles 9 and 11).   The heel of my left foot was feeling really bruised (I have no idea what this is about? Came out of nowhere while I was walking the day before the race, and by the end of the half-marathon I could barely walk).  And generally not in my best running shape.

When I crossed the finish line, I felt like I was going to throw up all over the Raiders girls who were cheering.  I've never felt worse at the end of a race.  I've never finished a race of any distance feeling like I was going to throw up.  Wait--not true--I threw up three times after racing the 400m in high school.  Sprinting for a full 60 seconds will make everything you ate that day come right up.

All in all I finished 5 minutes behind my half marathon time from just 7 weeks prior, and over 1:30--something that hasn't happened in almost 2 years??

The over 1:30 sort of stunned me.  I took it for granted that I could run a half-marathon under 90 minutes, even if I haven't been training hard, even if my body doesn't feel great....I mean, I've run numerous sub-1:30 half's with the bum-lock problem I have and while it hinders my ability to run as hard as I want, I can still sustain a sub 1:30 pace with the thing.   (credit to Hollie for combining buttcrease with leg-lock to create "butt-lock," but since I'm sick of typing "butt" we will hereforth henceforth therefore call it "bum-lock."  Or not.)

It's like anything you take for granted.  You get so used to something being the way it is, that you get lazy and forget that you had to work to get it that way.  I seem to have forgotten that I used to actually run hard at the track and run long hard tempos on the treadmill.  Lately I've gently sprinkled in a few fast miles into a normal run, as if that will do anything.  That's no way to build up my lactic acid threshold! Or whatever a smart runner would say!

I want to say, "but at least I still had fun!"  I had a little but of fun, but I discovered something that I had not predicted.  Which is that running a race three years in a row makes the race much less exciting the third year.

Let's look at the monotony...

2011, back when running in baggy clothes was cool

2012

2013, too sunny!  Freakishly similar stride to the year before

And more deja vu:


2012

2013.  Even my breathing-hard-double-chin is the same :)

This is the first time I've run a race three years in a row.  

There may have been some boredom having run this race 3x....and the sun certainly didn't help.  It was high and hot at 10:00 a.m. on a warm California day.

The race also seemed to lack the energy from the normal Oakland crazies.  They are the best spectators! But I didn't see any. Instead it was a bunch of pyrotechnics.  For real, there were multiple parts of the race where fire was spouting from stuff.  Very steam punk.

The good news is that I didn't cave into my strong desire to quit and walk home since I was feeling awful....and the other good news is that my best day and my worst day are only five minutes apart (1:26:21 v. 1:31:08).  I'll take it, son.

I will definitely participate in the Oakland Running Festival again, although maybe next year I will do the full marathon "for fun."  It is a very tough course, and probably 26.8 miles, so not a goal race.

Comparing how I felt this year to last year, I remember how strong I felt and how easy it was to keep the pace low even for the last 3 miles.  I remember knowing exactly WHY it was so easy: I had been running 1-hour tempos on the treadmill, once a week.  That stuff WORKS.

So I know that if I want another half marathon PR this year (I do! I do!) besides the obvious (fixing my bum-lock problem) I need to re-introduce the tempo run, and probably on the treadmill.  I just don't have the focus to do that outside.  And the treadmill works.

Thanks as always for reading!

The Cuties

Hark!


It is I. Look at what I've become.  Someone who posts once every ten days! Someone who still hasn't written a recap of a race that happened more than a week ago!

Trying to fix that.  I know you didn't notice, since y'all were busy with passover and easter.

The truth is, I've been real busy working on my stash of easter candy, and I simply cannot type while I'm busy licking my candy fingers.

And the truth is, Mad Men season five just appeared on Netflix, and I have some major Ken Cosgrove to catch up on (go Ken Cosgrove!).

The true truth is, when I get home after 8:00 p.m. I need to savor that time with my cutie.  And since I don't have any babies to qualify as a cutie, this guy is the cutie that I'm talkin about.



Hairdo inspired by the famous trendsetting HRG baby.  It's all the rage!

The true-true truth is, I got one of my molars pulled out last week because it was cracked and had been causing pain and swelling for a couple months.  Now I have a big gap back there, and a bottle full of Vicodin.  Yay! The painkillers have been fun but also made me feel sick.  So much drama from one little tooth.

And while I'm showing pictures of the adorable loves in my life, peep on one of the awesome legal secretaries I work with.  Hahaha.  I cannot not laugh at this picture.  Hahaha.  While my tooth pain did not lead to strapping a microwavable teddy bear to my face, this was her solution for dealing with some pain she was having.


Brilliant and adorable

Okay lets keep going. Another picture of a cutie!  I got this munchkin the best christmas gift--a mustache pacifier.  My lil niece Gemma looks good in everything.  I have dreams about her all the time lately, where we are galloping through grass fields hand-in-hand, and she whispers in my ear, "I'm going to ask my mom if we can hang out this weekend."  We have officially become best friends lately.  We dance forever, we play "walk this way" (she drags me around while we hold hands), we play "sleep" (peek-a-boo where she lies down and I cover her with a blanket), and she shouts "cake-cake!" with excitement to see me.  That's her version of "KK," my childhood nickname that I forced her to adopt.



Okay now last one.  East bay liberals meet East bay star trek nerds.  Photo napped while stuck in traffic on Easter. I wikipedia'd the real "free Leonard," Leonard Peltier, and from my brief review it definitely was a  "DON'T free leonard" situation.  He sounds pretty unforgivably guilty to me


Running Cliffnotes:

Sunday: Oakland half-marathon, recap coming up y'all:
Monday: Tooth pulled
Tuesday: Toof hurts
Wednesday: Toof hoits
Thursday: 10 miles a.m., 6.5 miles p.m.
Friday: 11
Saturday: 22.2
Sunday: 13.4

Total: 63-ish

Waddya know, my first over-50 mile week in about a month.

I blissed out on Saturday, indulged in my neverending desire to run and run and run until my body fixes itself (flawed logic of course).  Sometimes I actually believe I can outrun the buttcrease/leg-lock.  Like, "OH! I know what I haven't tried! Running HARDER."

After running a half-marathon badly (now you excited for the recap!?) and then taking three days off due to my tooth extraction, I dove back into running on thursday only to be greeted with a heavy body and stiff legs.  My leg-lock was piping up even when running pretty slow, which hasn't happened before.  I wondered if it was the painkillers making my legs heavy? And the half-marathon recovery making my leg-lock appear?  Either way, it was a bummer running week.

By Saturday, I had to cancel plans to run a fast 20-miler with a friend who was giving it one last oomph before Boston, because prior days had warned that I would not be able to run fast.  And I didn't want to ruin her scheduled paces.

But it was embedded in my mind that I was going to run 20 on Saturday, so I went out and did it my way.  And my body felt much better.  Took my sweet time wandering around Oakland with some podcasts ringing in my ears and some gummy bears in my pockets.  No plans later in the day except to get some work done, and the Gentleman was at work, so I took advantage of the fact that I had nowhere to be but running.  Not training for anything....doesn't matter how far or how fast....feels so nice.  Just like ye olden days before ye ole blog when I used to run and run and run and never race.  A long run just soaks into your cells and makes you feel high....or is that the Vicodin still talking? Does anyone want to take this stuff off my hands?

Sincerely,
Vicodin.