Running Stories

Where my running at!?

First stop, blog reading.

I'm using inoreader.  One of you recommended it, and I like it.  I wish there was an app (wait, is there?) Still not my beloved Google reader, but I'm catching up on old posts, and happy to see we all still sometimes have great runs, bad runs, and hot runs.

My blog readin list.  I subscribe to me.

Inoreader.  I like it.  Hopefully they send me some free blogs for mentioning it.


the hip flexor pain I referred to has been destroyed.  So I've got that going for me.

This summer I had a love affair with not worrying about getting enough speed or miles in, and instead casually maintained a "base" so I can dive into a race whenever the urge strikes.  I don't think I've lost all the speed....maybe half of it.  The impressive speed work I mustered over the summer is as follows:

4x1 mile at the track at 6:15 pace
3 mile tempo at about 6:40 pace

The end.

And it probably comes as no surprise since I'm a running junkie, my weekly mileage all summer has been solid (outside of the approx. 2 weeks where I was having some hip flexor pain).  A little lower than my norm when I'm looking square into the eyes of an upcoming race, but solid.  Flipping back to the beginning of August, my weekly miles have been:  62; 80; 59; 88; and this week was 87 in large part thanks to a very energetic weekend where I stomped out 39 miles.  More on that below.

Recently, I looked at the clock and realized I am signed up for a half-marathon that is in less than 4 weeks!  I have never felt so ill-prepared to run a race.  Yes, I will run it "for fun", but I also don't see any reason to disappoint myself too much, so this week I decided I can handle one hard run a week.  All the other days I can do what I want.  Just one hard run a week.

This past week I settled on 5 mile repeats. I really enjoy mile repeats.  Slow enough that my lungs aren't bursting, and I get a recovery every mile.  And I only have to do 5 of them. Tempos are my fear--no rest breaks!  I like rest breaks! But then when I'm racing, I realize I am accustomed to them.  Whoops?

I picked a 6:10 pace for the mile repeats, which is about 10 seconds slower than what I am capable of when I've been working hard.  I told myself something that I usually don't: that it was non-negotiable.  That I had to finish the workout.  Even if it was hard, I would run as close to a 6:10 mile as I could, exactly five times.

It worked.  6:09; 6:07; 6:08; 6:06; 6:03.

In between each repeat I slowly jogged a lap around the track.

Mental trick: I run on the outside lane, which ends up being about 3.5 laps for a mile (by my Garmin) instead of 4 full laps.  When you are running in circles, it's nice to cut down on the number of circles.  I would LOVE to find a track that has a 1-mile loop.

My left leg still seizes up around my quad-knee-calf during speed work.  Leg-lock.  Still working on my new insurance plan so I can meet with a physical therapist on a regular basis.

I also have been occasionally remembering to try this hocus pocus thing I read in a very old Runners World (I'm about 7 months behind on magazines) about breathing patterns while running.  Matching your breaths to your foot fall, the rule is: in, in, in, out, out; repeat forever.  It's supposed to balance the repeated stress on one side of the body that could be caused by an "even" breathing pattern.  I tend to only remember to practice this when I'm running hard or up a steep climb.  It's a nice little brain mantra.  I've been running a lot of hills.  My niece is the cutest.  What are we talking about?


The creepiest thing I ever did while running:  this Saturday I set out for a fun long run on a hot day at about 10:00 a.m.  On these weekend runs, my goal is to do whatever I want and soak in the beautiful day.  Because they are so aimless, I tend to find myself lazily knocking out 8:30-10:00 minute miles.

On mile 2, I was right on pace with a checked-out 8:45 minute mile on my watch, when this perfect little runner girl in her perfect little spandex and her perfect swishing ponytail blew by from behind me.

Wha--hey! I can do that TOO!

And so I sped up.

I fell into pace behind her (check it: this is the creepy part) but gave her a distance of about...20 yards? We were running around the busy Lake Merritt, so it wasn't particularly unusual for me and dozens of other runners to be on her tail.  As I creeped, I found we were running a steady 7:20-7:30 pace, and noted that it felt nice, not crazy hard, and wondered why I normally slog so unmotivated at my slow weekend long run paces when this felt...better.

I stayed behind her, very pleased to have my secret special pacer, and a very compulsive pacer at that.  She would look at her watch about every 30 seconds.  That's nuts.  I check mine when it beeps at the mile mark, and that's it.  So I continued to pace behind the nutso compulsive pace-checker perfect little runner girl.

Chasing that ponytail (or one that was similar to this)

After 4 miles of creeping, I found her route too boring to continue following (she was running small 3-mile circles around Lake Merritt...when I do Lake Merritt loops, I spice them up into LONG loops of about 6-7 miles by taking all the zig-zag trails).  So I turned up towards Montclair and immediately fell back into my slow slog pace.

Weird.  I never thought I was one for needing a pacer, but it sure makes the pace feel easier, and it feels better than what I have apparently termed "slogging".  Slogging almost makes me tired and more fatigued from the run.  I also never knew I was a creepy stalker.  Sorry perfect little runner girl.

Ended Saturday with 18 miles in the bag, fueled along the way by 3 tootsie rolls (the skinny long ones) and a G2 grape flavored gatorade from 7-11.

The desperate-to-like-San-Francisco thing I did for running: Today (Sunday) it was slated to be another hot one in Oakland (88 degrees) so I had this magical thought that I would BART to San Francisco, where it is always cold and foggy and miserable and urine-scented, and beat the heat.

Back in 2008 when I lived in the City during my 1L year of law school, the only thing I really liked about the City was my running routes.  Ocean views are pretty cool.  So with nostalgia-tinted glasses, what I actually thought was I would BART to San Francisco and have a sweet dance through the beautiful, adored, running routes of my memory.  I wasn't thinking about the urine scent and such.

I ran all over that City.  21 miles (the longest I have run in...geez...4 or 5 months?).

I ran along the Embarcadero, Fort Mason, Crissy Field, Golden Gate bridge, Baker Beach, Coastal Trail, Ocean Beach, Golden Gate Park, Pan Handle, Hayes Valley, Financial District, ALL OF THE PLACES.

And nowhere did I find a single moment where I felt peaceful.

Coastal trail--a jewel. (photo source)

This CITY man, it's just soooooooooooooooooo crowded.  I spent every second of that 3+ hour run mentally preparing for which way to dodge to avoid a billion people and 2 billion dogs (2 dogs per person for EVERYONE in San Francisco).  There was a ton of stuff going on in the city--America's Cup, Giants game.  hipster sit-ins on grassy patches.  6 billion dogs needing to pee.  Maybe it was an unusually busy Sunday.  I don't every remember it being THIS crowded.  I mean, the coastal trail? Since when is there practically a line to hike/run there?

Well, got that out of my system.  Nostalgia tint gone, back to hating San Francisco.

I'm also angry that all of the water fountains I used to rely on during my routes were gone for pretty tourist renovations.  A lot of things looked different. CHANGE? Don't speak of it.

(It was nevertheless a nice, cool temperature run, and I felt strong enough to finish with 21 miles on the back of an 18 miler Saturday. Who knows why.  One highlight was turning my head to see what all the tourists were looking at during my climb up Fort Hood and seeing team Oracle sailing like whoa.  Next time I'll go for a run earlier to avoid the crowds.)

The "W" word: I will eventually blab about the wedding. For now I'm going to keep soaking in the memories, and wait until the professional photos are delivered so I can decorate my fancy words with pictures.  I have to apologize for talking about the "W" word repeatedly over the past 4 months during planning....the second the thing was over, I realized that nobody gives a shit, and I should have kept it all to myself and my lovely friends/family who were supporting the planning.  Every day since then there have been 12 pictures of girls in white dresses posted on my Facebook feed, and I'm like, DON'T GIVE A SHIT.  Sorry for getting caught up in it all.  When it comes to me and the Gentleman, turns out I give a shit.  If you also give a shit, like I said, I'll recap it eventually.

Shittyblogger:  So glad you enjoyed meeting her, she loved all your suggestions for what to blog about next time and will definitely make another guest appearance.  The content is neverending y' long as running blogs exist, there will be a plethora of hilarity....good times for all.