Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tapers and races and new goals, oh my!

Today: 9 miles in 1:13:59

1. I'm in full-on taper madness. 12 days until NYCM! This means I'm overly hyper about creaks and phantom pains, keep waffling about my goal time and race strategy, and all that good stuff. Although, the more marathons I do, the less I find myself obsessing over race logistics. Maybe that has more to do with the fact that I know New York City, I'm not dealing with any unknowns travel-wise, and I know what to expect from the expo, the starting line, and the finishing line based on the fact that I've run this marathon before.

2. Although my legs aren't completely full of creaks anymore and I have felt a slight spring to my step yesterday and today, I'm still waiting for the taper to do its thing to rest up my legs while maintaining the fitness I've gained over the past 12 weeks - indeed, longer than that, if you count all the slow-ass base-building miles I've been doing since May (!!)

3. I realize I haven't posted here in a while. I've been doing a lot more journaling - like the old-fashioned, pen-to-paper kind - and that fulfills some of my "must write" outlet that this blog gives me.

4. I was told the other day (yesterday?) that I seem more "bubbly" since coming out to San Fran. I think that might be the first time anyone has used that word to describe me. I think I like it. Something about this place fits me. I really think the fresh air and the ocean and the beautiful scenery and the pace of life and the people out here settle me. I'm high-strung and OCD enough on my own; it's nice to be surrounded by that which is not.

5. Reasons why having a Ph.D. doesn't make me a genius: last night I ran errands and could only find parking on a street where cleaning this morning started at 7. So, I had to get up early to move it - it actually made for a lovely morning because I spent sunrise at the beach - and parked it back in front of my building. Great, except it's the 4th Wednesday of the month, which means, guess what? Street cleaning from 12-2. Which I have marked diligently on my calendar to remind me. Of course, it helps to look at the calendar every once in a while (and not just the day planner). I saw the ticket after my run today - $55 to the man for being an idiot.

6. I always start having my post-marathon visions of grandeur at about this stage of the taper. I'm trying not to go too overboard with my planning. I do know that a-if NYC doesn't go as planned, I won't wait until Houston for a back-up, I'll probably register for Tucson instead so I'm not training for ANOTHER 2 months. I want to do the half in Houston and have a fun weekend with friends and not a stressful one. b-I want to focus on getting back into a strength routine and leaning up before training for Boston. I bought some kettlebells that my trainer-friend Chris is going to virtually help me learn how to use. I also think I will cut back to 6 days/week running and start swimming again on the off-day. There are public pools in the city that are $3-5 to use. I also am debating starting to run with a club. There are tons here - some more social and some more serious. I think I'm at a point in my running "career" that being around runners who are better than me to really push me would be a huge help. One of my friends out here is on a woman's racing team, which she likes, and that would fill that criteria.

7. My online running friends are starting to plan their 2012 race calendar, and it's super exciting to think about next year, but it also makes my head spin a bit because I'm not 100% sure where I'm going to be or what I'm going to be doing then. I know, technically, I never KNOW, but it's kind of weird to plan without a plan. The other problem is that I'm not financially in a place to be shelling out registration fees quite yet for races a year away. I guess what I should do is map out my general running goals and then figure out which races to do. I definitely want to do a spring and a fall marathon. I'm registered for Boston, so barring a decision to run that for fun and do a smaller goal marathon, that will be spring's race. Fall - who knows? I'm tempted to do Chicago and register for back-up a few weeks later in case the weather sucks. I definitely think I can still knock off time from my marathon PR this year, but it will mean a little more "big picture" focus instead of just winging it like I did last year. Maybe 4 marathons is not the way to go.

8. If I get to run on the beach in the morning, I always see this old guy all bundled up in a hooded sweatshirt, the hood tight around his face, under a windbreaker jacket. He always says - no, yells - "good morning" when we pass each other. Even though I'm expecting it now, it still scares the shit outta me. I'm all for greeting those around me, but I'm usually not yelling. It's nice, though.

9. I will be flying to NYC a week from today. Holy crap.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Random running observation

My heart rate for my half marathon was low. Way low. Averaged 171 for a 7:08 pace, max of 178. This is my marathon pace heart rate, people.

I know, I'm getting around to realizing this a few days late, but I was kind of depressed about my 1:34 time and didn't want to look at the splits. My Garmin cradle is being wonky and will allow me to charge (thank goodness) but not to upload, and I'm just now going through my splits. But I digress...

I knew my legs were my limiting factor on Sunday, but I didn't realize by how much. I knew my cardio felt fine. I'm not really sure what this means I should do between now and NYC. Just trust the taper will get me the rest I need? Switch from wearing Kinvaras to trainers, which are kinder on my calves?

Great, one more thing to have to analyze between now and race day. And no more chances for tune-up races...

Edit: adding info about my pre-race running:
All the nitty-gritty deets are on the sidebar --->
I wouldn't call it a taper, really, but I did cut out some of the miles Pfitz wanted me to do that week. My 7-day total pre-race was around 64, after having been at 75+ for a while.

In comparison, before my PR half last December, which was also 4 weeks out from a goal marathon, my 7-day total pre-race was 60, after having been only in the high 60s/low 70s. That week looked like this:

R-14.4 MLR
F-6.4 R
S-20.8 LR
M-10 w/ 5x600
T-10.1 R
W-6.25 R
R-6.9 R + Aussie carb load run

And as for the shoe comment: I've worn the Kinvaras during several halves this summer, all of which were disastrous because of the heat. I've also worn them on tempo runs and MP runs. I would say that I'm always aware of my calves to some extent in them, and in fact starting wearing my CEPs with them for this reason, which helps but doesn't prevent. I think the pace that feels the best in them is actually MP and not the faster paces.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Controlling tendencies

On my hellacious recovery run today (6 miles in almost an hour, don't make me go check my Garmin), on which my legs weren't exactly sore from yesterday's half but just felt like they had aged about 100 years and the wind blew the rain sideways into my face, I got thinking about how much of my life is out of control right now, but I am in control of more than I think. So, today's list comprises 6 things over which I have complete control.

1. The mood in which I wake up. It is a decision and one I make before my feet hit the ground. I can choose to be happy, crabby, lazy, motivated. Why not choose good things?

2. How I partition my day - whether that means setting a schedule or letting it be open, knowing what will help me feel the most productive and balanced (usually the former). Also choosing to focus on my tasks and close down the internet windows of distraction (FB, RWOL, etc.) Why not choose that which will make me feel good about how I spend my time?

3. What goes into my mouth and how much of it. In that vein, what I choose to buy at the store or restaurant, knowing what my triggers are, and not allowing myself to feel guilty. Why not choose what is best for my body and running while allowing myself to enjoy food?

4. Who I interact with, and why, and the conversations I need to have in order to process what's going on in my head. Why not seek out those whose advice I value, who can make me laugh, who challenge me, and who love me?

5. The running and other workouts and activities I do to not only become a better runner and meet my running goals, but to feel good inside and out. Being physical is directly linked to my mental state, as is the sleep I get and giving myself time to relax. Why not choose to take advantage of that and move my body when I need to and rest it when I need to?

6. Above all, how I react to that which I cannot control. And how I react to all the sensory inputs (too nerdy??) that could affect how I live my life. Why not allow everything to enter, but only some things to stay - those things which I can use in my control to live the life that I want to live?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Sitting in the sun at a Stanford/CU game is a perfect thing to do the day before a half marathon... right?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The voices in my head.

Thoughts from today's run (10 in 1:24:37)

1. I love how a morning rain makes everything clean, even the sunlight.

2. I should probably slow down a bit, I want to have a strong run but I also have a half on Sunday that I want to do well in so it's a good indicator of my fitness.

3. Finding out you've been lied to has to be one of the worst feelings in the world.

4. Why is it that not even lying is simple: that the act of lying does not necessarily negate the situation and reasoning behind it? Not that it's EVER right, but it's never black and white, either.

5. Seriously, slow down, legs. Heart.

6. I think people in San Francisco have a harder time with the "walk right, pass left" concept than New Yorkers do, and they're pretty bad. That, and the inability to realize your dog doesn't consider its leash; therefore, if you're on one side of the path and the dog is on the other side with the leash extending in between, it is YOUR job, not your dog's, to solve this problem.

7. I exiled myself from Facebook in order to let my own voice be heard in my head, and not so many others. It has less to do with anyone externally and more to do with the fact that I get sucked in and it becomes a black hole of my time and energy. It's very freeing, in fact. Not that I don't find other distractions, but I have felt more productive in the last 2 days than I have in the last 2 weeks in a lot of ways. Because I'm back in control. (Although, I forgot what settings I have on here, it might automatically post to FB. In which case, if you comment on FB, I won't see it until I decide to return. So comment on the blog itself if you have something to tell me :) )

8. I've been doing really well with the no-dessert-no-weekday-drinking rule (it's actually pretty easy if you're poor), but I think the emotional eating I've been doing of late has probably counteracted all the good it's done me.

9. I didn't have this thought on my run, but later in the day, as I was walking along the beach as the sun was going down, listening to the waves and feeling them enter my soul, that all I've got is me. All I can count on is me and my own judgement and my own goals and desires. Despite everything, I don't think I've done a bad job so far - I actually trust myself to lead me in the right direction and do what I know I need to do to make me happy. That is the voice I need to reconnect with. And it feels good. Not that other people aren't involved in me listening to that voice (I'm not becoming a hermit and I do need my friends and family more than ever), but it feels good to have a lot of "me time" right now.

10. If i didn't have a half on Sunday, I probably wouldn't be done running.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Posting while hungry.

20 for today's 20 in 2:38.35

1. I am totally jazzed about my run today. It is the best MP run I can ever remember having. Ever. I averaged 7:24 for 12 miles, including my typical slow start. Splits, for those who care: 7:36, 7:26, 7:27, 7:29, 7:18, 7:20, 7:18, 7:20, 7:25, 7:21, 7:22, 7:20)

2. I wouldn't say the MP miles were comfortable, exactly - and they're certainly not supposed to be. But they felt good, in that "I'm running fast and hard but I don't want to die" kind of a way. There were even a few times I looked down and saw 6:xx on my Garmin and had to rein myself in a bit.

3. I was only supposed to do 17 miles. But I did 20. I had planned on a 2-mile cool down, but tagged on 3 extra to make it an even 20. Because of juggling with Reach the Beach and trying to get this MP run in, I had lost a 20+ run along the way. And, if I end up doing a tune-up half marathon next weekend, that blows my chance there for another long run. I'll do 22 3 weeks out as my last pre-taper run, but it's always nice to get in another 20-miler. The 12-week Pfitz program is so compact that there's not a lot of room for too many long runs, especially with all the MP workouts. For me, long runs are more a mental game than anything else, telling my body it can be out there for hours so that during the race, I know what 20 miles feels like. Granted, after 9 marathons, I've done 20+ miles a few times, but I think they're still a huge part of training.

4. I better make these list items shorter if I ever hope to get through 20.

5. I totaled up my mileage for the week: 85.7-a new PR. I don't feel like I've run if-I-round-up 90 miles. And they weren't slow miles - they included a tempo run and today's MP run. I don't know what I expected - but my legs certainly aren't ready to fall off.

6. I'm sure it helps that I can make sleep and recovery and rest a priority. 8 hours per night, making sure I'm fueling and not running around like a crazy person all day - things that I hate as a person but love as a runner.

7. On that note, I'm trying to make my days a bit more structured. A week has passed since I've landed in my San Fran nest, and it's amazing how the days just pass if I'm not careful.

8. I'm not exactly making myself a tight schedule, but I have been writing out a list of the times during the day I want to focus on the job search, on my editing gig, on internet-time-wasting, on running, on making sure I get out of the house and explore where I am. It's helped over the past couple days.

9. I'm also making it a goal to write in my journal 30 minutes first thing in the morning, as I'm drinking my coffee and eating my peanut butter toast. This was a suggestion by my mom - aren't moms the best for knowing you sometimes better than you know yourself and what will help you?

10. She suggested it when we were talking after I found out that I didn't get the job I had interviewed for out in Boston. In the grand scheme of things, it wasn't a devastating piece of news. I had other nibbles, it's not like I HAD to have THAT job, but rejection is rejection, even if I know academically speaking that it wasn't personal, yada yada yada.

11. It got me questioning if I'm qualified enough for the jobs I'm looking for, and how to best re-focus my search with a new angle to get my foot in the door. I haven't given up, even though part of me wanted to just say "fuck it" and apply at a running store or something, but after a few pointed career-oriented phone calls with people in the biz on Friday morning, I'm feeling re-energized and re-focused.

12. So, while it wasn't exactly a melt-down, it was definitely a "call your mother" moment. It's amazing how things can snowball from a rejection I really wasn't surprised about into finding myself thinking about the fact that I can't answer the "where do you see yourself in 5 years" question. Not even a little bit.

13. And maybe that's ok. Or maybe I have to be ok with that. There have been many times throughout my life when I thought I knew the answer to that question, and my life now certainly doesn't resemble what I thought. And I don't feel bad about that at all. So, maybe it's ok not to have the answer when the answer is meaningless, anyway.

14. I have found myself thinking a lot about my friends scattered across the country and the world. And how I'm not always the best at being in touch and keeping up on emails and phone calls and everything. I never have been, which is strange, because I've always had friends all over the place. I know part of what makes my good friends so dear to me is that we can go a long time without speaking and then once we do, it feels like no time has passed at all. But I shouldn't take that for granted and have that be the norm. It's hard for me to reach out sometimes, or to realize how much time has passed since the last email - so I'm officially apologizing and wanting to do better :)

15. I'm hungry.

16. I get to have a fancy-schmancy dinner tonight with two amazing couples and one amazing lady. I've met some pretty terrific people through running and I'm looking forward to spending the evening wining and dining and laughing!

17. Um, so, 4 more things to say. Did I mention I'm hungry?

18. Oh, my no-sweets, no-weekday-drinking thing is making the scale move in a fabulous direction. Even with a couple of cheats along the way!

19. Oh! Yesterday I got myself on the bus and trekked to Chinatown and North Beach for an afternoon of aimless wandering. I love exploring new places this way - I think after living in NYC, I realize the best way to get to know a city is to just wander. No guidebooks, no destination, just pick a neighborhood and go. I found myself in the middle of the Chinese markets, where, as in NYC, I felt like I had been transported to China. North Beach had restaurants and shops galore, and felt vibrant and happy. I see myself heading back again and again. But of course, there were other neighborhoods I saw from the bus window that also beckon! Not to mention my own little world around the apartment.

20. Ok, this is really ridiculous. I thought I could make it until dinner, but I need a snack.