April 25, 2016

Progress and Loss

Hello from beautiful Austin.

Essentially the view from our hotel (but from a nearby bridge)

Why Hello!

View back toward downtown from the dam end of ladybird lake.

One of many picturesque bridges on the trails around the lake.
Last week was a solid execution of the super easy 10K training plan I devised (even if the 10K is now officially on hold).  Total mileage of 31.64.  Quite a bit of walking, but two separate speed workouts (10X400 and 5X400), and two runs longer than 6 miles as well as some shorter efforts.

For core, I walked to the yoga studio on Thursday, and was shocked and saddened to learn of Prince's death from the yoga instructor before class.  Like many folks my age, Prince's music was a major influence in my life.  Purple Rain was my every day workout album for my first season as a college gymnast, and  I've probably spent more time running to Prince songs than those from any other musician.  Like many, I can't really believe it's true.   

Now that I've gone to yoga 3 times in 4 weeks, I'm starting to feel like my body is remembering how to (sort of) be a yogi.  I'm definitely looking forward to continuing on this path and focusing more on yoga over the next few weeks and our sabbatical year. 

April 18, 2016

Patriots' Day, Quick Running Check-in

I watched the tail end of the Boston Marathon today, and while watching the women's winner come back from a 37 second deficit to win was inspiring, I found it interesting that no one talked about how slow the winning times were versus historical norms.  I do know it was supposed to be hot, so perhaps that's why.

Last week, I missed the goal of at least 2 days of >6 miles, but otherwise, I hit the rest of them.  Total mileage was light, due to a 2 day conference, but I still hit 24.3, which isn't bad.

For core, I couldn't fit in a 3rd consecutive week return to the yoga studio, but I did fit in 9 X (1 minute jump rope; 10 seconds rest; 30 seconds alternating pushups, dips, abs; 10 seconds rest).  Every time I do this workout I'm shocked at how badly it kicks my ass.  It's 16 minutes and 30 seconds of serious intensity.

For speed, I pulled off a treadmill workout with 8 X 400 @ 8:49/mile and 1% incline.

Saturday, I participated in the Spring Forward 10K.  The last time I'd done this race it was in Mountain View, but they moved it to a new location in Milpitas.  I finished in 1:02, which was my goal for a good tempo run.  Unfortunately, like last time, the course was short (this time it was 5.83 miles according to my garmin).  It's an out and back, and included some steep short uphills and downhills to go under freeways.  There was a mud pit under one of the overpasses within the first mile that slowed everyone down.  Other than that, I have no complaints.  I got in a good solid workout, averaging 10:42/mile including walking through the water stations and stopping for the mud pit, so my moving average was likely 10:30ish.

The one wrinkle in my plans is that E and his friend and his friend's wife and another friend are all committing to doing the 5K at Park Run in SF on 5/28.  That's the date and time of my goal race of the Danville 10K, where several of my running buddies will be running.  E and I are leaving the bay area in July for a year, so it's probably one of the last opportunities I'll have to see both groups of folks for a long time.  I'm torn.  It may come down to economics -- I'm not already registered for Danville, which costs $45, while Park Run is free...

Either way, I do want to pick a 10K to complete at the end of this training cycle, so if it's not Danville, it'll have to be something else.  Any suggestions?


April 16, 2016

Making Space for Adventure

A friend of mine knows that I love to try foods I've never tried before.  She's Mexican, and recently, she brought me an unripe mamey that she'd purchased for me as a gift at her local open air market.
Mamey, peeled.
She'd instructed me to wrap it in newspaper and put it on a shelf in the kitchen.  Today, I checked and it was ready.  I peeled it and E and I both enjoyed some of the delicious, very unique tasting, sweet fruit.  (Turns out Guito *loved* it, too.)

This whole experience (receiving the very hard brown skinned fuzzy fruit, wrapping it to let it ripen, then peeling, cutting, and tasting it once it was soft) was a new one for me.

And I *love* new culinary experiences. I also love new linguistic experiences, and (most of the time) I love new cultural experiences as well. I do my best to seek them all whenever I can.

BUT, life often requires that you stay within your well-known box.  And there's nothing wrong with that.  There's absolutely nothing wrong with having a routine you enjoy and sticking to it -- it's very efficient.  In fact, all of the times when I've been in peak physical shape have come after a period where I committed to a well-known routine, pushed the physical aspect to my own limits, and then enjoyed the benefits. 

Today's mamey reminded me that you can always have an adventurer's mindset, regardless of where you are.  You can recruit others to help you have adventures that are their normal, but are foreign to you.

This lesson was a big one for me, because E & I are in the preparation phase of embarking on a sabbatical year.

After 10 years of constant career hustling as my number 1 priority, I'm excited to go on sabbatical and focus instead on enjoying far-away friends and family in person, food, languages, travel, local foreign culture, reading and more. (I'm also hoping that with work on hold, I can focus on getting more fit as well, but I understand that this may cause a conflict and in the event that it does, the sabbatical's joys other than working out are going to take precedence.) 

I'm even excited at the preparation.  I've got 14ish weeks to plan all the dependencies -- and I *love* planning complex tasks.  One of my favorite things I've found to do so far is figuring out the creative meals I can make to most efficiently use up the pantry and freezer contents before we leave.  Since we will be packing up the entire house to prepare for renters, we can actually evaluate our *stuff* and finally get rid of things that we've just kept around because we haven't moved in 13+ years -- so, every week, I've been enjoying throwing yet another ton of things into the Goodwill pile.  We even splurged on his and hers kindles to avoid the weight of physical books -- so I'm anxiously waiting for those to arrive so I can take advantage of the lessons from my first kindle book as we prepare:  The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up.

In short, I'm looking forward to remembering the lesson of the mamey (adventure can be anywhere) as we embark on this next journey.
This is how large the mamey pit is!  Huge.

April 10, 2016

Sweet Exhaustion

35.57 miles this week. Closed it out today with 8 easy chatting miles at 11:31/mile average with E2 -- such a pleasure to return to long runs with my long lost running buddy.

Also included was the 2nd visit to the yoga studio in 2 weeks (yup, still sore for days afterwards) and a decent track workout (2X800; 400; 800; 400).

The rest was easy running and walking.

I didn't *quite* get in 2 runs longer than 6 miles, but the full mileage for track day was 5.58, which is almost close enough.

And now, I'm enjoying that awesome slightly sore, creaky, late Sunday post long-run and brunch satisfaction of a week well run. (Pun intended.)

Next week, I'm going to do my best to see if I can actually hit up my 3rd yoga class in 3 weeks (which would be a record for the last several years).  Other than that, I've got typical work ridiculousness, 3 days to finish the book club book (which I haven't started), a 2-day conference that will interfere with running, and a local 10K on the weekend to test my fitness level.   

April 5, 2016

Slipping By

Last week was a blur.  Nothing special, just lots of work to close the quarter and daily stuff at home, so time sped by me and before I realized it the week and weekend were over.

I walked a little on Monday to recover from the Sunday's 12 miler, and then, in keeping with recent trends, on Tuesday I walked to yoga, completed a class for the first time in 6 weeks, walked home and proceeded to be sore throughout my arms, core, and abs for the rest of the week.

Wednesday I eased into speedwork in prep for the Danville 10K.  1 mile w/u. 6X400 (w 1X300) @ McMillan target paces.  Some walking cooldown.  I was supposed to do 8X400 but nature called. 

It's probably for the best that I cut Wednesday's speed short, as Thursday was quite the struggle.  I gave up after 0.71 super slow jogged miles and just walked the rest of my "easy" 4 miler.

Friday I did 3 easy and 0.25 walk.

Saturday, I was supposed to go join some local bay area runners for a loop around Lake Chabot.  I was very much looking forward to this run as these ladies are all more fit than I am and I figured I could really push myself to keep up with them as long as I could.  Unfortunately, my plan had a flaw. E got his Oculus Rift on Friday and invited several of his friends over to try it out.  By 10:30 PM the gaming rig was still open and under modification and the Rift had not yet been deployed.  They were having a great time, but they were loud.  There was no way I was going to be able to go to sleep until they left and it appeared like it was going to be a long night.  I wasn't wrong.  I got to play with the Rift, which was super fun, but I was also one of the early ones to bed at 1 AM.  This is the long explanation (plus some unexpected belly issues on Saturday AM) for why Saturday's run went from the planned 8.5 mile loop with elevation to 0.75 miles of jogging filed by 0.45 miles of walking.

Sunday, I fit in 8.16 every easy slow miles (4.5ish by myself plus another 3.6 with a friend who is ramping back up with run walk intervals after giving birth) plus another 1.42 walking miles in the afternoon while talking with a friend.

The good things here are that I finally started speedwork, I got back in the yoga studio, and I got my total mileage up to 28.51.  The bad thing (obviously) is that I walked way more of the miles than I would like for 10K training.

I've got 9 weeks 'til Danville, and we've got a few trips in that time, so realistically speaking, I think the big goals for me for Danville will be for me to move things around to ensure the following:

1. Get in one speed day per week (or make it up to average a total of 9)
2. Get in at least one core day per week (jump-rope calisthenics, yoga, etc.)
3. Get in at least two 6+ mile runs per week (this is going to be the toughest one, scheduling wise, but I do think it'll result in the best improvement)
4. Get the weekly mileage over 30 and keep it there.

If I can do that, I'll be completely happy with whatever performance I can pull off in Danville (and any local 5 or 10Ks I may throw into the schedule for fitness testing).  It's been so long since I've actually raced a 10K and my fitness is so much lower than historical levels that I want to just focus on getting in a good training cycle, increasing my mileage, and enjoying the goal race.