May 27, 2013

SFHM1 week -3

Definitely a good running week.  With every run, I feel my fitness increasing.  Still not totally sure of my goal pace for the race, but it's starting to look more and more likely that I'll be able to head out with F, at least for the first few miles.   
M:  3.01 easy @ 10:46 AVG pace.

T: 5 easy with H (yay!  H is back in the running world) @ 10:29 AVG pace.

W: Run the Dish instead of track intervals.  Power up the hills and jog on the downhills.  This is a *great* workout and I could feel how much it was pushing me.  I may try to fit this one in one more time before the race if I can find a good time to do it.  4.25 miles with all the uphills at sub 10:00 pace.

Th: Same as T.  5 easy with H.  No watch.  2.65 mile walk in the afternoon.

F: Rest Day. 1.35 mile walk.

Sa:  11 with F.  AVG pace of 10:17.  Last 1.5 miles @ 9:05 pace.  This run felt so great.  I'm very appreciative to have F to run with as I know if I headed out on my own I would have been significantly slower, particularly on the last 1.5 miles.

Su: 2 hours stretching/yoga in the garden while watching Chompsky graze.  2 miles with E including a strong cutdown in the last mile: 10:23; 8:47.  (Today, my hip flexors are finally nice and loose after about 2 weeks of increasing tightness.  Chompsky is clearly good for me!)

Total mileage for the week (including walks and w/u and c/d): 37.58.

May 26, 2013

Introducing Morla(n) Chompsy

After Key West, E and I agreed that we should get a turtle.

I am allergic to pretty much all animals with fur.  And, I love reptiles.  Also, turtles are *SO DARN CUTE*.  Plus, almost all of our friends seem to have children.  And while we don't really want one of those, for conversational continuity, it's useful to have something you care for...

Anyways, after much research, we determined that a Californian Desert Tortoise Rescue would be best for us.   Our climate would fit, and they need good homes.  (For more info on the Turtle/Tortoise/Chelonian/Terrapin moniker issues, I recommend the SD Zoo).

Little did I know, this would result in a four month email campaign to convince the rescue folks that we would be a good home and we were committed to taking care of our tortoise.  I don't chase people.  I am fairly adamant about this.  Either you want me in your life, or you don't.  But with the tortoise rescue people, I made an exception.  It was very educational, and frustrating to realize how different my understanding of time commitments and responsiveness and just everything fell apart within the tortoise rescue community.  About a week ago, I gave up.

And, then, I got the call (which, of course, I'd started to believe would never come, and I'd started to consider buying a turtle from a pet store).  I'd made enough of a good impression that if I bought the right enclosure, they would let me take a juvenile home!

Easily, this was the best thing that happened on my sabbatical (and we spent a weekend at the Ritz in Half Moon Bay).

In fact, this event may be the reason I am finally happy not to have been in China on my sabbatical. If I'd missed making the chelonian/tortoise/turtle rescue filter due to international travel after all of the up-front work, I'd have been seriously sad and grumpy.

Instead, I spent last Friday waiting to get the *actual* time and location for the drop off.  It felt like (in my imagination) the machinations involved in a drug deal.  I was told "call me at 11 AM".  So I did.  Then I was told, "call me in an hour."  Then, "let's meet at Petsmart in Millbrae in an hour."  If I had been working full time in my normal life, I wouldn't have even had time for these calls, much less the flexible drive.  But I *WAS* on sabbatical.  And, eventually, it all worked out.  We are tortoise parents.  YAY!

Please meet Morla(n) Chompsky!  A small slice of welcome to your new adopted home strawberry from our garden just seemed appropriate.

Yes, strawberries are like candy.  I got the lecture upon adoption about not feeding too much candy to the desert tortoise.  Terrible.  But I'd grown this strawberry in our garden and I wanted him to associate my smell with good happy food.  Also, I've already ordered tons of native desert seeds and we'll grow native grasses and he'll have to forage and already has had to in the garden and lawn to find his way to the marigolds, nasturtiums and dandelions.  In fact, after the first night recorded here, he's had nothing but grasses and marigold, nasturtium and dandelion plants.

Oh, as an aside, sex (gender) is hard to tell with juvenile tortoises, apparently, so, while we're open, I've taken to calling Chompsky (for short) "he" or "our son."   But, we've left the first name open, and if we're wrong, we'll just switch to Morla and she'll be, "she," "her," and "our daughter."

May 20, 2013

SFHM1 week -4

I'm still on sabbatical, so I had time to fit in runs without any chance to blame work for getting in the way.  Slowly, but surely, despite gluttonous activities like homemade whole milk mozzarella and whey pizza dough, I'm reclaiming some of the lost fitness.  Before I get to the running data, here's some food porn:

Claravale Farms Raw Whole Milk

The New Gas Grill Gift from E gets all the way up to 750F if we're patient enough.  Perfect Pizza Temps!

There is an inordinate amount of whey left after a batch of mozzarella.

And not that much mozzarella to show for an hour of work and 1/2 gallon of milk to start with.

Thankfully, some of the whey can be reused in the pizza dough

One of the dozen or so BBQ pizzas that we made while I was on sabbatical.  Success!

M: 7 easy, just get the volume in.  11:07 avg pace, no walking, audiobook.  0.38 walking c/d.

T: I was visiting my aunt and uncle in beautiful San Luis Obispo county, so I took the opportunity to walk the dogs with my aunt as a warm up:  0.79 miles.  Then I headed out for 2.55 at a medium hard effort and averaged 9:15 min/mile.  0.38 walking c/d.

W: Track Day.  Awesome.  The assignment was Yasso 800s with a very long rest (3:50 for F, which typically translated into something closer to 3:40 for me).  I knew I wasn't in fabulous shape, but I also knew I was getting more fit, so I was curious to see how this workout played out.  I decided to target 4:00 as the goal pace and hold on until I couldn't anymore.  I made it through the first 5 okay, but then started to really slow, so after the 7th, I decided to do the last two as 400s targeting 1:55.  Splits: (4:02; 4:02; 3:59; 4:03; 4:03; 4:09; 4:12; 1:56; 1:51).  With jogging to the track, recovery walk/jogs, and walking back to the car, it was an awesome 7.49 mile workout, with friends.

Th: True rest day.  Impressive that I managed to pull this one off without work commitments, as I told myself I'd go to Bikram.  But, the reality is, the momentum hump to get me into that hot room is huge.  And I had meetings in SF, and errands and chores, and the next thing I knew it was dinner.  Oh well...

F: Alpine Ridge/Portola Valley Loop with F.  This loop is a killer.  But it's also a great training run to increase your fitness.  F and I headed out together for the first few miles, but eventually she started dropping me and coming back to make sure she didn't get too far ahead.  This was a big help, because I didn't want to slow her down more than I had to, so I kept up my pace as best I could.  After telling her to push it on the final downhill miles, I did the same.  Overall:  11.56 miles @ 10:58 avg pace with 1183 total elevation gain, 50% horse trails, 50% pavement.  Only one walk break on a very steep hill, where I took a Gu.  This is probably the hardest I've pushed myself on a run in a long time.  I was nauseated and weak at the Deli after we finished and had to excuse myself to go outside and sit down while I finished my lemonade.  I recovered quickly, but I confirmed for myself that I very much left it all on the loop, which felt good.  Bonus -- this loop is more elevation change than I will hit on the first half marathon of SF, and 2/3 of what F will hit on the full.

Sa:  E and I were in Half Moon Bay for a weekend getaway.  We enjoyed a beautiful sunset through the windows of aptly named  Miramar Restaurant on Friday night, and Saturday AM we headed out for a nice easy 3 miles on the Coastal Trail.  It was much more rugged than expected with many short, steep ups and downs, roots, paths that disappeared, etc.  But it was a great way to start the day.  3.01 in 32:18.  Then we clamored down the bluffs to the beach and walked the beach for a while until we could climb back up the bluffs and take a shower.  We also went for another walk along the beach to watch the golfers before dinner.  Total mileage for the day:  6.91 miles (plus some impromptu rock climbing).

Sun:  Taking advantage of the hotel, we slept in.  I finally fit in my core and stretching for the week at the hotel gym.  30 minutes of yoga and abs.  My hip flexors thanked me.

Overall, it was a solid week totaling 37.31 miles.  I need to get my paces to be a bit faster in the next few weeks, but I'm happy with the volume.

May 15, 2013

SFHM1 week -5

So, as I mentioned, I finally managed to start to pull it together last week on the running front.

M: 10 miles super easy with the audiobook (to make up for the missed long run on the weekend) 2 hours, avg pace of 11:02. Last mile 10:19. 0.35 walking c/d.  The goal was simply to get it done without walking, and I did.

T: 1.35 mile walk before lunch. 4.30 mile walk and talk with my childhood best friend on the phone. (Approx 2 hours walking)

W (Track day with F & D) --  Warm-up: 0.7 jogging w/u to track;  3X 100 pickup w/u @ 9:28; 7:28; 7:17 per mile pace per 100 followed by 100 walk to the start line. Workout: 2 X (2 X 400; 1 X 800; with 2:00 RI) --  Splits: (1:49; 1:52; 4:31) (2:03; 2:01; 3:00 (600)); -- I took the initial 400s much too fast for how I was feeling and it pretty much killed the rest of my workout.  Hindsight. Cooldown: 1 mile walk

Afternoon 3.15 mi walking (Wednesday total of more than 2 hours on feet)

Th: 3 miles @ 30:13 (10:08; 10:13; 9:47); 0.2 walk; 0.8 miles @ 8:52/mi pace; 1.02 walk  (Total of 1 hour on feet)

F: 3 miles @ 29:54 (10:23; 9:51; 9:40); 0.36 walk (Little more than 30 minutes on my feet)

Sa: Goal? 10 easy miles with F.  Actual: 8 easy with F, last 2+ struggle on my own. (First 8 avg ~10:25: 10:17; 10:26; 10:20; 10:31; 10:34; 10:33; 10:42; 10:16); 0.23 walk; 0.29 @ 11:47; 0.2 walk; pull it together for last 1 mile @ 10:43 and final 0.2 @ 9:22); 0.52 walk c/d.  (2 hours of exercise).

Sun: 2 fast in the heat with E: 9:49; 8:42.  0.19 walking c/d. 30 minutes heavy gardening in the sun. (1 hour of exercise).

Total Weekly Mileage Goal: 40+.  Actual Mileage: 40.46.

Total Weekly Exercise Time Goal?  14 hours.  Actual Total Workout Time: 10.5 hours.  (I bailed on Bikram and a trip or two to the gym).

Even though I missed the workout time goal, I felt great finishing up this week and hitting the volume goal.  It's definitely already paying dividends.  Today's track workout was *much* better than last week's and I'm really looking forward to Friday's 12-mile long run with F, which is a good sign.  I only look forward to long runs when I think they are going to be fun and not ridiculously difficult. 

May 11, 2013

A Change of Focus

Ever since I decided not to go to China to run the Half Wall Half Marathon, I've been lame in my commitment to running.

Sure, Maui is partly to blame - that place will put you into a languid state no matter where you start.

But, even so, after my return, last week definitely didn't look anything like what you'd see on any training plan 6 weeks before a half marathon race.  Particularly one where I'm contemplating trying to run at speedy F's target marathon pace to help her reign it in for the first half of her first marathon.  Unfortunately, despite my training, the truth is that even though I'm not going to China, I'm still running the 1st half marathon of the SF Marathon.

Thankfully, this week, I got my act together.  And, I'm proud to say, I knew myself well enough to just do it the way I know works for me -- Nothing you'd read about in any running book (that I know about).

When I am in a running funk, I have learned, I have to give myself permission to just walk or jog at an egregiously slow pace -- I just need the space to get it done.  So, I buckle down and set an aggressive mileage goal for the week and promise myself that I will hit it, no matter what, no matter how.  (Pro note - this requires an abundance of time that I often do not have at my disposal).

The freedom to do the miles slow almost always causes some sort of fundamental shift in my attitude.  I finish the miles, the long period of time on my feet pushes my fitness, and voila, I'm out of my funk (of course, finding the motivation to make this commitment and the time to pull it off in any given week is another trick entirely...).

So, here I am, I'm post Saturday long run of 8 great miles with F plus 2.6 mediocre run-walking finishing ones solo and headed into tomorrow's recovery run, where, so long as I manage to finish 2 miles or more, I'm guaranteed to hit my first week over 40 miles since Mid-February (peak mileage for the last marathon).

Now that feels better.

May 9, 2013

Nenana Ice Classic

So, I come by my gambling enjoyment honestly.  I mean, Gran had Parkinsons.  Enough said.

My childhood memories are full of family holiday meals followed by pinochle -- if you were quiet, you could sit on a relative's lap and help sort cards, make the meld, and suggest plays.  I am the eldest of the grandchildren in my family, and for me, the "seen and not heard" thing was still in seriously strong effect when I was a child.  I did my best.

As an adult, my memories tell me that one of the few things my parents' parents had in common with each other (to my child's eyes) was card games.  They respected each others' card prowess and they would spend hours at the card table with idle chit-chat around serious time enjoying, in order of popularity, pinochle, hearts, dominoes, poker (typically 5 card stud, I didn't learn Texas Hold'em 'til much later), rummikub, backgammon, and sometimes, depending on the guests, Euchre.

When the kids played, rummikub usually was the game of choice, although occasionally dominoes won.  We knew the adults were feeling lazy when it devolved to "Uno" for our sakes. (Or worse yet, in my mind, as the oldest, to the dreaded "Go Fish").

So, it turns out, I didn't find ratios or statistics that hard. And, I don't think this is due to any specific STEM initiative.  I think it's due to a large contingent of gamblers, and I say, "Thanks, family." (Also, perhaps we should support *free* gambling to get our youth into math?  Oh, is that my gambling-centric personality speaking? Okay.  Never mind.)

In my 20's, I developed a little bit of a craps problem.  Okay, Not really.  I couldn't afford to do so, Nevada was too far away.  But still.  It's probably for the best that my husband does not enjoy gambling. At. All. 

These days I must content myself with the occasional lottery ticket, or evening at the craps table in Reno on our way back from Yellowstone.  (Pro Tip: my old rule of playing craps sober was *much* better than the new rule of *maximize* the free drinks for both E and me (you can imagine who made out better on this one)).

The lottery tickets I buy these days are usually either for friends' kids' schools or charities.  But, every once in a while I also buy one when I am convinced that Dad would have bought one (unfortunately, most often, this is when the multi-state lotteries get super high and, then, our local liquor store informs me (or E, if I send him) that we can't buy tickets because the laws regarding lotteries between states are *much* too complicated for me).

Actually, on this point, I have a guy.  Seriously.  I don't touch the stuff, professionally.  I know people. They are good and I give them all of my gambling/gaming legal referrals.  Dad was big into trusting your network, so I'm sure he's cool with this.

Anyways, moving on...personally, as I mentioned, I come by it honestly, and I *love* gambling.

Which is why I entered the Nenana Ice Classic for 7:23 PM tonight, based on ice measurements at the time of my submission.  I did a reasonable assessment of prior years' ice thickness, dates, and times (but ignored many other important variables).  Even so, it felt like the type of gamble Dad could get behind (and Gran and Papa and Grandpa and Grandma).

Despite all of my ancestral support, you will note by the photo above that a) breakup has not yet occurred; and b) it is still light in Fairbanks despite it being dark in Silicon Valley when I took this screenshot around 9 PM or so.

Even so, it may be the most rewarding $2.50 I spent this year.  Hi Dad, Papa, Grandpa, Grandma and Gran.  Next year, you should pay more attention and look out for me more (since it seems you can pull weather)!  In the meantime...thanks Arvay!   

May 6, 2013

Weak Running Week Recap

Some weeks, running is so awesome.

And then there are weeks like the last two weeks.  Two weeks ago, I had a lackluster 20.5 mile week, which included quite a bit of walking.

This week, I busted out only one good workout -- Monday's short but solid 3-miler in Kaanapali with my bro-in-law.  He's a former NCAA all american steeplechaser, so our runs together are typically hilarious.  This one was no different.  We went out and tried to run along the ocean for a while and finally agreed it wasn't happening, so we headed for the roads.  Mile 1: 10:02, including lots of obstacles and terrain changes as we tried to run near the beach and finally ran through parking lots out to the road.  Full sun in the afternoon, 85F, 85% humidity and some hills. Mile 2: 9:44.  I called the turn around at 2 miles exactly, and bro-in-law decided to step up the effort.  It was slightly uphill and into the wind on the way back, which was a mixed blessing/curse.  Cooler, but more effort into the wind and hill.  He kept upping the effort throughout mile 3 and I stopped talking, tucked in and just tried to hold it with him despite the continuing increase in my body temperature.  I made a deal with myself -- mile 3 and I could walk.  We hit mile 3 in 9:50.  I stopped and told him to go on without me.  He stopped and grinned, "I was pushing you at the end there?"  Yes.  Yes, he was.  The numbers don't look like a difficult effort, but it was, for me, and there's no way I would have gone for that without the help of B to pull me along.  It was one of the better workouts I've had in a long time and it reminded me just how awesome it can be to run with others and let them do the mental commitment while you just hang on.

Tuesday, I headed out for a quick easy run and barely managed 1.5 miles.

Wed, I had to bail on track day (my favorite workout most weeks) due to crazy work stuff.

Thursday and Friday, it was more of the same.  Stupid work.

Saturday, I had 10 miles on tap, but it was *HOT*.  I got out late (almost 11 AM), and easily decided to push the 10 to Sunday.  Once I gave up (around 2 miles), I really gave up and I slowly ran walked my way through 3 miles in 47 minutes while enjoying my audiobook.

Sunday, E and I woke up and headed out at 8:50.  Finally, the heat wave had broken, and we did a nice easy 3 together in pleasant cool temps (except he ditched me at the end as he's decided that sprinting the last 0.25 miles or so of his runs is a good way to build fitness) at 10:37/mile or so.  I picked up my audiobook at the house and headed back out, but everything felt terrible.  My hip flexors hurt.  My hamstrings hurt.  My calves hurt.  I just felt wrong.  So, I jog-walked it in for a total of 4.73 miles in 1:02.  I promised myself I'd do the 10 today.

And, I did do the 10 miles today.  Super slow, but consistently running the whole time except when taking gu/water.  So hopefully the slump is over.

Weekly total (for last week):  12.75.

The good news is, now that I'm on my sabbatical, and not going to China, I really have no excuse not to focus on my running and workouts.  And focusing on them is one of my goals.  I've decided if I can't go to China, at least I can do a minimum of 2 hours of workouts every day for the sabbatical time.  I look forward to reporting back on the forms this time commitment takes.