July 29, 2013

There Is No Spoon

Saturday, two college roommates and I and all of our husbands went out to dinner and then to the symphony to see the Matrix with the symphony performing the score. It was THE COOLEST MOVIE VIEWING EXPERIENCE EVER!

In running news, I had a mediocre week.  I came down with a crazy summer cold after last weekend's long run almost immediately. Chills upon arriving home and it only got worse from there.  It knocked me out for several days. Summer colds are extra miserable -- you can't curl up with a blanket and some tea and soup because it's too hot.

While sick, I just did my best to try to get better and to fit in some walks.  Finally, on Wednesday, I managed a run/walk, with jogging intervals of 4, 5, 6, and 8 minutes and I figured I was in the clear.  Somehow, Thursday and Friday came and went without any running.

But, finally, I managed to do a decent 7.5 miles on Saturday (slow and steady at around 11:00/mile with the last 0.8 walking).  Sunday, after staying the night in SF, the plan was to run/walk the embarcadero with E, E2 and P.  I got up and headed to the hotel treadmill for a warmup and managed a mile at 10:00 and then 1 minute at 0.1 mph faster pace 'til I hit sub 9.  Then, while walking with E2 as the guys ran ahead, I fit in 4 speed intervals: 2:30, 2:30, 0:59, 0:49.  No idea what pace these were at, but the effort was solid in each one, so likely whatever pace they were was the correct one.  Including the walking, I just snuck over 20 miles for the week for a total of 20.75.

I'd hoped to step it up a notch last week on my running, but the cold killed that plan.  So, my fitness is pretty low right now and there's not much I can do to change that before next weekend's 10K. Oh well.  Better slow than nothing.     

July 21, 2013

Lazy 10K Prep

I had a great lazy running week.

My Garmin is dead.  So, I've been doing my best with it in it's less-than-awesome state as a very expensive stopwatch.

Total mileage for the week?  23.6.  The most since the SF 1st half marathon.

That feels good.  And, I feel less sloth-like.

The week's efforts before Sunday consisted of an easy 2.5 miles in So-Cal out to the beach and back at A&B's, followed by a hard TM effort for 20 minutes at the hotel (increasing effort every 1 minute is *no* joke!), an easy 6.2 mile effort on Thursday, and 3.5 miles easy on Saturday.

Today, I headed over to the east-bay and met Jen for a pseudo-long run, which, frankly, was guaranteed to feel like a long run for me since I'd failed to do anything remotely long for over a month.  We'd planned on 13, but I'd begged off, due to my lame fitness, so we settled on 9 for me (4 before for Jen) and I brought my friend, the super-speedy and talented F.

I had a wonderful time.  It had been so long since I'd done a long trail run with friends where the goal was conversation and bonding and finishing the distance without any focus on time.  This type of long run essentially disappeared when I lost E2 as a running buddy.  She and I always let the slower one pick the pace on long runs.  The goal was just to enjoy ourselves and finish.  I felt today, on the trails, walking intermittently, running up the hills when I felt confident enough to charge, that I used to be a more balanced runner.  And I felt like I returned to that today!  (Also, I can't help but note that I was in better shape when running with E2 than I am now, running on my own, with charts and tables and the occasional friend, but no regular, easy, let's just get the weekend's distance done buddy.)

Anyways, I'm very pleased with the week on my feet.  I look forward to the next one.

July 17, 2013

Garmin-Free Workouts

So, I'm in running limbo.

I've been averaging a paltry 16 miles per week or so (including hiking and walking) since the First Half of the San Francisco Marathon.  You know, just enough to convince myself that I'm still healthy and a runner of some sort or another.  But nothing with goals.  Nothing to work on fitness or distance or any sort of anything other than baseline movement momentum maintenance in celebration of being healthy and alive.

Part of this is because I've got a mild case of runner burn-out.  Part of this is due to lots of travel and work. And, of course, another part is that my Garmin died.  And I am very data-driven.  So, without data, I am less driven.

No matter why it's happening, longer distance runs *are* getting more and more difficult as my month of less-than-ideal fitness commitment progresses.

On the other hand, I've had a couple of *great* shorter work-outs thanks to the lack of Garmin GPS data.

Last Sunday, I challenged myself to run 25 minutes at 10K pace.  All I had was the broken Garmin (aka, expensive stopwatch) and my legs.  After returning home, gmap-pedometer informed me that I did 2.74 miles for an average of 9:07 pace, which was a lackluster result.  I felt like I should have hit 8:30/mile or faster. 

But, even when the data showed I was slower than I thought, I was actually quite satisfied.  I could feel my effort increasing substantially for every minute of the last 10 minutes and based on cadence and how fast landmarks I know well were being passed, I'm fairly certain I was sub 8/mile for the last minute or so.  Given how fast I was running at the end and how slow my overall average pace was, it is obvious that I have trouble accurately identifying a proper race pace effort for at least the first 15 minutes of a run. 

This is something I've never understood, because if I've got a target pace, with the GPS data, I'll just push to hit it.  Often, I find that the beginning of races are hard for me, effort-wise, but I just force myself to do what the numbers say I should be able to do.  This workout was the first time when I realized that perhaps I need to warm up more than I realize.  Even for half and full marathons (or, perhaps, more realistically, I need to be disciplined enough to start 30-60 seconds slower for the first 1.5 miles of the longer races).

Yesterday, I had a short time window at a hotel, so I did a hard treadmill workout.  I did 5 minutes at 10:00/mile and then increased the speed 0.1 miles/hr every minute until minute 20.  It was a hard effort, and the last 3 minutes were individual commitments of 60 seconds of increasing effort that required quite a bit from me, mentally.  After I hit stop on the treadmill, I started the mill back up for a walk and talked myself through the cool-down.  Out loud. Breathless.  Dripping with sweat in the empty (or so I thought) room of equipment.  "I'm proud of you."  "That was a great effort."  "Way to keep pushing and make the best of a short time window."  Then, I stopped the mill, got off, and turned to realize a middle-aged man had joined me in the gym behind my machine and had heard the entire diatribe.  Embarrassing!  Thankfully, he had headphones and studiously avoided eye-contact.

So, there you go.  Running update complete.  Healthy.  No injuries.  Heavier and slower than normal and not yet registered for any Summer or Fall races.  It's on my todo list, but like I said, I've been suffering from some running burn-out...  I'm looking forward to this weekend's long run with Jen to help move me from the "bare minimum" bucket into something more approximating the effort I should be putting in for the 10K I plan to do on August 3rd.  3 weeks--Yikes!

July 10, 2013

Garmin -- How I hate thee

Last night, I did laundry and dishes and went on a walk and talked with my childhood best friend for an hour or so.  The garmin recorded the 1.45 mile walk and all was well.

Today, when I tried to head out for my longer mid-week run, the watch just couldn't find the satellites.  AT ALL.

Fast forward.  In between a ridiculous work-day and tending to tortoise and husband and general life needs, I've auto-located.  Rebooted.  Soft-reset.  Hard-reset and removed all user data.  You name it, if it's on a FAQ or forum, I've done it.

And yet, like every Garmin I've ever had, this one seems to have decided that it's time to give up the ghost.  Right around every 1.5 years or so.

Seriously -- when will I learn?

(Also, when will Garmin learn to put a reasonable watch strap on the watch that isn't the size of a cell phone and/or doesn't result in a metal pin that pulls out and explodes with the watch springing off your wrist?)

So, whereas before I had some of the best GPS data of all of my running buddies.  Now, I've basically got a stop watch that shows lots of screens indicating that it's "waiting for satellites".  With gmap-pedometer, this isn't the worst thing in the world.  I can live with a stopwatch and a well-mapped running route.  I may just try to make it work for a while.

But, really?  REALLY?  Garmin, you are making American products look bad.  You need to show a little class and offer a product that doesn't completely fall apart at month 18 (or before).  Come on.

July 9, 2013

It Begins

It's going to be a bumper crop year.

I present the first big, awesome, delicious, seed-saved, heirloom, gorgeous, compost-fertilized, photography-worthy garden tomato of the year (Ananas Noir).

And, half of it on my plate for tonight's dinner of garden cukes and maters with pepper and fancy black volcano salts. (Thanks to E2 for the harissa olive oil!)

Yeah, it's officially Summer at our house.

July 3, 2013

Working Remotely

Sometimes, I get frustrated with my job's ability to be done everywhere (and clients' expectations of the same).

Last night, after two flights, 4 hours of time zone change, several hours of work, and some dinner and drinks with good friends and wonderful views I was convinced that I truly was on vacation and shouldn't have to work. All I wanted to do was go to sleep and figure out what time zone I was in when I woke up.  Instead I had to fight with our friends' wi-fi (and rely upon E for tech support when he'd rather be sleeping too) so I could send out the finishing touches on a  client's must-sign SF lease before going to bed.  Side note -- apparently getting SF office space is harder than adopting an infant these days.

Other times, I feel like the freedom to work remotely is one of the coolest things ever.  Like this morning, working from our friends' balcony.  Yeah.  If I had to actually take vacation days I probably wouldn't be able to be here right now.  This isn't too bad.