April 13, 2014

Procrastination Nation

Yesterday, I spent a couple of hours sorting through and filing all the documents in my "file pile".

You read that correctly.  A couple of hours.

The primary reason for finally buckling down and doing this task that I only manage to complete a few times per year (hence how the pile gets to be so large and unwieldy)?

Well, kids.  The tax deadline is fast approaching.

Now, I have a folder with all of the tax documentation.  And, I've got the latest version of the tax prep software updated.

So, of course, I'm going to update my blog...

This week was a bit of a miss in terms of my running goals.  I didn't get in any good strength work at all, and my mileage was only 29.83 total.

My two good workouts weren't too bad, it was just the rest of the week that was tough.  The washing machine died on me, the kitchen remodel needed time with professionals on-site, and work picked up too -- which made committing to the scheduled mileage and/or workouts difficult.  I'm happy to say I made myself get on my feet and do *something* on every day but 1 day.  But the quality and time of those efforts was somewhat sub-par.  Oh well.  Some weeks I just have to tell myself that something is better than nothing.  And it is.

Despite the decreased mileage and crazy schedule, we ate quite healthy and I managed to drop another pound, so that's continued progress in that direction.

Speed -- track day:  This week's workout was a bit more difficult for me than normal because the track coach wasn't doing the workout.  When she's not also running, she tends to be much more strict about enforcing the recovery intervals.  My legs were still a bit heavy from the 10K last Sunday, but I just told myself to do my best.  I ran 2.21 miles warm-up to go get my car (which I'd left onsite at a client), drove the 7 minutes to the track, did another 0.18 mile jog/walk w/u at track and jumped in to the workout; 3 X (2 X 600 R/I:60) 400 R/I jogging between sets (splits: 3:00; 3:01; 3:05; 3:02; 3:05; 3:10), then I slapped on another 1.10 miles jog/walking c/d.  This pushed the mileage up to 6.41 miles, which is a great mid-week mileage day.  But, this week, it was my only mid-week day even remotely longer than 3 miles.

Long -- beautiful run in San Francisco with Jen today. 

(Stolen Photos from Jen below.)

One of the amazing views from the Lands End Trails

These stairs are why I didn't stress about the paces... no joke!

I had 14 on the calendar and Jen had 20, so we agreed to meet up at mile 6 of her run and do the last bit together.  I woke with a bit of a funky stomach, skipped the coffee as a result, and headed up to the meet-up place.  On the drive I got a text from Jen indicating that she may also have a bit of a funky belly, and that she would be 5 minutes later than expected due to a detour.  I walked a bit to warmup and placed myself at the intersection we'd agreed upon.  I waited several minutes longer than I expected and started to worry that it may have been a mistake to leave my phone back at my car (0.25 miles away at this point).  Just as I was deciding whether I should run back to my car, Jen came into sight -- turns out the map she'd used was short, the meetup point was at 6.6 miles instead of 6 miles!  Delay explained.

After this auspicious start, we decided to modify the route on the fly.  I was happy to write off the extra 0.6 miles, I just needed to get in a good long run.  Jen wanted to avoid the loop through the Sunset she'd originally planned because it had street intersection with traffic, so we headed down Sloat and along the Great Highway's trail.

Immediately, it became clear that my stomach was not happy with me and that I would need a restroom in the first couple of miles.  I considered hopping into a porta potty that was at someone's home for construction, but managed to preserve a small bit of dignity and held on for a public restroom.  And voila -- there it was -- the most glorious public bathroom I've ever used.  This building was my savior sent to me via time machine, complete with marble, tile, numerous stalls, molding at the ceiling -- all clean!  The world was a much better place after this gift from the past.

From there, Jen and I gamely ran slowly but steadily, out the Great Highway, up past the Cliff House, up into Lands End and up a million stairs to the top of the trail.  Jen gave me a high-five when we reached the Lands End trail entrance and I smiled.  Nothing like another runner to know the internal pride you feel when you finish a climb like that one (169 feet in mile 4, plus another 108 feet in mile 5).

The Lands End trail system is gorgeous.  While I'd been going to the Cliff House and the Sutro Baths off and on since childhood, I'd never been out to the trails.  They are recently expanded, very well maintained and the views are some of the best in the world.  I think I may need to arrange a hike with a group of friends.

At mile 7 or so, I apologized to Jen for holding her back.  I was pokier than I'd planned and I knew she had some pace goals I may be keeping her from hitting.  She surprised me by saying that she was struggling (this was on the climb back into the city through Golden Gate park) and was thinking about cutting back the mileage.  In hindsight, it shouldn't have surprised me.  We were gamely doing our best, but the whole day hadn't really gone according to plan for either of us.

From here, I decided just to play it by ear.  We considered adding a loop around Stow lake, got lost on our way there, finally made it there and after about half a mile, decided to head back out to the main road and just run to the car and let the mileage land where it did.

Towards the end, since I knew I'd be a little shorter than my planned 14, I threw in 4 HIIT intervals, all under 1 minute.  I was pretty tired, and the paces I hit showed it: 7:52; 8:18; 8:48; 9:07.  But, there's something about throwing in a hard effort at the end of a long run that fills me with a sense of accomplishment.  For me, since pushing myself on pace is one of my weaknesses, I think hard efforts at the end of long runs are actually much more difficult than slogging through the extra miles.  After the intervals, I jogged and walked back to the car with Jen after we left the main part of the park.  Total miles: 12.  Average Pace: 12:00/mile including all the walk breaks and the hiking up and down the stairs.

Overall, I'm very happy with this run.  It was great to catch up with Jen, and it's the first time in a long time that 12 miles felt "easy".  While it was slower, given the hills, I think it was comparable to the last 12 miler I did with F.  The difference is, after that one I was completely done, as were my legs, whereas this time, I definitely had more than enough energy left.  Bonus, my legs feel relatively fresh right now a few hours later, which is the first time that's happened after a long run in quite a while (probably partially due to my accidental step-back week).

So that's the week in a nutshell.  Off to get Guito some much-needed sunshine (I'll get to those taxes, I swear...).


Jen said...

Reading your recap, I can see how that long run was full of many ups and downs! (and not just elevation either!) Glad to hear that your legs feel good after the climbs and the mileage. Thanks again for your company!

As I had feared, I wasn't able to nap after drinking coffee. However, I also did not fall asleep on the drive home. So I'll count that in the "win" column.

Biting Tongue said...

Thanks for the suggestion, Jen. I sincerely enjoyed myself. Bummer about the nap, but glad you made it home without napping.

I had to call 911 and report an obviously intoxicated driver. He was scarily unable to stay in a single lane and speeding up and slowing down erratically, veering across traffic lanes and then over-correcting...after our discussion re: traffic accident tragedies, I knew I had to report it.

Biting Tongue said...

@Jen -- by the suggestion, I mean the invitation. Post-run brain...

Jen said...

Re: intoxicated driver -- how scary! Good for you for calling it in. Hopefully nothing bad came of his erratic driving!

Cathy said...

Re: taxes, I have a guy in the South Bay who does mine. A few hundred dollars a year = sanity. (Plus I track everything in Quicken so it only takes me a bit to pull together everything he needs.)

Biting Tongue said...

@Cathy -- we spent 7 years in a row saying we were going to hire an accountant but I always ended up doing them myself. This year, I finally admitted it -- I actually *like* doing my own taxes. And, in reality, it's almost unprofessional of me not to have a working knowledge of the latest personal tax laws. Doing our taxes every year forces me to review the rules and apply them. While I don't practice in tax law, I do need to be able to issue spot and refer people to tax professionals when it's appropriate...

Cathy said...

I think you may be conflating two different objectives. Knowing tax rules helps you navigate your finances throughout the year.* It doesn't mean you have to be the one to fill out the forms.

*Example: This past year I figured out how to shield some pre-tax money on my own by reading the rules. I was also able to make more strategic financial decisions throughout the year and know how best to track my income/expenses. But I still had the guy whip up my return for me. Sanity-saving, and built-in error-checking of my own expertise.

bt said...

@Cathy -- I agree there's some danger of conflation. But, at the end of the day, I have a bookkeeper. So, most of the heavy lifting is actually done for me in quickbooks by her long before I have to do the taxes. It's not as difficult as a task as I probably make it out to be. It's transcribing a bunch of data and confirming that I agree with the characterization, allocation, etc. I think much of the work that folks pay their CPAs for I actually have done by my bookkeeper, so I've just got the last step to handle.

Unknown said...

I think going through all your receipts, files and documents is the most tiring and taxing part of filing and paying for one’s taxes. It requires a lot of attention to detail, which I think most of us just hate to do. One way to make it easier though is to keep like one large box where you place all your receipts and catalog the receipts outside the box just so you have an “inventory” of the receipts you have come tax paying time. :D

Gilbert McNally @ Accurate Tax & Bookkeeping Service