October 15, 2017


The California wildfires last week were shocking.  I have family in the area.  Thankfully, their home and they were not affected by the fires.  But they easily could have been.

I took Monday as an easy day post race and walked 1 mile.  Tuesday, I was surprised to realize my legs felt tighter than expected from the race and I decided to take a second down day, walking 4 miles to and from downtown in lieu of a real workout.

Wednesday, track club was canceled to allow for recovery (almost all members had raced on the weekend).  I woke to the news of the fires and relief at the updates confirming that my family was safe.  For lunch, most of the members of my track club and I went to a local winery and then to lunch to celebrate 2 birthdays and several successful races.  On the drive back into town, I was amazed at how smoky it was.  I immediately had flashbacks to our smoggy visit to Shanghai.

I remembered how crappy I felt after a day of sightseeing in the smog and I vowed not to run until the air quality had returned to the gloriously awesome levels that we regularly enjoy in the bay area.
Tomato gifts went into pico de gallo for halibut tacos (also a gift from our fisherman friend)
So yeah, no running Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday.   The poor air quality each day brought home the reality of the suffering of those experiencing the fires in a way that was very uncomfortably real.  I've always known that fires were common in California, and terrible, but not being able to see to the end of the streets in our neighborhood was overwhelming and depressing.  I can't imagine how those who lost their homes must feel.

Friday, I did motivate enough to go do a yoga class (my yoga studio has some heated classes and in connection with the heat, they have a filtration system), which kicked my butt in a good way.  In hindsight I should have gone on all of the days I couldn't run, but I'm still in a love/hate relationship with yoga right now, so once a week is acceptable progress.

Saturday AM, I woke to blue skies and joyfully headed out for 6 easy miles.  It's so nice to have returned to a level of fitness where I can just go out and do 6 miles.  Sure, they were relatively slow (11:52/mile), but it wasn't a struggle at all and didn't require much mental effort to push myself through it without stopping (except for water fountains).

Sunday, in contrast, was a workout failure.  I jogged to the trailhead as my planned warmup of a little over 1 mile.  Then, I attempted to do 2 intervals at 9:39/mile for 1.3 miles each with E.  We started out a bit fast, but at around 0.5 miles there is a bridge over the train tracks.  The elevation change slowed my average pace quite a bit and by the time I crested the apex, I needed to recover a full minute from my average pace to hit the target time.  I was breathing hard and it was clear to me that I couldn't recover that time and sustain the required pace for 1.3 miles (which was super disappointing, but what can you do?).  So, I yelled ahead to E to let him know I'd changed the plan and would only be doing 0.75 mile intervals.  They were consistent -- 9:58/mile and 9:57/mile with 4ish minutes of walking recovery between them.  From there I jog-walked home.  By effort it was a very solid workout.  But, in terms of performance, it was not.

Sunday afternoon, I met up with 2 awesome local runners at the hippest bar I've been to in ages.  It was fun to chat and catch up and hang out with people who normally only see me at my sweatiest.  From there, E and I met for dinner with dear friends in Oakland that we hadn't seen in at least a 15 months.

And just like that, another week has passed.  Certainly, time seems to fly much faster now than it did during the sabbatical.  Work and taxes and general life overhead doesn't stand out or make the time stretch the way that new and unique experiences do (often with frustration).  On the other hand, I have successfully strung a few months of good workout consistency and healthy food at home, which I definitely didn't do during the sabbatical, so that's an obvious upside.


Jen said...

Great to see you yesterday, as always!

bt said...

@Jen -- Agreed. As. Always.