October 30, 2018

I May Be Falling In Love With the 5K

Guess What?

Early start means you get to see the beautiful sunrise.
On Sunday I ran a 5K PR for my 40s (actually faster than any 5K I'd raced since 2013)!  Average pace of 9:32, beating my previous average 40s PR pace of 9:35, and good enough for 51.49% on the age graded performance scale.  And, there were some non-trivial hills and forced walking on the narrow turns since I started too far in the back of the pack (as in, I could have probably run faster!).  My garmin recorded 3.05 miles, but given the hairpin turns, I think it probably was the full distance.

I have so much love for all of these ladies!
It feels so good to be getting back into faster running shape for the first time in several years.  I may try to get a nice flat 5K into the schedule just for the fun of dropping the current PR a little further.  Also, I love it when I get to run with my local running friends!

If we're being honest, I'm fairly certain I *could* have run much faster than Sunday's time in 2014 and 2015, as I was regularly doing halfs and fulls at decent paces that I probably couldn't do right now during those years, but I didn't really race any 5Ks, so I'll just claim the 5 year PR.

Garden eggplant parmesan with squash is apparently great pre-race fuel!
In a fit of inspiration, I signed up for a Thanksgiving Half Marathon for my first half marathon in over 2.5 years.  I've been regretting this decision as I've failed to properly execute on several of my planned long runs and my sense of dread has been increasing.  But, hope springs eternal...especially after a fun, fast (for me) race.

Last week was a decent week of running, if not spectacular:

M: 5.18 easy with a friend, chatting @ 12:02/mile, 1.9 walking in the city

T: 2.44 biking to and from the trail; 3.01 tempo with F, slowing her down to 10:39/mile; 0.38 jog back to the bike.


Th: 1.37 jog/walk; 2 hours gardening

F: 6.01 @ 12:34; 1.53 walk w/8X30s strides and walking recovery in the mid 9s/mile

Sa: 0.87 jog to track; 5 minutes of drills; Cooper test (12 minutes running as far as possible) but targeting a pace I thought I could sustain for Sunday's 5K: 1.27 miles @ 9:27 -- best cooper test I'd done in a few years.  I already felt like this week was a win.  Even if I had a bad race, I had something to smile about. 0.5 jog + 0.17 walk c/d.

Su: 0.83 jog pre-race to and from the car to drop stuff when they announced a delayed start of 7:45 instead of the 7:30 that was advertised.  We cut it very close for 7:30, but we had plenty of time to get our bibs, run our stuff back to the car, and use the porta potties with the 15 minute delay. 5K race; 0.75 miles walk to the car and brunch and back.

The rc.oktober run was small, but well run, early, but with post-race breakfast options in walking range, and the sunrise was beautiful.  E, who is *not* an early morning person, said he would do it again.  Which probably means that I will too.  


October 22, 2018

A Half Marathon?

A while back, I put together a race schedule for the remainder of 2018.

Why not include more pictures of vacation in this post?
Korean Sashimi and Poke 
with Hawaiian Banchan including Macaroni Salad

At the time, I figured building up to a half marathon on Thanksgiving was a reasonable plan.  I'm beginning to question this.  Last week I got my mileage on my feet up to 35.6, which was a high for the year (thanks hiking in Hawaii!).  But the planned for 9-10 mile long run did *not* remotely happen.

The made-to-order menu at Iyasume Café
We definitely had 2 meals of musubi from here.
I headed out for it on Thursday only to rethink the plan for a run/walk of 5.32 miles.  Okay, no stress. I rescheduled the long run to Saturday, but then could only to do 6.04 miles at 12:41 followed by 2 run/walk and a short bike outing.  Yikes!  I pretty much cheated my way to 8+ miles.

Plane musubi and Onigiri
All of a sudden I find myself 4 weeks out from a half marathon and very concerned about my ability to comfortably even complete it!  Thankfully Sunday's short tempo with E was easier than expected as was today's conversational 5 miler with a friend, so I'm hopeful I may have just been in a post-vacation funk...fingers crossed.

October 18, 2018

Hawaii Just Keeps Getting Better

For my 10th visit to Hawaii, I added scuba diving to the list of fun.

Almost There!

Oh. My. Goodness.

Views of Koko Head Crater and ridge
from an AM sunrise Diamond Head Hike

Every time I come here, I love it more, and this trip I discovered that scuba is yet another way that this place is so amazing.

We had 3 meals in the Japanese Food Hall.

We saw 9 sea turtles. Nine!

View from Diamond Head.
And 2 octopi.

How does one not fall in love with this place?

And 2 white-tipped sharks. Plus 5+ eels. And so many fish. We hiked twice. I got in 4 runs.

The Hanauma Bay Hike.

And the food.



Uni Chorizo Tagliatelle (The Pig & the Lady)

Duck Pho! (The Pig & the Lady)

Truffle Corn Agnolotti with cilantro and lime 
(The Pig & the Lady)
Did I mention the food?

Cold Udon with Ikura and Shaved Radish at the Yokocho, 

I didn't even get to go to all of the restaurants on my list.  We'll just have to go back so I can hit up the hilariously named Piggy Smalls for their PhoStrami Sandwich (if ever a meal had my number, pho and pastrami is it).  Also, we didn't make it to Inaba for Soba, so that'll have to happen next time, too.

October 11, 2018

10K Gratitude

I set modest running goals for 2018. Run some 5Ks, some 10Ks, and one half-marathon. No *real* pace goals other than a pie-in-the-sky hope to run "very good" on the cooper test.

Morning glories are so cool!  New surprise blooms every day.
This has worked well for me. I've been registering for and showing up on race days and performing as well as I can. I've been slowly improving my speed/endurance and losing a little bit of mass over the year. Essentially, I've been doing a decent job of being a casual runner who is slowly improving, but it hasn't been high stress and, nor has it been a top priority.

Walking with my corral to the start.
The San Jose Rock 'n Roll 10K was a classic example of this year's low-key approach to running. Because I'd paid to register, I'd done more than I would have if I hadn't, including a few longer runs in the 9 mile range as well as a little speedwork and strength work. Nothing hardcore. But consistent 20ish mile weeks with some cross-training and stretching. Occasional tempo runs while I joined F to break up her long runs for the NYC marathon, because her long run pace is my tempo pace (10 min/mile these days).

In our house, turkey chili is served with equal parts cheddar!
After the Break Free 10K, I knew I had a sub 1h02 10K in me. The question I had to ask myself was how badly I wanted it. And the honest answer was not that badly. I biked 5 miles for a lunch outing where I had beer the day before the race and then after several sparkling waters, I had some wine with dinner. I went to bed early and woke without trouble to enjoy coffee and a sugary lemonade before the start.

My AM went according to plan with traffic and parking and port-a-potties and getting into my corral. I made a deal with myself that I wouldn't run the first 3 (downhill) miles faster than 10:15/mile and then I'd re-assess.

Sunrise on the hike to Diamond Head 
(Spoiler: A few days after SJRNR we went to Hawaii)

Hah.  I had absolutely no problem keeping it reasonable on the pacing -- I hit the 5K mat about 30 seconds behind goal pace for a 1h05 10K and I really didn't care enough to try to speed up to meet that time. I was just happy to be healthy enough to continue running on such a gorgeous day in San Jose (mid 60s at the start, low 70s at the finish).  I told myself to just keep running by effort so that I was getting in a good "long" run that didn't hurt too badly.

Secretly, I hoped that I could at least keep all miles sub 11.  But, when I saw 11:04 at mile 4 and thought, "That's fine. Just 2.2 miles to go and you're still fine. Keep it comfortable and push on the last mile." I turned on my music and started to slowly increase my effort.

They call it the rainbow state for a reason.
I passed 14 people in the last mile. I know because I counted, smiling internally with gratitude at each one. What I didn't do was count the people that passed me.  I'm pretty sure it was more than 14.

I didn't come close to my sub 1h02. Instead I ran a 1:07:24. 24 seconds slower than last year. But, OH. MY. GOODNESS. Last year HURT. My left leg was starting to get worse.  AND, I ran way too hard at the beginning and seriously slowed in the middle.

Duke's Kahlua Pork Nachos
(Possibly my favorite guilty pleasure food)
This year, by comparison, was so absolutely pleasant and wonderful and enjoyable. I smiled my way through the entire last 2.2 miles. I cheered for every fast person who passed me on their half marathon finish (the out and back makes it possible for people my pace to watch the half marathon play out at the end). I've definitely reached a point in my running where just registering for, getting the bib, showing up for, and running a race is a source of celebration and gratitude. (Even better if you can have post-race brunch with a friend.)

A perfectly acceptable run.
Of course I'd love some fast(er) times. But what I've come to realize about myself is that I'll gratefully accept any finish of a race.  Particularly when my body is in balance and I don't have any exercise-induced pain.  The ones where I am able to push and go faster through the general hurt of running on the edge of my fitness, do, of course, result in a larger sense of accomplishment.  But even the ones like this year's SJRNR where I just use the race as an excuse to do a harder workout than I'd otherwise do, make me very happy.

I'll try to get in a few good runs while enjoying a week of this.
In short, I am grateful for a healthy happy run and a beautiful post-race vacation.

October 1, 2018

Sometimes Art Saves You

This week's running was mellow.  25.64 miles total.  Almost entirely easy miles with some race-ish paced "hard" efforts around 10 min/mile as well as a few minutes here and there sub 9/mile.  It was the best I could do given 5 days away from home.  Sunday's 4 medium in the high 11s followed by 2.5 hard/walk intervals in the sun felt like a good enough effort that I was proud of myself -- 6.5 solid miles.

Garlic, onions, bacon grease -- the beginning of something good.

On Thursday, I watched the Kavanaugh hearings like a slow motion train wreck. I could not tear myself away as it was fascinating but also terrible. Dr. Ford was so vulnerable, visibly striving so hard to be completely honest and useful, working for our collective good even when her narrative didn’t help the supposed “cause” of the left that she was supposedly serving.

Pinto beans, 
the last of the non-garden canned tomatoes 
& ground turkey.

Judge Kavanaugh, on the other hand, was combative, defensive, non-responsive, and obviously not honest on many issues where he deflected and refused to answer questions. He couldn’t own that perhaps he had at times drank so much that he lost some moments. All other things aside, given the background we have of his habits, this was completely unbelievable.

Cumin, oregano, marjoram, 
mustard powder, chili powder, salt, 
2 Caribbean hot peppers & 1 ghost pepper from the garden

But no matter, because he was busy aggressively questioning senators on the Judiciary committee during his hearing. As if he had equal right to challenge them as they did to challenge him. It was clear he thought he did have this right. And our governmental structure is such that he did not. As a jurist and a constitutional scholar he should have known he was not entitled to answers from them.

Yet, he seemed to think this governmental balance of powers was unfair and designed specifically to disenfranchise him. And his anger, rage, and disdain poured forth in a manner that only SNL could correctly satire. Which is wonderful. Because, SNL, is, after all, art.

The only thing better than turkey chili
is turkey chili with cheese.
Today, I went to a local theatre to see a play with a friend. We’d talked about how we wished we supported the local arts more a couple of weeks ago, and then she saw this play, and emailed me and we made plans to go. AND OH, THE BALM TO MY ROUGHED-UP SOUL THAT WAS THIS PLAY. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU.

What a gift to live in a location where your local play can be a Pulitzer nominated masterpiece.  I cannot explain how much today's theatre experience healed me. I ordered the script to re-visit the gorgeous wording and thoughtful clever interweaving of history and themes.  Thank you, all of you people in the arts.