race week!!!! — Woodside Ramble 50k

Well, aside from the fact that we’re smack in the middle of my favorite stretch of year, we’re also in my favorite type of week: race week, baby! If all goes according to plan, I’ll post a few more shorty-short jaunts just to keep the blood movin’ and come Sunday morning, I’ll go drop 31+ miles in the woods over in, appropriately named, Woodside.

beginning to memorize this...
I’m beginning to memorize this…

 

Usually, this would be the time in my “ohemgee it’s race week yay emotions and second-guessing everything!” post where I’d try to do something dramatic, like write a single-word or single-sentence paragraph to showcase my heightened emotions, anxieties, and whatever else coursin’ through these veins in advance of the event of choice, but this time around, at least at this point in the week, I’m feeling calm. Excited, even. And a little intrigued.

The beauty of doing something for the first time, like I’ve said before, is that you really don’t have any expectations going into it, as well as no previous experiences from which you can extrapolate. Having not raced anything more than a marathon/42k, like I wrote before, I don’t know what I don’t know about racing a 50k on trails with about 5k’ of gain, and I’m pretty sure none of the 25 previous (non-trail) marathons I’ve raced will help me much… yet really, aside from the aforementioned fear of GMBAML (getting mauled by a mountain lion), I’m sure it’ll be amazing!!!! And yup, all the exclamation points are completely necessary!!!!

Seriously. I think it will be awesome. My goal is to finish and to have a freakin’ blast. If I can realize both of those goals, I will be golden.

The truth of the matter is that when I found out that life would preclude me from racing CIM, initially I was a bit bummed because it’s such a big deal here—and I knew so many people who were also doing it as their A race for the winter/autumn—but I also felt a little relieved. I’ve run and raced a lot this year—which has been fabulous, and it’s been healthy stuff, and very gratifying on so many levels—but at least early on, I questioned how into it my heart would be for CIM. Part of it was simply that I’ve been frustrated in myself, in not only my propensity for choosing some really tough courses for which I train my ass off and try to go all-out in and PR (looking at you, Oakland and SF), but also in my ability—nay, my fucking penchant, it’s seemingly that habitual—to make novice, stupid-ass errors that jeopardize my ability to execute on race day goals and strategies (looking at you, Chicago and NYC ’13 and Newport ’14).

but no matter the frustration... this feeling. my god, this. feeling.
but no matter the frustration… this feeling. my god, this. feeling.

 

At any rate, though I’m truly elated with how my running has progressed from Houston ’13 to the present, I was kinda beginning to feel like maybe I needed a time-out from roads/26.2 after 26.2, and when the 50k seemed like a viable option, I thought… perfect. I’d be dumb to not take this glaring opportunity.

In the past few weeks, I’ve done a quick-and-dirty overview of my training for this race, and I’m happy to say that I’ve been able to healthily post about 97% of my projected training mileage; fuck yeah I’ll take that without complaint. I’ve had to mix some things up a bit to accommodate life, but hey, who doesn’t. Really, the biggest difference between my 50k and previous marathon training has been my lack of concerted speedwork/pace work/tempo stuff for this greater distance, as well as my intentionally slowing my longer runs to emphasize time on my feet over stuff like fast finishes or progressions. That part—making my long runs long, and slower, and without bells and whistles—was tough (because I really do enjoy that stuff in my LRs), but it was also a nice departure from the same ol’, same ol’.

also a good departure from same ol', same 'ol. en route to Monument Peak in SJ, CA (11/14)
also a good departure from same ol’, same ‘ol. en route to Monument Peak in SJ, CA (11/14)

 

Probably the most important focus for me for this 50k has been in how I’ve approached my weekend long runs, and more often than not—but not always—I’ve posted back-to-back (if not also back-to-back-to-back) long runs to, again, emphasize time on my feet. For some weeks, life intervened, or I was feeling like ass/burnt out, but overwhelmingly, things went swimmingly. The end result, beginning from pacing the Santa Rosa Marathon, because that kinda sorta marked the unofficial beginning of this little journey:

Saturday Sunday
Week of 8/18 Shakeout 3ish in SR w Austin 26.2 / 3:35 pacer
Week of 8/25 7 (Vegas) 6 (Vegas)
Week of 9/1 7 14 (including a trail race 13.5)
Week of 9/8 8 6
Week of 9/15 18 10
Week of 9/22 12.12 24.3
Week of 9/29 rest (outpatient surgery) 20 (including RNRSJ half)
Week of 10/6 20.05 13.05
Week of 10/13 rest 23ish (including Nike Women’s half in SF)
Week of 10/20 Rest – disneyland rest – disneyland
Week of 10/27 22.11 12.27
Week of 11/3 rest 27.06
Week of 11/10 12.1 18.06
Week of 11/17 13.2 28.15 (11 a.m.; 17 p.m.)
Week of 11/24 rest 20.1
Week of 12/1 (taper) 5 10
Week of 12/8 (taper/race) Probably some shakeout Big day!

 

And there we have it. Hard to believe that this 50k training is coming on the heels of me posting 2,500 miles for the year—new personal distance record—but dammit if it isn’t a hell of a way to close out 2014 and my first year living in CA. I’m beginning to think that I’m drinking the kool-aid here in more ways than one.

Sunday will be interesting. I joke that I was hazed into marathoning, since Chicago ’07 was so damn hot, and I think Sunday will be a mud-fest with all the rain that we’ve (finally) been getting, but hey. It’s all about the memories, right. Why not.

Here we go, 50k!

non-running-related nonsense, Dec ’14 edition

Apparently I completely spaced on writing a non-running banter-related post for the month of November, so it seems high time to do so now.

1. One year Californiversary! I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone ever say “wow, time sure does seem to move by slowly,” but seriously–it’s really effin’ weird to think that my family and I have been here in CA for nearly an entire year already (12/21!). It’s especially weird to be here right now, in early December, because behind me our patio door is open, and in front of me, a bedroom window is open, and I don’t think we’ve ever turned on our heat yet… yeah. Suffice it to say that you can take the girl outta the midwest but not the midwest outta the girl. I keep thinking that one day, I’ll look outside and there will be white stuff on the ground and temps south of 50…

 

2. RAIN. Related to the aforementioned Californiversary is that I’ve learned quite a good deal about this state and its weather over the past 360ish days. Talking about the weather is about as exciting as molasses, yet I’ve quickly surmised that December/”winter” here is apparently the rainy season. It’s too little, too late, since we’re in the throes of a three-year drought and apparently the worst drought in 1,200 years (one-thousand two-hundred years, people), but it seems to be helping things here at least a teeny tiny bit.

driving back to SJ after a weekend in Anaheim. This area is probably about 5-6 hours south of us (and this pic was taken in late November)
driving back to SJ after a weekend in Anaheim in late November. This area is probably about 5-6 hours south of us or immediately north/northwest of LA.

 

on Piedmont Rd., facing north, in Milpitas [a SJ 'burb]. The hills quickly turned green here after a deluge of rain in the past week. SO. PRETTY.
on Piedmont Rd., facing north, in Milpitas [a SJ ‘burb]. The hills quickly turned green here after a deluge of rain in the past week. Just a couple weeks ago they were as brown as sand.

 

3. Friends! I love having folks over, so when Midhun, a DePaul friend, got married up in Wine Country in early November, I was elated that a flurry of my DePaul undergrad gals were able to come in for the wedding weekend. Teri took a pause from her Central American exploits, Kel came down from Portland, Traci flew in from Michigan (after stopping in Portland for an interview), and Areeg flew up from LA… and it was faaaaaaabulous. Only wish the rest of our little contigent back in the Midwest could have made it.

 

yay friends! Kel, Traci, Areeg, and Teri
yay friends! Kel, Traci, Areeg, and Teri

 

with a pile of more DePaul buddies + the bride and groom
with a pile of more DePaul buddies + the bride and groom

 

4. Books. I saw Caffeinated at the library a few weeks back and tore through it pretty quickly. I actually don’t consume a lot of caffeine (mostly just a tea drinker), but the author had a really captivating way of describing many Americans’ (and many people’s) proclivity to consume caffeine day in and day out–and for some, all day long–and while it seemed like the title and sub-title were a bit alarmist, the book was informative and a bit eye-opening. Suffice it to say that my infrequent diet soft drink consumption is becoming even more infrequent.  Here’s a quick glimpse of some of the stuff Carpenter talks about in his book, but really, the book is worth a read in its entirety. It’s pretty interesting stuff and calls into question not only issues of use but also, probably more important, issues of (de)regulation and the industry’s (deleterious, IMHO) effects on its children and young adult populations. Some of the stuff I read about struck me as being downright insidious, but maybe that’s my Mom Alert buttons getting pushed…

caffeinated

5. Thanksgiving! Christmas! New Years! Family! This time of year, from early November until New Years, is my favorite because it includes all three of my top fav holidays: dia de los muertos, Thanksgiving, and New Years. For Thanksgiving, the three of us decided to take a very last-minute trip down to Disneyland in Anaheim, and it was a lot of fun and actually pretty low-key. Someone didn’t make it to dinner…

20141127_163845

C’s family will be joining us for Christmas (awesome!), and the day they leave, the three of us will be flying down to the Dominican Republic to meet my parents and my sister and her family (more awesome!). We’ll be in the DR for New Year’s, which, funny enough, C and I have done before, and I’m pretty sure my heart might explode from happiness from seeing both sides of our family in a two-week period (if only my brother and his family were joining us in the DR… damn you, brother!). It’ll be a veeeeeeeeeeery long day (days?) of travel from SJ to the DR, involving one red-eye, but hey, it’ll make the vaycay taste even better, right?

cousins! she hasn't seen 'em since August!
cousins! she hasn’t seen ‘em since August!

 

6. it’s that time… Another post forthcoming, but by the time I post this, it’ll be (50k) race week, baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Holy December! How’s yours?!?

Ruminating on my love of the run