it has been a bit.

it has been a bit.

I often have these visions of how I want my blog to look, and I have all these posts planned out in my mind, things that I often chat about with other running friends, yet ultimately, when I have an opportunity to write, I do something else instead … and so begins nearly every blog post I write, with some sort of half-assed non-apology to my few readers for my relative absence.

An absence of my virtual scribbles doesn’t indicate that things are awry or that I’m not running; in fact, as is the case now, it’s really quite the opposite. It’s simply a matter of how I’m choosing to spend the very little children-free time I have available.

I’m here; I’m just … not. Or something.

I’ll do a quick catch-up, a la bullet points, in the interest of brevity:

  • I had about a twelve-week-ish turnaround between Pony Express on 5/1 and the SF Marathon on 7/31. I took a good two weeks post-PEM for super easy or no running, not so much out of physical stress as much as I did for the mental side. Being in the land of the Mouse for some of that time surely made the decision to not run much pretty effortless, too. I used to be able to effortlessly jump from marathon cycle to cycle, finishing one race and then hopping right into the next cycle for the next race. Maybe it’s part of the aging process (getting wiser?!) or, as is probably more realistic, the current wonderful state of life with two young kids, but I find that I need at least a little downtime to recharge my proverbial batteries before getting back into the marathon grind. Physically, I always feel ready; my mind is the one that’s all jump back, johnny! that convinces me to take more downtime. It’s less about waving the white flag in “weakness” and more about acknowledging that if I want to continue to do this stuff for the long-term, I’ve got to respect the mental side of marathon training as much as I do the physical.

    also good for mentally recharging? running monument peak.
    also good for mentally recharging? running monument peak.
  • My family and I have been spending most of the summer in the midwest to visit our families. During our travels, I registered for both a 5k and an 8k. By my standards, the 5k was pretty shitty – let’s talk about how unacclimated I am to a) racing 5ks and b) racing in humidity, ha – and I ultimately DNSed the 8k (something I’ve only ever done twice before) because I felt exhausted and didn’t think that the stress of trying to race an 8k would do me any favors 27 days pre-marathon. I thought I’d try to sneak in a few more 5ks, but I never found any that would be convenient and minimally disruptive to my family, so I just forewent it. I was initially going to write a RR about the 5k, but honestly, it’s been about a month now, and I don’t even remember very much of it anymore except that after a 3 mile warmup, I was soaked from head-to-toe in sweat; I had GI nonsense during my WU that (fortunately) abated during the race; and naturally, I had a slow burn-and-fade during the race. I think I posted a low 21 – slow for me – but I left pissed more at myself for the novice pacing than for the time. Practice, practice, practice…

    drones are cool. (PC: tim speer photography)
    drones are cool. (PC: tim speer photography)
  • Concurrent with the awesome family time I’ve been able to have, I’ve purposely let running take something of a backseat. I so appreciate being with family, and of course, their willingness to hang with the kids when/so I can run, but realistically, I’d much rather just be with my family (whom I never get to see, due to that whole California-being-on-the-edge-of-the-western-world-thing) than running by myself for a few hours. I’ve run when I can and when it has been both convenient and minimally disruptive, and while it was initially challenging to shake the guilt-ridden ohmygodhowamIgoingtorunTSFMifIdon’tcompleteaLReveryweekendorpostXnumberofmileseachweek sentiments, I’m better with it now. It wasn’t that long ago that I’d feel completely derailed by not being able to check-off all my runs week after week. Now – and especially given our travel and my sacrosanct family time – it’s ok. Expected, even. I’ll be fine.

    buuuuuuuut this 20 miler in Akron was arguably one of the best runs I've had while traveling. when in doubts, woods it out.
    buuuuuuuut this 20 miler in Akron was arguably one of the best runs I’ve had while traveling. when in doubt, woods it out. as much as I love roads — and I really do — going off the beaten path for a while is really just so good for the soul. I’m convinced of it.
  • I’m running the SF Marathon, one of my favs, in just a few weeks now, on July 31. It’ll be my third time running the marathon, and another year being an ambassador for the race, and I’m looking forward to it. It’s always a good experience and a fun weekend. On paper, my training has been fine – I can say that both mentally and physically, I’m going into it feeling better than I did going into PEM, but not nearly as good as I felt going into Modesto – and I think I am most liberated by my relative lack of expectations and goals. TSFM is a tough race any day of the week, even if you’re especially trained for it, but it’s also a beautiful course and a lot of fun. I love the climbing (about 1,500′ by my Garmin in ’14, if I’m remembering correctly); the diversity of the course doesn’t get old; and hell, going from sultry midwest temps back to the coolness of SF in July will be a welcome treat. If I had to guess, right now I think I’ll be looking forward to the race as a wonderful and scenic long-long-run opportunity. I should hold a contest to guess my finish time because really, I got nothing. We’ll just see how it all comes together. I don’t think it’ll be my fastest SF, but I also don’t think it’ll be my slowest, either.
  • Speaking of things coming together … stuff is still being finalized, but if it all works out and I’m still needed (wanted?), I might be pacing at a popular California marathon in August. …wink.
  • This is pretty fun; someone is actually paying me to write about running (for a change!). It’s funny how the internet works sometimes. I should really make some explicit messages on my blog that state that I’m not interested in posting advertisements or promoting products in whom I don’t believe (looking at you, compression anything), or putting people’s pre-written and glowing product reviews on my blog, or writing for free (!) for some website about bodybuilding (true story) – all things that have come my way since I started casually writing here a while ago. Nowadays, in that aforementioned sparse child-free spare time that I have, I’ve been doing some freelance writing (and ghostwriting) about running. You might come across my byline sometime … or you might read my stuff that’s attributed to someone else. It’s kinda neat. Even though I’ve written and published stuff before, seeing my name in a byline – or knowing that stuff I wrote has been published on running outlets – doesn’t get old.

Maybe I’ll pull something else together here before TSFM on 7/31, but if not, you’ll probably have my SF recap to look forward to next in a few weeks. On pins and needles I surely leave you. Here’s another gratuitous woods pic, this one from the land of Lincoln from earlier this summer.

make some Illinoise
make some Illinoise

6 thoughts on “it has been a bit.

  1. I hear you about planning to post and then doing something else! I personally blame it on summer when there is more going on outside and spend less time in front of a monitor! Anyway I think the two weeks downtime post-PEM was a great thing to recharge the mental batteries. I’m in the middle of a two week “break” which I used as one week as a pre RnR Half taper and this week as a post RNR recovery. The break has made apparent the fact that I was extremely tired both mentally and physically and I’ve taken advantage of this “oasis” in my marathon training to get some rest before I tackle the final 10 weeks of the cycle. I’ve registered and DNS’d about 10 races in my life for various reasons. I think exhaustion during marathon training is legit of a reason to skip an 8k as they come. Who knows, maybe the time off with family and low stress will pay dividends when the TSFM comes around? I think feeling good/fresh when you line up in your corral is much better than being a ball of over-trained stress. As for your predicted time I would gather to say that you are in exactly the same fitness as we were for PEM. Your 18 week pre-race average weekly miles for PEM was 41 and your 18 week average for TSFM is 37. But, for TSFM you have 12 weeks more base training than you did for PEM. Since you say that TSFM is a harder, I would be a little more conservative (say, 5 to 10 seconds slower) than PEM pace at least until halfway. Then up the pace if you are feeling it. It’s all about confidence, and really I think you are in a good position to reel in a decent performance at TSFM especially if the weather is cool and you choose to race it. Anyway, congrats on the writing gig! That is pretty awesome, but right up your alley with your passion for running and your professional level writing skills!

    1. I love your optimism, Pete 🙂 thanks for the support. Your analysis (which I loved, as always) made me go back and re-examine how my volume has looked since Modesto on 3/20 and PEM on 5/1, and you’re absolutely right. I think I might just even use your plan, too! More to come 🙂

  2. 20 miles off road is hard core!!
    I keep thinking one of these days I’ll just suck it up & run TSFM full, but I can never summon up the enthusiasm for all those hills. (And it’s always hot at the end of the 2nd half, so that’s not helping.) BUT MAYBE ONE DAY!

    1. Ha, thanks – but that 20 wasn’t exclusively trails… just a bit of it! 🙂 TSFM is a great race. I ran it when I still lived in Chicago, and I was impressed then and swore I’d do it again… so I have. The start time is so early that I don’t think the 2nd half would really heat up all that bad, unless you’re looking at maybe a 4:30+ finish time (I think. I might be wrong). Give it a try sometime! You’ve got the added huge benefit of being able to sleep in your own bed the night before, too!

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