Hard to believe we’re staring down the final couple months of 2017, but alas, here we are. It always seems to happen this way, doesn’t it?
Post-pacing at SRM in August, I ran and “raced” (more workout-during-a-race than actual race racing) a bunch in September before rolling into the thick of CIM. Included in September’s mix, as I mentioned in last month’s recap, was my husband having surgery and my eldest’s teacher unexpectedly quitting less than a month into the school-year, so suffice it to say that there was a fair bit of “life stress” saturating, well, just about everything in September and into October.
Fortunately, life seemed to calm ever-so-slightly in October — my husband continued to recover from surgery, and my eldest got a new permanent teacher as of about 10 days ago (praise the lord) — so I’ve kinda begun to feel like that once-super-distant light at the end of the tunnel was beginning to flicker a little more prominently, even with all the other seemingly-countless stuff — good stuff, not complaining! — on my plate right now. I don’t like being busy for the sake of being busy, but I appreciate knowing that I’m using my talents and my resources in meaningful ways. I’m happy to say that I think I’m doing that/have been doing that so far this school-year, better than I have in the past, and I don’t see it slowing down anytime soon. It’s gratifying.
Anyway, the proverbial light came at a pretty fantastic time, too, because October began CIM training in earnest. Granted, I have felt tired as hell throughout most of September and October, but with everything going on, I’d honestly be more concerned if I weren’t tired; that’s just part of the marathon training game. It’s a constant battle of how much fatigue can you handle before breaking.
October wasn’t going to include much racing in the first place, save for maybe a couple XC races and a half marathon up in Humboldt, but nothing materialized. Ultimately, my coach and I decided to forego the XC in favor of getting in some proper long runs for CIM training, and the horrible fires up in Napa and Santa Rosa basically made running Humboldt unwise: not because the fires were affecting that part of the state but because of the potential resource drain, since there were talks that some emergency personnel from Humboldt were heading over to the fires to assist. Plus, logistically speaking, the PA USATF folks took it off the racing docket last minute anyway, so even if folks did go run it — and some did — they wouldn’t be accruing any points or money for their teams. It was going to be a 5-hour drive from SJ, and one wherein none of my female teammates were participating (and only a couple guys), so I just decided to eat the registration costs and bag it. I’m definitely looking forward to racing this in the future though because I’ve heard it’s a really awesome and pretty course.
Arguably the best thing for my running in October was participating in Hoka One One’s Women Who Fly long-weekend retreat, getaway, adventure thing — I’m still at a loss of words to describe it — and it was seriously pretty game-changing. I’ve been working on recapping the weekend, but I’m already at a point where I know that anything I try to say to describe it will be fairly sub-par: a pretty frustrating problem for a writer who’s committed to finding just the right words, all the time, but from a “human experience” point of view, I’ll admit that it’s a cool problem to have. The Cliff’s Notes version is that it was an incredible weekend and one that helped me shift my views on my running or, more broadly, on myself. I got so stupidly lucky in being selected to participate in this opportunity, and being able to participate in the company of such badass, genuine, and impressive women left me feeling just super invigorated. It was challenging to leave “the Hoka house” when everything was said and done, and I still don’t quite know how to describe the experience. More to come about the Hoka weekend soon (I hope).
Otherwise, October was a pretty solid month of running. I finished with just under 230 miles for the month (227.5, says Garmin), with a fair bit of what I’m calling “put hair on your chest” workouts in prep for CIM in December. Admittedly, my confidence was wavering a bit in my ability to execute on prescribed paces in workouts — and I’ve definitely had workouts that didn’t go over as beautifully as I would have liked — but I think I’ve been doing this stuff long enough to know that that’s pretty normal and that trusting in the magical (and scientific) process that is marathon training is key. Day at a time, mile at a time — patience, grasshopper.
Reading: I read American Fire while the wildfires were burning in earnest in Santa Rosa — which made me feel weirdly dirty — but the book was really interesting. I don’t know anything about arson or arsonists, so it was really eye-opening to read the backstory to a series of arsons in Virginia a few years back. This shit’s weird as hell. I won’t spoil it.
Listening: Nothing new in podcasts and really, not much new in music, either. My family and I remain totally enamored with Bad Lip Reading, and at any given time, you’re all but assured to hear “Morning Dew” or “Carl Poppa” around here. Pretty sure my six year-old knows the lyrics to both, and even the little one asks for Carl Poppa.
Enjoying: 25 hours in Las Vegas for my sister’s birthday! She had never been before, so for her birthday, she and her husband, plus a bunch of my BIL’s cousins, and one of my sister’s co-workers, and I all met up in Vegas for a quick overnight trip. It was a blast! I don’t gamble, nor do I drink, but just being with my sis — even for a short period of time — made it all worth it. I felt pretty guilty when I got home because my husband had had a rough go with the kids and wasn’t feeling well — the shitty thing about recovery is that it seems like it’s very unpredictable and recursive, very one step forward, five steps backward — but I’m glad they were all ok for the 25 hours I was gone.
Writing: a ton last month. It’s completely random, but I’ve been ghostwriting on a bunch of running websites for a guy in Denmark (told you it was random!) for the past year-plus, and I had more writings opps in October than I’ve ever had before, which was pretty great; unfortunately, it just means the “fun writing” wasn’t as present as usual. I did a few quick pieces/was featured for/on other sites though, like she.is.beautiful (featured here) or the Berkeley half marathon blog (here, here, or here). By the way, if you want to run Berkeley this year, ERIN or ERIN5k will save you a little cash.
Loving: Halloween with a six year-old and a two year-old. We had a fun time. It’s so funny how different their experiences are than mine growing up; most of the time for Halloween, we had to wear costumes under our winter coats because it was freezing and snowing outside by the end of October.
Good luck to everyone racing this weekend!