October 2017 training recap

October 2017 training recap

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.

how funny is this? my friend Becky ran the Portland (OR) Marathon in October, and apparently co-pacer Simon and I made the SRM promo materials for the 2018 race. #modelz (PC: Becky)

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.

not a great picture, but the view at the track on a Saturday morning isn’t a bad one

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.

not from the Humboldt half course, but also not a bad view, either


also not a shabby view for a long run (Baylands at Alviso)

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). 

trying not to eat shit in Romero Canyon (SB) (PC: Maggie)


at Lucky Penny in SB with the Women Who Fly, including Steph Bruce and a handful of awesome Hoka staff. So excited to watch Steph blaze at NYC this weekend!


with the Women Who Fly (swoon!)


I give my eldest flack for not looking where she’s going when she’s riding; wonder whom she gets it from…

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.

’tis the season for many a stroller flat; beware the “little fuckers” that are EVERYWHERE. these things spell imminent death for stroller tires.


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.

sister sister

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. 

the silly face is always a winner

Good luck to everyone racing this weekend!  

August and September 2017 training recap

August and September 2017 training recap

I was doing pretty well with writing monthly training recaps this year, but when it became evident halfway through September that I had yet to write about August, I just said eff it and decided to compile both training months into one entry.

Coming off racing TSFM in late July, I spent most of my August recovering from that race, enjoying the last few weeks of summer before Big Sis started school, and rather excitedly laid the foundation for a schedule that would help keep me on track with all the “little things” — the ancillary work, the core, weightlifting, yoga, rolling, all that stuff that I should practically always be doing more of, but don’t for whatever legitimate or bullshit reason I create. Running rarely ever eludes me, but the little things almost always do. I thought I had finally figured out a way to make use of little pockets in my day to sneak in 10 minutes of ancillary work here and there … and then school started in late August, and it has felt like 100 mph, all the time, basically every day, ever since. Excuses? Probably. Justified? I think so. 

I definitely can’t complain though about how running and training has fared in the past two months. August was a lighter volume month and ended at about 196, with most of those miles post-TSFM being super easy and in a manner that resembled a “reverse taper” so as to not lose fitness from TSFM but also not run the risk of injury by doing two 26.2s in such close proximity. Together with my co-pacer Simon, we successfully brought home our 3:33 pace group at Santa Rosa under target, and I luckily had the opportunity to share the SRM weekend fun with Connie and Meg, who were both racing SRM and who both ran magnificently. A couple weeks after pacing at SRM, I made my cross-country debut with Wolfpack down in Santa Cruz, and holy hell, XC is tough. It is gratifying and challenging in a thousand different ways; suffice it to say that figuring out how to run fast and hard and not faceplant or eat shit is a ton of (grueling, dirty, and exhausting) fun.

pacing buddies at SRM


no time like your first time in XC (PC: Melissa)

Once September rolled around, and we got thicker into the school year (with the daily run-ride-push commutes returning!), my monthly mileage volume picked back up and ended around 209. Parents at school have begun telling me all the places they see me throughout the northeast side running with G, A, or both together, and one funny soul even told me she was convinced I run 30 miles a day. (insert “hysterical laughter cry emoji” here) I’m certain that if I’m not already That Mom, I will be soon. For what it’s worth, though, I still stand by my original assertion that run-ride-push commuting to/from school is far superior (and faster) than driving, and we have yet to be late, so I’ve gotta think we’re doing something right. 

seen on my run (ride)


Super proud of her first tri finish in August, too! She hated the run, but she loved the other 2. 2/3 ain’t too shabby.

A new school year has brought with it new routines, a new teacher, and new expectations, but unfortunately, it was a bit short-lived. Not even a month into my daughter’s academic year, her teacher abruptly resigned, leaving all of us wondering a) what the hell went wrong? and b) what the hell’s going to happen now? About a week after that, my husband had a scheduled surgery done that landed him a few nights in the hospital and since coming back home, a fair amount of adjustment, pain, and discomfort; unfortunately, it’s one of those “you’ll probably feel worse before you feel better” type of things. And of course, in addition to trying to provide extra care to my husband (who’s also on activity restriction and a completely altered diet), trying to navigate the uncertainty about what’s going on at school, and holding down the usual household and parenting responsibilities, this season is bananas bonkers busy with commitments I have to my daughter’s school and to her Daisy Girl Scout troop.

What better time to start marathon training for CIM?!

If running does anything for me, I can safely say that it almost always gives me a sense of clarity and an opportunity each day to figure things out. While on paper it looks ludicrous to admit that I began training in earnest for a December marathon during an intensely busy part of my year, rationally, I can argue that it actually makes a lot of sense. If nothing else, marathon training (and people who run marathons, I’d argue) thrives on structure. At this time of the school-year, when I feel like I have a thousand commitments I’m trying to manage (and manage well, ideally), training makes a lot of sense for me because it’s an avenue for me to force myself to do something for my health daily, and I think there’s immense value in that. When I feel like shit is hitting the fan and flying all over the place, my daily run(s) gives me a concerted block of time to think through things and figure out what I can do to thoughtfully approach and manage the chaos. I know I’m not alone in this sentiment, either. There’s obviously little I can do about what’s going on at school right now, or more broadly speaking, in the world, but I have absolutely spent a good many runs thinking of questions I needed to ask, and phone calls/in-person meetings I needed to make, before I could say I felt even the slightest bit comfortable with how things were transpiring. Getting that coveted “runner’s high” is awesome, of course, but what I value more — especially right now — is the clarity and sense of calm that running gives me. 

Back off, mountain lions! We have headlamps and big smiles when we run in the dark! (PC: Janet)

September brought with it a healthy amount of racing — a runner-up finish at Race to the End of Summer half as part of a workout; a 6k cross-country meet at the Golden Gate Park open with Wolfpack; and an opportunity to break the tape in the East Bay 510k as part of another workout– and a more formalized approach to my running for the first time in ages. Lisa is coaching me through my CIM training, and while at any other time in my life I’d be hesitant to turn any of my running over to anyone else, I’m welcoming it now. October will be light on racing and heavy on training, and I’m excited to see what we will do together.

screwing around after RTTEOS


in the thick of the GGP Open


post-East Bay 510 (Lisa was lead bike)

Reading: good stuff over the past couple months, including Endurance Diet (probably Matt Fitzgerald’s cajillionith book, but full of some interesting insight about nutrition, though I’d argue that he undervalues the benefits of a plant-based diet); Option B (a great complement to Grit, and one wherein I basically cried for hours every day I read it … but worth the read); Al Franken’s Giant of the Senate (preaching to the choir, but again, worth the read), and The Rules Do Not Apply (strange, sad, and interesting). I’m very slowly making my way through The Gene and This Fight is Our Fight.

Listening to: nothing new, though my husband is trying to turn me on to LeVar Burton’s podcast… first requiring that I enjoy fiction again. We’ll see.

Watching: lots of high-brow entertainment, including finishing Master of None and Bring it On: World Domination. My family has recently discovered the treasure trove that is the “Bad Lip Reading” channel on YouTube, so our children now eagerly request and sing-along to the classics “Seagulls/Stop it Now!”, Neal Cicierega’s “Bustin,” “Bushes of Love,” “Not the Future,” “Everybody Poops,” “Russian Unicorn,” and many more. It is hilarious, and honestly, so many of those BLR songs are so well produced that dare I say, they’re actually pretty enjoyable to hear?!

Anticipating: autumn and my fav season, winter! But first, apples: lots and lots of apples.