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.
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.
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.
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.
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.