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July 2017 training recap

July 2017 training recap

And like that, there went July.

July was full of a lot of action: being in Ohio for the first almost two weeks, visiting family, and then returning to SJ, getting ready to race at SF, and then finally racing the thing. Like I said in my June recap, it was awesome to be able to see my family for nearly three weeks in June-July and to be able to train in some of the more beautiful parts of Akron, hills and humidity and all.

girl pile on my mom


post-LR in downtown Akron, my last LR in Ohio. I ran into a bunch of runners in their final leg of an inaugural 100 miler that morning. Props to those folks for a) not only running a hundo but b) running one in Ohio in the humid summer. Cannot fathom it.

While I was in Ohio, I jumped in a local 4th of July 5 mile race in North Canton and basically got slaughtered by young XC whippersnappers — I was the token 30 something in the top ten women — which was actually a lot of fun, even on the heels of a 20 mile workout about 48 hours prior. It made for a pretty good boost of confidence, a hefty 5 mi PR (easy to do since I had only raced this distance once before), and a great way to start the day.

July also marked the one-year anniversary of my cousin’s death, and while I have struggled to find a way to write about it and still have some degree of order and cohesion to my very scattered and likely conflicting and contradictory thoughts, I finally gave up and just verbally vomited it all out in this post here. Thank you to everyone who has read it and publicly or privately reached out to me since then; I am so quickly learning that the depth and reach of addiction overshadows anything I had ever conceptualized about the disease before. Its span is huge and without discrimination. Since I wrote that post, my sis informed me that carfentanil has returned to Akron but masked as OxyContin pills, so now folks who abuse OxyContin run the risk of ODing on a large animal sedative disguised as an opioid. What a fucking tragedy.

By the end of the month, I had the joy of racing the San Francisco Marathon for the third time and doing all the fun race weekend activities entailed with TSFM. In just 24 hours’ time, I saw tons of friends, both at the expo and on race day, and even got to run with some buddies mid-race, which was a treat. While I am, admittedly, slightly annoyed that I didn’t race faster, I am nonetheless thoroughly happy with my experience and how strong I felt from start to finish. This may be the only time in my life that I run mirror-perfect splits in a marathon, from the front half to the back half, so I’m reveling in the fact that I did that on such a hard course (and in some unforgiving weather for the first 11 miles). The marathon is a great teacher, and I’ve walked away from my 29th marathon still learning something new about how to approach this beast. For that, I am grateful (and can’t wait to race it again).

PC: Dynamo


what a fun weekend.

And finally, just six days later, I got to chase my own racing experience with going up to spectate at Ironman Santa Rosa in, you guessed it, Santa Rosa. My predominant Sunday morning LR partners, Saurabh and Chaitanya, were both racing there, in their 4th go at the IM distance, and I was absolutely thrilled that I could make the 2.5 hour/100 mile drive north and be able to catch them, plus a friend from Boston in town to race, Ann, about 6 times on the three-loop marathon run course. I have zero interest in ever doing a tri, much less an IM, but as a long distance runner, I know how awesome it is to see a friendly face on the course, particularly if things go south. Standing around cheering, cowbelling, and spectating was super inspiring. Just like with running, I saw so many different people, and so many different body shapes and sizes and speeds, but the common denominator amongst everyone was their passion. That shit’s palpable, man. I had a blast cheering for my friends and basically laughing at the president of BASE salt, whose company was handing out salt very near where I was standing, for about 4 ½ hours. (Seriously, his dance moves to what had to have been the best Pandora station ever for an aid station were so impressive. He was full throttle for just about the entire time I was there. Homeboy was dripping in sweat comparable to the triathletes). Hefty PRs for Saurabh and Chai, too, in addition to many of their teammates, which just sweetened the already very awesome day even more.

so proud! with Chaitanya and Saurabh post-IM.

So here we are, 203+ miles later and August-bound. Wild. I’ll be taking a little bit of downtime before starting CIM training, and I may jump into some XC PA action this fall, too. We’ll see. I’ve been feeling well post-TSFM, albeit probably a little more tired than usual, but my complaints are minimal. I’m planning to pace the 3:33 group at Santa Rosa at the end of the month, so I imagine that I’ll be focusing most of my August running on being able to lock in that pace in my sleep. We only have a little bit of time left before my eldest starts school — back to the bike-stroller commutes! — and then, I imagine things will really start to fly around here. That’s how things seem to roll, anyway.

Reading: I finished Homesick for Another World when I was in Ohio, and it might have been my one and only fiction book this year. It was great — I love short stories — and weird as hell in parts. Some of the characters were oddly endearing. I’d recommend it. I started Ariel Levy’s memoir but had to return it (boo; waiting for it to come back to me), and I had to re-start The Gene after also having to return it before I was finished with it. The same thing goes with David Sedaris’ Theft by Finding. I’m not really keen on this Sedaris book, but what keeps me going is that so much of it takes place right where we used to live in Chicago, in Uptown. It’s interesting to read what has changed and what has remained the same. Make Your Bed, something that G literally took off a library shelf and gave to me to bring home, was about what I expected, though still pretty inspiring and interesting. Ronda Rousey’s bio, My Fight/Your Fight, was also weird as hell in parts but fairly inspiring, too.

Listening: to not much, in the way of podcasts. Still not feeling it much. I enjoyed Tina Muir’s talk with Magda Boulet, but I think it’s because I just really like Magda. She’s cool as hell and super humble. We met at my first race postpartum after G, and she ran alongside A, as well as her son, so we’re all basically best friends now.

throwback to the Let’s Go 510k in October ’15; also known as the 10k I ran about 8-10 weeks postpartum and about 24-48 hours post-runaway IUD retrieval surgery and bonus emergency appendectomy. Magda was seriously cool as hell though! Owen, too.

Watching: again, not much. Aside from maybe a few more episodes of Master of None, honestly I can’t recall the last time I went out of my way to sit down and watch tv. I think I spent most of whatever free time I could string together in July reading, writing, or sleeping. In advance of a marathon, that sounds about right, anyway.

an overdue ‘life, in a nutshell’ post

an overdue ‘life, in a nutshell’ post

Had to do some searching for the last time I wrote one of these not-really-running-related posts, and yeah… it has been a while — a many month while, in fact. I’m going to break my rule and include some running-related banter in here because it’s timely, but heeeeeeere’s what’s been going on.

It’s The San Francisco Marathon race week! nope, I’m not running SF’s awesome marathon on Sunday (tear) or either of its half marathons or ultra, but I am running the 5k! Friday will be 36 weeks for me — that’s 9 months! — and most likely, as far as I can tell anyway, TSFM’s 5k will be my last “race” of this pregnancy. I’m looking forward to race weekend, seeing and spending time with Erin (coming in from Chicago!) and possibly Meredith (who left Chicago for the Bay Area earlier this year and might be doing the second half this weekend–yay!), working at the expo with all the other lovely social media ambassadors on Saturday, and oh yea, leading a community shake-out run on Saturday morning with the one and only Dean Karnazes! I last saw him during the Oakland Marathon ’14 (I think he lives in Oakland or SF… somewhere in the Bay Area), and he’s a badass. This weekend should be a lot of fun between seeing new and old friends there to race/pace the events, meeting and running with Dean, and 9-months-pregnant “racing.” And hey! come see me at the expo on Saturday, and/or come to the shakeout that morning! (

excited to see Erin B again this year in SF!
excited to see Erin B again this year in SF!


and yay for possibly seeing Meredith again over event weekend!
and yay for possibly seeing Meredith again over event weekend!


1000 books before kindergarten. The little one still has another year before beginning kinder, and when we learned about this program that the SJ public libraries are sponsoring, we (mostly me, ha) were totally excited. It’s no secret that it’s critical to read to kiddos, starting as young as possible, and fortunately for us, A really likes to read; she likes to be read to, she likes to “read” her stories to whoever will listen, she likes to tell her own stories… you get the idea. Over the past few months that we’ve been participating in this program from our library, she has gotten really into it and even insists that after we read books together, C or I go write down the books’ titles on our tracking notebook 🙂  It’s very sweet, and it’s so awesome to see her so excited about reading and books. I just think it’s an awesome idea and hope that other libraries nationwide are doing something similar.



cord blood donation. This is more of a PSA than anything, I suppose. When I first began all this marathoning stuff with Team in Training, I learned about the Be the Match marrow registry, got on the registry, and eventually, when we got pregnant with A, C and I learned about cord blood banking. The two of us researched and eventually decided that we preferred to donate my cord blood to a public bank instead of storing it in a private bank accessible only to us. (Tangent: if you have no idea what I’m talking about, you can get a little primer on the subject here. Like pretty much anything else related to health and pregnancy, how you choose to proceed is a personal decision. For many reasons, we believed [and still do] that public donation was best for us). Annyyyyyway! After we had A in Chicago, we donated the cord blood to a public bank — which was a pretty straightforward process, just one riddled with lots of paperwork — so this time around, that was our intention here in CA as well. We had to do some hoop-jumping to get the paperwork in order (just due to some hospital red-tape issues), but unfortunately, apparently in California my autoimmune disorder renders me ineligible for donating … even though I had it when I was pregnant four years ago, I’ve been medicated for it since 2010, and I publicly donated my cord blood in 2011 while being medicated/treated. Ugh. Not gonna lie, I was kinda heartbroken that we aren’t able to donate this time around; it just kills me because I know that our donation could make a huge difference to someone and, more importantly, so many pregnant women and their partners don’t realize that donating their cord blood to a public bank is an option. If you take nothing away from this little tirade, take this: if you’re pregnant — or are planning to become pregnant, or know someone who is — know that you can donate your cord blood and that it can make a difference in someone’s life. Otherwise, it’ll literally end up as medical waste … and that sucks 🙁  (and for more info on the donation process, start here).

books! Oh my, lots of books since our last little update together. I was on a fiction kick for a while but have since returned to my usual nonfiction preferences.

The “mehs” include:

  • Emma Donoghue’s Frog Music — a fun vacation read but kinda “eh” overall
  • Nick Hornby’s Funny Girl — same as above, except less fun
  • Dr. Tadashi Yoshimura’s Joyous Childbirth Changes the World — interesting point of view, good information and resources, but kinda “out there” and definitely not for everyone
  • Caitlin Moran’s How to Build a Girl — a pretty fun and easy vacation read but kinda lackluster toward the end

The “don’t bother”s include:

The “absolutely!”s (and naturally, three of the four are nonfiction):

  • Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven, which could probably make for a good movie or mini-series
  • Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal, which, no joke, I cried every.single.time I read, and even bought a copy for my dad to read so we could talk about it
  • Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up, which will probably make you judge me a bit, but honestly, I thought she had some really interesting stuff to say and some really good perspectives on how a tidied/in-order house can affect our moods and, honestly, how much shit we all probably have in our homes that we actually don’t need. I read a lot of scathing reviews about this book from people who thought Kondo was a little left-of-center for some of the stuff she said — and I’ll concede that her techniques can be a little weird — but again, I think the crux of her message is important and worth considering. It’s a quick read, anyway.
  • Ina May Gaskin’s Birth Matters: A Midwife’s Manifesta.  No surprise that I liked this. I mean, c’mon, captive audience.

And finally, I’m in the throes of reading Sapiens, and so far, so good. This one might take me a while.

Family outing at Levi’s Stadium. C’s work sponsored their annual summer shindig at Levi’s Stadium (where the 49ers play) this year, so we dropped a few hours there on Saturday morning so A could get her face painted (which, if it were up to her, we’d have a live-in face-painting artist), her hair braided, her arm airbrushed, and many, many opportunities to bounce to her heart’s content at one of the many bounce houses. It was a lot of fun, and the stadium is really, really nice.



family cheesin’


Ohio!! and finally, in early June, A and I ventured out to northeast Ohio to see my family for a couple weeks. It was amazing because not only did we get to see my parents, my also-pregnant sister and her family (my brother-in-law and my three nephews), but we also ended up being able to see my brother plus his family (his wife and another nephew), who had flown in from Houston; a great aunt; another aunt, uncle, and my cousin’s newborn daughter; my also-pregnant BFF; and my in-laws, who drove in from IL for a quick visit. It was all very awesome. We were in Ohio for 13 days, and while it rained probably 12.5 of those 13 days we were there — and hello, oppressive humidity! — dammit, it was just great. The photo dump can speak for itself.

pregnant for days with Shannon
pregnant for days with Shannon
my bro, SIL Lisa, and their little guy Riley
my bro, SIL Lisa, and their little guy Riley
A reading to my mom :)
A reading to my mom 🙂
cousin Brian on a boat!
cousin Brian on a boat!
Drew, Trae, and A
Drew, Trae, and A
almost all the cousins - A is the only girl!
almost all the cousins – A is the only girl!



That’s about it these days! Hope all is well with you these days!