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December 2017 training recap

December 2017 training recap

It shouldn’t take too long to talk about December’s running and training simply because there wasn’t too much of it. With the big goal race being CIM on the first Sunday of the month, December played out like this: race CIM, reverse taper, go to Mexico with family, and then come home and do the holidays. In a nutshell, December was simply race and then r&r like a boss. It has been great.  

As I wrote about in detail earlier in the month, CIM was excellent. How I managed to squeak out a tiny PR — 3 seconds is like a literal blink of an eye in a marathon — still kinda blows my mind and makes me laugh out loud, but a PR is a PR is a PR. I’ll (gladly, enthusiastically, gratefully) take it. Honestly, I’m pretty proud of how I raced that day, and I’m confident that I’ll be able to race it more strategically in ‘18. That’s how the marathon hooks you; as long as you think there’s room for improvement, there’s always a reason to return to the distance. I’m so happy that Lisa took a chance with coaching me, especially given my crazy quarter, and I’ll be working with her again in ‘18, too. We’ve got something good going. 

CIM cruising. Sadly, those Hokas destroyed my feet. (PC: CT/WRC)

Post-race my body felt great, which makes me suspect that I had more left in the tank than I realized, which is pretty frustrating but just fans the flame for future 26.2s. I began running again (leisurely) shortly post-race, but as the month wore on and we began the holiday break, running took a backseat to travel and family/holidays stuff. In terms of mileage volume, December was my lowest by far of 2017 — 88 — but I welcomed it.

change of scenery for mid-December

The other, rather shitty highlight of December was when my girls and I had a big scare when we were run-ride commuting home from school right before break. To make a long story short, we were *this close* to being hit by a car. We were all standing at a crosswalk — me pushing G in the stroller, A on her bike, around 2:45 pm on a beautiful, sunny December day — and car 1 stopped at the crosswalk and gave us ample clearance to proceed. Another car (car 2) pulled up behind car 1, and car 2 also stopped, with a good clearance between her car and car 1. I should have begun to go by then — both cars were stopped, the drivers saw us (and I saw them) — but for whatever reason, I didn’t. It was serendipitous, too, because car 3 came hurtling down the road and slammed into car 2 — who then slammed into car 1 — with the end result being a pretty horrible-looking three-car pile-up, eventually accompanied by cops, an ambulance, and a fire department (and a shit-ton of profanity, tears, and a near brawl between car 2’s driver and the mother of car 3’s driver).

What’s most terrifying is that there’s not a doubt in my mind that had my girls and I begun to cross the street when we should have — that if we were mere two or three bars (like four-five feet) into the crosswalk — one, if not all three, of us would have been hit and badly (if not fatally) maimed. It was very scary, and I’m glad my girls and I were ok and that the drivers walked away from it (though driver 1 and 2 went to the ER due to neck pain, AFAIK). Rationally I realize that running or riding anywhere, but particularly on city streets, always carries with it an inherent sense of risk and danger, but man, it is absolutely scary how fast one person’s lapse in judgement can change your life.  

this was Car 3, the one who didn’t stop and consequently plowed into stationary Car 2 (who then hit Car 1, who would have hit us). Scary stuff for sure.


coincidentally, I just spotted a Vision Zero sign on my run a couple days ago, just about 1.5-2 miles from where we were almost hit.

I’ll soon write a 2017 overview that will highlight my running from the past 12 months. I’m still trying to figure out what I’d like to accomplish in 2018, so I think writing out my thoughts will help me clarify my ideas (or more likely, further confuse me, but hey, hope for the best, right?).

Have a fantastic (and safe) new year, friends. XO


Reading: HRC’s What Happened was excellent, and I cried a lot while reading it, which was rather unexpected. Hillbilly Elegy was also interesting and one that I’d probably recommend. I started The Evolution of Beauty but haven’t gotten very far into it yet, though I’ve read that it’s fascinating. Apart from books, this multi-part NYT read about addiction is pretty eye-opening. And, of course, I can’t go another month without loving another tirade about the nonsense that is #eatclean.

Listening: There were so many breakthrough performances at CIM, and I’m pretty sure the entire running internet world was rooting for Kris Law and celebrated alongside her when she notched her OTQ. Hearing her interview with Lindsey on Lindsey’s podcast was really awesome. I’m so happy for her. 

Watching: My family and I have been (very slowly) working our way through all of Star Wars in episode order, and we finally got our shit together and finished it right after Episode 8 came out. I don’t think I had ever seen The Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi until a couple days ago, and man!! They are so good!! (I still haven’t seen episode 8, so keep the spoilers to yourself!). Oh, and related: this new Bad Lip Reading video, Hostiles on the Hill. I kinda love hearing my kids sing “I wish I wasn’t so dang sweet, so dang sweet, so dang sweet,” hahaa. 

Doing: Lots of family time, thanks to a two-week holiday break (a week+ in Mexico with my parents, sister and her family, brother and his, and my own), followed by a week here for Christmas. Not a ton of running during the holidays this year — fairly atypical for me — but it was a nice change of pace.

dark picture, boo, but the one time of year when we’re all together, so yay
Modesto Marathon training update – the final bit!

Modesto Marathon training update – the final bit!

You know, back in the day, I don’t think I appreciated or valued the taper for what it was or for the function it serves during the marathon training process. I feel like I was one of those runners who gets especially antsy, thinking and rethinking everything that I’ve done (or haven’t done) during the training and, consequently, second-guessing my ability to cover the marathon distance or my ability to deliver on a goal that I (probably somewhat arbitrarily) set for myself.

These days, I’m quite the opposite. By the time taper arrives, I’m ready for it. Maybe it’s a product of accumulated years of marathon training cycles, racing, and mileage, or maybe it’s just a byproduct of chasing after two small children at home; eh, it’s probably both. At any rate, I dig the taper. I respect its role in the process.


W, 2/24 – 13 miles with miles 4-7 @ tempo + 8×1 @ 10k RP with 2′ jog rests. Actual: 13.04 @ 7:58 average

This week necessitated a bit of Life Tetris-ing with my runs because we were leaving early Sunday morning for a Disneyland trip (yay, paternity leave), which meant that if I wanted to do both my LR and my speed stuff, I’d have to do something midweek. I ran this after the kids were in bed (around 9pm), kinda dreaded it all day long, probably emotionally ate to compensate, and my legs (and belly) felt heavy for all of it. In actuality, my posted splits were where they should have been (for once) – 7, 6:58, 6:52 and 6:25, 6:13, 6:47 (oops), 6:31, 6:53 (oops), 6:36, 6:22, 6:29for the 10k. On paper, everything was fine, but I felt like I was dragging ass for the most part. It happens.

The bigger issue on this run was that a creeper appeared out of seemingly nowhere when I was on my second or third 10k repeat, it scared the beejezus out of me, and I promptly grabbed my jacket (#priorities) then hightailed it off the unlit, cinder track and into a nearby neighborhood to finish my run. I run by myself often, I have no qualms about running in the dark (so long as I wear my headlamp, which I was), so the fact that I felt uneasy about this random person was alarming. Always, always, always trust your gut. Always.

Sa, 2/21 – 21 miles. Actual: 21.11 miles @ 8:31

Running is so humbling. My previous two 20 milers were without bowel consequence, and apparently, I had to make up for it. I spent the first 10.5 miles having GI catastrophe after GI catastrophe (you’re welcome), making me wonder if I should even try to finish the run, which was frustrating because my legs (and the rest of me) felt fine. Eventually, things turned around, and I had a lovely negative split to show for my efforts. For some reason, I kept gravitating toward the hills in and near my neighborhood, giving me about 700′ of climbing, so I had fun with mixing up the effort throughout the run, as well. Again, just one of those days, I guess.

Sa, 3/5 – 13 miles with miles 4-7 @ tempo + 8×1′ @ 10k with 2′ jog rests. Actual: zilch.

We were in Anaheim from 2/22 through 3/5, and running there is super tough due to logistics (and especially now that we have the baby). It’s doable, but it’s not easy, and my experience has been that when we go there and I don’t run, I lose virtually no fitness because we’re on our feet all day, every day. On this trip, I ended up running only twice while we were there, in part because of the logistical nonsense and because I eventually waved the white flag to the strep throat that I had apparently been harboring since 2/24. Ick. I was bummed to miss my last major speed sesh of training, but trying to power through it while sick (even if I felt decent, save for a total inability to swallow or generally turn my neck, as well as a total absence of my voice) would do me no favors. No go.

the Snow White ride broke down shortly after we boarded. It was moderately creepy.

Sun, 3/6 – 18 miles with final 5 @ GMP. Actual: zilch.

See the strep throat commentary above. We got back from Anaheim Saturday night, I spent two hours in a clinic waiting to get some antiobiotics (and a strep diagnosis), so I ultimately put myself in “fun timeout” on Sunday and forbade myself from running the last major workout of training (and San Jose’s 408k race, my fav race here). Again: bummed I had to skip this one, but I definitely know I made the right decision. Long term gains > short term gains.

Sa, 3/12 – 10 miles with miles 4-5 @ tempo + 8×2′ at 10kRP with 90” jog. Actual: 12.02 @ 7:43 avg

Apparently I have become quite consistent in my propensity to overestimate distance when completing speed sessions on the track. I overshot what should have been 10 miles to 12, and during the 8 rounds of 2 minutes at 10k race pace, I managed to screw up my intervals twice: once by hitting the wrong button on my watch and not realizing it for a good 300 meters and then, later, by running my interval for 30 seconds longer than I needed to. Derpy derp derp. My 3:30am baby-induced wakeup and apparent insufficient caffeine fueling made itself clear, evidently. My many derp moments aside, this went well. My legs felt a bit heavy, and the last bit got tiring and windy – is it a freaking law of nature that it is always windy on tracks?! – but no complaints. The stats: tempo at 6:45; 10k 2 minute repeats at 6:31, the screw up, 6:46, 6:33, 6:39, 6:54 for 2’30” (derp), 6:42, 6:33.

windy morning for sure, but damn, it was pre-tay!

Sun, 3/13 – 9 miles with final 6 @ GMP. Actual: 5.02 @ 7:23 average

I woke up Sunday morning, an hour less of sleep than usual (DST), and I think the sleep deficit, combined with the darkness, the relentless rain, some fatigue from Saturday’s dozen, and perhaps my still-getting-over-this-strep-stuff all seemed to coalesce, making me eventually get up, get dressed, get ready to go out … and then promptly go back to sleep for a while. I so rarely do stuff like this, so I chalked it up not so much to “lack of motivation” as to “I need to listen to my body so I can fire on all cylinders at my marathon in a week.” I eventually got out for this around 8pm, after I got the littlest in bed. Practically on my way out the door, I realized that if I did the workout as prescribed, I’d be way over my prescribed mileage for the week – not something I want to do a week before my race – so in the interest of “less is more,” I cut this down to 5. I figured I’d do a warm-up then 4 GMP, but I got into it right outta the gate, probably because GMP make me anxious for some reason, so I was keyed up on adrenaline right away. I was shooting for 7:35, probably (maybe? perhaps?) what I’ll go for on Sunday, and went 7:28, 7:28, 7:12, 7:21, 7:25 and felt great. Plus, I only had to stop once, at 0.3, for a stoplight. That’s a victory in and of itself. Stoplights are the bane of my running existence here in SJ.