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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
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.