Browsed by
Tag: training recap

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.

June 2017 training recap

June 2017 training recap

If May flew by in large part thanks to all the end-of-the-school-year stuff, June whooshed by even faster with the beginning of summer. For the past few years, since we moved west, we’ve come back to the midwest to visit family, usually for a few weeks at a time, in the summer. It’s obvious, but I often don’t fully realize or appreciate just how far away we are from family until we fly to them, and it takes all freaking day to get from one side of the country to the other. Thank god we live in an age when we can habitually video chat far-away family members because it has definitely diminished the distance, helping to give my kids (and me) a sense that their family is close at hand. Anyway, June came and went, kinder ended just as soon as it began, SF training intensified, and in the mix, we flew the coop to Ohio. In a nutshell, that was June.

they (thankfully) did great on the flights

I grew up in northeast Ohio, right outside Akron, and lived there until I graduated from high school (before then living in Chicago for a decade-plus and now, SJ). Even though I ran track in high school, I’ve spent very little time running in northeast Ohio, particularly because marathon training and endurance stuff wasn’t on my radar until after I had already left the state. Thus, I look forward to running in NE Ohio when I’m there visiting — despite the bitching I might do about the unforgiving humidity — because so much of it is still new to me.

another novel thing: running in the rain. in June, the last day of the month, no less. (the 90% humidity preceding the shower be damned)

One of the things that I really, really like about running is its portability and accessibility. Assuming your safety isn’t jeopardized, running is something that you can do just about anywhere and at just about any time. It doesn’t require much in terms of equipment, and it requires next-to-nothing when you compare it to other sports that necessitate specialized playing fields or courts, years of lessons, or any number of other accoutrements. Hell, if you want to, you can literally step out your front door and just do your thang. That’s pretty awesome in my book (and especially as a parent who’s always looking to minimize the timesuck in my running).

a couple turns out the front door and voila. not bad. (Eds. note: greenery! in June!)
Screenshot 2017-07-05 at 2.28.39 PM
but when I want to drive a little, the back half of the old Akron course is a blast: towpath trail, roads, hills of varying intensities, tons of tree canopy, numerous Sand Run options, intermittent bathrooms and water fountains … pretty rad. post 20-mile workout here in front of Canal Park stadium, obvs a bit excited. 

June was another high volume month that resulted in a new record — just shy of 252 miles — and one race, an inaugural half marathon in my hometown, wherein I physically didn’t fare too well and basically questioned everything related to my TSFM training. Writing about running, racing, and training is pretty effortless when you have a great race, training cycle, or whatever, but when things seem to go to hell in a handbasket — seem being the operative word here, because it’s all relative and based on how you quantify or qualify your success — it’s death by a thousand paper cuts. I wrote about the race ad nauseum, but the takeaway is that it was an excellent learning experience in mile-by-mile expectation adjusting. With running, the gods sometimes treat us to a perfectly textbook race day, but more often than not, something kinks it up. Adjusting attitudes and/or adjusting expectations mid-race can help us walk away from a race still grateful for and about happy the experience — if not also with some helpful new tools in our toolbox — instead of feeling bitter and angered about how we should have or could have performed. Do the very best that you can do, on that day, at that time — what I tell my little girls, FFS! — and that’s enough. Shit happens, right? The good stuff — where I think we can grow as athletes (or as humans, really) — is in how we navigate the kinks.  

circa mile 7 of Matchstick, momentarily happy upon seeing an old friend (PC: Ben)

June was excellent in terms of QT with friends and kids (and sometimes friends’ kids!) on the run. I was fortunate to get in weekday miles with my kids in the stroller and on bike; with Meg and her kiddo in her stroller; and with Janet, my newly postpartum PT Wolfpack teammate who’s so intelligently scaling her postpartum running that I can’t encourage enough PP runners out there to follow her lead. Weekend LRs were often with my buddies in the thick of their IM Santa Rosa training, per yoosh, as well as with others in 50k training and SRM training, graciously making my inspiration well pretty full these days. My luck isn’t lost on me. 

mid-LR with Saurabh and Chai (training for IM Santa Rosa) on a very steamy, 100+ degree weekend in SJ


one of the last kinder commutes


post-Janet run with the kids on another hot day in June in SJ


our parade is getting bigger! with Janet, Meg and baby K, and my kids on (guess what) another steamy day in SJ before we left 

Finally, ICYMI, June also brought with it a cool partnership opportunity with BOB strollers, TSFM, #BOBTeamSF, and Olympian Alysia Montaño.

Onward, July!


….aaaaaaaand I apparently threw away all my listening to, reading, watching, and the like June notes. Dammit. I remember that I mostly read a lot of NYT and Doree Shafrir’s Startup: A Novel (an enjoyable satire but not as biting as I would have liked). 

Enjoy pics from Ohio instead. 🙂

cuddly Norman puppy in the background


I can’t recall the last time I was here for my dad’s birthday, so this was pretty special. 🙂


my ride-or-die (is that what the kids say now?) since forever. I saw her mom (my former Girl Scout troop leader!) mid-half marathon!


cousins! G hasn’t figured out how to play Minecraft with them yet, however


NKOTB, Paula Abdul, and Boyz II Men at the Gund Arena — which is apparently now called the “Quicken Loans Arena” (see what happens in 15 years? Names change) — with my sis, as I try to do my best Rock impersonation #fail