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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
Oakland Marathon 2014 Training: 4 Weeks Out

Oakland Marathon 2014 Training: 4 Weeks Out

Week 8 – 4 weeks out – week of February 17, 2014


As I sit down to write my recap of this week’s training, I feel like this week has been years long. I’m guessing it’s more a result of the non-stop schedule the family has had since my in-laws have been visiting… and the very small detail of spending a couple days in Disneyland with a toddler (and the seven hour drive each way to get there).

Early in the week, I was beginning to feel like my left calf was being a bit janky–not especially worrisome, since it wasn’t painful, but I find it puzzling and a little disconcerting when I’m suddenly conscious of body parts that I’m usually not–so the off-ish high calf/low hammie thing, combined with the Disney hangover, gave me an unintentional significant cutback week.

The thing about marathon training though, like I’ve written before and like I’ve told my friends (and repeatedly tell myself), is that missing a run isn’t going to derail a race performance. I’m pretty type-A, in the sense that I’ll do whatever it takes to complete all, or nearly all, of my runs (hello, 3am wake-up!), but sometimes, life just… happens.  Truth be told, I likely wouldn’t have been as forgiving as I was to myself this week for missing a couple runs, but Disney + taking care of business with my calf (read: probably being a bit hypersensitive) made a lot more sense to me, in the grand scheme of training, than slogging through, and squeezing in, a couple runs just to check-off some runs on my training calendar.

Part of marathon training is learning when to trust yourself and your abilities (and your training and/or coach) and to not be afraid to alter course from the plan. Remember, these things are written in feather.

On that light note (get it? feather? light? I’m so clever)… this week’s training!

Monday, February 17

p: rest/xt

a: rest

My calendar tells me it was President’s Day on Monday, but I have no memory of what happened that day. Definitely a rest day though.

Tuesday, February 18

p: VO2 max: 9 miles with 5x600m at 5kRP; jog 90 seconds between reps

a: double-fun day! a.m.: 10.33 miles with 8×800, 3 minute recoveries (800s: 3:24, 23, 19, 16, 18, 19, 15, 15);  // p.m.: 5.1 mi recovery with Chris at PP in Richmond

The beginning of where I changed things around this week. Pfitz prescribes 600s, not 800s, but I’d rather do 800s; dare I say they’re… fun? Plus, the only time I did a 600s workout was in the dead of winter, in the dark, on the Chase Park track, and I completely fell on my ass going over a sheet of black ice on a recovery segment, so I think I just have a bad association with 600s. Anyway, I did the 800s on the PCP track and decided to go no-look until the very end, when I was hitting my watch to stop. The goal was a 3:15 or faster, so I was a bit miffed that it took me so long to hit that pace (and not until the very end, at that). By the time I finished my last repeat, I felt like I still had something in the tank, which I’m guessing means that I could have paced these better earlier on. Maybe there is something to be said for looking at your watch periodically… However, hey, look at that accidental almost-progression!

In the afternoon, I trekked back up to Richmond to meet Christopher for a double for both of us. We were much better at keeping the pace more leisurely than we had the previous week, and hey, chasing a run with vegan donuts? Yes please. Post-run, I fetched my FIL from SFO (because nothing says welcome to northern California! like your stinky and sweaty daughter-in-law) and got ready for Disney.

running and vegan baked goods FTW
running and vegan baked goods FTW


Wednesday, February 19

p: MLR 15

a: a.m. 6.21 mi (8:25 average); p.m. – nada

Tuesday’s miles put me ahead of where I needed to be by this time in the week, so I decided to cutback my MLR from 15 to something shorter. Thanks to an early departure time for Disney, I needed to have run, showered, and have my ass in the car by 5am, so that meant a quick turn-around from Tuesday’s mileage. In my little noggin, I thought breaking up the MLR into 6-4 (or thereabouts) would actually be a good idea, what with sitting in a car for 7  hours and my hamstrings and GM surely crying uncle by the end of the car ride, but without exaggeration, once we got to Anaheim, we promptly dropped our stuff at the hotel and went to Disney for the rest of that afternoon and evening… and then the rare opportunity for a date night happened… so yeah. No double today.

This was one of those days, though, where it was probably in my best interest not to double because, even though my calf wasn’t paining me, giving myself just a little bit more time to recover was surely to my benefit… and besides, I was on my feet all afternoon and evening at Disney. That’s gotta count for something, right?

Thursday, February 20

p: recovery + speed 7 miles with 6x100m strides

a: unintentional rest day

The day Disney ate my mileage. 7 miles with strides or 13 hours of Disney in one day, that followed 4-5 hours of Disney the day before (and a 7-hour car ride). That’s a whole new level of tired, folks. On the flipside, though, there is nothing like seeing your kiddo just utterly transfixed by the sight of her favorite “friends” (Princess Aurora, Belle, Ariel, Cinderella, and the like).

Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty, if it's been a while for you)
Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty, if it’s been a while for you)…and our server in the background


why yes, I was wearing compression tights for 2 of our 3 days in Anaheim!
why yes, I was wearing compression tights for 2 of our 3 days in Anaheim


Friday, February 21

p: recovery 6

a: GA 7.01 (8:03 average) in Anaheim

An earlier bedtime and a later wake-up made this run much easier to manage. I didn’t particularly plan a route for the run, though I thought running around the Disney property perimeter would be kinda neat. Basically, the plan was to run until the sidewalk disappeared and then figure things out from there. Seeing a handful of other runners out during the morning rush hour was pretty cool, too. Pretty standard run otherwise… and another fun day at Disney with some of A’s buddies. 🙂

with the sunrise
with the sunrise
she is having a BLAST
she is having a BLAST


another family shot :)
another family shot 🙂


Saturday, February 22

p: 8-15k tune-up race

a: another unintentional rest day/Disney + travel hangover

I knew I wasn’t going to be racing today, given Sunday’s 408k in San Jose (register! 90% full! come run with me!), but I figured I’d at least get in about 10 GA miles. Well… nope. We didn’t leave Disney until late on Friday night, and the 7 hour drive put us back to SJ around 2:30 a.m. You have no idea how much I seriously considered just staying up to run, but I thought that’d be against my better judgement; while running at 4am doesn’t bother me much, running at 3am just sounds worrisome.

Sub-par sleep in the car, and sub-par sleep on Saturday, since A still awoke at her usual time, meant that Saturday was a slog, and my new idea of running during naptime was shot to hell when naptime didn’t happen until nearly 3pm. Again, any other time, I’d think “what the hell” and do something, but given the weird calf niggle, which, by Saturday, had begun to feel a lot better, and my plan to go long on Sunday morning early, I voluntarily canned the run.

I’d have to look at my DM records to know for sure, but I honestly can’t recall the last time I took off 3 days in one week; I’m guessing it was probably sometime immediately post-marathon. I don’t say that as a badge of honor or anything like that; I say it only to encourage people to not be afraid to stray from the plan and, probably more importantly, to learn to listen to your freakin’ body. Recovery is damn important, folks. Off my soapbox…

Sunday, February 23

p: LR 18

a: LR 22.04 (8:08 average)

After all the voluntary time off this week, I was itching to go long to see not only how I’d feel, but also to get the time and mileage on my legs and to see how this niggle was shaking out. I plotted a course that originated at home and took me through downtown SJ before picking up the GRT and heading north, and along the way, I began to consider extending the run from 18 to 19, 20, 21, or 22 miles if things felt right. Pfitz caps his LRs at 21, and I’ve never done more than that, but a recent podcast from Coach Jay Johnson got the idea of a longer LR in my head for all the obvious (and not so obvious) physical and mental benefits.

All told, I really enjoyed this run. I ended up extending it to 22, and the calf was fine. It periodically acted like it wanted to cramp or flex erratically between miles 13-14 (I think), but besides that, no complaints. The back 5 of this run was kinda a bitch though and morphed the run into something more resembling a fartlek, thanks to all the stop-and-start action I had to do with vehicles and stoplights between downtown and my place.

And, uh, I saw roosters crossing the GRT on my back 7. My sister had a rooster once that was super mean, so I just waited for these guys to cross the road (cue all the bad jokes here) before going along my merry way.

urban cock crossing
urban cock crossing

An awesome week overall–again, experiencing Disney with my toddler daughter who adores many of these characters is so ridiculously special that it took everything I had to not cry–even with the several unintentional rest-but-not-really-rest days. If nothing else, taking a couple more days off than usual left me hungry to get back out there and finish off these last few weeks off with a vengeance because WE’RE LESS THAN A MONTH OUT FROM RACE DAY, FOLKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Weekly Mileage

p: 68

a: 50.69

 What say you? Do you ever veer off your training plan? Do you feel like a badass when you do, or does it make you a bit nervous? Spring races are coming up quickly–are you so excited!?! And have you ever yielded to unusual-for-your-environment wildlife on a run? Tell me everything!