Monday, July 29, 2013


I switched up my training plan a few weeks ago and have just finished my first three-week block of increased mileage (25-30 per week). Feeling good!

I noticed overall my runs were slower - not a great confidence booster - so today I took the last half of my run at slightly slower than tempo pace (but faster than goal pace for the half). Score! Feeling much more confident now.

Of course it made a BIG difference going out in 70 degree temps instead of 85. We've had a few days now that feel like fall and I have been so happy. I know it's going to get hot again and I don't care, I'm just so happy to have some cooler weather for a little while.

It's been nice as well to have cooler temps at night. Though last night was a doozy, my dreams were super wild and woke me up several times.

Another constant I noticed while reading through past race reports was that I'm always commenting on not getting enough sleep. It's actually been getting better the last week or so (last night excepted) - I've made a truce with the Princess Kitty and she has been not quite so annoying in the night. I've also reluctantly given up full-caf again and am back to decaf everything (except for my first cup of tea in the morning). I was falling asleep just fine when I first went to bed so could tell myself I wasn't affected by the caffeine, but it was keeping me from being able to fall back asleep easily if woken up in the night. By say, oh, a small child with a nosebleed. Or a cat. Or the other cat. Or the first cat again. Or a husband coming to bed late after rehearsal. Or that first small child having wet the bed. Or the baby waking up early. Or... You get the picture.

Spent the weekend with The Dude sorting through stuff to discard or better manage. And then cleaning up all the dust (and worse) discovered in the process. Walking through I don't think anyone would notice a difference, but things do feel more manageable now. More possible. Hence the dreams, I suppose... We have a lot more to do over the next few weeks before my parents come into town (they are not staying with us but still). Our annual fall cleaning/reorganizing, done a bit early.

And the fall temperatures make me think about Scary Movie Month! Oh, time to start planning.

Monday, July 15, 2013

No, Really, I Love This Stuff

I realized last week that I may not have expressed how much fun I had with my last race, despite the copious room for improvement I actually wrote about. So I just want to make it clear...

I love racing.

Even when I don't think I've done as well as I could have. I love the people, the music, the crowds, the excitement. I love thinking about the course, figuring out a new course, feeling familiar with an old one. I love talking to the volunteers at packet pickups. I love being a volunteer at packet pickups. I love talking to other race participants (and seeing who will actually talk to me). I love getting up early and leaving the house before anyone is awake and moving through the city early. I love coming home and feeling that no matter what else I do that day I am a badass for getting up early and running a race. (And for having license to eat extra treats.) I love thinking about racing strategy and I love it even more when I not only plan things well but keep to that plan and get the results I hoped for. And then I love sharing about it afterwards. (I don't always love race photos but I've had some good ones lately.)

So, with that in mind, I've created a new page here which has all my race results and links to the ones I've written about. In going through these I have found some unfortunate trends (though typical)... going out too fast, not taking the heat/humidity seriously enough. But also a happy one... that my best experiences are when I run what I feel was a "smart" race, regardless of time: one where I start off conservatively, pick up the pace progressively, and then have enough left for a strong finish at the end. I also see that these are the ones I've done without music, so I am going back to racing without an iPod (I reserve the right to keep one on me for the marathon). Though I may need some new mantras then.

And as an extra treat, a link to a very funny comic strip (be forewarned about the swearing): God of Cake.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Itty Bitty Race Recap

I'll start with a photo which may say it all.

Near the end... a grimace, not a smile.
It was horribly hot (though not as humid as recently around here).

When setting goals, and therefore my initial pace, I failed to take two things into account.
  1. While I had trained to cover this distance I had not been training to race it, this race was just tucked into my marathon training. (Yes, these distinctions do make a difference.)
  2. The temperature at 6:30 a.m. was not the same as at 7:35, approximately halfway through.
The last five miles were brutal for me. And while friends congratulated me on finishing as well as I did, I know that I could have done better, by starting off more conservatively and taking more walk breaks to compensate for the increasing heat.

By finishing better I don't mean faster, though I'd certainly take that too. I mean stronger, enjoying myself more, able to feel that in the last miles I was actually racing, as opposed to just trying to run (not walk) as much as possible and keep from overheating.

Ah well. I promptly signed up for a second half, in August (when it may well be hotter and more humid). I've made adjustments to my hydration/nutrition system which seem to be working out well. (No more heavy bottles on my chest - I have graduated into full runner geek mode and now have a bladder for my race vest.) I have adjusted my training to better prepare for this next one and also rethought how I'm going about the marathon. I feel good.

I do love this distance. It is long enough to be challenging, to require strategy, to have to be smart about it, but I don't really worry about my ability to finish it. Even if I do have to stop and walk more than I'd like sometimes.

One very cool thing that happened: After the finish a young woman tapped me on the shoulder and told me that she'd been following me the entire time, I had set a very steady pace and it helped her. I don't know what she'd been doing those last five miles - perhaps walking as well? - but it was a real kindness of her to tell me that.

Bring on the miles!

Monday, July 8, 2013

An Aside

Goo has been picking up new words rapidly now, to go along with his mad climbing techniques. I'm amused at the difference between his first words and his older brother's.

Buddy's first words? Mama. "Dites." (Lights). "Dis?" (What's this?)


Up! Out! Open!

Be afraid, world. Be very afraid.