Monday, June 27, 2011

Outdoor Movie Time?

Sometimes when I see these pictures I lament the awful dead, weedy state of my yard and feel general envy towards the owners of such a set up. How lucky they must be!

 (photo credit: Apartment Therapy)

But then I realize, that unless you live on some other planet devoid of life, or your grass is fake plastic turf, you will have bugs crawling all over you. Popcorn with some buttered ants. Maybe a spider crawling on you, just for kicks. A mosquito having a cocktail from your leg.

Or realize, as you’re sitting there, that you’ve failed to collect every yard deposit from your canine companions and you and your light tan cloth pillows are sitting on poop.

And then once this blessed movie is over, you have to collect all this crap that you’ve strewn about and PUT IT ALL AWAY.

Screw this idyllic outdoor movie time. The couch is fine, thanks.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Err… Fourth is the New Third?

So confused.

Yesterday afternoon, as I was getting dressed to go to Pizza Port (with my new $7.99 Old Navy summer dress score), I saw my still-not-put-away-because-I-am-lazy Breezin’ Through Beamont race bib sitting on my dresser. I thought to myself, with a twinge of slight bitterness, that the race folks never did send out the age group awards and probably never would. I go out to the car and The Husband is walking back from the mailbox with a package in his hands.

Turns out it’s from the City of Beamont. They had a letter apologizing for the lateness of the results (they had no awards ceremony the day of the race for anyone, not even the winners, because the timing company apparently didn’t have their shit together), and that they had finally compiled the official results. Inside the package:


I could have sworn I was fourth. I checked the results again this morning, and, I still have not been able to roll back time to magically get that third. Still fourth. What’s even stranger is I can see how, on race day, they could make a mistake. But more than two weeks later? After the shpiel about taking time to compile the results?

The only thing  can think of is that whoever was ahead of me, perhaps, wasn’t really racing, or something. Like, they excluded themselves for whatever reason. There was one chick who kept stopping and walking and then taking off, and she had a shirt that read “coach” on it. She did come in ahead of me (which, again, made me feel fabulous that someone employing a run-walk in a 5K beat me), so, maybe she wasn’t really in it? Maybe she took herself out of it?

Anywho, time to try to get motivated for my long run (14 mi) this morning. It’s not going run itself.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sunday Evening Musings

Work slapped me around pretty good last week. I worked a solid 9 hours each day.

I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but I’m a programmer. It is mentally exhausting to write code for hours on end. Imagine focusing on completing a complicated 1000 piece puzzle all day long. And completion of that puzzle pays your bills. You don’t get to go read your favorite blogs or email your friends. Or even eat lunch in peace without working on that damn puzzle. Maybe you might have some meetings with other people about how to get said important puzzle done faster and better, but nothing else. Tiring. Friday, I finally saw some rays of hope that my team might get what we need done by the deadline. I even did my tempo run at lunch after seeing how much progress was made by mid-day. We’ll see how this week shapes up.

This morning I did 14 easy miles down the coast…

…and then rewarded myself with an enormous cup of froyo with a Groupon and now, my friends, I am paying for it. I’m mildly lactose intolerant and I sometimes forget that large amounts of dairy don’t work for me. It was so good though. Sigh. I’ll have to settle for half what I got next time if I don’t want to gas my husband and dogs out of the house.

After the yogurt gorging we did our weekly grocery shopping and found that my new place, formerly Boney’s, did not have as crazy a deals as last week. Prices were still decent, but clearly last week was part of the grand re-opening. I did pick up 6 bottles of Crane Lake Petite Syrah for 3/$10. This usually mediocre label actually has a good 2009 Petite Syrah. If you can find it, grab it. It’s worth $3.33. Heck, it tastes like a $9 bottle.

I also managed to almost leave Fresh and Easy without paying. The checkout attendant was all kinds of hyper having me fill out the mailing list card that when my credit card swipe didn’t go through I didn’t realize it and walked out (since if it’s less than $50 you don’t even sign, so I didn’t think twice). As we were pulling out of the parking spot, he came running out to let me know I had to complete my transaction, apologizing for distracting me. That guy needs a doobie. Apparently there is too much stress working the self-checkout.

And in case you are curious, here is the training plan I have devised through to the Hobble Creek Half on 8/21. I have two runs of 16 miles. Not sure if I will go that crazy, that’s nearly marathon training kind of mileage…

Monday, June 13, 2011

Grocery Stores on my Sh*t List

I find that Mondays can be the most frantic work days of the week. I spend the weekend thinking about what needs to get done and then Monday morning, I’m wound up like a top ready to be spun. This is mostly true when deadlines are coming closer. I almost don’t want Friday to come (isn’t that sad?) for fear that I won’t have enough done by then.

Luckily, aside from the second half of yesterday, I didn’t have that much time to think about work this weekend. We wasted an inordinate amount of time grocery shopping on Sunday at a supermarket recently under new ownership that is a bit out of our way (10 min drive).

I was like a kid in a candy store in that place – so much produce at ridiculous prices. Heirloom tomatoes $1.50/lb? What? Watermelon 10 cents/lb? A big cantaloupe melon for 99 cents? Which makes me very suspicious.

Lure me in with your cheap prices and then pull the switcheroo.

I can’t tell you how this has been bugging me since yesterday. Which is retarded. It’s just that I don’t like getting attached to a supermarket, learning where stuff is in the aisles, getting down a routine, only to be betrayed later.

It’s possible that they are new owners and think these prices are sustainable and are clueless to managing a store. Possible. But I tend to think it’s Bait and Switch. “Come to our grand reopening! Look how awesome we are!” and then in a couple months, they’ll jack up the prices to be the same as everyone else.

And then I’ll have to go back to Henry’s which pisses me off an a regular basis with their selection (No orzo? Really? No sliced prosciutto  in the deli?) and their baggers. Saturday afternoon I was there for 6 things, the highly skilled bagger put them in three different bags (seriously?) and then failed to bag two packages of blueberries (which I paid for). A fact I didn’t realize until the next morning, after a 13 mile run, when I attempted to make blueberry pancakes.

I was miffed, to say the least. This was only a few days after finding that a carton of ricotta (the deal where they must pack and weigh it at the store since it’s in the deli plastic containers) that hadn’t yet been opened, had a sell by date of 6/15, purchased a few days earlier, was already spoiled. 

Henry’s is on my last nerve. Anyone else with irrational thoughts/attachments to grocery stores?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Fontana Days–4 Hours Later, I’m Already Sore

It’s going to be ugly tomorrow. It’s already getting sketchy now.

I set my alarm for the ungodly hour of 3am. The earliest ever that I have woken up for a race. I really felt like I might be crazy for such a thing but then 2000 other people were running this race and probably getting up before 4am so at least Crazy Has Company.

Just to see if I win the prize for earliest race wake-up call, what is the earliest you have gotten up for a race?

Unlike any other race, I laid all my stuff out the night before so that I could streamline the next morning. I had my latte, toast with PB and banana, took two medjool dates and gatorade along for the ride and left the house as 3:50. Yeah I said Three. Fifty…. AM. So early, the coyotes were out; I saw one up the road – I’m sure he was thrilled I was cramping his style with my car.

I got up to Fontucky at 5am and the place was dead, which is excellent in my book. Got a good parking spot, picked up my stuff, and waited for Sarah to arrive. We hopped on a school bus around 6:10am and arrived at the start, up in Lytle Creek (San Bernardino National Forest).

[tangent 1: did you know school busses now have super high backs? I could not help thinking about the various ways kids could get into trouble with that much seat to hide behind]

[tangent 2: Sarah gets extra bonus points for finishing the race listening to Sarah Smile by Hall and Oates. Anyone who likes old school 70s music gets 500 points. Which buy you nothing. Except some Chacha Props.]

It was fa-reezing. Thankfully I had a throwaway shirt which hopefully at least makes it’s way to Goodwill. I was skeptical that there were enough porta-potties but we actually used them twice in 40 minutes! So apparently, it was sufficient. They even had boxes of GU packets you could grab for the race. At this point I was super-impressed with this race’s organization.

While we were waiting to start, I wanted to get a picture of the San Bernardino National Forest sign to prove we were in the sticks, but this dude was standing in front of it gyrating. We figured maybe he was opening his hips? Maybe? Either way, I passed on the pic since I didn’t want him to get the wrong idea with him Elvis-ing. We didn’t stick in that area long because it turns out Sarah seems to not like bugs crawling on her. It’s always funny when someone several heads taller than you is more afraid of bugs than you are. Hehe.

5 ft 9 and 5 ft nothing

Yeah, maybe I should just superimpose this guy’s face on mine since our cheezy grins are the same.

cheezy grin

We took off, and the first four miles, my legs protested the descent. I was a bit concerned because they felt like they wanted to tighten up, but around mile 3-4 they gave in and just ran. The first 3 splits, when my Garmin beeped, I literally laughed out loud. 7:28, 7:25, 7:29. I was not pushing it at all. Good ‘ol gravity!

I started eating blocks at mile 4 which was probably 15 minutes earlier than normal. I just felt like I needed it and I do think it helped me.

I’m pretty sure the 10K mark was PR… yeah, just looking at the miles, only 1 was a single second slower than the 7:46 pace I ran at Redondo. Obviously, this downhill stuff is kind of cheaty.

Anyway, I just kept trucking and, MAN, did this race go by fast. There were some parts with a little less descent (the last 3 miles) but we generally were continually dropping elevation. I hit mile 11 and I started paying for flying down – my legs were protesting like it was their job. I was just hoping they wouldn’t go on strike yet.

Mile 12 was kind of ugly, we were still going downhill (103 ft descent) but I could only manage 8:11 (stark contrast to the rest of the miles). Then “Gold Girls Guns” by Metric came on the iPod (seriously, iPod shuffle seems to know the right time to play this song every race) and I started moving again clocking mile 13 at 7:51 (96 ft descent).  I kicked with whatever I had left (or thought, I felt like I could have pushed a little harder) and finished on the Garmin at 13.10 on the dot. Never had that happen before! I did make sure sure to run all the tangents, so, I guess it worked.

Unofficial finish time, a ridiculous 1:41:38.

Zee Splits:


Now, obviously, I can’t run that fast on a normal course. That is just insanity.

However, I did feel very good today which is a bit of a bug-a-boo. It kind of chaps my ass. I expected anywhere from 5 - 7 minutes improvement (last time was 7 minutes less between Long Beach and Snow Canyon) and I’ve stalked  previous year Fontana finishers on Athlinks and they also have that 5-7 minute ballpark from other local races. This time of 1:41:38 is nearly 11 minutes faster than PCRF 5 weeks ago. I am pretty darn certain that I could have pulled a PR (1:47-ish) out of my ass on a regular course today.

My quads starting cramping literally 5 minutes after finishing. They would alternate seizing up and relaxing. It was weird! I am already stiff (yes I stretched!) so I think tomorrow is going to be interesting. If I am able to walk I may hit up a spin class (she takes it easy on the class, for the most part) at the Y tomorrow to work it out.

This week is going to be another resting week before I start up training for the Coronado Independence Day 15K and ultimately the cheater Hobble Creek Half in August. At least I have a baseline now of downhill to downhill. I have decided that my stretch goal is to break 1:40 for that course. That is less than 2 minutes improvement. Doable, I think.

I’ve been up since 3am so it’s time to relax, have some brews from the kegerator, and hit up the knitting. I know Party Animal over here.

Good luck to all of you running San Diego Rock n Roll tomorrow!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Perhaps Not So Smart.

I have decided that I am not a fan of the Runners World SmartCOACH. It’s not all bad and perhaps if you paid for it, you would get some better functionality and more quality plans. This week, I sort of abandoned it.

The good thing with the plan is that is gradually builds up your mileage and doesn’t have any crazy workouts. That bad of it is it ropes you in my projecting some magical PR time if you follow said plan, so you feel obligated to follow it. I finally decided it wasn’t for me this weekend.

I ran a 5K on Saturday morning and my legs were like lead. My 10K PR from February (the day after another 4K race, so I wasn’t rested) is 48:17. I ran 24:08 on Saturday. Literally the same pace for half the distance. My legs were toast.

I was not impressed.

Especially given that I am running about 10 more miles per week than back then – last week was 29 miles total – the most I’ve run since 2003. Granted, I did not really rest much to prepare for the race but it’s a 5K, for Pete’s sake.

I looked at the SmartCOACH schedule for this week (Fontana Days Half is this Saturday) and it looked like this:

Sunday 13 miles easy
Monday 4 miles easy
Tuesday 4 miles easy
Wednesday 2 x 1600 @ 7:36 – 4 miles total
Thursday 4 miles easy
Friday rest (gee, thanks)
Saturday RACE – 13.1

That’s 29 miles in the 6 days before the race. What kind of crack are they smoking?!

Apparently it’s crack that makes your legs miraculously recover for a race from the highest mileage week in the whole plan.

This is when I said, “this is some bullshit” and decided I was done with SmartCOACH. There is no way that is smart. If I was averaging 50 mpw, maybe 29 the week of the race would be OK.

Instead I did (am doing) this:

Sunday 8 miles (whatever pace I want, was 8:51)
Monday rest (actually, 4 mile hike/walk)
Tuesday 4 miles easy (9:14)
Wednesday 2 x 1600 @ 7:36 – 4 miles total (8:45)
Thursday 3 miles easy
Friday rest
Saturday race

Total of 19 miles before the race.

And you know what? My legs are starting to feel not like hamburger meat.  Go figure. Shocker, right?

Anyway, so I’ve tossed out my SmartCoach plan for Coronado 15K and Hobble Creek Half and am in the process of making my own plan which will be a combination of a bunch of plans picking whatever I feel like I need. I still think I will take my long runs (anything over 10 miles) slower than the 8:50 I was always doing before – I’ve learned that much. And I’ll probably try to reach 35-40 peak MPW.

I wonder if anyone out there has had success with this SmartCOACH. And if they have, was it their first or second race, how long the plan was, etc.