CIM Race Report (barely) and 2016

This year’s CIM was very underwhelming.

Apart from the factors out of my control (e.g. foot cramps that have never happened before during training and my frustrating regularity), I realized that as much as I love to run and do indeed run, I don’t take it seriously enough.

If I want to make the progress I’ve been aiming for all along, I need to really buckle down. Though I’ve PR’d this year, I’ve also not achieved my goals of running the 50M and running CIM faster than I did last year. There’s been a lot of thought about whether the main running goal for next year should be the 50M or a significant marathon PR (or, more impossibly, a BQ – Boston Qualifier). Given my last blog post and my continued frustrations with trail running, I’m going to give 2016 to the significant marathon PR… heck, I’m just going to make it the BQ and keep it short. 2016 Goal: BQ. Depending on how that goes, I’ll decide on whether 2017’s will be a repeat or the 50M, or both.

In that vein, I’ve been getting my gear in order for this upcoming year. Late last year, I had the presence of mind to get some Running Warehouse giftcards during their annual sale (which I totally forgot to do this year 😦 ), and was able to stock up on Saucony A5’s, Kinvara 5’s, and Peregrine 4’s. (Other notable item additions: Balega socks, Oiselle shorts, Nike and Tracksmith tanks)

I’ve been quite loyal to Saucony running shoes since I discovered the A5’s. I still remember that day in 2012 when I got that gigantic Running Warehouse order with 5 pairs of shoes. It only took me 5 minutes to try them all on and decide that that the A5 was one of the best shoes ever made (despite having drainage holes that let more water in than drain it). However, when my reserve stock of shoes runs out (ha-ha), I intend to explore Newton and Skechers brands more fully. I’m getting a bit worried that Saucony might be changing up its overall feel perhaps too much, and pretty much every brand of running shoe I’ve tried does not feel quite right to me. Skechers seems to have a good last, heel-toe differential, etc. I almost went with a Newton MV2 back in the day, and recently tried a pair of Distance IVs that I seemed to take to rather well.

Seriously though – find a place like Running Warehouse that will let you run in shoes and accept a reasonable number of used returns. Because as much as LRSs (local running shops) like to pretend they know what they’re talking about, numbers and materials and technologies are not going to lead you to your perfect shoe. It’s all about approximating those factors, then running a decent amount of mileage with the shoe shortlist. LRSs in this case can be helpful if they have a treadmill, but that still won’t replicate what you’ll likely be doing most of the time in your shoes, running outside.Last thing that has gotten me pretty fired up about the next year of running – Tracksmith’s No Days Off calendar. The day I found out about it, they’d taken their 2015 edition off the site. I’ve checked almost every other day since for it, and requested one the moment 2016’s was posted. I don’t really need any external motivation to get my shit together, but I like Tracksmith’s design aesthetic. Oddly, it’s really not what I’m about (aka preppy New England stuff doesn’t really fit my vibe), but I ordered some tanks and a singlet and they are made quite well and fit nicely. The made in USA marketing stuff is a bit disingenuous, I admit, but unfortunately my irritation at companies that do that has been dulled so much. I’ve decided to keep a couple of the harrier tanks (made in malaysia), but mostly I’m super-psyched about NO DAYS OFF in 2016! And BQ’ing! And really going for this goal this year, no half-assery.



Mt. Tam Trail Half Race Report

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This was my second trail race, and I have to say I haven’t been enjoying them as much as I hoped to.

I almost fell so many times during the 50K in Ashland. This time, I fell a little over 3 miles in. Wet, moving rock, and on a decline so of course I ended up being grated over a few feet of moist but dry enough to cut and scrape trail grime… unhappy hands, knees, and the largest flesh wound of all on my left hip. Chafey-chafey for the next 10 miles.

This definitely factors into the relative lack of enjoyment. That photo right there is beautiful, right? Light coming through the trees, all that. Well, if you lose your concentration on the path (or stair, or huge rock, or rickety log ‘bridge’) in front of you for the slightest moment to enjoy the very attraction of trail running/racing, sights like light coming through the trees… cute woodland creatures… charming creeks with actual running water… WELL GOOD LUCK TO YOU, because you might end up with cuts all over yourself you’ll need to carry and hope don’t get infected over the rest of the race.

If you take your time to slow down (or stop) to enjoy, then it’s not really racing anymore. And the more you slow down or stop, especially at aid stations (ha-ha! an excuse to take in the sights and bring down the HR and eat!), the more it’s not actually doing your race any good. You don’t need all that, at least not for a 10K or half marathon. And if you sit down, well, that’s even worse.

This next reason is also partially on me, I admit. For me, I seriously cannot summon up any extra gears in trail racing. Road racing, I could be having a terrible day but still manage to pull together a decent finish. And/or an extra burst somewhere during. Trail racing… there is absolutely nothing for a slight incline (or usually much more than a slight incline). Flats and downhills don’t count for obvious reasons. The downhills are where I gain on runners, in droves, but the magnitude of my prowess there just does not match at all the extent of my extreme fail when I’m on inclines.

The despondence I feel on extended inclines has been unexpected but strong. I’m glad I’ve never contemplated DNF’ing, but whatever depressive thoughts run through my mind all would lead most to that very (at the time logical) conclusion.

Despite pushing through though, I haven’t experienced a great euphoria during either of my trail races, during or immediately after. I have during road races, road training runs and trail training runs.

Last, trail races are almost always held on AW YEAH, SWEET SINGLETRACK YEE-UHH… but those are always lower on the side closer to the edge. (side note: this is why I need to find a trail run that is done almost or totally exclusively on fire roads. I don’t think it exists, though.) Of the bizarre mixed bag of warnings and advice given to me about running when I first started, one good piece of advice was to not run on sidewalks because of all the drops in it for driveways, wheelchair access, etc. On the street, there’s a bit of camber but it is really nothing compared to the uncomfortable inconvenience of an undulating sidewalk. On singletrack, of course there are the dirt and rocks and other obstacles, but you’re also running on a tilt pretty much the WHOLE time. Unless it’s an out and back, you won’t get your musculature balanced out but coming straight back on the same path. And even if it is an out and back… yeah you’re still running on a tilt. No good.

Let’s put another nice scene from Mt. Tam trail that I didn’t see here.

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All that said, I’m probably going to sign up for the SOB 50K again next year. Registration just opened on that race today. They say that long runs are like giving birth. It’s absolutely horrible but something happens afterward so that the pain is not acutely remembered, so people do it again. and again… and again. I’ve never been pregnant or given birth, but I don’t understand that analogy. Almost nothing about wanting/having babies makes sense to me/seems enjoyable, emotionally or physically. But I do want to keep doing trail races.

I was really planning to knock out the 50M next year and earn that beautiful 50M finisher stein, but I think I’ll try for that in 2017. Mr. Fro and I are planning to run the 50K next year together πŸ™‚ I’m looking forward to that.

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Feast thine eyes upon the most hideous runner face evar!

Next year is when I’m really going to try for Boston 2018. I am thinking about either Portland Marathon or CIM again for that.

Speaking of which… CIM is this weekend. I am so incredibly not ready for it! Woohoo!

Running. Velodrome. Homeownership.

A few weeks after SOB, I felt like I was in some sort of slump. Running was, well… I couldn’t even hit 8:30 comfortably. Glad to report that after I stopped stressing out about it, took my runs and rest as they happened (no scheduled training plan), things fell back into place.

Runs have been in the East Oakland area and increasingly more in the Oakland Hills/Redwood Regional Park areas. When at work, the runs are monotonous and repetitive, but at least there’s a lot to look at in terms of people-watching. Lately, I’ve also been amassing more meetings on my calendar and so I’ve had to run during my lunch hour. It delays my lunch and it makes me hangry, but it would be worse if I didn’t get my run in. In any case, it’d be nice if Golden Gate Park were in SOMA… the Embarcadero gets old fast.

The Velodrome though. I wouldn’t say I’ve been cheating on running with track racing, but if I could go to the Velodrome whenever and have it be a super low-maintenance affair I’d probably go at LEAST every other day.

So far I’ve been three times. First was with Mr. Fro and the work crew. We had probably the most fun session leaders that day. After an intense session, Mahmoud treated us all to sushi in Japantown SJ. Second was with Mr. Fro and our new roommate/tenant WC. Unfortunately, the session leader that time was verbose to the point of condescending and annoying. She also caused my first fall at the track – she neglected to inform WC and me that a push exercise was to be done left to right, with the pusher lower on the track than the pushee. After I fell, I proceeded to make my own workout for the next 10 minutes, ignoring everything she said because I was pissed. Third was with Fro and WC again; we had a trio leading the session. One was a track nerd, another a very grizzled and strict-looking military-style coach type, and the last was a fun-loving, motivational coach type. Military-style coach man and I got into it pretty quickly, after I refused to do the contact and push drills. He was also weird about me wearing a tank top (apparently cycling jerseys are made with short sleeves to prevent crazy road burn scars on your shoulders… which is fine, but what about the forearms and hands, if you’re really about it? and then what about how fricking hot it gets?). I of course give him the nonchalant ‘I don’t really care about scars, if I fall then I fall’ kind of line, and that probably didn’t go well either. However, Mr. Fro did tell me later that the same guy said I had good race form. So that’s cool, I guess.

The best track effort I’ve done was on the first day, where we each did a flying 200 at the end of the session. Team pursuit is fun, where you and about 5 others have to stay together as much as possible and chase the other group of about 6 people. It is challenging and whether you win, at least at these beginner sessions, is really dependent on your team’s weakest link. I’m always stoked when that person isn’t me (because the max number of women at these sessions so far that I’ve seen is 3, including me). Scratch races are where there’s a mass start and a free lap at the beginning where you establish your position, and the race begins after that first lap for X number of laps. It’s all about pacing and figuring out when to pick up the pace or go all out, depending on your own ability and how the others take the race. So really like running a track race… but with bicycles on concrete (or wood).

F ribbon rides and all that boring sht. I really hope I don’t have to be in a session with that woman from my 2nd visit… but they alternate weekends, so blargh to that.

Last thing that’s been taking up my life is homeownership. Moving was a huge btch, and I don’t even have stuff like that. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to actually move apartments/houses for real. Since closing on this new place, there have been 4 (3 successful) Borax assaults on ants… some dry cracking grout between two surfaces (a no-no)… a melted hood that finally malfunctioned, uncovering some improperly assembled/installed live wires… a palm tree that is right in the middle of power lines… window trims with dry rot that need replacing… tenant stuff (although they are generally awesome, I probably would have a lot more headaches with other tenants). But it’s a lot. As Mr. Fro has been saying, why is it a thing to say that first-time buyers should buy houses? I don’t know. It is pretty daunting and it’s overwhelming to think about and take care of. You just can’t think about everything at once, like I just did, or you say fuck all and I just don’t give a shit about any of it BBALAH I’m leaving.

Back to running real quick! I was planning to run the Berkeley Trail Adventure in Tilden Regional, but then there was a much more interesting looking trail run in November called the Mt. Tam Trail Run. Running the half marathon distance with Mr. Fro and WC. It’s WC’s birthday and a week before my birthday. There is a photo of the route and there is a ladder in it. πŸ˜€ Hopefully it is in the half marathon distance route. My next update will probably be a race report for that. Goodbye!

Siskiyou Outback (SOB) 50K Race Report + running in Distrito Federal

 photo IMG_20150724_180339636_HDR.jpgThis amazingly fun trip to Ashland, Oregon, was made possible by these three awesome guys’ company and my driving (90% of the roundtrip… grrr), The one on the far left is a co-worker I suckered into traveling here to run, by way of Mumbai and Mexico City. Our only group photo in my possession was taken at Puffs πŸ™‚

Driving!!! Swooped Mr. Mumbai from a Bart station, and we were on the way. Notable stops include:

  • a boring rest stop
  • an interesting rest stop (with views of a large grassy valley and mountains and a scary rattlesnake alert sign)
  • a stop on the gravel shoulder of an off-ramp for Weed, CA for a photo session
  • our lovely hotel for the trip (Ashland Hills Hotel & Suites)
  • House of Thai for dinner (where a sign to keep children in check was posted near the door and where we were then accordingly accosted by a loud, object-throwing child of a hippie mother)


  • Hotel breakfast – so many eggs. they also had a pancake machine. only things that could’ve made it better would’ve been sausage and bacon.
  • Ashland’s Shakespeare festival gift shop, where I purchased a decorative rock for my boss lady and a cooling bandana with colorful peace signs on it for SOB
  • Ice cream stop
  • Hat store, where Mr. Mumbai snagged the last blue cooling bandana available and where the rest of us tried on hats
  • Book shop, where the bookshop lady prided herself on being put on the Dept. of Homeland Security watchlist. Her shop’s specialty was banned books. She also had nice antiques in there, like an old wood case phone.
  • Rogue Valley Runners running store – Mr Mumbai and I picked up our race shirts, Mr. Locks picked up a nike running shirt and Mr. Fro got a sticker and a patch. Here, I sadly discovered that dropping down to 50K meant I had to buy an SOB mug/stein separate from my race fee, and of course wouldn’t be getting a 50M mug/stein. Mr. Mumbai also tried on some stunning, amber-reflective shades. We all suggested he not buy them.
  • We spent what felt like a good hour at Paddington Station, an adorable Ashland shop self-termed an ‘eclectic emporium’. And it most certainly was. I will not post photos of the many cute/clever/intricate/artful items because you just need to go see for yourself.
  • Mr. Mumbai calmly refused my desire to explore more eclectic emporium type shops left on the street, and we decided upon our dinner location. We then realized we’d left the car in its spot for too long, and returned to find a ticket on the windshield. It was $11. We paid it with smiles on our faces.
  • Pasta PIatti: Mr. Mumbai, fettuccine alfredo. Mr. Locks, polpette, Mr. Fro, clam linguine, me, tortellini.
  • Puffs Smoke Shop: fancy Bics, fancy wood-carved lighters, psychedelic mushroom books, papers. Bob Marley poster for Mr. Fro and some new connects in Oregon.
  • Early turn-in was prescribed all-around because of the 4:30am wake-up call, but Mr. Locks & Fro ended up with less-than-desired amount of sleep.

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Race Day!!!

  • Amazing volunteers. Great organization. Breathtaking views at the start. Saw Mr. Mumbai off with the 50M start, and upon reflection, he is just a solid guy, he never loses his cool or reveals that he is perturbed by anything. I was jittery the whole night before and I wasn’t even trying to tackle the 50M anymore.
  • A lot of pacing, some chatting with Mr. Locks & Fro, some petting of dogs, a lot of slathering-on of SPF. Last minute decision to go with just a sports bra and the Salomon Sense hydration vest over it. Might as well list the stuff I used below:
    • Β Gear
      • nike tailwind12 shades / brooks bra / oiselle shorts / balegas / saucony peregrine 4s
      • arctic bandana
      • Salomon S-lab Sense Set (do not recommend, btw. the soft flasks are fricking impossible to get back into the vest pouches)
      • Garmin forerunner 920xt (amazing watch. i am seriously considering getting this and selling off my forerunner 10)
      • kinesys spray
    • Fuel
      • Drink mix: skratch labs (1 packet used), then GU brew rest of the way
      • Sugary Fuels: skratch labs chews (1 packet used), Honey Stinger waffle (honey) (3 brought, 0 consumed), raisins
      • Savory Fuels: jerky (not bringing again, too salty, didn’t even help with my sausage finger problem), almonds
      • Succeed salt caps (didn’t bring, but consumed 3 from various aid stations)
  • And then I was off on my 50K!

 photo Untitled.jpgThe SOB 50K is the most physically challenging thing I’ve undertaken. I only glanced at the trail map and elevation profile, as it’s always better to not know what to expect and be mentally bogged-down by the knowledge. And it was certainly true in this case. Approximately mile 21-25 were uphill. Almost all uphill, with some extremely short sections of semi-flat. It almost broke me… it was the first time I’d ever felt that extent of emotion during a race. I didn’t even want to cry, but I came so close. During that section, this woman I’d been trading places with (we’d passed each other a few times, sometimes by as much as a half hour or more, it felt like, and we’d also run together for about 30 minutes as well) caught up to me (again) and bounded so far ahead that I couldn’t see her (again). I felt really disappointed in myself… And when I did hobble along, I couldn’t go as well as I could because it felt like a bee had stung me on my left thigh (I found out later that I’d crapped out my IT band a bit, and my knee was starting to give out near the end).

After a lot of suffering, the ground started to mildly level out again, and there were also some descents. That first woman was nowhere in sight, but I’d caught up to another woman. We ran into the last aid station together… and it had the most delicious thing ever! Little cups of Coke. And I hate Coke! πŸ™‚

I ran out of the last aid station ahead of the other woman, and last her for good. Over the last few miles, I reeled the first woman I mentioned back in, and genuinely told her… see you on the next uphill. But I was much closer to the end than I’d thought. Despite the increasing pain in my left thigh and decreasing ability to bend and rotate my left knee naturally,Β  I pressed on. Running the last uphill was draining, but exhilarating. I kept looking back to make sure I was still beating the two women I’d passed. Just ‘cuz. The finish was super chill… you ran up that hill, you passed a clearing, you passed a long parking lot area where people are camped out, sitting outside RVs and vans and Subarus, looking up from grills and books and beers to cheer, then you ran into the finish area: ‘You are an SOB Finisher!’ banner, a horde of fold-out chairs next to the finishing chute, and tables with race swag behind the finishing chute (photo of trail feet and race swag below).

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The only thing I am missing is that SOB mug/stein. I don’t want to buy one. I want the badass 50M one. I am already feenin for next year’s race. Fucking achilles better not mess with me.

Mr. Locks and Mr. Fro had great 15K runs. Locks really enjoyed his accomplishment and wore his finisher medal proudly (and into a pizza place (Martolli’s) later that day). Mr. Mumbai was pulled at about 45K into his 50M for not meeting the time cut-off, but I am still wickedly proud of how far he got. I’m quite sure he’d made it into California (if you look at the course map above. the 50M crosses into California!) by that point. It was his first ever DNF, but it sounds like he wants to come back next year and get it done, for real. I do too.

I finished in 7:49:23. Not nearly good enough to complete the 50M. Much training required in the next year.


  • Hotel breakfast. It is amazing how happy breakfast makes Mr. Locks & Fro. We took extra hardboiled eggs for the journey.
  • We headed back toward downtown Ashland, and found a lovely little stairway down to a creek. After crossing a wooden bridge, we came upon a nice alley of booths and tables of various artistry. Jewelry, photography, woodcarvings, and the people who’d made the SOB mug/steins were there too.
  • Spent a good deal of time at one of the shops there with good beer and food. We also played Cards Against Humanity, and were served brats and pot pies by ‘wenches’ (they go hard with the Shakespeare stuff in Ashland).
  • We then left… 😦 Stopped in Weed, CA for some goodies and gas.

Running in Distrito Federal (Mexico City)

It is pretty unfair that this doesn’t have its own post. I might break this off into an individual post, but I don’t want to do that right now.

I was in DF for Wikimania this last month, and running there was difficult as advertised but seriously super enjoyable at the same time.  photo IMG_20150715_240254743.jpg

Upon arriving at the hotel, I’d received a care package from Mario, who organizes the Mexico City Hash House Harriers (running group with branches around the world in different cities).

The next day, I was out for a run with Mario early in the morning. Saw Bosque Chapultepec and one of its lagos (lakes).

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One of the many beautiful pieces along the Paseo de la Reforma.

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Second day, the group gathered was a lot larger. Halfway through though, we lost Mario (on bike in the photo) and most of the group returned to the hotel, but three of us (Mr. Mumbai and Mr. Hat and I) decided to press onto the Bosque. We ended up seeing Mario at the entryway! We checked out the Castillo Chapultepec together and split off.

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On Sunday (7/19), I ran to the park again because I’d heard that the city closes down the Paseo. It was fantastic. There were volunteers helping close down the streets, and guiding the walkers, bikers, runners, people with strollers, people with inline skates. There was a stage set up at the side of the road complete with loudspeakers, and a dance group teaching a crowd below of toddlers to seniors dance moves to J-Lo’s I’m Into You. There were people giving bike lessons. There were people setting up obstacle courses for roller-bladers. There were people demonstrating capoeira moves. Inside the park, there were people who’d set up lawn chairs near a totem, and also nets on the lawns surrounding it for badminton and volleyball. Near the lake, there were booths lining the walkway with food and trinkets.

If ever you get the chance, go to Ashland and/or Mexico City and go for a run!!

achilles tendinitis, race decisions, and a lack of originality

With a month and a half to Siskiyou Outback, I come down with a case of achilles tendinitis.

I woke up last Monday, got up and something like a rubber band behind my ankle felt like it was going to pop and rupture if I put any weight on my left foot. I’ve been RICE-ing like a fiend since, and adding as much stretching and foam rolling I felt it would tolerate. The outlook is grim… I’m back to walking normally on flat ground, but I am very pessimistic and I don’t see myself regaining my fitness to the point where I can complete a 50M trail race in a month. At altitude, no less.

The exact cause is still unclear. I’d started running primarily on trail as opposed to probably a 60 road/40 trail division for most of my training thus far. It could be that the running I was doing was too much and straining everything too intensely. It could be that I tweaked it on an uneven surface and the repercussions of that didn’t manifest until later.

Healing/recovery time, with almost all running (especially overuse) injuries, is uncertain and generally takes much longer than one would like, or has patience for. I have been jonesing to run, but the twinge that still occurs relatively often is really doing a great job at holding me back. It is frustrating all to hell.

Which brings me to my next dilemma…. do I still go for the 50M distance, hoping I can be healed enough to tough it out? Do I switch distances to the 50K, given that there is a huge possibility I can’t complete that distance either (and look doubly like a bitch)? Or thoroughly bitch it up and switch to 15K? No one can really answer that question for me, but I’m inclined to send this blog link around and ask some friends anyway. MISERY!!!

In other news… I check Running Warehouse’s new arrivals quite often, and this week, one of the new items is an ultra jacket from New Balance. When I saw it, I scoffed. Copying really is everywhere. Samsung did/does it with Apple most obviously. But it’s everywhere else, too.

 photo nb.jpgNew Balance

 photo nike.jpgNike

Nike released the Impossibly Light jacket last year, possibly earlier. I’m not sure when New Balance’s ultra jacket was initially released, but could it look any more similar to the Nike design? Everything down to the slanted zipper pocket into which the whole jacket tucks (pretty cool) is pretty much the same. I’d say the Nike version is clearly more refined though, which is why I feel like it might be the original. And hey, it’s Nike. Terrible labor practices, yes, but they do have hordes of designers at their bidding.

Anyway, gonna go wallow some more for now. I think I might try running tomorrow. Very possibly a terrible idea, but it must be done.

I Pooped and PR’d: The Surfer’s Path Marathon Race Report

Quite the eventful weekend. It all went down in Santa Cruz… the Surfer’s Path Marathon, the Capitola Half Marathon, and CA High School Div I Ultimate Frisbee Championships, all occurring located within a 5 mile radius or so (obviously not the whole course of the races). Below is a Garmin map of the whole course fyr.
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– Elapsed: 04:07:21 \o/
– Div Place: 132 of 519
– Gender Place: 39 of 253
– Age Place: 13 of 78 (F 20-29)

A Race of Firsts
– I ran a PR without expecting it. Almost actively trying to avoid it, actually.
– See title… I unleashed my first #2 during a race.
– Experienced chafing for the first time from my bra band.
– I felt like throwing up during a race. Who the hell can stomach that much GU sugary gel and drink? It’s ghastly.
– Started feeling kind of terrible incredibly early, around Mile 10.
– My left hamstring threatened to cramp on me starting around Mile 15 and continued until well after the race. Not great.
– First time recovery happened rather quickly. Walk around and stretch after races, even though it seems impossible. It’s much better than collapsing in a heap, inevitably falling asleep, then waking up not being able to move (what I’ve typically done).

K & I made it to UCSC in time to watch the last game of the day.

We then hustled to packet pick-up in Capitola, where I (kind of creepily, now that I’m thinking about it) recognized the husband of a rather popular run-blogger who goes by ‘Roserunner’ on the street. And surely enough, a couple seconds later I saw Roserunner, a couple steps back. It was kind of fun, seeing a well-known blogger from these parts (Bay Area) in person.

I would recommend going to The Sandwich Spot, which is what we ended up having for dinner.

We left the Airbnb at about 6:40am, but we walk much more quickly than Google Maps seems to think humans being are capable of walking. For 18 cold minutes, we ended up standing in a corner, judging runners who were stretching obnoxiously, clad indecently, etc. Another runner I’d met at a previous race, Paulette, found me in the crowd for a quick chat… later I saw her around Mile 12, cheering on runners.

Miles 1-7: dandy. K left and went on ahead early because he’s fast and such.

Mile 7: awkwardly called out to someone I thought I’d recognized. And indeed it was Chris, a coworker from when I worked at Palantir. We chatted at the half marathon turnaround in Capitola (where packet pick-up was located) and for a while afterward. He was running the marathon distance as well with his 2 buddies (no idea at all what their names are, but one was caucasian and other was asian) and they seemed to want to pick up the pace while I was not trying to over-exert, so I let them go… but oddly, after a mild hill about a minute or two, I caught up to them and wouldn’t see Chris again.

Mile 8-13: this segment started well. I was feeling strong for the first mile or two, then my intestines were like hay we are moving shit out now because of all the uphills and downhills and you are jiggling us too much. I started feeling otherwise uncomfortable around 10 as well. I didn’t feel like I could finish. The number of miles remaining was incredibly daunting, and it really messed with me mentally for the first time, even more than when I was a novice. 10-13 was literally trying to keep up a respectable pace while letting out some pressure-relieving toots in a safe and inoffensive manner.

Mile 13-13.1: we were passing the start area again to start our westerly loop, and I was very much like a shaken soda can at that point. I was plotting to use one of the 20 or so port-a-potties lined up near the start line, and the plan went very well. No lines (I would’ve had to wait at the single portie at mile 11ish). All went swimmingly and I was back out on the road.

Mile 13.1-22: the beginning of the second loop was cruel. around the end of 13, half-ers were directed to the left (finish), and full-ers were motioned to the right, which featured a giant hill. afterward, nice gentle downhill cruising along the cliffs and buffs. Beautiful, expansive views. Surfers. People and their dogs. Roserunner coming back from the turnaround already at my 17, her 22 (so quick… and going on to win 2nd place woman!). But it was also very isolated at times; we were all very spread out. At 20, I decided to distract myself with mental calculation, and was surprised to find that despite all the elevation changes and trail running, I could very well still PR. There were about 5-6 miles of trail (unexpected, as I never look at course maps before races… bad call?).

One woman and I kept trading places during this section (much of it on West Cliff Dr and then a large loop through Wilder Ranch), sometimes with huge gaps to the point of no visibility of the other. After many back and forths, I dropped her for good at 22. And remember Chris’ caucasian buddy? He’d caught up to me around Mile 20, and I caught him again around 21 when I saw him walking on the trail up ahead. Never saw him again.

Mile 22-24: another woman now comes to the fore of my race tale. We ran neck and neck for a few minutes, and without pushing my pace, somehow took the lead on her and thought I’d dropped her very quickly at 23. As I lost her breath and footsteps behind me though, I lost some of my drive. A very fit older man passed me. A couple other guys passed me (including Chris’ asian buddy). But I didn’t feel it in me to fight them. I even stopped to walk a couple times to ease the burn. But near the end of mile 23, she was back. I was not happy… I had to beat her, and there was a little more than 2.2 left. I didn’t know how much juice she had left, and I wasn’t confident of what pace I could maintain for the last two miles. I also typically have a good kick, but the most I’d sustained a finishing kick was for 0.5 mile, maybe slightly more. I’d have to engage the kick, but also keep it steady for 2.2. The battle began.

Mile 24-26.2: I was still ahead of her. But she was gaining. She was working, and she wanted to beat me. The last time I passed her, she kept looking back, but I wasn’t about to do the same. But she passed me (she had very uneven pace, as I made it a point to keep mine as level as possible). I stayed slightly behind her and let her lead the charge and pull me with her, and she kept me engaged to the point where I could see that older man again, who’d passed us earlier (and that I’d lost sight of), among others. At the Mile 25 marker, I decided I had enough energy left for a quicker pace for the last 1.2. Dropped her for good. Dropped the older man. Dropped a few others (including Chris’ asian buddy).

Before: see that purple shoe?
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After: purple shoes behind me now, mwahahha. nice capture of that surfer statue behind us.
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Though I hated that uphill at 13.1, this meant I would run that downhill into the right turn to the finish (yay). Buoyed by a lady screaming at the turn to ‘bring it in!!!!’, I charged down the hill and into the finish area.

Pic of me looking much stronger than I was feeling
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K & I bandied about our races back at the Airbnb. We then headed back to the USCS ultimate fields, where we caught the end of Alameda CLC’s last game, to win third at the tournament. So gratifying, as they beat Berkeley, a team that had prevailed for much of the season. We also stayed for the championship game and pizza.

Other thoughts
– Wore Saucony A5 race flats. They are much lighter than Kinvara 5, but I think I might not be biomechanically sound enough to rock those for the full marathon distance. But small sensations like extreme lightness, continuously repeated over 4 hours, are so important to my mentality and may outweigh the increased sore/tight-ness from decreased support after the fact. Who knows.
– I need to run this distance on trails pretty much every weekend between now and Siskiyou Outback to prepare more thoroughly.
– I understand now how rough downhills can be. The combination of elevation change and terrain variation were really killer. I imagine that elevation change on trails only will be much easier on the joints and muscles, but when the miles add up shit will still go down.

In non-running related news
I read Flatland by Edwin Abbott^2, and it is a fantastic book. Interesting sociopolitical messages and the author has excellent capacity for verbal exposition. My boss is aΒ very visual learner, and she will often stop me when I am speaking to a visual representation of a user’s interaction with an interface, and ask to see it on a screen/IRL. I wonder how she would do with this book. Anyway, that is all.

Training and life woes

This will not be a very involved post, but I am at a point in my training where my mileage is higher than it’s ever been… about 40 miles or more per week.

I am feeling more and more sluggish on the daily to actually get myself out there. The weather’s been fine, nice and chilly to nice and hot/sunny. Once I get out there, there is some typical struggle on off days but generally I return feeling energized and accomplished. But it is feeling oddly difficult, too difficult, to get myself to go.

I feel like I want to sleep often and all the time. I try my best to avoid being lazy about recovery, but I’ve been (increasingly often) cutting short my rolling and stretching sessions. I wish I could have more time to do all these things. Work is getting to be too much lately. I have so many books I want to read. I’m also not just running, but going to the climbing gym 2+ times a week.

What to cut out to regain my enjoyment of doing things I enjoy….? And yes add the typical first world problems hash tags somewhere if you’d like.