Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday Mario

Since I got Mario at an animal shelter (Adopt a Rescued Rabbit!), I didn't have the joy of knowing him as an adorable ball of baby bunny fluff. I sometimes wonder what he was like and about his parents and siblings. It will not come as any surprise that I devolve into a puddle of squeaky mush when confronted with any baby bunny. But the idea of MARIO as a baby bunny... Man, it is almost too much for me to take. I joke that if I ever needed to have a Peter Pan happy thought I would imagine Mario as a baby bunny. That would definitely get me off the ground.

I also sometimes wonder about the people who had Mario when he was a baby bunny (and subsequently dropped him off at the shelter). Besides the "why did they do it" aspect of all of that, I also wonder if they have any baby photos of him lying around. Because if they do, I am seriously jealous.

I love it when I see photos of other baby rabbits that remind me of Mario. Here are a few I've found over the years:

This guy has Mario's body type. Stout and furry.

This is how I picture him when he was younger. Lops are born with "up" ears which fall as they get older. This bun has sort of a "playground bully" look which I imagine Mario was.

This bun gets props for having the Mario 'stache! Ears coming down, too!

This guy is a little too dainty to be Mario but has the 'stache and is definitely cute!

All of the above photos are from and can be found in their original form here, here, here, and here.

And if all this baby bunny nonsense up to now wasn't enough, I found this video on too that is just too much. BABY BUNNY OVERLOAD! Check out all the baby bunny butt!

p.s. I am glad everyone enjoyed Mario's number picking abilities. Must be something in the animal water because another famous furry (seriously, check this site daily if you haven't already) picked #5, too! If Mario had been thinking he would have picked number 7 because then we would have had to repeat the whole thing with numbers 1-6 since only one size sock had 7 entrants.

p.p.s. Still haven't heard from Run is My Mantra. If I don't hear from you by Sept. 7th, Mario will be in for another craisin picking-treat.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Week 3, Good Speed/Bad Distance

Sunday: 7 miles including 7x 1000 @ 8:59, 8:48, 8:42, 8:48, 8:48, 8:54, 8:40 pace (goal 9:00); What a difference in just two weeks! I felt much more in control than I did when I did the 8x 800 two weeks ago. And I even nailed every pick-up a little faster than planned.

Monday: 3.5 miles @ 10:27 pace; I ran up to the top of Strawberry Hill by Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park today. I have never done this before and am so glad I did! It is about a 0.5 steady incline up and around the little island to the top. There was a lot less pedestrian traffic which can be a major bummer about running around Stow Lake. It is also a dirt trail so easier on the shins. I will definitely be using this hill more in my training and am planning on doing repeats of it for future races. You can also choose to just run the perimeter of the little island which is fairly flat and also a dirt trail. I may move onto the island for tempo days when I want to run a fairly flat route but not have to tourist dodge.

Tuesday: 3.55 miles @ 10:16 pace; Wanted to run a little farther but am keeping to 3.5 mile runs this week on the "30-45 minutes easy" days.

Wednesday: 8 miles including 6 miles @ 9:05 pace; I decided to try to get as close to goal pace as possible for the pick-up and did a decent job. There were some moments it felt almost like a nice cruising pace, there were others I didn't think I could keep it up another half a mile. Not sure if doing these 6 miles at goal pace will make me more confident for the race or just scare me about the prospect of trying to hold it for another 7.1 miles further.

Friday: 14 miles @ 11:38 pace; This had to be one of the crappiest runs I have had in a long, long, time. Three things went wrong. 1) I wanted to start at 6:30 am to avoid the "heat wave" in San Francisco. I ended up hitting snooze a few times and left the house at 8 am. 2) I can usually run 10-13 miles after popping out of bed with no pre-run fueling. However, this is only when I start earlier than my usual wake-up time so my body doesn't have time to realize it hasn't had breakfast yet. I guess 8 am is too close to my usual breakfast to be able to skip it before a run. But if I had eaten I would have had to digest and then bake for longer under the sun. I decided on heading out. Mistake. 3) I didn't take enough fuel. The days I run 10-12 miles before work (without breakfast first) I only eat two bloks while on the run. I decided since I was doing 14 I'd take three. Obviously not enough, especially since I was heading towards early lunchtime by the time I got home. Plus, did I mention it was hot out there? And not just hot. It was humid, too. I died. I bonked. And then I baked. I was holding a pretty good 10:22 pace up until about mile 8 where the wheels fell off. I did a good deal of walking the last few miles. My legs felt pretty good but I just didn't have the fuel and electrolytes in my system to keep me going. I could barely run 0.3 miles continuously towards the end.

Thus ends week 3! Overall I am very happy with the way things are going. I am a little bummed at the failure of my long run today. This is mainly because my next long run in two weeks will be in Hawaii where there will surely be a repeat of heat-induced walking. I wanted at least one strong long run in the books for this race.

Check out the iFitness belt giveaway at Chic Runner. I have a SPIbelt but I think the iFitness would be a more functional solution.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday Mario

Thank you, everyone for entering the Balega sock giveaway! It was fun to read everyone's responses. There were 6 entries each for size small and large and 7 entries for size medium. I listed everyone according to the size they requested in the order the comments were received.

Here is what we did and the winners:

So... Run Is My Mantra, Kristi, and Southbay Girl please send me an email (found in my profile on the right of the blog) with your mailing addresses so I can get your socks to you! Congratulations!

Special shout-out to Rabbits' Guy who was sized out of the competition by being a size XL. Mario feels your pain since he would be a size XXXXS. I'll be sending you a consolation prize "sock bunny" for being a good sport. Snail mail addy, please!

Where did the crop of craisins go? There were tons here a minute ago...

Thank you, Balega for the socks! If we've piqued your interest, I usually get them online from Running Warehouse. Seriously, these are awesome socks so give them a try!

p.s. I am sorry I talk in a high squeaky voice when addressing the rabbit directly.

p.p.s. I am sure in some circles feeding your rabbit 7 craisins at once is considered a form of rabbit abuse. Get over it. :)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Week 2, Getting Into the Swing of Things

Eye of the Rabbit

Sunday: 7.7 miles including 2 miles @ 9:10, 2x 1600 @ 8:50, 8:50, 2x 800 @ 8:29, 8:30; So the directions were 2 miles at goal pace, 2x 1600 at 10K pace, and 2x 800 @ 5K pace. I got my target 10K and 5K paces from McMillan based off of my half goal. I do not think I am currently in 9:09 half marathon pace shape so the resulting 8:40 10K pace and 8:22 5K pace are pretty aggressive. I went into this thinking if I was within about 10 seconds of those paces I'd feel pretty good, with the ultimate goal just that the pace get faster as the intervals got shorter. Success! Am pretty pleased with the way this turned out given how I felt during last week's 800 repeats.

Monday: 3 miles @ 10:23; Garmin was totally wonky which hurt my feelings. I knew where the 3 mile turnaround was so went by that distance and got the total time from whacked out Garmin to determine my true pace. Days like these I get totally scared about how GPS dependent I've become.

Tuesday: 4.84 miles including 25 minutes (2.84 mi) @ 8:49 pace; This was supposed to be a "hard tempo" defined as "goal pace or slightly faster." Was hoping to stay at 9:00 but managed to go slightly faster. I felt pretty good during the pick-up so am very happy about that!!

Thursday: 10 miles race simulation (6 mi easy & 4 mi @ 9:19 pace); Felt pretty decent this morning! I have to say I miss my daily 10 milers from marathon training (feel free to shoot me for saying this when I hate them in November).

Friday: 3 miles @ 10:47

I am very happy with how I ran this week. I was very fearful of how I'd do since the 800m 9:00 pace pickups last week were so difficult. But now I think it was just "first day back at school" cobwebs that had to be shaken out. I should state that while a 1:59:59 half marathon is a 9:09 pace, I am shooting to run a 9:00 pace. I figure this will give me a buffer against the high chance I will end up running more than just 13.1 miles on race day. So most days I think of "goal pace" as 9:00, but I still feel pretty good when I get things done around 9:09.

Thank you to everyone who entered the Balega giveaway! I will get the results up soon! I'm trying to figure out a way for Mario to help randomly select a winner!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Week 1, Can I Do This?

Sunday: 8x800m @ 9:00 pace with 1:07 recovery (1/4 total pick-up time for recoveries), pick-ups done at: 9:00, 9:01, 8:53, 8:56, 8:56, 8:56, 8:50, 8:57 pace. First off, I have to say these were not so easy. Partway through I had to start walking during the recoveries and even extended a few of them 20 or 30 seconds. I'm not the smartest runner but I have a feeling a half marathon goal pace shouldn't feel very rough for only 800m pick-ups! But I'm proud I got this done especially after my little lay-off post-marathon. This run was definitely a wake-up call for how much work I need to do before the race, though.

Tuesday: 3 miles @ 10:32

Wednesday: 7 miles, including 5 miles @ 9:20 pace; This run was supposed to be a moderate tempo (defined as goal-pace or slightly slower). I was going to let myself get as slow as 9:30's for the tempo portion without getting down on myself since the 9:00 pace 800's were so difficult earlier this week. But I was able to keep up a pace more in-line with the definition of this run, so hurrah! It wasn't easy but not air-sucking hard, either.

Friday: 12 miles @ 10:52; I am satisfied the way this run turned out. Had to take a couple of walk breaks here and there but since it's been almost 3 weeks since I did any distance running was happy with how it turned out. Can't believe just 5 weeks ago 12 miles was "just another run day." The sun was out in full force today in SF. There was a nice breeze but I still felt hot and bakey. Will be spending over a week in Hawaii soon so had better get my heat-face on! Today would probably be considered almost chilly by Hawaii standards.

Okay, I am a little late getting this post up. I am using the Runner's World Ryan Hall training plan for my San Jose training. I am starting at Week 3 of the program and you can see it here. I am doing the long program since I am going to have to jump right back into marathon training after the half marathon. Yes, I signed up for the California International Marathon today. CIM is supposed to be cool and fast so I'm hoping to flip this half marathon speed work over to a marathon PR.

I took a long time to decide on a half training plan. I was originally going to do the half marathon version of the marathon training plan I just finished. This plan had me doing one speed work session a week alternating each week between tempo runs at goal pace and mile repeats slightly faster than goal pace. It worked for the marathon so I figured I'd try it again.

However, I got to thinking that I wanted and needed to do something a little more aggressive. My goal is to break two hours in San Jose which means running in the very low 9:00's. This is not an easy thing for me. I didn't think I'd have the confidence (and possibly conditioning) to pull this pace off for 13.1 miles if I were only doing one run a week in this pace zone. The Ryan Hall plan has me running outside my comfort zone 2 to 3 times a week. I am going into this thinking I am going to do my best to do all of the workouts but won't get too down on myself if some of them prove to be too difficult.

The plan also has two "optional" days that can be either short recovery runs or off days. So you can be running anywhere from 4-6 times a week. I am shooting to run 5 days a week but won't be afraid to back off. I am also glad this plan goes up to a 16 miler as my long run. I am a firm believer that in order to race 13.1 miles you have to be able to run farther than that at a comfortable pace. My two previous half marathon PR's were done without any dedicated training in the middle of marathon training. Unfortunately this 16 miler falls on the week I'll be in Hawaii which may be a difficult thing to accomplish.

As I write this, I am already more than halfway through my second week of training. So I sort of already know how week 2 plays out. But I will say that at the end of this first week I was very nervous about what was coming up. Stay tuned!

Don't forget to enter my Balega Sock Giveaway! Just a couple more days!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Monday Mario

When Mario's out and I'm on the computer he'll often come and sit at my feet. He'll give me a nose bump or start licking my toes to let me know he's there. I'll pet his head with my foot and when I stop he'll give my toes more kisses. It's a nice arrangement.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Balega Socks Giveaway!

Balega has so kindly given me THREE pairs of Balgea Women's Enduro socks to give to lucky readers! If you remember I posted about Balegas being my one true sock love. These things are like little pieces of heaven on your feet.

Okay, so I know that these are "women's socks" and all, but Boyfriend (who is also a Balega sock convert) has stated for the record that while he would not wear the pink socks, he would wear the blue ones. The blue socks are also the size large socks. I personally wouldn't give a guy flack for wearing the pink socks, either!

I have one pair of size small, one of size medium, and one of size large. I apologize to anyone who would have needed an XS or XL sock... But face it, you've got freaky sized feet!

Here is a handy size chart so you know what size you are:

So what do you have to do to have a chance to win? Just post a comment and answer two questions: 1) If you could only run ONE more organized race your entire life which one would you choose to be your last & why? and 2) What size sock do you want?

So I would post, "I ♥ Balega Socks! I'd do the Edinburgh Marathon since I started my journey to becoming a runner in Edinburgh. I'm a size small."

Just do that and you have one entry to a random drawing! If you want two entries, just post a link on your blog back to this giveaway post, post a comment with a link to your blog post, and I'll enter your name twice!

I'll let this run until August 20th, 11:59 pm PST.

Good luck and have fun!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Monday Mario

I haven't uploaded photos from my camera for a while so was perusing the Archives Of Mario for a photo for today's post. I came across this one. I don't know, there is just something about it that I love. I just want to plant a kiss on that nose!

Will get that giveaway post up tomorrow!

Also, I'm planning on going back through my posts and adding labels to a whole slew of them. I currently subscribe to most blogs I read through the RSS feed that sends a message to my email program. I have a feeling that when people go back and tag their old posts they show up as "updated" in my mailbox. So I'd like to warn you and apologize in advance if you suddenly get 50 updated blog posts from me. No changes to content on the older stuff, just added some labels to make perusing easier.

Friday, August 7, 2009

You Put Your Left Leg In, You Put Your Left Leg Out...

My training has been all out of whack since the marathon. The Friday after the race I endeavored to complete an easy 3 mile run to ease myself back into running. Somewhere around mile 1 my left hamstring started feeling a slight dull ache. I chalked it up to post-marathon soreness. By mile 2 it was a stabbing, burning pain I could not ignore. I stubbornly kept on 'til mile 2.5 (I have OCD about Garmin) then walked/limped the last 0.5 miles home.

Major suckage.

I was thrown a bit by this because I have never had any hamstring issues. It was not an issue during my post-marathon soreness phase, either. I took four more days off. After two days of pain-free walking I went on a 3 mile run this past Tuesday. That went okay. A little dull achiness but no stabbing pain and no residual pain when walking afterwards.

Today I went for a 6 mile run. Hammie was 100%! Thank goodness. Another plus was that the 6 miles didn't feel nearly as terrible as I thought they would after such a long lay-off. They weren't effortless and I can tell I've lost endurance, but another week or so of good running and I should be back on track.

What's next? I have a rematch with the San Jose R'n'R Half Marathon in October. Last year I had registered with visions of trying to smack down a new half PR. Well, I seriously crunched my shin in August 2008 (since it was the day the Olympics started I will forever remember this day) which derailed all sorts of running plans for months. I did complete San Jose last year, but it was done purely for finishing rights and no racing. Because of this I signed up to run the 2009 edition of San Jose at the expo last year before I had even run the 2008 race.

This has surprised a few people when I've mentioned it the last week so maybe it bears mentioning here: Without a doubt, my A race for 2009 is the San Jose R'n'R Half Marathon. I want to improve my half marathon PR much more than I care about my marathon PR at this point. The entire point of the San Francisco Marathon was to build up a good endurance base to commence training for San Jose (and to train for CIM, but the jury is still out on that).

I have been pretty down the past week about my hamstring because I felt like all of my SFM work was going to waste. In reality I've only lost one week so I'm looking forward from here on out. That said, I still have no training plan. I've been meaning to create my own for weeks but never got around to penning one down. And this past week I was in no frame of mind to work on one. But tonight I am going to sit down and think this thing out.

**I am very excited to announce that RoadBunner will be doing our very first giveaway soon!! Stay tuned. I hope to get it up in the next couple of days!**

Monday, August 3, 2009

Monday Mario

I have never gotten a picture of Mario doing the elusive Bunny Yawn. The above is what he looks like immediately after a yawn. He stretches his little front legs out, YAWNS really big, then sits around in that yoga-esque pose for a few more minutes.