Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday Mario

Disgusted by the lack of good options in running gear for rabbits, Mario claimed the latest Lululemon delivery for his own.  The joke is on him when he discovers it is an obnoxiously pink running bra.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Week 11; What A Wonderful World

I always spend some time during a long run fantasizing about what I'm eating after said long run.   My brain came up with this snack during this week's 23 miler.  Can someone bring a pickle to my next race for me?  Before you say, "That's all you ate after 23 miles?!" I did precede the above with a hearty bowl of pasta.  Mmm.  Pasta.

Saturday:  6 miles; Had a little cross country trail adventure with Naomi.  It is always fun to run somewhere new.  The area was not so large in a we-are-marathon-training mind-set so we had to do a lot of 1 mile loops and out-and-backs.  I probably wouldn't go there again for more than 3 or 4 miles, but it was a beautiful place to run.

Sunday:  7 miles, ladder intervals of 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, 2:00, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00 with equal recoveries @ 7:21 pace, 6x hill sprints;  I did this workout in early January and ran 10 seconds a mile faster now than I did then. Progress.

Monday:  12 miles @ 9:40 pace; My legs were a little tired, but they felt like they could have gone on and on forever at this easy pace.

Tuesday:  4 miles @ 9:48 pace, 8x hill sprints; Bikram Yoga

Wednesday:  9 miles @ 9:04 pace, including 6 mi progression run from MP+20 sec to MP (8:55 to 8:25); My legs are tired.  The last few runs my warm-up pace has been about 20 sec/mile slower than it has been averaging the last couple of months.  But when I ask my legs for speed, they always respond so I'll chock it up to the training plan working.  If I can hit paces on tired legs, that means after taper they should feel zippy, right?  Right?!  I've got two rest days next week so am looking forward to that.  I don't often do progression runs and it was a little more challenging than I thought it would be.  I'd start to go too fast, rein it in, and then be going to slow.  I'm more used to dialing in an effort than trying to slowly ramp up to a certain level.

Thursday:  Bikram Yoga

Friday:  23 miles @ 9:37 pace; I started off feeling pretty bogged down and didn't think this was going to end well at all.  If you don't count that marathon I ran a month ago (which strangely, I don't), this is the longest training run on my plan's schedule.  It was supposed to be run at an easy pace and I was afraid that was going to slip into slugfest pace territory.  As it usually happens with me, my pace picked up as the run went on.  I don't know if it was the Gu Roctane I took at mile 18 (I seriously think these things bring you back from the dead) but the last 3 miles I felt fantastic.  Great mental boost for sure.  Somewhere in the book I read (from which I got my training plan), it said that you should try to have the duration of a long run equal your goal race time. I came pretty close today so mission accomplished.

A quirky fact about me -- I plan my ipod play list so that Louis Armstrong's, "What a Wonderful World" ends every 20 miler I do.  I also play it at the very end of the very last run of every training cycle.  It captures exactly how I feel at those moments.

I finished my run today to this song and felt so incredibly blessed.

I realized I won't hear the song again until 2 days before my goal race.  Much more on that later, but it is finally starting to hit me that race day is almost here.  G.A.H!!

Rachel brought up a point:  The way I reported my spec test a few weeks ago, it probably wasn't clear:  I did participate in a half marathon so I do have an official new PR.  I ran an official half in the middle of a 17 mile run (it works out awesome that the start and finish of the race is pretty much exactly 2 miles from where I live so I just ran to and from the race).  The pace I reported was from Garfield because I wanted to know how I performed, so my official pace is a little slower with the "extra" distance.  However, the time (1:52) is official.  Also, Rachel, I linked to the book above that I used for my current plan.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


I've been doing a lot of knitting lately and thought it would be fun to share some of my recent projects.  It is also fun to uncover all you underground knitters out there.

I shared the Christmas Mice that I made as gifts in December, but never posted the beret boy version.  This guy turned out to my my favorite of the entire lot.

I was thinking of doing reindeer ornaments this year, but may just churn out a green beret Christmas army instead.  We'll see what happens.  With big plans in December I need to start early on my holiday ornaments this year.

I got together with Audrey and Cate a few weeks ago for a Stitch 'n Bitch.  I was working on this project at the time:

I love cowls and all the great options for wearing them.  Long like the above, doubled around for warmth, around the shoulders like a shawl.  It was a pretty easy project but I knit it in the round and every row took foreeeeever.

Lovely bee-hive stitch

After the monster cowl, I wanted a shorter, fun project so made a hat for Boyfriend for Valentine's Day.  Audrey made this hat for a baby and I found an adult modification that worked out great.

I love cable projects! You have to pay attention (unlike the mindless repeats of the green cowl), but I find, like speed work in running, it breaks things down mentally and makes them go faster.

I consider myself a fairly novice knitter and I buy the cheap yarn you find at most craft stores.  This works great for toy projects like the mice, but I do drool over the more expensive stuff.  I treated myself to some yummy, yummy handspun wool yarn recently:

So pretty I die!
I took forever trying to find a pattern I thought would do it justice.  I started on a project with it, but just didn't like the way it was knitting up.  I don't have the experience yet to know what yarns are suitable for which projects when you've got something as special as the above.  I'm working on it now with a new pattern and we'll see how it shapes up.  Stay tuned.

I've also found fun inspiration through a podcast.  I've experienced a dearth of good running podcasts to take on the run with me (I'm fairly picky about audio quality for podcasts I listen to when actually running -- everything else gets air time when I'm driving). Cast On is an awesome podcast.  The sound quality is great and I love the host and her music selections.  I've started at the very beginning and I'm looking forward to hours and hours and of entertainment on my runs ahead.  The host is a very experienced knitter and I can only wonder at how vast the knitting world really is in relation to my little scarf/hat projects with craft-store yarn.  Maybe one day I'll get there.

If anyone has any great knitting blogs they read, please be sure to mention them.  I found a couple but am looking for a few more to read.  Also if anyone is looking to get into knitting, I highly recommend making yourself a Ravelry account.  I use it mainly to keep track of my projects and to find patterns but even with just that bare bone usage, it is an awesome resource.

Oh, and I don't recall if I ever shared that Boyfriend got me a sewing machine for my birthday last year.  I haven't done much with it but am hoping to learn how to use it more.  I hemmed a pair of jeans the other week (with the original hem!! no less) and was pretty proud about that.  I'm attempting to hem some slacks now which believe it or not is more complicated than the jeans.  Stay tuned for that, too.  At the moment I'm thinking the $10 it would have cost to have someone else do them would have been money well spent.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Monday Mario

What does a rabbit need to do to get some privacy around here?!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Week 10; Move, Move!

This week, we set a date.

Saturday:  4 miles @ 9:41 pace & 10x hill sprints

Sunday:  8 miles @ 9:36 pace

Monday:  10 miles @ 9:01 pace, 7x 3min @ 7:31 pace w/2:00 recovery;  Dragged my feet all day getting out for this run but got it done.  I find the runs I procrastinate the most on are often the ones that end up being awesome.  Boyfriend joined me for the first two warm-up miles.  I started in the nick of time as I got home just after sunset.

Tuesday:  4 miles @ 9:39 pace, Bikram Yoga

Wednesday:  10 miles, including 7 miles @ 8:30 pace; Another "moderate" pick-up run.  I'm not a fan of the runs where pace is designated by effort level in this way.  I'd much rather they say, "10K" or "Half pace."  I have internal battles with myself about designating a certain pace to each effort level vs. running what feels like a "moderate" level for that particular day (which I think is what the plan intends).

Thursday:  Bikram Yoga

Friday:  20 miles @ 8:56 pace, middle 15 miles @ 8:41 pace; Though I nailed my goal for the pick-up miles, I struggled at times to keep the pace.  I'm going to be happy I got this done on tired legs and move on to the next week.  I do love these long runs with specific paces, though. They go by so much faster than easy long runs both literally and more importantly, mentally.

On Sunday's run, I passed the bison paddock as I've done hundreds if not over a thousand times on runs in Golden Gate Park.  I had heard that a bunch of baby bison had been added to the herd a few months ago but had never had a moment I was sure I was seeing the babies.  The bison in Golden Gate Park are, let's say, larger, less endearing versions of Mario's lazy bum.  If I lost the majority of fingers off my left hand I could still use it to count the number of times I'd seen a bison in the paddock move.  And when I say "move," I don't mean trotting or even extended walking.  I mean "move" in the sense of proving to me that they aren't just stuffed animals propped up for tourist photo-ops.  I think once I saw one turn its head.  And once I saw a tail swish.  It might be some urban legend I'm remembering but I vaguely recall one walking a few steps once which stopped me in my tracks mid-run.

But on Sunday as I passed the paddock, the six baby bison were running all over the paddock.  They were covering the entire length of the enclosure; Up and down hills, kicking their heels, and tossing their heads.  They looked like a little gang of young hooligans taunting the statue like adults.  I so wish I had my camera with me so I could have gotten it on tape.

It went on and on for minutes and I couldn't help admire the fact that they were running for the sheer joy of the movement.  Definitely my kind of bison.
Not a Firedaughter creation I own, but I love the sentiment.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday Mario

Let sleeping rabbits lie.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Week 9; All Shoes Go To Heaven

I have been using this running log since 2006.  For the first time ever, I wore a pair (now up to two pairs) of shoes past the 500 mile mark.  Previously my favorite pair of shoes was the only one that ever came close.  When I entered the run that brought my Sauconys to 500+ I saw the above red number and laughed out loud.  I've known this running log for 6 years and the red colored number felt like a special surprise from an old friend.

Sunday:  17.1 miles with the middle 13.26 miles @ 8:28 pace... 8:28 pace!;  Since I hit 8:46 pace for a 14 mile pick-up during a long run a few weeks ago, I thought I'd get a teensy more aggressive for this spec test.  I have thus far been approaching my training runs with 8:40 pace being my goal marathon pace.  I was hoping to run in the 8:30's. With 8:35 pace being a bit of a goal.  I'm so happy with how this run went.  I'm not going to say it was always easy, but it wasn't always hard and I think that is just the right effort for a marathon pace.  I also earned myself a 7 minute half PR of 1:52.  To take 7 minutes off my half time and to not even be racing seems so unreal to me.

Monday:  Bikram Yoga

Tuesday:  7 miles @ 9:37 pace; I could tell there was a little residual fatigue from Sunday's run.

Wednesday:  11 miles @ 8:59 pace; The middle 6 miles of this run were supposed to be run at a "moderate" pace.  I struggled a bit about what this was.  Figured 5K = very hard, 10K = hard, half = moderate-hard, full = moderate.  So I told myself to go out at MP effort and see what I got.  Half mile splits started at 9:19 pace and ended at 8:01.  Average 8:27 pace overall for the pick-up.

Thursday:  Bikram Yoga; This class was so hot and humid.  While I was lying there trying not to die I decided that this Bikram yoga class was more challenging than the half marathon I had just run.  I detest these hard classes while they are happening, but there is something to be said about developing mental strength through hot yoga.  I wanted to skip poses but rallied and got them all done.

Friday:  22 miles @ 9:36 pace;  I had two days less recovery than I should have had from my last long run and I could tell my legs were tired.  But my pace was pretty good for an easy long run.  Monster long runs coming up the next month, but I think I'm ready for them.

Another week in the books.  I'm at that point in the training plan where I'm trying to take in one week at a time and not think too far ahead.  I'm feeling good about how things are shaping up and am excited to see how much more work I can get done in the next month.  I bought sour cream the other day at the grocery store and the expiration date was March 18.  That's race day.  It must be coming up.

A note on shoes:  I wore my Brooks Ravennas today and brought their total up to 517 miles.  I've had some niggling left knee issues which I've decided may be Ravenna-related so am definitely retiring those.  My Sauconys, however, still feel awesome.  I've always had 500 miles as an arbitrary number above which running shoes must die but I'm debating wearing them for shorter runs for a bit longer.  At first I took the red-colored number in my running log as a sign that I should just cut my losses and replace them, but I may see if I can get a few more miles out of them.  Bad idea?  I do have 4 pairs of new running shoes stockpiled and ready to go.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Monday Mario

Introducing the latest in Mario's Wonderful World of Culinary Make-up....

The Carrot Manicure!

Not the best shot, but he's got two Carrot Manicures going on as well as Carrot Mouth

Friday, February 3, 2012

Week 8; Recovery

Can I get a rest day?

Saturday:  Easy run, 5.1 miles @ 9:25 pace & 6x hill sprints; Tried out some new kicks today.  This model is the updated version of my current favorite shoe.  I have two pairs of shoes fast approaching 500 miles each so wanted to start breaking in a new pair before those two are taken out of rotation.  These have a lower heel-to-tow-drop than its predecessor and is more lightweight; Bikram Yoga

Sunday:  Fartlek run, 10 miles @ 9:05 pace with 8x 3:00 pick-ups, 2:00 recovery (8:19, 7:43, 7:32, 7:46, 7:44, 7:33, 7:43, 7:32);  Feeling pretty meh about how the pick-ups went.

Monday:  Easy run, 12 miles @ 9:42; My legs are tired.  I imagine doing this longer easy run every week is to learn to run on tired legs.  Mission accomplished.

Tuesday:  REST; I did some workout switcharoos to give myself a day off.  I'm trying to stay in tune with what is going on with my body and definitely needed this.

Wednesday:  9 miles @ 9:22 pace, 10x 30 sec pick-ups (avg. 7:13 pace); 8x hill sprints

Thursday:  5 miles @ 9:57 pace; Boyfriend joined me for a pre-work run; Bikram Yoga

Friday:  4 miles @ 9:15 pace, 6x 30 sec pick-ups (avg. 7:01 pace); Bikram Yoga

After being so pleased about my legs bouncing back quickly last week, this week was about doing some damage control to get back on track.  I had a slight taper at the end of this week.  My training plan called for a 13.1 mile specific test this week where I need to pull off 13.1 miles at marathon pace.  There is a local half in my backyard this weekend so that worked out perfectly. So my long run this week will take place on Sunday.  When I started this training plan I was pretty nervous about running 13.1 miles @ 8:40 pace.  But a few weeks ago I ran 14 miles @ 8:46 in the middle of an 18 mile run.  I ran that portion a bit faster than planned, but what I essentially did was get that spec test done a little early.  I may get a little more aggressive with the pacing this Sunday but I am in no way racing this half marathon.  I'm excited to see how it goes and barring any catastrophe, should earn myself a new half marathon PR.