Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Workout: rest

It was a pretty morning here in Anchorage.


I took this at 9:00 a.m., which means that Alaska is on its way back to normal daylight hours! Even better, it was even still kind of light outside when I left work at 5:00! I couldn't believe it. I'm lucky that my new job allows me to work pretty much whenever I want and from wherever I want (although I end up going into the office every day anyway. Such a square), which means I'm always able to get in a mid-day run no matter how long it is. "Normal" and "responsible" people, however, have to run before or after work, which dooms them to months of dark and scary runs during the winter. My point is, this is good news for us all.

----

Sine I started reading Hansons, I've been so over Higdon's plan I've been following to slowly ramp up my mileage. Fortunately I just looked at the plan and realized I'm on the last week! Don't get me wrong, it's been a huge help, but I am so sick and tired of the same "5 miles, 3 miles, 5 miles, then one more mile than last weekend for your long run" pattern. I could definitely use some variety, which Hansons totally provides. So with that, I announce my official drinking of the Hanson Kool-Aid. I'm totally following their plan.

I am so not the kind of person who spends time making charts and whatever but since the Kindle version of Hansons displays training charts in an almost unusable way, I spent multiple hours last night putting together my very own plan (complete with paces, and color coded!). I present you with "stage 1" of the plan.


The first five weeks are all about getting accustomed to running most days of the week. The miles are all easy (they suggest alternating between "easy easy" pace and just "easy" pace) and the weekly mileage tops out at 24 miles. Actually, if  you're already running more than the weekly mileage listed in the plan, you're supposed to keep running that mileage until the plan "catches up," but I am a weirdo and want to follow the plan from the very beginning. Plus, I'm just so sick of Higdon.

Starting with week six, you run six days and add speed work and tempo runs. It's a terrifyingly large leap in weekly mileage and I'm already nervous about it. Nervous in a great way, though. February 17 needs to get here already!

----

Today's random music note (look at me being all open about music) is about that Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj song that was the worst thing ever until I listened to it a few times and suddenly loved it. Well, one of the first lyrics goes something like "What you got, a billion coulda never bought." No matter how many times I listen to that song, my version always involves "a million" dollars because to me, a million dollars is still an enormous sum of money. It reminds me of that moment in Austin Powers when Dr. Evil's outrageous demand from the government is "ONE MILLION DOLLARS" and everyone laughs at him. Seems a million dollars is no longer impressive.

Look at me, babbling like a fool. I really just wanted to post a pretty picture and leave it at that.

Now it's your turn!
  • I want to do a scientific poll. When is it getting light/dark where YOU live these days? Are you gaining a lot of light or staying pretty much the same?
  • Million dollars: a lot of money or pocket change? If the latter, throw those pennies on over here!
  • What do you think about Hal Higdon's plans? Have you followed any of his before? I'm actually a pretty big fan, despite my less-than-glowing words; I'm just ready for a change.

Daylight is Coming

Workout: rest

It was a pretty morning here in Anchorage.


I took this at 9:00 a.m., which means that Alaska is on its way back to normal daylight hours! Even better, it was even still kind of light outside when I left work at 5:00! I couldn't believe it. I'm lucky that my new job allows me to work pretty much whenever I want and from wherever I want (although I end up going into the office every day anyway. Such a square), which means I'm always able to get in a mid-day run no matter how long it is. "Normal" and "responsible" people, however, have to run before or after work, which dooms them to months of dark and scary runs during the winter. My point is, this is good news for us all.

----

Sine I started reading Hansons, I've been so over Higdon's plan I've been following to slowly ramp up my mileage. Fortunately I just looked at the plan and realized I'm on the last week! Don't get me wrong, it's been a huge help, but I am so sick and tired of the same "5 miles, 3 miles, 5 miles, then one more mile than last weekend for your long run" pattern. I could definitely use some variety, which Hansons totally provides. So with that, I announce my official drinking of the Hanson Kool-Aid. I'm totally following their plan.

I am so not the kind of person who spends time making charts and whatever but since the Kindle version of Hansons displays training charts in an almost unusable way, I spent multiple hours last night putting together my very own plan (complete with paces, and color coded!). I present you with "stage 1" of the plan.


The first five weeks are all about getting accustomed to running most days of the week. The miles are all easy (they suggest alternating between "easy easy" pace and just "easy" pace) and the weekly mileage tops out at 24 miles. Actually, if  you're already running more than the weekly mileage listed in the plan, you're supposed to keep running that mileage until the plan "catches up," but I am a weirdo and want to follow the plan from the very beginning. Plus, I'm just so sick of Higdon.

Starting with week six, you run six days and add speed work and tempo runs. It's a terrifyingly large leap in weekly mileage and I'm already nervous about it. Nervous in a great way, though. February 17 needs to get here already!

----

Today's random music note (look at me being all open about music) is about that Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj song that was the worst thing ever until I listened to it a few times and suddenly loved it. Well, one of the first lyrics goes something like "What you got, a billion coulda never bought." No matter how many times I listen to that song, my version always involves "a million" dollars because to me, a million dollars is still an enormous sum of money. It reminds me of that moment in Austin Powers when Dr. Evil's outrageous demand from the government is "ONE MILLION DOLLARS" and everyone laughs at him. Seems a million dollars is no longer impressive.

Look at me, babbling like a fool. I really just wanted to post a pretty picture and leave it at that.

Now it's your turn!
  • I want to do a scientific poll. When is it getting light/dark where YOU live these days? Are you gaining a lot of light or staying pretty much the same?
  • Million dollars: a lot of money or pocket change? If the latter, throw those pennies on over here!
  • What do you think about Hal Higdon's plans? Have you followed any of his before? I'm actually a pretty big fan, despite my less-than-glowing words; I'm just ready for a change.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Workout: 3 miles, 11:38 average

Alternate title: Okay, Two-Minutes-Slower-Than--Marathon-Goal-Pace, you and I are gonna get along just fine.

Before we get to it, I know I said I was going to do this at 12:22 pace, but it turns out I'm an idiot. 12:22 is actually my target "recovery" pace, whatever that is. I'm taking that to mean the pace between speed intervals. My actual easy run pace will be more like 11:38. I know you were screaming, "FILTHY LIAR!" at your computer so I thought I should get that out of the way before things got tense.

Snow! Elf Shoes!

Like I already said, running more than a minute slower than usual was pretty awesome, although I will admit it wasn't the cake walk I had envisioned. Due to time constraints, I decided to run on the only flat stretch of road in my neighborhood, a decision that was made infinitely more tolerable by the fact that it was snowing. Falling snow makes any run fun! Well, almost any run.

Since I imagined 11:38 to be incredibly slow, I started off at more of a shuffle than a jog. Two minutes later I looked at my watch. 15:00. Oh. I sped up and looked again. 13:30. The hell? I sped up once again. 13:00. You see where this is going - 11:38 isn't nearly as slow as I had imagined. I was determined to stay above my goal pace, so it took 34 minutes of slow acceleration before my average finally got to where I wanted it. And although my breathing was easy, when I finished I definitely felt like I had gone for a run.

Whoops, didn't realize the average displayed on my watch isn't moving average. 

The run was actually really enjoyable. Sure, it took longer to complete, but my breathing was slow and steady and I didn't feel any tweaks or "niggles." I mostly just watched my dumb dog go about her simple life.

My two main takeaways:
  1. I now believe I will be capable of running the higher mileage demanded by sirs Hanson in their training plan since much of it is at a very slow-for-me pace.
  2. Although I am likely capable of that higher and slower mileage, it is going to be tough. Running at an 11:38 pace is still running.

----

Because I won't shut up about the Hansons (not to be confused with these guys. Side note: I never really realized how androgynous slash just plain feminine those brothers looked), I plowed through most of their book last night. Bailey was more than happy to assist me.

I swear I was actually reading and not just staring at the pretty Amazon tree.

Admittedly, I skimmed a lot of it. I was so excited to buy the book that I vowed to read each and every word, but once words like "slow twitch fibers" came into play I was kind of over it. I appreciate the fact that the plan seems to be based on sound science, because science is the best, but I don't really want to read about that science. Other people can make sure it's legit and I'll take their word for it (anyone have a bridge they're looking to sell?).

Most of what they say makes sense intuitively (although loads of stupid shit has probably made sense "intuitively" at one point or another) and I'm eager to give their plan a shot. I'm so not with them on their nutrition advice, though. If I remember correctly (that's a huge "if" - don't take my word on anything, ever), they recommend that a runner consume four hundred calories per hour if exercising more than four hours (ie. running a marathon). Four hundred calories? Any other time I'd be thrilled about eating four hundred calories an hour, but not when I'm on the brink of death. For anything less than four hours, I think they recommend  taking in 300 calories per hour. There's got to be a typo there. Right?! The frequency with which they advise one to drink water is also suspect. Then again, what do I know? I'm a nobody.

I'm enjoying this whole question thing. Makes me feel a little less narcissistic. Here we go!

  • Four hundred calories an hour: yay or nay?
  • Do you think running much slower than usual rocks as much as I do?
  • Do you like reading about science? Give me social science research any day and I'll eat it up, but the second I encounter words like "nuclei" and "biology" my eyes glaze over.
  • Do you like running in neighborhoods? Or do you think they're the ABSOLUTE WORST like I do?

11:38 Is the New 10:00

Workout: 3 miles, 11:38 average

Alternate title: Okay, Two-Minutes-Slower-Than--Marathon-Goal-Pace, you and I are gonna get along just fine.

Before we get to it, I know I said I was going to do this at 12:22 pace, but it turns out I'm an idiot. 12:22 is actually my target "recovery" pace, whatever that is. I'm taking that to mean the pace between speed intervals. My actual easy run pace will be more like 11:38. I know you were screaming, "FILTHY LIAR!" at your computer so I thought I should get that out of the way before things got tense.

Snow! Elf Shoes!

Like I already said, running more than a minute slower than usual was pretty awesome, although I will admit it wasn't the cake walk I had envisioned. Due to time constraints, I decided to run on the only flat stretch of road in my neighborhood, a decision that was made infinitely more tolerable by the fact that it was snowing. Falling snow makes any run fun! Well, almost any run.

Since I imagined 11:38 to be incredibly slow, I started off at more of a shuffle than a jog. Two minutes later I looked at my watch. 15:00. Oh. I sped up and looked again. 13:30. The hell? I sped up once again. 13:00. You see where this is going - 11:38 isn't nearly as slow as I had imagined. I was determined to stay above my goal pace, so it took 34 minutes of slow acceleration before my average finally got to where I wanted it. And although my breathing was easy, when I finished I definitely felt like I had gone for a run.

Whoops, didn't realize the average displayed on my watch isn't moving average. 

The run was actually really enjoyable. Sure, it took longer to complete, but my breathing was slow and steady and I didn't feel any tweaks or "niggles." I mostly just watched my dumb dog go about her simple life.

My two main takeaways:
  1. I now believe I will be capable of running the higher mileage demanded by sirs Hanson in their training plan since much of it is at a very slow-for-me pace.
  2. Although I am likely capable of that higher and slower mileage, it is going to be tough. Running at an 11:38 pace is still running.

----

Because I won't shut up about the Hansons (not to be confused with these guys. Side note: I never really realized how androgynous slash just plain feminine those brothers looked), I plowed through most of their book last night. Bailey was more than happy to assist me.

I swear I was actually reading and not just staring at the pretty Amazon tree.

Admittedly, I skimmed a lot of it. I was so excited to buy the book that I vowed to read each and every word, but once words like "slow twitch fibers" came into play I was kind of over it. I appreciate the fact that the plan seems to be based on sound science, because science is the best, but I don't really want to read about that science. Other people can make sure it's legit and I'll take their word for it (anyone have a bridge they're looking to sell?).

Most of what they say makes sense intuitively (although loads of stupid shit has probably made sense "intuitively" at one point or another) and I'm eager to give their plan a shot. I'm so not with them on their nutrition advice, though. If I remember correctly (that's a huge "if" - don't take my word on anything, ever), they recommend that a runner consume four hundred calories per hour if exercising more than four hours (ie. running a marathon). Four hundred calories? Any other time I'd be thrilled about eating four hundred calories an hour, but not when I'm on the brink of death. For anything less than four hours, I think they recommend  taking in 300 calories per hour. There's got to be a typo there. Right?! The frequency with which they advise one to drink water is also suspect. Then again, what do I know? I'm a nobody.

I'm enjoying this whole question thing. Makes me feel a little less narcissistic. Here we go!

  • Four hundred calories an hour: yay or nay?
  • Do you think running much slower than usual rocks as much as I do?
  • Do you like reading about science? Give me social science research any day and I'll eat it up, but the second I encounter words like "nuclei" and "biology" my eyes glaze over.
  • Do you like running in neighborhoods? Or do you think they're the ABSOLUTE WORST like I do?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Workout: 5 miles, 10:16 average

Before I get into today's run, I received a bit of exciting news today - I got accepted into one of the schools I applied to! I wasn't expecting to hear from anywhere for another few weeks, so this was a complete shock. Isn't unexpected good news the best?! So much better than expected good news. And to think I almost deleted the email without reading it because I assumed it was spam... I'm too cautious to give any details (because OoOoOoObviously the admissions committee is going to stumble across this tiny corner of the internet and be outraged that I'm excited to have been accepted to their program), but the best part of the acceptance was the confidence boost it gave me. Going into this process, I refused to accept the idea that I might actually be a pretty decent candidate, and so convinced myself it was very possible I wouldn't be accepted anywhere. Turns out that's not the case! Sorry, don't mean to be a braggart, I'm just excited. And now to take me down a couple notches we can talk about what a mediocre runner I am!

I packed a LOT of running gear with me before class.

Outdoor clothes on the right

I was pretty sure I was going to end up running inside, but I didn't know whether my beloved ice rink slash track would be open since I hadn't been in a while, so I brought some back-up clothes for running outside. Given that it's' still pretty chilly 'round these parts, my "back-up clothes" took up a ridiculous amount of space. Like, all the space.

After class I confirmed that the ice rink was open and did an easy 5 miles. Or at least, pace easy, not mentally easy. In fact, mentally tough. I accidentally forgot my headphones, and although I'm cool running outside sans music, I have a very difficult time facing indoor running without it. My phone was loaded with music, of course, but I was too embarrassed to have the rink attendant (yeah, there was a rink attendant there today. I don't know why he was there either) know that I listen to crap top 40 pop while running.

For years and years I had a really bizarre complex about music and WOULD NOT let even my closest friends know what I listened to. Of course, my reluctance to share it with them made them try their hardest to figure it out and they obviously did (via many sneaky peaks at my iTunes library), but it wasn't until recently that I've even been able to acknowledge that I listen to some of the music I listen to. What I'm trying to say is, I ran around this ice rink 47 1/2 times without music. That kind of blew.

My legs felt great, though! I was very pleased with how well they have recovered from Saturday's 10 miles. I am beginning to think the whole shin pain debacle may be behind me although I'll pretend I don't so I don't jinx myself.

I have decided in the name of science (and, okay, the desire to take it easy) to run tomorrow's scheduled 3 miles at a 12:22 pace. You read that right. 12:22. That's what I believe to be Hansons' recommended easy easy run pace (not to be confused with plain old easy run pace) for my marathon goal time, which I guess is somewhere around 4:15?  Should I choose to use their plan, I imagine I will be spending a lot of time at this pace, in order to allow for the higher mileage. Better get used to it.

My Questions:
  • My life got pretty exciting today - have you had any exciting life events occur today (or recently)?
  • Ever been embarrassed by your music tastes?
  • Ever run at a pace a good two+ minutes slower than your usual easy run pace? How'd it go?! I'm pumped.

Exciting News and a Music Complex

Workout: 5 miles, 10:16 average

Before I get into today's run, I received a bit of exciting news today - I got accepted into one of the schools I applied to! I wasn't expecting to hear from anywhere for another few weeks, so this was a complete shock. Isn't unexpected good news the best?! So much better than expected good news. And to think I almost deleted the email without reading it because I assumed it was spam... I'm too cautious to give any details (because OoOoOoObviously the admissions committee is going to stumble across this tiny corner of the internet and be outraged that I'm excited to have been accepted to their program), but the best part of the acceptance was the confidence boost it gave me. Going into this process, I refused to accept the idea that I might actually be a pretty decent candidate, and so convinced myself it was very possible I wouldn't be accepted anywhere. Turns out that's not the case! Sorry, don't mean to be a braggart, I'm just excited. And now to take me down a couple notches we can talk about what a mediocre runner I am!

I packed a LOT of running gear with me before class.

Outdoor clothes on the right

I was pretty sure I was going to end up running inside, but I didn't know whether my beloved ice rink slash track would be open since I hadn't been in a while, so I brought some back-up clothes for running outside. Given that it's' still pretty chilly 'round these parts, my "back-up clothes" took up a ridiculous amount of space. Like, all the space.

After class I confirmed that the ice rink was open and did an easy 5 miles. Or at least, pace easy, not mentally easy. In fact, mentally tough. I accidentally forgot my headphones, and although I'm cool running outside sans music, I have a very difficult time facing indoor running without it. My phone was loaded with music, of course, but I was too embarrassed to have the rink attendant (yeah, there was a rink attendant there today. I don't know why he was there either) know that I listen to crap top 40 pop while running.

For years and years I had a really bizarre complex about music and WOULD NOT let even my closest friends know what I listened to. Of course, my reluctance to share it with them made them try their hardest to figure it out and they obviously did (via many sneaky peaks at my iTunes library), but it wasn't until recently that I've even been able to acknowledge that I listen to some of the music I listen to. What I'm trying to say is, I ran around this ice rink 47 1/2 times without music. That kind of blew.

My legs felt great, though! I was very pleased with how well they have recovered from Saturday's 10 miles. I am beginning to think the whole shin pain debacle may be behind me although I'll pretend I don't so I don't jinx myself.

I have decided in the name of science (and, okay, the desire to take it easy) to run tomorrow's scheduled 3 miles at a 12:22 pace. You read that right. 12:22. That's what I believe to be Hansons' recommended easy easy run pace (not to be confused with plain old easy run pace) for my marathon goal time, which I guess is somewhere around 4:15?  Should I choose to use their plan, I imagine I will be spending a lot of time at this pace, in order to allow for the higher mileage. Better get used to it.

My Questions:
  • My life got pretty exciting today - have you had any exciting life events occur today (or recently)?
  • Ever been embarrassed by your music tastes?
  • Ever run at a pace a good two+ minutes slower than your usual easy run pace? How'd it go?! I'm pumped.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Workout: short walk with Bailey on Hemlock, 45 minutes

It's a typical, lazy "I swear I'm going to study for multiple hours today but it'll actually be more like one" kind of Sunday here at JJ-o headquarters. I kicked it off with a short walk with the derg. Here's some photographic evidence!

I realized why I like sutro so much-it makes mountains look less washed-out

I spy a dog

It would be nice to be up IN those mountains again. For now I must be content with viewing them from afar


It was the perfect way to start off the day and also a nice peace offering after leaving Bailey home during yesterday's run.

----

I think I miiiiight just jump on the Hanson Method wagon for the marathon I plan to do this summer but haven't talked about yet. I was intrigued enough to buy the book a few days ago and have flipped through it some. I plan to give it a thorough read soon.

My immediate thought  upon reading the first chapter was "16 miles is the longest LR? Sign me up!", followed immediately by "Wait a second, it's 16 miles following a very high-mileage week. I guess this isn't some magical plan that will allow me to run a 2-hour marathon on little to no mileage. Ugh."

I don't know anything about running so I'm not endorsing this plan or anything, but the author has a very valid point about the weaknesses he sees in typical training plans. He says that many plans have the trainee running incredibly low mileage during the week and killing themselves during their LR on the weekend. The length of these long runs breaks the body down enough that the runner is forced to spend an entire week recovering from it and gearing up for the next LR. He also argues that running only 3 or 4 times a week to allow full recovery between runs isn't ideal because it is running without being fully recovered that forces the desired physiological changes to occur.

The last thing that really resonated with me was his comment that "Our programs are designed this way to help you feel your best during the race, not during training. After all, you never want to execute your best performance in practice" (I'd cite a page number but I've got it on Kindle and Kindle just doesn't roll that way. First Chapter in the "Recovery: Partial Rest" section). Whereas traditional plans try to make training easy and force you to half kill yourself on race day, Hansons' (they're brothers, I guess?) plan makes training difficult in order to allow you to run a successful marathon. At least that's their spiel. Who knows whether it's true.

I was initially intimidated by this plan because I had read that the weekly mileage is very high. I assumed their first week would involve 40+ miles and given that I'm hovering right around 20 right now, I thought that sounded like a disaster for me. I was pleasantly surprised, however, to see that the first five weeks are well within my current abilities. My main reservation is transitioning from running four days a week to six days a week (even if some of those days are very easy recovery miles), and the seemingly ridiculous, sudden 15-mile bump-up in weekly mileage between weeks 5 and 6 (24 to 39 miles). I'll have to read more to see if they provide an explanation for that, but to me it seems like a recipe for broken body parts.

I used Hal's plan last year with success (that is, until I randomly stress fractured my foot during an easy half marathon two weeks before the marathon) so when I decided to train for another marathon, I automatically assumed I would use that plan again. However, I remember being frustrated with the low mileage during the week and LRs really took it out of me, plus I realized I wasn't that excited about doing the exact same thing again. Running 20 miles didn't suddenly made me feel like I could run a marathon; I think that actually running 26.2 is the only way to know for certain that I can do it. So the idea of having my longest run be a full ten miles short of the actual distance I aim to run doesn't worry me as much as I thought it would.

Once I've had a chance to read the book, I'll report back on my plans (because I know you're on the edge of your seat right now).

----

Oh yeah, it was really cold again today.

Written on frost accumulating inside the window, NBD


Question time:
  • Tell me about the Hanson Method. Tell me it's the best plan ever and helped you run your marathon PR, or tell me why it'll just cause me to injure myself.
  • Any students out there who can relate to "Ugh, homework" Sundays?
  • Anyone do anything awesome today? Let me live through you.

Hanson Method and a Hike

Workout: short walk with Bailey on Hemlock, 45 minutes

It's a typical, lazy "I swear I'm going to study for multiple hours today but it'll actually be more like one" kind of Sunday here at JJ-o headquarters. I kicked it off with a short walk with the derg. Here's some photographic evidence!

I realized why I like sutro so much-it makes mountains look less washed-out

I spy a dog

It would be nice to be up IN those mountains again. For now I must be content with viewing them from afar


It was the perfect way to start off the day and also a nice peace offering after leaving Bailey home during yesterday's run.

----

I think I miiiiight just jump on the Hanson Method wagon for the marathon I plan to do this summer but haven't talked about yet. I was intrigued enough to buy the book a few days ago and have flipped through it some. I plan to give it a thorough read soon.

My immediate thought  upon reading the first chapter was "16 miles is the longest LR? Sign me up!", followed immediately by "Wait a second, it's 16 miles following a very high-mileage week. I guess this isn't some magical plan that will allow me to run a 2-hour marathon on little to no mileage. Ugh."

I don't know anything about running so I'm not endorsing this plan or anything, but the author has a very valid point about the weaknesses he sees in typical training plans. He says that many plans have the trainee running incredibly low mileage during the week and killing themselves during their LR on the weekend. The length of these long runs breaks the body down enough that the runner is forced to spend an entire week recovering from it and gearing up for the next LR. He also argues that running only 3 or 4 times a week to allow full recovery between runs isn't ideal because it is running without being fully recovered that forces the desired physiological changes to occur.

The last thing that really resonated with me was his comment that "Our programs are designed this way to help you feel your best during the race, not during training. After all, you never want to execute your best performance in practice" (I'd cite a page number but I've got it on Kindle and Kindle just doesn't roll that way. First Chapter in the "Recovery: Partial Rest" section). Whereas traditional plans try to make training easy and force you to half kill yourself on race day, Hansons' (they're brothers, I guess?) plan makes training difficult in order to allow you to run a successful marathon. At least that's their spiel. Who knows whether it's true.

I was initially intimidated by this plan because I had read that the weekly mileage is very high. I assumed their first week would involve 40+ miles and given that I'm hovering right around 20 right now, I thought that sounded like a disaster for me. I was pleasantly surprised, however, to see that the first five weeks are well within my current abilities. My main reservation is transitioning from running four days a week to six days a week (even if some of those days are very easy recovery miles), and the seemingly ridiculous, sudden 15-mile bump-up in weekly mileage between weeks 5 and 6 (24 to 39 miles). I'll have to read more to see if they provide an explanation for that, but to me it seems like a recipe for broken body parts.

I used Hal's plan last year with success (that is, until I randomly stress fractured my foot during an easy half marathon two weeks before the marathon) so when I decided to train for another marathon, I automatically assumed I would use that plan again. However, I remember being frustrated with the low mileage during the week and LRs really took it out of me, plus I realized I wasn't that excited about doing the exact same thing again. Running 20 miles didn't suddenly made me feel like I could run a marathon; I think that actually running 26.2 is the only way to know for certain that I can do it. So the idea of having my longest run be a full ten miles short of the actual distance I aim to run doesn't worry me as much as I thought it would.

Once I've had a chance to read the book, I'll report back on my plans (because I know you're on the edge of your seat right now).

----

Oh yeah, it was really cold again today.

Written on frost accumulating inside the window, NBD


Question time:
  • Tell me about the Hanson Method. Tell me it's the best plan ever and helped you run your marathon PR, or tell me why it'll just cause me to injure myself.
  • Any students out there who can relate to "Ugh, homework" Sundays?
  • Anyone do anything awesome today? Let me live through you.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Workout: 10 miles, 9:51 average - a new post-stress fracture PDR!

What the hell, weather?! She is indeed a fickle mistress. Remember yesterday? You know, a mere 24 hours ago? We were rockin' beautiful 20-degree weather. And now we've swung 35 degrees in the opposite direction. Balls. But since I'm such an asshole about people whining about how cold it is (just put on more layers!), I wasn't about to stay inside.

Cold days make for beautiful, sunny views

I didn't want to start with this because it's ugly, but there you have it - 15 below

This run was seriously fantastic. I don't know what it was (the absence of my dog, perhaps? Colder temps? My choice of shoe?), but it felt almost effortless. And no shin pain! I think I've decided that my ideal running surface is well-packed snow. It was interesting that no pesky skiers were out, but the runners were out in droves. Seems somebody wimped out.

Things got off to a promising start when I set off in some shoes I haven't worn in a while. 

Click here to see these babies in action!

People who are new around here may not know about my penchant for odd footwear. It's cool, you can make fun of me (my friends have definitely laid it on pretty thick. In their defense, I used to prance around New York City happy hours in my smelly "toe shoes"), but I figure that if it's working better than regular shoes ever did, I'll stick with it for now. These particular shoes were deemed "elf shoes" by a friend of mine. I'd say it's a fitting description.

Anyway, I haven't been able to wear these shoes much this winter because they aren't good on snow unless it's completely packed down. Sheer ice isn't really their specialty, and that's mostly what we've had lately. Instead, I've had to settle for another pair of shoes I can fit tiny Yaktrax on, a pair that actually made an appearance during the second half of today's run (sans Yaktrax).

Picture this, only minus the broken Yaktrak

My elf shoes felt so great on my feet today. There is a ton of room for my foot and toes to move around compared to the more constricting fit of my Merrells, which I believe is largely responsible for the weird pain I was experiencing a while ago (multiple layers of socks + tight Yaktrax = not a lot of wiggle room). I am definitely going to try to wear these more often (terrain willing).

I really wanted to wear the elf shoes for the entirety of the run, but since I haven't run much in them recently I decided to change shoes after 5 miles in the name of "being cautious." This turned out to be a wise plan since I had a mild "water freakout" after the first few miles so was able to take in a couple of sips before continuing on.

This is just another example of me being overly dramatic, but when one runs without music (which I did! Longest music-free run ever, I do believe) one thinks a lot of strange thoughts. I noticed that my breathing sped up a bit a couple miles in (although come to think of it, maybe it was THE HILL I had just run up?), and then I started thinking about all the Everest documentaries I've watched (yes, that's documentaries plural, and plural many times over) where it's cold and they're constantly dehydrated. Because obviously running ten miles at sea level is the equivalent of summiting the tallest mountain in the world with little to no oxygen and wearing a million pounds of gear. I became fixated on the idea that I needed water because of the cooler temps, so back to the car it was. After a picture, of course. Pictures come before health.

This is not meant to be artistic. I just couldn't figure out how to zoom past the links.

I was kind of ready to be pissed off at wearing my Merrells again (I love them, I swear, but not when I have to wear more than one pair of socks), but they weren't that bad and I actually felt as though I sped up some once I put them on. My splits would seem to agree.


I finished the run feeling fast and strong ("I am woman, hear me roar" and all that) and treated myself to a delightful Subway sandwich. Some people go for _______ [insert high society food here] and others go for Subway. To each her own. I really wish my favorite bagel place on 16th-ish and 1st in Manhattan (the horror, I've forgotten its name!) was nearby so I could eat a salt bagel with scallion cream cheese. I guess it was a reasonable price to pay to get out of there, though. For now, Subway is my new post-LR treat.

So what did I wear to brave the colder temps? Here it is, a typical Jeano cold-weather outfit. And by typical, I mean only. I wear that jacket thing constantly. Somebody buy me a new one.

Those stout legs are wearing three pairs of spandex/long johns.

And just to gross you out, here's proof that you can indeed sweat (a lot!) when it's 15 below zero.

I spared you an enlargement of this one


And with that, I'm going to shut down so I can watch the end of Melancholia. If you haven't seen it, it will BLOW YOUR MIND.

Oh yeah, we do the question thing  now! Here we go:

  • Do you run with music? What's your jam?
  • Do you drink a lot when you run? We're talking water here, but if your answer's vodka I won't judge.
  • I hear the rest of the country (the Lower 48, if you will) is getting hit with some pretty cold weather right now. How are things where you are?
  • Do you have any bizarre shoes? Show me I'm not alone!
  • Do you ever switch shoes mid-run?
  • Tell me everything.

Double Digits

Workout: 10 miles, 9:51 average - a new post-stress fracture PDR!

What the hell, weather?! She is indeed a fickle mistress. Remember yesterday? You know, a mere 24 hours ago? We were rockin' beautiful 20-degree weather. And now we've swung 35 degrees in the opposite direction. Balls. But since I'm such an asshole about people whining about how cold it is (just put on more layers!), I wasn't about to stay inside.

Cold days make for beautiful, sunny views

I didn't want to start with this because it's ugly, but there you have it - 15 below

This run was seriously fantastic. I don't know what it was (the absence of my dog, perhaps? Colder temps? My choice of shoe?), but it felt almost effortless. And no shin pain! I think I've decided that my ideal running surface is well-packed snow. It was interesting that no pesky skiers were out, but the runners were out in droves. Seems somebody wimped out.

Things got off to a promising start when I set off in some shoes I haven't worn in a while. 

Click here to see these babies in action!

People who are new around here may not know about my penchant for odd footwear. It's cool, you can make fun of me (my friends have definitely laid it on pretty thick. In their defense, I used to prance around New York City happy hours in my smelly "toe shoes"), but I figure that if it's working better than regular shoes ever did, I'll stick with it for now. These particular shoes were deemed "elf shoes" by a friend of mine. I'd say it's a fitting description.

Anyway, I haven't been able to wear these shoes much this winter because they aren't good on snow unless it's completely packed down. Sheer ice isn't really their specialty, and that's mostly what we've had lately. Instead, I've had to settle for another pair of shoes I can fit tiny Yaktrax on, a pair that actually made an appearance during the second half of today's run (sans Yaktrax).

Picture this, only minus the broken Yaktrak

My elf shoes felt so great on my feet today. There is a ton of room for my foot and toes to move around compared to the more constricting fit of my Merrells, which I believe is largely responsible for the weird pain I was experiencing a while ago (multiple layers of socks + tight Yaktrax = not a lot of wiggle room). I am definitely going to try to wear these more often (terrain willing).

I really wanted to wear the elf shoes for the entirety of the run, but since I haven't run much in them recently I decided to change shoes after 5 miles in the name of "being cautious." This turned out to be a wise plan since I had a mild "water freakout" after the first few miles so was able to take in a couple of sips before continuing on.

This is just another example of me being overly dramatic, but when one runs without music (which I did! Longest music-free run ever, I do believe) one thinks a lot of strange thoughts. I noticed that my breathing sped up a bit a couple miles in (although come to think of it, maybe it was THE HILL I had just run up?), and then I started thinking about all the Everest documentaries I've watched (yes, that's documentaries plural, and plural many times over) where it's cold and they're constantly dehydrated. Because obviously running ten miles at sea level is the equivalent of summiting the tallest mountain in the world with little to no oxygen and wearing a million pounds of gear. I became fixated on the idea that I needed water because of the cooler temps, so back to the car it was. After a picture, of course. Pictures come before health.

This is not meant to be artistic. I just couldn't figure out how to zoom past the links.

I was kind of ready to be pissed off at wearing my Merrells again (I love them, I swear, but not when I have to wear more than one pair of socks), but they weren't that bad and I actually felt as though I sped up some once I put them on. My splits would seem to agree.


I finished the run feeling fast and strong ("I am woman, hear me roar" and all that) and treated myself to a delightful Subway sandwich. Some people go for _______ [insert high society food here] and others go for Subway. To each her own. I really wish my favorite bagel place on 16th-ish and 1st in Manhattan (the horror, I've forgotten its name!) was nearby so I could eat a salt bagel with scallion cream cheese. I guess it was a reasonable price to pay to get out of there, though. For now, Subway is my new post-LR treat.

So what did I wear to brave the colder temps? Here it is, a typical Jeano cold-weather outfit. And by typical, I mean only. I wear that jacket thing constantly. Somebody buy me a new one.

Those stout legs are wearing three pairs of spandex/long johns.

And just to gross you out, here's proof that you can indeed sweat (a lot!) when it's 15 below zero.

I spared you an enlargement of this one


And with that, I'm going to shut down so I can watch the end of Melancholia. If you haven't seen it, it will BLOW YOUR MIND.

Oh yeah, we do the question thing  now! Here we go:

  • Do you run with music? What's your jam?
  • Do you drink a lot when you run? We're talking water here, but if your answer's vodka I won't judge.
  • I hear the rest of the country (the Lower 48, if you will) is getting hit with some pretty cold weather right now. How are things where you are?
  • Do you have any bizarre shoes? Show me I'm not alone!
  • Do you ever switch shoes mid-run?
  • Tell me everything.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Workout: walk with the dog

This morning's outing was perfect. Magical, even. Do you ever have that feeling where you are so incredibly happy in the moment that you're also kind of sad that it's going to end? It's similar to my thoughts on Christmas-being nostalgic for something you're doing in that moment. It's a strange, strange feeling. All I could think this morning was "Cherish this, take it all in, it's not often a day like today comes around." But it's kind of like trying to force yourself to empty your mind; it just doesn't work. It's hard to fully appreciate it while you're doing it, and later when you're able to appreciate it the details that made it so special are gone. I mean, in the moment you can chant to yourself "This is amazing" over and over again (which, believe me, I did plenty of this morning), but that's really weird. It also doesn't work.

I think the desire to hold onto moments like this is reinforced by the fact that my days in Alaska are numbered. Moving back to Alaska was really just a means to an end (getting to grad school). I missed the mountains, of course, but the main motivator was financial (the fact that my parents were willing to house me). If all works out as planned, I will be heading out-of-state come this fall, and so in reality I won't have a chance to experience many more days like this.

I'll shut up about feelings (I'm not much of a "feelings" person) and get to it already. So why was this morning so awesome? Did I explore new trails, run a PR, make a new friend? No. I set out with my dumb dog to take a walk on the same trail we frequent these days because the parking's free.


When we started, it was snowing like mad. I mean, really coming down (hence the weird specks in these photos). The views were obscured, but it was incredibly peaceful. We were the only ones out there, everything was delightfully muffled because of the snow (I LOVE that effect), and Mumford & Sons was providing me with my very own quiet soundtrack (come to think of it, perhaps my sentimentality was artificial and ALL THEIR FAULT). In other words, perfect.

Hazy Flattop

As the walk progressed, it continued to snow, but the sky started clearing up in the distance. By the time we finished, those pesky views were back! When it's clear out, it really is hard to beat Anchorage's views.


Sleeping Lady

A random, meaningless sign. Not only is this trail not one-way, but the sign points directly into the woods

We were out there for a total of about an hour, but if I didn't have to make it to work, we would have stayed much longer. I can only hope we get another day like this soon!

---- 

Today I realized you can both create videos on a smartphone and post said videos to the internet so here's one of Bailey and another one of her sticks. I have no idea whatsoever if this will work but if it does, turn your volume off. The way I speak to my dog is revolting.


video


----

And with that, we end the most sentimental post you'll ever find here on JJ-o.

My questions for YOU:
  • Ever feel sad about the end of a moment before it's even over?
  • Are you planning to move anytime soon?
  • Do you talk to your dog in as revolting a tone as I do?

A Perfect (and Sentimental) Outing

Workout: walk with the dog

This morning's outing was perfect. Magical, even. Do you ever have that feeling where you are so incredibly happy in the moment that you're also kind of sad that it's going to end? It's similar to my thoughts on Christmas-being nostalgic for something you're doing in that moment. It's a strange, strange feeling. All I could think this morning was "Cherish this, take it all in, it's not often a day like today comes around." But it's kind of like trying to force yourself to empty your mind; it just doesn't work. It's hard to fully appreciate it while you're doing it, and later when you're able to appreciate it the details that made it so special are gone. I mean, in the moment you can chant to yourself "This is amazing" over and over again (which, believe me, I did plenty of this morning), but that's really weird. It also doesn't work.

I think the desire to hold onto moments like this is reinforced by the fact that my days in Alaska are numbered. Moving back to Alaska was really just a means to an end (getting to grad school). I missed the mountains, of course, but the main motivator was financial (the fact that my parents were willing to house me). If all works out as planned, I will be heading out-of-state come this fall, and so in reality I won't have a chance to experience many more days like this.

I'll shut up about feelings (I'm not much of a "feelings" person) and get to it already. So why was this morning so awesome? Did I explore new trails, run a PR, make a new friend? No. I set out with my dumb dog to take a walk on the same trail we frequent these days because the parking's free.


When we started, it was snowing like mad. I mean, really coming down (hence the weird specks in these photos). The views were obscured, but it was incredibly peaceful. We were the only ones out there, everything was delightfully muffled because of the snow (I LOVE that effect), and Mumford & Sons was providing me with my very own quiet soundtrack (come to think of it, perhaps my sentimentality was artificial and ALL THEIR FAULT). In other words, perfect.

Hazy Flattop

As the walk progressed, it continued to snow, but the sky started clearing up in the distance. By the time we finished, those pesky views were back! When it's clear out, it really is hard to beat Anchorage's views.


Sleeping Lady

A random, meaningless sign. Not only is this trail not one-way, but the sign points directly into the woods

We were out there for a total of about an hour, but if I didn't have to make it to work, we would have stayed much longer. I can only hope we get another day like this soon!

---- 

Today I realized you can both create videos on a smartphone and post said videos to the internet so here's one of Bailey and another one of her sticks. I have no idea whatsoever if this will work but if it does, turn your volume off. The way I speak to my dog is revolting.


video


----

And with that, we end the most sentimental post you'll ever find here on JJ-o.

My questions for YOU:
  • Ever feel sad about the end of a moment before it's even over?
  • Are you planning to move anytime soon?
  • Do you talk to your dog in as revolting a tone as I do?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Workout: 5 miles, 9:52 average

I finally did it. Cut loose the chain. Ran without Bailey. I wish I could say it was rough and that I felt just awful the entire time, but I didn't. Not at all. I was too happy to be running on my own to think about it much. And despite taking it pretty easy, my stats were noticeably faster than usual. I felt so free!

I went back to the wonderful (but short) single track I discovered months ago. I run in this area all the time but never make the detour because it doesn't last that long and turning around again and again would mess my groove up (that makes sense, just trust me on this).

Oh sutro, you handsome filter, you

Oh, here it is again. How'd that get in there? This time with a little x-pro action.


I kind of felt like an old crickety rocking chair initially, but I seemed to loosen right up after a mile or so.


After my run, I took a shower in the locker room at school and was treated to a delightful conversation between a bunch of little girls there for swim practice. My favorite moment was when they were trying to figure out where Mexico is. I would have told them what's up, but I didn't want to come off as that half-naked creepy old lady eavesdropping on the little 'uns. Let's hope our crumbling education system sets them right.

----

I've started doing semi-regular ab work. It's nothing spectacular and it won't get me a six-pack, but the fact that 50 crunches is almost more than I can bear tells me I need it. My issue is that I'm always telling myself I need to do a 15-30 minute ab routine and build it up in my head all day ("It's going to hurt so much!!"), and then when it comes time to do it I get overwhelmed and do nothing instead. Well, I decided to take a leaf out of this girl's book and started doing a small amount every day. I find that once I do 50 crunches, I can usually muster up the courage to do another set. So there's that.

----

On a random music note (see what I did there?), I shocked myself by turning the country station on early in the day (it was a pre-set when I bought the car and I often turn it on when the others are on commercial) and keeping it there for the entire day. I know, who am I? I always thought I hated country music, but apparently I don't. I guess I just appreciate that you can actually hear the vocals. Also, what's with the "cowboy on the beach" sub-genre? There seem to be a lot of those songs floating around. They make me laugh.

Tomorrow's a rest day and then on Saturday I've got ten miles on the docket. It's shaping up to be a high-for-me mileage week, with 27 miles.

I've decided to copy everyone else and make my blog less hostile by asking you questions. Here are today's:
  • What kind of ab work do YOU do?
  • What overheard conversation made YOU laugh recently?
  • Thoughts on single track? Country?

Cowboys on Beaches

Workout: 5 miles, 9:52 average

I finally did it. Cut loose the chain. Ran without Bailey. I wish I could say it was rough and that I felt just awful the entire time, but I didn't. Not at all. I was too happy to be running on my own to think about it much. And despite taking it pretty easy, my stats were noticeably faster than usual. I felt so free!

I went back to the wonderful (but short) single track I discovered months ago. I run in this area all the time but never make the detour because it doesn't last that long and turning around again and again would mess my groove up (that makes sense, just trust me on this).

Oh sutro, you handsome filter, you

Oh, here it is again. How'd that get in there? This time with a little x-pro action.


I kind of felt like an old crickety rocking chair initially, but I seemed to loosen right up after a mile or so.


After my run, I took a shower in the locker room at school and was treated to a delightful conversation between a bunch of little girls there for swim practice. My favorite moment was when they were trying to figure out where Mexico is. I would have told them what's up, but I didn't want to come off as that half-naked creepy old lady eavesdropping on the little 'uns. Let's hope our crumbling education system sets them right.

----

I've started doing semi-regular ab work. It's nothing spectacular and it won't get me a six-pack, but the fact that 50 crunches is almost more than I can bear tells me I need it. My issue is that I'm always telling myself I need to do a 15-30 minute ab routine and build it up in my head all day ("It's going to hurt so much!!"), and then when it comes time to do it I get overwhelmed and do nothing instead. Well, I decided to take a leaf out of this girl's book and started doing a small amount every day. I find that once I do 50 crunches, I can usually muster up the courage to do another set. So there's that.

----

On a random music note (see what I did there?), I shocked myself by turning the country station on early in the day (it was a pre-set when I bought the car and I often turn it on when the others are on commercial) and keeping it there for the entire day. I know, who am I? I always thought I hated country music, but apparently I don't. I guess I just appreciate that you can actually hear the vocals. Also, what's with the "cowboy on the beach" sub-genre? There seem to be a lot of those songs floating around. They make me laugh.

Tomorrow's a rest day and then on Saturday I've got ten miles on the docket. It's shaping up to be a high-for-me mileage week, with 27 miles.

I've decided to copy everyone else and make my blog less hostile by asking you questions. Here are today's:
  • What kind of ab work do YOU do?
  • What overheard conversation made YOU laugh recently?
  • Thoughts on single track? Country?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Workout: 3 totally boring miles 'round the neighborhood

I don't have any interesting stories to regale you with today, so I'll simply post a photo which is sure to make you jealous.


Those are fresh oranges and lemons, straight off the tree. Grown in our very own backyard! No, I'm just shitting you. We don't have orange trees in Alaska. Duh. Educate yourself, you savage. A mysterious distant relative sent them our way. My padres are on vacation and my siblings won't go near fruit, so they're all mine!!! Muahaha.

I went through a roughly six-year phase where I didn't eat oranges (is six years a phase or just a personality trait?) since I never got over the one I peeled while at school in Vermont that was rock hard and grey on the inside. These, however, are heavenly and will be gone in approximately two days.

Tomorrow's a rest day so I doubt you'll hear from me until Thursday. Stay strong, my friends.

Oranges, Fresh Off an Alaskan Tree

Workout: 3 totally boring miles 'round the neighborhood

I don't have any interesting stories to regale you with today, so I'll simply post a photo which is sure to make you jealous.


Those are fresh oranges and lemons, straight off the tree. Grown in our very own backyard! No, I'm just shitting you. We don't have orange trees in Alaska. Duh. Educate yourself, you savage. A mysterious distant relative sent them our way. My padres are on vacation and my siblings won't go near fruit, so they're all mine!!! Muahaha.

I went through a roughly six-year phase where I didn't eat oranges (is six years a phase or just a personality trait?) since I never got over the one I peeled while at school in Vermont that was rock hard and grey on the inside. These, however, are heavenly and will be gone in approximately two days.

Tomorrow's a rest day so I doubt you'll hear from me until Thursday. Stay strong, my friends.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Workout: 9 miles, 10:09 average

... to rethink this whole "run with Bailey at all costs" mindset I seem to have developed. But more about that later.

Today was a truly spectacular day!

EXHIBIT A

EXHIBIT B

Yesterday's snow left everything looking all pretty and fairy land-ish and the bright sun was a welcome surprise (except for when it was blinding me-I had kind of forgotten that was a thing).

I was dallying back and forth on whether I'd actually do 9 today or if I'd do some today and tack some onto tomorrow's run for Bailey's sake (Christ, reading that makes me want to vomit-I'm one of those dog freaks now!). Once I saw the sun shining, however, I knew we were in it for the long haul. We started from the dog park and ran farther on the miraculous trail I discovered a couple of weeks ago and completed a glorious 9 miles. Except not really. Which brings me to the title of this post.

Oh, Bailey, Bailey, Bailey, how you cause me so much emotional pain (note: "so much" is relative). I feel incredibly guilty not taking her with me on my runs because I'm pretty much the only person who walks her. She always has a grand ole time and usually the main annoyance comes from holding the heavy leash the entire time. She gets her exercise, I get my dog bonding time, she loves me best-everyone's happy. Except I think the golden days are over (unintended pun success: she's a golden retriever).

I knew 9 miles was probably pushing it. She did really well on our 8 miles a couple of weeks ago, but I had a bad feeling about 9. Call it ESPN (Mean Girls, anyone? Bueller?). There was so much stopping today so she could sniff things and pick up sticks and do whatever it is that dogs do. It was extremely frustrating. She also caused me to get a death glare from a woman when she (the horror!) started running towards her.

We need to stop and talk about this woman before we move on. Bailey was on a leash, and she's the least vicious dog ever. She does not bark (I repeat: DOES NOT BARK. I don't even know what her bark sounds like because she's never done it in front of me) and she is terrified of other dogs, including tiny puppies and little weenie dogs. There's your background. So this woman is moseying along the path with her stupid little weenie dog (wearing a sweater-duh), and Bailey shies away from the dog because she's scared. We pass the dog and Bailey gets excited about the woman, so she skips towards her. She's on a leash and so I immediately pull her back. The woman makes a snorting noise, causing me to turn around to apologize, only to be met with THE WORST look I've ever gotten in my life. This harpy would have put Medusa to shame. No words, just a stare. Like she wanted me to drop dead on the spot. What a bitch. This is a gross generalization, but 9 times out of 10, when a fellow dog owner gets pissed about your dog being a dog, they own a tiny yappie dog. Take from that what you will.

So anyway, no one gets pissed at my dog but me. Which I was, but just because she kept making me stop. I don't want to force her to move on every time she stops because I worry about whether the run is too hard on her, but this was ridiculous. We were stopping for 30+ seconds probably every half mile. Plus she was running right in front of me and going slower than I would have liked.

I do believe it took much longer than this is claiming.

Anyway, I think the honeymoon's over-no more dog on long runs. Turd. That last mile, free of annoying dog and annoying dog leash, was bliss.

So how'd it go apart from these non-issue issues? Really well! I felt fine the entire time. I think I could have gone a lot faster than I was going, and it wasn't until the very last mile that I started feeling any fatigue. And my shins felt great! Perhaps it's the layer of snow padding my footsteps (although there's been at least one study that found that impact forces are surprisingly higher on softer surfaces than on cement. I'd link to it, but I'm entirely too lazy. Go find it for me and report back), or just Hal's plan paying off. And now that I said that I'm probably going to report back with one billion fractured tibiae (is that really the plural, Merriam-Webster?) in like a week.

The Time Has Come...

Workout: 9 miles, 10:09 average

... to rethink this whole "run with Bailey at all costs" mindset I seem to have developed. But more about that later.

Today was a truly spectacular day!

EXHIBIT A

EXHIBIT B

Yesterday's snow left everything looking all pretty and fairy land-ish and the bright sun was a welcome surprise (except for when it was blinding me-I had kind of forgotten that was a thing).

I was dallying back and forth on whether I'd actually do 9 today or if I'd do some today and tack some onto tomorrow's run for Bailey's sake (Christ, reading that makes me want to vomit-I'm one of those dog freaks now!). Once I saw the sun shining, however, I knew we were in it for the long haul. We started from the dog park and ran farther on the miraculous trail I discovered a couple of weeks ago and completed a glorious 9 miles. Except not really. Which brings me to the title of this post.

Oh, Bailey, Bailey, Bailey, how you cause me so much emotional pain (note: "so much" is relative). I feel incredibly guilty not taking her with me on my runs because I'm pretty much the only person who walks her. She always has a grand ole time and usually the main annoyance comes from holding the heavy leash the entire time. She gets her exercise, I get my dog bonding time, she loves me best-everyone's happy. Except I think the golden days are over (unintended pun success: she's a golden retriever).

I knew 9 miles was probably pushing it. She did really well on our 8 miles a couple of weeks ago, but I had a bad feeling about 9. Call it ESPN (Mean Girls, anyone? Bueller?). There was so much stopping today so she could sniff things and pick up sticks and do whatever it is that dogs do. It was extremely frustrating. She also caused me to get a death glare from a woman when she (the horror!) started running towards her.

We need to stop and talk about this woman before we move on. Bailey was on a leash, and she's the least vicious dog ever. She does not bark (I repeat: DOES NOT BARK. I don't even know what her bark sounds like because she's never done it in front of me) and she is terrified of other dogs, including tiny puppies and little weenie dogs. There's your background. So this woman is moseying along the path with her stupid little weenie dog (wearing a sweater-duh), and Bailey shies away from the dog because she's scared. We pass the dog and Bailey gets excited about the woman, so she skips towards her. She's on a leash and so I immediately pull her back. The woman makes a snorting noise, causing me to turn around to apologize, only to be met with THE WORST look I've ever gotten in my life. This harpy would have put Medusa to shame. No words, just a stare. Like she wanted me to drop dead on the spot. What a bitch. This is a gross generalization, but 9 times out of 10, when a fellow dog owner gets pissed about your dog being a dog, they own a tiny yappie dog. Take from that what you will.

So anyway, no one gets pissed at my dog but me. Which I was, but just because she kept making me stop. I don't want to force her to move on every time she stops because I worry about whether the run is too hard on her, but this was ridiculous. We were stopping for 30+ seconds probably every half mile. Plus she was running right in front of me and going slower than I would have liked.

I do believe it took much longer than this is claiming.

Anyway, I think the honeymoon's over-no more dog on long runs. Turd. That last mile, free of annoying dog and annoying dog leash, was bliss.

So how'd it go apart from these non-issue issues? Really well! I felt fine the entire time. I think I could have gone a lot faster than I was going, and it wasn't until the very last mile that I started feeling any fatigue. And my shins felt great! Perhaps it's the layer of snow padding my footsteps (although there's been at least one study that found that impact forces are surprisingly higher on softer surfaces than on cement. I'd link to it, but I'm entirely too lazy. Go find it for me and report back), or just Hal's plan paying off. And now that I said that I'm probably going to report back with one billion fractured tibiae (is that really the plural, Merriam-Webster?) in like a week.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Workout: 2 hour hike

I seem to be on a roll as far as "setting out to do one thing but ending up doing something totally different" goes. Today, that involved some bushwhacking and a general feeling of "where the fuck am I?"

I set off this morning with Bailey planning to be out for an hour or so. I'm pretty limited in where I can hike these days because my fancy parking pass expired on January 1, so it's going to be a few paychecks before I'm back at Flattop. For now, it's the free lot for me!

It was snowing very lightly when we set out, setting to tone for a disgustingly beautiful walk.

In case you're wondering, I DID just discover the "sutro" filter on Instagram and I AM kind of obsessed.


I made it to my intended destination a lot quicker than I thought I would, so I decided to keep going until I hit a half hour and then turn around. Well, one thing led to another and suddenly I was on a slightly unfamiliar trail (I've been on it many times but always with someone else, which means I obviously paid no attention to what it's called or where it goes) convinced it was going to loop around at some point. I was slightly concerned about the fact that we seemed to have descended much too far, but I was reasonably certain I knew where it was going so kept truckin'.

This is essentially the same photo as the first

Bailey was blissfully ignorant of the situation. She found another big stick to drag around so she was very pleased with herself.


After an hour or so, I had to admit to myself that the trail I was on probably went all the way down to the lowest parking lot (miles from where I parked), so when I spotted Powerline (see photo above) in the distance, I decided to walk straight towards it. And by "straight towards it" I mean bushwhack. I was slightly embarrassed when some people walking by spotted me and gave me a "you're such an amateur" look, but it worked. I was back on the trail!!

Back on the trail and about a mile lower than I needed to be. Fuck. I'll spare you my internal conversation as I trekked back up (picture lots of @^$&@*$^#^$^%&$#s). Suffice it to say I eventually made it back to the original trail.

I love Hemlock Trail. I feel like a hobbit walking through here.


So the main takeaway from this hike was WHEN IN DOUBT, BRING A MAP.

I am ecstatic to report that the snow is really coming down right now. I'm going to settle in and bliss out for a while (I'm not sure what that will involve-staring outside?).

When in Doubt, Bring a Map

Workout: 2 hour hike

I seem to be on a roll as far as "setting out to do one thing but ending up doing something totally different" goes. Today, that involved some bushwhacking and a general feeling of "where the fuck am I?"

I set off this morning with Bailey planning to be out for an hour or so. I'm pretty limited in where I can hike these days because my fancy parking pass expired on January 1, so it's going to be a few paychecks before I'm back at Flattop. For now, it's the free lot for me!

It was snowing very lightly when we set out, setting to tone for a disgustingly beautiful walk.

In case you're wondering, I DID just discover the "sutro" filter on Instagram and I AM kind of obsessed.


I made it to my intended destination a lot quicker than I thought I would, so I decided to keep going until I hit a half hour and then turn around. Well, one thing led to another and suddenly I was on a slightly unfamiliar trail (I've been on it many times but always with someone else, which means I obviously paid no attention to what it's called or where it goes) convinced it was going to loop around at some point. I was slightly concerned about the fact that we seemed to have descended much too far, but I was reasonably certain I knew where it was going so kept truckin'.

This is essentially the same photo as the first

Bailey was blissfully ignorant of the situation. She found another big stick to drag around so she was very pleased with herself.


After an hour or so, I had to admit to myself that the trail I was on probably went all the way down to the lowest parking lot (miles from where I parked), so when I spotted Powerline (see photo above) in the distance, I decided to walk straight towards it. And by "straight towards it" I mean bushwhack. I was slightly embarrassed when some people walking by spotted me and gave me a "you're such an amateur" look, but it worked. I was back on the trail!!

Back on the trail and about a mile lower than I needed to be. Fuck. I'll spare you my internal conversation as I trekked back up (picture lots of @^$&@*$^#^$^%&$#s). Suffice it to say I eventually made it back to the original trail.

I love Hemlock Trail. I feel like a hobbit walking through here.


So the main takeaway from this hike was WHEN IN DOUBT, BRING A MAP.

I am ecstatic to report that the snow is really coming down right now. I'm going to settle in and bliss out for a while (I'm not sure what that will involve-staring outside?).