February 28, 2009

Hills, trails, and stairs


Yes, San Francisco is known for its hills, but I think it should also be famous--or infamous--for its stairs. I thoroughly enjoyed running from Golden Gate Park, up past Cliff House, through Lands End, and into Sea Cliff. Jess and I ran 7.4 miles up hills, up and down stairs, through luxurious neighborhoods, and, to ensure that our quads got good and sore, back down a few hills.

We had a navigational challenge and decided that rock climbing or ocean swimming were not safe options, and that meant that we needed to backtrack--or uptrack--to get back to Sea Cliff and Lincoln Park. All in all, a fantastic weekend run!

February 27, 2009

Content

Today was a wake up and run day, and the four miler was my fourth weekday run of week! Although the legs were saying, hey, give us a break, I enjoyed my post-run breakfast and am savoring my coffee before propelling myself through the rest of the day...It's the little things, like recovery runs and tasty coffee, that make me oh so content.

February 26, 2009

30,000 feet

About 30,000 feet to think and hope and pray and dream. I look at the clouds and imagine their silver linings or focus on the blue sky. I check how my heart's responding or notice the way my leg kicks out before my foot lands. I also meditate---for the health of my friends and family, small and big, and for peace and balance for the whole earth. If my lungs or muscles hurt, burn, or ache, I tell myself that many people bear deeper pains, and so I pray for them, too. It might just be 5 or 6 miles, but all the steps add up and twenty or thirty or fifty thousand prayers carries us pretty far.

February 24, 2009

Sayonara, sickness

On the one hand, highly protective conventional wisdom does not recommend running while sick with a cold. I'm not so good at listening to conventional wisdom...On the other hand, it was gloriously sunny and warm (at least to my probably mildly feverish self ;O Plus I really needed to hit the re-set button after three nutty deadlines in two days.

Throughout the 4 mile run, I used the power of positive thinking and the sun's healing rays to say auf wiedersehen to the phlegm monster, and, so far, so good!

February 23, 2009

Beyonce says I'm a survivor

No giving up- I refuse to give up during a long run or a short race, a tempo run or an easy run.

No stopping- Running and racing are cyclical, and they are a continuous thread of my life.

I'm going to work harder- I know I can dedicate extra time to build up my mileage and push myself on speedwork because no pain, no gain ;)

I'm going to make it- If I commit to my running goals, I can do it and will do it!!

February 22, 2009

Medium long run

For long runs, I prefer destination runs--Iron Horse Trail, Alameda's shoreline trail, San Francisco (running over the Golden Gate Bridge is legendary), or even North Berkeley (with the bonus of La Farine or Cactus for post-run refueling). But for medium long runs, I tend to stay in the neighborhood because it's more efficient time-wise, and the rigorous hills above Grand Avenue guarantee a good workout. So the seven miler today included a few solid hills. I'd like to add a mid-week 7-9 mile run to my training plan because I know the extra miles can only help to make me a stronger and, yeah, faster runner.

February 20, 2009

Ideation

While running, I sometimes reflect on the velvety clouds or focus on the sounds of birds chirping or the cars flowing by, and today I saw magnolia blossoms reminding me of Tennessee. During the last mile of today's run, I was able to work through some arguments for a paper I'm writing. Some old ideas came back to me--a bit sharper than before. And a few new ideas popped up.

It was a gorgeous day to run--my legs felt awesome, and my brain got a workout, too!

February 19, 2009

Crossing my toes until June

This is the second year in a row that I've entered the New York Marathon lottery. Last year, over 100,000 people entered this race's lottery, so quite a bit of luck is required to get the opportunity to run the 26.2 miles from Staten Island to Central Park :)

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We have received your application for the ING New York City Marathon 2009.

Your entry number is 335792. Please include this number and your name in any correspondence pertaining to the marathon. To check your status, or to update/change personal information, click http://webapps.ingnycmarathon.org/marathonregistration and enter your username and password that you created within the application.

The lottery for U.S. applicants will be held in mid-June, and the international lottery will be held in mid-May. Results will be posted on our website as they become available. We will e-mail accepted entrants and process their fees upon acceptance.

Thank you for your interest in the ING New York City Marathon 2009, and best of luck.

Just four

I'm predicting that today will be a harried day but the four mile run was my time. I really enjoyed seeing a few other runners plus folks walking their dogs and planned a couple dinners for us for the next few days. My body's definitely telling me that it wouldn't mind running some longer runs, and that's great news to me! Now I've got to take advantage of the momentum from my post-workout glow...

February 18, 2009

Daffodils

The daffodils made me do it! Really, the combination of flowers galore (daffodils, California poppies, and purply blooming trees) and blue skies sang to me and told me do some speed play--otherwise known as fartleks.
http://edsphotoblog.com/wp-content/photos/800px/wild_daffodil_flowers_durham_england.jpg
And, yes, fartleks is the weirdest word EVER. Fartleks give you the permission to bust out some speed without being a slave to the track or your watch. It's fun because you choose when to start and stop; you can sprint up to a big tree or down past a stop sign or whatever else strikes your fancy!

February 17, 2009

Yoga plus tea

I decided that a bit of stretching would be an appropriate break from the day's brain twisting writing work! I had to remind myself to breathe, but the yoga (via Comcast On-Demand) definitely woke up my hamstrings and quad and hip muscles.

Now I'm sipping tea and still hearing the rain...

February 16, 2009

Upstream

I told my hubbie that I might melt on today's rainy day run. As our director of household safety & security, he probably should have advised me to bring snorkeling gear! Going up a long and steadily steep uphill, I felt like I was running in a stream (a somewhat similar sensation to our hiking through streams in Denali). Specifically, a stream was flowing down the sidewalk, and I was running upstream, against the current. All around me, I heard the gurgling of water, water, and more--much needed--water.

A positive consequence of the rain and federal holiday---it was very quiet. So quiet that it felt like an east coast snow day, and I imagined parents making french toast and hot chocolate for their kiddos. Meanwhile, I ran and focused on not slipping or sliding!

February 14, 2009

Lovin' it

In honor of Valentine's day, I have to say that I love running. While cupid uses his wings and fires arrows into people's hearts, I use my heart to propel my legs and feet.

I love many things about running--from the silent routine of tying the shoelaces of my running shoes to the crazed feeling of seeing the finish line and hearing cheering. I've read that, since prehistoric people had to run away from their attackers, running is a primal instinct, so I like the natural, primal aspect of running. But, on a deeper level, I love running because I can. As a runner, by definition, I'm mobile. When I ride the bus to school, I see people of all ages and colors and sizes who use wheelchairs and are mobility-challenged. I have family and friends who have faced struggles with their mobility.

I loved my run today because I was able to put one step in front of another.

ps- In honor of Valentine's day, I will also be enjoying savory crepes filled with brie and prosciutto, a fantastic white wine selected by my hubbie, ice cream sundaes, and chocolate truffles handcrafted by my mom!

February 13, 2009

Weather, weather

I've run in humid and hot Tennessee, and the dry heat of the East Bay made trail running challenging last summer. On the other extreme, I ran in a Jersey sleet storm; the ice on the road was treacherous to say the least. Today's Bay Area forecast said we'd be getting some much-needed rain, so I was bracing myself for a rainy morning run.

But after sunrise it was cool and cloudy, so I put on one of my favorite running outfits. My adidas pants and new black long sleeved shirt were gifts from my in-laws (thanks!!), and they're sooooo comfy and make me feel kinda hardcore :) Midway through the run, it got sunny, and, later, I saw a rainbow--yay! At the end of the run, the rain began, so my timing was perfect.

February 12, 2009

Crisp

I woke up feeling a bit mucky and sluggish...Perhaps it was the uber delish chicken burrito that I ate for dinner; Mexican food comas can be hazardous ;) But I went for a 4 mile run, and it was crisp. Not crisp like a granny smith apple, much more like a fuji. Thank goodness it wasn't mushy and mealy like those classic red apples.

My left hamstring felt great till the very last part of the run. It's just a twinge but will take it easy till the pain's gone.

February 10, 2009

Musical running

I usually run without music because iPod earbuds don't fit in my ears properly, and I often enjoy having the quiet thinking time. But today I ran with the shuffle; the tunes DEFINITELY helped me pick up the pace. At the end of the run, the Rubberband Man song was playing:


My hubbie, a man with 'so much rhythm, grace and debonair' (!!) loves this song, and hearing it lifted my spirits. Maybe a purple pant suit would cause me to lose control, too ;)

February 9, 2009

High noon

Don't worry, there wasn't a showdown at the O.K. corral, but I did enjoy a midday run. I feel fortunate that my grad student lifestyle permits me to run in the morning (I especially enjoy a.m. runs with a buddy, followed by coffee plus Arizmendi!) AND in the middle of the day. The roads are a bit quieter, except for FedEx and postal trucks. And, more importantly, it's a divider for the day.

Yes, my morning began with rise and shine and analyze data in Excel. Then there was drafting. And the run, under a fake-looking blue sky, boosted my oxygen levels just enough. Seeing the world zip around me does wonders for me, and I know I can shift gears and tackle the tasks ahead!

February 7, 2009

Running down a unicorn

I confess to waffling on whether or not to list the Boston Marathon on my list of races to run. I definitely have not qualified for Boston and am aware that reaching its qualifying time would be quite a stretch for me. Yet, someday, somehow, I want to run down and up the Boston course and have that race's shirt/jacket/gear with the unicorn emblem.

Part of me wishes I could quit angsting over when's the right time to jump in and commit to qualifying, or attempting to qualify. That would mean shifting gears and listening to Yoda: Do, or do not...There is no try. On the other hand, I'm really, really enjoying running and having a lot of fun trying to become a stronger and better runner. Right now I'm going to keep trying but will definitely stay on the lookout for unicorns ;)

Creature of habit

I'm currently on my third pair of Brooks Adrenaline 8 shoes. First I got fitted for a blue pair at Transports (where I met Olympic marathoner Magda Lewy Boulet). Then I bought a pink pair and wore them out. Now I'm running in another blue pair, and they're SO cushy, yet serious.

They make me want to take care of business. The business of running, that is.

Recovering


Today was an easy recovery run- about 45 minutes with a decent uphill to Piedmont Avenue but that means cruising downhill on the way home.

It was warmer than I thought it would be, and one of my hamstrings felt tighter than it should have. I am grateful for the Bay Area's mild February weather and would have no problem doing some rainy day runs!

The plan is to stick with easy runs for a couple of weeks, and then I'll be adding some intense hillwork to get ready for Bay to Breakers, which I'll be running sober and clothed :)

February 3, 2009

Halfie

Everybody says that distance runners shouldn't go out too fast. I always nodded my head and listened to that advice. And then I had plenty of energy for a kick at the end that was better suited for a rave than a road race.

This time, I probably went out too fast. I relished running in a higher gear, took advantage of the downhill miles in Golden Gate Park (miles 4-6ish), and I definitely felt like I was racing. Yay! Of course, this strategy led to me feeling a bit low on steam on the quite boring Great Highway. But I hung on- sans kick- and set a personal best time for 13.1 miles, 1:51:43! Moral of the story, sometimes it's a good thing to ignore the yabbering and philosophizing about how to do this or that!
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