Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Repeat Request

If I had to pick a recent day to repeat often, I might very well pick yesterday -- even if weekend days were in contention. 


Let me recap a few awesome highlights of yesterday.  There were other good parts, but these are the real banner moments.


First.  I went running with my friends.  Schedule was 8 miles including 2 miles tempo (designated as 15k pace).  I looked up what my 15k pace should be based on my fall marathon goal time and it did not seem particularly achievable for 2 miles, let alone 15k.  Ran 2 miles easy, stopped for water, then the tempo started.  And I KILLED it!  Actually, I shouldn't say that because I actually failed to nail my paces -- I was too fast.  That doesn't really bother me.  Usually on any kind of pace running, I try very hard to be spot on -- going too fast isn't part of the plan.  But who in the heck knows how to nail 15k pace on their first attempt of a training season?  The first mile started off with a (Dallas) uphill -- I glanced at my pace a couple times as I went up it -- 15 seconds too slow, 30 seconds too slow, so I pushed.  I'm not sure I ever nailed the pace on the uphill, but I more than made up for it on the downhill.  I ended mile 1 about 15 seconds faster than my goal.  So I tried to moderate more for mile 2, which was pretty flat, but included a U-turn .1 miles from the end (and there is no speedy way to U-turn).  Mile 2 ended up about 5 seconds faster than goal.  Score!  I can't remember the last time I hit two consecutive miles at that pace.  It definitely didn't feel easy, and I'm not sure how much longer it was sustainable, certainly not 7.3 more miles, but either way, I gave myself a big pat on the back for hitting my paces.  While normally I would prize being spot on over being too fast, since I was so nervous about even hitting this pace in the first place, the fact that I beat it actually makes me happy.  Still not 5k PR shape, but heck, 2 good miles was a great start to the morning!  I took a pretty long water stop after the tempo finished, waiting for my running group to reconsolidate, and then the last 4 miles were easy effort (monitored by HR) but still surprisingly strong, steady, and sustainable. 


Second.  I checked my work email as soon as I got home from my run and realized there was a division meeting scheduled for 10:30 a.m. -- first set at about 9:30 last night.  I guessed at the subject (raises approved (likely) or not approved (unlikely), and I decided I wanted to be there, so I hurried to finish up some work, shower, and pack for my trip(s), and then get to the office.  I got there about 30 seconds after the meeting started and it was very clear from looking around the room -- raises!  Annnnnndddddd... retroactive to June 1!  Annnnnnnndddd ... office location not moving for at least 15 more months!  (As you know, I love having the option of a 3.75 mile each way running commute, so I've been terrified that when our lease was up, I'd end up with a commute from hell that was not only not runnable, but involved lots of highway miles.) 


Third.  The meeting was short.  I stopped into my office afterward to put away my notepad and the divisional president asked if I could stop by his office.  I said I had about 4 minutes, but I correctly guessed the subject -- my salary/bonus -- so I knew I wanted to make time for it.  More good news there.  Top percentage raise in the office!  Eeeee!  That's exciting, especially since I'd mentioned before my overwhelming disappointment in May when someone less senior than me in another group surpassed me in title.  While I am maintaining my current title, I think I likely got the salary increase to the same level as my co-worker who was promoted. 


Fourth.  I got in my car to drive to the airport and turned on the radio.  Some Pit Bull song came on.  And I sang along as loudly as possible while car dancing on my drive to the airport.  I seriously felt like I was on top of the world -- two strong tempo miles and a raise and (essentially) a bonus!!!! 


Fifth.  Upgrade!  Not a long flight, but every bit helps!


Sixth.  Lovely hotel here in Albuquerque, and an hour or two of free time before dinner to take a self-guided Breaking Bad tour.  Last night I went to the "Northeast" sights.  Walt & Skylar's house.  Hank & Marie's house.  The car wash.  Saul's office.  The laundry.  This morning I'm going to head to Jesse Pinkman's house on my run toward the Rio Grande. 


Seventh.  The most fun work dinner I've had not involving my boss ever.  Defense counsel and two other people involved on our side in this case (one of whom was new to me, but who I've interacted with a lot by phone and email).  Too much good Mexican food and lots of cerveca (cervesa?  cerveza?  how do you write beer in Spanish???).  Will make for a slow run this morning! 


So yeah, this is a day that would be in recent contention for my pick for my own personal Groundhog's Day to repeat again, and again, and again.  Love it!  I'm hoping the mojo stays with me for today's mediation, which is my largest active case. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Crazy Idea?

So on my long run yesterday, I got to talking to a guy who is running an ultra this coming weekend.  In San Fran.  Where I'll be this weekend.  And where they also have a full marathon being held.


My schedule calls for 18 miles.  I was struggling to figure out how I would work out the logistics of that.  Water, route, timing, all of it seemed tough in a city that I don't know well. 


The seed was planted in my mind -- what if I did the race?  What if I ran 18 (or even 19) as a training run, and then walked the rest? 


But the race is sold out. 


My friend doing the ultra suggested I bandit the race, but that doesn't seem right since I really want to take advantage of the water stops.  There are charity entries still available, but on a Sunday, I figured it would be hard to get answers about how much I'd have to fork over for one of those.  Buuuuut there are bibs for sale on Craig's List. 


So I think the wheels are in motion.  I think I'm buying a bib from a woman on Craig's List.  She's in the next age group up from me (which will be my age group in less than 6 weeks).  She wants to keep the shirt, but will give me her bib (actually a friend will since she'll be out of the country). 


I'm trying to decide ethically if I can count this toward 50 states.  I think so.  I just have to finish in under 6 hours, which should be okay with about 3 hours of running and 3 hours of walking. 


I can't believe I'm really maybe going to do this.  I don't want to psyche myself out -- while it would technically be doing the marathon, it's really just an 18 mile training run. 


I'm concerned that 8 miles is a very long way to walk.  But I really love the idea of doing this, not missing a week of training, getting to be among runners, buying my own shirt at the expo.


This is definitely crazy. 


The other option is to do the half -- they actually offer the first half of the race as one event (sold out) and the second half as another (not sold out).  And then just add on 5 more miles. 


But I think I'm leaning toward a 6 hour 26 mile morning...


I'm heading out of town tomorrow so I need to decide for certain today.  It's going to be a long week, mediating in New Mexico and then near LA before finally getting up to San Fran.  I think I really want to do this.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Three minutes

For reasons I will never understand, this past weekend was a big local racing weekend.  In mid-July.  Why?  As I was heading to my Sunday race, I heard it was going to be our first day at or over 100.  I can't really complain, usually we hit 100 earlier than this. 


Anyway, my plan for the weekend was to do a slow and easy 5k on Saturday, and then push for a triple negative split at a 15k on Sunday. 


Planning was not my strength. 


Saturday morning I ran a very short warm-up and then hung out with friends.  Definitely not planning to race.  I ran my first mile at a fairly comfortable pace, pushing just a bit just so I could get out of some of the crowd.  But then I picked it up a bit through the U-turn.  And passed a friend shortly thereafter.  I thought maybe I'd run hard for to have a solid second mile time.  And then somehow I kept going.  My third mile was my fastest, more than 30 seconds off my first mile. 

It didn't feel great, but it also wasn't death.


I checked my time and realized I was almost exactly 3 minutes off my 5k PR.  That's just one minute per mile.  And that was with a not-death-effort first mile.  Wow.  Does this mean it's feasible to 5k PR still?  I mean, I feel like given that first mile, I easily could have shaved 30 seconds.  And take away temps in the 80s and sun, and there's another 30-60 seconds.  And lose ten pounds, there's another 30 seconds.  And work my @ss off, there's another minute? 


That's insanely exciting!! 


Unfortunately, running faster than planned on Saturday did not bode well for my results on Sunday. 


I managed an easy first 5k, and I picked it up for the second 5k.  But unfortunately, mile 6 was the mile of the day.  After that, the wheels came off, though just mildly in reality -- it felt like they were coming way off.  It took so much effort not to just walk.  One of my friends was supposed to double back and run me in, and when I hit mile 9, I was so pissed off that he hadn't come back yet that I almost decided to walk until I ran into him.  Thankfully I didn't because he was just standing around at the finish line, waiting.  He said he was catching his breath and about to head out to get me, but I have my doubts.  Either way, I managed to fight off the walking and that meant I managed a negative split, which I am happy about, but unfortunately, it wasn't the triple negative split that I wanted, trying to have each of the 5ks be faster than the last. 


Technically, I think my splits went like this:


1st 5k:  moderate pace
2d 5k:  one minute and 10 seconds faster than 1st 5k
3d 5k:  30 seconds faster than 1st 5k


So not horrible, but not what I wanted.  Definitely could have been worse!


The rest of the weekend consisted of shopping for more new wheels for the husband.  In addition to the new car we finally got a couple weeks ago, he also got a bike.  Four wheels just wasn't enough...


Sunday was his first ride and it was a mess -- he overestimated his ability, and underestimated the temperature, the distance, and the amount of water he'd need.  He rode to the finish line of my 15k race and found a bunch of my friends, but never found me.  I stayed for a beer after the race and still beat him home.  Yow.  But he's still excited about it. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Prepared Foods

No substance to this post, but it's on my mind.  I read something once to the effect "you know you've made it when you don't have to think twice about adding guac, despite the extra charge."  Along the themes of living large, I've come to realize that sometimes buying prepared foods kicks butt. 


I'm coming up with a rough order of preference for prepared foods.


1.  Diced onions
2.  Sliced mango
3.  Diced butternut squash


I don't count "triple washed" salad greens as being prepared, since I don't trust the washing.  But all that dicing and slicing listed above, huge help.  Onions make me cry.  Mangos are slippery $hits.  Butternut squash is just rock solid, hard to peel, and hard to dice. 


I'm lucky that our division of labor means I only have to make a grocery list and then my husband does the shopping, but it means that I don't even really know what else is available in terms of short-cut prepared foods. 


What else should I add to the list that's a big time-saver?