Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Quitter. (Adventures in workouts.)

Back to the regularly scheduled programming.  Thanks for indulging me in talking about the Newtown tragedy.  I know I'm no Anderson Cooper (who is the new love of my life due to his late twitter exchange), but sometimes it's really nice to be able to talk about other things on this blog.  So yeah, you rock.

No one likes a quitter.  Especially me.  Especially when I'm the quitter.  That really sucks.

Like this morning, for example:

Because I'm trying to get into good half marathon shape, I've been trying to do some long intervals and tempos.  They've occurred mostly on the treadmill because I am lazy and don't like being bothered with setting my own pace.  That, and I think I can push myself harder there than on a road by myself.

So a 5 miler at 7:08 was scheduled this morning.  Except I figured I'd go at 7:12 because I'm still easing back into this "speed thing".

I was a little nervous about this run because I've been quitting tempos halfway through since this summer.  And everyone knows that once you start quitting things, it's hard to stop.  This would be a challenge given my current speed ability.

I ate some mango chunks and told myself "you won't quit this workout, you'll stick it through".  "Yes, I got this."  I stepped out the door to warm up into the 40 degree LA weather which if you didn't know, feels like -20 degrees to us.   I got back and stepped on the treadmill.  "You won't quit this time", I told myself.

I put the treadmill at 1.0% incline and 8.3 mph.  The first mile was easy.  I blasted some old techno song.  Crystal Castles I think.  Around two miles in, doubt started creeping into my mind again.  "How the hell am I going to run for three more miles?".

"I really feel tired".  "If I feel this tired now, how will I feel 15 minutes from now?"

And then that same stupid voice started coming into my head.  Like one of those cartoon devil versus angel over my shoulder.  "Just hit the stop button".  "You're tired".



And damnit, 2.75 miles into this stupid tempo run, I looked down at the stop button...tried to stop myself for a minute...but then as I have many times lately, I hit it.  The treadmill slowed down and within a couple seconds I was instantly pissed at myself.  How the hell am I going to improve if I just keep quitting these workouts?  This keeps happening.  

Then the cartoon angel (ok, more like a cartoon personal trainer) came back into the picture.  "Come on, Margot.  The least you can do is try to finish the tempo".

I decided to get right back on the treadmill and go another two miles (cutting off one quarter).  I cranked the inclined down to 0% which I guess is cheating but whatever, I need all the help I can get.

Somehow, the tempo didn't seem to mentally hard when I could think of it as two miles left without already having mileage down.  That, and the 60 second break helped.

I finished the two miles at 7:12 and got off the treadmill, still annoyed with myself.  And very sweaty.  But at least kind of happy that I tried to finish the workout.

There is no inspirational end to this blog post, because it hasn't happened yet.  How do you stick it out?  I've thought of some ideas...

1) Allow myself to take a 60 second breather during one more tempo, then cut it down to 45 seconds, then 30, and then it's so small I must be able to just keep going right?

2) Adjust the treadmill speed up and down every half mile to avoid boredom and get a sense of achievement every 3-4 minutes.

3) Get someone in there to workout with me.  I don't know about you, but I workout way better when there is someone there with me.  Essentially, I don't want them to think I'm a total loser and that is motivational enough.

4) Chop stop button off and build cage around treadmill so it is impossible to escape.

How do you get yourself to complete workouts?  Have you ever had the same dumb issue as me where you just stop because you don't feel like running any more? And it's easy to do because you're in a pattern of quitting?

I gotta find a way out of this pattern.  Or in the words of Daniel Bedingfield, I gotta get through this. 

 (Dance Party Time)

Monday, December 17, 2012

A small thought on Newtown

This is a bit of a deviation of how I normally blog, but how are you guys doing in the wake of the Newtown tragedy?

It's unimaginable, isn't it? 

I can't imagine what the families of children at Sandy Hook are going through.  When I was driving home from the grocery store last night, the services were being broadcasted on NPR, and I started crying just listening to them.  Of course, I ran into several neighbors on the way home and I'm pretty sure now they are sure I'm crazy after they've seen me walking up with about six grocery bags, all teary eyed.

There have been a ton of comments about gun control, school safety, and mental health awareness.  I don't know enough about these issues beyond knowing that what we're currently doing is probably not the best. 

This blog is relatively small, but I wanted to write this anyways because who knows if someone from the media reads it:

I wish the major media channels would make a pact that the next time this happens (because unfortunately, it probably will) to not broadcast the name or pictures of the shooter.  Sure, I guess people will find out from other sources, but 1) I don't want to see that asshole  2) I am tired of giving these people their 15 minutes of fame and 3) Who knows if this could help prevent others from wanting to do a mass shooting, but maybe it could.

What do you think? (*edited to add based on Kelly's comment - Is it possible to do this but still address the mental health issues or other factors that contributed to the tragedy?)

I hope you are all (especially those of you with children) are doing ok.  

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Run Faster, Suck Less, Write More Yelp Reviews

Yelp, Internet Law, and other things I don't understand. 
Have you guys heard of the lady being sued for her Yelp review?  Interesting stuff.  I don't know anything about internet law really (beyond some of the stuff I do for work), but I think we're definitely still in the Wild West period of being on the internet.  The world is still feeling out what's allowed and legal, etc.   

I'm usually the last person to advocate for regulations like restricting what you can say on the internet, but I do think it's very easy to destroy the reputation of a business or person online based on untrue statements.   But where is the line between providing an opinion and damaging something/someone based on untrue claims? 

If you're a lawyer, let me know what you think?  Or even if you're not.



New Shoes New (s)Hoes 

On a totally different note, I am loving the new Mizuno Inspire (9th edition).  I've had it for about three weeks.

They've updated the feel of the shoe (it almost feels like a lightweight trainer) and increased the cushioning in the forefoot.  It's also quite a bit lighter.  I feel like this shoe might appeal to people who aren't as die-hard about Mizunos as I am, while not alienating their base.   I know I'm biased about the brand, but I think it's a great update and wanted to pass it on if you're looking for a stability trainer.  

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The Plan to Suck Less and Speed Up

I decided to start getting more serious about running about two years ago.   I ramped up by doing some speedwork and trying to get ready for the Boston Marathon.  I ran a 3:35 which I was happy with based on the amount of preparation. 

That fall, I increased mileage to around 40-45 miles a week, did speedwork three times a week and started road biking.  I set pretty the majority of my PRs during that time and was feeling pretty good. 

Then I started looking at the mileage that other people ran.  And it was way more than what I did.  So when I trained for Eugene, I tried increasing the intensity of the speedwork and mileage.  I was freaking exhausted.  I ran a minor PR, but fell short of my expectations.  And this summer and fall, I increased mileage quite a bit (I think I peaked around 60 miles a week) but stopped doing much speedwork.  And I am noticeably slower. 

Higher mileage just doesn't seem to work for me.  Also, I don't like it and find it mentally exhausting.  Maybe those are related?   There are only so many episodes of This American Life one can listen to on a long run...

It also makes me absurdly hungry all the time, so I struggle not to gain weight when running a lot.

So it's time to go back to how I trained in Fall 2011.  This means running about five times a week, biking twice, and running the hell out of any speedwork / tempo sessions.  I'm going to try to combine workouts from Running Planet and RLRF again.  Also, it's time to do minor weight training.  It's embarrassing how much my upper body gets sore in races.   Let me know if there's a good resource online about weight training for runners.

Next race is the Surf City Half.  Unless a small miracle occurs, I won't be in PR shape by then, but hopefully I'll be close.  

What makes you a better runner?  Increased miles?  More Speed-work?  Form drills?  Reduced cookie consumption?  Do tell...

Monday, December 3, 2012

California International Marathon Recap (CIM)

I don't know how to start this recap because I don't really know what to think about this race. 

This fall has been weird.  I've run a lot of miles with little focus.  It's been uninspiring to say the least, and bad for my general running ability.   I've learned a lot of about what doesn't work for me.  (running every day, long runs, low intensity stuff, etc.)

When the NYC marathon was cancelled I decided to jump into the California International Marathon that was taking place a month later.   I figured, why not?  Anthony has family there, I knew friends that were running it, and I may as well put all those long runs to good use, right? 

So here it is.  If you read other running blogs, you probably know the weather sucked, but damn straight I'm going to complain about it too :).

California International Marathon

The night before CIM I could barely sleep. It was a combination of nerves and of the wind whipping around the house.  It was loud!  I woke up and Anthony drove me out to Folsom where the race was starting.  I think we both felt pretty crappy, and I took a Tylenol.  Usually I have no problems eating before a marathon (or really any time!), but the most I could take down was a Luna Bar and half of an Espresso Gel. 

Anthony dropped me off into the abyss and I took a quick shuttle to the start.  Everyone was wearing trash bags and hair nets.  I huddled under a gas station awning with hundreds of people marathoners as the wind blew sideways into us.
"This is f'ing crazy".  I thought.  "We are all completely nuts".  I probably would have just not run, but I had already inconvenienced Anthony enough by asking him to spend the weekend in Sacramento, having him use his points to get me a ticket up there, been super lame all weekend, etc. that there was no way I could not run no matter how bad the weather was.

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After a long time of trying to avoid the rain, it was about time to start and I moved to the 3:40 pacer.  I figured running a 3:40 in my shape and in this weather would be good enough.  I ran into Madison, Sarah, and Kristina there too! The race started and I instantly lost Sarah.  About a mile in, I purposely fell off Kristina as well as I knew that I wouldn't be able to hang with her that day. 

I just tried to duck behind people in the 3:40 group and not get blown away.  The first few miles were pretty uneventful as much as torrential rain and wind is uneventful.  A giant branch feel around mile 4 and everyone in that area of the race said "Woooooaaa" at once.  Fun stuff. 

The only major wind issue I had is that my hat blew off at some point and I had to go back and get it, nearly killing about a billion people on my way to get it.  Sorry about that - I did not consider the logistics at the time, only that I couldn't survive the race without a hat.  

From the glorious XLMIC.  What is this guy still doing in a trash bag?

Throughout miles 1-10, I pretty much convinced myself that the only way to survive this race would be to stay with the pace group.  I also told myself not to expect too much of myself on this one. 

I went through the half at about 1:48 and started having dreams of negative splitting.  I thought, maybe this isn't so bad!  Maybe you're not in bad shape. 

I told myself that miles 13 - 20 would be called "The Lonely Ones".  (This is a dumb rendition of what Sweaty Kid called them in a blog post when she killed the Philly marathon. Check it out.)

Thinking about these miles as being lonely actually helped me to get through them.  So much that I turned to the pacer guy next to me around mile 15 and said "You know...these miles are the lonely ones.".  He gave me a confused smile and told me that I wasn't alone. 

Also from XLMIC.  In the thick of "The Lonely Ones".

I still felt somewhat confident around mile 19.  I kept having fantasies of breaking off from the pace group and running a ridiculous negative split.  I fantasized about being able to tell people I had a great negative split performance...and did absolutely nothing about it. 

In fact, I completely dropped off the pace group at mile 21.  I guess I hit the wall?  I definitely was eating less on this marathon than on others that I've run.  What really gets me is that there was no excuse for dropping off.  I was tired, sure, but the truth of the matter was that in that moment, I just didn't care. 

I just wanted to be done.  I'm really disappointed in myself for this because I want to walk out of every race feeling like I've given it all that I had.  I mean...what the hell was the point of running for three hours in the rain to phone it in for the last 5 miles? 

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I'm pretty sure at least 40 women passed me during the last 3 miles or so and I didn't want to chase any of them.   Lame.

I swore to myself that I would never run a marathon again unless I was properly trained and prepared to run fast and with heart.   I still stand by that.

The bright spot?  Right before the finish, I saw Paige, Aron, and XLMIC (and maybe others??) and Mason cheering.   You guys are amazing for standing in that mess. 

AMAZING. 

As I turned the corning to finish, one last woman came to pass me and with 100 meters left, for the first time I got some fight.  I raced her in and she raced back and that was kind of a fun way to end.  Because I'm sure it mattered whether I was the 319th or 320th women! 

So my time was a 3:41 or a 3:42.  It says it's a 3:42 on the website with unofficial results, but it also records my gun time as my chip time, and I'm pretty sure I wasn't standing at the starting line with the elites.   And yes, I will try to claim that extra minute even if my time was nearly a PW. 

Afterthoughts

So that kind of sucked.  But I'm glad I did it.  I felt completely miserable afterwards for hours which I think was from being out in the rain in wet clothes for hours.   But it's all good now - the only thing I really have to show from the event are a few giant chafing cuts on my boobs.  Hot. 

It's hard for me to have a ton of emotion one way or another for this marathon, but it was an interesting experience to run a long race in bad weather.  And I am infinitely thankful for all the volunteers and people who came out to cheer.  And those of you who PR'd or came close to PR'ing at CIM?  You are amazing.  Those of you who ran your first marathon at CIM?  Equally amazing.

As for me?  It's time to find a real training plan, focus on my training, and try to improve.  No more marathons for a while as well.   It's time to change things up and get some speed.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Adventures in Neighbors and Marathons.


A couple things I want to get out of the way before the main post that has absolutely nothing to do with running.  Or really anything.  So sorry if you're bored to tears. 

1) By a couple twists of fate (mainly being able to get a random bib and having easy access to Sacramento), I'm running CIM.  So is 50% of the rest of the running blogger community!  I don't know if I'm excited or not, but it's happening ready or not.  After CIM, I want to focus on either the 5k or the half.  Time to try to PR in shorter stuff.  If possible.  If you're up at CIM let me know so we can say hi or look for each other!

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 2) Compex has a 20% off code for their machines.  I know these things aren't cheap, if I do think it's pretty sweet if you're in the market.
Code = TU20

3) It's past Thanksgiving, but I wanted to say thank you for reading my blog.  It's very fun to be able to have a voice and even better to be able to meet people through the blog.  I know there are a billion other blogs to read and you are busy.  So thank you.  

Main Post

I live in an apartment complex that is poorly constructed.  It's probably about the same quality as 90% of the thin-walled, made-for-10-years-of-use apartments throughout west LA.

Which means I can hear almost every move my neighbors make.   And they can probably hear me too.  This was fine until about a month ago.  A song here, an explosion from a movie there, what sounds like a giant dog running around the floor...sure, why not.    Comes with living in an apartment, right?

But about a month ago, something changed.  "Never-sleeping-dudebro" moved into the complex.   I don't really know about the comings and goings of my neighbors but this guy has made his presence known morning, noon, and night.  I feel like I know him better than I should based on his blasted musical selections of Sublime, Third Eye Blind, and The Foo Fighters.

AT 7 AM!!!

It's like he's partying like it's 1997 and there's no stopping him.

"Bump.  Bum. Bum."  is pretty much what I hear when getting ready for work, making dinner, and getting ready for bed.

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 A few days ago, I decided I'd had it.  I asked Anthony about it and he gave the typical chill dude response of "Eh.  I usually don't say anything because then if I'm loud they won't say anything about me."

And...

"If it really bothers you just go ask him to turn it down."

Too easy.  So I did nothing.  Then I fumed a few more days and got up the courage to knock on the wall we share.  No dice - same noise.

Yesterday night I finally got the courage to walk down the hall and ask dudebroneversleeps to turn down his speakers.   I knocked on the door next to me, and after a couple minutes a confused looking old guy answered the door and said "May I help you?".

There was no music.  Clearly this wasn't the right apartment.  I explained that I hear loud music 12 hours a day every day and that I had thought it was him.

"Yeah I hear that too!  I've filed a couple complaints and nothing!  I think it's the guy above us."

Now I was on a mission.  I thanked the old dude and ran up the stairs.  I could hear music blasting from this apartment.  I had found my culprit.

All of a sudden I got scared.  What if this guy is a serial killer and he plays loud music to lure people to his apartment to kill them?  After all, what kind of weirdo needs 120 decibels at all times and doesn't respond to complaints?  Visions of a Dexter-like episode went through my head and I stepped away from the door.

"Well at least that old guy from downstairs knows I'm here if I get killed.  They'll track this guy down in a minute if I go missing", I thought.  

I knocked on the door.  ....A dog growled and the music turned off.  My life flashed before my eyes.

"Shit he's got a giant monster dog too!",  I thought.  "Maybe first the dog attacks and then he does!". 

And then...a small, 23 year old, Mark Zuckerberg look-alike type dude holding a cute 10 pound dog opened the door.  There was a giant lit Christmas tree in the background.  Not what I was expecting at all!

"Hi?  Uh I'm Margot.   I live downstairs.  Uh...your music is a little loud.  Would you mind not playing it early in the morning or late at night?"

He looked embarrassed.  "Yeah definitely!  I had no idea people could hear it.   Sorry about that!".

Wow.  Too easy.  

I said thank you and goodnight and went back to my apartment.   It was blissfully quiet.  I sat back down on the couch and put up my feet.   And contemplated how I made that much harder than it needed to be.  Maybe it's just tough to talk to strangers, even if they are my neighbors.  But it worked out ok.  I guess I should meet the rest of my neighbors too.  You never know when you'll need a cup of sugar, right?

This place is gonna be all hella Mayberry.

Well maybe not, but at least it might be quieter.
  

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ragnar Las Vegas Recap

So....I ran the Ragnar Las Vegas Ultra last week with some friends.  And it's about time to recap it. 

I'm going to focus the most on my legs, because these girls (linked below) have already written awesome (or are in the process of writing) recaps of their own. 

Presenting Undecided 2: 
Emily - Sweat Once A Day
Sarah - Skinny Runner (Although sometimes I forget her name isn't just SR!)
Sarah - Once Upon A Lime
Kristina - The Blogless Wonder
Lauren - Health on the Run






The experience was awesome, beautiful and painful all at once.    And I cannot freaking wait to do another.   

I'm gonna have to face it I'm addicted to relays.

(Disclaimer.  All these photos are stolen from my much more diligent teammates photo dump.  You make me want to be a better blogger, y'all!  Thanks!)

The whole thing started with a long drive up to Vegas.  If you've seen my car, you know it's a small miracle it even made it.  By hour three into the drive, I was saved by caffeine in the form of a giant bottle of Mocha Frappuccino from the local truck stop.  I usually try to avoid those things because they are like 300 calories for three gulps, but I figured, F it, I'm running 31 miles tomorrow I think it'll be just fine.

I picked up Em at the airport and after making about 5 wrong turns, I finally got us to the hotel where the girls were staying and we fell asleep in 5 minutes flat.  The next day, we got the van, decorated it with some #undecided2 hashtags and went on our way.  

 Who knew the start was at a ski resort?  Also who knew there was actually snow in Las Vegas?


Not I, friends.

After a safety meeting and a massive amount of peanut butter consumption, we were off!  Emily was our number 1 leg and dude that girl killed her leg.

In fact, she went so fast (something like 12 minutes at a 6 flat pace?), I was totally counting on more time before my first leg (I was #2 runner).


 But before I knew it, Emily came charging down the hill and it was go time.  It is hard to imagine faster or better conditions than the ones I experienced in the first half of my leg.  It was ridiculously downhill (1800ft drop or so?), cool weather, and I am positive there was a tailwind as well.

Which is why I had a nice fake 10k PR during that time.  Looking down at my Garmin, mile after mile clicked off like it was an easy run in the 6:30 - 6:40 range.  I kept thinking "This is what Kara Goucher must feel like ALL the time!". 

The only problem was the peanut butter sloshing around in my stomach, so I also spent the first part of my leg deathly afraid I would get a terrible cramp.

"Breathe deep...stand up straight...arms over your head...".  Uh yeah.

I came to the first exchange and I felt amazing.  And then I was in for a rude awakening.  I turned onto a highway into a crazy headwind and saw my awesome Garmin stats go to nearly an 8 minute pace for the second half.  It was so barren, and there were no runners around.  I entertained myself by counting these white posts that lined the highway.  There are about 13.5 to each mile, if you were wondering.  Just when I was about to throw myself into the path of a charging buffalo, I saw the "one mile left" marker and handed off to the unstoppable SR.

She took off into the wind and went off to kill her miles as I jumped into the van and tried to get out of my sweaty cold clothes as quickly as possible.  

I think I finished this 11.2 mile leg in around a 7:20 average. 

Leg 2

After my first leg, I pretty much felt like crap.  The wind had taken a lot out of me, and I spent the next couple hours either huddled in the van, or about to pass out at a Subway from a lack of sugar  (or something?  I felt much better after drinking some Sierra Mist).   SR and SarahOual came in from their challenging but tough legs, and Emily was up again much sooner than I wanted her to be.

I was pretty worried about how the rest of the legs would go given how much the first leg had taken out of me.

Luckily I had these wonderful people to cheer me up and remind me that all I needed to do is just run my own race. 


So for the 11.6 or so miles coming up, I decided I would just try to relax.  It was around 11 PM or so when poor Emily came up to the handoff.  She'd climbed a billion feet up so that I could have a nice and flat leg.  Thanks for that, Emily!

As I ran off, it took me almost a mile to even get loose.  The stiffness from the last leg coupled with the cold made it hard to run at first.   The miles ticked by quickly, and I felt really peaceful.   There were a bunch of "wild donkey" crossing signs which were really awesome.    It even started to snow a little bit!  I thought "Man.  How lucky am I to be running in the middle of Nevada in the middle of the night with snow coming down?"   Soon enough, it was time to hand off, and I saw SR in the distance.  "You're gonna love this leg" I yelled and handed off to her as she took off into the night.

I think night legs are my favourite of relay legs.  I know this is not everyone's dream weekend night, but for me, it was.   Of course, I went super slow (for my expectations).   I think my average pace for this 11.5 or so leg was somewhere around 8:20 to 8:30. Don't call all at once, Olympics.

 Leg 3

The next hours after my leg are kind of a blur.  I Compexed twice, changed, and tried to get a few minutes of sleep.  Brian and Lee our saintly drivers listened to a lot of Barenaked Ladies and Tom Petty.

I was lucky in my legs in that the timing was great.  Leg three wasn't supposed to go until around 8 AM which gave me the luxury of not having to run in the middle of the night like this girl and this girl and this girl.

I was also oddly not hungry at all throughout so I was drinking a lot of sugary drinks just to get calories and liquid.  My dentist will thank me later, I'm sure.

Lauren finished up our second rotation as the sun came up, and it was time for all of us to start our third legs.  I was nervous, but relieved that I only had 8 miles to go.  Emily took off for her last leg, and I got ready like Desi.


By around 9 AM or so, it was my turn again.  I took off and couldn't get much faster than an 8:30 pace or so....DOWNHILL.  Crazy.    My legs were gone and it hurt to move them.

I told myself to focus and that the first exchange was only 3.5 miles in.  That's like nothing right?  I also was blasting Macklemore (one of his songs about battling drug addiction-I forget the title) and kept thinking "Dude however much you're hurting right now right now, it's nothing compared to what he had to go through."   I'm not an overly dramatic runner at all...

I got to the 3.5 mile mark and the exchange was nowhere in sight.  In my super tired state I started to semi-panic.  I finally saw the exchange point a mile further.  As I passed my cheering teammates I yelled something crazy like "THIS NEXT EXCHANGE BETTER NOT BE A MILE TOO LONG!"

(Turns out, I got the exchanges distances totally wrong.  Blame the lack of sleep please?)

 I felt demoralized and kept thinking things like "What if the next exchange is a mile long too?"  And then I'd think "Screw you, Margot, if it's a mile long you'll run that extra mile and you'll learn to like it".

I turned onto a bike path and tried to push through the final couple miles.  What felt like a 7 minute pace was more like a 9:30.  I saw the final exchange and my teammates and did one last handoff to SR.   And she took off and killed it like the iron-legged girl she is. 

Then I proceeded to not be able to walk normally for the rest of the day.    I have no idea what my pace was for this leg and that's probably a good thing. 

Afterward and Thoughts

SarahOual, Kristina, and Lauren finished up really well.  I want to give them an extra shoutout.  Sarah ran uphill for pretty much ALL of her legs, Kristina had a 17 mile third leg (good lord), and Lauren was the perfect anchor.  Going last is tough in any relay and in an ultra I think it's even harder.  And she still killed it.  Actually...she ran so well, we totally missed her finish.


Sorry Lauren.  Although...I'm kind of glad that if we were going to miss an exchange, at least you don't lose any time if you miss the last one!


Done.

25:58 (7:53 overall pace).  
1st Ultra.  1st Women's team.  10th Overall.

Final Thoughts:

A major thank you to ProCompression and Compex as well as our drivers Brian and Lee.

Also a thank you to the other girls who had way harder legs than I did.  There is a major difference between going uphill and going downhill, and I appreciate that.   This relay was tough for me, but I didn't find myself questioning my sanity or swearing to never do a relay again, so it's safe to say, I had things pretty easy.   

And a thank you to the Nevada landscape.  It is much more rugged and much more beautiful than I imagined. 

To all of you - In the wise words of Miley Cyrus:  "I can't wait to see you again." 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ragnar Vegas Baby (teaser style)

WE DID IT!!!! 


Sorry for the corny picture text ;-).  As you may know, our team is hilariously named Undecided2 since we forgot to pick a name in time.

Ragnar Las Vegas.  1st place women's division, 2nd place ultra (although we are thinking maybe were really first??), 11th place overall, and 1st place in having the most fun and awesome team ever.  D'awwww. 

Our time was 25:58.07.  Major props to our speedy anchor Lauren for getting us through under 26 hours! 

This last weekend, I have become even more convinced at how fun ultra relays are.   The race recap is coming soon, but here are a couple thoughts. 

1) It's crazy how much my body breaks down during an ultra relay.  By the end of my third leg, I was struggling to pull a 9:00 pace.  The pictures below are from exchange 1 of Sarah and me playing around practising handoffs (left) and exchange for leg 3 just trying to stand up and not die. 

(Do you like my Brooks-Hanson's jersey? I'm pretty sure it made me much faster)



2)  You can't do it alone.   Well maybe you can, but I can't.  We had the help of two absolutely SAINTLY drivers, Lee and Brian and of two sponsors, ProCompression and Compex.  


I probably electrostimed my legs about 5 times in the van over the course of the relay.   And Brian, Oual's husband has now driven our van TWICE (he was our driver for So. Cal Ultra as well!).  Wow.  If that isn't love, I don't know what is.

3)  Loving my team.


I am so lucky to have been able to run with such great girls.  I was especially happy to get to know Lauren better since I'd only met her briefly in the past.  And now that I'm in LA, I miss my OC and OC adoptee (ahem, Emily) friends more than ever. 

And I'm even more lucky that my teammates allowed me to steal their pictures for this post.  

More to come soon....

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Mizuno Contest Winners!


Hi all and happy Saturday night.  I am having a wild one sitting here blogging.

I have finally sorted through all the entries and can announce the winners of the Mizuno Mezamashii project.  The ten winners are listed below.   Sorry it took me so long.   Many of the comments never showed up in post, but they went through the blogger interface.

Please contact me within a week at (thefasterbunny@gmail.com) if you won!  Congrats and I wish there were even more contest winners :).

1) Lynn - "Must meet marvelous Mizunos!!!!" (http://www.blogger.com/profile/05666513572770081284)

2) Managing Meagan - "I tweeted you and @mizunorunning!" (of http://managing-meagan.blogspot.com/)

3) Jen - "Would love to win a pair of Mizunos!!!" (of http://hellofitnesswemeetagain.blogspot.com/)

4) The Skipping Pixie - "GAHHHHHH!  I must WIN! ;)" (http://theskippingpixie.blogspot.com/)

5) Leslie - "I'd love to win" - Posted October 22, 2012 9:34 AM 

6) Christina - "I'm loving fall running because it's not nearly as humid in Florida! Next week, I will be loving Tennessee fall running where I'll see the beautiful leaves! Oh happy fall! "  (of http://chrisylouwho.blogspot.com/)

7) Stephanie - "The best thing about running in the fall is the running capris!  I run so much faster in compression capris / tights than I do in shorts and running skirts.  Don't ask me to explain it."  (blogger profile http://www.blogger.com/profile/01004054447961768113)

8) themcdowells - "I figure the odds are that one of these days I will HAVE to win one of these things! " (http://mcdowellboys.blogspot.com/)

9) Hilary @ Peanut Butter Spoonfuls - "OMG me me me! I will promise to give them a wonderful home full of Mizuno big brothers! " (of http://www.peanutbutterspoonfuls.com/)

10) MargieD - "Dying to get my feet in some wave riders or precisions! "

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

On the fly decisions

Two posts in a day.  Which is probably 1.75 posts too many.

But I would like to acknowledge and apologize to those who I offended in the last post. 

This morning, I thought writing about the NYC marathon would be an interesting topic because it seemed like such a hot button issue in the running community.  I thought it would make for a post that would generate discussion.

But in many ways my words came off as insensitive and uninformed.  It was not my intention to hurt anyone, but I clearly did.

Something I'm still learning is that this blog is a public forum and that expressing off the cuff ideas can be irresponsible.   And sometimes, I just have too big of a mouth.   Often actually :).

In the words of Anthony:  "It's probably better to stay away from disasters unless it is to acknowledge it was terrible."  Word.

So.  Please accept my apology. 

Why the Show Could Go On

I suspect this post may not be one of my more popular ones.  And I'm sorry, I still haven't gone through all the contest entries.  I'll try to announce by the end of the week.  

Unless you've been hiding in a bear cave for the past week, you know about the giant storm that hit the east coast.  You've seen pictures of the destruction, and you've possibly even seen footage of the first bi-partisan event in years (Chris Christie saying Obama has done a good job responding.  Whoa.).  And if you're a runner, you've probably seen an article speculating whether the New York City marathon will go on. 

There are different camps on this, with some saying that it's ridiculous to put on a marathon during this time, and others saying that the show must go on.

I believe that while there should be no major safety compromises in putting on the New York City Marathon (and I certainly don't approve of people badgering NYRR during the storm), if it at all possible, the show should go on.

Here's why:

Diverted Resources:  The most common argument I've seen is that the money of the entry fees and food should be diverted to people in need from the disaster.  NYRR isn't FEMA, and whether we approve of this use or not, using the entrance money for something else would be a gross mismanagement of funds.   Our federal government uses taxes for disaster relief, which I completely approve of, but they can't seize money from NYRR.


Personnel.  There has also been the argument that police officers, firemen, etc. should be doing more important things on marathon morning.  My understanding is that the extra personnel used for events like the NYC marathon was paid for by event entrants as well and is on top of the normal level of service.  Like...on marathon morning in any city, it's not like the rest of the city goes without a police force or firemen.  There's still the argument that the extra personnel should be put on disaster relief, which I agree with should the situation still be awful come Sunday morning.   I don't think anyone is saying that NYRR should pull firemen off a burning house  But if those most problems aren't addressed by this Sunday, the disaster relief program has major problems.   I believe in New York's ability to get people on their feet by then.

Additionally, I'd argue the same thing with the volunteers.  While there may be a small amount of people who would volunteer to clean up the streets if there were no marathon, I'd argue that most of the volunteers specifically wanted to be part of the marathon, not just a volunteer effort.  And just like NYRR's funds, people's free time can't be automatically diverted somewhere else.  
 
Personal Investment:  I have seen the argument that it is ridiculous to inconvenience those affected by the storm so that people can parade around New York looking for personal bests.   This minimizes the sacrifices (financial and personal) that many have taken to get to the marathon.  While my own personal investment is pretty small (my brother lives in New York so it's just the cost of the entry fee and plane ticket), for those who have spent thousands and planned for months trying to get to NYC.  For them it IS a big deal.   Not as big of a deal as a burning house, but it's ok to care.

Comparison:  This isn't 9-11.  Or even Katrina. This may be the point that may make me sound like the biggest jerk.  But I have heard comparisons in the NYC marathon debate to the time after 9-11 when baseball was trying to figure out how to change their schedule.    This is not to minimize the despair of the people who have lost loved ones or had property damage in this disaster, but to compare Sandy to 9-11 or even Katrina is kind of awful, in my opinion.  They are not the same and thus the aftermath should be considered differently.

Cash Money:  I hate to say it, but there is a ton of money that comes into New York for the New York City Marathon.  I am sure the city doesn't want to miss out on it (as is completely justified), and I'm guessing most small businesses will be happy to get the business of the tourists in town.  Also, cancelling or moving the New York City Marathon would surely have crazy financial consequences for NYRR.    And it wants to survive, just like any other business.  Can't blame them for that. 

The Triumph:  I think it would be cool for New York to show the world how quickly they can come back from Sandy.  If they can do it there, they can do it anywhere :).  

So...what do you think?  I truly don't mean to offend anyone by this post, but it is how I feel right now.   Educate me if you think I'm wrong! 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Oh yeah I'm running NYC

First of all, thank you for all the entries into the Mizuno contest.  I really had no idea so many people would enter!  Crazy. 

The contest ends tonight (midnight PST) but it might take me some time to sift through all the entries and announce the winners.

Also, if you're on the east coast I hope your power stays on and your streets don't flood.   And I hope your twitter stays on for important updates:


(one among a number of Sandy spoofs)

I've barely mentioned it on the blog, but I'm registered for and am running the New York City marathon this Sunday.  And I'm excited for it in the "get to run with some of the best runners in the world in one of the coolest cities in the world" kind of way.

I'm not excited in the "holy shit I've trained so hard I want to get out there" kind of way.   Because I haven't trained hard.

And honestly I hate running races where I don't think I'm ready to give a decent performance.  I'm planning on moving back from corral 1 (which I probably didn't belong in to begin with?) and hopefully I can tuck and hang on with the 3:30 pacer.

"Hey Margot!  Wouldn't a 3:30 still be a PR?".

Yeah it would.  But I still like to think that on a good day, my eyes would be set on a faster time than a 3:30.   But who knows...maybe moving back with a 3:40 pacer would be more wise.  The problem is that I've pretty much put in seven weeks of marathon training.  Which is about 10 weeks too short.

The good news is that I've been able to be more consistent about weekly long runs than I ever was before when I was travelling all the time to visit Anthony.   So I've put in a few 20 milers. The bad news is that most of my serious training has been put in chasing after McDonald's.  Seriously.

 (source)

 Paces like 7:15 - 7:20 that were around half marathon pace now feel like 10k pace.  And the frustration that I feel when realizing that I am pushing so hard for something that used to feel hard-but-relaxed is tangible.   Some of this I can blame on the sub-par new running routes I'm taking which somewhat resemble a steeplechase course, but that's not the only reason.

Regardless, hopefully this feeling magically goes away come Sunday.


That usually happens, right?  ;-).

So I guess I taper now.  Does a seven week training program even deserve a taper?  I'm not sure, but I think I'm going to be doing low mileage with a few marathon pace miles in there this week and a hell of a lot of electrostim therapy (which is a lot of fun!), carbs, sleep, water, and compression

So if you happen to be in NYC and see an extremely uncomfortable looking short-ish person wearing ears and cussing out the world on November 4th, put up your hand.  I will high five you.  And potentially steal your beer / ice cream cone.   

And then please tell me to run faster. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

The only thing better than Mizunos are free Mizunos

Remember a long time ago I gave away a Mezamashii run project invite ?

(An opportunity to order a free pair of Mizunos!)

Yeah that was awesome.  But what's even more awesome if that they are doing it again.  x10!!!!!

I have 10 invites to give away - all on the blog.  Which means that if you enter, you've probably got a decent chance of getting a free pair of shoes (I'm estimating chances at about 10% - edited to say: dammmnnn this contest is blowing up!  I'm gonna have to drop odds to 5% :(  ).   Time to try out that hot racer you've always been curious about. 

Next Year's Elixir.  Holy Crap Beautiful

Here's how you play: 

One entry: Leave a comment on this post.

Another Entry: Tweet to @mizunorunning and to me (@fasterbunny) about the giveaway and follow Mizuno running.

Another entry:  Leave (another comment) about what you're loving about running this fall.
Bonus entry if this statement is an alliteration.  (example: Frequent fall foliage falling freely). 

So it's possible to have your name in the pot four times!

Additional details:  You must have a shipping address in the US to win.  Giveaway ends a week from today (the 29th of October at midnight PST.).  If for some reason you are shy and don't want to publicly comment, you can email me as well and that can count for your entry.
*Also, if you don't have a blog, please leave enough of your name (or email) so that if you win, I can find you.

Cool?  So play!  I hope you enter!!  Obviously, I love these shoes and I hope you can try them and love them too!

*One more edit.  For some reason, Blogger is not publishing the comments beyond the first couple hundred.  I don't know why (trying to figure it out) but I am getting all of them through the interface and they will be counted!!  

Monday, October 15, 2012

Trolling Trolling Trolling

Can we talk for a minute about how every woman's race is guilty of the worst stereotyping in the world? 

According to the world of running women like:

1) Chocolate!!!!
2) Giant Medals or Jewelry for average level completion of a task.
3) Princess costumes!!!! 

Women don't like: 
1) Competition.  No pressure, it's all about the fun!  Yay you finished.
2) Logistics.  It's ok if they suck!   

Women don't care about: 
1) Money!  Charge me $150 for a half marathon!   Sounds good to meeee!

I mean what the heck?  Is this really 2012?

On the same premise, if people made a race just for Greek people they would serve us Gyros and bad economic principles.  

Stereotyping at it's best!

Anyways I'll stop for now :).   Here's the main post.

Beach Path Surprise Tempo

Today, I went running on the beach path again.  I'm really enjoying running on the beach path around Venice.  It's really pretty.

I decided I wasn't up for a workout so I took the pace pretty easy.   About 40 minutes into the run, I came up upon some dudebro running along at maybe 10 minute pace wearing cargo shorts.  

I internally chuckled about how uncomfortable his fashion choice must be to run in, and passed him on the left, maybe at around 8:30 pace. 

I was surprised to see that about 30 seconds later, he sped up, came back out of my left and passed me back. 

What??? 

I try to keep my competitiveness to a minimum on easy days, but a huge pet peeve of mine are dudes who clearly almost never run, who speed up so I can't pass them.   It's obnoxious.

So I figured I'd mess with him a little bit. 

source
 Instead of letting him go, or even passing him back, I stayed almost exactly 10 feet behind him.  For the first couple minutes he didn't notice anything.  Then he started looking behind him, and speeding up more, as an attempt to lose me. 

I kept my 10 foot distance.  My stride behind him went "Tap tap tap tap".

He quickened his stride further and started running the tangents of the curvy beach path.  I refused to run the tangents out of principle as I didn't want to appear to be racing.  My guess is that we were running about 7:15 / mile-ish.  Things had gotten serious. 

About 8 minutes into my trolling, the dudebro veered off the beach path onto the straighter pedestrian path a few yards to the left.  I think he figured he had a better chance of losing me on the straight path. 

So I decided to run exactly parallel to him, keeping his exact pace.  By now I'm pretty sure I was running 6:50 pace or so.   I was getting pretty tired, but I was confident I would win our silent war (or die trying!). 

A couple minutes down the road, the paths went to intersect, and dude bro almost ran exactly into me.  I turned and looked at him, exasperated and said "Do you want to race?". 

He was all like "Nah, it's not like that.". 

Suuurrreee it wasn't

And finally....I passed him and ran home to start my Monday morning.  On the plus side, I got in a good workout.  On the minus side, I'm kind of an overly competitive jerk. 

Was it a little immature to troll this random dude on the beach path?  Sure...but...I maintain that it was fun. 

And he started it. 


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Fire Up Old Sparky

I've had a tiring week, but pretty much only because I'm badly addicted to Downton Abbey and I've been staying up late watching it.  It is fantastic. 

Honestly, I'm pretty sure that Mitt Romney wants to cut PBS funding because he's jealous that Ann's got a major crush on the Cousin Matthew. 

I mean...I get it girl.  I have a crush on him as well.  I mean...hello?



Sorry.  I know that if you don't watch that show, that was totally boring. 

In case you were wondering, I have been trying to run more and I even put in a 55 mile week last week.  I'm still slow though.  I can't believe that taking only a couple weeks off (and a couple months of half-assing) has had such repercussions on my speed.  I probably shouldn't be surprised though.  Running doesn't lie.  And not working hard for a couple months doesn't lie either.

I'm going to try to regain as much as I can before NYC/Ragnar.  Fingers crossed. 

I've also managed to do several electricity / fire themed things in the past week. 

1)  Set My House On Fire.

You know that "storage area" underneath stoves?  Yeah.  Turns out for a gas stove, it's not exactly storage.   Or at least not for my gas stove storing a sandwich maker and a still unidentified additional now-melted appliance. 

There go my dreams of hot sandwiches at home. 

Last Sunday night, I wanted to bake a Butternut squash.   I started pre-heating the oven, like a normal human being would, and I noticed some white smoke coming out of the oven.  Since the place is new, I figured maybe there was something random down there that needed to burn up, so I turned off the oven and waited.

However, the smoke kept coming.  And there were some small flames at the bottom of the oven.  I figured they would go out.  Go out they did not.

I went next door to ask my neighbour what to do, and he didn't know either.   It didn't seem like an emergency just yet.  So we just stood there staring at the stove.  And then black smoke started coming out. 

"F it I'm caling 911!!!" 

My hands were shaking as I dialed 911 and as the fire in the oven grew bigger and bigger.  Then the alarms throughout my new complex started going off as the sirens of the fire-trucks approached. 

"Holy shit", I thought, as I frantically moved boxes out of the way of the growing flames. 

But thank god for emergency services - those firemen were there and putting out the flames in no time.  They pulled out the remains of the sandwich maker (with melted plastic everywhere) as I apologized profusely for my mistake. 

"If you wanted to see us so badly, why didn't you just come down to the station and say hi?".  

Haha.  All's well that ends well though, and nothing got damaged.  My night just ended with me feeling a little bit shaken and under a lot of ashes. 

Pretty crazy and embarrassing though.  A banner way to introduce myself to the new neighbours!  

2) The Gaslight Anthem I only mention this part because of the irony.  The night prior to setting a fire in my gas stove, I went to go see the band, the Gaslight Anthem at the Honda Center in Anaheim. 

They were pretty rocking and I love them. 


I mean... I guess it would have been more funny had the band's name been the "Gas Fire Anthem", but you get the idea.

3) Compex Electrostimulation Machine:  As you may have heard, our ultra relay is sponsored by a company called Compex (along with Pro Compression.  Woot!).  Compex makes electro stim machines that basically serve to help build muscle as well as to help recovery. 

Frankly, I'd never heard of a machine like this until I mentioned our sponsor to my boss (a former ridiculously good track athlete) and a couple other people who have gotten physical therapy.  They were all jealous that we each got a machine!   Apparently this method for recovery is legit.

But the thing is...I am too dumb to use it.  Tonight I followed all the steps in the manual and I'm still not sure if it worked.  I'm also kind of scared to put it on anything but the lowest setting (uh after I nearly burned the house down).  Here're some pictures of the attempt:


I don't know about you, but the cartoon of the naked man with socks on in the middle diagram is enough to make me keep using this machine. 

In all seriousness, I am really excited to learn proper usage because I don't recover well from workouts and this could be a great tool.  If you've ever used one of these, tell me about it!  I'd love to hear more.  

Also, if you've ever set your house on fire, perhaps you can tell me about that one too.  I'd like to think I'm not the only one who has burned up a sandwich maker in a cloud of black smoke. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Trackpassing

It's my first week in the new place and in running-speak that means "OMG WHERE CAN I RUN THAT DOESN'T SUCK???".


I've been to find decent running routes without a ton of stop lights, and of course, a track.   Decent running routes are more or less taken care of since I'm a pretty short run or drive from the Venice beach path.   In fact, this Saturday I ran for three hours while getting a contact high and seeing a man dressed in a Nun's costume.  The best part is that he was looking at me like I was crazy.

Very LA. 

A few days back, on a lark, I tweeted asking about open tracks in West LA in hopes of getting some good information.


And someone wonderful (I can't find the tweet anymore!) said that Venice High School has dirt track I can check out.

"Dirt Track in West LA???"  Way to spend money on schools, California.  

But...I figured that a dirt track sounded better than no track!

Of course, finding a track and finding a track that is open, non-sketchy, and otherwise decent are two different things.  I needed to do pre-workout reconnaissance. 

I ran to Venice High School early yesterday morning to scope it out.  The scene looked promising.  There were students milling around waiting for school to start, but it looked like the track was accessible and the gate was open.  I eyed the fence gating the perimeter of the track, and figured it was climbable if the gate happened to be locked tomorrow.   I figured I'd need to get there earlier tomorrow - before students arrived for school - if I wanted to avoid looking like a creeper.

The next day (this morning!), I woke up bright and early and all excited for my track adventure!  I ran down to the high school but the fence was locked.  Crossing my fingers, I barely was able to slip through the fence as my ipod went on and off blaring songs as it pressed against the metal bars.

No one was inside on the track except a few seagulls.  "Sweet", I thought as I drew a line in the dirt to mark the start and end of each lap.




I had no workout plan beyond 'Do speedwork", so I figured I'd just see how my body was feeling since I've really fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to speedwork lately.

I took off, and my first 200 meter split was a 52.  Yikes.  Guess this is a long interval day.  I figured I do the first repeat mile 7 minute pace and then drop it from there.  Unfortunately my legs felt like lead and most miles were right around 7 minute pace.    It's weird because 7 minute pace usually feels more like a cruise type pace, not a speed pace, if it's only for a mile or two.

I'm still unsure if I am really out of speed shape or if running on a dirt track is really slow.  Honestly it's probably both.  Good, humbling experience.

6:56.  6:54, 6:58 repeat times.  I kept the recovery short to a 200 meter jog.  I comforted myself , thinking that it's normal to not be able to run the times I want after skipping any consistent training.

By 7:15 AM, high school kids started showing up and I figured it was just a matter of time before some gym teacher showed up to yell at me.  I wasn't ready to drop and give anyone 50 pushups, so I called the workout done and slipped back out of the fence as quietly as possible.

As I ran through the high school grounds, I thought how removed I feel from high school.  Or even from kids in general for that matter.  Who are these random almost-adults and their skinny pants?  Did any of them think their track sucked too?

Bottom line, I'm happy I found a place I can run - at least temporarily.  While this venue has a little too much dirt and sneaking around for my taste, it'll do for now.   I'm just happy to be back on the workout bandwagon, and that's making LA feel a little more like home.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Running...Cowboy Style

You guys.  I really have wanted to update you on my running but I have been too busy to blog.

I am so so busy.

My life is totally full... 

FULL OF WATCHING THAT K-POP GANGNAM STYLE VIDEO THAT IS!!!!


I've been watching this video 10x a day.  I am probably 60% of the 210 million pageviews.  If you haven't watched Psy dance yet, get on it right now.   And then teach me the dance!  Because it's deceptively hard to master and I'm tired of looking like a leprechaun when trying to learn it.

Heeeeyyyyyy.  SEXY LADDYYY!

#PureJoy. 

Alright.  Now that I got THAT out of my system, I can talk about running.

Running Events

The good news is that I'm loving it again!  I haven't truly enjoyed running since last spring, so it's great to feel...good about it again.

I'm loving it enough to even go to running-type events.  Today, Kristina and I went to Road Runner Sports "Ladies Night Out" at the store in Costa Mesa.



Basically Ladies Night Out is an event where Road Runner Sports locations have drinks, candy / cupcakes, tons of free stuff and prizes.  I went last time with Sarah and won a sweet hat/socks combo.

I'm kind of a running shoe geek, so it was fun to hang out at vendors booths like Asics, Mizuno, etc.  Kristina is looking for a shoe to replace her Brooks Launch so we spent some time learning about other lightweight trainers.  One guy manning a booth was even friends with Ryan Hall!   Either that or he is a great liar.  Hard to say!

As if I needed another reason to go bum around a running store....

So next time come with me and let's be best friends.

NYC Marathon Update.

Beyond just hanging out at running stores, I have been easing back into workouts and long runs after my vacation.  Basically I'm not in the shape I need to be at this point to run a decent marathon in NYC, but I think I'm ready to make some effort to get there.   Which for me...is often half the battle.

I don't have a marathon training plan, but I am going to do the standard "long run on weekend, one long tempo, one interval session" per week.  When I was training for Eugene, I did a lot of fast finish long runs.   I felt like it destroyed my body for little benefit.  So this time around, I'm going to let myself take it easy on most of my long runs and see what happens.  I also want to build mileage.

I'm not going to take NYC as a "goal marathon" - meaning that I won't have the training in place to do my best.  However, marathons are weird and if it seems like things are going well in the next couple weeks, I'll definitely try to gun for a PR.  Why not, right?

RELAY

Uhhh yeah.  So remember when I ran the Eugene Marathon right after running the Southern California Ultra Relay?

Well I'm kind of doing that again.  And you have the right to tell me I'm an idiot, because frankly...maybe I am.  Bottom line, I REALLY wanted to run with my friends in Vegas and I REALLY wanted to do the NYC marathon. Rather than turn one down, I've opted to do both.  

Here's the team, as stolen from SarahOual's blog!  That girl is a graphic genius. 


I'm one of the slowpokes of this team, so I'm hoping I won't let anyone down!

We've got two sponsors this time around, who are Compex and ProCompression.  They are both recovery-type products, which will be MUCH needed between the marathon and relay!   I'll talk more about them later, because frankly, this post is already random enough.

Bottom line, it's going to be a crazy November, but I'm really excited for both the relay and the marathon.  Now time to get serious with the training. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Missed the Boat


It's been a while since I last wrote a blog entry.  That's because I went to Greece for two weeks and every time I thought about attempting to blog, I immediately felt too lazy to do it.  I didn't even reply to your sweet comments about my move stress until about...5 minutes ago.   Thank you for them!

Bottom line, anyone who said "let's meet up in LA" or "I want to visit you"....in the comments of my last entry....let's do it!  Drinks, running, surfing on my coach.  You know where to find me (electronically).  

As I thought about this blog entry in a jet-lagged stupor, I considered bombing you with happy beautiful photos, Facebook style.  Because...it was a glorious trip.  I got to spend time with family (my aunts and cousins live in Greece), see amazing places, and really get away from it all.  I even got to trail run a bit!

I've returned happier.  But ya know...all that family album stuff isn't really my blog style.  So here's a story from my trip....

Missing The Boat

My vacation to Greece was going awesome so far.  We were five days into our trip.  My brother, sister-in-law, boyfriend, and me toured around Athens, Meteora, and now back to Athens again for two days.  I figured it would be nice for Anthony and me to have some time as a couple, so we decided to take a day trip to Hydra - just the two of us.

My guide book told me that Hydra is an island off the coast of Athens and is known for it's charming atmosphere, mansions, and the fact that they don't allow any vehicles (including bicycles!) on the island.


Wonderful, I thought.  Even better, we got to take a ferry to the island.  I love ferries.  My brother warned me that the Greek boat system can be confusing if you're not familiar with it, so we took extra care when buying the tickets and got to the dock super early.  A couple Frappe's later, we were off!

Anthony and I settled into the boat and watched an episode of Breaking Bad on his ipad.  The boat stopped at the shore and we hopped out.

We got some lunch and started walking around the Hydra.  It was a little weird because there were definitely bikes, cars, you name it, on the island.  But my Greek language skills sucked too bad to ask the natives about the change so we just rolled with it.  Neither Anthony nor I had done much research on the island so we wandered around from shop to shop.  It was awesome.  I even made a video log to share how beautiful it was!

(yes, I do always sound like I'm on drugs). 

Our tickets back were for around 9:15 PM so we got some dinner right by where the dock was.  And I made another video.  Because "I'm like Meryl Streep".


At some point, we started getting a little suspicious.  No one else seemed to be gathering for a boat.  In fact, we were the only ones hanging out at the dock at all.  I asked several people about the tickets, and they assured me we were in the right spot.  I figured hey...it's Europe...they do things on their on time scale here.

After waiting over an hour, I found a guy who told me to talk to some lady, who then informed me that our tickets were for the wrong island.  My heart sank!

I told her that was impossible because we got here on the same tickets.

And the it dawned on me.  The ferry made multiple stops.  We'd spent the entire day on a different island and had no idea!  We'd even checked in on Facebook into "Poros"!

How is it possible to spend 9 hours in one place and think you're in another? 

All the random things that didn't seem quite right throughout the day (like there being motorized vehicles on the island, etc.) started coming back to me.  Damnit!

The next boat back to Athens didn't leave until 7:30 AM the next morning, so we got a hotel, and Anthony chilled and drank with the random Greek family that owned the hotel.  They were crazy nice and fun. 

And I did what any Kardashian in my situation would do.  I made a another video.


All's well that ends well.  We got back to Athens the next morning safely and only a few Euro's lighter in our pocket.   Ok fine like 100. And maybe a tiny chip off my ego as well.

Learn from my rookie mistake.  If you're on a boat in Greece, remember, it may make multiple stops.  And you may be stuck for a long time.  But hey, even if you're not on the right island, you're still on a Greek island, right?

I'll  see ya next time, Hydra!
::face palm::

(PS:  If anyone is wondering "uh isn't this supposed to be a running blog?".  It still is.  I just haven't been doing that much so I don't want to write about it yet.  But I will soon, because I need to get my butt into gear for NYC!)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Adventures in Rentals

I'm moving to Los Angeles.  West LA to be more specific.

That's just an hour from where I live now, but to me it feels big and crazy exciting!

Also, and I'm afraid to even write this because what if something goes wrong but Anthony is also moving from Sacramento to LA.   I guess if he changes his mind I can buy ten cats to hang out with me instead. 

This will mark the end of 2 years of long distance.  Frankly, there was about a .001% chance of me getting a decent job in Sacramento given my field, so it's a pretty big relief that he got a good opportunity down here.  I'm also relieved because my travel schedule just got a hell of a lot easier.  I love flying, travel, and airport bars are the best but being unable to commit to anything for two consecutive weekends gets old after a while...

And I won't lie, it's also scary.  Any big change brings nervous butterflies. WAHHHH! 

I'm moving in about a month.  Please let me know if you live up there and want to be best friends.  Also let me know if you want to do track workouts or go to a public pool for laps.

The Hunt: I've spent the last two weekends apartment / condo hunting which has been painful to say the least.  It been about ten degrees hotter than a lava pit and my thirteen year old car's AC is less than stellar.  Also, rental agents in LA appear to operate on a time scale that is indecipherable to the rest of the population.

"Hi I'm here for the open house at 1 PM?"

"Oh we're going to lunch, come back at 2PM" 

"But...but...you said..."

::Rent agent goes back into her Cold War style bunker and locks the door::

Additionally, in a phenomenon that appears to be exclusive to Southern California, most places don't have refrigerators.   This blows my mind.  Who the hell travels with their own refrigerator?  I will happily use an old refrigerator the last tenet used.  Just Windex that shit down and I'm good to go.



Between the rental dude that yelled at me "NO PETS!  YOU DON'T HAVE PET!  NO PET!" and the lady who was showing me the place at the same time as she was trying to manage a cockroach extermination at the same place, I've wanted to smother myself with a pile of rental application several times.


Hoarders:  I've moved four times in since 2008 which is a good thing because I am forced to get rid of most of my stuff.   And I am too cheap to pay for professional movers.  So I own like nothing.  I've been living off roommates stuff since college which has worked out pretty well.  Usually someone already has a couch they want to use...and I'm happy to sit on it rather than insisting on using my own.

Still, despite the fact that I buy nothing substantial, my place without fail ends up resembling an episode of hoarders.

"Those pipecleaners I bought for a stupid costume five years ago?  Don't throw them out, I might need them someday...".  
  
Basically, in order to avoid being a TLC special, I'm going to have to continue moving on a yearly basis.

Who's to say what's next!

LA Fear:   I've lived in LA before when I went to UCLA for grad school.  I wasn't very happy.

I had no friends, parking sucked, and I had no money.  Also, as someone who loves to chat up everyone (like cashiers at the grocery store, etc.), I found LA pretty unfriendly.

But I'm trying to be really excited for LA this time around.  I'm moving pretty close to the beach and to an area that's just between urban and suburban.   Target accessible and fun bar accessible all at once.

And I'll be damned if I'm going to let the cashiers get away with not talking to me this time around.

"HI RALPHS EMPLOYEE HOW IS YOUR DAY GOING TODAY???"

"TELL ME MORE ABOUT YOUR LIFE AS YOU CHECK OUT MY GROCERIES!!!  OR ELSE I'LL TELL YOU ALL ABOUT THE 5K I JUST RAN INCLUDING EACH 400 METER SPLIT!!"

...and so it begins.... =)