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!

video
(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".

video

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.

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!)