In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.

Albert Camus.

Big News! Summer is not yet over! Yet alas it’s true that time has passed and I’ve not been so interested in shouting from the blogtops since Spring. But besides that there is a sliver of August left for camping and running and drinking in the outside evening light.

So. The world relentlessly turns and we move forward, never backwards! In spite of it, allow me to reflect on the previous six months:

Running

Not ideal training, but at least relatively consistent. After setting my half PR at ORF In March, my plan was to shoot for a quick-turnaround near-or-sub 1:50 half followed by a strong fall marathon.

Golden Gate Bridge Warming Hut

if only every run could end with sandwiches at the warming hut.

I won’t bore anybody (most importantly myself) by droning over all the details, but suffice it to say that the execution of this plan has been a whirlwind of lottery denials and waning motivation and false starts. And the humidity, my god the humidity.

But more than that, I’m learning a tough yet valuable lesson about the role of stress in one’s personal life and how this can, actually, have a markedly negative impact on performance. I guess this seems pretty obvious, but I feel like we often look to running as our “therapy” – a deep tissue massage for the psyche to use as directed for problem solving, de-compression, and otherwise general monkey mind relief. In the past few months it’s proved frustratingly opposite for me, culminating in a not quite disastrous but certainly very unpleasant experience at the San Francisco Marathon 2nd half.

It wasn't all bad, thought. Any day that ends with Dungeness Crab is a worthy 24 hours.

It wasn’t all bad, tho. Any day that includes Dungeness Crab is a worthy 24 hours.

As such, I’ve downgraded from an October full to an October half, and steady but not wanting eyes towards CIM in December. Either way, I’m letting go of my previously tight grip on a 2015 marathon finish.

In addition to the half in SF I did Bay to Breakers, a Brazen 10k in Point Pinole, and a 4th of July 5k in Concord. Between now and Detroit (October 18) I may try to fit in a 10k. Maybe DSE Oyster Point, where I ran a surprisingly good time last September at what is still my only 10k road race.

Reading

My biggest success of the year has been reading more. Between kindle, paper, and audible, 2015 has been my most prolific stretch probably since high school. I initially wondered how I’d fit in the time to complete just 1 book a month, but I’ve been able to finish 18 and counting since March. And as such I’m smarter, richer, and more beautiful. The rumors are true, folks. Reading is sexy. And of course I’m tracking it all with a super sophisticated spreadsheet modeled closely after this one from Amanda Nelson at Book Riot. (Don’t ask me about goodreads. I don’t like it. I don’t know why…)

Meditating

After a million years of telling myself to do this, I have finally made major headway towards developing a consistent mindfulness meditation practice. Thanks to Andy Puddicombe and Headspace.

This light, friendly approach alleviates some of my previous anxiety and intimidation around seated meditation. And the structure of the “Foundation” series really makes sense to me and helps reinforce the daily habit.

Anyway, speaking of consistency, we shall see if training recaps resume on this here blog. The fantasy is to really do them in hopes of sparking some next-level shit in the Fall. But priority #1 is to keep it light, and this means refraining from putting undue pressure on myself. Because shit does indeed go down… why pile on more of the weight?

Namaste, bitches!

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“Don’t follow the feeling, follow the plan.”

Dr. Barry Rovner A few weeks ago NPR broadcast a story about elderly people suffering from age-related macular degeneration, a condition that impairs the ability to see fine detail. Reading, driving, watching television, and cooking may become impossible. Worse, those … Continue reading

Training Diary 6.1.14 — Speedwork Week One

New to the blog this week are training diaries. I enjoy reading others’ and figure a weekly report would be a nice compliment to my own training efforts. No fun quote titles, we’ll save those for the regular posts. 🙂

The superstitious say that on day 1 of any month, an immediate utterance of “rabbit, rabbit” should keep you lucky. Unfortunately the first thing I said yesterday was “Oh, shit.” I swore I’d commit to CIM before the next price increase thus woke up with a start, certain that the last magic day had been May 31, a lazy Saturday of blustery NorCal beach walks and dog baths and 4 hours of True Detective (McConaughey. Gaah!), and not signing up for marathons.

Turns out — June 1 was the $125 cutoff! Still lucky! If, that is, lucky means officially registered for a third 26.2 mile adventure. Boom!

Last week marked the first of a series of training blocks as described in this post.

Monday — Long Run / 6.5 or 7 miles / 10:20-10:30 pace. Sunday’s LSD didn’t happen, so thankfully the long weekend saved me. Sadly, it wasn’t a great experience. I was feeling sad and kept getting mild asthma attacks. I would have given this run a big “F – U” sooner had I not promised to meet up with my friend Ari, who just about killed me with a steep climb up to Buena Vista Park at mile 4. Thanks buddy. I forgot to re-start my watch at one point (after one of the aforementioned asthma spells), so I’m not sure how far we actually went.

6 mile Buena Vista Run

Tuesday — SuperSlow Strength Training. I do a very specific type of weekly exercise with large Nautilus-type machines and a friendly but sadistic trainer (sorry David). Right now I’m focusing on adductor, leg press, behind-the-neck press, chest press, pulldown, and lower back machines.

Wednesday — My First Track Intervals! 4×400 / 3.4 miles / 8’24” pace. I woke my ass up at 5:45am to schlep over to Kezar and run my very first formalized track workout. My schedule called for 5 repeats but I’d decided earlier in the week to do 4 and see how I felt the following day. This being my first time out there and all. But damn it if I didn’t feel like such a badass!

Thursday — Tempo run / 3.1 miles / 9’17” pace. Maybe a little slow and a little short, but the idea this week was to push but also to feel out these new, unfamiliar workouts. All in all a nice quick morning run around the neighborhood.

Friday — Rest. I thought about run commuting home after work, but I didn’t even bring my gear to the office. Work and the early morning runs left me pretty worn out. My brand-new UP24 activity tracker revealed a sleep average of about 6 and half hours a night. Now I know a lot of very talented people who can function on less, but this is bad news for me — a ticket straight to injury land with a detour through grumpy town . Indeed by 4pm that day I couldn’t see straight, I was that tired.

Saturday — Rest. Usually yoga day, or I was going to make up the missed Friday run, but I did some hardcore relaxing instead. In retrospect it was nice to have a whole day free from commitments, but I could have used the yoga.

Sunday — Long Run / 8 miles / 10:00 pace. A glorious long run along the Embarcadero that more than made up for the suck-fest on Monday.

Woefully, not a single stinking second of yoga. Whaddya know? My body feels no bueno, stiffer than usual — it was at times iffy during yesterday’s 8 miler. It’s amazing how much healthier I feel when I practice regularly, so I’m on my way to class tonight! Yoga Mayu’s 6 week boot camp begins late June, although I still haven’t pulled the trigger. Otherwise, this coming week’s schedule looks a lot like what’s above. Minus a rest day, and in new Oiselle flyte shorts. Ooh la la!