Thursday, May 28, 2015

Why I Might Not Run RnR San Diego

So, my spring goal race is this Sunday. And I'm not sure I'll be running it.

Let's back up. For the past four weeks, my legs have felt like lead. At some point I'll post my training logs, I suppose, but they won't show anything crazy. Training was fine, if not ideal. However, every run has been a slog and my paces have slowed substantially. Unfortunately with work being so busy, strength and stretching fell by the wayside a bit, which was stupid on my part, and I'm sure didn't help.

I think the stress of both work and personal stuff have contributed to whatever is going on, in addition to traveling to New Jersey for Sourabh's law school graduation in NYC. Plus, it took two hours each way to get from his parents' house into the city, and we made that trip three times.


I would have written it all off as the end of a training cycle, since who feels good at the end of a training cycle? I went into Finish Line Physical Therapy on Friday while we were in NYC, and I got a 90 minute deep tissue massage Monday night that I hope helped.

I got to wear these incredible compression sleeves, so that was a highlight of my day. (I'd say the highlight, but I also got to grab lunch with Coach Jess, which was clearly the other highlight!)

However, I haven't run since Monday morning because I've also been feeling nauseous and ill all week (no, not pregnant, let's not go there). Additionally, I might have to work a lot this weekend (I won't know until Friday evening, which is how corporate life goes unfortunately).

The reason I am strongly questioning running the race is that these are the scenarios I envision:

Scenario A: I have to work a lot this weekend. A massive deal I'm working on was supposed to sign on May 28, meaning the weekend would have been free. However, that didn't happen. (Pro tip: you never sign on the day you think you'll sign.) In this scenario, Sourabh and I drive down to San Diego at the latest time that we possibly can so that I can still pick up my bib before the expo closes at 5:00 p.m. (thanks so much, RNR, for making it impossible to have someone else pick up your bib. Really appreciate that.). I work from the car and the hotel, and we order room service for dinner. I run the race Sunday morning then we immediately head back to Orange County so I can head into the office. [This assumes that it is not essential for me to be in the office all weekend, in which case I have no choice about running the race.]

Scenario B: I miraculously don't have to work this weekend. Sourabh and I can spend the weekend exploring San Diego (I haven't been there since I was 6). I run the race and it takes roughly 3 hours out of our day, and otherwise we're having fun in San Diego, so the outcome doesn't matter. It's just an extra excuse to eat ALL the food.

In Scenario B, regardless of how the race went, we would have a fun weekend and the cost of a hotel and meals out would (probably) be worth it.

However, Scenario A is a lot more likely, and in that scenario, if I run a shit race and feel awful the entire time, then we've just spent probably $300+ (not counting the race fee, which is a sunk cost at this point) for me to zoom down to San Diego and work out of a hotel room and then feel like shit for 13 miles before sitting in the car again and then at a desk, possibly causing some injury with all the sitting post-race.

Mason is ready to hit the road, so we know which way he's leaning.
All of that is why I'm not sure if I will be running the RnR San Diego Half this Sunday. If by some miracle the deal dies for a while (again, pro tip: deals almost never really die! They are like zombies and come back to life again and again), then I think it would be a fun weekend.

If whatever bug I'm fighting miraculously disappears and I run some amazing miles tonight or tomorrow, then I will want to run the race. But I've trained for a PR and to just run a race where I feel awful and come up short seems like a huge waste of both time and money.

[Sidebar: one of my favorite running bloggers, Angela of SF Road Warrior, recently wrote a fantastic post about how there are a lot of good reasons to DNS (Did Not Start) a race. You should go read it, and her blog in general, because she has an incredible wealth of good running info there.]

So here's hoping I can either have a fun weekend or a great race. But if not, hey, I live in SoCal. There are half marathons here all year round! I can find another one in a few weeks, or just wait until marathon training kicks in and run one in the fall.

Or I'll just console myself with beach views and Mexican food in Laguna. One or the other. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Running is Selfish

How about some talk about running that isn't a training log?

Lately I've been mulling over something while running: Running is selfish. (In my opinion, etc. etc.)

Here's the thing -- there are some running events and people who are legitimately running for others. Team Hoyt, for instance, where a father pushes his son who is a spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy in a wheelchair. (Note: at his son's request initially, he wasn't pushing around his son who didn't want to be pushed around.)

Can I just say that if I ever saw these two I might immediately start crying?
Clearly, that is someone running for someone else. Or my friend Kara, who pledged to complete an Ironman and raise $10,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. A huge part of why she wanted to do the Ironman was as a vessel for raising $10,000.

But for the vast, vast majority of us, even if we are raising money for a charity as part of our training, at the end of the day, a large part of running is selfish. We run because it makes us feel good in some way. It might be mentally, it might be physically, it might be because hitting a goal gives us a feeling of pride. 

There is nothing wrong with any of those feelings. However, I think it's important to acknowledge that ultimately running is, for most of us, a hobby that brings us personal pleasure. So often I read things that seem to treat running as being something we do for others, and I just think that's a bit off base. (I'm sure I've been equally guilty of this.) 

So, this is something I've struggled with lately. Jess recently wrote a fantastic post about how much we have to do and give up to commit to running goals. It's so true -- there are a lot of sacrifices to be made in order to make yourself the best possible runner you can be.

The thing is, a lot of what we have to give up affects those around us, especially those who live with us. Certainly many hobbies have this effect. If you're in a competitive bowling league, you're probably gone a few nights a week. (Wait, do people still have bowling leagues?) But I'm guessing competitive bowlers aren't waking up at 5:30 a.m. for a run or going to bed at 9 p.m. on a Friday night or being picky with what they eat the night before a long run, or a host of things that runners need to do to seriously tackle big goals, all of which have some kind of an impact on those around us. 

I'm not writing this post to say that we should all give up running because how dare we do anything selfish. Not at all. Running is incredibly important to me for a host of reasons, and I think running makes me a better person. It certainly makes me a less stressed out person, which makes me nicer to those around me.

However, I've been thinking lately about the fact that when I choose to run a race and train for it, especially with my job which can frequently entail long hours, I'm giving up time with loved ones and I'm impacting what we can do if I say I need to be in bed by a certain time or can only eat certain things. And while I can say "it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make for my goal," I have to remember that I'm not the only one affected by my choices. 

Look at that gorgeous sunrise! I snapped this at 5:50 a.m. after waking Sourabh up (because the dog was barking as I left) at 5:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning...

The fact that running and training for a goal are inherently selfish pursuits (again: in. my. opinion.) doesn't make them bad in the slightest. Selfishness is too often treated as a negative. Sometimes it's good to be selfish! Having our own interests and pursuits makes us better people.

I just think it's important for us, or at least for me, to remember that, and maybe to be more grateful to the people in our lives who are also sacrificing so that we can pursue our own goals. It's something I need to focus on personally, and I thought maybe others might relate.

So... thoughts? 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

RnR San Diego Half Marathon Training Log: Week 9

Last week (and this week) are my peak weeks of RnR San Diego training. They also coincided with being super busy at work and my mom visiting, so it was all about fitting in the miles where I could. It also meant that I only fit in one strength session. But, I hit 34 miles and got in two high quality runs, so I'm content.

RnR San Diego Half Marathon Training Log: Week 9

Monday: Off.

Tuesday: 4x1600m repeats on treadmill.

Hit the gym after work for repeats on the treadmill. Including my (new) fastest mile ever at a sub-7 pace. So that was exciting.

Really impressed with the new satin Sparkly Soul headband I got. It's a lot simpler than the sparkly ones but it stayed on just the same during the repeats.

Post-mile repeats = all the sweat.

(Note: I'm a Sparkly Soul ambassador but bought this at full price from an Athleta, which now carries Sparkly Soul headbands.)

Wednesday: (1) AM 6 miles easy with Monica on Yale Loop and (2) PM strength. 

Six easy, chatty miles around the Yale Loop then a post-work lower body strength workout:
  • 3x12 with 50# bar: (1) single leg deadlifts, (2) hip bridge lifts, (3) squats, (4) walking lunges
  • 2x15: (1) decline sit-ups, (2) reverse sit-ups with 35# weight

Thursday: Off.

Friday: 5 miles easy at Back Bay.

My easy miles have been feeling awful, but I'm hitting the paces on runs I care about, so I guess that's the important thing? Fit in 5 miles between work and picking my mom up from the airport.

Saturday: 12 mile long run at Huntington Beach.

Headed to Huntington  Beach on Saturday afternoon with my mom since she loves the beach. I figured if I was going to fit in my long run I should do it in a place she'd enjoy being!

  • Dynamic warm up routine.
  • 2 miles warm up
  • 2 x 3 miles hard with 2 miles easy in between: (1) 8:26, 8:24, 812, (2) 8:15, 8:07, 7:52
  • 2 miles cool down

I never felt great and I hadn't fueled properly (I'm just bad about doing things properly if I don't run first thing, honestly), but I was really happy with the second of the three miles hard. 

Sunday: 5 miles easy at Huntington Beach.

Happy Mother's Day! We had to spend the day taking care of some medical stuff, but thankfully we got to have a great late lunch at Le Pain Quotidien and enjoyed an evening back at the beach. I fit in 5 miles quickly(ish... easy miles = legs like lead) then we walked along the beach and enjoyed a gorgeous sunset.

Total Mileage = 34 miles