Regrouping

Greetings from Oakland!  I’ve been back from Taiwan for a little over a week now, and slowly getting back into the swing of things.  I think that the timing of my trip couldn’t have been better for my running.  Before I left, I was really anxious to race and to conquer goals (chalk it up to post-MCM blahs).  A little bit of enthusiasm is good, but my obsession was almost borderline unhealthy.  Leaving the country and, more importantly, spending quality time with my family, resting a lot, and eating my weight in dumplings refueling my body helped to re-center my priorities.  Since I’ve been back, I feel like I’ve been much better at balancing the running and non-running aspects of my life.  Yay!

So what has been going on with my running these days?  You might have noticed that I’ve stopped posting weekly training recaps.  They’ll be back for Big Sur International Marathon (BSIM) training in a few weeks, but for now, I’m enjoying blogging off-schedule.  And I think it’s probably more interesting for y’all too, right?  For those who actually care about numbers and stuff, I ran 3 times last week for a total of ~20 miles.  And FYI, you can always find more detailed info about my runs on my dailymile profile page.

My broad goal for December is to get back to a base of 25-30 miles/week to lay a foundation for BSIM training.  Other stuff: I also want to (NEED TO) get back into the yoga studio, as well as establish a more consistent strengthening and core routine.  One thing I noticed while I was in Taiwan was how much I missed stretching and rolling — it plays such an integral role in how my body feels! So I’ll continue to do that on a regular basis.  Oh, and HILLS.  I’m planning on doing a lot of hill and stair work between now and April 27th, because BSIM is hilly as a mo’ fo’ (well, for a road race anyway).  “Luckily” for me, I’ve got several medium to long trail runs planned this month, including:

  • The Woodside Ramble Half Marathon on Sunday.  2,100′ elevation gain! That should be… fun?!
  • Jingle Bell Hell on the 21st — where I hope to actually race this year and not just show up, eat a donut, then leave.
  • An exploratory run around Briones Reservoir with Cathryn and hopefully some other friends at the end of the month.

I feel like this running schedule will put me in good shape for the Foster City 10-miler on  January 12th… which, BTW friendly reminder, you have until Jan 1st to use the super special discount code JLEE to get 10% off registration!  As for BSIM training, I am more or less winging it.  I have several races already on my calendar, with a few others *almost* on the calendar — together, I think the races will form the structure for my training.  After 2 marathon training cycles, I feel like I’m beginning to know what works best for me, so I’m going to trust my instincts and make my own training plan.  Fortunately, I bought some very high-tech planning equipment in Taiwan:

Desk calendar + cute stickers = BSIM here I come!

Desk calendar + cute stickers = BSIM here I come!

**

Non-running fun with runner friends

Nothing makes you a hotter commodity socially than being away for 2 weeks.  There was a birthday party, dinner engagements, a holiday party, and not one but TWO craft nights.  (Though, to be fair, one of those craft nights was spent watching Elf and drinking wine.)  In the midst of all of this excitement, I woke up way before dawn on Sunday to drive to Sacramento with T and KP.  Our purpose? To spectate and cheer at CIM.  I considered spectating at CIM several weeks ago, and when KP and T also said they wanted to go, that made the decision a no-brainer.  I was excited to cheer on FL at her 2nd marathon, as well as a few people I “know” from the blogosphere.  I admit another major motivating factor was just for the sheer experience — I’ve never spectated at a race longer than an 8K, so I was curious and excited to be on the other side of a marathon, so to speak.

We first went to ~mile 10.5, where the pace groups had plenty of members and almost everyone seemed to be in good spirits.  KP brought the cowbell, I brought the sign, and T brought the enthusiasm. (Read T’s version of events and see her photos here.)  It was freezing (literally), but not as bad as I had feared.  XLMIC joined us for a while at 10.5, then serendipitously again at the finish.

Excited to cheer!

Cold but excited! (photo credit: KP)

We spotted some familiar faces, but somehow missed FL, so that was a bummer. It was interesting that as the crowd of runners moved through, more and more people started noticing my sign and were actually interacting with us — either with a thumbs up, a smile/laugh, or a plaintive, “How about beer now?”  Definitely goes to show that the back of the packers seem to have a lot more fun!  (Or at least, I had more fun spectating the back of the packers!)

We moved on to mile 20, hoping to catch FL one more time before the finish, but got a little lost on the way.  Thinking it would be a close call, we decided to play it safe and head straight to mile 26.1.  As we walked towards the finish line, I saw Page and Jess looking very strong — both were on their way to huge PRs at 3:12.  Speedy!!

As you might expect, spectating at mile 26 is a completely different game — we went from huge smiles and energetic confidence at 10.5 to people who were really, really struggling. Those huge pace groups from 10.5 had dwindled down to 2-5 members.  I thought to myself what I’d want to hear in that moment, and tried to encourage folks with a, “You can do it” or, “Almost there.”   For those who looked strong or looked good, I told them so.

Then, T spotted FL coming towards us and we started yelling like crazy.  T took off and ran a little with FL before coming back and telling us that she was going to try to catch FL at the finish.  We got there just after FL crossed the finish line at 3:45:xx, which I believe was a 12 minute PR!  She was super happy, which made us all very happy too. We celebrated with lunch on the Delta King, a steamboat restaurant/hotel in Old Town Sacramento.  T recommended it, and it did not disappoint — not only was it totally cute, but the food and drinks were great.  It was a fun day, and made us all really excited about running!  We even made an informal pact to run CIM next year.  😉

The Capitol Building at the CIM finish.

The Capitol Building at the CIM finish.

All aboard the Delta King!

All aboard the Delta King!

FL: Time for ALL THE DRINKS.

To the (marathon) finisher goes the spoils!  Congrats FL!

As if that wasn’t fun enough, I was fortunate enough to have brunch on Monday with Mike and Katie, who were visiting from their new hometown of L.A.  Mike ran the North Face Endurance Challenge Marathon on Saturday in Marin — and finished 3rd in his age group!  Woot! We were joined by our former labmate DS, and for a short while, it was like old times again.

"Reunited and it feels so good..."

“Reunited and it feels so good…”

Hope you’re having fun in your running and non-running lives!

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About

Howdy! My name is Jen and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I like to eat, run, and blog, but not usually at the same time.

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Posted in random, Training
12 comments on “Regrouping
  1. MILF Runner says:

    You are making good use of linkings in this post. Excellent job. I give you a #goldstar 🙂 Cool stickers always make calendars so much more fun. I, for one, really hope more people show up to Jingle Bell Hell this time…or you might be going home with a lot of donuts!

    • Jen says:

      Ooh, thanks for the #goldstar!
      I was about to rally to try to get more people to come to Jingle Bell Hell, but now I realize that will only decrease the number of donuts I get. #IRun4DONUTS

  2. Hillary says:

    You know how much I love stickers and calendars. This gets two thumbs up.

  3. Dominick S. says:

    Oh man, you are doing much better with total mileage than I am since the marathon, great job. Glad you had a chance to reset with family abroad and envious of the dumplings! It looks like you had a good time at CIM, I think I may go cheer at LA this year now!

    • Jen says:

      Yeah, I totally recommend spectating!! One tip is to wear running shoes — it’s great if you can jump in and run with your friend(s) for a little bit.

  4. Sounds like a good plan for the month! It’s so hard to even maintain sometimes during this season. Hope the Jingle Bell Hell run goes well!

    • Jen says:

      Thanks Jan! Holidays are tough, but luckily I don’t a lot of scheduling conflicts so far. I get to have my cake (Christmas cookies?) and eat it too!

  5. FL says:

    That photo is hilarious! I look crazed – and not from having just run 26.2! hahaha! Thanks for the cheering and awesome sign (for which I think I lived up to via the photo). Have a great race this weekend!

  6. Cathryn says:

    It’s always good to take time to regroup…your fitness will come back soon enough but the time to rest is invaluable! I wish I’d been spectating at CIM, it looked so much fun! See you Sunday!

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