A Rough Start (Big Basin Weeks 1-4)

I can hardly believe it’s been almost 4 weeks since I’ve posted anything on this blog.  I think that’s a new record!  Here’s a not-so-quick synopsis of what’s been going on:

My work sent me to New York to attend a super intense 2-week course. What do I mean by “super intense”? Well, the typical schedule was from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. every day, with an hour break for lunch and another break for dinner.  During that time, we were either in lecture or lab, with very few opportunities for a lapse in concentration.  We had 6 days of class, then one glorious day off, followed by another 6 days of class.  It was really tiring and my brain was beyond saturated by the end, but I was so glad I went.  The course helped me to synthesize all of the different pieces of information that had been floating around in my brain for years into one coherent blob (more or less).  I’ve only been back to work for a week and the knowledge I gained from the course has already made an immediate impact on my work performance.

Whenever we had a break between classes, and if the weather was nice, my classmates and I would walk down to the Bay and enjoy the view.

Whenever we had a break between classes, and if the weather was nice, my classmates and I would walk down to the Bay and enjoy the view.

It wasn’t all work and no play.  While in NY, I got to see some long-time friends, many of whom I haven’t seen in years.  It was great to catch up with them.  After my class wrapped up, I spent 3 days in NYC eating more than my share of bagels and pizza.  I got to attend my friend Rebecca’s yoga class, after which she noted, “Has anyone ever told you that you have beautiful quad and hamstring musculature??” #bestcomplimentever  She also said some nice things about my yoga practice, which makes me think I should do it more often.  Anyway, she’s a fantastic yoga teacher, so if you live in NYC, I cannot recommend her highly enough (and not just because she’s my friend!).  I mean, how many yoga teachers do you know who also have a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology??

While I was away, this blog celebrated its 3rd blog-a-versary.  I have all of you to thank for keeping me consistent with posts and training.  I’m very grateful that I’ve met so many people whom I now call friends through this little corner of the internet!  It’s the biggest difference between my food blog (which is pretty much neglected at this point) and this running blog.  The running blog community is so much more supportive and interactive. So thanks for reading (and commenting)!  Speaking of, I’m sorry I haven’t been as good about leaving comments on blog posts in these last few weeks — I’ll be better from here on out, I swear!

I made some interesting observations (to me, anyway) about my diet while I was away.  During the 2-week course, we were sequestered away on a small campus/retreat site with dining services.  Luckily, the food was generally pretty good and there was a large variety of things to choose from.  Despite lack of sleep and drinking serious amounts of coffee, which normally sets off an ulcer-like chain of events in my body, I found myself really happy, GI-wise.  Now, I haven’t done a scientific study on this, but my intuition tells me it was the balanced meals I ate.  Maybe if I get my blogging mojo back, I’ll write a short post about some of the insights I’ve had recently about my diet.  Pertinent to Big Basin 50K training, I made the (totally obvious) realization that I need to clean up my diet and fuel for performance.

On our last night, we got lobster!

On our last night, we got lobster!

I’m halfway through shower season (and I wish it had something to do with actual rain).  For 4 weekends in a row, my calendar reads like this: baby shower (co-hosting), bridal shower, baby shower (co-hosting), and birthday party for a 1-year old.  I understand that these are joyous occasions, and I am happy to celebrate with my friends… but to be honest, I pretty much loathe them.  Luckily, I’ve made it through 2 showers so far with minimal present-opening and game playing — the 2 most onerous aspects of showers, IMHO.  These parties have also wreaked havoc on my running schedule, and that makes me grumpy too.  OK, end of rant.

How I feel about baby and bridal showers...

How I feel about baby and bridal showers…

Since this is a running blog, I suppose I should talk a bit about running.  As some of you know, I’m in the midst of training for my first ultramarathon, Big Basin 50K.  Base training went well, thank goodness, because the first 4 weeks of official training have been absolute rubbish, as Cat would say.  As you might imagine, it was pretty tough to get up early to run while I was at my course, and then after the class was over, I felt completely useless for almost a week.  I won’t bore you with the details, but here are the “highlights,” week by week:

Week 1:
Planned mileage: 32.  Actual 27.5.
Running days: 5/5.
All runs except one were done on the treadmill at 1.0% incline. Thank goodness for Netflix.
Of note: one full travel day, followed by many days of jet lag.  However, on the mornings I ran, I found myself much more alert in class.

Week 2:
Planned mileage: 36.  Actual: 26.1 (ouch)
Running days: 4/5
I took advantage of my single day off to go on a trail run with a friend.  Either the terrain was really tough, or I was super tired, or both, but this was one of the slowest trail runs I’ve done in a while.
I decided to take Sunday off, as I was getting to a breaking point between sleep and sanity.

Week 3:
Planned mileage: 40.  Actual: 26.8 (double ouch)
Running days: 3/5
After a late night Monday, I was too tired to run on Tuesday.  However, I had a super fabulous, fantastic time running in NYC on Wednesday and Thursday, which I hope to write about soon.  I traveled Friday, then did my long run on Saturday.  I hadn’t meant to skip Sunday’s recovery run, but after a morning full of baby shower-ness followed by getting stuck in traffic, I decided to take it easy and hang out with the Gypsy Runner, whom I hadn’t seen in almost 3 weeks.

Week 4: (this past week)
Planned mileage: 36.  Actual: 36.  (Yay!)
Running days: 5/5
I vowed to myself that I’d get back on the 50K training horse this week.  Thankfully, it was also a drop-down week, with the longest run at 12 miles, so I felt like it was doable.  It’s been a tiring week, but I was pleasantly surprised at how good I felt at the end of yesterday’s 12-miler and also today’s recovery run, which I assumed would be a slog.

Looking ahead:
This coming week, both the Wednesday run and the Sunday recovery run are bumping up to 8 miles.  I’m also “racing” the Wildcat Canyon half marathon — in truth, I’m using it as a supported, hard training run to get me back in the trail racing mindset.

And finally — thanks to everyone who has donated to my RBO fundraiser!  I’m just $74 away from my $1000 goal. Your support has really motivated me to stay on course with training, despite the rough start.  Thanks!!


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.

Posted in Uncategorized
9 comments on “A Rough Start (Big Basin Weeks 1-4)
  1. bt says:

    Looking forward to joining you on one or more of your training runs for the Big Basin 50K!

  2. Were you in Cold Spring Harbor? I’ve heard their courses are intense. Slow and steady is the key in training. I had several weeks that didn’t go as planned, but just make the best of it! You are doing great!

  3. Angela in SF says:

    Busy busy busy! But at least it sounds like mostly with cool stuff, and that you’ve also made time for some fun stuff too. (Also, I feel you on shower burn-out. Even when you legitimately like people & are happy for them, so much packed into a short time span takes its toll.)

    • Jen says:

      Thanks for the empathy! I really don’t mean to be such a grump about the showers, but why do they have to be all at the same time? I should be thankful that at least I’ll be done in a couple of weeks – one of my friends had 6 weekends in a row of baby and bridal showers!

  4. Cathryn says:

    I HATE showers!!! Baby showers are JUST starting to arrive in the UK and I am sad about that. I love my friends and I love their babies, but I hate their baby showers. So dull!!

    And don’t get me started on BRIDAL SHOWERS!!! So you found this amazing guy that you fell for. HE fell in love with you and asked you to spend the rest of your life with him. You won the Love Lottery. And we have to buy you PRESENTS ON TOP OF THIS???? As well as hotel/outfit/wedding present etc?? It makes me a little ragy – can’t you tell?

    We should throw you an Ultra Shower before Big Basin!!! People can bring gifts of gu, body-glide, nice new running clothes, sunscreen. We can play ‘Guess the Finishing Time’ and do 50 questions about your running career with the prize of a new pair of Altras! We could watch ‘Unbreakable’ and play ‘Pin The Bandana on Anton Krupicka.’ I would definitely come to your UltraMarathon Shower!

    • Jen says:

      Cathryn, you’re a genius!! I would love an ultra shower – or just to attend one.

      Totally agree with you re: bridal showers, especially when couples already have everything they need by the time they’re married. Thankfully, my friend (from this past weekend) specifically said no presents.

  5. Jan says:

    “Rubbish”! LOL! Sorry the week hasn’t been what you wanted. 😦 That is one crazy tough work schedule!

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On the docket…

4/28/19: London Marathon

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