2017 Year-end wrap-up

2017 Year-end wrap-up

I know that I haven’t posted anything in quite a long time.  Honestly I ran out of steam.  With the way that this year has gone (from everything in the world to everything in my little world), I just lost all motivation to post.  I drastically decreased my baking though still kept up with running (just not to the degree I had been doing it earlier this year).  I didn’t have any races after my Spring ones so didn’t feel the urge to run a ton and post about it.  I did work on increasing my running intensity (doing intervals on the treadmill and outside), which I think is good for my overall fitness.

There have been a lot of other big things going on such as re-doing our entire kitchen and taking up a new hobby.  Since I know this blog isn’t really read regularly or even much at all, I’m going to jot down some notes/thoughts from the past year mostly so I remember it.

Early 2017 involved some big changes at work with new co-workers that I worked with closely.  I enjoyed it as I got to put on a different work hat — that of being a mentor.  Also there were a ton of staffing changes and something I’ve started to be more comfortable with, which is change.  I’ve always been the type to like everything to stay fairly constant.  Change is/was always a scary word to me.  I need to take the advice of my father, who has the philosophy to “go with the flow” (of the river…or life).  I think that at least with regards to work, I’ve become better at adjusting to changes.

The highlight of the early part of 2017 was two-fold.  Japan (see posts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6) and the Big Sur Marathon.  While I was sick for the latter half of the Japan trip, it was still such an amazing place to visit and great experience.  The Big Sur Marathon was a bucket-list marathon and I’m still amazed I got in on the first go around with the lottery system.  Even though I bonked (and didn’t have the best taper leading up to the race due to Japan), I still enjoyed the experience overall.  Most likely I’ll never do it again so it was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me.  Plus you can’t beat visiting Monterey/Carmel.

The latter half of 2017 was focused mostly on the kitchen.  At some point I’ll probably put up some posts about it since it was a big part of the year.  I’m happy with the outcome and glad that it is done with.

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Sneak peek

A trip down to San Diego at the end of the year was a nice way to cap it off as well.  Again, I somehow was sick for this trip as well so even though I didn’t feel the greatest, I still enjoyed it because it is San Diego! Continue reading “2017 Year-end wrap-up”

Marathon Training Week 15 & 16

A bit late but I figured I should get my 2nd to last week of training in before the actual Big Sur Marathon.

I was pretty much recovered from my GI illness and was able to get some okay runs in.  I know that I’m supposed to be tapering so I didn’t really push myself too hard but I wanted to at least get some decent mileage in.  I also tried to hold back a little in terms of pushing the speed (not that I’m fast to begin with).

Tuesday – 3.75 miles

Thursday – 4.25 miles

Friday – 6.25 miles (treadmill)

Saturday -3.5 miles

Sunday – rest

Total – 17.75 miles

Week 16

Tuesday – 3.5 miles

I’ve been experiencing some tenderness in my left distal calf.  It doesn’t seem to bother much after I get about 0.5 mile into my run but I can feel it when I am done with my run.  I’ve only done one run in week 16 because I don’t want to exacerbate my calf.  I will probably do a very short shakeout run on Saturday before the race.

I’m still working on my Japan posts but here’s a sneak peek:

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-StewsCat

Marathon Training Week 11

Another week down, another 100+ mile month.  This is the first time I’ve ever done this much mileage two months in a row.  I’ve never had more than one 100+ mile month in a year prior to this year.  I’m happy to report that I’ve managed to do this high mileage while avoiding any major injuries.  I’ve had a few days of some soreness in my right knee and also left calf, but overall nothing that doesn’t go away after a day of rest.  So I’m pretty happy with how my training is going thus far.

Now for the not so great news.  My longest run (20 miles) was set for this past Friday.  Of course Friday was the one day we were supposed to get rain for most of the day.  I also altered my plan during the early part of the week and ran Tues-Wed instead of Mon-Wed.  Seemed to work out okay.

Here’s a summary of last week’s running.

( ) = # of miles on my plan

Tuesday – 2.5 (3)

Wednesday – 4.5 (9)

Friday – 16.07 (20)

Saturday – 3.2 (4)

Sunday – 3.0  (3) – treadmill, walking.

Weekly Total – 29.27 miles (39)

I woke up on Friday and wasn’t really feeling all that motivated.  The weather wasn’t helping matters that much.  Normally I’ve been starting my long runs around 9 am so that takes me anywhere to 12 or 1 pm usually for anything over 16 miles.  The morning started kinda hazy with a very fine mist sprinkles while I was having breakfast and coffee.  I continued to kinda of mozy around and get myself psyched up to go on my long run.  I stepped out of the door around 9:30 into some light rain but with some decent winds that were quite chilling.

Luckily for me I have a loop in my neighborhood that is almost exactly 1 mile (slightly over 1 mile) from my house.  With the way the weather was, I decided I’d just run this 1 mile loop for as long as I could so that I had somewhere to take shelter if the rain got really bad.  I also like it because that means I have bathroom access (not just at my house but there’s a park about 1/2 mile into the loop as well).  The only downside with loop running is that it can get boring and you want a new view of things.  I made it to 3 miles and then took off on another path to do 2.5 additional miles.  My tummy had not been feeling the greatest before I started running and I ended up having to make a pit stop at the house.  Soon I started to bargain with myself.  I told myself I could stay out in the cold rain for 10 miles and then do the last 10 miles on the treadmill.  I also didn’t want to spend too much time on the dreadmill because it too can also be boring for too long.

I knew it was also good for me to be out in the rain because it is a possibility for my race in about 6 weeks.  I need to learn to run in different types of temperature and weather.  This year has been especially wet in California so who knows if it may be raining on race day.

I ended up making it to 8.75 miles out in the rain when I called it quits (had to make another pit stop) and switched over to the treadmill.  I started my run there and soon realized I’d rather be out in the rain.  I made it about 3.25 miles on the treadmill and then decided to go out into the rain again (the rain was heavier than it was during my first 8 miles). I pushed and persevered and hit 4 miles (I had told myself that 4 miles was my minimum up to the 8 miles to complete the 20 miles).  I had recently read that one theory for marathon long run training is not to exceed 3 hours because beyond that the benefits do not outweigh the risks (i.e. injury).  So that’s where I came up with 4 miles minimum on my 3rd leg to have a final of 16 miles.

So the end result was just a tad over 16 miles.  I’m happy with it, especially given my lack of motivation and the rain.

No pictures on my runs this week with the rains.

Sunday morning I woke up with a lot of sneezing and a constantly dripping right nose.  I do have pretty bad allergies in the springtime but this felt more like maybe I was getting sick.  Even though I thought maybe I was getting sick I still wanted to get some miles in.  So I compromised with myself and did 3 miles of walking on the treadmill (~3.5 mph so I still broke a sweat).

Overall I’m still happy with my training thus far and hope to keep it up and be ready for the race in Big Sur.

We also went to a pizza joint we used to go to a lot (Hot Italian).  Since I’ve been making pizza myself we haven’t gone in awhile.  I do like their cocktails though, and Saturday was decently warm so I had a Negroni.

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Negroni

-StewsCat

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Marathon Training Week 9

Marathon Training Week 9

Week 9 had some highs and a lot of lows.  As you’ll see below, I ended up only doing 2 runs the entire week.  For my scheduled Tuesday and Thursday runs I can blame work for not getting them in.  Normally I get off work around 6 but due to various circumstances on both those days I had to stay late and was just too tired to get a run in when I got home.  I’m not sweating it too much.

The high of the week was actually hitting the 18 mile distance and feeling somewhat okay afterwards.  I keep telling myself that for the actual race I’ll be doing an additional 8.2 miles so I better feel “okay” after an 18-miler.

Here’s a summary of last week’s running.

( ) = # of miles on my plan

Tuesday – 0.00 (3)

Thursday – 0.00 (8) – in reality, 8 miles was a bit ambitious considering 18 the following day.

Friday – 18 (18)

Saturday – 4.05 (5)

Sunday –  0.00 (4)

Weekly Total – 22.05 miles (37)

My long run was taken along the American River Trail again.  This time I went further and traversed the bridge past William Pond Park.  I ran over this bridge when I did the Run The Parkway Half.  There were tons of Canadian Geese out.  They were just all over the place.

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It is amazing how quickly the water level drops after no rain for a few weeks.  Not sure when we’re going to get more rain but I feel like we need some more over the next 1-2 months to feel okay with being out of the drought.

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My last run I ran past this tree with these bright vibrant yellow flowers.  Now, 2 weeks later the flowers are still there but they appear so much more dull.

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So I crossed the bridge and explored some new territory.  I stopped at a bathroom/water fountain area that was cool but a bit isolated.  I pictured a horror movie where I was being chased by some masked villain.  Luckily this was only about a 1/4 mile detour.

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Even though my 18 miler was slower than my 16 miler, I think it is good progress.  It is amazing how I slowed so much on the 18 miler even though for the 16 miler, I had put in some tough fast hill miles the night before the 16 miler.  Strange how the body works.

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Sunday I woke up in a funk and just wasn’t feeling it (it = life).

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The dog had the right idea

So rather than get a run in that may have helped my mood, I went out to dinner for some cocktails and pizza.  I had the notion of doing a few night miles after dinner but when I ordered that second cocktail, I knew that running was out of the question.  I also had a baking fail.  I decided to make some bread but was too cocky and didn’t check the temperature of the bread when I finished and of course the center of the loaf wasn’t cooked.  It was just gummy paste.  Fail.  But at least the cocktail and pizza look delish!

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Negroni
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Three types of pepperoni!!  And prosciutto with arugula

-StewsCat

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Marathon Training Week 8

I made it through the halfway mark of my training plan.  This week was a step down week in terms of mileage and long run distance.  I did read a Runner’s World article about improving your marathon finish time.  One of the points was to not run all your long runs as an LSD (“Long Slow Distance”).  In the past, many of the training protocols I would peruse talked about doing all your long runs at a slow conversational pace.  I guess there has been some changes to this thought.  I decided to do my long run this week as more of a training run.  So for the 10 miles I broke it up into: first 3 miles easy, middle 4 miles at moderate pace and last 3 miles at slightly moderate to easy pace.  I definitely felt it more in my legs by doing this.  I am hoping this will help build up my endurance better.

Here’s a summary of last week’s running.

( ) = # of miles on my plan

Tuesday – 3.25 (3)

Thursday – 3.1 (7) – treadmill, incline, intervals

Friday – 10 (10)

Saturday – 4.05 (4)

Sunday –  5.5 (5)

Weekly Total – 25.9 miles (29)

My Thursday run ended up being quite shorter than what is on my plan.  A lot of this is due to my work schedule.  After arriving home on Thursday from work, I helped to put dinner together and while it was cooking I hopped on the treadmill.  I still feel good about the workout because I did various intervals and different inclines to get some “hill” training.  Saturday’s run was truly a drag and I just wasn’t feeling it.  Grinded out the 4 but it was slow and tough.  The last run on Sunday was after working and I did a tempo run.  Maintained around a 10 min/mile pace.  Overall felt pretty good about it though my right knee was complaining some.  Overall I thought the week went well.

This week’s long run I took along the river trail but towards downtown Sac and got some cool pictures.  The trail runs under the Business 80 freeway and then under some train tracks.

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The graffiti actually shows a fair amount of talent.  I can’t help but think these guys/gals could have a future in some sort of graphic design.

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I also like that you can run on the lower part of the trail with the berm on the side.  It makes you feel like you’re in nature.

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I eventually made my way over to Sutter’s Landing park and had a view of the somewhat sad-looking Sacramento skyline.

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I do like the architecture in Midtown Sacramento.  There are lots of neat looking homes.  I didn’t snap too many but just have this one.

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And then I passed through McKinley Park.  They are redoing the pond there and it is currently empty. They had to delay work on it due to the massive amounts of rain we had been getting.

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And I’ll leave you with this lovely maintained yard (not mine).

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-StewsCat