My Side of the Mountain

This weekend I went skiing. It was fun.

Lake Tahoe

Did you know that skiing costs about the same amount (and more in some cases) as running a marathon?! I missed last year's ski season and somehow the price of tickets went up by about 20%. Since it costs the same amount, and I am a nerd when it comes to stats etc, I decided to wear my Garmin the whole time and see what happened.

Do you remember science class when you had to make a hypothesis and then test it to see if you were right or not?

What I was testing was this:

(1) How far each downhill run was.
(2) How many runs we would be able to take.
(3) If my heart rate would raise if I was going downhill, or if I fell or went over a jump.
(4) How many total miles we would ski that day.
(5) What my top speed would be.

I really had no idea what the results would be. I know I can run about 9 MPH at the most and I can't do that for very long, so I would definitely ski faster than that, but I had no idea how fast. I know that it always seems like the time in line is really long and the run down is really short, so I would probably guess that it was about 20 minutes up and 1 minute down. I figured my heart rate would raise but I wasn't sure how much since I wouldn't be putting out too much effort.

chair lift

Here is what I found:

(1) Average wait/ride up  =  6 - 10 minutes. Average trip down = 3 minutes / 1.25 miles.
(2) We got in 23 runs, maybe 24.
(3) Resting HR = 44, Max HR = 116, Ave HR = 60 (88 when I fell)
(4) We skiied between 25 and 28 miles in total.
(5) Top speed = 57 MPH, Average = 35 MPH

It was kind of fun to see the stats. I mean, it's amazing how fast 1.25 miles goes when you are speeding down hill at 57 MPH. We skied a marathon! Just for fun, I did some googling to find out what a really fast skier is: Fastest (speed skiing) = 156 MPH, Olympians (ave) = 75 - 95 MPH, Downhill racers (ave) = 40 - 60 MPH, Normal skiers (ave) = 10 - 20 MPH (source). Now I wonder if my Garmin was a little off.

Do you ever use your Garmin (or other tools) to track other things besides running? What did you find out?


A Day in The Life: Finding Free Time

Lately I have been feeling a bit like I don't have time for the things I like to do. I know that I have definitely been blogging less. So I sat down to try to figure out if I am managing my time badly, or if one thing has taken the place for others or what is going on.

5:30 Alarm goes off.

5:45 I actually get up.

5:45 - 6:10 Get ready for work, eat breakfast, get dressed, etc

6:10 - 6:30 Internet time: blogs, pay bills, return emails. You can see why my internet presence has been diminished lately.

6:40 - 7:10 Walk to carpool, wait for car, ride to city, walk to work (morning commute). During this commute I really don't have time to do other things, as I am usually chatting with the driver.

7:10 - 4:00 Work. I usually take a half an hour walk somewhere in the middle of all this, in order to get some fresh air and exercise during the day. I am also going to start going to the gym 1 - 2x per week on my lunch break. In that case I will take an hour for lunch and go home later.

4:00 - 5:00 Commute. This takes a little longer than in the morning, since I take the bus home and there is more traffic. Also the walk on either end is a little longer. Each day for my commute, I walk about 2 miles total. I also try to read on the bus ride home, which is about 25 minutes. This is sometimes the only chance I get (make) to read each day.

5:00 - 7:00 Get dressed for a run, get ready for a run and then go running. Lately my runs have been anywhere from 1 - 2 hours long since I am in the height of Boston training (last week: 58 miles).

7:00 - 8:00 Cook dinner, eat dinner, make lunch for the next day.

8:00 - 8:30 Shower, get ready for bed

8:30 - 10:00 Free time. Lately I have been trying to use this time to read, but I have been so tired, so I admit that I often have been catching up on Top Chef or the like. Some days I also use this time to make big meals for the week, or to do some more internet chores. However, I have even been too tired lately to blog or comment on blogs.

The Verdict? Maybe I need to be more specific about what I do during my free time hours? I find that I feel guilty if I don't "do" something productive but I feel tired sometimes if I do. Also, I think running has been taking over, but it's something I like to do, so it's not like I am giving up things I like to do when I am running. I am just doing less of the OTHER things I like to do, I guess. Which is okay. I just feel like I want to curl up all day and read once in a while.

The other thing is the TV. I have been putting it on for background noise during "free time" and then I end up watching it instead of doing other things. I need to either get over feeling guilty about it or stop doing it. "Poop or get out of the ocean", as a lady at work is fond of saying. Don't ask me what that even means.

What does your typical day look like? Do you find that you have enough free time in a day? If so, how do you do it!?


2nd Saratoga Fat Ass

It's a big secret. It's a "race" that doesn't have a website, that you don't pay for, and that doesn't have a start time. You have no idea who is running it or if you are going the right way. It's promoted by word of mouth.

My friend D, who I met when I volunteered for the Oholone 50k last year, invited me to run this with him. He is part of a running club in the San Jose area, and they do runs together quite often. The ultra running community really is quite small. You see a lot of the same people at the runs and races and often the same two guys are at the top of the results. This guy and this guy are the ones to beat (moral of the story: fast people have blogs?).

A few days before the run, D told me that he hurt his knee and that he wasn't going to make it. The area where the run was was one that I hadn't run before and I was a little wary of trying to negotiate the turns by myself. So I asked D if he knew anyone I could hook up with for the run. He suggested his friend L and soon she and I had arranged a meeting the next morning at 7. There weren't any other runners there when we started, but we knew a lot of them were planning on starting at 8.

We started off and I have to admit, she ran slower than I usually do. However, it made it so the run was not stressful. I never felt any twinges or pain or worries that I was overdoing it. The plan was to do three 10 mile loops, each which started and ended at the parking lot where the car was. This was a great way to not have to carry so much stuff because we could stop and refuel / refill every 10 miles. I have only run one 50k before, but it took me a little over 5 hours, so I figured this would be the same.

We saw several of the other runners along the way. One of them even took our picture!

Thanks Jean!
After the second loop, it was later than anticipated, so I ran a bit of the third loop with L and then turned around and went back to the car. All in all, I completed 24 miles in 5:02:36, for a pace of about 13 minutes per mile. There were some beautiful views along the way and I can't wait to come back to this area for another run!
2nd Saratoga Fat Ass

I felt great the next day, which just goes to show that slow and steady is the way to go! The best thing is that I made a new friend (thanks L!) and had a great time running around in the woods, as usual!

Have you ever done an "unofficial" race? Have you ever met up with a stranger for an event and ended up getting along great? Or badly?


Currently: February

Current Book - Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum -- so far this book is EXCELLENT and I can barely put it down! I am about half way through so far!

Current Drink - Beer

Current Excitement - I am hoping to go skiing soon!! The weather has been gorgeous and it has been snowing this week so it should be a great weekend for some fresh powder!

Current fashion trend - I have been seeing a lot of leggings on men. Mostly in the fitness world. But fellas, there are just some things you should really keep hidden. You know what I am talking about. 

Current Favorite Blog/Website - RunningAhead. I use it to track my miles, shoes, and routes while running. It's fun to see how many miles each of my shoes have on them and how much it has cost me per mile for that particular shoe! Best so far: $0.08 per mile! 

Current Garden Item - Dirt. It's time to start planting!
Current Love - Music/Concerts. I saw Muse in January, Jake Shimabukuro this month, and am going to Vampire Weekend in April and Bottle Rock in May. I am really loving the live music lately!

Current FoodKorean food. I love it all but the best part is all the little side dishes! I have had up to 20 at a time at this place
Jong Ga House

Current Indulgence - Maple almonds, or nuts in general. I have been going to town on them lately! 

Currently Pondering - Boston logistics. Hotels are SO expensive, but do I want to sleep on someone's couch the night before the big race? Decisions, decisions.... 

Current Mood - A little tired, but it's nothing I can't handle. Otherwise, pretty darn satisfied. Life is good.

Current New Find - Go Pago -- Its an app where you can order and pay for your food and then just go and pick it up (or have it delivered). I haven't used it much but it's great when you are in a crunch for time. I think it's only good in San Francisco and Dallas (go figure) but there are similar ones like GrubHub and Seamless

Current Outfit - Same ol', same ol', OH, except I got a hydration vest! Hurray!

Goat Rock, Saratoga Gap

Current Peeve - Litterbugs! I sat and watched two girls on the streets of San Francisco eat their McDonalds burgers and then throw the wrappers on the ground! At first I thought it was an accident and they were going to pick them up, but NO, it was blatant littering in the middle of the sidewalk! 
Current Song - 

Current Triumph - I ran a 24 mile trail run and I was NOT sore the next day! And I went to the DMV and I didn't pull out any hair or hurt anyone! 
Current TV Show - Army Wives. It's silly, but I am kind of hooked.

Current Wish-List - A trip to Nepal. Or anywhere really, but I really love Nepal. 

Currently Delaying - Sorting and naming my photos (I used to be very diligent about it. I don't know what happened). 

Do you sort your photos?  What are you currently pondering? 


Golden Gate Trail 30k

Remember the last half? The one where I fell? Well I guess I hadn't had enough because I went back to the scene of the crime for more, but this time, I decided to tackle the 30k. This was my first 30k and I wasn't sure how it would go. I have been running long runs of 20 miles, but they were on flat ground and this was going to be quite hilly. Here is the elevation profile.

According to the Coastal website, this would be approximately 4000 ft of elevation gain. I have run Coastal races before and have always liked them. They are in gorgeous places, the courses are varying, the snacks are great and the staff, volunteers and other runners are all very friendly. The usual players were in attendance: Broski and my friend TJ, who is one of my long run buddies but hasn't really done a lot of trail running. TJ and I ran the 30k and Broski ran the half.

The race started here, at Rodeo Beach:

Rodeo Beach

It was a nice clear and crisp day and the course, as you can see from the above map, started off by going straight uphill. And then straight down to the aid station. And then straight up. That's the thing about these trail races; it is very uncommon to have many flat areas. This one was no different.

Golden Gate Trail 30k hill

The cool thing about the course is that it goes through scrubby coastal areas, and then through Eucalyptus groves and then through open fields. There are views of the other hills, of the bay, the ocean, the city and the Golden Gate bridge. The entire time there is a nice fresh, cooling sea breeze. It was great. TJ and I basically chatted the entire time, just like we do on our long runs, and the run went by in a flash. At the end we ran it out although I have to admit, the quads were a bit tired.

We finished in 3:11:23. We got number 22 and 23 out of 100 runners for the 30k. Broski got 2:08, which was almost as good as his FLAT half marathon PR!! He is much faster without me (last time we got around a 2:30). He got #57 out of 232! He said he only walked once or twice. Go Broski!

All in all it was a great run on a beautiful day and I would return to THAT scene of the crime again in a heartbeat. 

What did you do on Sunday? Have you ever run a race with a friend? Do you like running hills?


Cream or Sugar?

A few days ago, I kind eavesdropped on Amber's virtual coffee date. She did most of the talking, but I really enjoyed it, so I thought I would invite you to have coffee with me and I would do some of the talking this time.

What are you having? I am buying. A latte? I am drinking a non-fat peppermint mocha, light on the mint, light on the chocolate. Double the whipped cream.

Things have been going well over here. The weather has been great and I have been enjoying it and getting outside and doing things. People talk about how San Francisco is the foggy city, but lately, it's been clear as a bell. Going to work, as ironic as it seems, has been great, since I have to go over the bay bridge and I get a view of the city each morning. It is like a little two minute pep talk each morning. It gets my day started right.

Speaking of work, it never gets old. About three months after I started, just as I was starting to understand what I was doing and to finally feel like I was doing things right, they switched me into a different department. Since then I have been slowly learning the ropes in the new position, but I have a long way to go. Every day I feel like I am behind. However, I have talked to others in the office and have been told you never DO feel caught up. The name of the game is prioritizing. I am learning how to do it better, but it's a game I am not quite used to playing yet.

Speaking of playing games, I have been having a great time meeting up with old friends from the Bay Area. I went running with one of them who was about to run her first marathon, I met up with another at First Friday and I had a great time going to the Muse concert with Broski last week. We bought tall beer cans at the corner market and put them in paper bags and pretended we were 17 years old, sneaking around behind the woodshed, drinking stolen beers from our parent's basement refrigerator. Not that I ever did that, but I heard that some people did.

Speaking of beers, this weekend was part of the SF Beer Week (which is still going on through next weekend) where you get a taster sized glass and you get to try a bunch of different kinds of beers in the same place. Also, many of them are beers you would not normally get. They are from smaller, lesser known breweries and are often from out of town. Saturday, I went to the Double IPA Fest with Broski and friends, where the beers and the beards were flowing. Yes, there were a lot of bearded dudes there. I found a new favorite beer Societe Brewing Co's Double IPA and I met the brewer, Doug, who was a nice guy on top of making a great beer. On Sunday, we went to the Sour Beer Fest and found another great beer: the Upright Brewery "Four". 

Let me summarize: Ladies, if you are single and you are looking for a bearded brewer who likes drinking beer, you should go to beer week. It was probably 80% men. Of those, 73% of them were bearded.

Although I haven't been talking about it much, I am also still running a lot. There are a couple of recaps in the works, but let me tell you that Broski was involved again! He is really on a roll folks! Other than that, there has been much training for Boston, running up and down hills, applying sunscreen, doing multiple loads of stinky laundry and plenty of listening to Pandora. My new favorite running station is the Rap Strength Training station. It really gets my feet moving!

So, now that you have had your latte and I have unloaded on you, tell me:

What's new in your life? What did you do over the weekend? What do have planned for the next week?


Virtual Weekend

This weekend I had a really great run along the San Francisco Bay Trail. This is 500 miles of shoreline trails around the bay. The trail doesn't go continuously the entire way; there are some gaps. The section I ran runs from Emeryville to Richmond with no gaps and is about 11 miles long. It's a really nice section, with views of San Francisco almost the entire time. I did an out and back totaling 20 miles and it couldn't have been a better day for it.

As I've already mentioned, Laura is doing a 5 by the 5th Virtual Race where you run either a 5k or a 5 miler before the 5th of each month. This is a great way to get out there and get each month started right. In fact, I may make a tradition out of it, even after June is over. For this race, I used the last 5 miles, where I clocked a 40:30 for those 5 miles.

I also used part of this run as an entry for Jill's Tackle the Miles Virtual Race. For hers I used the first 13.1 miles of my run, which I finished in 1:52.24. Even though the Niners lost, I still tried to make some tackles of my own. The first half of the run was actually a lot harder than the last half. I had a really hard time getting going and was glad to have Jill's challenge in my mind to help push me along.

It is always fun to participate in these virtual races. It never hurts to have a little more inspiration to get my butt moving! Plus, it was well worth it. The views were fabulous and the weather was great and I was so glad to get out and enjoy it (at least after the first 13 miles were over). These races also count as part of my 13 in 2013 challenge that Jill is hosting! 

SF Bay Trail city view

What did you do this weekend? How was the weather in your neck of the woods? Did you join either of these virtual challenges? 


Karma Police

I must have done something wrong because this weekend it was one of those weekends where all kinds of weird stuff happened. Friday started out pretty good, with some time in Uptown Oakland, where there is a monthly street fair called the Art Murmur (or First Friday) where you can walk around, eat street food, look at art and listen to music. It was quite fun. Until this happened. Luckily I didn't find out about this until the next day.

I left around 10:30 and headed home. The next day I realized my wallet was missing. I know I had it when I got on the bus, because I took my bus pass out of it to get on the bus. Somewhere between getting on the bus and getting home, it went missing. I know also that someone took it and it's not just hidden in the inside pocket of my jacket, because I checked my accounts online and there were purchases on there that I hadn't made. The ironic part? They only spent $1.75 at Safeway (grocery store), $2.50 at 711 and $40 at Chevron. That's it. If I stole a credit card, I would go on a way bigger shopping spree than that!

So I spent Saturday first trying to remember everything that I had in my wallet. Do you know exactly what you have in yours? It took me a while and I am still not sure that I remembered all of them. Then I started calling to cancel my cards. The cards aren't the crappy part though; the purchases on them can be reversed and I will get new ones in the mail in 3-5 days. The worst is the drivers license. Getting a new one entails going to the DMV, which is only open from 8 - 5 on weekdays, hence causing me to miss work to go over there to stand in line for hours. Argh.

SF Bay Trail
SF Bay Trail

Sunday I decided to erase any bad events from the past few days and take a nice long run along the bay. It was a beautiful day and the run was going pretty well until I was running along minding my own business when an unleashed dog bounded up to me, jumped on me and knocked me down onto the pavement. Remember when I fell before? Well this time I fell on the opposite knee and hand so I have matching pairs. Hurray. I didn't even take time to get mad at the guy whose dog was supposed to be leashed before heading off to finish the run.

And then the Niners lost.

Watch out for the Karma police. They are a B. Itch.

Have you ever had a series of strange events happen to you? Do you believe in Karma? Have you ever had your wallet stolen/lost?


Failure to Communicate

I work with a lot of recent college grads. On the other hand, there are quite a few people who are closer to retirement than college. It's interesting when you are sitting around talking with them; sometimes it's me staring at one of them with a blank look when what they say makes no sense to me; sometimes it's the other way around.

For instance, do you guys know what YOLO means? Yeah, I didn't either. It means, "you only live once".

There are so many other things where I have no idea what people are talking about. I don't watch TV, so I already have a gap when it comes to that kind of stuff, no matter what the era, but if it's in the past few years especially, I am so out of the loop. I was informed of several shows that were "so good" that I just "had to watch" so I went and watched one of them and was baffled by what was going on.

One of my coworkers keeps talking about Roadhouse. Have you seen it? Yeah, me neither. Apparently it's about Patrick Swayze and a bar and a bouncer and there are a couple of one liners that these guys keep throwing out. Like this one: I want you to be nice until it's time to not be nice. Apparently that works for my line of work as well as being a bouncer. So I am just like a bouncer.

I was talking to some different coworkers the other day and they were talking about how the reason something wasn't working was because there was bad communication and I threw out this line: What we've got here is failure to communicate. Do you know where it comes from? Neither did any of my coworkers. It was first coined in Cool Hand Luke and was later put into the G&R song Civil War, which is what I was quoting.

It's funny how people have different phrases, movies or music that were popular when they were growing up, as well as different things that they are interested in now. These things can separate us sometimes, but they can also bring us together. I mean, now I know a couple of lines from a bad Swayze movie and a very useful phrase in acronym form.

What topic, phrases or lines have people said to you lately that went over your head? or What have you said to them that they didn't understand?