Currently: November

Current Book - 22 Brittania Road by Amanda Hodgkinson

Current Running Path - 

Running the Presidio

Current Drink - Lipton tea with milk and sugar 

Current Excitement - I had a really fun day volunteering at the food bank this week with my family. It was nice to do something for others and to see family members that I don't see often enough.  

Current fashion trend - Yup, it's Movember again.

Current Favorite Blog/Website - Amazon

Current Garden Item - We still have tomatoes, but I turned one bed under to plant some winter veggies...TBD what kind! 

Current Love - Bat kid! Our hero! It was so inspiring to see the outpouring of support for him and his family. So inspiring!

Current Food - Mandarin oranges and persimmons.

Current Indulgence - Baked goods. 'Tis the season. 

Currently Pondering - Whether or not I want to make bread pudding, which I will probably eat most of by myself, or just throw my old loaf of bread away. 

Current Mood - Lazy: this darkness is really affecting me this year!

Current New Find - Did you know that Ross/Marshalls have exercise equipment? I even found a Nathan running belt there for about a quarter of the regular price! 

Current Outfit - I vacillate between pajamas, work clothes and running clothes. 

Current Peeve - People who walk and text. 
Current Song - This is a good running song, or is great if you just need a pep me up!


Current Triumph - I had a very fun and successful girls night in last weekend with food, drinks, dancing and fun! I need to do that more often! 
Current TV Show -  The Good Wife; I am trying it out. So far, it's pretty good. 

Current Wish-List - Printer ink. It's not cheap. I think the ink is about half the price of the printer!

Currently Delaying - Working on my Christmas cards. I know it's early but they take a while and I like to get them out right at the beginning of December.

What's your favorite TV show right now? What is your current love? What song do you listen to when you need a burst of energy?


Marine Corps Marathon

**This is the perfect day for this recap! Happy Veterans Day! Now, onto the MCM recap.... 

Since the Boston Marathon, I have neither run nor trained for a road race. I spent a lot of time training for trail races, which means lots of time on my feet and many miles, but none of them were run at a very quick pace. This led me to be a little uncertain of what the MCM would hold for me.

I had planned this several months ago with two friends who I had met last year at The Relay. One of them lives in Philadelphia, and he had been wanting to do the MCM for a long time. It was one of his bucket list races. The other gent hailed from Texas, and had never run a marathon before.

My plan was to attempt to run about a 3:30. I figured if I stayed at about an 8 minute pace the whole time, I could make it. However, like I said, I have been running the trails, at about a 10 - 12 minute pace, and I wasn't sure how it was going to go. I have done a couple of road runs, but they were at around a 9 minute mile and there were only a few of them. Texas had been training at about a 10 - 11 minute mile and he wanted to stay at this pace the whole time. Philly was injured; he used to run about a 6:30 pace, but since his injury has not been running. He was planning on running with Texas to keep him company.

Me and the boys -- ready to go!

The expo was a mess. We had to wait in line for 2 hours to get our bibs and goodie bags. Needless to say, this made me really doubtful of how good the race organization would be. However, it was pretty well organized! There were shuttles to the start line, with roughly a 1 mile walk to the start. The sweat checks were well labeled and there were a ton of porta-potties. We had to go through a bag check to get to the start line. The Star Spangled Banner was cool; there were a bunch of parachutes with flags that unfurled as they came closer to the ground.

The start line was self corralled. I lined up at the 3:20 - 3:39 corral (kind of a big gap, if you ask me) and actually got to talking to a few fellow runners about Boston. The guy behind me BQed but didn't get in this year because there were so many applicants. And then we were off!

Ready, set, go!

The first few miles had a lot of uphill. The wheelchair racers had started before us by about 5 minutes, and we ended up catching up to a lot of them at this point. I can only imagine how tired their arms must have been! I was really trying not to start off too quickly in this race. However, my first mile was slower than I would like, so I started to pick up the pace a little after that. Mile 1 - 5: 8:15, 8:07, 7:53, 7:30, 7:52

Miles 6 - 10 were pretty flat and were an out and back section. It was cool because I saw all of the front runners and then on the back portion, got a chance to look for my friends, but I didn't see them. Miles 6 10: 7:45, 7:49. 7:47, 7:57, 7:53. 

Miles 11 - 15 were a loop around the tidal basin and the Jefferson Memorial. I was still feeling pretty good and it was fun to see the crowds along the route. I was running along side a couple of Semper Fi guys and I just kept their red shirts in my sights. I saw a lot of the same spectators as they were criss-crossing the course and I could recognize them from their signs. Mile 11 - 15: 7:49, 7:52, 7:54, 8:08, 7:58. 

At mile 16, my hamstring started to give me trouble. I slowed down in order to save myself from injury and to attempt to save a little energy until the end. The best part about this section was that it was run along the Mall and for much of the time we were running toward the Capitol building and past the Smithsonian buildings. However, I was definitely starting to lose energy and my quads were tired and my hamstring was aching. Mile 16 - 20: 8:08, 8:23, 8:24, 8:26, 8:23.

They say the real race begins at mile 20, and for this race, this really was the truth. At mile 21, we crossed over the Potomac for the last time and people were walking. I wanted to join them so badly, but I knew that if I did, I would regret it later. So I kept plodding along, step after step. At mile 23, I ran near my hotel. I was about a quarter of a mile from it and I remember thinking about how I could just go there instead of to the finish. People were handing out doughnut holes and I remember thinking that maybe I could just stop for a while and eat a doughnut and call it a day. I ran past the pentagon and the start line and I finally passed the 25 mile mark. Mile 21 - 25: 8:24, 8:25, 8:24, 8:32, 8:34.

The last mile (point two!) was the longest mile ever. To top it all off, the last 30 or 50 feet before the finish line were uphill. I wanted to punch someone. I gave it all the gas I had left, which was barely any. Mile 26: 8:23, Mile 26.2: 8:06.

Finish: 3:34:57

iwo jima finish
Iwo Jima finish

The verdict? I started out too fast. Again. I fueled. I even ate a Gu, but I am not sure I fueled enough. I definitely did not train correctly. However, I had fun! The crowd was great; there were lots of gorgeous monuments; there were a ton of cute military guys; the weather was perfect. What more could you ask for?

Oh, and my friend from Texas, for his first marathon, got a 4:21, which is just under a 10 minute mile! He is a rock star! He beat his own goal and did so great! I am proud of him! He is already signed up for two more marathons too. See what happens?

Have you ever been to DC? What mile is your least favorite when you are running? Have you ever had a doughnut in the middle of a run?


Looking Back: October

After the month of September, where I did a lot of running but no races, October was the month of races but not as many miles. Having a couple of taper weeks really gave me a chance to do something besides running for a change! Here are some of the highlights of October:

Lake Merritt

Running: Like I said, although I had two races, my monthly total was not my highest. The first weekend was taper week, then it was the big race, then it was taper and then it was another race. Total miles for October = 140. Over half of them (76) were race miles.

Books: Hurray! This month I actually read  8 books. This is mostly due to the fact that I have not been on the internet, but it also due to one weekend of flying, in which I read almost two books. I finished the Percy Jackson series. The others were State of Wonder, Bossypants, The Art of Fielding & Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Of all of them, my favorite was probably State of Wonder. The Percy Jackson series was fun, but was probably about 3 out of 5 stars across the board.

Travel: I went to Philadelphia and DC for the Marine Corps Marathon, but that will be another post in itself. I also went up to Sonoma county with some friends for a nice day of eating and wine tasting. We had brunch at Parish Cafe in Healdsburg and then went to the Williams Seylem winery for some wine and treats. They were having an event and there were tasty treats like local cornbread with bacon, olive oil and chocolates. To be honest, we never made it to a second winery! But we had a very good time.

San Francisco mini tour

Friends: I spent one weekend with my brother and his lady. It was fun, as it was the one year anniversary of Broski's first race. In the last year, he has gone from running a few miles a week to wanting to try his first marathon soon! His longest run to date has been about 21 miles! I am so proud of how far he's come and it was really fun to do this race again together. This time, since it was the day after my 50 mile race, I walked the 5k with the lady and her sister while Broski ran the 10k with Dad. I also had some friends from the Midwest visit on Halloween, and we had a great time wandering around the city, eating burritos in the Mission and enjoying all the great costumes.

Food: It's that time of year again! I made an old favorite, Pumpkin Spice Muffins and of course lots of curries, stews and bean dishes. However, due to tapering and too many office parties, traveling and friends being in town, I did not really make very good food choices in October. I ate way too much! I need to get a handle on that before the "real" holidays are here! I sure do love me some desserts, fancy dips, carb heavy brunches, wines, cheeses, and meals out with many courses though! And let's not forget nuts. I ate a whole (16 oz) jar of peanuts at my desk the other day.

Music: I really love our local music venue, The Fox Theater, which is small enough that no matter where you are, you can see the band clearly. This was the month of concerts! I got to see Passion Pit, Joy Formidable, and Two Door Cinema Club. I also had a great time at a Bryan Adams concert in Santa Rosa. Have I mentioned that my first concert ever was Bryan Adams?  I have to say; he still rocks it.

Angst over the Government Shutdown

Other Highlights: Finding a great new brunch place with fabulous corned beef hash (they also have duck confit, which I love!), hosting my Aunt and her boyfriend in San Francisco for the day, only falling off my bike once in the middle of traffic, the regrowth of my new toenail,  the BART strike, a really great team pot luck at work, the Government Shutdown and a gorgeous sunset over Lake Merritt.

How was your October? What is your favorite Autumn recipe? What is your favorite brunch item?