What progress looks like

Of all the supposedly “essential” running equipment I use, there are two tools that I couldn’t do without: Sporttracks software and my Garmin GPS watch. Using the two in combination, I’m not only able to see my progress from day to day, but also from month to month, season to season, and — perhaps most dramatically — year to year.

Take a look at this chart. It shows three pieces of data: Average pace, average heart rate (% of max) and average length of run.

What a difference a couple of years (and a few thousand miles) makes. (Click to enlarge.)

What a difference a couple of years (and a few thousand miles) makes. (Click to enlarge.)

Notice how the average pace and the average heart rate have dropped as the average distance has increased? Funny that.

Dear Crazy Costco Bitch: The Movie

Dear Crazy Costco Bitch,

I know it’s sometimes frustrating to go to Costco and discover that there are other people there who want to buy things at the same time that you want to buy things. That’s why I usually go midweek, sometime in the afternoon after school has let out yet before people get off of work. I’m usually delighted by the short lines at those times. And today was no different.

Apparently you held a different opinion. You’d filled your cart to the brim with delicious, supersized goods. It must have weighed at least 200 lbs. Yet your steel cornucopia’s challenging density didn’t deter you from flitting from line to line, certain that you could outwit the time/space continuum. It seems that at some point you settled on my line and, shoving your cart in front of a woman who was clearly already behind me, you declared, “I’m behind her!”

Had I been the victim of your cart-bullying, I would have spoken up. But, perhaps seeing abdication as being the better part of valor, my former linemate chose to let you have your way and moved to another line. So there we were, waiting for the person ahead of us (yes, just one customer) to finish his transaction. But things weren’t moving fast enough for you. No, you just had to share your management and logistics expertise by bellowing, “Too much talking! Not enough working!” and “Come on! I want to get out of here!”

To accommodate you, two Costco employees proceeded to open up the closed register next to us. At which point you moved your cart over and began to place items on the conveyor belt. But things still weren’t moving fast enough for you. When you were told it would take a minute or two to set things up, you escalated your fit, throwing items across the aisle onto the empty conveyor belt behind my items. Again, you made your wishes clear. “I want to get out of here!”

Lady, we wanted you to get out of there too.

A few moments passed, during which I began my transaction, eager to get away from you as quickly as possible. But then you decided to talk to me. Fortunately, you didn’t screech at me. Instead, the true depths of your madness emerged. In a scene right out of Sybil, Tantrum Woman was gone and instead I had a new best girlfriend! “Hey,” you fairly moaned, “Those strawberries look awesome.”

Let’s get something straight here. I am not your friend. And, setting aside for the moment that I loathe anyone over the age of 16 who uses the word “awesome” without irony, I am in fact mad at you for several reasons. First, you have just made every middle aged, middle class white woman in the world look like a clueless, entitled, whiny, hateful prima donna. Thanks a lot. Second, and more important, you’ve just spent five minutes verbally abusing people who are trying to help you and who are still being nice to you. That’s why I turned around and said, “You see these people here? They are human beings. Why don’t you try treating them as such?”

Okay, I didn’t really do that. I was just having one of my Walter Mitty moments and couldn’t actually bring myself to confront an odious dragon lady such as yourself. Maybe one day I’ll have the balls to do such a thing. I like to hope so.

Instead, I asked the cashier if she had to take happy pills to do this job. Then I told her about the one stint I had in a job “serving the public” and how I lasted all of a month in it. Do you know why I was talking to her? Just to piss you off!

Maybe you saw us laughing. Did you wonder what we were laughing about? We were laughing at you!

I know it’s hard to change. You probably won’t. That’s why one day I hope you have to work a retail job, or some other job dealing with the public, so you can spend your days navigating an endless series of abusive, five minute long relationships with people just like you.


Races Like a Girl

P.S. Are you the same crazy bitch who nearly ran me over on Pipeline Road this morning when I was out for my run?

Ran 10 this morning

Easy going at 9:42 pace. My legs felt a smidgen better than they did a few days ago. Like, maybe, 70-mile-a-week legs rather than 100-mile-a-week legs.

This should be getting very interesting very soon.

I’m not running today.

This is the first day in 20 weeks that I’ve not gone for a run.

It feels really weird.

For Nate Jenkins fans

A new podcast interview.

Spring Race Training: Week 17 / Taper Week 1

09spr-training-17Welcome to my taper week. Won’t you come in and sit down? Because sitting down is what tapering’s all about. Sitting and resting. And thinking. Thinking about that big race you’ve been preparing for every day for the past six months. And trying not to worry.

Do try not to worry…

I’m a little worried. But that’s what coaches are for! Having hit Kevin with the latest data file and a barrage of questions, I’m waiting for his particular brand of “don’t worry” response.

So, yes, I’m a little worried. But I know the worry is irrational. The worry comes from the Wednesday workout, in which I again attempted (and failed) to hit marathon pace.

I almost did it, managing 7:08 average pace. But, shit, I was tired going in and had to take two rests during the 10 mile track opus. I had to remind myself that I’d run a huge workout over the weekend (22 miles with the last 12 at MPace). I was still carrying fatigue from that effort and, I suspect, the cumulative effort of weeks and weeks and months and months of running at an unprecedented level.

All of my diary entries up until yesterday contain a variation on “My legs are trashed! I am so tired!”

So, the rational part of me says, “Hey, it’s only two seconds off pace. You’ve been training like a Navy Seal. You’ll have no trouble after a few weeks of…”


So here we are, in taper week 1 of 3.

I did feel better starting yesterday, so much so that I had to be careful not to run too fast on yesterday’s recovery run. Because I wanted to run well today, as it’s my last long run before M Day.

Today’s run showed a glimmer of the taper effect. I decided to run by heart rate, not pace. My only requirement was that my average HR not exceed 73% of max over the course of the run. I could do whatever I wanted from mile to mile, but had to keep things easy overall. So the average stayed at 73%. And I averaged 8:22, a run which in the past few weeks has required an average effort more in the 75% range. What’s that I hear? The sound of energy returning? Sounds good.

Next week I anticipate that I’ll be climbing the walls. I have tomorrow and Thursday off. All the other days are recovery pace days. I have doubles on Friday. But I don’t even get to run a single stride. My mileage will top out at a whopping 40 miles. Seems like old times.

Before I go, congratulations go out to two runner acquaintances who raced their goal marathons today: Cowboy Hazel and “Joe Positive.” Cowboy had a great day in Maryland: He qualified for Boston and then some, set a huge PR, plus got second in his AG. And “Joe” ran a solid race in Ohio, also picking up third in her AG. Hooray!