Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sleeping with Cats

There's a lot that goes into training besides running.

Hydration. Nutrition. Gear. Fuel. Stretching. Cross Training. Body Glide.

Even the dreaded foam roller.

What's the most important component of training? It's the one I've yet to mention - sleep.

Sleep in the evening. More sleep than normal as training progresses. 

Sleep after a long run and a big brunch.

Sleep (rather tactfully) on the bus.

Sleep in the car.

Sleep on my parent's couch.

Sleeping when you don't intend to - Like when you sit down to go through your mail and wake up to Wheel of Fortune's bonus round and two cats in your lap.

And it's not even 7 pm.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Choosing a side of the fence

Yesterday I had lunch with a coworker.

We sat outside, under a tree by the water, enjoying the summer day. It's hard to believe we're coming up on Labor Day weekend.

She asked if I had plans to retire from the Marathon.

I'd given some thought to my plans for 2012. Maybe I'd take a year off. Or run a marathon somewhere else.

Ultimately, the decision was made the evening after registration opened, February 2nd.

I told Dave a record number of people had signed up in the first day. The Marathon was expected to sell out in just a few days. I told him I was still thinking about it.

Then Dave asked me a question - Can you stand the thought of being on the other side of the fence this year (as a spectator)?

I really enjoy watching the marathon. It's a thrill. I wish I could run it and watch it. But truthfully, no, I'm not ready to say goodbye to running it. Not just yet.

I checked the Marathon's website last night. The home page has an up-to-date countdown to race time. 40 days.

2012 will be number five, yet the thought of running one in 40 days makes my stomach churn.

Organic Peas

After a Saturday long run, I try to limit the places I go. I smell and I'm sore. I need a shower, some food, compression socks and bed.

But a few weekends ago, I found myself close to a Trader Joe's after brunching with friends. I decided to run in and grab a few things we'd had on our list.

Side note: TJ's Joe Joe's (their version of the Oreo) is amazing. Yep, I said it...and it comes in ice cream.

As I walked down the frozen food aisle, I came across a bag of frozen peas. My mind switched out of grocery shopping mode and into training mode. Frozen peas is the perfect food ice pack. I threw a bag in the cart.

I used my new found ice pack over the next few Saturdays. It worked perfectly.

Then last Saturday, Dave noticed them in the freezer. He mentioned wanting to eat them.

Since I'm pretty sure the contents are no longer safe for anyone to eat, I suggested we not eat that bag. I explained what their purpose was.

He looked at me and said 'And you needed organic peas for this?' 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon

Over last winter, Brian brought up a great destination race - The Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon.

We discussed among friends. When registration opened, Brian was the only one who registered. The race sold out in a few hours. A few months went by. After some research and good luck, I found Rudi. Rudi had signed up to run the race but wouldn't be able to make it. Suddenly I had an entry. I was heading to wine country in July.

Brian and I joked about our perceived success for this race. Was it realistic to think you're going to PR when encircled with wine? We decided going in to the race that we'd have PW (personal worsts) for the distance. This race would be more for fun and the experience than racing to race.

In the weeks leading up to the race, Brian planned out our schedule - we would spend a few days in San Francisco where we'd eat some incredible food, see some sights, eat some more food, and then have drinks. After we'd covered all that was San Francisco, we'd head to wine country.  We'd spend Saturday at the expo, touring some vineyards, then getting a good night's sleep before the race on Sunday.

San Francisco went pretty much as planned. Wine Country was flying by the seat of our pants.

We checked in at our hotel and headed to the expo. Small race equals a small expo, so we were out of there in about twenty minutes. Now on to wine. We arrive at our first vineyard. What was to be a two hour experience turned into the rest of our day. After making friends with the ladies serving us, they offered us concert tickets to see Five for Fighting at the Robert Mondavi Winery. It sounded like an experience we couldn't pass up. We canceled our dinner plans and headed over to the concert. The concert's set up was a lot like Ravinia, but in a vineyard. Which, of course, meant more wine. We left the concert before the end and make a stop at a store like Target to get some race day essentials. Back at the hotel, we had a late night snack with some gatorade, then on to bed...after one a.m.

A few short hours later, our alarms went off. We drove over to a hotel in Napa to board a bus to the start line. The Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon is a point to point race which starts, of course, in a vineyard. On the bus ride, we went over our evening before. Maybe we had hit the nail on the head when setting ourselves up for a PW in this race.

The race started by climbing a rather large hill. This caused concern as to what lay ahead, but by then we were running and committed.

All joking aside, the Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon ended up being a great race for both of us. The field was around 2500 runners. How doesn't love a point to point race format? At the last aide station, sips of wine were handed out in addition to the standard gatorade and water. The race was quiet and scenic with beautiful rolling hills. As we ran into Sonoma Plaza, the crowd grew as we closed in on the finish line.

After crossing the finish line, we were handed a wine glass and walked into a wine festival. Would you expect anything else from this trip?