I’ve figured it out!

Why I haven’t been keen on updating, that is. The reason I’ve been neglecting NSN is because ALL of my devices have been crapping the bed. My normal practice was to start a blog post on my phone, since that is where all my photos are. I would then turn to my home laptop to clean things up (because I hate typing more than a few lines on my phone).

However, I’ve mentioned how old my phone is. I have the Google Galaxy Nexus phone which I purchased in 2012. It still functions, but it runs an old operating system and a lot of the apps no longer update because it is outdated. I have my eyes on the rumored new Google phone, the Nexus 5 2015 (or Nexus 5X, apparently) which allegedly will be announced next Tuesday. Either that or I might try the OnePlus Two, which requires an invite to purchase (if anyone has an invite, hook a girl up?).

BABY BLUE?! Want!

ANYWAY, I think the age of my phone is causing my WordPress updates to fail. What happens is I type a long post on my phone, add media, and then laugh to myself and revel in how clever I am.  When I save the draft, it ends up failing halfway through and I lose half of my witty commentary and almost all of the photos. When I go to fix everything on my computer, most of the post is gone. That makes me so frustrated that in my second attempt at writing, I’m not NEARLY as hilarious as the first time. All that wasted genius …

MEANWHILE, my old Sony Vaio laptop (“Snowball”)* is starting to die. It overheats (ironically) and turns off randomly. It failed us during an all important fantasy football draft. I could use my work laptop but clearly that violates the rules, so I avoid that.

I DO have my solid gold iPad (“Goldie”)*, which I’m digging. However, I hate typing on it! I prefer typing on a good old Qwerty keyboard that has clicky keys and with which I can flex my 70 words per minute muscles. Plus I’m so used to Android that I have trouble with features like copy/paste on IOS. I also don’t take a lot of pictures with my iPad, so I still have to turn to my phone for media.

I’m hoping that when I do get my new phone, the WordPress app will function smoothly on it and I will be an updating fool once again!

IN ANY EVENT, I am working on fixing up one such recent post that has been failing me and that I’ve had to retype a few times. I’ll try to make more of an effort to update even with my device situation. Stay tuned!

*I name everything. It’s a weirdness. Ask my sister.

2015 Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon Recap (FINALLY)

Brace yourself, it’s a long one.

This post has been hanging over my head for over a month now! I started writing it almost immediately after the race, but I don’t know if I should blame WordPress or my computer or myself but SOMETHING kept failing to save the draft.

Also, I have been a little glum since the race because of an injury I sustained (more below). In the 5 weeks since the half, I have run ONCE. It has bummed me out, which I think has subconsciously turned me away from blogging. My hope is that if I power through, I can go back to a regular schedule of posting. Because, at the very least, WINE!

Anyway, here is the summary of my time in Sonoma for my very first half marathon. It was such an amazing experience and I am so glad I did it! I’m also so happy that  Dan and Mom were with me. It made the trip so much more fun!

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***

The Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon I ran with Team Challenge was a rewarding experience and also a total blast. I had such a great time before, during, and after the race.

Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

Friday, July 17: I booked a late flight on Friday so I could save vacation days for the actual vacation part! Luckily Virgin America (my FAVORITE) has a 7:00 PM flight that arrives in San Francisco at 10:30 PM, so I could take off after work.

Dan had to wait until the next morning to leave and Mom booked a cheaper, earlier flight, so it was just me! I was stuck in a middle seat but luckily the two others in my row were together, so they gave me the window! SCORE! (I paid forward this courtesy on our flight home from Vegas, letting a taller guy have my aisle seat and taking the middle seat next to Dan).

My flight arrived a little later than scheduled and I had to drive 1.5 hours to my hotel in Santa Rosa. I’m not a great night driver – I get drowsy instantly. I was also extremely paranoid that the GPS on my ancient phone would fail on me at any moment. However, the jolt of adrenaline from driving in a new place kept me alert long enough, and my GPS never failed! I even drove over the Golden Gate bridge!

I arrived at the hotel at 1:00 AM PDT and was greeted by a different Lucy!

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It was nice to have any Lucy greet me at the door, even if it wasn’t my crazy cat (the hotel was in Santa Rosa, home of the Peanuts museum). After I arrived at the hotel, I texted Dan as I was getting to bed. It was 4:00 AM at home and he was just arriving at the airport for his 5:00 AM flight. Yuck.

Saturday, July 18: I met up with Mom early in the AM and we grabbed some coffee before heading BACK to SFO to pick up Dan. We went to Flying Goat, a quintessentially Californian coffee shop. The coffee was free range and the muffins were Level 5 Vegan and there wasn’t a gluten to be seen. It was actually really tasty!

Because I am stupid and also lazy, I sat in the driver’s seat thinking “Should I go back for my phone charger? Nah.” I regretted this after 2 minutes and made my poor Mom shut off her phone so we could save battery power for GPS. Before leaving the east coast, I had printed out directions between the hotel and the airport in case my phone failed me (see? Paranoid). Poor Mom didn’t get to take a picture as we drove over the Golden Gate Bridge though!

Fortunately Dan’s plane was on time (and his phone had juice)! Our next stop was the race expo. I had never been to an expo but I was looking forward to sampling some expensive electrolyte water I’d never buy.

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Dan and I BOTH picked up race bibs. Dan was able to sign up for the GunBun Fun Run 5K at the last minute! It was sold out when he first decided to sign up (like a week before the race), but a few days prior, some spots opened up! He was pumped. Also, how cute are the race numbers? The half marathon bibs had red grapes and the 5K bibs featured green grapes.

At the expo we picked up some souvenirs ($2 water bottles? Unheard of!), but we didn’t stay long because it was REALLY hot. After the expo we got some lunch and provisions at Oliver’s, a Whole Foods-y type market and deli. I needed to buy some combination of carb + banana + nut butter for my pre-race fuel. The carb of choice? Pretzel rolls!

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Pretzels are the source of my powers.

From there I had a team meeting to go over logistics – where to get the buses for the pasta party, what time to meet in the lobby, are there bathrooms on the bus? (Important IBD question). We learned that Team Challenge had over 600 participants for the half marathon! That was nearly 20% of all runners. I could not wait to run in a SEA OF ORANGE!

Between the team meeting and the pasta party we had some time to kill. My teammate Mark asked if we wanted to join him and his lady Shayna for a complimentary wine tasting at Russian River Vineyards. I hesitated – should I really indulge in (free) wine the night before the race?

That indecision lasted for about a half of a second. Onto the winery!

I exercised SOME restraint and only took one or two small sips of each wine before passing the rest to Dan and Mom. I also drank gallons of water to stay hydrated. I forgot to take pictures of the winery and failed to take notes. I remember thinking the Gewurztraminer would be something my sister and bro-in-law would enjoy and discussing the “neutral oak” barrels that aged the lovely Chardonnay.

My mom ended up liking this winery so much, she joined their wine club when she got home! I can’t wait to try some of the bottles she receives.

We had just enough time after the tasting to clean up and change for the pasta party. Each Team Challenge contingent had its own team T-shirts for the pasta party. Bowel puns everywhere!

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Our 8-year-old honoree came up with “Call of Doodie.” Can’t argue with that.

The pasta party was great. They held it outside and the food was available as soon as we sat down. We heard awe-inspiring, gut-wrenching speeches and had some laughs. Our teammate Kennedy was the MC and she was awesome! At one point during all of our honoring of amazing folks, she asked all the participants who are also patients (like me!) to stand up for a round of applause. That was the moment I felt … accomplished? Like, I’m not just running for people with Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, I’m running IN SPITE OF ulcerative colitis. I’m doing the thing!

When we bused back to the hotel from the pasta party (like at 8:00 PM), it was bed time. We had a 4:15 AM wake up call and needed to hit the hay.  Of course, I was so paranoid about forgetting something that I had to lay out all my gear before “sleeping.”

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Needless to say, I did not get much sleep that night. I probably didn’t fall asleep until about midnight or so. Yikes.

At some point in the night, Team Challenge endurance manager Jenny left a motivational poster on my door!

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Sunday, July 19: RACE DAY!  Lack of sleep be damned, I was a ball of nervous energy at the crack of dawn! Dan and I changed quickly, gobbled up our pretzel bread/almond butter/banana sandwiches (I could only choke down half) and met up with the Team Challenge-rs in the hotel lobby.

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Our hotel was about 45 minutes from the start line. We saw watched the sunrise from the bus.

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While riding to the race, I started to get nervous to the point of panicky. Dan did a good job trying to calm me down, but I was a wreck.

The best part of running with the IBD crowd? While on the bus I got up to use the bathroom and was informed by the person exiting the stall that there was no more toilet paper. No less than three other people on the bus immediately offered up their own personal stash of toilet paper. Love my Crohn-ies!

We got to the starting line with plenty of time to gear check, use the porta potties, and enjoy the view!

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Poor Dan had to manage my nerves and his own concern about finding the bus to the start line of the 5K. I could tell he felt bad leaving me. At least I had Erin, Mark, and a million other orange-singleted teammates.

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We dawdled a little and ended up near the end of the line to start. There were no waved start times or corrals based on speed. It was a bit of a free-for-all, which would matter more if I expected to be fast!

See that teeny, tiny white mark way in the distance? That's the start line.
See that teeny, tiny white mark way in the distance? That’s the start line.

As soon as I started jogging, those paralyzing nerves I felt prior to the race just melted away. I was so happy to be FINALLY running this race!

The biggest hill on the entire course was in the first half-mile. Since the start of the race was so congested, I could barely run up this hill (for better or for worse). It was nice knowing that the course would be primarily downhill after it!

The first couple of miles were a blur. I spent most of the time trying to move up in the crowd without zig-zagging too much. I don’t think I turned my playlist on until about Mile 2 or so.

The course was SO beautiful. You don’t realize how rural wine country is until you’re running through it! As a result, there were not a lot of spectators on the way. The ones that were there were great. I saw a sign that made me laugh out loud so hard that the guy in front of me turned to look. “Worst Parade Ever.”

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Team Challenge set up cheering stations all along the way. I got lots of high fives and Jenny grabbed some funny candids.

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I skipped the first water station and regretted it. It had been overcast at the start of the race but the sun came out to stay after the first couple of miles. I was THIRSTY. I don’t usually drink a lot during long runs but I found myself CRAVING water. At the first couple of water stations, I only grabbed a cup. For each one thereafter, I slowed down, grabbed a cup, drank it, and grabbed a second. I needed every drop.

I remember that at Mile 4, I thought “Oh no, the race is already 1/3 of the way over!” WHO AM I? Some kind of likes-running chick? I also kept looking down at my watch and seeing GREAT paces. Adrenaline is a hell of a drug.

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Then between Mile 6 and 7, my hamstring decided to explode. As you may remember, this has been a recurring problem and caused me to dial back my training runs. I knew that it would hurt during the race. I also knew that I could finish despite it hurting.

Hurt it did. Hurt MORE THAN EVER it did. The pain radiated down behind my knee and into my calf, which was new. I slowed up a little but even when I checked my pace thinking I was going slowly, I was still running between 9 and 10 minute miles. That made me happy.

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Prior to the race, I had forced myself not to set a time goal. I didn’t want to finish my very first ever half marathon and taint such an accomplishment with a shred of disappointment that I didn’t reach some arbitrary time limit. HOWEVER, my brain would not shut up about finishing in less than 2 hours 10 minutes. For some reason I kept fixating on a 2:0x time. Even with my brain barking, I still enjoyed myself along the way, stopping for pictures and making sure I finished my water.

After the mile 8 water and fuel stop (Vanilla Bean Gu FTW), I started having the debate with myself. The same debate I had with every single person I told about the race. I knew at mile 10, there would be wine samples offered on the course.

Wine.

Drink wine while running a half marathon? Half the people thought it was crazy. Half the people thought it was awesome! Can you guess where I landed on this debate?

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Naturally.

The samples were Gundlach Bundschu Gewurztraminer. Even though I was dehydrated and sore, I decided to take the plunge (and mid-race selfie). When will I ever have another opportunity to have wine DURING a race? I drank my little sample and immediately downed two more cups of water.

After the wine stop, I was in the home stretch! Miles 10-12 seemed to take forever. I had definitely slowed down at that point, but was still running faster than 10 minute miles.  I don’t even know how it was possible, especially with hammy trying to ruin EVERYTHING.

After mile 12, I forced myself to go a little faster. A crowd was forming of spectators, finishers, and 5Kers. I scanned the crowd looking for Dan and Mom but didn’t see any of them. I did see the big-ass finish line though!

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As I was approaching the finish, a Team Challenge coach saw me and started running along side me. He was cheering me on and yelling “GO GO GO.” Thank you, Team Challenge Coach whose name I don’t know. You helped me SPRINT across the finish line!

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I didn’t see Mom but she saw me and snapped this pic! As I crossed the line, the announcer called out my name and hometown. Dan told me later that he didn’t see me cross but heard my name.

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As soon as I crossed the finish line, I was handed my medal. It’s a bottle stopper, bottle opener, and corkscrew in one!

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And weighs about 400 lbs.

I limped along to make sure I checked in with my team. My first thought was “WATER.” My second thought was “text Dan and Mom.” As I was reaching for my phone, my Dad texted me from New Hampshire and to congratulate me and tell me the official chip time:

2:08:50

I did it! Less than 2 hours 10 minutes! It didn’t make my hamstring hurt less but it did psych me up for ALL THE WINE NOW PLEASE!

The best part of the race was the wine festival! About 30 wineries set up booths in Sonoma Plaza pouring samples.

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Dan, Mom and I all got souvenir wine glasses.

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I was enjoyed the wine while chugging water and icing my hamstring. For the most part I failed in my usual practice of taking pictures of the wines I enjoyed, but did manage to grab one such shot:

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It was perfect. I only wish the wine festival lasted a little longer so I could try a few more samples (but it’s probably better that I didn’t!).

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Dan, Mom and I hopped on the bus back to the hotel and made plans to do some tasting later that afternoon. After some showers, of course, and a little rest.

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Mom had to leave the next morning, which was sad. The rest of the trip, Dan and I hopped around to wineries, went apeshit at Russian River Brewing Co., had a DELICIOUS meal at The Girl and the Fig, sucked down the best milkshakes EVER at Fremont Diner, and enjoyed the Sonoma Farmer’s Market with Shayna and Mark. We also hopped over to Vegas for a few days! I could NOT walk for the few days after the race but I didn’t let that stop me. Photos below in no particular order. (If you’re wondering, I plan to do a separate post about all the wines we brought home from the vineyards).

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I am so glad I signed up for Team Challenge and chose to run the Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon. The race was a wonderful experience and accomplishment. Not only did I finish (in 2:08:50, BOOM), but I raised over $4,000 for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.

Thank you everyone for your support! I may keep updating this ol’ blog from time to time. There’s still wine to drink!

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Training Week 17 – Training OFFICIALLY OVER!

I am at the airport, finishing this post and looking forward to eating my Cosi sandwich on the plane! I’ve read that you should carbo load TWO days before a race, rather than the night before. Good thing there is a Cosi at the Virgin gate in Logan. Their bread is SO GOOD omg nom nom nom.

Yesterday I ran for the last time for this training session. The next time I run, I’ll have a number pinned to my shirt. It’s surreal!

My hamstring is okay some days and stings others. I’ve found that stretching it right before bed (actually IN bed, using a towel with my leg in the air) seems to help the most. Sometimes foam rolling helps it and sometimes it’s too agonizing. But I know that it will carry me 13.1 miles. It might sting along the way but it can make it.

Emotionally, I’m rotating between total zen and FREAKING THE FUCK OUT. Luckily there has been a lot to keep me busy (work, packing, planning all the wineries we want to visit, debating the merits between staying at the Wynn vs. Caesar’s Palace in Vegas) so I haven’t been dwelling on RUNNING 13 MILES too much.

Here’s what my final week of training looked like:

Sunday: Off – I think I went to the gym?

Monday: 3-5 easy miles. I ran 3.66 miles in 36:54.

Tuesday: 3-5 mile tempo. I warmed up with about a half mile, then did 4 miles at tempo (9:01 pace) and a 0.3 mile cool down. 4.89 miles total in 45:44.

By the way, Dan’s parents are taking care of Lucy while we are away, and Dan’s only opportunity to take her down to their house was Tuesday. I have been WITHOUT CAT since Tuesday. I miss this crazy girl!
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Wednesday: off, rest hammy.

Thursday: 3-5 easy miles. I started to overthink this run before I even laced up. “Oh my goodness, last training run, what should I do, where should I go?” (Very Scarlett O’Hara). I had to flee the house before I overthought everything. I guess my feet were drawn to the reservoir, because that’s where I ended up running to on autopilot. I did 4.1 miles in 40:55. It was a gorgeous day. I gave my old New Balance 870 v3s one last spin for posterity. The New Balance 870 v4s are coming with me to California.

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Friday: off.  I took a Flybarre class and went easy on the legs part of it.

Total miles for week 17: 12.65. Whoops, not even a half marathon!  I may have tapered too much, guys.

TOTAL MILES TRAINED: 340.69

Time to board! No turning back now!

Training Week 16

Did anyone notice that I failed to do a Wine Wednesday this week? ::whistles nonchalantly::

This was my penultimate week of training. I’m in this “taper mode” which according to Google results, is the worst thing on the planet. You get bloated and cranky and every little cough and muscle twinge sends you into a doubt spiral. Plus you’re supposed to try to get lots of sleep during this time, and I am a notoriously bad sleeper. Fun times!

Oh, and you’re supposed to eat healthy and cut down on alcohol. Um, about that …

My hamstring is still stinging but it feels a little better this week. I just have to hang on for 8 more days!

Wait seriously? Yikes!

I am typing this after finishing my last “long” run of training. I didn’t have the benefit of a group run because everyone on my team just finished running their half marathon! I’m obsessively checking Facebook for updates and pictures. It looks like the whole team finished! I’m so happy for everyone!

Sunday: off. I’m getting way better at taking off days! It helps to be at the lake and playing cornhole, swimming, and drinking beers. You don’t miss running when you’re singing for your nephew, luring your sister’s puppy into the lake, and eating lobster!

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Owen’s first cornhole game!

Monday: 3-5 easy miles. Just a typical morning loop, babying the hamstring. 3.46 miles in 36:48.

Tuesday (7/7): off. HAPPY BIRTHDAY ME!  My birthday present to myself was sleeping in and resting the hammy. I was contemplating going to a barre class, but Dan and I had too many fun activities on the agenda!

First was brunch at one of my FAVORITES: Deep Ellum. They serve brunch every day until 4:00 PM. That is so clutch. Brunch is the best and sometimes I don’t want to wait until Sunday to get it!

Not only does Deep Ellum allow me to satisfy my brunch craving on a random Tuesday, they also have the BEST food and beer. I had a egg and kielbasa breakfast sandwich, a Pretty Things Fringe Pale Ale, and what might be my favorite poutine ever.

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After brunch, we went to the Apple store and picked out my present!

I’m really excited to have my new (SOLID GOLD) iPad – I can Facetime with my family and sing my crazy songs to Owen on the reg! Plus both my laptop and phone are getting old and creaky. Dan has already downloaded the GoPro app for his videos.

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I had originally wanted to go to Assembly Row to go outlet shopping and hit up the Slumbrew beer garden, but by the time we finished at Apple, it was getting late. It was also an incredibly hot, humid day so we hit the pool for a bit.

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For my birthday dinner, Dan made reservations at Alden & Harlow. I also did some research and found a place (Red House) that has an outdoor patio and dollar oysters! Their beer selection was great, but I had to try the Stork Club cocktail made with gin, St. Germain, lemon and Prosecco. They might as well have called that drink “Cindy’s Jam.”

(OH MY GOD. When Dan gets his homebrew empire started, I’m totally brewing a beer called Cindy’s Jam. It will probably be a Belgian IPA, because that shit is my jam. Okay, digression over).

Anyway, go to Red House. The oysters were shucked right in front of our faces and were delicious. I highly recommend this place!

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And of course, Alden & Harlow was amazing. We got the chips and onion dip appetizer, which was awesome. I ordered angel hair and Dan got the chicken fried rabbit. We decided on an Italian wine to go with both, and it worked pretty well!

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Good birthday! Now back to our regularly scheduled training update!

Wednesday: 3-5 mile tempo run. I did 4.17 miles in 40:11 minutes total. Unlike my other tempo runs, I actually did a one mile warm up at a slow speed. I have been reading my Meb for Mortals book and he recommends warming up and cooling down the tempo runs. I don’t know if it helped but I managed to keep the tempo part of the run within my goal (averaged 9:08 minute miles).

Thursday: in the morning, I did a quick full body workout concentrating on core.

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That evening I ran the third (my second) Race Cancer Summer Series 5K! Once again the race was around the reservoir. I ran with Rachel who was still sore from having done 150 squats the day before, yeouch! Even though we took a couple recovery walking breaks, we ran this one faster than the first.

The best part of the Summer Series races is the beer! There’s a different beer sponsor every time and this time it was a personal favorite, Lagunitas! I celebrate their entire catalog. I also love running + beers drinking with my fellow hop-heads, Rachel, Dursin, Keith and Katie.

This is normally where I’d post a group photo but I have no fun photos from the race because I forgot my phone. Whoopsie.

Friday: off/cross-train. I took another Flybarre class (via ClassPass) and it was INSANE. Normally I can get through most of the barre exercises, though sometimes I come out of the posture for a quick recovery. However, there were some elements in this class that I couldn’t even START, let alone finish. We were squeezing a ball between our legs in bridge pose and then had to raise one leg to the ceiling. I swear I couldn’t even get my leg an inch off the ground, it was so hard. I definitely feel it in my glutes today!

Saturday: LAST LONG TRAINING RUN OMG! I didn’t set an alarm and actually slept in to almost 8:30 AM! Who am I? While it’s good for my taper to get lots of sleep, it meant having to start my run a lot later on a very warm day. I didn’t get out the door until 9:40 AM, when the sun was high.

Even though the run was only 6 miles, it was really difficult. I felt little twinges of doubt creep into my brain, but somehow managed to push them away temporarily. I listened to a True Detective podcast which really helped get my mind off of things. My hamstring was stinging but not as bad as it has been, so that’s positive!

I had planned out my route and it was almost exactly 6 miles according to the map, so I knew I was potentially cutting it close. Sure enough, when I reached my door I was not quite at 6.00, so I limped along further down the street and doubled back. I ended up doing a little extra for insurance. I did 6.11 miles in 1:00:57. I was drenched in sweat after this run, and it’s not even a particularly humid day! This is the weather I’m going to be facing in California so it was good practice.

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Sweat. Everywhere.

Those taper doubts are real. As I am typing this, I’m thinking “oh my god, that’s not even half of the race and it was really hard.” SHUT UP BRAIN.

Total miles for week 16 (?!):  16.84. That’s a taper all right!

I’ll probably post next week’s update on Thursday or maybe Friday, while I’m FLYING TO CALIFORNIA!!! Race day is almost here!

Training Week 15

It’s been a busy week and I haven’t had time to post an update! I want to make sure I capture everything so here is a VERY brief overview of my third-to-last training week!

My hamstring has all but gone on strike. It has been bothering me constantly since the back-to-back 12 miler and 10K. The pain is this stinging sensation that occurs right behind my knee. It seems to subside if I stretch a lot and move around. I’ve taken a few extra rest days as a result. It is driving me crazy!

Sunday: off/cross train. I did a quick home workout. It was a drizzly day and I wasn’t motivated to go to the gym, so I just winged it with some equipment at home.

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Monday: 3-5 easy miles. I did 5.01 miles in 51:59 on Dan’s birthday! I also bought a pair of brand new kicks!

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On the right are my old New Balance 870 v3. On the left is my new New Balance 870 v4! Lucy approves.

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Tuesday: off? I completely forget what I did this day so I will assume I took an off day to rest my hammy.

Wednesday: I did the 3-5 mile tempo run scheduled for Tuesday and ran 4.01 miles in 36:21.

Thursday: 3-5 easy miles. I took a nice, slow early morning jog around the reservoir. 4.11 miles in 45:58.

Friday: I was scheduled to take a Fusion class at BFX Studio. When I arrived, they told me I was the only one signed up for the class! They let me change to the 6:15 AM Burn class instead, which was really challenging!  It was an interval class that featured kettlebells, dumbbells, and bodyweight exercises. I was sweating like a beast!

Saturday: 8 miles at our last group training run! Next Saturday is the Portland race that most of my teammates are running, so I’ll be on my own with my 6 mile taper run. After 15 weeks of running with my teammates, I’m not going to know what to do with myself!

The Portland runners had 6 miles on the agenda and I was the only one who had to run 8. We ran in South Boston along Carson Beach again, and I did two loops instead of one to get in the extra mileage. Coach Lori filled me in on her recent trip to Napa and gave me some excellent tips for my upcoming trip. When we separated so she could find other teammates, I managed to get lost running in a circle, as only I can do. Luckily she found me!

Southie

After the run, Dan and I drove up to the lake and visited with my parents, grandparents, sister, bro-in-law, and baby Owen! It was kind of a rainy 4th but we managed to squeeze in lots of cornhole!

Total miles for Week 15: 21.55 – between beginning to taper and adding more rest for my hammy, I did fewer miles than last week’s 25.32.

Next week, get psyched for tapering!

Wine Wednesday – big California reds anyone?

Happy Wednesday, Winos! I’m about to pop open something awesome because I have not one, but TWO things to celebrate tonight!  First, yesterday I REACHED MY FUNDRAISING MINIMUM!

Thank you, anonymous donor who put me over the limit!

Second, Dan got his work schedule today (FINALLY) and he can come with me to Wine Country for the whole week!  It will actually be a vacation now!

I am so relieved on both fronts. The fundraising was so stressful and the amount I had to raise was quite high. I can’t believe I made it – THANKS TO YOU! Furthermore, Dan not knowing whether he would get any time off for the race and thereafter weighed on my mind as well. It has been impossible to make plans, but now we can relax!

Let’s ride this wine country high! I’ve had a few terrific California reds recently. Last week we made a Blue Apron steak recipe and I had just the wine in mind to go with it, this 2012 Alexander Valley Vineyards Estate Cabernet:

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I bought this at BLM’s suggestion of a good steak wine, and it did not disappoint. I don’t remember specifics and I didn’t take notes, but I do recall it being everything I want in a California Cabernet – bold, fruity, tannic. I bought it for about $19.

On Monday, I treated Dan to a special steak dinner for his 35th birthday!

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We hit Grill 23, a Boston steakhouse, for an AMAZING meal. I ordered the filet and Dan chose the 100 day aged ribeye, both of which were scrumtrulescent.

The wine list is completely overwhelming, so Dan narrowed down the choices to Cabernet, Syrah, or Zinfandel/Primitivo.  I chose (pretty much on a whim) the 2012 Stolpman Estate Syrah from Santa Ynez Valley:

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The waiter said I had made a great choice, but I’m sure he says that to everyone. However, this was PERFECT. It was big and SO fruit forward, but also wonderfully tannic. It was perfect with the char on the grilled steaks. According to Stolpman Vineyard’s website, the 2012 Estate Syrah was their very best Estate Syrah to date. Apparently 2012 is a great vintage for that area and 2013 had the same ideal weather – something to keep in mind next time you’re faced with an overwhelming wine list!

Wine Links

Wine Tip – Restaurant Wine – Speaking of ordering wines in restaurants, you know how when you order a bottle of wine at a restaurant and the waiter first pours a taste? You are NOT evaluating whether or not you like the wine – you are merely confirming that the wine is not flawed in some way.

Dan and I once refused a bottle that was corked. It was easy to determine because the cork broke and pieces of cork were floating in the taste. And the wine tasted like swamp piss.

6 Dry Reds Show The Savory Side of Wine – mmm, Carmenere, Sangiovese, Sagrantino, Nebbiolo – my mouth is watering thinking of these!

And finally, Life is Better With Wine (obviously):

A Drunk + Wine = A Connoisseur

Get on wit yo’ classy selves!

Training Week 14

Welcome to the week I overdid it!

Remember last week when I spoiler alerted you to the fact that I was registered for the BAA 10K? The day after my longest ever run to date? Yeah, about that.

Sunday: I woke up at about 6 or so to the sound of a TORRENTIAL downpour. Seriously, it was raining buckets. You remember, you were probably there. Between the weather and the fact that I had run 12.4 miles the day before, I was uncertain about going through with the race. I really wanted to run but my legs were feeling rough and my troublesome hamstring was yapping at me. I talked it through with Dan, who suggested “at least go down there and get free stuff.”

(I had been thinking the same thing. THIS IS WHY WE’RE MARRIED).

I hemmed and hawed and petted the cat and probably got scratched by the cat and changed clothes and changed clothes AGAIN and debated eating my usual pre-race fuel and finally decided “screw it, I’m running this. BRING ON BANANAS AND PEANUT BUTTER.”

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All that hemming and hawing made me late and I had to take an Uber to the start line. Manuel, my driver, kept trying to talk me out of it. “You’re going to be calling me to take you back!” Funny because the whole way there the rain had let up, but of course it was pouring again when I got out. At that point, there was no avoiding getting soaked. The people holding umbrellas in the corrals? Adorable. Congratulations on getting soaked 5 minutes later than me.

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The pouring rain was so ridiculous it was funny. Once I was completely soaked, I knew I wasn’t going to get any wetter! I was able to laugh about it and ended up enjoying the whole experience!

I took it very slow on my tired legs. After the first mile, the rain slowed to a light drizzle. After the second mile, I reached the part of Comm. Ave near BU and saw the faster runners on the fourth mile. I kept my eyes peeled and actually saw Jarod running towards me. We high fived without breaking stride.

While on the course I practiced the art of drinking at the water stops without choking. I ran with my iPod shuffle but didn’t even bother turning it on until after the fourth mile. At that point my legs were aching and I needed a pleasant distraction.

After I passed the fifth mile marker, I looked down at my watch and saw that a sub-hour finish was possible. Against my better judgment, I sped up significantly and started tearing through the crowd. According to the splits from my watch, I increased my pace by a full minute on the last mile!
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Monday: ALL THE REST. Seriously, I could barely walk. Right Hammy was DISPLEASED, to say the least.

Tuesday: Even more rest. I woke up and Right Hammy was still stinging so I decided to take one more day off of running. I did make it to the gym for an upper body and core workout.

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Wednesday: I really wanted to go to November Project but I didn’t want to have three days off of running in a row. So I went for a slooooooooooooooooow easy jog to get back into it. I did 3.45 miles in 36:29.

Thursday: I woke up and Right Hammy was still NOT in the mood. So I did what I haven’t done during the entire training session.

I skipped a run.

I needed it. I overdid it this weekend and needed an extra break. It was totally fine.

Friday: Cindy runs again! Woo! I had to choose between 3-5 easy miles or the workout that is my JAM (12x200s). I went with the easy to take care of Stupid Hammy and because I was facing a 12 miler on Saturday. I did an easy loop around my neighborhood and covered 3.64 miles in 38:23.

Later that evening I took a CorePower Yoga class through ClassPass. The CorePower 1 – Beginning Power Yoga Class was exactly what I needed. It was more active than some of the other yoga classes I’ve tried at other studios, but it was paced well enough to allow me to give my legs some TLC. I really like basic flow classes where I can do all the poses. I even held a crow pose for 2 seconds!

Friday evening I was a good girl. I carbo-loaded on brown rice for dinner, had no booze, and went to bed super early. I was preparing for our longest group run of the season!

Saturday: 12 mile group run at the Lexington/Lincoln Battle Path. This was our longest scheduled group run! Most of the team is running the Portland half marathon in two weeks, so those folks are tapering after this. Those of us running Napa/Sonoma have an extra week of training, so next week’s run is still a long one but not quite as long (10 miles).

Coach Marc explained that the route is not quite 12 miles so we would have to do a couple extra out-and-backs to round it out. I started out with a group of people because I was NOT going to get lost again! I ran with my teammates Kaitlin and Marene for most of the time, and there were a couple spots when we had to stop and reassess the route so as not to get lost. There was an honest-to-goodness bathroom on the route! With a flushing toilet and soap and paper and everything! This is important for us IBD runners.

I don’t know when I became a super positive, cheerlead-y runner, but I was so that annoying person on Saturday! When we stopped for water at mile 8 I was all “we’re 2/3 of the way done!” instead of thinking “holy crap we still have 4 miles to go?” When my watch beeped at mile 9, I told Kaitlin “We have less than a 5K left!” It was so hard doing the last out-and-back at the end of the run, because we had to pass the stopping point to do it! We saw people who had already finished but we still had 1.6 miles left to go, blah. We kept going and started to pull over when we heard a runner coming up behind us. But it was Coach Marc coming to run with us! We are very lucky to have great support.

When we turned around and were heading back on our 0.8 mile home stretch, I saw someone out of the corner of my eye on the road. Dan! He came for the post-run festivities and happened to see us running on the trail. He pulled over and cheered us along. We turned into the parking lot just as another part of our group was arriving, so we all finished together. I ran along for a tiny bit extra so Runkeeper can’t try to shortchange me. 12.03 miles in 2:13:37, with a couple water and bathroom breaks.

After the run, we had a little celebration with bagels and treats. We got our goody bags for race weekend! There were even handwritten thank you notes from our honorees.

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Typical Lucy

And now that I’m within arm’s length of my fundraising goal, I am so excited for race weekend! Now we’re just keeping our fingers crossed that Dan gets the week off so we can stay in wine country.

Total miles for Week 14: 25.32 – not bad for taking an extra rest day! Just slightly less than last week’s 25.62.

Have a great week!