I’m currently worrying though the last few details before tomorrow’s race. Number, timing chip and gear are all set. Playlist is still somewhat in flux. Maija’s a bit confused about why CNSMHB randomly showed up this afternoon and why we proceeded to drive in a giant loop around town. Honestly it’s a little confusing to me as well and it was pretty much my idea.
I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who has been supportive of this effort over the last few months, emotionally and financially. Specifically I wanted to thank my non-anonymous donors (hondo, smhb, yjp & my old people). Some of these guys gave even when it didn’t make financial sense for them to do so, which I’m very much aware of and grateful for. Also thanks to VC for listening to me talk on and on and on about this when it’s so far out of her realm of interest. I really need to find a hobby that’ll provide fodder for more scandalous dinner table conversations. I’m open to suggestions.
I’m going to crash out here pretty quick. The race itself starts at 6am left coast time so I gotta be down there about 12 hours from now. If you’d like to cyberstalk you can here (I’m #4309).
I keep saying I don’t really know. How would I formally assess myself to answer that question? With a mini mental state examination (MMSE)? That’s more for cognitive impairment (maybe relevant post-race but less so right now). Maybe the Hamilton Anxiety Scale? Let’s give that one a shot. Mild anxiety is 18 or higher, moderate anxiety 25+, severe anxiety 30+. I scored a phat 13. So no, I’m officially not nervous. Please stop asking as you all are starting to make me nervous.
Here’s something real to shift attention to – if some loony calls in a threat against the Golden Gate Bridge and it goes to threat level orange, the marathon race course will be re-routed south along the Great Highway. I believe you’d find this information under Critical Infrastructure & Key Resources section of DHS but hell if I can find the current threat level or criteria for bumping it upward.
I’ve been watching the Tour de France as of late, a temporary sporting fandom of convenience. The countryside is gorgeous (particularly today in Switzerland). Lance Armstrong pretty much had his hat handed to him at the end of today’s stage by Alberto Contador. After he finished 90-some seconds behind, Armstrong was quoted saying he was “happy to be his domestique”, conceding the Astana leadership to Contador. It’s curious, the internal politics bike racing. They all seem very touchy, getting pissy at other teams for actions that in any other sport are common, expected. It’s beyond strange to me that George Hincapie & co. claim vindictiveness against other teams for not letting him get the yellow jersey in stage 14. The teams he was complaining about (Astana & Garmin) pushed the peloton forward closing the gap on the breakaway group (aka, bike racing during a bike race) and yet this is somehow seen as a serious breach of protocol? Not losing by as much as your competitors would like puts you at fault? Bizarre. Can you imagine a team in a pennant race whining about already eliminated teams trying to upset them? There’s no crying in baseball.
Anyway. My real point today for bringing this up is to point out that when Armstrong ran the Boston Marathon last year he did so in less than 3 hours (2:50:58, a 6:32 split). I will not be running the San Francisco Marathon that fast. Odds are I’ll be somewhere between the 4:15 and 4:30 pace groups, trying to run a 10:00 split (roughly two minutes per mile slower than my half pace). That is my highly nebulous goal. Truth be told, I’ll be thrilled to finish vertically.
MILEAGE UPDATE: week 17 (of 18)
Three week rolling average
Today was my last (pretty short) long run pre-race. Trying to make it a bit more fun than the usual loop, I did the bridge run again. Sunny on the city side but so foggy to the north that the second tower was invisible even halfway across. Brilliant.
I started today’s long run quite a bit later than I should have due to Sunday afternoon nap issues. While I’m out running with the sun going down it always reminds me of the scene from the unfortunate Chronicles of Riddick where Vin Diesel runs along the surface of the prison planet (Crematoria!) fast enough to stay in the temperate zone between the freezing night side of the planet and the molten day side. You can see it with some bastardized soundtrack here, starting at about 3:20. I am not as fast as Vin Diesel, so it’s pitch black when I get back home.
So anyway, two weeks til race day. This is the first week of the three week taper down – I’m a few miles short due to poor planning yesterday but the dog and I went on a five mile walk up through the Presidio earlier today so I’m not too bothered by it.
MILEAGE UPDATE: week 16 (of 18)
Three week rolling average
I’ve stopped talking about this but we’re getting so close that I’ll link again – if any of you are interested in supporting the fundraiser I’m doing for my marathon you can find it here. The charity is a local group that sponsors running events and classes for kids, ideally to keep them from ending up in bad situations (yes, that was at 11pm, pretty much right here). From here on out I’ll match any donations to this up to my total fundraising goal (of $250).
1: Today’s the 4th of July and it looks like the entire city is having a barbeque in Golden Gate Park. The smell of smoke and mesquite and burning meat is overpowering. There are so many parties going on, people playing frisbee, drinking beer, smoking weed.
2.5: At Stow Lake. Maija and I came here yesterday – today I see a black and white husky being walked by some dude who looks like he couldn’t care less. I have a weird sensation of autonomic deja-vu.
4: At the Conservatory of Flowers. JFK Drive is closed to car traffic on the weekends – it’s much nicer like this. Little kids on wobbly bikes everywhere.
4.8: Dodging tourists by CAS & the DeYoung. Lots of people going to see King Tut today.
6.5: Passing the bison paddock. I see five today, all their bodies oriented North to South. I step into a tourist’s photo of his family & the beasts.
9: The sun has been threatening to come out, and now it has. This violates my agreement with the SF weather gods – the clouds agree to block out the sun during long runs and I in turn complain less about not seeing it other times.
10: At the turn around point for a small backtrack, also where I get off the bus for work. I see a hippie couple in yoga shirts, tie-died pants and an offspring on shoulder, and two girls carrying a bag of cold plums.
11.2: A sad lady is sitting smoking on her steps, with a black eye, checking her text messages. A tricked-out maroon & gray Rolls-Royce slides by.
12.4: This is a very large hill. Why is this on my route? At the top is a giant concrete reservoir that is going to be turned into a solar farm soon.
14.6: For the first time I notice that there’s an Urban Farmers Store here, selling drip irrigation systems. This is the southmost part of my route.
16.7: I’m back to the park. A guy is selling crates of strawberries on the corner of 45th and Lincoln. In my mind’s eye he hands me some as I run by and we high-five.
18: By Ocean Beach. I don’t feel well, have found the wall again. I’ve decided to walk a minute before starting the last hill. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots is playing. I would have had to admit some respect for Michael Bay if he had put this song on the Transformers soundtrack somehow.
19: Coming close to maximum elevation and my body is burning from my ankles upwards. I can’t feel my feet which I guess is a good thing. Bleeding from the chest but my shirt is red. The New Pornographers provide the last needed boost to get over the ridge at 42nd Ave.
19.5: Someone from a garage sale catches my eye and nods. I feel & surely look like hell, so I’m not sure if it’s an act of acknowledgment or pity.
20 + one block: Alive, in my lobby. Elevator, where is your slow self? It’s only two flights up. But I’ll wait.
Twelve miles tonight. Such is the curious state of my mind and body that that distance seems, and is, short. Tonight I ran with the new mixes, which are tagged, bagged* and ready to ship. It’s invigorating to switch to new playlists even if new isn’t entirely new in that I knew a lot of the songs. The highlight of the run came at 10 1/2 when I hit mid-turn up the hill by the Cliff House to a gorgeous expansive pastel sky and had Z’s mix click over to this song.
I hit my quota this week, despite starting a day late. Next week the goal bounces back to 43, then it’s all downhill from there. Almost home.
Eighteen miles is a long way to run without any euphoria.
Normally I can expect an episode or two of runner’s high during a given long run. For me, it comes in waves of joy, starting in my torso and radiating down through my limbs. It’s energizing, accelerating, anesthetizing, awesome, one of the few perks of long distance training. Unfortunately, as far as highs go it’s is pretty darn short, for me lasting just a minute or so, but even after the initial rush is gone the minor effects are still hanging around, a sort of physical memory. I absolutely love it.
Today though, nothing. My body is having a difficult week, a lot of the physical pleasure of the training process has been replaced by rote artless drudgery. It’s possible that the immediate problem is my frontolimbic system has somehow gotten fried, leaving me with a lifelong risk of … (let’s see) borderline personality disorder. Well that’s just swell.
On the bright side, at 44 miles, the just finished week 11 was the peak week of the training cycle (ergo, mountaineering). None of the subsequent weeks have mileage that high (though there are two 20 mile runs to look forward to). Technically though, it’s all downhill from here.
MILEAGE UPDATE: week 11 (of 18)
Three week rolling average
Here’s the link to my Youth Run4Fun fundraiser thing. I’ll put a match on this week – any donation will be doubled, up to our total goal. So you give $10, that transmongrifies into a mindblowing TWENTY buckaroos. Like magic.
ps. I have new shoes coming – they actually should have been here before today’s run. I just checked the UPS tracker to find this curiosity. A postcard has been sent? What century is this? I look forward to your missive, UPS.
A CORRECT COMPANY OR RECEIVER NAME IS NEEDED FOR DELIVERY. UPS IS ATTEMPTING TO OBTAIN THIS INFORMATION / A POSTCARD HAS BEEN SENT TO THE RECIPIENT REQUESTING THAT THEY CONTACT UPS.
My old people are in town visiting, staying for the rest of the week. We’ve been doing tonsofstuff and quite frankly they’re wearing me out, running me into the ground. I’m going to need a vacation after their vacation.
This week’s marathon training went pretty well, right hamstring tweak excepted. At nine weeks, I’ve officially hit the halfway point of the training cycle. The rest of Team HB (+ assorted other Bylers) ran a half marathon today while I just had my lonely long run in the dark. Around mile 7, I had just about decided no fool in their right mind should be out about in tonight’s bitter cold wind when I saw bunches of people huddled around fourteen different campfires along Ocean Beach, getting an early start on their Memorial Day cookouts. It made me smile.
MILEAGE UPDATE: week 9 (of 18)
Three week rolling average
The Youth Run4Fun fundraiser is still at $135 of $250. I’ll keep the dollar for dollar match for another week.
I didn’t run Bay to Breakers this morning. Yesterday’s long run put my physiology in a foul state of sun sickness and I couldn’t physically bring myself to the expo to register. Instead I did something different and special today, a run up through the Presidio and over the bridge to Marin. I had been wanting to do this particular run since CNSMHB were here but have been in an Ocean Beach rut of late. For bonus points, today’s run roughly matches miles 5 through 12 of the marathon course, which I definitely need to spend more time training on. The hill you know over the enemy you don’t, or so they say. Here’s a course video – the relevant bit is from 4:30 onward.
In more exciting news, not only will my people be coming to SF for the race, but both SMHB and Marc will be actually running the marathon with me this July. And by ‘with’ I really mean ‘lapping me repeatedly before leaving me dizzy in a dust-tornado’. But still, it’s very exciting.
MILEAGE UPDATE: week 8 (of 18)
Three week rolling average
My Youth Run4Fun fundraiser is still at $135. My goal is $250. While listening to (yet another) NPR fundraiser this morning, I decided I’d re-institute the dollar for dollar match this week, up to the total goal. So if you’ve been lurking and debating donation some nominal amount, this’d be the week.
In the end, I wasn’t able to pull of the trickiest stunt of all, the post-beer run. That idea seemed like a rational, solid, do-able plan when the beer was hypothetical but reality was far more delicious and sedentary. So thanks to Russian River I’m ending the week seven short. WOE! WOE. In reality though, critter and VC and I did hike several miles up Cleland Mountain in Ukiah earlier today (and saw deer! and hawks! and lizards deemed non-photogenic! and -we’re told- a wolf dog!) so I don’t feel that bad about it. Yesterday’s early morning 14 was pure and true and enough penance to absolve me of the rest of the weekend’s shortcomings.
One interesting thing I learned up in winelandia is that they hold the (supposed) California Wine Tasting Championship at Greenwood Ridge Winery each summer. Coincidentally enough, it takes place the last Saturday in July, also known as the day before the San Francisco Marathon. So not so great for me, but double super great for you, potential San Francisco visitor!
Weekly moment of accountability.
MILEAGE UPDATE: week 7 (of 18)
Three week rolling average
Feeling a little down on fundraisers at the moment. Still stuck $115 short of the goal.
We finished shooting, editing and scoring ridiculously early today for our 2009 48 Hours Film Project film “The Most Dangerous Games” today. Everything wrapped up a full two hours early such that we sat around chatting about unrelated topics, which in some ways took a little of the frenzied fun out of the process. That or I’ve become permanently happiness impaired. We got Thiller/Suspense for the first time this year – in all the years I’ve done this haven’t had a genre repeat yet. Despite some intentions I had to at least attempt a liveblog or tweet at bit about the (exhausting) process I did neither – maybe an unexamined creative process works better than one that’s shared publicly. I’ll post the film here after the screening this Thursday. As always, primary props go to mediafriend music & co.
The biggest casualty of the weekend (besides my standards of personal hygiene and possibly my sense of humor) was week 6 of the marathon training process which basically hit the fan. Next week will be better once I’m safely back in healthy California with my running partner. Staying with the futility theme, there was no progress in my Youth Run4Fun fundraiser this week.
Just back from this week’s long run. Uneventful for the most part, colder and windier than last weekend with no euphoric episodes to lift me up. I left the dog brake at home so didn’t have anyone to talk to – running alone is considerably more boring and the two of us get infinitely more nods and smiles than I do alone. One concerning thing – there were several firetrucks and rescue swimmers packing up at Ocean Beach as I went by around 3pm. They all looked serious, grim, no smiling or laughing. There’s nothing on the Emergency in SF twitter feed or google news at this point so it’s not clear what went down. Maybe it was just a drill but given recent events it’s easy to assume something bad happened. It’s never safe to go in that water.
For this week’s long run I added a southern loop through the Outer Sunset to my normal route. From the map I decided the Sunset Reservoir would be a good landmark but that was before I knew that it was on the top of a honkin’ big hill and it’s looks like this. Scenic! Actually the view is quite panoramic from up there if you can look past the acres of concrete.
Apparently it was recently retrofit to resist a 7.9 San Andreas earthquake. I think I’d feel somewhat uncomfortable living downhill from 90,000,000 gallons of water.
Workers sunk 4,200 concrete beams into the earth down to bedrock. Howard Fung, regional project manager, said analyses had shown the ground on the bottom side of the reservoir would be likely to liquefy in the case of a large quake, and the reservoir could collapse.
The new route prompts an unanswered question – are Noriega and Ortega streets named after Manuel and Daniel?
My Youth Run4Fun fundraiser didn’t make much of any progress this week, still stuck at 34% of my $250 goal. Here’s my mileage – as expected a little short, thanks Red Sox. At least they didn’t get swept.
MILEAGE UPDATE: week 4 (of 18)
Three week rolling average
PS! Check back tomorrow for my Boston Marathon Pirate live-blog…
I don’t usually run with a camera. Running is a sweaty mess prone to being interrupted by rain and sandstorms and between managing the dog’s gopher-lunges, her collection of poop bags and trying not to lose my keys I’ve got enough junk to carry. But given that we were so very lazy today and didn’t get out for a planned photowalk I rigged up a contraption to bring the TZ5 with me.
I was reading something in Salon the other day on the variation in range of human field of vision, depending on velocity.
When you walk, your field of vision is nearly 180 degrees, 140 degrees of which feeds your awareness. The Optometrists Association of Australia reports that human field of vision “is reduced with increasing speed.” For example, at 62 mph, field of vision contracts to 40 degrees.
Given my average running speed and bloodflow diversion I wouldn’t be surprised if my running field of vision is somewhere between 15 and 20 degrees. So it was nice to make a few conscious decisions to stop, look at things, try to make a small visual record. I have one of the most gorgeous running routes on the planet, yet over time I need to remind myself of that now and again.
This week brought in another donation in my Youth Run4Fun fundraiser – thanks hondo! That donation was doubled, leaving me at 34% of my $250 goal. Here’s my mileage update – it was a good week! This will serve to preemptively counter next week’s inevitable Red Sox related decline…
Dog and I took the day off today (marathon training-wise) and went hiking south of town today instead (with assorted riff-raff, etc). Hiking here is a relative term, more of a ‘hiking’, as the trail was pretty much a smooth paved path. Regardless of degree of difficultly, we ascended Sweeney Ridge to find the marker memoralizing the point where the first European looked east to see San Francisco Bay. From the NPS -
Spanish explorer Captain Juan Gaspar de Portolá , on a mission to settle Monterey, found himself in that position atop Sweeney Ridge on November 4, 1769. Relying on a sailor’s exaggerated description, Portolá didn’t recognize Monterey even as he stood upon its sands, so he continued northward. Lost and ailing, his expedition eventually scaled what we now call Sweeney Ridge and saw “…a large arm of the sea…some sort of harbor there within the mountains.” Ironically it had taken a land expedition to find what seafaring explorers never discovered—the San Francisco Bay.
This week I specifically wanted to say thanks to both yjp and SMHB for supporting my fundraising efforts for Youth Run4Fun. Their donations this week were doubled, bringing us to 26% of my total goal of $250. Since the idea seemed to be a success, I’m extending the dollar matching offer another week to see what happens.
MILEAGE UPDATE: week 2 (of 18)
Three week rolling average
Also, in unrelated fundraising efforts, my people are doing walks for cancer and for cystic fibrosis. Just an FYI.
The first official week of marathon training has come to a close with a little lower mileage than scheduled. I’d like to blame it on the houseguest but more honestly I chose to scale back a little bit from last week’s 31 mile overextension. It’s too early in the process to be dealing with injuries but I’ve been having some left toe, midfoot and knee issues. Fortunately both ankles (the weakest of the weak links) remain stable.
I’m going to keep posting this same link every Sunday in case someone’s interested in sponsoring me by making a donation to Youth Run4Fun. As a special this week, I’ll dollar per dollar match any contribution anyone makes (up to a total of our $250 goal). I recently got an email from the organizer with a breakdown of their expenses. Roughly 23% of total income goes towards various administration costs, which seems reasonable to me.
I had a really fantastic day today. It got of to a rough start with a difficult sand-bearing gale force headwind on our dead-legged five this morning, but followed that up with the predictably brilliant Kansas demolition of Dayton to reach the Sweet 16. After that, an afternoon of exploring San Francisco’s upper reaches with YJP. Then over to Haight to meet up with meddy & co. who’s in town for CNS.
Today is officially the last day before I start marathon training. This is a small kind of a joke since I’ve been on schedule for five weeks now (thus, obscene 10pm bedtimes). If you’re interested, I’m doing a slightly modified version of Hal Higdon’s Intermediate I schedule. Thanks to Hondo for her donation to my marathon fundraiser – she gave $1/mile for the first half (but hey – shorted me $0.10!!). Any small number of cents on the mile at all would be welcome and appreciated.
Right, so in the highly unlikely event you’re interested in sponsoring me for the San Francisco Marathon I’ve finally got a webpage (of questionable aesthetic design) up for your money wasting purposes.
Although it’s not immediately obvious from that page who exactly the money is going to, it’s for a charity called Youth Run4Fun. For once it’s not cancer or cardiovascular research but instead an organization that organizes programs encouraging running in kids from the bay area. I like this idea, and wish it was something I had been exposed to earlier myself.
JUST RUN® San Francisco (SF) is a free, bilingual, web-based program designed by fitness and running experts from the Big Sur Marathon, for grades 2nd-8th, aimed at combating childhood obesity and diabetes while promoting physical fitness and healthy lifestyle choices.
These guys are too small to be reviewed by Charity Navigator – I usually consult them to look at expenses and program expenditures before sending anyone money. I’ve sent an email asking for some details and will update back here once I hear back from them. Just by way of disclosure, the program I’m in is called Race4Free (the idea is my entry fee would be refunded once hitting a $250 goal). I’m not really interested in personally benefiting from this though, so if I can raise half of the total goal I’ll cover the remainder myself.