148 miles to go! Let’s run

henderson-trail

On the way to my first podium in the Henderson Trail Classic “half marathon” (which was actually 14.3 miles).

 

Holy shit. It’s October 3, and I have only 148 miles to go to complete my 1,000-Mile Year Challenge. Holy shit.

If 148 sounds like a lot, it’s not. It’s nothing. Ten months ago it would’ve sounded impossible. One hundred and forty-eight miles? That’s 5.64 marathons. That’s far, like, really far. Today, it seems like cake. I’ve already run 852 miles, what’s another 148?

And the closer I get to zero, the more excited I am to run. I already ran today’s mileage, and I want to go run right now. I still have energy. I can do more. Let’s go!

I’m not sure what it will feel like when I hit the finish line in 55 days. But I do know this: I can’t wait to get there.

Four months down, 656 miles to go

le proof

le proof

The most amazing thing happened three weeks ago. My friend Katie and I ran the San Diego Half Marathon, an absolutely amazing course that starts outside Petco Park, weaves along the bay and stays flat for eight miles before climbing into Hillcrest and finishing alongside Balboa Park with a sweet downhill sprint that almost makes you feel like you haven’t just run 13.1 miles.

With little in the way of pace expectations, we demolished our previous PRs, crossing the finish line under gorgeous SoCal sunshine in 1:52:09. To say I was psyched would be an understatement; I was honestly a little incredulous. Continue reading

Listen, eat, read, run: Four things I’m feeling right now

ZazIs there anything better than bright-eyed discovery? Than waking up in the morning knowing a certain number of things are true and exist, and going to sleep with one, two, three more added to the list? Pretty much the best. And since I’m a good sharer, I figured I’d spread the discovery around a little with a few favorite additions to my mental catalogue that you can listen to, eat, read, or wear running. Enjoy.

Listen: “Eblouie Par la Nuit” by Zaz

This pained, passionate tune played behind the credits of Dead Man Down, a highly skippable film about revenge and murder that at least introduced me to badass French singer-songwriter Zaz. The title translates to “Dazzled by the night,” and the lyrics are more poetic than anything I’ve heard sung in English in a while.

Eat: Soy butter

Call it an umami bomb. Call it a butter upgrade (who knew such a thing was possible?). Call it East meets West meets awesome. Honestly, just call it soy butter—a simple mixture of soy sauce and butter, perhaps rounded out with a bit of cream and olive oil, that adds a deep, flavorful jolt to just about any savory thing. The New York Times heralded this basic sauce recently, inspiring me to mix up a batch and drizzle it over some simple baked sweet potatoes. The result: sweet, earthy, salty and rich. A delicious new discovery.

Read: Out of Eden Walk

Once you start reading Paul Salopek’s chronicles of his 21,000-mile walk tracing the path of human migration, it’s  hard to stop. His dispatches read like digital postcards, glimpses into the places, people and historical clues he encounters as he treks out of Africa, through the Middle East and onward toward South America, following  in the footsteps of our ancient ancestors. With photos and blog posts—and occasional print stories in National Geographic—Salopek is documenting his journey as he goes, a project that is expected to stretch over seven years. Right now, he’s in the West Bank, a fitting place to pick up the story—though you’ll probably want to go back to the beginning once you get started.

Hello, new Saucony trail shoes.

Hello, new Saucony trail shoes.

Run: Mizuno Wave Rider 17 and Saucony Peregrine 3

As I’ve shared on this blog before, I’m putting in a little extra mileage these days, and I recently came to the sad realization that my beloved Mizuno Wave Rider 15s are no longer really up to the task. And so I found myself at Red Rock Running Company after work one evening, trying on pairs of Mizunos, Salomons and Sauconys, dropping way too much money and taking home the latest upgrade of my trusty Wave Riders and my first-ever pair of trail shoes: the Saucony Peregrine 3s. I took them for a seven-mile spin on McCullough Hills Trail today, and the quick takeaways include traction so good it’s disconcerting, a nice snug fit through the mid-foot and plenty of undersole protection from all the rocks and pebbles and occasional cactus needles that pepper this desert trail. And here I never knew I was a Saucony fan. Guess you discover something new every day.

And I forgot the best part

A few days ago I revived this long-deserted blog with a self-indulgent little squib about the holiday running streak that has morphed into a 2014 running streak (aka “Will this thing ever end? No? Shit, better go run 3 miles.”). But silly me, I forgot the best part.

After my month of running, clocking 102.25 leisurely miles, many of them spent begging Samba pup to slow down or speed up or not eat the chicken bones that seem to be EVERYWHERE in my neighborhood, the craziest thing happened: I got faster.

Yes, yes, maybe it should not be shocking that running more makes you run faster. But my more had been slow, my legs were stiff, and when I went to run my monthly 5k in January I was, actually, shocked.

After hovering just under 24 minutes for months—dropping five seconds here, gaining three seconds there—I finished my 5k in 23:09, a PR by more than 30 seconds.

It felt like crap, of course. Right up until I saw the number on my watch.

2309