Week One

Beginning  something new always takes some effort. Once the thrill of running my first Bay To Breakers was over, it was time to get down to real training. Preparing for the half-marathon is going to take a lot of time and effort put into it before I am ready. So before we go forward, I had to go back.

A Girl With Glasses, runner of three half-marathons, provided me with a couple of options for training regimens. At the time I was not a regular runner, yet to run 13.1 miles you’d better be. Of the ones she gave me, I chose this one. Now you may look and notice it is a 12-week program, and the half marathon is about 16 weeks away. Well later on in the Fall I will be headed back to school, so I wanted to make the most of my SummerTime training while I had time (especially since the search for a morning job has been fruitless.)

The first day, a Monday, called for stretching and strength training. I did my normal routine for Mondays and felt ready to begin the running part the next day. Tuesday called for a 3-mile run. This is where I had to backtrack. In the weeks leading up to the Bay to Breakers, 3 mile runs had become the norm, not easy-peasy, but regular, so I had to prepare myself mentally for these 3 miles to be the start of a long journey.

I decided to run outside around the neighborhood. What I like to do is just turn on my Nike SportBand which connect with my ultra comfortable pair of  Nike LunarGlide+ 3, and run until I hit my target goal. Deciding to turn left or right when I get the end of the street make running a little more exciting than running on a preset course or on the DREADmill at the gym.

Let me tell you, that first run, sucked. Here I thought that it was in the bag. Hell I just ran almost 8 a week ago, this would be no problem. Quite the contrary. Midway through the run I got tired, I got bored, and I just wanted to quit. As cliché as it sounds, I had to dig deep until I approached mile 2. I told myself that quitting before even starting would be unacceptable. I made my way back home and finished that 3rd mile.

The next couple of runs weren’t so difficult. Although on Wednesday, after doing the scheduled run and then some core workouts (including planks, lunges and squats, and crunches/situps with a medicine ball) me and the Lady went to walk the Golden Gate Bridge. The walk is about 3 miles round trip, and for our tired legs, that was good enough.

Happy 75th!

The fog and wind make for quite a cold adventure.

You can’t tell, but she’s frozen.

After more walking through SF we did what else? EAT! She found us a delicious restaurant somewhat nearby that not only had phenomenal tacos, but also my favorite beer, Negra Modelo on tap, and a giant painting of a bottle of Tapatio on the wall! Awesome.

Saturday was perhaps the toughest run of the week. The schedule called for another 3 mile run. The distance wasn’t the issue, it was the fact the night before was my best friend’s birthday. We went to a local bar that serves 36 oz. beers. Upon reading the last two paragraphs I’m sure you’ve noticed, I love beer. Lately I haven’t really been drinking. What was once a fun thing to do has since fizzled (I’m getting old it seems) so when I do have a sip it’s light and on occasion. Best friend’s birthdays usually end late, as this one did so waking up with motivation the next day was difficult. I powered through, handled my 3 miles, this time running at the gym.

Sunday’s run was 5 miles. My legs were tired, my brain was tired, but I was determined to finish it. Here is the most important thing I learned during Week One: just do your best. After about 2.75 miles I wanted to quit, and I sort of did. I stopped and started walking. Albeit at a quicker pace than I do when I’m grocery shopping, but I walked. I walked for a minute before I began running again. I did this 3 times. It’s important that you don’t feel bad that you stopped, it’s not easy to run longer distances. I realized that more than physical, the mental training that this is going to take will be hard.

When I approached mile 4 I got reinvigorated. I wanted to finish strong and I did just that. I ran that last mile faster than the others (again I don’t check my time during the run, but the SportBand provides you split times afterwards) and felt great as I crossed my invisible finish line.

Week One had come to a successful close. I am excited to continue on with Week Two and look forward to getting ready all Summer long.

I think it’s time to stretch!

Thanks for reading, handle it and naturally,

Be Better.

Categories: Fitness, Food, Workouts | Leave a comment

Bay to Breakers

The light at the end of one tunnel may just be lighting another tunnel.

This was the case for the past couple of days. You see sandwiched into an already busy stretch of days was the beginning of a new challenge. Sunday was the 101st Bay To Breakers. It was my first time running the event, my first event since November, and my first event en route to running a half in the fall.

Before getting to Sunday morning there was work to be done. Friday morning was my first final exam of the semester. A 7:15am tip, was none too pleasing. Adding to this, it wasn’t just any final, it was perhaps the last math final I’ll take for some time, which means it was hard.

Following the early morning’s assessment, I headed out to San Francisco to retrieve my bib, timing chip and goodies before the race on Sunday. My Girl With Glasses, who made me a delicious breakfast to eat on BART, and I headed to The City. This was the first real Expo I’ve been to. I already enjoy receiving the the free, yet useful swag you recieve for being a participant.

We had some delicious iced coffee courtesy of Blue Bottle as we strolled and we headed back home. Work, then it was time to head back out to The City, although this time I was driving, for HD’s BDay Celebration. Got snazzy in the men’s room before heading out and meeting The Vegas Gang at Noble. The club was lot’s of fun. Dancing, laughing, and enjoying it all.

Going to clubs though, means late  nights. And staying over means early mornings. Such was had and I was off to the gym to get one last workout in before the race. It consisted of doing a few of my favorite lifts and dropping the weight, while increasing the amount and speed of my reps. This is usually my Saturday routine.  My other Saturday routine is working the afternoon closing shift at the Playa. Luckily I rarely stay late and tonight was no different.

Thanks to technology I made most of my playlist for the run at work. To me having the right songs in your ear can be essential. I usually go for rap music with harder beats. ‘BayToBreakers’ featured some tracks I’m currently bumping by the likes of Rick Ross, The Throne, A$ap Rocky, 2Chainz and Kendrick Lamar, along with a couple handpicked selections from Lady: MonkeyWrench by the soon to be seen Foo Fighters, and that dammed catchy Call Me Maybe song. Playlist making cut down on the time it took to gather my things. I packed all the gear I’d need for the morning and called it a night.

For the second time in three days, I woke up early because I had to, not because I wanted to. Sunday morning called for 4:30am in order to make it to the rendezvous point in time for yet another train out to San Francisco with Lady. She too was running the race, albeit illegally.  On the train I ate my usual morning breakfast snack, consisting of a whole wheat toast, natural peanut butter (in this case it was almond butter) and a preserve spread. Just enough to get some energy, yet not too much to slow me down.It was chilly, I was tired, but myexcitement, and nerves for that matter, began to kick in. We got off the train, hit the portos quickly, which word to the wise reek before running events, and got our tortilla tossing selves onto the course.

A tradition.

The Bay To Breakers is a 12k race through the streets of the great, San Francisco. Starting at Embarcadero and ending on The Great Highway, this race features great scenery, naked people, early-morning house parties, and one tough-ass hill. I love every second of it. I didn’t see any mile markers until Mile 5. This bothered me while running, but I’ve since realized it helped me. By not knowing exactly where along the course I was, I just kept a solid pace and was concerned with how long I’d been running. The perviously longest run I’d been on was 6 miles, maybe three weeks prior. I knew I had this 7.46 in me this morning, but the final stretch went on longer than expected.

I wear a Nike SportBand while I run (when I remember to wear it), primarily to track my distance. I am trying not to be too concerned with my time, as I am not an avid runner, just yet. My official time for The Breakers race was an 1:10:19, which is a 9:26 minute per mile average. I’ll take it. I think it’s important to not make time your primary inspiration. I just wanted to finish, without stopping, and that mission was accomplished, save for a quick porta-potty stop along the route.

Now usually when I run I eat something beneficial afterwards. Since we were out in The City on a gorgeous day, we decided to eat something delicious. After a roadside costume change, we headed for the Slow Club, where our post-race food and drinks were good. A burger and bloody maria (sub tequila for vodka, tasty) for me, and some turkey hash with mimosas for her.


With a alcohol/accomplishment buzz and full bellies, we headed towards Hayes Valley, to check out one of my favorite stores, UNDFTD, and peruse the small shops. More walking, a couple beers, and of course more Blue Bottle, and before we knew it the day and our energy were running out.

A great day, considering who I was with, what we had handled so early, and of course because I wore a new pair of shoes for the first time.

This race was the beginning of my official training for the half-marathon in October. I am now going to shift my focus on running a bit more and have acquired a training schedule to follow along. What schedule am I using and how am I preparing to handle it? Well you’ll just have to wait until my next post.

Until then, handle it, and always,

Be Better.

Categories: Fitness, Food, Sneakers, Workouts | 1 Comment

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