Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Overcrowding at the Disney Princess Half Marathon

For a start, a few basic thoughts, which I want to preface by saying that I think the Princess Half Marathon is a fantastic race. I love the underlying messages that a) princesses are fit and strong and b) princesses (and runners) come is ALL shapes and sizes. I think it provides a supportive atmosphere for anyone looking to tackle their first half marathon and a fun atmosphere to give the experienced runner a break from taking their running too seriously, if they want to do so. I also love that it gives me, personally, an excuse to spend time with my best friend and my family who live in the Orlando area. I'll write up my own personal experience after I get this off my chest.

However, I think that RunDisney has done a disservice to this wonderful race this year by expanding capacity far beyond what the course and its own resources are capable of handling. In 2011, there were 14,000 finishers (at least according to my certificate). Last year, there were 17,000. This year, there were 21,000 finishers. The rapid expansion in the number of participants and the major rise in the entry fee, without accompanying changes to the infrastructure of the race to accommodate those crowds, feels greedy and threatens to do significant damage to the reputation of a truly wonderful event.

The biggest issue is crowding. I’ve been lucky not to have had significant problems with crowding during my two Princesses, but I will note that the course was crowded in the first few miles this year in a way that I don’t remember from 2011. Luckily, I was in corral A because I had times to support the fact that I could finish under 2:15. I was in amongst a group that was only running a tiny bit slower than I wanted to be running at that point in the race, so it wasn’t a big deal to me. I also remember thinking that, in the final mile of the race, it was still way more crowded than in 2011. I remember feeling like I was almost alone in Epcot last time; this year, we were definitely surrounded by many other runners. It was fine – nothing worse than running the London Marathon or Cherry Blossom, for sure, but a noticeable and anecdotal difference in my own experiences. (I’d note that we only finished two minutes faster than I did in 2011, so I don’t think finishing time is much of a variable here.) However, I’ve also seen a number of other bloggers and online message board posters commenting on the problems they had with crowding (the Castle in Magic Kingdom is a significant chokepoint for many, as were the single-lane sections of the roads, where people either had to walk, stop completely, or move on to the grass shoulder). This was an issue for those who started further back in 2011, too, but it seems like RunDisney hasn’t addressed this already-known issue, while massively increasing capacity.

For any would-be princesses: do yourself a major favor and run a local 10K. If you submit a time to RunDisney that supports a decently speedy finishing time (<2:45, I think), you’ll get a significantly better corral placement and save yourself a lot of headache.

I also noticed how bad the crowding was in the start/finish areas of the race. (NOT the finisher’s chute – that was awesome! They did a great job keeping people moving, getting fluids in our hands as quickly as possible, congratulating everyone, having tons of medical supplies ready to grab, and making food distribution super efficient. And bag check at Princess is still pretty much the best bag check system I’ve ever seen in my life – awesome!) Lines for the port-o-potties were pretty long and after the race you could barely fight your way through the family reunion area (particularly its narrow entrance/exit). Again – it seemed like it was the same size as in 2011, just with twice as many runners and supporters. And, we were on the front end of finishers, so I suspect it only got worse after we left. There was a lot of traffic that the buses had to contend with, as well - the trip from Port Orleans to dropoff at Epcot took almost an hour.

The thing, however, that was absolutely horrible for me, personally, was the Expo. I’m not an inexperienced runner and I’ve been in some really big races (the London Marathon is ~35K runners), but this was by far the worst one that I’ve ever seen. For some reason, which may have had to do with baseball spring training, the Expo was moved to the Coronado Springs Resort from its usual home at ESPN Wide World of Sports. It was only accessible by taking a Disney bus, either from a host resort or by parking at Downtown Disney (which was a HUGE inconvenience for many people). I honestly think that the size of the ballroom was appropriate for an expo of this size, but that the space was horribly misused. Essentially, the space was divided in half: half was for bib pickup and the other half was for everything else, including all the vendors, the stage for speakers, official merchandise, and shirt/bag pickup. So, essentially, the right hand side was empty with absolutely boatloads of empty space (to their credit, no lines for getting race bibs, tons of volunteers), while the left side of the room was so packed that it was hard to move. The line for shirt pickup, which was located in the back corner of the room, was at least 10 minutes long. The line to get in to the official merchandise area was at least 15 minutes long. You could barely move in there and, let me tell you, it really didn’t make me want to linger and shop and I’m a person who LOVES big race expos (I go to them even when I’m not running a race, just to look at what’s new or shop). At first I thought that we had just accidentally gone at a bad time, but the word on twitter and the discussion boards was that it was bad all day both Friday and Saturday. Terrible and there’s no excuse for it. There’s got to be someone at Disney who knows how to run a trade expo.

I’ve been going on at some length here, so I’m going to do some summarizing.

Things that were really good:

· There were plenty of drinks stations/drinks/volunteers out on the course. I was worried after Tower of Terror, where they ran out.
· I loved the feather flags to tell you where they were handing out each specific flavor of Clif Shot (although an earlier gel station would be awesome, too).
· As I noted above, the finisher chute was spectacular.
· Bag check organization is out of this world.
· CAST MEMBERS!!! Seriously. They’re incredible. They were out in force in Epcot and the Magic Kingdom, as well as in strategic parts of the course where there weren’t other spectators. Every single one was cheering us on, giving encouragement, clapping, screaming, etc. They really helped get us through tough bits and their enthusiasm was really special. Cast members are THE BEST.
· I LOVE the medal.
· I went to the 5K on Saturday to support my cousin and her husband. I wish I’d run it, though, because the course through the Epcot World Showcase sounds amazing. The shirt and medal were pretty darn cute, too!
· I still love that they make a big deal out of starting every single corral. Fireworks FTW!
· Awesome that RunDisney accommodated the many, many participants whose flights were affected by weather delays and offered packet pickup on the mornings of both races.
· The system for getting everyone on buses back to resorts after the races are great.


· Seemed like fewer characters out on the course (I don't stop for photos, but they're a very welcome distraction!).
· The post-5K breakfast (which we’d bought thinking that it was after Princess, not after the 5K), which was advertised as a chance to meet the Princesses. Kind of disappointing – they only had three there and closed the line to meet them half an hour before the breakfast ended. My cousin was in the stroller division, so we didn’t get there until 8:45 and opted to eat first, because we’d all been in the Epcot parking lot since 6am. And then, we couldn’t even meet the princesses. Which would be fine, I understand that cast members have to manage their time carefully, but $37.50 is a lot to pay for some French toast.
· Oh, god, the Expo (see above).
· Crowding (see above)
· Communication before the race (RunDisney was not responsive to FB/twitter/e-mail messages and sent out communications long after promised on the website)
· Shirt sizing always kind of sucks, because they don’t have charts
· Busing to the start – need bus lanes

I do want to go out of my way to note that there are still a number of great things about this race. I seriously hope that RunDisney will do a thorough reflection on what worked and didn’t work this year and come back with some changes for next year. I think I'd want to see some changes before I sign up to run Princess again, particularly in light of the really expensive race fees and the fact that Florida weather just isn't very fun for me to run in.

Monday, February 18, 2013

I got mansplained.

First, a definition, drawn from The Atlantic (because that seemed more authoritative than the Urban Dictionary): "explaining without regard to the fact that the explainee knows more than the explainer, often done by a man to a woman." The subject in question is personal safety.

Last week and weekend, there were several attempted attacks on women in the North Seattle area, including one where a woman was grabbed while she was running around Green Lake in the early morning. Luckily, she was unharmed (physically), when a biker scared the guy away and chased him (although he ultimately escaped).

However, the attacks have been raising a fair amount of conversation amongst my running friends, because we all run at Green Lake at least 2-3 times a week. I think that's a really good thing. There's nothing wrong with having discussions about ways to stay safe while running. It's caused some of the guys in our group to think about the privilege they have not to worry (so much) about being attacked when they go out for runs by themselves. A lot of people, both men and women, have been making themselves more available for being running buddies outside of our usual group runs. I think that's awesome.

But, along the way, there has been some advice that has really rubbed me the wrong way. Some of it took on a very patronizing tone and was aimed exclusively at women (and while I agree that women need to be more aware of their personal safety when running alone than men do, it isn't an exclusively-female problem by a LONG shot). It was very much: "Here's what you have to do to be safe, little ladies, which I know because I used to be in the military: carry pepper spray and maybe even a gun!" I'm not kidding about the gun part, either. (FWIW, he also suggested having a buddy, mixing up your routes, and not running with music, which are great suggestions.) Other men, at one of our running nights, were making comments about how the women shouldn't run by themselves. Another night, I couldn't convince one of the guys that I felt fine running by myself and it ended up being way too fast for me and frustrating for both of us.

I was really put-off by the tone that much of this, admittedly well-meaning, advice was taking. So, finally, after a night of brooding, I posted on our club's facebook wall that I was feeling this way:
I know everyone means well, of course, but, frankly, women think about safey every day of our lives, every time we leave our homes (and, sometimes, IN our homes). We're smart about these things and I really resent being told what I should or shouldn't be doing to keep myself safe, again, like it isn't something I think about every time I go for a run, whether there's been a recent attack or not. Be glad that you're someone who doesn't have to think about these things, certainly, but don't dictate to me like I'm a small child who needs to be told how to stay safe around strangers or a damsel in distress who needs protection. I appreciate the concern and I think this has started a good discussion, but my feminist side is bristling.
Apparently using the "f-word" is the way to really raise heckles. Lots of people chimed in that the men were just being concerned and that the other women weren't feeling patronized. Apparently I was seen as accusing others of having an anti-feminist bias, living in a wonderful utopian world where people are safe, and ignoring the fact that "80%" of attacks are against women. I posted a response:
I think I’m being misinterpreted. I’m glad that I’ve had a heads up about these incidents. I appreciate that people are rethinking their personal safety strategies and what they can do to help others be safer. I think anything that makes us think and talk about privilege (gendered, ethnic, sexual preference, socioeconomic, etc.), particularly our own, is a really good thing.

But, I think that not everyone realizes that these issues about personal safety are constant concerns in many of our lives. I know that I, as a woman, never go for a run (or out, even) without making sure that I’m doing the things that I accept as reasonable trade-offs for promoting my own safety. I know that everyone makes different judgment calls about what they are willing to do or give up (night runs, solo runs, running without pepper spray, etc.) in order to try and be safe. 

I, too, have lived and traveled in dangerous places around the United States and the world and consider myself very lucky never to have been attacked, robbed, or mugged. I’ve never carried a weapon or pepper spray, which is my own choice. Instead, I do my best to remain aware of my surroundings and choose the safest places I can for runs or just when I’m out by myself at night. That works for me. I think it’s helpful to talk about our strategies and to support each other: we’ve all got different experiences and have something different to offer the discussion. 

But, I felt as though some of the tone of the conversation was veering toward condescension: this shouldn’t be a discussion about what WOMEN have to do to stay safe or why women are at heightened risk (as if we didn’t already know that and worry about it constantly), it’s a conversation about what we as a community can do to ensure our collective safety. I think people have made some really thoughtful points and generous offers. I know not everyone will have felt patronized or condescended to the way I have by a few comments (made both here and in other forums): I can only claim to be speaking for myself. My feminist side (and, frankly, my humanist side, too) wants nothing more than an acknowledgement of and respect for our differing life experiences and I hope I’ve spoken in line with those beliefs.
The whole thing was really upsetting to me. I'm a staunch, but quiet feminist. I don't speak up quickly or without a great deal of thought. I wasn't accusing anyone of being anti-feminist, just unaware of the tone of their suggestions. And then I got attacked for it, by members of a group that I've come to rely on and made many friends through. Or, as my friends told me: I got mansplained and then told off for pointing  this out to the culprits. Ugh. But, you know what - I'm still glad I spoke up, because letting it pass wouldn't have done anyone any good.


Oops. I forgot to post this. Already finished the race, but let's pretend I haven't, ok?

This Sunday is the Disney Princess Half Marathon! I'll be running it for the second time - the first was in 2011.

But, wow, have there been some big changes since then:

  • 2011 was my first half marathon; 2013 is my seventh (I think).
  • In 2011 we started in corral B; in 2013 we start in corral A.
  • In 2011, I was a 3L; 2013, I'm a real lolyer (5L, I guess).
  • In 2011 my cousin's husband was at his heaviest weight and a few months away from gastric bypass surgery; in 2013, he's lost more than a hundred pounds and I can't wait to go cheer for him at the Royal Family 5K (and yes, he's run loads of other 5Ks before this one).
  • In 2011, I lived in DC. Now I live in Seattle.
  • In 2011, I was super stoked if we ran three days a week and got over 15 miles for the week. In 2013, I'm running six days a week and am hovering in the high-30s for weekly milage.
  • In 2011, my favorite princess was Belle. In 2013, it's Merida. I like her spunk and her unwillingness to shack up for the sake of shacking up when she isn't ready/hasn't found the perfect guy.
  • In 2011, I ran in traditional running shoes. Shortly after Princess and Cherry Blossom, I took a bit of a break to let my cranky adductor heal (ugh - this is my chronic running thing) and switched to shoes with a 4mm drop. I haven't gone back.
  • In 2011, I wanted a cat. In 2013, I HAVE a cat.
  • In 2011, Princess was the longest I'd ever run and OMG it was an incredibly big deal. In 2013, I'm incorporating it into my training for the Eugene Full, which is my real goal race for spring.
Just because I've come a long way doesn't mean I don't still have goals for the race:
  • Nutrition - I completely bonked this one in 2011. It was hot, I was exhausted and I ended up bonking because I only took a few Gu chomps at around mile 4 and nothing else for the rest of the race. I know, STUPID. I still struggle with eating during a race (see my bonk in the last few miles of North Olympic Discovery Marathon), but I've been getting better. My goal is to take either a gel or chomp at mile ~4 and when they pass them out between miles 8 and 9. I've done the last few long runs experimenting with the Cliff Gels that they use at Disney and, you know, I quite like their flavors and texture!
  • Sub-2:15. OR DIE. I mean, Corral A's for people planning to go sub-2:15, so I've got to justify being there, right? On the other hand, my goal is to go JUST sub 2:15, because I've decided that the sensible way to run this race is as a tempo run at marathon goal pace (more or less). But, since MGP gets me 2:15, I've got to go just a liiiiiiiiiitle bit faster. (I am also going to spend the summer training hard for Disneyland, as my A race for the fall.)
  • Keep up with my marathon training, even though I'm at Disney. This is going to take some focus.
I still think Princess 2011 came right at the right moment to turn both my best friend and I into real runners, not just flashes in the pan, because it kept us motivated and moving forward after we got comfortable with 5 and 10K races. So, I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for Princess!

Training, Week 8

Day 1 - 6x800s w/ 400m rest
Day 2 - Skating session
Day 3 - 5M at tempo (10:07 pace) with 1M each for warm-up and cool-down
Day 4 - 5M easy run(ish) (10:31 pace)
Day 5 - 6M easy (11:11 pace)
Day 6 - 4M easy (5.3 pace on the treadmill)
Day 7 - 11M long (10:56 pace)

I really struggled this week, mentally. It's been three weeks since my plan bumped up to 6 days of running per week. I haven't really been "resting" on my "rest" day, either, since it's a good day to get my gym time in if I'm going to be out of town later in the week. Or, it's the night there's club ice at the skating rink from 6:30-7:45. Which, BTW, I've officially rejoined the USFSA as a member of the Highland Figure Skating Club. Next up, I totally want to take my adult moves tests.

Anyway, by Saturday, I was really, really struggling. I even went into work and was using that as an excuse not to do my run. WORK! ON A SATURDAY! That's some serious procrastination. I was supposed to be doing my 10 mile long run that day, too, but it became pretty clear to me that it just wasn't going to happen. There wasn't a good reason for it, either: I'd had plenty of sleep, it was a beautiful day, and I didn't have a ton of other commitments. I just couldn't seem to get myself in gear to go and do my run. I eventually called Duchie and talked it over with her. We agreed that it was fine for me to switch my long run and my short run this weekend, if that's what it was going to take to get my long run done (obviously, that's the most important of the two). Also, that it would be perfectly ok if I felt like I needed the rest day. After moping around for a few more hours, I finally decided that I would feel better if I didn't have a zero for the day (and ruin my perfect Jantastic score!). So, I went to the gym aiming for three miles, instead of the six I had planned. I made it to four before I noticed that my adductor was moaning a little bit and decided that it was time to stop while I was ahead (I think the repetitive motion of the treadmill is harder for it than my constant speed adjustments outside, even though I do run with a randomly changing elevation on the treadmill). And, you know, I'm glad that I did.

Sunday, I eventually went out and did my long run (after SEVERAL episodes of House of Cards). And it really wasn't so bad. Apart from realizing too late (after my run) that even if it was warm enough when I left the house, it WASN'T warm enough for a skirt and short-sleeves (even if I was also wearing a vest) by 5pm. I was happy to be back out on the Burke-Gilman trail pounding out the miles. It felt good to be back in the game.

Here's hoping that I have a better mental week this week!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Training, Week 7

Day 1 - 8 x 600 w/ 400 rest + 2 warm-up/cool-down (target is 3:10, did my intervals in 3:05, 3:02, 3:03, 3:12, 3:06, 3:05, 3:07, 3:01)
Day 2 - REST (but went to the gym)
Day 3 - 5 mile tempo + 2 warm-up/cool-down (10:08 pace for the tempo, goal is 10:18)
Day 4 - 4 miles easy (11:32 pace - running club, got a slow running buddy)
Day 5 - 6 miles easy (11:10 pace)
Day 6 - 10 miles long (11:02 pace - goal is 11:05)
Day 7 - 4 miles easy (still have to go do this, but I will)
TOTAL - will be 38 after I finish today's 4 miler. Yikes.

Another hard week (they all will be, until taper), really. On yesterday's long run, I really, really felt like I was starting to have to deal with that "cumulative fatigue" thing that is supposed to be the trademark of the Hanson's plan. I mean, and I honestly don't mean this as a humblebrag, a 10 mile "long run" isn't actually that long for me these days. It's long, but it isn't THAT long. It's not something that I should find difficult. But, I definitely had some fatigue that I had to try and shake out/run through. And afterwards, I was SHATTERED. I was so tired driving home. After I stopped off to pick up Chinese takeaway and got home, it was pretty clear that I wasn't moving again for the rest of the day. I had to take a nap on the couch before I felt perked up enough to make it upstairs for a shower.

My best friend and I have spent the week getting excited about the Princess Half Marathon. Corral assignments came out this week and we're stupidly excited that we've been put in corral A. Only at Disney, people, only at Disney. Whatever, I love it. It's actually really, really nice to be so far forward (and, since A is for anyone planning to finish under 2:15, we very much deserve to be there), because I've heard that the course gets incredibly crowded later on. We shouldn't have to deal with walkers and won't have any trouble running through the Castle. w00t! Our outfits are all planned and I managed to snag a late-night reservation for the Be Our Guest restaurant after the race - it's the new Beauty & the Beast restaurant in New Fantasyland and is incredibly hard to get a reservation at right now. What a great way to celebrate, right?!

I'm also looking forward, as ever, to seeing my cousin and her family! They're all doing the 5K the day before Princess and I'm excited to be a spectator! I need to make some signs and find a cowbell somewhere.... Afterwards, we're doing breakfast with the Princesses! I've been told that it's very likely that my cousin's young son will be in full-on adorable flirt mode and that it's going to be the most adorable thing ever.

The thing I'm worrying about, with Princess week, honestly, is what to do with my training schedule. I know that I won't be able to run on Thursday, because I'm going to work for a few hours and then don't land in Florida until about 11pm. So, I THINK I should move my easy Thursday run to Tuesday. That's pretty easy. But, do I still do my easy 5/6 milers on Friday and Saturday? 5 miles isn't much, but SHOULD I taper going into Princess, even a little bit? Should I skip that week's tempo run? (I think this is a yes, because I think I'm planning to run Princess as a tempo at marathon goal pace - well, a few seconds faster so I can get in under 2:15).

Finally, I have to say that I am still loving my skating lessons. Dance is great, although I can definitely feel places where I'm not as comfortable as I once was and my legs are a bit wobbly. I did get my blades sharpened yesterday, so that might make a difference (apparently they were VERY in need of it). But, I was told that my edges are strong and not just because I can use my physical strength to save them. I also did the freestyle lesson yesterday, which was a bit meh. I was set to working on my spins: one foot and, later, scratches. After a tiny bit of correction about how I needed to stay down on my knee when stepping into them (because I could feel that my free hip was in the wrong place, but wasn't sure how to fix it), it all came back pretty quickly. What DOES NOT apparently come back is your inner ear's ability to adapt to spinning. After 20 minutes of spin practice, I was feeling a bit nauseous. But, anyway, apparently muscle memory is a beautiful thing. I also don't think my body has changed that much since I last skated regularly, other than the fact that I'm probably stronger now, which helps me a great deal. I'm essentially operating with the same set of physical tools that I skated with for years.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013


So, one of my favorite running companies did something really, really awesome and sweet for me last week. Because they're apparently EVEN MORE AWESOME than I always thought they were! I may have gotten a little overexcited about the new injinji Performance 2.0 line of socks and ended up having the following conversation on twitter:

When I say that I've run in injinjis for years, I really mean it. In the fall 2010 Army 10-Miler, I did a serious number on my toes: they hurt so badly after the race from all the pounding that I couldn't even have blankets on top of them. I went to a running store to ask for some advice and they suggested that I try these funky, rainbow striped toe socks. And, basically, I haven't run in anything else since. If I forget my injinjis, the run just isn't happening.

Stylin' after the Baltimore 10 Miler
They've gotten me through two marathons, five half marathons, and I can't wait to see what's next (well, hopefully, it's the two halves and the Eugene Marathon that I have planned through April). I haven't had any blisters and only lost one toenail in all of that (even that wasn't until the race itself and the toenail actually hung around for most of a month afterwards before finally coming off.) I love them. And no, you really don't notice that you've got anything between your toes after putting them on - I'll often forget I'm even wearing them until I take my shoes off and someone comments. And, along the way, I've done my best to convert friends to injinjis. I've been known to stock up at sales and then give them as presents....

Plus and OMG, I have been an absolutely HUGE fan of the eco performance line, which came in amazing striped colors. While the company has definitely been moving in the direction of more super fun colors, for which I am grateful, I'm not sure that they're going to continue to do really fun patterns like these. My only regret is that we never got pink stripey socks, but I'll live!

Just a random run - kitten attack!!! And my injinjis.
ANYWAY, injinji sent me a pair of the new RUN 2.0 Performance socks (Midweight Mini-Crew, I believe) and I was super excited to take them for a few runs before they're even available in stores! LOVE. I really like the new cuff. Some of the lengths in the older versions just didn't work for me, because I'd get chaffing around the heel, but I can't see that ever being an issue with these. Nothing is ever going to get down there by accident, because they're snug - not in an annoying way, but in a "run all you want on the trails, because no pebble will come between you and your socks" way. I think I like the new compression across the instep, too, and the venting on the top is a nice touch. When I put them on at first, the fabric felt a little stiffer than I'm used to, but that might just be because I've loved my other pairs to softness/death (literally in at least one case - I've discovered that the only way to get a blister in injinjis is by wearing a hole in them and refusing to admit that you should probably retire those socks, rather than going for a 7 mile tempo in them). I'm really intrigued by how much more engineered my beloved toe socks seem and these all seem like really great developments.
My cat approves of my awesome new injinjis!
It's been fun watching injinji grow and go mainstream! I feel like they're about to have a huge breakthrough with the new lines and the new "Any Shoe" campaign (I've never worn toe shoes, but have always worn them with regular shoes). They've always been really responsive to feedback (which, admittedly, in my case is usually along the lines of "fun colors, please!"), whether by e-mail, twitter, or chatting at race expos. So, basically, I have loved injinji's socks for years. And, now, thanks to the random kindness of the Customer Service team, I love the company even more than I did already!

Monday, February 04, 2013

Week 6, Part 1

As I mentioned, this was the REAL start of marathon training, the first week that involves tempos and intervals.

Day 1 - 12x400 (8 miles, total)
On Monday night, I ran 12 x 400m with 400m rest intervals. With warm-up and cool-down, that's 8 miles. The goal for the 400s was 2:08. I never hit that, but I enjoyed trying. It's a good pace - I didn't feel like I had to go insane, but that the pace was well within my reach, I just had to work hard. I kept chanting in my head: "stay within yourself." I don't know why, but it seemed to work. It felt like a little game, trying to hit the right pace, which really helped me mentally, because that was a friggin' long workout! SO long that I got to the track before my running group, did my warm-up, headed to the lake path to do my intervals just as they were arriving, and they were all gone by the time I got back! (I'm doing the lake, because my adductors don't like the repetitive tight turns on the track. Also...32 laps of the track? Ugh.) Oh! And I did it with just my Garmin - no music or podcasts to distract me!

My intervals: 1:59 (oops...I had no idea how easy or hard my pace was supposed to be), 2:10, 2:05, 2:05, 2:07, 2:09, 2:00 (oops again), 2:05, 2:06, 2:05, 2:03, 2:05. Apparently 2:05 is my sweet spot.

And, can I just note that setting up my workouts on the Garmin is awesome? I did those intervals manually, but have already done the rest in the Garmin software. I have a magically thingee that sends workouts to my watch wirelessly and so BOOM, five minutes later, I have everything ready. I loved that it kept track of .25 mile repeats for me, although I think I did this by setting the autolap to .25 miles. The new ones that I did in Garmin land on the computer will be a bit more sophisticated. I also used a workout for my tempo run - I had it set for a 1 mile warm-up at between 11-11:20 pace (so it yelled at me to slow down), 5 miles at 10:10-10:20 pace, then 1 mile with no target pace. I LOVED that it counted down how much longer you had in the interval and your average pace for that interval. Oh, 610. Now, if I could just get that last pin in from the fabric strap, you'd be perfect. Leaving it hanging halfway out is bound to cause problems at some point.

Day 2 - REST
Except that I went to the gym for a training session. Tabata workouts were designed as instruments of torture, weren't they? Surprisingly, I was super sore afterwards. Perhaps my devotion to epsom salt baths is a contributing factor?

Day 3 - 5 mile tempo (7 total)
This one definitely felt hard. I finally figured out how to set up a workout so my watch could yell at me when I was going to fast during the warm-up and too slow or too fast during the tempo. Had to stop for tummy issues again, but it wasn't as bad as other runs have been. I'm wondering if cutting out my morning coffee on days when I have to run right after work is a good idea? That seems to be helping.

According to my Garmin, I did the warm-up and cool-down at 11:01 and 11:15, respectively and the tempo at 10:09 (goal was 10:18). I'll take that. I also learned a great deal about Japanese running, courtesy of Marathon Talk, and raced a train. I won! But only because the train stopped. But, this was definitely a hard run. It's supposed to be. That's ok.

Day 4 - 4 miles easy
My Garmin's downstairs. I don't want to get it. I ran 4 miles, wiped down with a baby wipe, took the Light Rail to the airport, then flew to Los Angeles to see my dear, dear friend Juliet. No one looked at me like I smelled funny, so I'm counting that as a win.

I'll write up the rest of the week separately, because they were super fun! LA running!