I love you guys for indulging me on last week’s request for NAQs. Or I guess as they should be called: AOBIBYTQs. Asked Only Because I Begged You To Questions.

Here we go, in the order received….

From Jess:

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?

Somewhere with a combination of exquisite natural beauty and delicious food. I’m a city person (I loved living in NYC!) but ultimately, I’d be happy living somewhere more remote as long as the food scene was good.

Jackson, Wyoming comes to mind. Or the south of France. Or this little coastal town in Vietnam called Hoi An. Money and/or practicality are no object here, right?

If you could only eat 1 thing for a whole week, without feeling sick or getting fat, what would you eat?

Pad Thai.

Besides running, what is your favourite hobby?

Does drinking count as a hobby? I think it does.

Runners up: writing…and traveling, and hiking, and skiing. If I could figure out a way to get the writing to pay for the others, that would be delightful.

Are you planning on having children? Every blogger seems to be popping ‘em out at the moment!

Probably…although we’re not in any rush, and I worry that a child would be highly incompatible with my extremely self-centered lifestyle. Although being pregnant would provide great blog fodder, yes? THIS WEEK, BABY IS THE SIZE OF A QUARTER POUNDER WITH CHEESE!

From Caitlin:

How do you scale mileage when training for a marathon vs. half? Longest run, pace, variety of workouts, etc? Do you see value in cross training?

That is a tough question and obviously I’m not a coach or anything, but for me personally, proper training for a full marathon means a lot more miles than equivalent training for a half. I don’t know if it’s twice as much, but it’s up there. I think a lot of people train for marathons by simply adding in a progressively longer long run each week, and you can certainly do that (I’ve done it!) but it’s probably not going to get you in PR shape (it certainly never did for me).

Cross training, in my world, has its place. It doesn’t really have a place in a proper marathon training cycle…unless I’m injured or something, that time and effort is better spent running. But during the “off season” or for just general keeping in shape, sure.

How do you entertain yourself on long solo runs? (I ask this because once I get over 6-7 miles, I want to DIE of boredom.)

I get a lot of things during long runs – tired, cranky, thirsty, angry – but actually, bored isn’t generally one of them. I always have a little dialogue going with myself in my head and if I’m running in a place where there are lots of people around, I’ll make up little stories about them. (They’re often unflattering stories. Sorry, random people.)

I am, however, guilty of doing the “math in my head” thing, especially during track workouts. As in: “200 meters down, 2800 to go! Hey, that’s 1/15 of the workout done!” This is not a helpful way to think about things.

What is your favorite type of beer and why?

Overall, IPA. I rarely have an IPA that I don’t like! Other types of beer may be better  in certain situations (like it’s hard to beat a hazy wheat on a hot day, or a boozy winter warmer while cozying up to a fire), but IPA is delicious any time.

From Marie:


…and Melissa:

Write about other people’s vaginas!

Here is a photo of the plastic orchid that came with my generically furnished rental apartment.

Tee hee. I’m so clever.

From Brii:

Write more about how you started running in the first place.

Let’s see…I started running when I was 13. I was going in to high school that fall and I desperately wanted a letter jacket. So I looked at my options. Any sport involving balls was out; I was (and still am) afraid of the ball and have the reflexes of a tree sloth on Ambien.

That left swimming and cross country. The swimmers had practice in the morning before school which sounded pretty horrible so I went out for cross country instead.

I did okay my freshman year. I think I ran something around 24 minutes for our first 3-mile race. I wasn’t the fastest person on the team, or even good enough to make the varsity cut, but it seemed to come to me easily so I stuck with it.

Each year, I got a little faster. By senior year, I was pretty much living and breathing running and seeing times that started with 18. I set quite a few PRs that year…many of which still stand today.

I continued running competitively in college (DIII), but I never had the kind of focus that I did my last year of high school…and while I ran well, I probably didn’t live up to the potential that my coach saw when he recruited me. Oh well. I had fun in college. :)

And so…I’ve pretty much been running ever since. The longest I’ve gone without running has been a couple of months here and there for injury (of which I haven’t had many, knock on wood!) or because I was traveling. There hasn’t been a year that I haven’t raced at least a half marathon.

Sometimes I feel like I should have a better “story.” It seems like every other blogger has their OMG RUNNING JOURNEY, but I don’t really…it’s just something that I’ve been doing for almost two decades now. I can’t really imagine life without it!

From Megan:

Can you do another beer school series, or something like it? I loved those posts!

Booze School! I kinda stopped doing those because I was afraid they came off as know-it-all-y, but if people liked them, I can bring them back! I really enjoy learning about and researching types of beer/wine, especially ones that are unusual or new to me. (The hands-on part of the research is my favorite. Obviously.)

From Kimra:

Beers you love most/first beer you ever loved?

The first “real” beer I ever took a liking to was Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. In my first post-college apartment, there was always a pack in the fridge!

As for beers I love most, of course, that’s harder. Nowadays, Great Divide’s Fresh Hop Pale Ale is probably my favorite Pale Ale. In the IPA family, it’s hard to top the Pliny the Elder (which I enjoyed when I was out in CA last December) or Dogfish 120 Minute, but those are elusive beasts. For a more readily-available IPA, Bell’s Two-Hearted is excellent, as is Dogfish’s 60 (or 90) Minute.

Why run a marathon (vs speedy shorter distances that don’t require turning over your whole life to 20-milers)(can you guess what I’ve been thinking about lately)?

I honestly don’t have a good answer on that one. I cannot wait for my marathon to be over so I can spend the summer/fall focusing on shorter stuff.

I also think that the longer distances are a security blanket for a lot of people. The longer the race, the more credit you get for finishing as opposed to finishing well…and in some bizarre way that takes the pressure off. There’s a certain comfort in knowing that even if you finish last, you’ve done something that most people consider pretty hardcore. In that regard, training for and racing a fast 5K can be a lot more scary than running a marathon; you’re putting yourself out there and there’s no real value in “just finishing.” There’s a real chance of failure.

Favorite/least favorite track workouts (I like stealing other people’s track workouts).

Favorite: Classic 12 X 400. I like that I can break the workout in to thirds and think of it like each mile of a 5K.

Least favorite: mile repeats. Ugh.

Possible controversy: Do you OMG! stop your watch while on training runs, and if so, can you still count your overall pace? What if it’s a stoplight vs. stopping to buy a week’s worth of groceries?

I do. It’s not my fault I got stopped at a stoplight!

In general, of course, I try to minimize the number of stops I have to make, especially if I am trying to do a quality or a pace-focused workout. That’s why I always try to go to a greenway or a continuous park loop or something when I do a tempo run.

As for long runs…unless you have your own personal on-the-go aid station set up, it’s hard to avoid making a quick stop to drink/refill water, eat Gu, etc. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with stopping your watch while you do that. As long as you get moving again as soon as you’ve done what you need to do, I don’t think it will matter on race day.

Grocery shopping, elaborate photography sessions, yoga breaks…all things I personally try to avoid while I’m running. But that’s just me.

And, since you’re thinking about maybe doing things other than running for a bit, what are some non-running/cross-training activities that you have previously tried and dropped like a hot potato?

Body Pump. You want to talk about boring? Give me a solo twenty-miler any day. I went a few times when I lived in NYC and the whole thing just seemed so contrived and predictable.

Cycling. It’s scary and it’s a pain in the ass – both figuratively and literally. I actually do own a good road bike and shoes and stuff and if I had a group to go with, I’d give it another shot, but I’ve come to terms with the fact that it’s just not something I’m going to make the effort to do on my own.

Pilates. Meh. If I’m going to spend an hour writhing around on the floor, I’d rather be doing something more entertaining.

Heavy weight lifting. A few years ago, I worked with a trainer and for several months focused on strength training with lower reps and heavier weights. I actually didn’t hate it, but my running pace suffered, so I eventually backed off. And I don’t really enjoy lifting on my own, so I don’t do it as much as I probably should.

That’s it for this edition of AOBIBYTQs. Thanks for playing, guys!

24 responses to “Answers

  1. My story of joining CC was about the same. Volleyball bored me and I didn’t want to be in a swimsuit. I later joined soccer when my school got it, but I owe my boring “running journey” story to my apathy towards the other fall sports options.

    Baby Shelby plz! I’m terribly selfish and will miss my old lifestyle, but kids will be cool.

    Also, I have yet to find the illusive Dogfish Head any minute. Must find. Any recs on my first beer back? I’m thinking Bells Oberon…but now you got me thinking IPA.

    • Ooh, the Oberon is good too! No Dogfish up there, huh? That sucks!

      Stone’s IPA is also good. Or anything from Ommegang…I don’t know if you can get those there!

  2. 1. I absolutely LOVE Bell’s Two-Hearted. IPA high-five!

    2. What kind of road bike do you have? I’m curious. Also kindasortamaybe thinking about picking one up sometime… Perhaps we can keep one another in mind if you ever decide to sell yours and I ever decide to buy one?

    • It’s a Specialized. I don’t remember the exact model. It’s baby blue. And very lightly used.

      I’m not positive I want to sell it, but definitely worth chatting about if you do decide you want to buy one!

  3. The South of France is amazing. I’d totally live there. Or San Fran.

    Also agree with you on mile repeats being the worst. There is just nothing good about them. They are short enough to be hard but long enough to be painful.

    • I’ve actually never been to the South of France but I imagine it being filled with pretty scenery and delicious cheeses.

  4. Body Pump is the worst.

    That is a very pretty vagina. Thank you.

  5. So I came out of this with only one real reaction – you mean your favorite workout is repeat 400s?!?!! Do you realize that you’re the *only* other person I’ve ever met for whom that is the favorite workout? People think I’m crazy, but I love the pukey feeling you get in the end if you do that workout right.

  6. this was fun! I like mile repeats, which definitely means I don’t push myself hard enough while running them…

    Also agree on the stopping the watch thing. There’s nothing wrong with stopping it to get a drink or something for a few seconds during a long run. But stopping it to take multiple self portraits or grocery shop… is just weird anyways.

  7. This may be one of the smartest things I’ve heard in a while (not a surprise that it’s from you, since you’re one of the smartest bloggers I read):

    My goal this year is to do a marathon faster than my first one and retire so I can really focus on being a better runner. Because for us mediocre types, the marathon is not really going to do that for you. But it has a badass factor that other runners and non-runners appreciate more…”oh, you could run a 5k off your couch, right?”

  8. It did not capture the quote I copied (dang HTML thinking my brackets were code): “The longer the race, the more credit you get for finishing as opposed to finishing well…and in some bizarre way that takes the pressure off. “

  9. I love this. Very interesting! I have to agree with you –favorite hobbies are writing, traveling and hiking too.

    My favorite beer right now is Boneyard IPA. Have you had it? I love love love it!

  10. “I also think that the longer distances are a security blanket for a lot of people.” So true!! I used to think I’m just naturally slow, so why not run long and have that be my accomplishment? Recently came to the realization that I’m not slow, just lazy! It’s time to get off my @$$ and start working hard to gain some speed.

  11. “If I’m going to spend an hour writhing around on the floor, I’d rather be doing something more entertaining.” –> YES.

    Wait … we’re thinking of the same thing, right? :/

  12. Ahhh, regional beer differences. I live where Pliny flows like water but would kill for a Bell’s. We now own special beer bags for transporting bottles in our luggage every time we go to the midwest.

    I think I gravitate toward longer distances because a) I hate the first 3 miles of any run and b) I get to see more stuff. This is also why I try not to run out-and-backs. I’m also new enough to running that “just finishing” legitimately still can be my goal a lot of the time. That said, I was way more nervous to try to PR in the 10K last summer than I was to run a half where I knew I wouldn’t be setting any records. I really had to change my mindset from it being “just” a 10K.

  13. No, I didn’t think the beer school posts sounded know-it-all at all! In fact, I just felt like you were offering us an education without making us do all the work ourselves. :) Mmm, pad thai. I too, would have no problem eating that for a week straight.

  14. “I worry that a child would be highly incompatible with my extremely self-centered lifestyle.” Aaaaaand this is why I don’t have kids. That and we have massive debt. Because of our self-centered lifestyle.

  15. Beer school was fun because it was something different.

    Your comment about shorter distances is dead on. After a couple years of running, writing “it was a slow half marathon, but I finished” would still happen; if I ran another 38 minute 5k (like my first) I wouldn’t blog about it.

  16. I joined track in middle school as a way to stay in shape for basketball, but after one attempt at the 200m, I realized it was the worst decision I ever made. Then they put me in shot put and I sort of felt like the Hulk…

  17. Sesa echoed my thoughts exactly, so no need to restate. :) I will sayy I feel like my “running story” is pretty similar to yours, just minus the college running & multiple marathons. Plus I’m way slower. But, I never had a big “epiphany” either. It’s just something I’ve done with consistency since junior high, and I probably started because I was so terrible at contact sports. And now I try to reach some new goals every year. I’m focusing on the 1/2 and shorter this year, so kudos to those of us who want to get faster at the short stuff! I love your Q & A’s — they always entertain.

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