Friday, September 28, 2012

It’s inevitable. Every runner falls eventually, or in my case quarterly.

On Saturday, I attempted a tempo run on the trails in the San Dieguito Lagoon – this just sounds like a bad idea, a tempo trail run? But these trails are wide, flat, soft, and smooth. Notwithstanding said smoothness, my right toe found the one rock sticking out on the entire 6 mile trail, propelling me forward to my belly flopping destiny.

I’ve fallen before, and these are the thoughts that go through my mind: (1) what hurts? (2) visual scan, are there any bones sticking out? (3) can I move my legs and arms without pain? (4) what’s bleeding? (5) did anyone see me? (6) better run home before the adrenaline wears off!

In this case, nothing hurt. Bones were in the right spots. Legs and arms worked. Arm was bleeding. I left some skin on the trail and am carrying some trail burn this week. But the fall was well-timed, at the end of the run, less than a mile from home, and no lasting damage (I even played tennis later that day). No one saw the fall itself, but to all who saw me afterwards, it was obvious had taken a tumble. 

Loving the head-to-toe neon look!
Another high mileage week for me, and I began some speed work with 5 x 800 m at 6:27 pace, which actually wasn't too bad.  But it amazes/scares me that my training plan builds to 16 of these bad boys. No pain, no gain!

Week 4 (9/22-9/28):  34 miles

9/22 (Saturday):  Failed tempo run at 7:15 pace in San Dieguito Lagoon. Aborted, and ran 7 miles at 8:05 average pace. 1 hour of tennis.

9/23 (Sunday):  2 hour long run, 13 miles through Del Mar, Solana Beach, and Cardiff at 9:00 pace. Followed by 2 hour long nap. The heat and distance wiped me out!

9/24 (Monday):  Easy/recovery 5 mile run in Balboa Park at 9:00 pace; yoga.

9/25 (Tuesday):  Speed work on treadmill. 5 x 800 m at 9.3 (6:27 pace) with 400 m resting interval, plus long warm up and cool down, 5 miles.

9/26 (Wednesday):  3 miles easy round the hood and 4 long hill sprints for 3.7 miles; core.

9/27 (Thursday):  45” of plyo/legs in the gym.

9/28 (Friday):  Rest!


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Philly RnR Half Marathon Race Recap [warning: long and boring, but with attempted humor throughout]

I ran the Philly Rock 'n' Roll on September 16th. This was originally my goal race, then I flip flopped and thought the Philadelphia half would be, and then I flip flopped and decided this was my goal race. Again. The reason I was contrary about it.... was that I had done a terrible job in all my key workouts. I wanted to get in at least a few successful speed/tempo workouts before I ran my peak race.

Then I realized - what Im sure everyone else already knows - that every training cycle has its ups and downs. There IS no perfect set of speed and tempo workouts that you can do exactly on schedule, and at the right pace etc etc. Whether its injury, your job or the fact that you're too busy literally shedding tears when Christine, the blind home cook, wins Masterchef, training cycles are always going to face interruptions.

So Philly it was.

Day before the Race
The hubs and I took a bus to Philly (quick word of advice: just never ever ever give the greyhound bus company your business). He settled into the hotel while I checked out the expo.  It had the usual stuff; people tasting new shot block flavors like they were delicate french cheeses, tons of faux science spouted from the lips of fresh-faced college runners trying to sell you the latest and greatest in magic recovery socks, and of course the line of people grabbing at handfuls of freebie larabars, when the sign clearly marks THREE ONLY.

Hhhheeeeenyway, the rest of the day, I ignored all the advice to not walk around 6 miles the day before a race, while we went to see Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, me constantly reminding the hubs that I would make a way better American citizen than him, because I had seen this stuff once already.

We had a late lunch due to non-aforementioned greyhound incompetence. I ate a massive serving of french toast and fruit for lunch, then a small amount of white rice, steamed chicken and vegetables for dinner.

Morning of the Race
Woke at 6am and had tons of coffee to get things moving (which they did). [Sidenote: I love how all race recaps reference the coffee-instigating morning bowel movements in exactly the same delicate little way when we all know we're much more crass about it in real life].

I ate a banana, a little peanut butter and two tiny bites of oatmeal. I was worried it wasnt enough and yet I was still so full from the day before, I figured my glycogen stores were plenty crankin'.

I walked the 1.5 miles to the race as a "warm-up". Given this was only my second half (and my longest long run has still only been 14 miles) I didnt want to expend much more energy before the race. I got in the queue for the portapotties, did my business, then had three Cliff shot blocks with some water before I went to line up at the startline. The corrals were full, but I was able to jump in mine after people started moving forward.

So Mile 1: extremely aggravating having to run around people running much, much slower than me. To be fair, I am not sure what time frames for finishing my corral was, but I highly doubt that these people could have finished in under 1:35, which was my goal. 7:15min/mile.

Mile 2: quicker at 6:50min/mile. I was clearing people, but at this stage had already added about 0.15 to the distance by dodging people and missing the tangents (there are a lot of turns at the beginning of the race, when you are running through the city streets).

Miles 3-8 went by fairly quickly, and I stuck around my goal pace of 7min/miles. Ate one Gu in miles 5-6. Paces were: 6:59, 7:00, 7:01, 6:58, 7:03, 7:06. I was relaxed, comfortable (I think - I dont remember any majorly agonizing pain). I looked something like this:

No Miranda Kerr, but not horrifically pissed off at life

Mile 9: 7:25 min/mile. This wasn't uphill; I think this was a turnaround where we faced a little wind, and I just lost concentration.

Miles 10-11: Regained concentration. 7:00, 7:09min/mile.

Miles 12-13.1: Paces were 7:19 and 7:28min/mile.  I can only say that I pushed back my bonk for longer than Simi Valley (which I faced at about mile 10), and that I was just really fatigued at this point. At mile 13 I completely lost any desire to push through and just wanted to finish.

That's when this happened:

And so began a series of some of the worst race photos I have ever seen. I don't even remember it being as veritably horrible as it looks.

In fact, I sat here for about ten minutes trying to think of a humerous caption for this photo, but nothing quite sums up the agonizing distaste I am expressing for that moment of my life. [For the record, "Ugh, I can't believe the waiter tried to convince us to pair a pinot grigio with Beef Bourguignon last night" was one of the top contenders].

Anyway, there were about a half dozen other of these photos, including the ones my husband took of me, all in miles 11-13, where I was not having a good time of it. They certainly rival Kristen's happiest America's Finest City 5K moments.

But photos that are more painful to look at than the experience itself aside,  I finished up. Not strong, I definitly died at the end and my finishing kick was more of hefty grunting shuffle, but I finished.

The BIGGEST win of the day was nutrition. I never felt the "urge" and I was happy with how fueled I was. I think I can do better at fueling and hydrating through the race (I barely got any water in my mouth and only ate one GU). The other things I learned for future races: (1) shove my way up front in the corral; and (2) learn to run tangents.

So yeah, there are lots of reasons why I could have gone a minute or two faster. But as with the training cycle, there are always lots of reasons for things going wrong; that is the nature of racing!

I am proud of my time though (cosmically I finished with the exact same average pace as Kristen's San Diego RnR PR). Its a new PR for me (and a 10K PR too!) and as my second half marathon ever, I'll take it :)

You Know You're a Runner When . . .

you keep a clothes hanger in your shower for your dri-fit running items!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Book Review – Galloway’s Book on Running (2d ed.) by Jeff Galloway

As the title implies, this is a reference book that covers all things running. There are chapters on starting out, training, racing, form, strength/cross training, stretching, and the mental side of running. The book also includes information on injuries, food, weight loss, women’s issues (authored by the author's wife), advice for runners 40+, training for kids, and shoes.

Why listen to this guy? He is an Olympian (10K, 1972) and has been a runner for over 40 years. And he’s made a career out of training regular runners – 200,000 of them according to his page.

Galloway doesn’t get wrapped up in summarizing the latest scientific studies on running, although his big picture advice is generally consistent with books that build running philosophies on such studies – e.g. Brain Training For Runners (Matt Fitzerald) and Run Faster (Brad Hudson and Matt Fitzerald). Galloway’s book is very practical. He recommends training that he’s seen work for the majority of regular runners over his coaching career.

And the book cover is one of my favorites:

I previously reviewed Jeff Galloway’s 5K/10K Running and pooh-poohed Galloway's walk/run methodology. The Book on Running expands on the concept, and now I buy into it. Galloway recommends taking a one minute walk break every eight to ten minutes during a long run. Walk breaks will allow you to run longer with better form. And you’ll probably experience less fatigue post-workout, so you can carry on with your day instead of napping the afternoon away. From my perspective, the most important benefit of walk breaks is a quicker recovery time post-long run. When you walk, you use a whole different set of muscles, so taking a one minute walk break gives your primary running muscles a moment to relax. Further, Galloway says one minute walk breaks will not impede the aerobic fitness gains that you are seeking when you do a long run. I’ve tested it out on recent long runs. I am taking walk breaks, but not like clockwork every x number of minutes. But I will walk when I need to take a drink. Or if I have to cross an intersection with a traffic signal, I’ll walk if I see that I am going to have to wait at the light anyway. Lately, I walk when I feel overheated. Does it promote quicker post-long run recovery? I think so. As I am gearing up for a half marathon this fall by lengthening my long runs, I am not feeling as sore after long runs as I remember from prior training cycles.

I recommend the book for both beginning and experienced runners. The advice is basic enough not to overwhelm some one just starting out. And there are enough interesting tidbits to give the experienced runner a reason to keep reading. Some of those tidbits include:

1. After a race, Galloway says you should take one rest/easy day for each mile of the race. For example, after a 10K, no speed workouts for 6 days.

2. Limit racing miles to 13 per month, so that means you can do (i) two 10Ks; (ii) two 5Ks and one 10K; or (iii) one half marathon. (This book only covers training for up to the half marathon distance. Marathon training is covered in Galloway’s Marathon: You Can Do It!)

3. For the recreational runner with limited time to devote to the sport, Galloway says three running days per week is ideal. There is a dramatic increase in fitness if you run three – as opposed to one or two days per week. And there are only small gains to be had by running four, five, six, or seven days per week.

4. You can cut your miles by 50% for ten weeks without losing significant fitness. 


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Important Announcement: the iPhone 5 will fit in Lululemon Speed Shorts!

The BIG NEWS this week was the release of the iPhone 5. It’s thinner and lighter: Unbelievable! It’s faster: Great! The battery lasts longer: Awesome! The camera shoots panoramic: Sweet! The screen is more scratch resistant: Perfect! Facebook is integrated: About time! Facetime over cellular network: Cool! The retina display is bigger:

Wait, what?!

OMG, Apple, what did you do? Will the iPhone 5 fit in the media pocket of my Lululemon Speed Shorts? Some quick experiments . . . . . . . . . . . . .

YES, it will fit! No worries at all: the Speed Short is iPhone 5 compatible. But the proof is in the pocket.  

Lululemon Speed Short media pocket, iPhone 4 above, and HTC One X below.
So, at 4.5" in length, the iPhone 4/4S fits snugly into the running shorts' media pocket. Now the iPhone 5 is 0.27" longer. But the HTC One X, coming in at 5.29" in length also fits into the pocket. Ergo, the iPhone 5, 0.42" shorter than the HTC, must fit! 

HTC One X                                                   iPhone 5                                                        iPhone 4/4S
         Length:         5.29"                                                           4.87"                                                                    4.5"


In the time it took me to figure this out, the iPhone 5 sold out, so now all I have to do is wait ages before they are available again . . . 

In other exciting news . . . without even realizing it, I had one of my highest mileageweeks of 2012! How did that happen? Well, for one, I blew off core workouts again this week. Next week, I am rededicating myself to core. 

And in San Diego, we continue to experience a heat wave, now our 5th week with temperatures in the 80s or 90s most days. Saturday was the hottest day of the year, with temperatures reaching 104 degrees on the coast! I love the heat, but it makes training for a fall half marathon PR a bit of a challenge. I’ve taken to the treadmill for my speedier workouts. But I’ve been abandoning my paces on long runs and tempo runs, resorting, at times, to just make it back to my starting point. But this heat conditioning will pay off. Paces starting in 6 will feel so easy when the weather cools off. At least that's what I am telling myself!  
Week 3 (9/15-9/21): 30 miles

9/15 (Saturday): Record breaking heat in San Diego today. So what did I do? I ran 4 miles through Del Mar when it was 97 degrees. Then I played tennis for 2 hours.

9/16 (Sunday): Long run on Solana Beach Rail Trail, through Cardiff, turn around at D St. in Encinitas. 10.1 miles, 90 minutes, 8:45 average pace, last mile at 7:30. Cooler today, thankfully! Then 3 hours at the beach, but no progress on evening out those runner tan lines!

9/17 (Monday): Lunch time tempo run in Balboa Park. 9:00 warm up mile, followed by 3 miles at 7:10, cool down. I wanted to tempo at 7:00, but it was too HOT again. This was a really tough run. Yoga in the evening.

9/18 (Tuesday): Easy evening beach run at low tide through Solana Beach and Cardiff. 6.5 miles, 60 minutes, 9:30 average pace. Gorgeous!

9/19 (Wednesday): Mile repeats on the treadmill. Still too hot to do speedier miles outside. 4 x 1 mile at 6:48 pace. Last repeat was very tough. Coming to a grand total of 5 miles in 44 minutes.

9/20 (Thursday): Plyo/legs, 20 minutes elliptical intervals.

9/21 (Friday): Rest!


Thursday, September 20, 2012

You Know You're a Runner When . . .

in your office, one of your filing cabinet drawers is fully devoted to workout clothes 

and another to food.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Running Bucket List

A lawyer friend of mine is turning 50 soon. And she plans to celebrate the year in the most amazing way. For her 50th year, she is writing a list of 50 new things to try during the year. Some are very simple like drink a margarita on Cinco de Mayo (she's not from SoCal!). Others are awesome - a romantic vacation in Italy with her husband. Some are crazy - skydive. Some are related to her kids. And one will take her all year to accomplish - run a marathon.

What an extraordinary way of celebrating a milestone birthday! For my last milestone birthday - 30 - we piled into a party bus and toured a bunch of San Diego breweries. Three people puked and one got a concussion - neither Penny nor I engaged in either deed. But we did carouse - you can see it in our eyes - we just know how to hold our liquor, for the most part . . . (Champagne and tequila shots are not a good combo - but that's another story!)

two little runners before we were two little runners on my 30th birthday!
So the 50th birthday list got me thinking of my own bucket list. I even watched Bucket List (Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson) as research. A cute movie, definitely worth checking out (streaming on Netflix!) But their bucket list was kinda dude centered - racing cars, African safaris, etc.

So when I was brainstorming my own bucket list - sort of a depressing thing actually - I was coming up with a lot of running-related items. To get my mind off of the depressing realization of my mortality, I abandoned thinking about the heavier things and just focused on a narrower list about running. Although there would be some crossover onto a real bucket list, e.g. numbers 1 and 9, on the running-related front, here is what I came up with:

1. Run a marathon (coming soon in 2013).

2. Run an ultramarathon.

3. Run a hard core trail race (but not hard core enough that I have to figure out how to work a compass).

4. Run Ragnar annually!

5. Run a Halloween race in costume with Penny. Kristen as Buffy the Vampire Slayer (blond). Penny as Faith, the evil Vampire Slayer (brunette). See the resemblance? ;)

Lots of shall I say interesting "fan art" searching Google images for Buffy and Faith;
I don't know why that surprised me!
6. Run a destination race in a cool spot - Hawaii, Big Sur, or somewhere in Europe?

7. Run Boston, NY, and Chicago.

8. Run on every continent (except Antarctica).

9. Organize a charity race.

What's on your running bucket list?


Monday, September 17, 2012

Living Pro

Living Pro by Meghan M. Hicks
TrailRunner July 2012

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Goal Race Selected - Silver Strand Half Marathon

Confession: I am going for a PR Half this fall, putting my projected time somewhere below 1:34. So I selected the flattest course around - The Silver Strand Half Marathon on November 11, 2012. Has anyone ever run this one before? Or plan to run it this year?

Based on the registration page, it seems like parking might be a bit of a nightmare, with 4 different shuttle options offered. Such is the nature of a point-to-point race. I paid an extra $4 to park at in the Silver Strand State Beach parking lot, and I plan to arrive very early!

Two weeks into the fall half training program, and I'm feeling really good! I was dealing with kind of a kink in the neck this week, so I had to lay off the weights and core workouts. 

Week 2 (9/8-9/14): 19 miles

Saturday (9/8): 60" tennis!

Sunday (9/9): Long run, 8 mile loop in Mission Bay Park. It was HOT and WINDY. Tough run at about 9:00 pace. 

Monday (9/10): Lunchtime Balboa Park run, 45" progression (9:00, 8:30, 8:00, and 7:30 miles) for 5.1 miles, plus 6 hill sprints in Balboa Park. HOT again! 

Tuesday (9/11): Yoga class, that's all!

Wednesday (9/12): 50" speed workout on the treadmill (7:30, 1" walk, 6:48, 4" walk, 6:48, 1" walk, 6:48 + warmup and cooldown). These treadmilll speed workouts are feeling pretty good!

Thursday (9/13): plyo workout with lots of strides and ladder drills. 

Friday (9/14): Calves feeling smoked from speed and plyo on consecutive days, so rest!

The beautiful and strange plants and flowers of Balboa Park.

Friday, September 14, 2012

You Know You're a Runner When . . .

you stock three models of running shoes under your desk at work.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sticking to the Program

I am one of those type-A personalities in need of a training program. The one I adopted for this training cycle is pretty basic and flexible. It comes from Jeff Galloway’s Book on Running. The goal race is a 13.1 this fall--don't know which race(s) yet.

The program calls for 3 runs per week. Two 40 minute runs during the week, and one long run over the weekend. Basically looks like this for 16 weeks:

XT or rest
40” run
XT or rest
40” run
XT or rest
XT or rest
Long run

In the middle weeks of the program, one of the 40” runs is replaced with speed workout, e.g. 5 x 800 m intervals @ 6:24 pace.  All long runs will be at a slower pace - no faster than 8:50.

I will make some modifications.

·         I will likely add another run to the program each week:  a weekend warrior, I like to get lots of miles in each weekend. So in addition to a long run, I’ll probably tack on a base pace or easy run each weekend—one that won’t leave me too taxed to play tennis.
·         I’ll run tempos, progressions, hills, and longer intervals during the 40” weekday runs, depending on how I feel.
·         I will impose one rest day each week—or most weeks.
·         My XT will focus on continuing to develop my leg strength through plyo workouts and weights. I am up to squatting 115 pounds!
·         I am also focusing more on core this season. Toward the end of some of my harder runs, I feel wobbly. I need to strengthen this area so that I have more stability in my core.
·         Also will continue with yoga class once a week and 30 minutes of yoga, foam rolling, and stretching each evening while I’m watching TV.

 (See I am even type-A about being "flexible" with the plan.)

It all sounds very rigid to have a training program, but I think of it more as an outline for my workouts. If I feel like running on Monday, I adapt. I am in charge, not the plan!

In week 1 of the program, I am off to a strong start!

Week 1 (September 1 – 7)

Weekend (9/1-9/2):  Two short, easy runs over the holiday weekend, which I spent wine tasting in Sonoma! It felt good to flush the wine out of the system with an early morning run, thereby making plenty of room for new wine to be consumed later in the day! 

In the wine caves at Lancaster Estate in Alexander Valley, Sonoma.
It was cool in the mornings, about 60F. I had forgotten how much easier it is to run in cool weather. I was easily cruising at 8:30 pace, even sporting mild hangovers--mostly dehydrated, also carrying a belly full of food from feasts each night at Dry Creek Kitchen, Cyrus, and Spoonbar (all in Healdsburg), it weighed me down. More on the vaca after the jump +++++

Monday (Labor Day):  Rest day.

Tuesday (9/4):  40” run in Balboa Park at lunch at about a 9:00 pace (holy crap it was HOT 91F, so I made bearing the HEAT my challenge in this workout); followed by a short core workout; yoga class.

Wednesday (9/5): Hard and intense plyo and legs workout. But I was feeling strong!

Thursday (9/6): Core workout; 40” run, long intervals on the treadmill—7:30, walk 1”, 7:00, walk 4”, 6:53, walk 1”, 6:53 miles, cool down. These fast miles felt easy for once! 

Friday (9/7): 6.5 mile easy run at 9:30 pace. A gorgeous run, the best of my summer.


I even like plans when it comes to vacations! So, I made an agenda of regions and wineries for the trip. We went to three different regions in Sonoma and 11 wineries--see sticking to the program pays off! Also, each wine we tasted was recorded and scored. Now you really get a sense of how deep my type-A runs.

First up, Russian River on Friday. This region is known for cool weather grapes like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. I really enjoyed tasting at Woodenhead, which had a lovely vineyard view from the deck. 

View at Woodenhead Winery in Russian River, Sonoma.
On Saturday, we spent the day in Alexander Valley, a region famous for Cabernet Sauvignon. We tasted some of the big name Sonoma cabs - Lancaster, Silver Oak, and Jordan. 

Fancy pants tasting at Lancaster Estate.
On Sunday, we went to Dry Creek where most of the Sonoma Zinfandel is grown. Wineries in this region are also starting to plant Rhone varietals like Grenache, Petite Syrah, Viognier, and Syrah. This is my favorite region in Sonoma. I love the narrow country roads, winding their way through the rolling hills and vines. My favorite winery of the trip was Mounts, a very small family winery nestled up in the foothills. 

Mounts Family Winery in Dry Creek, Sonoma. 
I also loved tasting at Dutcher Crossing. These picnic tables at Dutcher Crossing may be one of the best spots in the whole world to enjoy a glass of wine.

Dutcher Crossing Winery in Dry Creek, Sonoma.
We stayed at Hotel Healdsburg in Healdsburg, which is just the sweetest little town. It has an old-timey feel but with luxurious amenities, like cute boutiques, Michelin star dining, and five star hotels. 

Hotel Healdsburg
A very relaxing trip after a very un-relaxing summer! This is why we work, right?!


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

To Half or Not to Half

The last two weeks I have been trying to get in as much running as possible, while staying uninjured. I managed to do it... just. On Sunday's long run, I got some serious Achilles pain that I have been nursing.

I was also tossing up whether to go forward with my goal race -the Philly Rock n Roll Half on Sept 16th, or find a later race. Reason being that, due to increasing mileage and avoiding injury, I can count the successful speed/tempo workouts Ive had this entire training cycle on one hand. Actually on about 4 fingers to be precise. But curiosity wins the day - I just want to see how fast I can run at this point. Plus Kristen said I should do it, and I do anything she tells me, except get prettier shoes.  And I can do another half down the road now that I am not increasing mileage much more (around 40 miles p/w is what I can manage right now, time-wise) and can focus on speed workouts.

Aug 26th-Sept 1, 2012
Mon: 45 mins elliptical + arms and upper body strength
Tuesday:10 miles easy
Wednesday: 2 miles easy, 8x 1min hill reps at 5k pace, 2 miles easy (6 total)
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 12 miles; 4 easy, 4 @ 7:30 pace (current half pace) , 4 easy
Saturday: 6 miles easy treadmill, 20 mins light elliptical + core/upper body strength
Sunday: rest

Sept 2-Sept 8, 2012
Monday: NYC Runs Labor Day 10K, 1 mile easy, 6 miles @ 7:07, 1 mile easy
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: 60 mins elliptical intervals (2mins hard, 1 min easy)
Thursday: 7 mile progression run @ 8:30 progressing to 7:00 last mile
Friday: 7 miles, 2 miles easy, 4x1k @ 5k pace (around 6:30) with 3-4 mins jogging recoveries, 2 miles easy
Saturday: 60 mins elliptical easy (aerobic heart-rate zone) + core strength
Sunday: 14 miles easy

So obviously I can see my mistake - I had too many hard workouts after my Labor Day race. Ah well, we live and learn. Or perhaps just live, harumph.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Same Stem

"Sometimes we forget to look after ourselves:  too much work, study, training, junk food.  We focus too much on one area of our lives and starve the rest.  This orchid . . . represents the need for balance.  It features [many] flowers that all must be nourished from the same stem in order to thrive."

-Believe Training Journal by Lauren Fleshman and Roisin McGettigan

Orchid Phaleanopsis 'Tretes Facination' Flowers 1656px
By Photo by and (c)2008 Derek Ramsey (Ram-Man) (Self-photographed) [GFDL 1.2], via Wikimedia Commons

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Runner's World
September 2012

Saturday, September 8, 2012

America's Finest City--and Ugliest Race Face--5K Recap

The America's Finest City (AFC) 5K was a great race, not withstanding all the excuses I've made for my lackluster performance. The course is lovely, set inside scenic Balboa Park.

The famous tower used for ?

The Lily Pond before the infamous midnight water gun fight (for after click here). 
I was excited about the possibility of PR-ing in this race because overall, the course is pretty flat with only a few sharp corners. Instead I PW-ed. Still a great race experience. 

I ended up parking at the office and running from downtown to the starting line, which was nearly 2 miles. I took it as a warmup and arrived at the start line just 3 minutes before the gun! I used to be shy about starting near the front. But now I politely elbow my way to the front of the line.

So I was off to a good start, clocking my first mile split at 6:24. The second mile was pretty good too at a 6:28 average pace. Mile 3 began with a hill, about 0.3 miles in length, and I just never recovered from it. Fatigue settled in, and I couldn't shake it. My split on this mile was 7:00.

I've noticed that race photographers are attracted to bright shirts. Regrettably, for this race, I wore my brightest pink highlighter-colored tank. They captured me nearly 20 times in this 5K--a rate of 1 photo per minute. And in this race, I was hot, stressed, tired, and naturally, wearing the ugliest possible race face, captured over and over and over again!

Results: 20:45 (6:41 average pace). 7th female of 739; 1st of 128 in division F30-34; 27th overall of 1148.


Friday, September 7, 2012

Running . . . just what the Court ordered

I have complained to everyone who will listen to me that I haven't been able to enjoy the best summer in San Diego since I moved here in 2007.  Every weekend since it turned hot I have been all work and no play. I was feeling salty about yet another weekend indoors in the office - my grumpiness factor was through the roof!

When I got home from work today, I had the following dilemma:

Glass of wine and last week's Fashion Police - versus - Friday evening run

In the case of Wine and TV v. Running, this judge found in favor of Running.

And I was rewarded with easily my best run of the summer - and one of the top five runs of my life. I was actually due for a rest day:  I ran slow, just to enjoy.

It was warm but not too warm. The ocean breeze was refreshing and cool but not too cool. It was low tide.

Cardiff State Beach
So I had the rare opportunity to run all the way from Cardiff back to Del Mar on the beach.

And to top it off, a gorgeous sunset.

I caught myself wearing a smile while running. Huge cheese! That was definitely a first for me. :)

Under the influence of endorphins.

Sometimes I forget how good I have it. I am employed and work with people (like Penny) who are not only amazing colleagues that challenge me to be a better lawyer - but who are truly my friends. I have a wonderful home and family. I live in a beautiful place, among the best running cities in the world. And I can do epic runs like this just out my front door. It is the simple pleasures in life that continue to remind me just how blessed I am.

And . . .

I finally was able to enjoy a little piece of summer. Now I am all sugar, no salt (for the time being . . .)


Thursday, September 6, 2012

NYC Runs Labor Day 10K Recap

So I decided to do a 10K race on Labor Day as a tempo/tune-up for my goal 1/2 marathon race next week. It was out on Roosevelt Island which runs parallel to Manhattan on the East Side. Have no idea where it is? Join the 5.998 billion or so others who similarly thought that between Manhattan and Long Island there lay...well...just water. Possibly some would-be landfill.

A google maps review of the island captured the spirit of the place: it has a "random lighthouse. Its there if you want to go see it". 

At first we thought it would be a fun place to check out. Um, not so much. The island used to be a prison, and now is dominated by two hospitals. Always fun running really fast and dodging poor people in wheelchairs who probably love being reminded that they are not well enough to even walk.

Anyway, the race was put on by NYC Runs which I gather is a newish company that organizes and times races as well as putting them on themselves. It was smallish, with about 250 people running the 10K and probably a similar amount running the 5K.

Working hard not to heel strike for the camera

Result: 44:07 with about a 7:07 min/mile pace. Second place female and first in age-group.

Mile splits went something like: 6:45, 6:48, 7:02, 7:18 (the wind of bastardry), 7:05, 6:58. I ran hard so I was a little bit disappointed to see my pace drop. Buuuuuut I was untapered (for me) and had run about 34 miles that week. It was pretty warmish and there was a gutsy wind. I know, we love our excuses. Pretty stoked to get a place though  - and a free race entry to another NYC Runs event. Most importantly though, a sweet post-race brekky of fruit and bagels with cream cheese or peanut butter. Naturally I had both.

I also managed to drag the hubs out to watch me race. Hes such a doll.

His response to this photo was "Nothing says love like carrying her bags and following her around the course, taking 100 race photos like a creeper"
Me with my fancy-pants trophy.... husband and race-prize. Har har.

All in all, a good race by NYC Runs. They were efficient and organized and put on a good post-race brekky. No goody-bags (which are usually mostly junk anyway) and the "small" race t-shirt is my husband's new undershirt. But definitely will be trying out a few more of their races.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

5K Summer - Weeks 9 and 10 - The End

Hey, did ya miss my weekly training logs?! In case you were wondering, I was not injured this time. I was attending to this thing called my day job, which occasionally causes me to give up writing blog posts about running. Instead, I had to write briefs about law. And since my lifetime earnings from running amounts to a free magazine subscription to Trail Runner and a gift certificate for a massage, I gotta keep the day job for the time being . . . 

My apologies for keeping our reader(s) in suspense for the outcome of my 10 week 5K training plan!!! Wait no more! 

Weeks 9 and 10 of my training plan were pretty decent. Got some speed work, hills, and long runs in. I was feeling strong. But in the end, it was too little too late and too hot for me to break 19:00 this summer in a 5K. For a bunch of reasons, it didn't happen. What did I learn (i.e., what are my excuses)? 
  • My training plan was flawed. I didn't give myself enough recovery time from my spring half marathon training. I dove right into hard speed work, plyo, and hill sprints, and ended up with a series of pre-injuries that I had to nurse. 
  • Then I switched shoe sizes, and this wreaked havoc on my body as well. It took me weeks to figure this out. 
  • I had sleep and nutrition fails. Due to said briefs, I got very little sleep for several days prior to the race. I also ate out for lunch and dinner during the entire month of August. I was 5 pounds over my ideal racing weight. 
  • I was not in the running state of mind. No zone, no flow this race.
  • It was hot on race day. Already 73 degrees at the start.
  • Overall, I just didn't run enough. I was in better shape in week 1 than week 10. 
For the forging reasons, when I dug deep to find my fifth gear, it wasn't there. Instead, I found this monster:

Worse, in the three 5Ks I ran this summer, I got slower in each race. 

My first was my fastest:  19:53 (6:24 average pace) on June 16, 2012. 

Creepy Angelina Jolie leg . . . and yes, this man definitely passed me.
On July 21, I finished the second in 20:36 (6:36 average pace), 33 seconds slower. (Excuse: there was a big hill.)

Trying to look as pretty as the cheerleaders, not happening!
The third race, on August 19, I added another 9 seconds for 20:45 (6:41 average pace). (Excuses: see supra at bullets)

Looking strong, but actually feeling pretty shitty!
I missed my goal, but I increased strength through lots of plyo, leg strength training, and quite a few hill and speed workouts. I also increased my confidence, if not my physical stamina, at sub-7 paces. And I took some excellent race photos!


Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Runner's World
September 2012

Saturday, September 1, 2012

36 miles and how about them blisters

I have two effen blisters. Seriously, blisters. I haven't had blisters since I was, like, 15, running in my $15 shoes, listening to the mixed-tape of Pulp I had blaring from my brick-like walkman that I hand-carried on my runs.

Its not my new shoes. They're the same ones I've been wearing since April, and my latest pair already have 100 miles on them. 

Else is weird? I have one blister on each foot; on my little toes.  They're big too. If anyone can tell me what could've caused these to come from nowhere, Id be grateful.

And as much as I could keep discussing the ins and outs of my blistery feet for yonks (we swears that we dont have foot fetishes on this blog) let me get to the runnings which are much more fun.

Last week I hit 36 miles. Not that much by a lot of peoples' standards, but its taken me sooooo long to build up this mileage again while avoiding injury.

My runs took me through a lot more of Riverside Park, which runs all down the west side, parallel to that long bike/running path that runs around the island.

Pause to reflect on the fact that I have only recently learned how to take a screen shot. Its changed my life. 

August 19-25, 2012
Monday: 45 mins easy elliptical + upper body strength
Tuesday: 8 miles easy with progression to 7:30 in the last two miles - Riverside Park
Wednesday: 6 miles with 4x45 second hill sprints in Central Park + light leg strength
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 8 miles easy
Saturday: 60 mins elliptical intervals + core strength
Sunday: 14 miles easy (8:30 pace)

Riverside Park was lovely and cool to run through.

It sports a TWO-lane pedestrian highway, and runners still make a path for themselves in the dirt

It even has some pristine dirt trails, making you forget all about the tall buildings, bright lights and bags of smelly garbage lining the streets, just metres away...

And views of the Hudson throughout...

The end.