Sunday, April 28, 2013

Ankle sprain - is there a yoga pose for that?

two little runners ~Kristen 

The anklet of pain I felt after last week’s interval work out turned out to be a sprained ankle. Damn. A very minor sprain in the scheme of sprains. And I would very likely not notice it if I weren’t trying to run. The pain is at 0 when I walk. At 1 when I go up and down stairs. At 2 when I stand on one foot. And at 6 when I try to run. Just enough pain and instability to break my form. 

My marathon is in jeopardy. I don’t know how I can possibly run 26.2 miles, when less than 30 days prior to the race, I can only run 2 minutes consecutively.

So no miles this week. I focused again on rest and recovery. The usual yoga, foam rolling, and stretching. And I tried out some new techniques. If only I could rest and recover my way to the start line! 

I’ve been experimenting with restorative yoga poses, which I’ve been reading about in Sage Roundtree’s book The Athlete’s Guide to Recovery: Rest, Relax & Restore for Peak Performance. The basic premise is to hold very easy poses for a very long time. So far I am really digging two poses: legs up the wall and supported back bend. These poses are so relaxing. When I finish, I am in a haze – and I am not a person who easily relaxes! What’s been so interesting about these poses is the tiny muscle releases that I’ve felt 7 to 10 minutes after I start the pose, even though the pose doesn’t feel like much of a stretch at all.

  •  Legs up the wall pose is pretty straight forward. I lay down on my back in front of a wall and put my legs straight up the wall (L shape). I give myself a little bit of distance from the wall so that my hamstrings are not strained at all. Palms face up to open the chest. Sometimes I find a pillow under my head and/or hips comfortable, other times not. Bottom line with these poses is that I make myself comfortable because I stay them for 10 to 20 minutes. I try to relax entirely, using only enough energy to keep my legs upright. On this pose, I’ve gotten some low back releases.
  • I’ve been doing supported backbend in bed at night and have been falling asleep in the pose. I start by lying down on my back, and then I elevate my head slightly above the level of my hips. I have pillows supporting me all the way from my head to lower back. Then I put my legs in a very loose bounded ankle pose – soles of feet together but very far out so that I feel just the tiniest stretch in my inner thighs. Palms face up to open the chest. I’ve been feeling some inner thigh releases in this pose.

The other restoration technique I tried is called MELT – which is sort of like foam rolling for your connective tissues. I took a MELT class, and although I think it is partially witchcraft and junk science (either that or there is no effort to explain the science very well), I picked up a few new techniques that I am going to put into my repertoire.

5 weeks out (0 miles)

Sat. 4/20 – Yoga.

Sun. 4/21 – MELT.

Mon. 4/22 – Legs. More of a PT leg session. Just getting a little bit of blood back to the sprained ankle’s ligaments.

Tue. 4/23 – Yoga.

Wed. 4/24 – Yoga.

Thu. 4/25 – Yoga.

Fri. 4/26 – Legs and core. Legs were again more of a PT session. Ankle improved a little bit since Monday.

two little runners ~Kristen 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Lest we forget

Today, (yesterday in Australian time) was ANZAC Day in Australia, one of the few times a year where my heart aches to be back "home".

ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day was originally a day to remember those who fought at Gallipoli, Turkey (what was the Ottoman Empire) in World War I. It has blossomed into a day of commemoration for all those who served in the Australian armed forces in wars and conflicts the world over.

On this day, thousands of people gather at dawn services all over Australia to pay tribute to those who served. Both of my wonderful grandfathers, one of whom I never met but have come to know and love through the spirit and character he instilled in my father, served in World War II.

The dawn service in Melbourne, Australia (my home town)
The War Memorial in Melbourne, Australia
There are few things to say or do that seem appropriate when tragedies like Boston occur. But each year that goes by, the ceremonies, traditions and words spoken at memorials for such tragedies, become more finely honed. After some time, they eventually evolve to the point where they perfectly capture the moment and the intended sentiment of the event.

For ANZAC Day, these traditions have come to include the playing of the Last Post, by a haunting, solitary bugle, a moment of silence, and the last stanza of the Ode to Remembrance:
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.  
Today, a day in which I was preoccupied by being happy to have run a great tempo, wondering if I should wear a dress or pants to the office, becoming anxious about work piling up on my desk, getting annoyed because I left my keys at home, being happy to see temperatures climb in the 60s in NY, and being concerned about whether I'm getting enough calcium in my diet.... I'll stop for a moment. I'll take a moment to remember them.

Lest we forget.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

My first 20+ miler around Manhattan and The Me Toos


Wow, I have three weeks of training to recap, which involved hating running, loving running, borderline injury and possible overtraining. Aren't you in for a thrilling read.

*thousands of eager faces nod adoringly at the running blogger's wit and enthusiasm*

So getting back from San Diego, I was feeling pretty good, but not brilliant. I was pleased at my recovery from the 16 mile trail run with Kristen. But then... I began hating running.

March 31-April 6, 2013
Sunday: 16 mile trail run
Monday: rest
Tuesday: 9 miles easy at 8:20 avg pace
Wednesday: 3x2 miles at HM pace with 400m recoveries.  Splits: First interval: 7:04, 6:47, second interval: 6:57, 6:59, third interval: 6:55, 6:54. Avg Pace: 6:56. Windy horrible day, (18mph) and just felt yuck.
Thursday: Leg + core strength
Friday: tempo:  12 miles total, with 10 miles at 7:20 pace. Felt horrible again, windy, possibly stopped to cry at one point.
Saturday: 9 miles easy at 8:45 pace (felt like 9:45)
Total: 56 miles

Then, I decided to do my one and only 20+ miler for the training cycle. I also decided to add a podcast or two to to my runs (thank you NPR). Perhaps I was just bored or something, but running started to feel great again!

April 7-13, 2013
Sunday: 21 miles AROUND THE WHOLE ISLAND OF MANHATTAN at 8:30avg pace. Stopped a bunch of times for water/bathroom, but finished at a strong pace of 7:30-45!

This was basically the route I did.

I got some great views of my normal Westside run, as well as the bridges on the East side:

Aaaaand the rest of the week began to feel much more optimistic.....
Monday: rest
Tuesday: 9 miles easy, 8:20 pace
Wednesday: Tempo with 10 miles at 7:16 average pace, 12 miles total. Incredibly encouraging run, especially after the 21 miles.
Thursday: rest
Friday: 60 mins elliptical. Skipped threshold workout.
Saturday: 9 miles in Central Park, 8:15 avg pace.
 Total: 51 miles

Until.....uh oh, something was up with my groin/hip flexor again after my tempo run. I tried to take it easy. But the next week, running really began to suck. Not only did my groin/hip flexor not get better (though not really any worse) I began to feel sooooo slow on my runs. Legs heavy. I was also travelling from New York to Tennessee then to Boston.... so my legs suffered from being cramped up all day, and I didnt get enough rest. Boo hoo me.

April 14-20, 2013
Sunday: 16 miles at 8:20 pace
Monday: 40 mins elliptical
Tuesday: rest 
Wednesday: Threshold workout. 2x3miles at HM pace. I only hit 7:02 avg pace, with only one split in the 6s. And it felt craaaaaap. Previous workouts have had me comfortably sitting at 6:55. 
Thursday: rest
Friday:  attempted tempo. With winds at about 20mph, I decided to run to the gym. Unfortunately my leg lock came back (for the first time in ages) and prevented me from doing much more than about 1-2 miles at a time, and my mind-numb prevented me from doing more than 6 miles at 7:18 pace with 1% incline. 9 miles total.
Saturday: 8 miles at 8:45 which felt like 8:00. Ugh.
Total: 42 miles

So there you have it. This week I've already racked up one crappy long run, and quit a highly shitful threshold workout, where I couldn't even hit HM pace. Im feeling like crap and wondering - like Kristen was - if I am a teensey bit overtrained. I have run longer than the Hanson plans prescribe, but thought that would be ok, as I was doing fewer runs per week (I just cant handle more than 5 days running at this point).

Goal for now is to eat enough (I have not been good about this, and lost a couple of pounds), sleep enough (same), and at least enjoy the last two weeks of spring marathon training in New York!

My beloved Hudson river trail

Monday, April 22, 2013

From Bad to Worse

two little runners ~Kristen

Last week, I complained about my bad mood and my bad feet. This week, things got worse . . .

Sunday was my long run. I did the shoe switcheroo. But realized that I don’t care for the New Balance 890s anymore. I could not run with quiet feet in these shoes. Normally, I am nearly silent when I run. I often startle people when I pass from behind. But in the 890s, I was clomping. Comparing the shoes, I noticed that the 890s have a flat toe. The Mirages have an elf toe. My sense is that the elf toe makes the heal-to-toe transition smoother.  

The scheduled run was 16 miles @ 8:00. On paper, this should be a medium effort run for me. But it turned out to be the hardest run of my training cycle so far. It was cold. It was windy. It was raining. But mostly, I was wiped out. At mile 11 I questioned whether I could complete it. But I pushed through and finished, if for nothing else to make it back to my car. This was a terrible idea.

Monday I woke up in just a vile mood – tired from the hellish Sunday long run and anxious because I had a ton of work to get done that day. So I went to the gym early to bang out a leg work out before heading into the office. This was a terrible idea.

Let’s just say there were tongue lashings given to people who did not deserve them. Very, very bad behavior.

Wow, so I had been tinkering with the idea that I might be heading into the land of the overtrained . . . and the gym incident made me realize that I really needed a break from training. I very rarely get mad, let alone yell at people!

I self-imposed rest on Tuesday, and Wednesday. I needed to yank myself back from potentially falling into O territory. I also needed punishment for the very, very bad behavior. And I thought this would give my feet some time to recover. So I stuck to rest days on Tuesday and Wednesday. I spent some time doing low intensity foam rolling, yoga, and stretching. And feeling very, very bad about my very, very bad behavior.

Thursday it was time to run. I picked back up with an interval workout. About half way through the intervals, something was off in my left foot. It felt like I had made too many left turns while I was running about the inlets along the Embarcadero. So I decided to run straight-aways for the rest of the run – 5 more miles. This was a terrible idea.

I was limping the next morning. Pain wrapped around the back of my foot under the ankle and over the top between them during the toe off motion of walking. An anklet of pain. I could barely put any pressure on my left foot. So yet another rest day to complete the week . . . Hey, marathon training is not all smiles and butterflies!

6 weeks out (34.5 miles)

Sat. 4/13 - easy run in San Dieguito Lagoon. 8.5 miles @ 8:45. 

Sun. 4/14 - long run to Cabrillo National Monument. 16 miles @ 8:00.

Even on a cold, windy, and rainy day, the views on this route are breathtaking. 

Mon. 4/15 - leg workout. 

Tues 4/16, Wed. 4/17 - rest. 

Thu. 4/18 - 10 miles with 4 x 1.5 miles @ 6:50.

Fri. 4/19 - rest.

two little runners ~Kristen

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Witnessing Boston from San Diego

two little runners ~Kristen

Three thousand miles southwest of Boston, flags hang at half mast in downtown San Diego. Signs around the city express support. The County Fairgrounds' sign reads, "Our thoughts and support to Boston. God bless America." The TVs at the office, the gym, the coffee shop. All tuned into the latest breaking news on Boston.

Just hours after the bombings, the San Diego Track Club sends out an email blast. All the club members who ran Boston are okay and accounted for. On Tuesday, hundreds of runners filled Balboa Stadium at the club's weekly Tuesday night track session. They vow to run Boston 2014. A day later, the club sends out another email blast in response to the same question received from so many runners:  "What can I do to help?" 

The local running store, Road Runner Sports, has been receiving the same question and donates $10 for every shoe purchase. 

The Challenged Athlete Foundation - headquartered in San Diego - sets up a fund to help the victims of the Boston bombings.  

Competitor Group - a local company that puts on the Rock 'N Roll Marathons - is reviewing safety and security protocols for the 16th Annual Rock 'N Roll San Diego on June 1st, and for other races in the series. Spokespeople for the company are giving interviews on the local news. The Amgen Tour of California, which will bring the world's best cyclists to Escondito in May for day one of the eight day race, is also beefing up security. 

But even with heavy hearts, running continues. The SoCal Ragnar relay finishes today in downtown San Diego. I saw blinking Ragnar signs last night dotting the streets of Encinitas. I saw relay runners and vans as I drove to the office this morning. In Mission Bay, I saw triathletes cycling in the ITU World Triathalon San Diego. Hundreds of people are expected to run the Boston Strong San Diego Run Monday night to support relief efforts. 

My first run after Boston was on Thursday. And I felt proud. Proud to be part of this wonderful, heroic, and inspiring community of runners. 

to Boston - from San Diego - with love
two little runners ~Kristen

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

To Boston: From a Small Running Blog

~ Penny

This week I travelled to Tennessee for work, which made it an ideal time to blog, because I was just fidgeting alone in my hotel room all night. Except I couldn't. Or rather wouldn't.

The problem I had, was that I felt obliged to insert something in the blogpost about Boston. But while Kristen and I love this blog, we know its not a big one. We dont have a following that warrants the "statement" in support of Boston casualties. And by statement, I don't mean a fashion statement, but rather a "statement" like the White House puts out a statement. Like a press release. It seems that that is what most of the big and mid-sized blogs "do" in response to an event, before they carry on their regular posting schedule. It is usually a seemingly genuine expression of commiseration and sympathy for those affected, possibly an eye-witness account or personal anecdote and sometimes a link to charities to which readers can donate money or time to help.

But given that we don't have a huge readership, I felt like such a statement would seem to be a bit out of place, and perhaps even inappropriate on our little blog. And that's assuming I knew what the hell to say, other than "its horrible, tragic, awful." In fact a big expressive statement like the "big blogs" post, might appear to be just paying lip service to the whole thing. And given that this blog is more a diary of our running exploits, it seems a little farcical to do something like that.

On the other hand, not posting something doesn't seem right either. Boston was horrible and tragic, for anyone and everyone affected. It should be acknowledged, if for no other reason, than it was an incredibly sad thing to happen to a lot of innocent people. But like famine in Ethiopia, or violence in Darfur, these horrible things happen every day without getting a mention on most of our blogs. Perhaps the solution to this issue is that highlighting tragedy that affects "us" in the first world serves to teach and remind us how horrific the violence is for those who have to live with it, day in and day out.

In any case, after pondering these thoughts for a while, I arrived at my ultimate destination: mass overwhelming guilt for even considering this a dilemma. Gosh, the hardest thing in my day is deciding whether to write a blog post acknowledging the suffering of people who have lost limbs and even DIED.

Well now. That put it in perspective. But still not knowing what to write, I decided to write the above. Just as a reminder of precisely how first-world my problems are. But also an acknowledgment that in the midst of tragedy, its ok to have responses ranging from mass out-pouring of grief to slight bewilderment and confusion as to how to respond.

And, for the record, my heart and prayers go out to those who were hurt or affected in any way by what happened at the Boston Marathon, April 15, 2013. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

I’m Tired and My Feet Hurt, WAAAAAAH!

two little runners ~Kristen

Unscheduled rest days. Two phantom foot niggles. Stiff joints. Swollen ankles. A coworker commenting that I seem grumpy. Feeling annoyed, easily irritated. Fighting back a couple desk naps.

Yet a cutback in mileage this week.

Now I understand the difficulty of marathon training versus half marathon training. My marathon workouts aren’t as hard for me as when we were training for the Vegas RnR Half last year. So far, I’m easily completing the workouts in my training plan. My difficulty with marathon training has been the wear and tear. And managing the fatigue. It’s more miles; it’s more time running.

I am succeeding in the training but beginning to fail in the recovery department. 

My biggest problem is my feet. When I wake up in the morning, I feel like am at the end of a 15 miler. And it doesn't get much better throughout the day. Whenever possible, I've been running on trails and grass. 

It occurs to me that I've run about 350 miles since mid-February when I started training for this marathon, and 100% of those miles have been in Saucony Mirages. I loved the Mirages from the start, and now I'm on my second pair, behold:

Since I started tucking my ties into my laces,
my shoes have never come untied on a run. 
The Mirage is a minimalist shoe. It's not my first minimalist shoe; I trained for much of Vegas in Brooks Pure Flows. So I felt comfortable and strong enough to use the Mirage day in and day out. I think the Mirage falls on the more conventional end of the minimalist spectrum because it has a drop of 4 mm. The shoe is light and has good ground feel. I like that the sole is stiff. You can't bend it in any direction.

But the Mirage is pretty stripped down in the cushioning department I am coming to realize. Perhaps I need a little more cushioning now that I am doing 3 runs a week that are longer than 10 miles...

So an experiment next week. I am going back to New Balance 890s. A shoe I've purchased 6 times over. My old reliables, which always take me back even after I've dumped them for newer, more attractive models.

Best wishes to all the Boston runners!!

7 weeks out (42 miles)

4/6 (Sa) – Easy 6 in Carlsbad @ 8:30.
            Picked up bib for 5K at race expo and ran along the coast. Legs felt springy and fresh, which was a good sign for the race.

4/7(Su) – Carlsbad 5000. 10 miles, including 3.1 race miles.
            Got a nice 5K PR of 19:36 (6:19 pace). Included some warm up miles and an easy run afterward.

 4/8 – Rest + big time yoga, foam roll, stretch.

4/9 (Tu) – Tempo. 11 miles with 9 @ 7:17 (M pace).
            The very tip of my big toe flared up after this tempo run. Weird spot for a niggle. It randomly throbbed for a few seconds throughout the day. First run in my second pair of Saucony Mirages.

4/10 (W) – Rest.
            Took a rest day because the big toe tip still randomly throbbing. There are so many factors that I could blame it on. The 5K. Kinks working their way out of the body from Monday’s massive yoga/stretch sesh. New running shoes. Wearing flat shoes with no support every day at work.

4/11 (Th) – Intervals. 10 miles with 6 x 1 mile @ 6:50 (1/2 M pace).
            Taking Wednesday as a rest day paid off. Toe tip pain all gone. But new niggle emerged. This time – what feels like muscle tightness on the back of my left foot wrapping around under both ankles. Are there even muscles back there?

4/12 (F) – Legs plus 5 easy miles @ 8:30 in grass/trails.

two little runners ~Kristen

I leave you with some more photos of the elite race at Carlsbad 5000.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Last Week In San Diego and The Most Magnificent Moustache

~ Penny
A couple of weeks behind on posting here, but my blog-hog bestie Kristen has had tons to write about!

So I spent my last week in San Diego running up a storm, and hit my first ever 6-day run week!

March 24th-March 30th, 2013
Sunday: 15 miles easy with Kristen at Mission bay
Monday: rest
Tuesday: 8 miles easy
Wednesday: 4x1.5 miles with 800 jog recoveries. Avg pace of each 1.5 was: 6:53, 6:54, 6:55, 6:55.
Thursday: easy 3 miles and strength workout in hotel gym, trying to avoid perve-y dude in camouflage pants supposedly lifting weights next to me. He was doing that huffing and puffing, Im-so-harcore routine that guys often do. Gross.
Friday: 10 miles, with 8-mile MP tempo at 7:18 avg pace.
Saturday: easy 7 miles

Total: 53 miles

On my last Sunday in San Diego, Kristen took me on one of her favorite trail routes through Del Mar, including the infamous Torrey Pines hill. It kicked my ass, but I came out alive.

We got to run on some lovely trails with spring flowers blooming everywhere:

 And Kristen showed me the bit of boardwalk in Del Mar she dedicated to us!

TLR forever memorialized!

I finished off my time in San Diego appropriately with tacos, some shit-hot tequila, and a delicious tomato-juice chaser:

And brought some tequila home for the hubs, in my favorite bottle EVER:

Isnt he the best???

I seriously love him. In fact, he deserves the X-large photo setting.

 Your mustache is as magnificent as your contents, sir.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Change of Plans

two little runners ~Kristen

Before I began training for the Ojai marathon, I read the marathon classics – Advanced Marathoning and Daniel’s Running Formula – plus a few others in my collection. Initially, I was following a hybrid of plans from Hanson’s Marathon Method (speed), Daniel’s Running Formula (long runs), and Run Faster (tempos).

Recently, I found out that from mid-April to mid-May – the very heart of my marathon training (May 26 race date!) – work was going to consume nearly all my time and more energy than I have. It is a high-responsibly project, so I had to bail on my Ragnar team. And I changed my marathon training plan to the beginner program in Hanson’s Marathon Method because the longest run is 16 miles. These were my first two weeks of the Hanson’s training plan.

9 weeks out (45 miles)
3/23 (Sa) – Mission Trails 10K.
3/24 (Su) – Long run with Penny in Mission Bay. 15 miles @ 8:30.
            8:30 was a very easy aerobic pace for us. We talked the entire run. We’ve really come a long way in our aerobic fitness!
3/25 (M) – Rest.
3/26 (Tu) – Marathon pace tempo on Embarcadero. 10.5 miles with 8 at 7:15.
3/27 (W) – Easy in Balboa. 5 miles @ 9:00.
            I’ve been running my easy miles in the grass and trails of the park. I’m trying to stay off pavement because with my increase in mileage, my joints are feeling pounded nearly every day.
3/28 (Th) – Speed on treadmill. 8.5 miles with 7 x 0.5 @ 9.4 (6:22), 0.25 recoveries @ 6.5 (9:15).
3/29 (F) – Legs.

8 weeks out (53.5)
3/30 (Sa) – Easy run in Solana Beach and Cardiff.  8.5 miles @ 8:00.
3/31 (Su) – Long run in Del Mar with Penny. 16.5 miles @ 9:00.
4/1 (M) – Legs.
4/2 (Tu) – Marathon pace tempo on Embarcadero. 11.5 miles with 9 @ 7:20.
4/3 (W) – Easy in Balboa park. 5 miles @ 9:00.
4/4 (Th) – Progression run on Embarcadero. 12 miles, first 9 @ 8 / last 3 @ 6:50.
            This was supposed to be a speed workout, but Penny talked me into subbing a medium-long run because I was running a 5K over the weekend. Thanks Coach P!
4/5 (Fri) – Rest.

The next four weeks are going to be a period of very high stress, so I am not sure how much the training will sink into my body, for lack of a better phrase. I learned from my experience at trial earlier this year that in a period of high stress and long hours, I couldn’t maintain my level fitness, even though I was continuing to run and exercise. I came back from trial having lost almost 10 pounds and was unable to do even 10% of my pre-trial leg strength routine. It took me weeks to build back my weight, strength, and power.

There is no perfect training cycle, so as always, I’ll do the best I can with the time I have! Any ideas on how to make the best of the situation?  

two little runners ~Kristen 

P.S. A few spring flower pictures captured on recent runs. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Carlsbad 5000 Race Recap

two little runners ~Kristen

The Carlsbad 5000 is advertised as the fastest 5K course in the world. And only a 20 minute drive from my house, sign me up! There are multiple heats that begin at 7:00 a.m. and run throughout the morning until the elite races at 12:45 p.m. I ran in the 30-39 women’s heat, which kicked off at 9:23 a.m.

I’ve run quite a few 5Ks in the last year, and my best time was 19:53, which I set almost a year ago in the first 5K I ever ran. And I never came close to it again in 2012. So it was on. I was gunning for a PR. 

So . . . I needed a rational pacing strategy, as I have crashed and burned in all of my 5Ks by starting out too fast. That first speedy mile always feels fantastic, running up front with the fast girls . . . and then suddenly it turns wretched for the next 14 minutes. 

I wanted to change my ways and run a 5K by the books: as close to even splits as possible. I sensed that I could pull off about a 19:30, based on my current fitness. I needed to hit 6:17 for three miles in a row.

I warmed up by running slow for about 1.5 miles. And then I did a half dozen or so strides to really get my muscles firing. I was nice and warm at the start line. (Later I saw the elites doing basically the same warm up.)

Mile 1 – I lined up near the front and went out fast in the first quarter mile so that I could avoid crowd issues. I couldn’t waste any time weaving in and out of traffic. The lactic acid started to build up in my arms, so I slowed to settle into race pace by 0.25. And the lactic acid cleared. I clocked an even 6:17.

Mile 2 – By mile 2 there was a pretty big gap between me and a clump of runners in front of me. I focused on closing the gap one girl at a time. I saw that some of them had poor running form, and that gave me confidence that I could pass them if I kept steady. And I did, finishing mile 2 in 6:20.

Mile 3 – I decided not to look at my watch for this mile. I figured there is no upside to checking in on pace for the remainder of the race. If I was slower than my target pace, I would feel defeated because by this point in a 5K, I always feel terrible. In my mind I am thinking, “You can just stop. No one is stopping you from stopping.” On the other hand, if I was running faster than target pace, I might get spooked and slow down. So I ran blind. I chose to speed up each time I felt tired. Each time my brain told me to stop. Each time I felt lactic acid building. I crossed mile 3 at 6:17.

0.1 – After the last turn of the course, there is only 0.1 to go, and it is downhill. I ran as fast as I could. When the finish line clock came into my view, it said 19:16, and I ran faster to try to finish in less than 14 seconds, but just missed it. I ran a 5:18 pace for the last 0.1.

My official time was 19:36 (6:19 average pace) for a new PR! And a perfectly even half split. So my experience coincides with the books: you can’t run a 5K PR if you have a positive split (i.e., crash and burn pacing). You need evens or a negative (i.e., rational pacing). 

I finished 11th of 297 in F30-34 (first place in this division was 17:11).

I decided to stick around for the elite race, so I had 3 hours to kill. I ran 5 miles easy, which felt terrible, so I stopped. Then checked out some restaurants, cafes, and shops in downtown Carlsbad. Much more enjoyable!

For the elite race, I positioned myself on the course so that I could see the runners pass by 3 times. In both the men’s and the women’s race, the runners were still in one group at 0.25. By mile 2 in both races, a leader pack had separated from the field. And by 2.75, a few runners in the lead pack had fallen back. 

Dejen Gebremeskel of Ethiopia, the 2012 5K Olympic silver medalist, won the men’s race in 13:21.  Geleta Burka, also of Ethiopia, won the women’s race in 15:26, edging out the second and third place women who both clocked in at 15:28.

two little runners ~Kristen 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Mission Trails 10K Recap

two little runners ~Kristen

The statute of limitations on this race recap is about to run. Race recaps must be posted (1) within 14 days of completing a race or (2) before the runner competes in another race, whichever is earlier. [Citation?] So I’m coming in with this race recap just under the limitations period because the Mission Trails 10K was 13 days ago, and I’m running the Carlsbad 5000 tomorrow!

This is my second year running this race. Both years I finished first female, but got second…due to race and bib switching. Last year, a registered 10K female switched to the 5K and therefore stole my number 1 spot on paper. This year, a male ran with a female 10K bib, giving shim the win on paper. But no problem. Using my powers of persuasion, I brought home the gold.

Alas, that is my only complaint. This is a great trail race. I love the course, and it starts at the civilized hour of 9 a.m.

Familiar with the course, I knew I had to go out fast. There is a huge rock pit/puddle within the first quarter mile. But there is a very skinny dirt path around it. So I went out with the lead pack at a brisk 5:30 pace, sneaked around the rock pit, and then slowed it down, finishing the first mile in 6:45.

The second mile is also tricky. There is a dry creek bed crossing that is entirely full of boulders. There is no path around them. It would be very easy to fall here. I used my hands to jump around them, and I concentrated on agility, good footwork, and fast feet.  I finished this mile in 7:33.  

The third mile has a smooth trail, but it is a steady incline. And I knew the big climbs laid ahead. I used this mile to gather my strength and put some energy in the bank. The tail end of this mile is the beginning of the hills. Finished it in 6:52.

The fourth and fifth miles of this course are brutal. There are 5 hills that are so steep that most runners are probably better off hiking them than running them. I tend to scamper up the hills pretty fast, but I always get passed on the down hills, which are as steep as the up hills on this course. If I went any faster, I would be in imminent danger of face plant. So I go slow, get passed. I finished the fourth mile in 9:07 and the fifth in 7:35. The total elevation gain is 495 feet, and the total loss is 477.

The sixth mile of the course is fast and flat. I passed a lot of runners during this mile, clocking in at 6:24.

I finished in 45:19 (7:18 average pace). Last year I finished in 46:10, so I am happy with almost a minute improvement, which is about 10 seconds per mile!  

I managed to entirely escape the race photographer this year,
so here's last year.
two little runners ~Kristen

My Achilles Healed!

two little runners ~Kristen

Oh, by the way, I am running a MARATHON! The Mountains to Ocean Marathon in Ojai on May 26. I’m registered. I have hotels. I have days off of work. I have outfit possibilities. I have a friend flying in from St. Louis to possibly run the half. Or possibly to cheer me on. Or possibly sleep through the whole thing. The race starts at 6:00 a.m. Ouch!

So I began real marathon training in March (base building in January and February, check). I started out diving into the deep end with a 58 mile week – my highest mileage week ever. I was a bit over enthusiastic and ended up with Achilles pain during my first speed workout. Mistake!

I was in full research mode with the Achilles. The best article I found on Achilles injuries was from Strength Running. Apparently Achilles pain is due to tightness in the tendon/calf or to poor foot stability. I figured I was in the tightness camp and went after it with all kinds of foam rolling, tennis ball rolling, massage, and stretching. And I took a few days off of running. By the end of week 2, the Achilles was fine. Crisis averted!

The High Mileage Week (58 miles)
3/2 (Sa) – Easy but hilly in Del Mar and Torrey Pines. 10.5 miles @ 8:15.
3/3 (Su) – Long in Mission Bay. 14 miles @ 8:00 + 3 @ 7:20 (marathon pace (“M”))
3/4 (M) – Easy in Balboa Park. 7 miles @8:30.
3/5 (Tu) – Threshold on Embarcadero. 9.5 miles with 2 x 15 minutes @ 6:50 (1/2 marathon pace (“1/2M”))
3/6 (W) – Easy in Balboa Park. 7 miles @ 8:25.
            I took a tumble during this run. Belly flopped on a sidewalk I must have run on 100 times by now. But brushed off and kept going!
3/7 (Th) – Speed on treadmill. 10 miles with 12 x 0.25 @ 6:22 / 0.25 recoveries @ 9:15.
            Surprise! My Achilles started hurting at the end of this run. It continued to hurt after the run, even while walking around for the next few days.
3/8 (F) – Leg strength.

The Penalty Week (11.5)
3/9 (Sa) – Rest.
3/10 (Su) – Rest.
            Spent the weekend in the Palm Springs area attending the Indian Wells Tennis Tournament. So it was pretty easy to take this weekend off of running.
3/11 (M) – Rest.
3/12 (Tu) – 5 mile hike with my bro.
3/13 (W) – 12 miles on bike with bro through Mission Bay. And I “bricked” it with an easy 5 miler in Solana Beach @ 8:10.
3/14 (Th) – Easy in Balboa Park. 6.5 @ 8:25.
3/15 (F) – Leg strength.

Nadal is back!
Thanks to massive stretching and rolling efforts, I was back to regular training 3rd week of March, which was essentially a repeat of week 1 but a little less enthusiastic and no speed. 

My basic training strategy is 3 key workouts per week: (1) long, (2) M pace or 1/2M pace tempo, and (3) speed workout. Then 2 or 3 other easy running days, targeting 50-60 miles per week. Plus leg strength workout once a week. And daily core and yoga. 

Deja Vu Week (49.5 miles)
3/16 (Sa) – Easy in Solana Beach/Cardiff. 9 miles @ 8:00.
3/17 (Su) – Long in Point Loma. 15 miles @ 8:30 + 2 @ 7:20 (M).
3/18 (M) – Easy in Balboa Park. 6 @ 8:40.
3/19 (Tu) – Threshold on Embarcadero. 9.5 miles with 2 x 15 minutes @ 6:50 (1/2M)
3/20 (W) – Easy in Solana Beach. 5 miles @ 9:00.
3/21 (Th) – Leg strength. Easy 5 miles on treadmill with progression of last 2 @ 7:15.
3/22 (F) – Rest.

two little runners ~Kristen