December 29, 2009


With the feels like 10 degree temperature, I managed a 50 minute run in the Cinnamon Ridge neighborhood.

P.S. I took two days off while in the Hudson River valley because my nephew was too darned cute ;O I guess that means that I won't get a new hat, but I'm still pleased with my east coast running.

P.P.S. Last night, I dreamt that I was meeting someone and traveling to SF for a race but we were running late. Somehow, I was chill about the prospects of rushing to the start of the race!

December 24, 2009

Dashing through the snow

Happy holidays, y'all!

I did a bit of my run in some powdery snow in NJ, and the weather outside was delightful.....Now it's time to celebrate :)

December 22, 2009

Socks rock

I wore my new black wool socks (from an Oakland, CA cycling store) for today's brr-tastic run in New Jersey's 35 degreeish weather. My feet stayed cozy, but my body was quite chilly for the first 15ish minutes. Fortunately, I *did* warm up and managed 50 minutes at a solid pace, involving repeating a couple loops near my Hubby's former-middle school.

In fact, I was feeling just a tad overheated towards the end of the run. But, in my book, it's waaay better to be warm & dry than shivering!

December 17, 2009


Next week, I'll be heading east for winter break. It will be a challenge to maintain a running routine while dealing with the cold weather plus overall gluttony of holiday celebrations with family and friends. I'd like to run a few times per week but realize that a long run won't happen, and that's totally fine :)

Here are a few things to help keep me on track (Ha! Definitely not planning any track workouts!)....I bought a pair of thin, wool biking socks to wear while running in chilly temps. I'll try to run in the early afternoon when the sun's been out for a few hours. Hot coffee before and after the run always help! And, finally, there's always bribery: If I manage to run every other day (with no 2 days off in a row), I will treat myself to a new running hat. Deal.

December 16, 2009

Fun with hills

It was a gray and foggy afternoon for a run. I thought a few hill sprints could break up the monotony of the past 4 weeks' plain ole running (which I've been doing for to reacquaint my body with running after thrashing it at NYC marathon!!). So I ran up Mandana, found a suitable 1 minute hill and did 5 repeats. The first couple felt strange but then I found my groove; the final repeat was my fastest :>

December 12, 2009

Happy Hanukkah!

Best wishes for warm and joyous Hanukkah celebrations! Prior to this evening's fried potato pancakes and merriment, I went for a 13 mile run through the soaked city of SF with J (We ran through medium rain, mist, cloudiness, some sun, some piercing rain, light rain, and more medium rain. And, yes, our feet got soaked!).

Driving back home, I thought of some awesome running-related gifts....
1) a shiny marathon PR :)
2) analysis of my running form
3) personal training for upper body/core strength
4) new running clothes, socks, and shoes
5) fresh pasta & new flavors of gels and Nuun hydration tablets
6) massage
7) spa/sauna
8) pedicure

December 8, 2009


I'm on a 4-day running streak, and my legs are feeling good. I usually don't run more than 3 days in a row, but I might run till Thursday....It's nice that ALL my runs are easy runs right now, so there's no pressure to hit any speeds or even specific distances.

Today's run was on one of my favorite routes around North Berkeley, and I'm glad I wore my running pants, hat, and gloves!!

December 7, 2009


The Bay Area is experiencing a cold spell, and I ran in this afternoon's low-40s weather. The Lake Merritt run was calming and the cool air and puffy pockets of clouds were invigorating. Keeping warm was great motivation to run at a decent pace :>

I'm trying to run a bit higher mileage for the next two weeks because I'm not sure how much running will happen out east, especially since I'm a bit wimpy about running when there's snow/ice on the ground!

December 6, 2009


I thoroughly enjoyed running 10 miles to Berkeley and back with J. It had been awhile since J and I had run long together, and it made the time fly by :> The weather was cool and gray, but my legs and body were pleased to be out on a Saturday morning to do the long run routine. There's a few more weeks of unstructured running before serious training begins for the Avenue of the Giants marathon, and I'd like to experiment with heart rate training, a couple new routes, and maybe some extra stretching.

Last but not least, a HUGE congratulations to a fellow Bay Area blogger who qualified for the Boston Marathon today!

December 3, 2009

Heart to heart

I'm trying to use my Garmalade's heart rate monitor. So, I calculated my maximum heart rate (around 189 beats per minute) based on a formula from Runners World. And then I determined my endurance heart rate zone (123-142).

And, on today's run, I averaged 139 bpm. Pretty neat, eh?!?! It was cool to see how my heart rate went up *a lot* on big ole hills AND how my rate went way down while running downhills or jogging. But there are still things to figure out, since the monitor's band is not that comfortable (fits by the bottom band of my sports bra) and I'm not completely sure what my precise maximum rate is....

November 28, 2009


After feasting for two days and studying up a storm, I was able to get out this afternoon for a decent run--45 minutes up Moraga. I also ran through a park on Piedmont because there's something so joyful and relaxing about running on grass!

I don't think I'll be able to do a long run this weekend but will try my best to get out for a short run again on Sunday. I keep reminding myself to endure this round of studying because the finish line is in sight :)

November 26, 2009

Thankful for

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

This beautiful morning, running gave me the opportunity to give thanks for my health and strength, being able to run in shorts and a shirt in late November, and oh-so-fun fartleks...I'm in the midst of cooking up a storm and am grateful for this day and my friends and family near & far.

November 22, 2009


I felt my groove returning during today's gray 80 minute run. The fresh air did me a world of good. And, in about 10 days, I get to devote a lot more attention to running....I can't wait!

November 18, 2009


This drive by blog post is to briefly acknowledge that I did get out and run today! The weather was SO Novembery, with crisply cool air, intensely blue sky, and just enough sunshine to warm my legs. Right before heading out for my run, I realized Garmalade's battery was dead....Oops! So I let it charge and did some *more* reading ;O Right now, my body's charging to absorb energy for running, and I also appreciate running for the way it helps me RE-charge.

November 15, 2009

Back out there

After two weeks of zero physical activity but much mental training for grad school (my qualifying exam will be on December 1st; that's in 15 days, but who's counting?!?), it was time to get out, absorb some fresh air, and move my legs. The 40 minute morning run was fine, and the running endorphins are soothing my current mental state! If nothing else, the next couple of weeks of easy runnin' will just be an opportunity to get the heart pumping, work out frustrations, and BREATHE :)

November 2, 2009

Experience this

To summarize the NYC marathon, I laughed, I cried, and I got an apple. Oh, and I PRed (4:07!) and learned 26.2 things about New York, running, and myself....

The morning started normally enough- with toast and coffee in NJ. I took a quick shower and got dressed with all my warm layers on top. It was sprinkling. We drove to the Meadowlands. I waited for a bus with about 100 other runners, and then we were informed that we were waiting IN THE WRONG PLACE. With not much time before the *last* bus from NJ to Staten Island, a kind dude offered to give folks a ride in his truck. Three girls plus me and another dude fit into the back of the truck. We drove around to the other side of the arena and found the *real* buses--like 15 of them. I got on a bus and thought the drama was over with. However, the bus driver had *no* clue how to get to Staten Island, so two nice girls from NJ read and translated the directions into Spanish. Yes, we did arrive--on time and all--to the starting village. The time at the village was interesting and boring and anxiety provoking all at once. I chatted with a few fellow runners. I sat down and relaxed for awhile and took care of bathroom needs. I figured out where my wave 2 corral would be. I lined up with plenty of time to spare...

I almost started crying at the start because there was so much excitement and joy. Wow. People from all over the world--ready to go. The start was up and over the Verrazano Narrows bridge. Shockingly, it never felt uncomfortably crowded. I mean, there were people all around, but- for the most part- you could go along at your own pace or navigate around people to find a good space for running.

SO many fun bands and cheering crowds--offering bananas (I took one and ate half), kleenex, gum, and waving signs. Hooray- a street party that I get to run through--a bit speedier than my designated goal marathon pace. And runners of all ages and abilities--including a young man with a prosthetic leg and athletes in wheelchairs and blind marathoners. It was extremely humbling. I also thought of the elite runners who'd flown down these identical streets and bridges a bit before I did!!

Still feeling strong- a few uphill stretches. There was a hard bridge--59th St. Bridge into Manhattan. Had to work hard but really could not believe that I was more than halfway done!! The miles were flying by, and I even thought to myself that the race was going by *too* quickly :)

Manhattan/The Bronx
Running up First Avenue was incredible, and I was heading toward my fan club (Jeff, his parents, plus M, D, and little Z!). I cruised up First Ave. and was having a total blast. Even though I'd run over 16 miles, I had plenty of pep and was motivating myself to run hard till mile 20. I saw Jeff and the gang: gave everyone high fives and Z a squeeze and a g'luck kiss. Then I was on my way. For awhile, I was fine. Around mile 20, I realized I *was* working harder, much harder, and not going quite as fast. Oh well. Miles 21 and 22 were about 10 min. miles; that wasn't my goal pace. But I thought that if it didn't get worse, then maybe I could pick it back up ;) Running through Harlem was cool, and the crowds and music (including "Take On Me") were terrific.

And the finish in Central Park
Mile 23 hit bad--a 12:20 mile. I had to walk a few times, got a side stitch, and tried to harden up. Then Mile 24 arrived--an 11 minute mile accompanied by weird quad cramps/spasms and general exhaustion. Somehow, I worked it in miles 25 and to the finish--at 9:20 pace. Amazingly, one of my ALL TIME favorite running songs "Don't Stop Believing" was playing as I turned from Columbus Circle into Central Park :) Totally rad. It took concentration but I kicked and finished in 4:07-- a 12 minute personal best!!

After finishing amidst thousands, you walk into a sea of staggering marathoners. I was alright for awhile--walked slowly and got my snack bag and heat sheet. Then I got dizzy and queezy and totally weak. I didn't know what to do--stop and sit down (and how the heck would I get up?!?!) OR keep trying to move. I felt awful and told a very, very kind medical volunteer how awful I felt. And she escorted me to the medical tent. We walked--arm in arm--for another 10 minutes or so. I was checked-in and two super sweet medical volunteer gave me water and salt and took my vitals. Just sitting in the warm tent with supervision made me feel better :O Apparently, I need my entourage after races ;) I was able to leave the tent and slowly made my way toward to exit (and had to stop to deal with a massive foot cramp, go fig). I think I may have gotten dehydrated during the race.

A few reflections
I ignored the 'pace police', went out pretty hard, and felt great for about 20 miles. The last 6 miles weren't so pretty, and I didn't hang onto an ideal pace. BUT- I know I left it all out there on the course. I toughed it out and kept going. I also had a blast. I understand why they call this a race like no other, and it was awesome to experience NYC and marathon running in this light! Yes, I could complain about minutes here or there or debate how to use Garmalade or when to eat my gels, but I'd much, much rather bask in my PRdom, knowing that there are other races out there to share with family and friends :)

October 31, 2009

26.2 mile line

I could freak out about the weather, the crowds, my legs, and my training. But I'm trying to trust myself, my body, my heart, and my endurance. It WILL be an exciting event and a marvelous marathon. My mind will carry the courage from family and friends and other folks.


To track me while running the NYC marathon tomorrow, go to:

I will be #22907!

I'm carbo loading and have gotten plenty of sleep for the past several days. My body feels good and my mind's ready to race in New York :)

October 29, 2009


I took the train into Manhattan and managed to get myself through the hustle and bustle to the Marathon Expo at the Javits Convention Center. There, I got my race bib (#22907 in the Blue starting village) and timing chip-tag, as well as the official blue long sleeved race shirt. I snagged some samples of powerbars and gus. I also spent awhile browsing through the Asics race clothing and accessories (and ended up purchasing a cool gray long sleeved shirt-jacket with the world's softest fleeciest lining!).

Afterwards, I treated myself to a pretzel from a NY street vendor, and it was a delicious way to kick off my carbo loading :P When I wake up tomorrow morning, I'll be two days away from race day, so it's time to get excited....very excited!!

October 27, 2009

In my bag

After waking up my legs with a nice track workout of 3 X 400 (at sub 1:46!), I finished packing for the flight east. Yes, I've packed my running clothes and shoes, water belt (thanks, Jess!), hat, gloves, extra sweats for the waiting on Staten Island, socks, Garmalade, and the race information booklet. Of course, I'm also bringing my laptop and study materials....If only I could stow away Kara Goucher's abs AND speediness ;)

October 25, 2009

Whether or not

I could have also titled this post as weather or not. Ha! This refers to my obsessive spiral into weather-checking every hour or so. I have multiple sources:, accuweather, and a NYC news station. The forecasts are still unaligned and unstable. Sigh......

I also can't decide if I want to start packing yet. And, usually, we don't pack for trips till the night before or even the morning of. But the concept of flying across the country with my marathon gear is making me want to get my ducks in a row. A very tidy row. Sigh.....

And, yes, the race has gotten to close to write about the time that remains. Sigh.....

*I'm sure some of this angst will pass over me at some point!

October 24, 2009


It was a gorgeous Saturday, and I ran 8 miles up to Piedmont and then down and around Lake Merritt! My body felt relatively good, though oddly tired. I suppose that's due to not running enough this week ;)

I did some professional grade chillaxing with Jenica at a Korean Spa in SF....There's something so heavenly and healing about time in the hot tub, cold plunge, sauna. I tried to imagine the water and sweat removing toxins from my muscles.

Finally, I worked on the marathon training plan for the Avenue race in May. As crazy as it sounds, I feel better when planning my next marathon than thinking about the one that's just around the corner!!

October 22, 2009

10 days

T minus 10 days...Taper madness is rearing its head. In other words, I'm noticing aches in strange parts of my body and simultaneously feel over and under trained OR over and under rested. Go figure. My new favorite hobby is checking the weather in NYC---even though the 10 day forecast is ridiculously unreliable.

For pre-marathon therapy, J and I are going out for burgers and drinks tonight. But the only drug that really, really treats taper madness is running, like 26.2 miles of running. Cheers!!

October 21, 2009

Vivo tempo

Even though Lake Merritt was replete with gunk in the water and birds galore, this morning's tempo run was splendidly lively. I wanted my pace to be sub 8:19, and I managed 8:16/8:11/7:50!! My legs felt good on the tempo portion, giving me a teensy bit of confidence that sub-4 could be my pace in NYC :)

* Vivo- lively & fast (according to Wikipedia)

October 20, 2009

Into the taper

Yeah, I'm tapering. That means I have more time on my hands for things like studying, cleaning the kitchen, and shopping :) It also means that I should lay off the Trader Joe's cookies :(

More importantly, I've been checking the NYC weather race day forecast (thanks to's 15 day forecast) and planning out what to wear before, during, and after the race! I keep reminding myself that the whole point of running less during these two weeks is so I can run faster on November 1....

October 19, 2009


I noticed an abundance of leaves--of various hues--on the ground this morning, and it even smelled like fall! I really appreciate the way that running gives me the opportunity to experience the seasons and the shifts in weather, its sights and smells.

The SF marathon was my summer marathon, and I devoted the spring and summer to training. And now the NYC marathon will be my fall marathon, and it's terrific to feel the season rolling toward fall. Of course, there is a decent chance that the race day will feel a bit wintery again; getting to run through New York in the fall, winter, spring, or summer weather will rock :)

October 15, 2009

Before I get verklempt

With 17 days till the NYC Marathon, I want to thank some awesome people who help make the 26.2 mile journey much, much easier...

Thanks to my hubby for putting up with the alarm going off way too early on the weekend for long runs and the abundance of sweaty running gear in our bedroom AND my insistence to eat boring pasta.

Thanks to J for motivating me during track workouts, checking on my training plan, and reminding me to treat myself.

Thanks to all my lady runnin' friends, and someday we should ALL run a marathon together (yes, I'm talking to you, Katie & Mia & Jess...)! And yeah, it would pretty much be the bestest thing ever.

Thanks to my parents for driving me to cross country and track practice and meets way back in high school.

Thanks to Sue and Arnie for running gear and deep support.

Thanks to grad school friends for reminding me how nutty I am to do marathon training AND qualifying exam studying this fall.

October 14, 2009

Watch this

Free fallin'

Every rose has its thorn, and every training cycle has its fall. Maybe it's because your body gets SO used to running that it's on autopilot mode OR maybe it's cumulative exhaustion from weeks and weeks of training :)

Regardless, about five minutes into today's mellow 50 minute run (mainly to burn off some nervous energy related to the multiple uncertainties and stresses of the day ahead), I tripped on the sidewalk on Lakeshore (near the Gap) and fell down. I have small scrapes on my hands and a long patch of sidewalk burn/road rash on one of my thighs. But, all in all, I'm no worse for the wear!

October 13, 2009

Runnin' on water

Now I understand why people get gym memberships. Or own a treadmill.

I ran in the torrential ran this morning. My rain jacket kept me fairly comfortable but after a few miles I was soaked.

Drenched. And puddle hopping for 7 miles. I admit it's a little crazy to run in the rain; it's also very freeing.

October 10, 2009

Two words

Twenty two!

With 22 days till the NYC marathon, I survived the longest run of this training cycle. I even managed to do 6 miles at around GMP and felt strong running them sub 8:55, even finishing with an 8:40 mile (definitely speedier than my 8:58 goal pace)!

It was fantastic running weather today, and I noticed lots of the folks who I crossed paths with were smiling as they biked, ran, or walked by. I'm pretty sure I was smiling, too and getting into my new ipod playlist :)

October 9, 2009

Almost there

Just checking in on Friday of monster week to report that so far, so good! Today's tempo run felt great, and I was in the speedy portion of my tempo-zone; that should give me a bit more confidence that 3:55 is within reach.

Tomorrow's 22 miler is a big long run, for sure. But I'm making a pancake dinner tonight to load lots of easy-to-digest carbs into my system :P And I'm giving myself permission to ease myself into the long run and trust the totality of my training. With just over three weeks till New York, it's time to reassure myself that the race WILL go wonderfully & be a BLAST!!

October 7, 2009

A poem

Love the track
All out
Dig deep
Drive your arms
Eek it out
Run hard, repeat, rest

Booyahh for nailing today's 4-8-12-4-8-12-8-4 'ladder' workout :)

October 5, 2009

Monster week is here

Officially, this is my peak week. But--with Halloween fast approaching--I think it's more appropriate to call it a monster week!! My training plan includes the ghoulish combination of a medium long run, 4/8/12 track workout, tempo run, and a 22 miler with pace miles (or should I call them trick miles?!). I'm figuring out what my treats will be for completing these intense workouts :P

Monster week is here!

Officially, it's my peak week

October 3, 2009


It's time for me to write about my tummy.

No, not because I'm planning on developing Kara Goucher-esque fabulous abs :) It would take a moderate-miracle for me to develop a 6-pack rather than drinking 6-packs (I heart Anchor Steam, Hefeweizen, and, well, Budweiser)!

Instead, I'll talk about the far more appealing nature of my digestive tract....

I tend to have a very strong stomach and eat just about anything (except papaya). But I've had some not-so-fun tummy issues during the past few weeks of running. It could be the noxious combination of heat, not eating well enough, hormones, and stress :( Whatever it was, it didn't help my training. I took a step last night by eating a super simple (and easy to digest) dinner- buttered pasta noodles with some grated cheese (plus M & Ms for dessert). I abandoned my traditional tomato sauce and salad, and my stomach felt terrific on this morning's 15 miler. No heartburn or bathroom issues. In fact, I'm recording it as my easiest 15 miler; a nice run around Alameda on a nice early fall morning.

October 2, 2009

Shout outs

Yeah, I'm starting to feel famous....

Marathon Mama said---"Onto the next comment from the lovely Sarah.

Blog reader Sarah asked the other day how I’m approaching my taper, and I’m just so excited that anyone cares about my tapering that I’m going to post about it. As a coach-in-progress, I might not have the race times to claim my racing record is my best qualification, but I am very good at tapering. I excel at slacking off, so I can bring some authority to the notion of tapering."

Also, thank you to Runner's Rambles for commenting on my blog. BUT, much more importantly, g'luck to this East Bay runner who will be rocking the Sacramento Cowtown marathon this weekend :>

Hello, October!

I welcomed in the month of October with a fantastic steady state run around Lake Merritt. When I stepped outside, I got goosebumps because it was finally chilly--a definite relief for runner-me :) The 40 minutes at steady state pace were sub 8:30--yeehaw!

I also really think my legs benefited from the day of rest, and I'm feeling MUCH more positive about the final push through this training cycle--bring it on, big apple!

October 1, 2009

One month!

It's totally unbelievable that the marathon is only a month away, and that the major part of my training is done! This article explains what's going on for me right about now.

I let my leggies rest again but have a 40 min. steady state run tomorrow. I think it'll be a blast to run in the morning chilliness :)

September 30, 2009

New blues

I laced up my new blue Brooks shoes and got out there to do my medium long run. These shoes feel SO much more cushiony than the pair I needed to retire :( I tried relaxing and eased into a nice pace. It felt like a crisp, autumnal day, and I ended up running all the way to North Berkeley. At the turn around point, there was an incredible view of the bay, SF skyline, and Golden Gate bridge--wow!

September 29, 2009


Today was an unscheduled rest day (URD) because the phlegm in my throat and gunk in my legs refused to get out & crank out the miles; they were telling me to rest up before the final two weeks of tough workouts. SO close, yet so far, eh?!

On the positive side, I'm already feeling a bit better, and I'll try my very, very best not to set any records during tomorrow's medium long run ;) However, I will lace up my new pair of blue Brooks because I think I deserve the extra spring in my steps!

September 27, 2009

The big five-one

Because I ran 51 miles this week, I now feel as if I've made it over the running hill! Of course, for what it's worth, Olympics-level distance runners typically run over 100 miles per week.

Yesterday's 20 miler was challenging. With just over a month before New York, I could blame my legs for being tired or the heat in Walnut Creek, but I really think that something was wrong with my tummy :( The TMI--I had some cramping plus a not-so-fun bathroom stop. But after all that, I was able to finish the last portion of the pace miles in good form. I'm proud that I stuck with it, and the workout was a great reminder that not every day of training is smooth or ideal.

In gear news, my beloved Salomon hydration fanny pack, which has been a staple of my running gear for 5 years, is thrashed (seams are ripped apart), and I might need to replace it soon. My Brooks shoes are also quite worn down, and I've started to rotate in an older (yet less worn down) pair of Brooks. But really, it's about time to start training in my marathon Brooks (Adrenalines again, but a nice new blue!). Finally, I splurged on a new running skirt because they're so darn comfortable...I'll post pictures when it arrives!

September 25, 2009

1 week, 1 day

That translates to 36 days till the start of the NYC marathon!

I think I could list 36 things that fire me up about this race, but I'll just mention that I'm eager to taper, carbo-load on east coast bagels, see some incredible views, hear some wonderful cheers, and give snuggle wuggles to my nephew, Z. Awww :)

Tomorrow's run should be a feisty one--warm temperatures & 20 miles with 7 at pace!

September 24, 2009

Small things with great love

The super talented husband & wife distance runners, Ryan (Olympic marathon runner) and Sara Hall, just started a charity supporting programs that promote better lives for poor and underserved kids in the U.S. and abroad...Nice work, Ryan and Sara Hall!

September 23, 2009


During every marathon training cycle, there seems to come a point when your legs feel like they've been marinated and pounded, thoroughly ready to be charred. During today's 80 minute recovery run (probably a bit long for a post-track workout recovery run) my legs felt a bit tenderized. Hmm, I'm hoping that some extra protein, water, rest, and foam rolling will help them recover prior to Saturday's LONG pace run :O

Note: My Memu (maternal grandmother), who was supremely athletic & had great endurance for her age (she loved long swims and walks in her 70s and 80s), always referred to muscles as meat. She would joke with me that my strong legs would make delicious steaks :)

September 22, 2009

Tracking and future marathons

Today's workout alternated 400s with 800s, and my legs needed the first few bursts of speed to wake up! But I'm pleased to report that the final 800 and 400 intervals were my fastest, and I feel like I could have completed one more set.

J and I are already plotting our next marathon venture--Avenue of the Giants! And I am quite tempted to try an extended (January-April), higher mileage training program...perhaps medium long runs on Monday and Wednesday, with a tempo run on Friday, an easier run on Tuesday, and long runs on the weekend :) Hmm-I guess I should stay focused on NY for now!!

September 21, 2009

Monday medium

I woke up a bit early to get ready for the medium long run and was treated to some misty fog at the beginning of the run. The miles went by relatively quickly. On the way back home, I had to dodge passels of Berkeley students walking to campus! At a few points, my legs felt a bit tired and then they'd get back in the groove, at a nice and easy pace. I can tell that my shoes are getting a bit worn down, and I should switch to my sparkling new pair of Brooks soon. After the run, I made a protein shake as soon as I got home because I know I need to take care of myself this week, and I will also drink plenty of water today.

On tap for this week (which may help me set a mileage PR!):
-Track workouts--400s & 800s
-Long pace run--20 miles with about 7 miles at GMP

September 19, 2009

Six at GMP

The first long pace workout of this marathon training cycle is Done, with a capital 'D' ;)

My legs felt tired a few miles into the 15.5 mile run in Alameda, but the pace section woke them up with a jolt....Actually, the 6 miles at goal marathon pace (GMP) felt a-okay, and I hit my 8:58 pace!

I cheered the successful long run with pumpkin beers this afternoon...It's amusing that *this* is my "easy" week- with a 15 mile run that ends with faster miles! But I know that next week will be a tough training week, so I'm going to try to get extra sleep this weekend and pamper my legs for a few days :P And I also know that NYC is getting closer & closer--hooray!

September 18, 2009

Ending on a good tempo

This morning's workout was a solid 6.7 miles on the roads of Oakland with the tempo parts at sub 8:18.

It's the end of the week, and, for us Jews, the end of a year. Rosh Hashanah is tonight and Saturday, so I could make a couple running resolutions for the new year. However, I'd rather wish everyone a very happy, healthy, and sweet new year!

September 17, 2009


I was close to titling this post, Crisis, crisis, 1, 2, 3. But I decided against that because I didn't want anyone to think that I was not fine. I'm fine.

Today's rest day from running was a very rough day. Just one of those no-good days. In other words, my hardest workout of the week is dealing with grad school stuff :( It truly makes track workouts feel like red velvet cake and 19 milers like a nice slice of peach pie with vanilla ice cream on top. I promise I'll fix this day and bad-attitude by chillin' tonight and runnin' my heart out on tomorrow's tempo run.

September 16, 2009

City Runlife

In my former teacher-life, I was intrigued by one of the third grade anthology units: City Wildlife. Students were expected to read, discuss, and write about the plants and animals in vacant lots and city parks. They even studied pigeons :(

Well, today's run could have added some fine-grained detail to that unit. Jess and I ran around Lake Merritt, through downtown Oakland, and eastward on Embarcadero. We even crossed a small bridge to the Coast Guard station on Alameda! I enjoyed the new and flat route, which paralleled the 880, even though it was a little loud at times...Fortunately there were sidewalks for the entirety of our 10 mile urban route. We saw plenty of trucks turning into and out of the Oakland docks, cargo ships, side of the highway hotels, plus geese and city birds. There were a couple other runners, plus some folks out fishing on the docks.

September 15, 2009


I'll throw a bone to the fact that this is a busy time with plenty of downs and ups, but I know that I tend to make mountains out of molehills. Today's workout featuring hill repeats reminded me that if you take it one hill at a time, everything will be dandy!

Since I woke up tired and confused about how to cram everything into today, I ended up pushing this workout to mid-morning, and it was sunny and hot. The goal was seven 1 min. uphills, and I felt terrific through the first four hills. It turns out that my last 3 repeats were my fastest, so my legs weren't dying from the uphill efforts. And I really felt like I was recovering quickly on the 2 min. jog back down the hill. Somehow the hill repeats (at 5Kish effort) woke my legs up, and they feel better than they did before the long run :)

I love running because, if I motivate and persevere, the big and hard workouts turn out to be molehills, and--worse comes to worse--they're speedbumps toward my improvement as a runner.

September 14, 2009

Week of September 14

This week will have lower mileage, but I'll do a long pace run for good measure! The details of what's on tap: medium long run, hill repeats, and a 15 mile run with 6 miles at goal marathon pace (8:53-9:03). I think those workouts should tire me out sufficiently ;)

Lovely runs to look forward to--two 20+ runs and longer steady state runs between now and early October...Yes, it's feeling closer to *GO* time, so I should start planning my marathon-day outfit, etc...

September 12, 2009

Neither rain, nor thunder, nor hail shall keep me from training

An oddity arrived in the Bay Area--a thunderstorm that tried to throw a wrench into my training plans.

Despite the rain and storminess, I drove out to Great Highway in SF, and ran up past the Cliff House, then through Golden Gate Park past the De Young Museum (I should check out the Tut exhibit...), hearing some major rumblings 'o' thunder :O I ran back down through the park and out along Ocean Beach. There was some tiny hail at this point. Then ran up Lincoln to Sunset Ave. (site of my infamous fall during SF marathon trainin).

Sheesh- I guess it was quite a tour of the Richmond/Sunset!! All in all, a damp 19.4 miles. Thank goodness for hot showers, cold beers, and delish burgers :P

September 11, 2009

Moments of Tired

I woke up feeling like I was fighting through a mild cold. But I geared up, tied my shoelaces, filled my water bottle and headed out. During the warmup, my legs felt a bit tired. But I kept moving. By the time I got to Lake Merritt for the steady state workout, my legs were feeling much better.

The 35 minutes at steady state pace went well. Yes, I had to dodge some pidgeons :( There were a few moments in which I had to remind myself to take a deep breath, focus, and push my legs. Focusing really helps me get my speed where it needs to be. But on the positive side--I felt strong during the last 5-10 minutes of the steady state effort. More and more, I'm noticing that it's my legs (endurance) and not my breathing (cardiovascular fitness) that want to give up :O

A Note-- eight years ago was 9/11. I was training for the Chicago Marathon and heard the news on Alli's car radio. Many, many things about the world, my family, and myself have changed over the past eight years. However, I am still training for a marathon. Run on.

September 9, 2009

Track family

My return to the track was one part family reunion and one part pain (and gain!). J and I saw some familiar faces---Olympian coach, fleece dude, friendly walkers, etc.

J and I got down to business, cranking out 800s. I ran six 800s at 3:44-46 pace, with the last interval at 3:40! I think the fifth interval was the toughest, and I felt a bit woozy at the end of the workout. Fortunately, we treated ourselves to Arizmendi, and there's nothing a blueberry muffin can't fix ;) Currently, I'm scheduled to do a hill workout next week but am tempted to return to the track...

September 7, 2009

Fine nine

To be precise, today's medium long run was 9.5 miles. My legs felt strong, and I enjoyed being outside in the sunshine. It was a very nice workout on a gorgeous Labor Day...Happy Labor Day, everyone!

What else is on tap for this week? I return to the track for 800s (gulp!) and have another steady state run (with 35 min. in the steady zone). My long run is 19 miles (already!), and I'll probably head to SF this weekend to do that workout.

September 6, 2009

Finding a bigger, braver comfort zone

I think this article by Matt Fitzgerald makes some great points about training hard and feeling some pain to become a faster endurance runner and racer....

I'll try to write more about my comfort zone later ;)

September 5, 2009

Eighteen accomplished

I felt calm before this morning's long run, even though I was aware that I was jumping up a bit in mileage. I enjoyed running on the Iron Horse Trail and tried running north (toward Concord) before doing a southward loop (toward Alamo). I let myself run at a comfortable pace and ended up averaging around 10:20, which is faster than usual for my long runs.

The 18 mile run went great, and I had plenty of energy in the last few miles! In fact, the final mile before the cooldown was my fastest! Now I'm a little tired, but pleased that I ran 46 miles this week.

September 4, 2009

Friday tempo

Thank goodness for fantastic Friday tempo runs! Today's run around Lake Merritt went very well, with a 20 minute warm up, 20 minutes in my tempo zone, and an easy 20 minute cool down.

I started the tempo portion at 8:19 pace and finished at 8:11 pace, and that pace fit nicely in my goal range of 8:09-8:30! The best news is that, even though I was working harder than usual on the run, I wasn't gasping or straining to hit those paces. This makes me feel more confident in my overall pacing goals :) And confidence is a great thing!!

September 2, 2009


I can't believe it's September. That means there's less than two months until the New York marathon!

My body seems to be handling the ramp-up to higher mileage and tougher workouts very well (knock on wood). I'm noticing that my appetite has increased, especially for rich foods like peanut butter, cheese, and chocolate ;O I should post more about my snack attacks (for now, let's just say that I can consume a lot of fresh mozzarella or cheddar cheese or chocolate cake)! And, mentally, I'm already getting psyched about the festivities and hurrah of a big-city race!

September 1, 2009

Up to Park Blvd.

This morning's run was 8 miles, with a big elevation gain on the way up to Park Boulevard. There's a dirt/gravel path alongside Park Blvd. It's been and will be a hectic week, so I was pleased to squeeze in this medium long run! I'm becoming a big fan of the medium long run because you don't have to worry about your pace, but, when you finish, you feel like you've accomplished something.

I still need to complete hill and tempo workouts before my weekend long run of about 17.5 miles...

August 29, 2009

Woh on mileage

I ran 40 miles this week! That's more than I ran in mid-June (about 6 weeks before SF Marathon)....Woh :)

What doesn't kill you

This morning's long run was a tale of what can go wrong, will go wrong and matches my favorite training philosophy of training in the hardest conditions possible so the race itself feels easy.

-I drank a bit too much Lillet last night
-I didn't sleep very well
-When I woke up, I was dehydrated & had the tummy wummies

I continued my morning routine of coffee, toast with peanut butter, and some extra water.

-I noticed it was h-o-t. Yes, at 6:30 in the morning (so I wore my ultra cool running skirt) :O

I was out the door before 7am and was pleased that the leggies felt good, even after the steady state!

-I had an other words, I had to find a bathroom while on-the-run. Thanks, Beanery on College Avenue--you saved me ;>

I got into a decent groove and, before I knew it, I'd run about 6 miles. Alright.

-It got HH-O-TTT....and I was low on water
-Stopped at UC Berkeley gym to refill my water--that also saved me!

The miles went by quite quickly--though I wasn't aiming to hit any specific paces, especially with my dehydration/tummy issues and the day's warmth. I still felt strong and had energy around 14 miles.

All in all, I completed the 15.8 mile training run, which made me stronger AND got me closer to being ready for NY. I'm hopeful that it won't be that hot in NY in November, and I don't plan on drinking any Lillet the night before! Ah, lessons learned.

August 28, 2009

That's the way

I aced the 60 minute steady state run with 30 minutes at 8:35 pace (at the low end of my goal pace zone!). Now I can say I like steady state workouts ;) Yay!!

Thank goodness it's (random) Friday

Point of no return: I bought my plane ticket for the NY marathon trip...gulp. Now there's no getting out of those long runs.

Something to inspire: A lovely posting (by a triathlete mommy) on why us endurance athletes do what we do (hint- it's not that we're addicted to gatorade.

Do-over: Today's my second chance at the steady-state run. I hydrated last night and am feeling ready to show this workout that *I* am the boss ;)

August 25, 2009

Hill time

I decided to do a switcharoo and hammer out the hill workout today, rather than wait for tomorrow morning. In the process, I ran in the East Bay's afternoon warmth and managed to run a longer warm-up than I'd planned...In other words, the hill workout basically turned into a sorta medium long run with hill repeats ;)

Final stats- about 65 minutes up to Hampton Road with six 1 minute (.11 mile long) hill repeats.

August 24, 2009

House hunting

I aimed to identify the famed Margarido House and ended up running 7+ miles this morning for my medium long run! The LEED certified house has tiling (on the exterior plus interior) from Heath Ceramics and a jaw-dropping view of the SF Bay :)

I felt strong on the run and think that the jump up to 9-11 miles for medium long runs won't be so bad!

On tap:
-Medium long run (done!)
-Hill repeats- 5 X 1 min.
-Steady state run (?)
-Long run 15-16 miles

August 22, 2009

Thirteen plus

Today's long run was the first one for the NY marathon training cycle, so it was a milestone! I had 13 miles on the calendar (and, yes I need to post about this training plan), which seemed very long in comparison to the 6-8 miles that I had been cranking out post-SF marathon recovery. I told myself that 12.5 miles would be fine, but that 13.5 miles would be awesome. And I ended up running 13.5 miles in Alameda :) For some strange reason, it took awhile to warm up--about 9 miles actually! I felt pretty strong at the end of the run and really took it easy on the last mile or so.

I picked up an almond latte from the Beanery before heading home--where I discovered that my hubby had gotten me a lovely bouquet of purple flowers from the Farmers' Market!

August 21, 2009

Going steady

I confess that today's steady state run, as the first quality workout of this training cycle, was hard. Very hard. I learned a lot from dealing with the downs and ups of the workout, and I'm confident that this type of workout will get easier!

The first mile was spot-on, and I was feeling confident, perhaps over-confident. The second mileish was tough stuff, and I was breathing hard to maintain a 9:01 pace--ouch. I even considered shortening the pace portion...But I hung in there and worked it out. In fact, the last mileish was sub 8:40! I'm proud that I managed to stick with the steady-state workout, which Kenyan runners adore ;)

August 20, 2009

2 months 1 week

With just over two months until the NY marathon, it's time to leap into a new training plan. For better or worse, the next few months will be very, very busy, and the Big Apple marathon plan will pile on tough workouts and additional mileage to the mix.

There are a bunch of things that I loved about SF marathon training, including the medium long runs and the pace runs, so I'm keeping those...I'm eager to ramp up my during-the-week medium long run (up to 120 minutes!). I will switch up the long pace workouts so up to 10 miles are at GMP. But I may do sets of 4-5 miles at GMP instead of running 8-10 miles at GMP in a row!

Of course, I'm adding a new type of workout, too...Tomorrow I'll go on my very first first steady-state run, which is similar to a tempo run but slightly slower and a fair amount longer. Mcmillan recommends steady state runs and prescribes appropriate paces for those runs, and I think that alternating tempo and steady state runs will be fun :)

Finally, I've set some speedy new goal training paces based on a 3:55 marathon. We'll see how the next few weeks of runnin' feel--especially the 8:40 steady state and 8:25 tempo pace runs-- to determine whether I can hang with this shoot-for-the-moon goal :P

August 15, 2009

New roads

Sometimes running down new roads is a little scary. Other times the change of scenery makes the journey fly by. The heat and humidity was offset by the terrific sound of chirping bugs and the friendliness of fellow runners.

Today's run on new roads in New York was fun, and I enjoyed running with Mia. There were some rolling hills, and we saw a gorgeous barn home. Plus, I noticed an assortment of roadkill (turtle, bird, and hamster?). I made sure to touch my belly button (a tradition of Jeff) to honor the spirits of those little beasts that passed away. Yes, today's run was an adventure, partially because it was new and maybe an eensie bit because every step is an adventure!


Though Wellesley is about 15 miles away from Walden Pond, I felt like I was running in the shadow of Thoreau. Really, our entire visit was magical (hello, delicious cheese shop & I miss little V already!) and the runnin' was spectacular! In fact, I'm quite certain that my route overlapped with the Boston Marathon course (fortunately, the flat part)!

My 55 minute run was partially on a great sidewalk past cutesie stores, City Hall, and several fields. Ah, the greenness of the east coast! Then I turned off the road and onto a path. The amazing path traversed between homes, across fields, and through shady woods. The kicker--a wooden bridge over a swamp. It was a gorgeous run that really inspired me to enjoy every second outdoors and to transcend the concrete and bond with our greeny world :)

August 12, 2009

Addicted to Garmalade

Last night, we packed for our trip east. So, I packed Garmalade with an assortment of hot-weather running clothes. This morning, I woke up a bit early to squeeze in a little run before being squeezed into an airplane seat but realized Garmie was packed away. So, after a few seconds of panic, I dug through my bag and retrieved the GPS watch, which I'm ridiculously obsessed with :) The easy 40 minute run was quite pleasant, and I saw several other early morning runners. And, yes, I've re-packed Garmalade so I can track my mileage from runs in new locales (ie- Red Hook!).

August 10, 2009


On Wednesday, we're flying to the east coast to see family and friends, and I'm planning on enduring a couple HH (hot and humid) runs in NJ, NY, and perhaps even MA (c'mon, Katie, let's go for a run in Swellesley!). For that reason, the Bay Area's current heatwave is quite well-timed. Today's run around Lake Merritt was another hot one but my legs felt strong. The lake birds were doing plenty of fun diving and swimming tricks to stay cool, and I enjoyed soaking up some sunshine before heading back to the sociology conference. So, these warm weather workouts are acclimatizing me for the east coast's summer climate, as well as marathon training beginning on August 20th :)

August 8, 2009

Saturday seven

I cranked out a hot, quite hilly seven miles. I didn't start the run till 11 am--oopsy!

My legs felt great, and the sunny heat was a pleasant change from the grayness. The route included a section on a path parallel to Park Boulevard, and I should run up to Park Blvd. more often...

August 5, 2009

I heart Tilden

Today's run with Jess on the Inspiration Point path was a lot of fun. The air smelled like eucalyptus, and it was perfect running weather. There were stunning views of the bay, hills, and reservoir:
I really should go up to Tilden Park more often, and I certainly need to take advantage of the awesome parks in the Bay Area to create some new running routes.

August 4, 2009

Between plans

I'm in limbo between marathons and between training plans. The hiatus is relatively short because the next plan (affectionately titled Big Apple training plan to prepare me for the NYC marathon on November 1st) begins on August 20! One would think that I could survive 16 days without hardcore structure, but I am a creature that loves routine.

Today's run was nice and sunny, and it actually felt summery in Oakland. I took it easy and relaxed/jogged up a few hills because I definitely need and want my legs to fully recuperate.

August 3, 2009

Sweat therapy

Sometimes I don't wake up on the right side of the bed. Or my brain and glands (iick!) don't secrete enough of the right stuff. In general, I could worry till the cows come home. And, as we don't live on a ranch, that could be a looooong time ;)

Yes, talking is great medicine, and I appreciate the denizens of family and friends who lend me an ear or two. BUT, the best med is running. I set off today for a therapeutic run. About ten strides into the run, I was oh so thankful that I could get out and run. Working my way up the Arroya Ave. hill, I realized that I was working and sweating out my problems, issues, worries, and fears. Yes, I cruised home feeling much, much better.

I want to end with a little note to a dear friend....

Dear Running,

Thank you very much for supplying me with the right dose of happiness and sweet relief from the everyday grind. You rock!


August 1, 2009

Back on the road

After five days off post-SF marathon, my mind and body were aching for a nice run. This morning I ran about 40 minutes on the flat portion of Trestle Glen.

I wish I could say that everything felt great, but my left hamstring does feel twingey. Afterward, I did some major stretching. Jeff was oh so kind to help pull up my left leg so I could stretch out the not-so-happy hamstring. I did a bit of reading on hamstring issues in runners, and it seems that gentle running followed by intensive stretching is a reputable treatment for tight/strained hammies.

July 27, 2009

Racing up, down, and around SF

Here's an epic report of the 2009 San Francisco marathon, but if you want the hilariously short version, view this video!

Night before:
After a very slothful Saturday, I enjoyed a pasta dinner at home with Trader Joe's marinara sauce and red velvet cake from the Grand Lake farmers market for dessert! I got in bed before 10pm and actually managed to fall asleep without too much tossing and turning.

Rise and Shine:
I woke up with my 3:45 am alarm. I chugged some water, made coffee and toast with peanut butter and watched a few minutes of Valley Girl on tv (who knew that great 80s movies would be on at 3 am?!?). I took a quick, hot shower to help warm up. I got dressed and sunscreened up and felt surprisingly awake and alert. Thanks to adrenaline, it really didn't feel like 4 am. By the time we got in the car, I had the butterflies. Fortunately, the drive to the start was easy, and I only had to walk a couple blocks to the starting area and, oh so important, porta potties! After taking care of business, I walked and hopped around to get a little blood flowing and burn off nervous energy, and waited for Jenica in the dark with a zillion other runners doing their thang.

We lined up together in the 4-4:15 corral with full and half marathoners mixed together. I need to mention that races that combine fulls and halfs are kind of demoralizing for fullers. It's really not fair to see the halfers at mile 12- they have 1 mile to complete, but you have 14 to crank through. And at mile 20- they've done 7 miles, while your leggies have already done 20.

Start it Up: Miles 1-4
I stuck to my race plan for the first few miles. I kept reminding myself that it should feel too easy. If the pace felt at all hard, I forced myself to relax and jog a few steps. My breathing was easy and there wasn't a niggle or ache in the leggies. It was quite grey and cool- absolutely perfect running weather. I tried my best to run in straight lines and not do too much sprinting around people or weaving around because that only wastes energy and adds mileage.

Over and back the Golden Gate Bridge: Miles 5-10
Crossing the bridge was hectic, to say the least. I couldn't get in a relaxed groove because we were so packed on the bridge. Not everybody was so-well versed in race etiquette; there were walkers on the left and people stopping to take photos. So I had to dodge some mayhem. I felt really strong around mile 8 and ran with a really nice woman from BC, Canada, which was a great distraction.

Happy Miles: Miles 11-12
I worked hard getting up the Presidio Hill but had a blast cruising downhill toward Baker Beach, which was the most scenic part of the race course. The Pacific Ocean looked rad. I turned on my iPod, enjoyed the playlist, and found a good groove. These miles were pure flow because they felt more like a dance than a run.

In Da Park: Miles 13-19
I admit that the downhill through the park was fun, and I felt strong and terrific at mile 12ish. I looked around and was proud to be surrounded by other tenacious runners and was feeling confident in my ability to hang on! In fact, it was feeling too easy, but I told myself to concentrate on these middle miles of the race. Then there was an interminable, gradual climb through the park with the 2nd half marathoners. We had to read a bunch of signs to stay on course, and, at one point, I thought I'd gone in the wrong directions and almost broke down. But then I realized that I *was* on track with the full marathoners. Oh lordy, so many miles in that park. To add insult to injury, I've trained so much in that park so the views didn't provide any distraction.

Haight Street: Miles 20-21
I had some pep at the beginning of Haight Street because I was stoked to have exited the never-ending Golden Gate park. My legs still felt decent , and I think my music and the mile 17 roctane was helping me. I was smiling and encouraging other runners, which also motivated me.

Mission Runpossible: Miles 21-22
Running down 16th street is when things got a bit weird...A bit past Mission St., I noticed that my visor was sliding down over my eyes, so I had to keep pushing it up. This had never happened before on any long runs, so I was a little annoyed and took my visor off. This might not sound like *that* much of a big deal, but you can ask anyone, I wear a hat or visor for 98% of my runs. Therefore, in hindsight, I'm deeming the visor removal around mile 21.5 as the beginning of the wall. I just don't think my brain worked quite right after this point!!

Potrero H-E-L-L & Dog Patch: Miles 22-24
To be fair, the Potrero neighborhood is totally rad (ie- delish Goat Hill pizza!). Plus, a friend from grad school was oh so nice to come out on Connecticut St. (at mile 23) to cheer me on (thanks, Lisa!). But, honestly, I was in my own personal runners hell during the segment through the Potrero Hill and Dogpatch neighborhoods of SF. There were some odd hills and plenty of turns. Yes, my legs were moving. In fact, I felt like I was working really, really hard to eek out a slooow pace. Oh well. I was progressing along the course and not stopping. Just telling myself to go another mile. I was staring at the ground.

At that point, there wasn't that much reflection or body-checks happening, and I'd forgotten about the various strategies for dealing with handling long runs. In future races, I'd love to remember to use my strategies to dig deep, breathe deeply, and say positive mantras during the final miles (I honestly think that's the #1 thing I need to work on!).

Ball Park: Mile 25
Yeah, I could see AT & T Park for awhile before getting there (due to the sloooowed down pace). I think I recall 'Highway to Hell' playing on my iPod- yikes! At this point, my breathing felt strange- somewhere between a hair ball (well, what I imagine a hair ball feels like for my cat, Amiga) and an asthma attack (which I've never really had). I actually forced myself to slow down to remind myself to breathe in and exhale; it was almost like I lacked the coordination of my nose, mouth, lungs, etc.

I was definitely looking forward to seeing that baseball stadium because I knew that meant that I had just another mile to survive. You'd think I was a crazed Giants fan or something, but I'm not! I ran for a little while with a really nice woman with long braids. We encouraged each other, and she was so sweet. It was helpful to get the positivity at this point in the race. After passing the stadium, I tried to figure out how to pull myself together so Jeff (who was going to be spectating around mile 26) wouldn't think I'd totally lost it. At one point, I was going to beg him to walk with me. Then I told myself that I needed to pick it up and force the speed when I saw him. But I also *had* to share with him that I was in pain. Don't know why, but it was really helpful to tell the hubby that I was suffering. I suppose I needed him to carry a bit of the exhausted pain for me :(

Finito: Mile 26
With the finish line in sight, I knew I needed to book it to get in under 4:20. I kicked and couldn't really feel my legs but focused on the big finish line banner and finished in 4:19:30. I'm proud to report that I finished in the top 30% of female finishers.

A fun statistic is that, according to Garmalade, I actually ran 26.6 miles (dang those extra .4 miles!) at an average pace of 9:46 min/mile, so if I'd run exactly 26.2 miles at that pace, my finish time would have been a smokin' 4:15!

The post-race celebration included fried chicken at Luka's plus grapefruit cocktails to die (or run 26.6 miles) for! And about 36 hours post-race, I have extraordinarily sore hamstrings and quads but I can say that I still love running and crazily want to complete more marathons ;)

July 26, 2009


I ran a shiny new personal-best-time at the SF Marathon today, 4:19!

There were hills. My version of hitting 'the wall' around mile 22 felt more like I fell off of a cliff into a vat of molasses. In other words, yes, the wheels fell off somewhat. But it was fun! Some highlights-- J also got a new PR, and I had some nice conversations with fellow runners on the course.

And here's a video from mile 26 (thanks, Jeff!) and a race report will be written later...

July 25, 2009

Am I nervous?

The afternoon before a race is a bit odd. I did my training and survived the two 20 milers. I've tapered my workouts and my legs have done very little running as of late. I've eaten plenty of carbs- from rice and pizza (Goat Hill Pizza was delish!) to bagels and pancakes and drunk lots and lots of water. Yes, I went to the expo yesterday to get my bib and even checked out the course maps.

What now?? Should I get fired up or just nervous or....

Seriously, at this point I feel quite lazy. I guess the work starts tomorrow morning :) And, in 24 hours, the race will be done, done, done. Woh!

Stalk me on race day!

If you click here and then enter my name or bib number 5443, you should be able to track me as I traverse SF!!

July 23, 2009


Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
-- Confucius

July 22, 2009

What's different

I ran the Chicago marathon in October 2001 (the U.S. began bombing targets in Afghanistan on the day of the marathon) and the New Orleans marathon in February 2005 (about 6 months pre-Katrina), and the training for those two races was special and highly-memorable. For Chicago, I trained with my friend Carolyn during the hot months of August and September. One of our long runs was on the shoulder of the 280/Skyline Blvd (ie- not safe) near Daly City. I actually had to cut a long run short due to heatstrokey issues and was, very, very, unfortunately, accosted by a young man while waiting for my ride to pick me up :( I loved getting to know Chitown during the marathon and was pleased to run it in 4:43.

For New Orleans, I trained with a fundraising group. Prior to signing up for the marathon group, I hadn't been running more than four miles for several years, so I didn't start training with the highest fitness level. We actually did a 26.2 mile run/walk during training (all around Golden Gate Park and Sunset Blvd which took FOREVER)! However, during the week, I ran a couple times a week on the treadmill at the gym--pretty sure I didn't run more than 4 miles. I also recall doing jumprope stuff and triceps exercises at the gym with Ang. I was dating Jeff before the New Orleans marathon and distinctly recall us going to out to mega-huge pizza dinners after my training runs, as well as his very sweet encouragement in the days before the race. Thanks, Jeff!!

How has our training for the SF marathon been oh-so-different?? Well, for starters, I trained consistently for about four months after racing a half marathon in 1:51. I ran five times per week, including medium long runs of around 9 miles. The midweek workouts also included hill repeats, track intervals, and tempo runs. I did long pace runs, with 4-7 miles at goal marathon paces of sub 9:20 and plenty of sub 9:10 (yeehaw!). In those previous marathon training cycles, I didn't have Garmalade so couldn't track my speed or weekly mileage. All that variety helped add purpose to each run, each week, and the steps toward race day. At the same, oh my gosh, that's a lot of big, fast new stuff :) So, right now my questions and concerns are *not* about did I train enough, but about whether I trained too much or will be 'peaking' at the right time. I'd like to peak this Sunday morning- sometime between 6:06 am and 10:20 am would work perfectly for me and my dear PR ;)

Run bravely

Today marks the start of a brave new future filled with all your dreams can hold...
Think truly to the future and make those dreams come true!

July 21, 2009

Track wake up

This morning's track workout was designed to wake up my legs and remind them that they can go fast. There was a nice chill in the air which made the breathing and running quite refreshing. I admit that the three 'cruising-pace' 400s did loosen my muscles. As the final track workout of this marathon training cycle, it was intentionally easy, fun, and confidence-boosting! I did some stretching afterward and will do more stretching--along with hydrating--tonight. Now I'm enjoying delicious banana bread baked by Jenica (thanks, missy!) and am quite delighted to be a marathon runner who's earned a sweet and lazy breakfast.

July 19, 2009

Tapering on tap

I've made it to taper-week! That means taking it easy is officially on tap :) This week's taper-outs (instead of workouts) are:
  • easy 35 minute run
  • 3-4 X 400s at cruising speed
  • jog 30-35 minutes on Friday to shake out legs (nice & flat--will probably go up to College Ave.)
  • Sunday morning RACE !!!
Interestingly, as the #1 goal is extra rest and time for muscles to recuperate, I'm not even allowed to cross train and should be cramming in lots of sleep. I think I can handle that ;)

July 17, 2009

Dress rehearsal

From head to toe, I was decked out in my marathon gear for today's 40 minute easy run. So, I wore my pink visor, blue earbuds, orange ipod shuffle, black wrist band with black and red Garmalade, water belt, Fiona sports bra, hot pink Nike tank top, black and white Brooks shorts, white Balega socks, and, of course, Brooks Adrenaline shoes. I even tried out some new elastic hair bands (in blue and green). Although I probably looked like a highly branded (thanks to Nike, Brooks, etc) Rainbow Brite, everything was extremely comfortable. And that's what counts when you're going to run 26+ plus in those clothes, shoes, and accoutrements!

July 16, 2009

My top 10 list

With only ten days to go, it seems fitting to share this list of top ten reasons to run the San Francisco marathon:

10) Enjoy the mandatory, professional-grade laziness of taper week
9) Hydrate & eat more pasta than humanly possible
8) Wake up at the ungodly hour of 3:45 am (that's *not* a typo!)
7) Cross the Golden Gate bridge via foot
6) Guzzle free electrolyte drink (that may or may not taste like disinfectant)
5) Consume Roctane and caffeinated Gus to your heart's content
4) Listen to cheering and groovy tunes
3) Run under the Bay Bridge when oh so close to the finish
2) Get another medal because every girl loves her hardware ;)
....AND 1) Finish the race, bask in the glory, and drink beer

July 15, 2009

The speed of confidence

Tapering can wreak havoc on your confidence because it's extremely easy to forget about the months of training and assortment of workouts that were done in the sun, fog, rain, and wind. But today's tempo run at Lake Merritt gave me a boost of confidence! There's something about tempo runs that makes you get tough as nails. I think it's the leap from a mellow pace to half marathon race pace (around 8:10).

At today's tempo speed, I could feel my legs working at a nice rhythm but still had some control of my breathing. I take that as a sign that my legs, heart, and lungs are more than ready to work hard at my marathon pace (quite a bit slower than this half marathon pace tempo). The last couple minutes were tough but not I-wanna-quit tough...So physically and mentally, all twenty minutes of the tempo went glowingly well; can you tell I'm still on my runner's high?!?

A big part of running--no matter how fast or how mellow--is confidence. If confidence was a commodity, I would not be a millionaire. All of this is to say that I will train my mind over the next eleven days to have some faith, to keep believing, and to buck up my confidence in my hard training and ability to run a rad race on July 26.

July 14, 2009

What I did on my rest day

It's a little early for taper madness, but I'm already noticing that these extra days are giving me more time for very important things like shopping and wandering and....
  • eating a late breakfast
  • going to Best Buy to get a new pair of earbuds for my iPod & IKEA to get a frying pan and assorted kitchen accessories
  • wandering around 4th Street and selecting a nice bottle of white wine to enjoy with the hubby
  • going to Trader Joe's to purchase cheese for dinner!
  • catching up on life to-do list (ie- writing thank you notes and setting up webcam)
  • thinking about going for a swim (but didn't--even thought it's very, very hottt!).
I know that resting is a critical part of training, and I'll pardon myself for today's lazing and shopping incidents ;) Fortunately for my pocketbook, I get to do a tempo run tomorrow!!

July 11, 2009


From A to Z, I love running!

B-Brooks- my rockin' shoes
C-carbo loading
D-dogs that jump on/chase/follow you
E-easy run
GMP- goal marathon pace
Gu- energy gels
HMP- half marathon pace
I- interval
J-Jenica- my lovely running partner extraordinaire
L- long run
M- marathon
N-nice day for a run
O-off, as in day OFF
R-run, run, run
S-skirt, as in sassy running skirt
T- tempo
U-up, as in up massive hills
V-vomitous, as in feeling pukey at the end of a hard workout
X- 5X800
Z-zoned out

July 10, 2009


Goals are funny, and I have a very silly running goal: to not really have a goal!

Last week over a family dinner, I blurted out that my goal was to run a marathon as fast as I could without becoming obsessed over how fast I'm running ;) In other words, I want marathoning to keep feeling fun and not just be a number on the clock. I love running for what it lets me see and feel, and I really appreciate the experiences its given me. I am fortunate to have the space, time, energy, and health to run; racing is an even bigger privilege.


I had fun on today's 50 minute tempo run with 20 minutes at goal marathon pace. My legs felt remarkably fresh which hasn't been the case recently.

It made me realize that my GMP is much, much easier when I haven't already run 12+ miles. It also struck me that I'm going to have to really concentrate at the start of the race to stick to my plan of running 9:35 would be quite easy to get swept away and run 9 or even 8:30 miles at the start--and that would leave me in a world of pain at the end of the 26.2 :(

Tomorrow's 12 mile run will be a plain, vanilla long run. No fancy paces required! But I'm in hammer time--when the only thing left to do is hammer together the pieces. And save the race legs for race day.

July 8, 2009

Great 8

Track workout can be hellacious, good, or great. Today's 800s were great!

After three months of long runs and hill workouts and assorted track workouts, and it was time for a pure 800s workout. It was a warm morning at the track, and there were plenty of other runners and walkers completing their regimens. I did five 800s, with the first one a 3:38, a couple 3:41, a 3:47 (still in my pace range), and a final gut-busting 3:39.

Something about this track workout was so energizing, probably because it gave me the good kind of tired!!

July 7, 2009

Almost taper time

On tap for this week...a few key workouts, but a bit less mileage because the SF marathon is almost around the corner!
  • Medium long run- 80 minutes (Did that today, thanks to some extra motivation from J!)
  • Track- 800s- will tackle them tomorrow morning with J
  • Tempo run (at goal marathon pace)
  • Long run- 12 mellow miles
Only downside: I'm not supposed to start carbo-loading, yet!

July 6, 2009

People and paces

Thanks to facebook, I re-connected with two former Webb School cross country teammates. They were lovely friends of mine in high school, and back in the mid 90s we spent so many hours (training runs, bus rides, post-race meals at Wendy's, etc) talking about just about everything. Recently, we've chatted back and forth about the possibility of a reunion or, gasp, running a race (dare I say--a marathon!) together! I think it would be terrific to see them and run together.

With less than three weeks till the marathon (I swear that someday I'll stop being a perennial countdown timer), I think I can make some more detailed pacing plans...Right now, I'd love to run a slight negative split. So, I'd like to start around 9:45 pace, then run the first half around 9:30-9:35 pace. After mile 13 or 14, I think I should try to run closer to 9:05 pace and see what happens! Of course, it all depends on how much rest and TLC I can give my legs during the taper. My health or the weather could always throw a big wrench into things. But, whichever way the wind blows, it is exciting!

July 5, 2009

Covering ground in one week

I could say a lot about this week, or, more specifically, this week of running. But I'll just say that I ran 47.2 miles this week! I'll call it a mileage-PR!

So, after fooling around too long with my online mileage tracker program, I need to shower and get back into the groove of paper-writing...

July 3, 2009

Built for what

I'm pretty sure I'm more built for endurance than speed. At the same time, it's still my legs (as opposed to my lungs/heart/breathing stuff) holding me back from running faster. I guess that means that I should continue to develop my endurance. Maybe I should try one of those uber-intensive 70+ mile a week running schedules. On second thought, I doubt that would leave any time for baking, playing with the cat, writing (ah, grad school!), drinking wine, traveling, and fun times with the hubby. If nothing else, the kitty & hubby deserve to be content and well-fed ;)

Which road

I had conflicting feelings about how to tackle this last 20 mile progression run. The debate stemmed from the idea that lord, potatoes!--this is the final major long run of the training cycle. So--part of me (Jen knows this part way of me all too well) wanted to hammer out 20+ miles, with 8 or 9 miles of sub-9 minute miles. But doing that type of workout is far more likely to cause injury than sweet, sweet PRdom. Another part of me (ie- the reasonable one) wanted to run the 20 miles, with 7 miles at my (what I think) semi-conservative marathon pace of 9:30. Doing a hardcore pace would be the highway to pain, while running the 7 miles at a reasonable pace would be taking the high road.

I drove out to Walnut Creek bright and early in the morning. When I started the run on the Iron Horse Trail, I still wasn't clear what my plan was, but the running felt good. My legs had energy even though it had been a fairly high mileage week. I let myself run at a medium pace for the first 12 miles. It was warm-to-hot, for sure. By that point, I'd had plenty of fluids, 2 gels, and was listening to music.

For the pace miles, I think I split the difference because my first 4 miles were sub 9:20, and the next 2 miles were sub-9. The last mile was 8:24 :> I was pleased that the miles got progressively faster. I noticed that I do need to concentrate to maintain a 9:20 pace but it never felt hard, and I never got out of breath at that pace. I didn't feel the 'wall', and I had a bit more energy than June's SF 20 miler. On the last mile, I dug pretty deep and reminded myself to kick it in! At the end of the run, I was a hot and sweaty mess but wasn't feeling heat strokey or anything too awful. Always good.

The good news--the 20 miler is done. The great news--my legs feel decent. My quads and feet feel fine, though tired. The awesomedawesome news--my turkey sandwich was delish & there's a watermelon & corn on the cob waiting for me...

June 30, 2009

Talking myself up hills

As a runner, I remind my legs to keep moving and tell myself to drink more water and get more rest and do the right stretches. Sometimes, I have to talk myself into running! Other times, I have to talk myself down and remind myself to relax, breathe, and chill out... Before races, there can be negative and positive chatter pinballing around my brain.

Today it struck me that this is the last hill workout for this training cycle. Yes, with 26 (gulp!) days till the SF marathon, it was time to suck it up and push myself up some hills. I told myself go, go, go. I did one repeat for my nephew. All in all, I tried my best on all 6-one minute repeats and Garmalade let me know that I did a decent job of keeping an even pace on each of the hill repeats. The hill was a bit steeper than the one I'd selected for the 90 second repeats, but my legs felt decent afterward.

With 26 days to go, there's still some quality training to complete before raceday. Most important will be Friday's 20 mile pace run, but there's also a medium long run and an 800s track workout to look forward to :) I need to stay hydrated and do some healthy snacking to gear up for those workouts. I also need to remind myself that I've trained hard and can have some confidence in my endurance, strength, and speed. That means I need some more positive talk! No matter what- it'll be a 26.2 mile journey.

June 29, 2009

Birthday run

I celebrated my 31st birthday with a medium long run in my blue and green running skirt. It would be awesome to celebrate my 41st or even 61st birthdays with nice run, too :) I guess I could have run 31 km today (but am glad I didn't!). Enjoying the warm day in the Oakland Hills and around Lake Merritt was definitely a nice gift, and I even braved running through a few gaggles 'o' geese.

This week has some high mileage plus a 20 mile marathon pace run on Friday...Fortunately, my legs feel fairly fresh and ready to gogo!

June 27, 2009

East, West, North, South

The past week has involved many changes in direction. I flew east to be with my parents while my dad had surgery to repair an abdominal aortic aneurysm. Thank goodness the surgery went extremely well, and his recovery is going alright--step by step. Although I managed to run a couple times in the brutal humidity, my physical and spiritual energy was focused on caring rather than pounding out miles. I'm trying my best to forgive myself for the breaches in the training plan :)

I flew back to west to California yesterday evening and carbo-loaded on a delish bowl of Mexican chicken and rice at the Dallas airport! I was aware that waking up early and cranking out a 14 miler would be a necessary evil! This morning, I ran northwards on College Avenue and around the Cal campus to North Berkeley. The miles really flew by, and I zoned out and aborbed the wonders around me. After 7 miles, it was time to turn around...So I headed south to Oakland--home sweet home with Jeff and Migs.

June 24, 2009

So green

East Tennessee's heat and humidity at 8am was impressive, and I managed to squeeze in a 50 minute run. I explored a relatively new Greenway in Oak Ridge. The path (which I managed to not trip on) crossed a couple creeks, had some rolling hills (challenging in a different way than the long ole hills of CA), and was enveloped by the almost-blinding greenness of trees and plants. I swear that it's so green down here that you can smell the chlorophyll and feel the plants pumping out oxygen.

June 20, 2009

Battle scars

An inventory of today's run:
1 new music mix for the ipod
3 gel snacks
3 bottles of water (probably not enough)
3+ bandaids (more on that later)
6.5 pace miles
20 miles total

I earned some battle scars from today's 20 miler in San Francisco. We started near Golden Gate park and ran up to the Cliff House because I love hills. Then we ran back to Lincoln Ave. and went up to Sunset Ave. Running up Sunset Ave. was a treat and discovering Stern Grove park was quite nice. Around mile 8, while running back down Sunset Avenue's dirt path, I tripped on a rock and kersplatted to the ground. I landed hard and flat on my hands and chest. Oopsies!

Unfortunately, I skinned one of my knees and the palms of both hands pretty bad. After taking a moment to assess the situation and squirt some water on the smartly bleeding wounds, J and decided that we needed to procure some first aid supplies. Fortunately, we found a small hardware store in the primarily resisidential Sunset district. The employee was a super nice and helpful dude who concerningly asked me if I was okay...I think I may have resembled an assault victim :( J and I took care of the wounds in the small bathroom by washing my hands a few times with very soapy water and then 'borrowing' some bandaids...Thank you, Noriega hardware store!!

It was time to get back on the road, and the next few miles were uneventful. For this fast finish long run, miles 12-18.5 were at pace. So, I ran all of the 6.5 miles at sub 9:15 pace, which is nicely within my goal range. I tried to push the last 1.5 miles and managed to run those in 8:57 pace. But after mile 17.5, it was hard to keep moving and may have been close to hitting the wall, which is never, ever a pleasant experience. Considering the ups and downs of the route, the accident (our third falling accident of THIS marathon training cycle!!!), and the general state of my body & legs at this point in training, I think it was a terrific twenty miler!
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