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!

June 19, 2009


I'm a talented pasta-eater who should have bought stock in pasta before getting on the marathon train!

Although carbo loading is not really necessary for a 5 or 10 mile run, pasta is great fuel for the longer workouts. And, when it's time for a twenty miler, nothing eases the nerves and replenishes the muscles like a large bowl of pasta. My hubby has gotten me more into angel hair pasta. I love a generously soupy amount of tomato sauce on my pasta and have convinced the hubby that it's tasty, especially with a generous topping of grated cheese :) Pasta dinners are so easy to cook and definitely get me excited for the race and its pre-race dinner!

This week: I completed 4 of 4 weekday workouts!
Tomorrow morning: 20 mile long run with 6.5 miles at goal marathon pace, and covering all that ground should give plenty to write about tomorrow ;)

June 17, 2009


As much as I love torture (or **enhanced** training techniques!), I did not climb any ladders today...But we did a "ladder" interval workout on the track.

The workout involved running a 400, 800, and up to a 1200, and then going back down to run an 800 and, finally, a 400. My interval times were all in my Mcmillan pace range and felt good. I was pleased with my 1200 time of 5:39--which was at the faster end of my pace range. My breathing felt better than usual.

Track workouts are great for runners physically & mentally. Physically, these intervals are teaching my legs to move faster and my whole body how to deal with a faster heartrate. Since these intervals are much faster than marathon pace, they make your body feel more relaxed during long runs. Some runners do 8-10 intervals but that can have negative physical effects by causing injuries. I think these track workouts are even more beneficial for getting tougher mentally as a runner. You have to concentrate on the track because there's nothing else to do! So you focus on your form--how your legs are moving and where your arms are, you pay attention to your breathing--when and how to exhale and when the huffing and puffing starts. You have to dig deep---sometimes really deep. In my mind, I scream keep going and sometimes pretend that the marathon finish line is in front of me, with the clock's numbers ticking away. Most of all, I remind myself to harden the f** up.

June 15, 2009

Gettin' out there

A confession...today was one of those days when I try to scrounge up an excuse to not do the scheduled workout- a medium long run. I stared at the training schedule and attempted to imagine different ways to shift around workouts. Fortunately, I'm really bad at that kind of planning/logic, so I gave up. Also, big thanks to J and my hubby for telling me to just do it and that getting out there and running would perk me up. And it did :)

I ran 90 minutes up College Avenue and around the edges of UC Berkeley's campus. In fact, I ran into one of my classmates who was driving home from school, and I talked to her while she was stuck in a line of cars! About 50 minutes into the run, I could feel my muscles really loosening up, and they needed the extra blood flow to flush out the stress and knots from the weekend's long pace run!! After the run, I did some intense stretching. It would be a nice treat to wake up tomorrow with fresher legs. We'll see, but, no matter what, I'll get out there and run...

June 14, 2009

Cookie monster

I baked a batch of mint chocolate chip cookies with dark chocolate chunks from Whole Foods and Ghirardelli mint chips:All I can say is that they're absolutely delicious :P

The cookie baking was a very special treat for completing this tail-kicking-week of marathon training. And, as a result, I have no complaints or any regret about digging deep to do a medium long run, track workout, race, and a long pace run!

June 13, 2009

Recipe for 18.7 mile workout

Long runs (especially over 18 miles) are always a doozy but the pace element makes those workouts even more strenuous.

Day before: drink water, extra carbs, get plenty of rest

Morning of: wake up at 5:45 am, drink a cup of coffee, toast a piece of bread and slather it with peanut butter, gather gear (water belt, gus, garmalade, visor, ipod, clean shirt and snacks for after the run), get dressed and put on sunscreen

Next, drive to SF to pick up J. Drive over Golden Gate bridge, admire the bay, and navigate to Tiburon. Park, gear up, and run 12 miles. Run, talk, hydrate, and repeat...Hit mile 11 and prepare for the pace section.

For the pace miles, concentrate, put one foot in front of the other, breathe in and out, and repeat.

My 5.5 miles were all under 9:06, and I ran 3 miles at <9:01 pace.
I pushed the final 1.5 miles & managed to run them in sub 8:50- booyah!

Post-run: stretch, eat snacks, drink water, tolerate a cold bath, down advil, and refuel :P

June 12, 2009

Closer but confused

Another Friday, another four-run-week! Today's recovery run felt nice, and I enjoyed stretching my legs in preparation for tomorrow's long pace run.

Even though the marathon's getting closer and closer, and I've already cranked out many of the traning miles, much is still up in the air about my race day goals. I'm still trying to figure out my goal marathon pace, and it's especially tricky when you throw in SF's infamous hills that will affect my pace on race day. For pace runs, I'm aiming to run at 8:50-9:10 pace. But I'm not certain that I can hang onto a 9:10 pace for 26.2 miles.

Really, how do people determine their marathon race pace? It seems mysterious, and, no matter what, the last few miles hurt. Actually, they hurt bad. Really bad :O I know that rule #1 is not to out too fast, and I'd love to run a negative split in this marathon, especially since the second half of the SF marathon has fewer hills (sort of).

June 11, 2009

Lake Merced race

In lieu of this week's tempo run, J and I decided to try out a Thursday evening race put on by SF's Dolphin South End running club. The $1 registration fee included race number bibs, water, cliff bars, fruit, and brownies :P About 50 people entered the race.

The 4.5 mile race was on the path around Lake Merced. My final time was 36:20, and I worked hard during the race. I averaged 8:08 miles, so I beat my goal of runnning under 8:30 miels!! I focused on runners ahead of me and saved some energy for the last mile, though my kick was nothing to write home about :O It was really fun to get out there & race against people. After the race, I felt like I was on cloud 9 (yay for runner's high!).

June 9, 2009


The bad news is that we awoke to the news that our little blue car had been broken into (smashed window).

The good news is that tracky time helped blow off the anger and frustration that we all can't be respectful & responsible & safe to each other. J and I jogged up the track. Then did four 800s (3:47, 3:42, 3:41, and 3:41). Topped it off with a 400 (1:46), and I felt like I was flying on that one! So far--at least running wise--this week is going smashingly!!

ps- My bribery plan continues, and this morning's blueberry muffin was delish :)

June 8, 2009

Maybe complaining helped

I realize that yesterday's entry was a whine-fest, but today's medium long run went great! I felt relaxed during the run and didn't push or strain anything.

My body really didn't want to turn around after 45 minutes...And some sort of second wind or runner's high kicked in after about 75 minutes ;) All in all, a superb 90 minute run to kick off this hardcore training week.

I did extra walking and stretching after finishing the run and even made a vanilla protein shake. Here's to hoping that tomorrow's 800s on the track go well (I'd love to run them in under 3:45)!!

June 7, 2009

Whose idea was this?

Marathon training would not be marathon training without at least a few weeks of training that involve a heavy dose cursing and questioning.

Whose idea was it to run the SF marathon? And how exactly was it decided that more weekday runs or pace runs or even getting anywhere near a track were good ideas? And why am I constantly drinking water or scrounging for advil or craving peanut butter? Oh, yeah, because I decided that doing a 26.2 mile race was a smart idea. Totally not sure about what that says about the state of my brain or my future as a sentient being.

Well, this week of training will be full of all those pains and joys ;) I think this is the week to dig deep and reach up, while, all the while, running forward. In other words, it's time to bribe myself with Peet's lattes and cookie baking to celebrate tackling all four key workouts...

On tap:
Key 1: medium long run- 85-90 minutes
Key 2: Track- 800s
Key 3: Lake Merced- 4.5 mile race
Key 4 (!!!!)- Long run- 18 miles with 5 miles at marathon pace

ps- I'll keep you posted on the cookie recipe!

June 6, 2009

Fourteen with a side of fortitude

The definition of fortitude is mental and emotional strength in facing difficulty, adversity, or danger. Fortitude is ALL about strength, firmness, courage, and, what can I say, running is ALL about that good stuff. There are a couple tough as nails training weeks looming ahead, so it took a little extra heave-ho to get out and complete this morning's 14 miler.

Thanks to fortitude, my legs found the strength to crank through 10:10 miles. And my soul enjoyed tromping down narrow dirt and sand paths with butterflies and bugs. Since courage has more to do with your heart than the battles you fight, I'm darn sure that the 14 miler worked my heart--courageously. Oh, and yeah, I think my legs are getting firmer ;)

June 5, 2009

Holy guanacaste!

I got into the 2009 New York City Marathon!

I have the incredible opportunity to run the New York City marathon on November 1 with about 37,000 other people from around the globe! The 26.2 mile race covers all five boroughs and is considered one of the largest sporting-spectator-events. I love New York....

Yes, this means I'll be running two marathon during the four months between July and November. And, yes, this also means that I'll be bonding with my running shoes, socks, clothes, and Garmalade, pasta and gus, running buddies and long run routes :) I'll definitely be writing more about training for two marathons.

Today's tempo run around Lake Merritt went well in the strangely persistent Bay Area gray humidity. I averaged under 8:17 for the 20 minute tempo portion.

June 3, 2009

Hilly yay yo

I have no complaints about today's hill workout up-and-down Linda Avenue. I've become a big fan of hill repeats--somehow they're easier mentally than track workouts but they really strengthen your legs! Physically and mentally, I felt quite strong during the 6 X 90 second hill repeats and enjoyed a solid warmup and cooldown for a total workout of about 45 minutes.

I noticed that I lengthen my stride when I start the hill repeats, but then one I'm at my cruising/working hard speed, my stride shortens again. I'm aware that my stride should not lengthen when I'm trying to run faster--rather, my turnover is supposed to increase.

I've been looking at the next four intense weeks of marathon training and am thinking that it might be a prudent idea to fit in an extra recovery day for walking/swimming--perhaps on the week of June 22 :)

June 1, 2009

First week of June

The month of June is chock full of marathon training and includes the essential workouts for a terrific race day.

However, the week of June 1 is a cut-back week between two intense weeks, so I hopefully will be complaining less :) Next week will be intense, but the number 1 rule of marathon training is to never, ever think ahead. If you're on mile 24, don't think about mile 25 or 26. If you're on week 5, don't think of week 6 or 10 of training. Really, if you're putting on running shoes, don't think about the run/track/hills/race/whatever might be in front of you. Just worry about what you're currently doing.

What I'm currently doing with no concerns about what's off in the distance:
Key 1: Medium long run- 80 minutes (I completed that this afternoon!)
Key 2: Hill repeats- 6X 90 second repeats (still need to choose a good hill)
Key 3: Weekend long run- 14 miles in Alameda (short and flat)

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