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...