Sunday, October 30, 2011


Somewhere between Nike Women's Marathon and today I added another year onto my age and life has once again figured out a way to get in the way of me writing here... but I certainly have been reading inspiring blogs and hanging out with supportive running friends.

I guess, in a moment of panic a couple weeks ago, I signed up for another marathon. It's, oh, in 5 weeks. I'm coming off major, major post-SFM burnout... burnout so bad I altered my diet and took running wayyyy easy for months to get my health back and elevated heart rate down. I'm again running on a regular basis, I'm feeling stronger every day, and having the California International Marathon as my next goal has given me something to work toward again.

With just 7 weeks to train for this marathon, long runs are of the utmost importance. While I do my share of shorter runs during the week (4 and 5 miles are my favorite after-work distance, especially while it's getting darker earlier), I've been throwing in more 8- and 10-mile runs to make sure I have a solid base going into CIM.

For my weekend long runs, I am simply repeating the last few weeks of my SFM training plan: 18, 20, 15, 20, 16, 13, race. I don't care how fast or slow I do these long runs -- it's just important that I get them done if I want a shot at finishing the marathon.

The truth: I don't have high expectations for CIM. I think I am capable of surprising myself, definitely, simply because the course is less technical and much less hilly than every other marathon I've done. CIM is a notoriously famous PR-course, and while I hope to use that to my advantage, it's not my goal. I simply want to run a marathon that has awesome & steady crowd support and hills that don't kill your legs in the first half. Finishing strong is also a goal, but I'm saving any serious PR efforts for a spring race. If it happens it happens, but I am wary of burning out again and I've been exercising caution.

20 miler

Today was my first 20-miler since SFM (and also Week 2 into my 7-week training plan, ha!). I had some nerves going into today's long run because, ahem, 20 miles still is a daunting distance, even when you've got 4 marathon medals in your display case.

Doing 20 miles without much of a build-up into it makes it seem even longer. My plan for today was to break it up mentally as much as possible.

The DSE Great Halloween Highway 4-Mile Run

This morning I rolled out of bed, snarfed half a bagel, and headed out the door to the DSE Great Halloween Highway Run, a 4-mile race that required about 3 miles of warm up to get there.

3 miles to the start: 8:32, 7:54, 7:50

Since I arrived at the race late, I was the last person to start. They don't chip time, so the clock was already about 3 minutes against me. I knew I probably shouldn't "race" this race since it was at the beginning of a long run, but I really wanted to run with my friends. I booked it until I met up with Cate, her husband Mike, their adorable baby, and Courtney right around mile 1.

By mile 2, Cate and Mike took off, Courtney held back, and I decided to see what I had.

Garmin time: 4 miles in 30:17 (7:34/mile pace): 7:16, 8:08, 7:40, 7:13

I participated!

Cate & Mike at their daughter's first race -- and she slept through it!

After the race, I ran to Stow Lake to meet up with a fellow running blogger/tweeter, Kristine, for 8 more miles. She was doing her first 20 miler (ever!) and asked if I would keep her company for some miles. Of course I agreed -- I like doing my long runs with people and figured she's the same way if she was asking me to join her. Plus, meeting other local running bloggers is not anything I've regretted doing in the past!

3 miles to Stow Lake: 8:17, 8:19, 8:20

While I was waiting for Kristine at Stow Lake, I got a message from Layla saying she and Karin had spotted me running in Golden Gate Park. I invited them up to the lake to join us. Soon after they arrived, Courtney came charging up the hill much to my surprise... and we had an awesome impromptu group meet-up to knock out a bunch of miles together.

I'm so ready for this Indian Summer to go away. Come back, cool foggy weather!
With Kristine, Layla, Courtney, & Karin

Impromptu Sunday Runday

Getting to chat with Kristine was awesome -- what a cool girl! I am so glad I finally got to meet her in person. And seeing Layla, Karin, and Courtney was seriously icing on the cake. I loved this part of my long run the most.

8 miles with friends: 8:57, 8:59, 10:06, 8:43, 9:00, 9:00, 9:05, 9:13

After that random little meet-up, I headed home. Going back to my place is flat/downhill from Stow Lake, so I decided to crank it and tire my legs out like a true masochist.

2 miles home: 7:50, 7:18

Total: 20 miles in 2:47:49 (8:23/mile pace)

Even though today's run did have a number of pauses, water stops, bathroom breaks, and a little bit of standing around for pictures and chatting, 20 miles is 20 miles. I may not have run it completely nonstop, but I didn't know if I'd be able to finish otherwise. After today, I'm feeling pretty good about my last-minute decision to sign up for CIM.

I know I'll finish. And maybe I'll even do alright.

Have a great & safe Halloween!


  1. you are going to do better than alright. you are such a fantastic runner, i don't know how you do it. i'm just so happy you let me tag along! CONGRATS on this run, it was awesome, almost as awesome as the quickly at the end. ;)

  2. So that's what I look like from behind... LOL! I think you're going to do very well at CIM. I understand not wanting to set up too high of expectations, because I do best when I just go out to run the best that I can on that day, rather than focusing on some arbitrary number. Running shouldn't be stressful and it shouldn't be exhausting, and I'm glad you took the time to rejuvenate and make changes. You might just surprise yourself.

  3. You're going to annihilate it. Awesome job on your 20!

  4. I think you are gonna do better than alright! You're a strong runner and it sounds like your break after SFM was just what you needed! Can't wait to see how you do at CIM!

  5. ahhh you're doing my hometown race! CIM is definitely a fun race with a good course. with 20 under your belt i'm sure you'll do great! i made a similar decision recently and decided to switch my entry for the houston half to the full. it's in january so i have a bit of time, but i have the same outlook as you. i just want to enjoy it, be consistent, and finish feeling good. good luck with the rest of your training!

  6. Sounds like a great way to break up your long run by meeting up with various friends along the way - makes for a lot of organisation too. Well done for getting 20miles under your belt!

  7. So excited to get to run with you at CIM! I'm feeling you on the burnout right now....hang in there. :)

  8. ahhh how many comments can I leaving saying I wish I lived there? :) CIM sounds like a great race!! I am trying to figure out balance of training for 3 half marathons which I'd like to race and getting in appropriate miles to do a full in 10 I agree my goal at the end of the day is FUN

  9. GOOD GRAVY! this is a fabulous 20!

  10. I'm running CIM too! Good luck with your training... it sounds like you have a great mileage base, you should be just fine.

  11. How did you go so fast during Sunday's heatwave?? My own pre-CIM 20-miler was SO TOUGH. I really cannot imagine going any faster ... or farther ... It was cool to get the big 2-0 under my belt, tho.

    Let me know if you decide to do Clarksburg, I will totally drive you and your sweet skirt to the start.

  12. I love runs with friends! I wanted to run twenty miles before NYC (and after TCM), but I wasn't feeling doing it by myself, so I conned a friend into letting me join her...totally worked! When you just need some miles under your legs, meeting with friends is the best way to do it.

    Jealous about CIM, I hear it's wonderful and I can't wait to hear about how you rock it!

  13. 20 miles is 20 miles and you rocked it! Great things are in store for you!