Monday, August 27, 2012

CIM Training: Week 2 of 16

Week 2 of my training plan, week 3 of my new job, week 4 of waking up early to run...

CIM training: Week 2 (week of Aug. 20) 

Goal: 11 mi. moderate
Actual: 9 mi.

I was so tired when I woke up on Monday morning, I opted to hit snooze twice & gave up two miles in sleep's place. I intended to make up the miles later in the week during my long run, as this morning stuff is still taking this I-love-to-sleep-late girl some getting used to. I was fine with my decision.

Goal: Rest
Actual: Rest

Goal: 8 mi. easy w/ 4 mi. hard
Actual: 8 mi. easy w/ 4 mi. hard.

Done deal. My "hard" miles were basically just running sub-8s, since I still don't really know what kind of paces I want to be hitting right now. As of the moment, I mostly just want the miles.

Goal: Rest
Actual: Rest

Goal: 5 mi. recovery
Actual: 4.08 mi. easy

My 4-mile neighborhood loop was sounding much easier this morning than tacking on an additional mile somewhere. So I didn't.

Goal: 13 mi. easy
Actual: 16 mi. hard (mostly because of the steep hills & elevation gain)

Here is where my missed miles for the week came in. I logged 15.56 miles for the race, and then went home and ran the extra to round the mileage. My full race recap is here.

Pretty much the most perfect shadow ever.

Goal: 6 mi. recovery
Actual: 7.05 mi. recovery

I met up with Renee & her recently converted runner friend in Golden Gate Park. :)

All in all, I wrapped up week 2 with 47.16 miles. I am happy with how it all felt... except for the waking up early crap.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Race Recap: Skirt 'n' Dirt 25k

Up until yesterday, the longest run I'd logged on trails was 10 miles... and those were a pretty casual 10 miles on somewhat easy trails. If only I knew how simple I had it then.

Yesterday I ran a 15.56-mile race on some of the hardest trails I've done (seriously, were those dirt walls we were climing up?) and climbed a total elevation gain of 3,316'. I'm feeling it today. 

And I couldn't be happier.

I signed up for Inside Trails' Skirt 'n' Dirt 25k by the gentle coaxing of Aron, who's gradually tried to get me to love trail running and whose greater plan is not going unnoticed. She's urged me to run trails in Oakland & in the Marin Headlands. She had me seriously considering the North Face 50k. And last week she successfully was able to get me to sign up for this 25k in place of my 13-mile long run I had on the training schedule.

After a fun sleepover/movie night/pizza party/dessert extravaganza at Aron's with Cate, early Saturday morning greeted us with cool temperatures; foggy weather; race-day excitement; and Katie, Kristen, Jess, and Jana, who were also doing the trail race.

I started in the back of pack, full well knowing I wanted to log miles alone & didn't want to feel like I was holding anyone back. Many of my friends are pretty experienced trail runners at this point, and I really just have been sticking to roads. And right away I got a taste of what was in store.

Thanks for the picture, Aron. :)
I swear, half of this race was spent climbing steep technical trails, gradually trotting down switchbacks, crawling our way down a treacherous mountain on all fours, only to muscle our way back up tree roots and rocks with no end in sight.

It was so hard.

And so, so awesome.

I brought my iPod to keep me company (only apparently it wasn't charged) so I really got to spent 3+ hours on the trails with my thoughts, gorgeous scenery, plenty of redwoods, hard climbs, and with some very friendly female runners in a laid-back atmosphere I appreciated.

This picture does the view at the top of one of the many climbs no justice at all. Just know you could see California hills forever.

I loved it. Really, I did. 

After a few hours on the trails, I crossed the finish line (after one of my readers so kindly introduced herself after plowing past me to a strong finish -- thanks for saying hi, Janet, & way to go!!) with a huge smile on my face. This race was truly so hard and a lot of fun.

I'm really glad I got to spend the morning doing my long run on the trails & that I was able to experience this with some of my friends.

How have I been so lucky to meet so many badass ladies?

I can't say I'm excited to be in this much muscular pain again any time soon, but I'm excited to say I can't wait to go back out and hit the trails some more.

15.56 miles in 3:14:11 -- 12:29 pace
Overall place: 32 out of 92
A/G place: 10 out of 18

Monday, August 20, 2012

CIM Training: Week 1 of 16

I'm teetering back & forth on whether I want to document another training cycle on my blog, especially while juggling a new work schedule, running at a different time than I normally run (gahhhh mornings, wahhhh), and overall just not really knowing how tired I'll be when the California International Marathon comes around. Oh, and not to mention that I haven't set a goal for the race yet...

But alright, alright. A few of you on Twitter said you'd read these updates. Some of you reminded me that I'll appreciate having this all written down later.

And who knows. Maybe completely changing everything up lifestyle-wise at the beginning of a training plan will show others they can do it, too. And I might even surprise myself along the way.

I am basically taking my 12-week Ogden plan and tacking on four weeks so I can still get a full cycle in for the Humboldt Marathon, thus leaving myself with a miserably long 16-week training cycle. (Seems smart, when I'm finding my ideal training cycle would be 7-10 weeks. But I digress.)

Without further ado: CIM training: Week 1 (week of Aug. 13)*

*No paces are listed as I haven't figured out a goal yet. I'll think about that longer & harder once a few weeks of training pass & I can assess how I'm feeling without driving myself to burn out. 

Goal: 8 mi. easy w/ 10 x 100m strides
Actual: 8.06 mi.

This run was definitely not done at an easy pace for me... but it was my first run of this training cycle so there was some natural energy associated with that. Funny, I actually slowed my last mile down so I could fit in a few proper strides. I didn't follow the 10 x 100m, though, and instead did maybe 5 strides of a couple city blocks.

Goal: Rest
Actual: Rest

Goal: 9 mi. moderate
Actual: 9.15 mi.
Once thing I am noticing about morning runs is that I am naturally negative splitting. Not only am I half-asleep when I get going, it's dark in the mornings & I'm careful with my steps. By the time it's lighter & I can see the hobo poop I should try to avoid, my body is warmed up and I'm mostly awake. I want to keep attempting these negative split runs consistently, no matter what pace I do them. 

Goal: Rest
Actual: Rest

Goal: 7 mi. recovery
Actual: 10 mi.

I ended up moving my "long run" to Friday morning because I wanted to get it out of the way and have the laziest weekend possible. My new job has been leaving me exhausted, and I wanted to sleep as much as I could and do as little imaginable over the weekend.

Goal: 10 mi. moderate
Actual: Rest
I slept until 1pm (!), and we finally rolled around to "brunch" at 3pm. I would call that a successfully lazy start to the weekend. Love.

Goal: 6 mi. recovery
Actual: 12 mi.

A late-Saturday night glance at Twitter showed me that a few friends were going to be running in Golden Gate Park Sunday morning. So I chimed in, barged into their party, and had a lovely run with Renee, RoadBunner, and Karin. Even though this run was twice as long as intended, the miles FLEW BY as I got to tag along & catch up with some great friends. 

Because no post is complete without a picture: Did you know dinosaurs have taken over the Conservatory of Flowers?

All in all, week 1 ended with 39.29 miles of running. This was not quite the 40 miles I wanted to hit, but I'll have plenty of weeks to make up for that missed .71 of a mile. I am not stressing yet. ;)

And let the record show: After a week of morning runs, I am not finding them to be getting any easier.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Race Recap: The San Francisco Marathon

Late in 2011 I was selected to be an Ambassador for the San Francisco Marathon. It was a neat "job", inspiring people to sign up for the race, leaving our mark around our respective cities with postcards and sweatbands, answering questions about the course/registration, attending group events and training runs, writing guest posts for the SFM blog, meeting runners from start-ups around the City, and the list goes on and on. 

But the full experience of being an Ambassador didn't become realized until the crazy marathon weekend itself, where suddenly everything rocked despite it being so hectic. 


On Friday afternoon of marathon weekend, I volunteered to work the Race Expo, where I helped people set up the Wipro/SFM app on their phones and answered some general questions about the race. It was very neat meeting people who were coming from all over the world to be a part of this iconic race.

Cate & tiny Ellie, visiting at the Expo

That evening, I joined all of the other Ambassador at a nice dinner where most of us were able to meet face-to-face. I'd shaken the hands of a few other Ambassadors earlier in the year -- either meeting up at other races, catching people as they passed through town, and a few others at the expo right before dinner. But this was the first time we all got to share a meal, talk about running, and learn what an inspiring and motivated little "family" we had all joined.

Crazy am-bad-ass-adors after dinner

Saturday morning started bright an early, as I volunteered at the San Francisco Marathon/Lululemon shake-out run. A nice & easy trot down the Embarcadero followed by coffee with friends (... and Bart Yasso) is always fun.

Ambassadors... and Bart. 

After the shake-out, I headed back to the Expo for the SFM Tweet-Up, where runners from everywhere voiced their thoughts, excitement, and concerns about the race over varying social media avenues. We shared a few snacks and a lot of laughs. 


Then I headed home to put my feet up before meeting a friend for dinner, because, after one of the most insane weeks and now weekends of my life, I really just needed some rest.

That was exactly what I did not get.

It's marathon time.

For the first time in my experience with marathoning, I got less than 2 hours of sleep the night before the race. I was dropped off at the start line after having been up for hours and already felt exhausted. Luckily, I felt no pressure to do well & I really only wanted to finish. I turned on my iPod and just cruised.

My wave was at 5:35 a.m., and I think I got going around 5:37 after putzing around for a few minutes in the VIP bathroom. I missed the starting gun, but took off on my own and quickly caught up with some of the slower runners in my corral. I made my way along the dark & empty Embarcadero and watched the sunrise as I approached the Golden Gate Bridge. 

While on the bridge I got to see a bunch of my friends; many of the Ambassadors were wearing blue and white tutus and it made them SO easy to spot! Despite it being really windy and misty on the bridge this year, it was probably one of my favorite parts of the race. I love being able to cheer for everyone & also liked being cheered for.

In the month leading up to SFM, I hadn't run more than 12 miles. I ran the Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Marathon 36 days before, and that was basically it. In my head I knew I wanted to hit the halfway point before I took any walk breaks, but once we got into Golden Gate Park, I wasn't really needing that. I didn't carry a water bottle so I was intentionally stopping at all the water stations, grabbing a few cups of water and walked while drinking those, but those were the only breaks I was taking and they were lasting about 10 seconds each.

Unlike last year where I training exclusively on the SFM course in preparation for the race, I almost completely avoided that this year. I knew what to expect, but I wasn't burned out on the race before it started. The long stretch through Golden Gate Park didn't seem to last for eternity like it did last year. We wound through the Haight, I saw a few of my friends cheering in the Mission, and when we headed up into Potrero Hill, I was feeling awesome. Mile 22 clicked by and I wasn't having my usual aches & pains that I get during marathons. I kept smiling & was enjoying my victory lap around the city.

This was perhaps the best I felt going into the final stretch of a marathon. I wasn't pushing it and I was actually enjoying the visually and mentally hardest part of the race.

The Lululemon cheer station (which is no doubt THE best cheer station on the course) showed up at mile 24 and I knew I had just a short distance left -- part of me couldn't believe the race was almost over. 

We ran up and around AT&T Park and the finish line was basically in site. I crossed the timing mat & still felt like I could have kept running -- and for me, this was an awesome feeling at the end of a marathon.

I finished SFM in 3:49:11 -- less than a minute slower than I ran Seattle, but not feeling like I put out like nearly as much effort. It was 4 minutes slower than I ran the race last year, but seeing that I wasn't trying to run balls out like I did in 2011, this is a major success.

I finished marathon #9 after one of the craziest weeks and one of the busiest weekends I've ever had... but I finished with a huge smile on my face & with the feeling that I could have kept running. I loved that feeling. I love this race.

I just ran a marathon?

What's next for the rest of the year, you ask? 

Right now I'm just trying to juggle training with a new overwhelming work schedule. It's quite the change for me as I feel so tired when I get home, and I'd almost rather run before work -- and this is a new adjustment for me. Aron talked me into the Skirt and Dirt Trail 25k next weekend, and I'm actually excited to get on some trails for a long run. So, there's that.

I entered the lottery for the St. George Marathon in October and, gulp, I got in... but I am 99% sure I'm not going & have essentially scratched it off my list. I'm not fully decided on this yet, but it's not looking likely.

The Humboldt Marathon in Northern California is the race I'm planning to make marathon #10. That will be a fun long run in preparation for the race I currently consider myself training for: The California International Marathon.

I decided to run CIM again this year -- the race that currently holds my marathon PR. Ideally I'd like to use that race to gauge my fitness over the course of a year... did running 6 marathons in one year help my marathon endurance, or will I just feel worn out by then? 

Time will tell. :)

Happy training!

SFM stats:
Garmin time: 26.47 miles, 3:49:12 -- 8:39 pace

Official time: 26.2 miles, 3:49:11 -- 8:45 pace
Overall place: 1,297 out of 6,493
Gender place: 209 out of 4,346
A/G place: 57 out of 453

1: 8:34
2: 8:37
3: 8:33
4: 8:39
5: 8:34
6: 9:02
7: 8:25
8: 8:30
9: 8:24
10: 8:40
11: 8:18
12: 8:55
13: 9:04
14: 8:31
15: 8:58
16: 8:45
17: 9:07
18: 8:34
19: 8:43
20: 8:31
21: 8:12
22: 8:15
23: 9:01
24: 8:34
25: 8:58
26: 8:44
.47: 3:55 -- 8:15 pace

Friday, August 3, 2012


HI!!! You guys are more than sweet for asking where I've been. I appreciate all the notes, comments, and concerns you've left me. I never thought my writing would be missed, but apparently it kind of was for some of you. So, I'm sorry for the radio silence, but let's just say I've been busy. 

After Ogden, I took a little while to recover, regroup, and refocus a few things that needed to be addressed in my life. 

And then I flew up to Seattle where I ran the Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Marathon & had a great couple days away with the lovely Renee

The course was hilly & I did my best, finishing marathon #8 in 3:48:14.

Renee ran the half & kicked booty.

After Seattle, I flew 10+ hours overnight for a much-needed vacation with the mister.


After vacation, I dog-sat in the East Bay for the beautiful Jana, which happened to be an opportune time for Aron to adamantly decide I was going to get over my hatred for trail running. For a couple mornings, she helped me discover some trails out there I never would have known existed. I actually really enjoyed it.

Oakland trail running, day 1

 Oakland trail running, day 2

Then my cat got sick & needed surgery, I signed on with a new job, quit the job I've had for the past 7 years, participated in a million San Francisco Marathon Ambassador events/activities, worked the race expo, and ran the marathon all in the span of, oh, 5 days. (Aron always jokes that SFM week is the busiest of the year, and this year it definitely turned out that way for me.)

Ambassador dinner on Friday where we talked all things "I heart SFM".

Saturday morning Lululemon shakeout run (missing from photo: BART YASSO!).

Sunday morning marathon!
Took my sweet time & finished marathon #9 in 3:49:11.

Today, while on an ever-so-brief break between jobs, I met up with Aron & Jojo (who ran the SFM DOUBLE MARATHON last weekend) for a early-morning trail run in the Marin Headlands. I've never run there before despite living just a few miles from it, and for the first time in forever, I wasn't apprehensive about trail running. It actually went very well, it was perfectly foggy & cool, and we learned that we were all celebrating an anniversary of some sort. 

Me? My two-year San Franniversary. Aron? Her 4-year marathoniversary. Jojo? Her 4th year of working for SFM. 

Happy anniversary day, ladies!

I kind of loved this.

I fully intend on writing a full report of the lovely, wonderful San Francisco Marathon, so bear with me while my I plant my feet in the coming days. Stay tuned for a full race report & an update on what I'll be running for the rest of 2012!