Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Summary

I've had a fun year taking my running to the next level. Here are my year-end stats:

Total miles run  in 2010: 783

Races run: 10 (PRs set)

5k- 1 (PR)
4mile- 1 (PR)
5mile- 1
6mile- 1 (PR)
10k- 2 (PR)
Half Marathon- 3 (PR)
Marathon- 1 (PR)

Final Run of 2010

I gave myself an end of the year present today- I went running on the American River Parkway. I started out at Howe near where my training group usually started, and had a nice sunny but cold five mile run.

It was nice to go out for a fun outdoor run (not in our neighborhood), especially after being sick all week and not being able to run. I did get a four mile run in on the treadmill yesterday, just to be sure that I could manage to run without getting sick.

All in all, I had a great year running, and completed almost 800 miles. Despite the poor showing in the marathon, I think I accomplished a lot and improved a great deal in 2010. I'm looking forward to an even better 2011

Thursday, December 30, 2010


I've been sick all week, which is very frustrating. I am off work this week, and was really excited to have the time to run along the Parkway or McKinley. But there has been no running this week. I may go out today, but we will see how I feel.

Training Summary: Week Two

I have not been as good at updating the blog this time around, but I will try to get back in the habit. Here is my summary for week two of Napa marathon training:

Monday: Off
Tuesday: 5 miles, easy
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Spin
Friday: 5 miles, 3x800 with 800 jogs
Saturday: Off
Sunday: 12 miles, around 9/mile for the first half, and 8:30/mile for the second half

Miles this week: 22
Training miles: 41
Miles in 2010: 774

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Training Summary: Week One

While out for my morning 5 miler, I realized that I needed to start a training summary for the Napa Marathon. I'll use more detail this time, since I don't have a training plan printed from the group this time to refer back to. Here goes, with a belated summary of week one:

Monday: core, lunges
Tuesday: 4 miles, easy
Wednesday: off
Thursday: spin
Friday: off
Saturday: 5 miles, with .25 mile speed mixed in, on the treadmill (ewww)
Sunday: 10 miles, in the rain

Training miles: 19
Miles in 2010: 752

Monday, December 20, 2010

Running in the Rain

John and I started going to the Fleet Feet Sunday run two weeks ago, and we are really enjoying it. It is very helpful to have a set time, and a group to run with, for long runs. Two Sundays ago, we did an easy 7 miles, slowly because I was in recovery mode. Yesterday was the first long run of my new marathon training program, and I did ten miles... pouring rain...

About six or seven people showed up to the run, and it was nasty out. It wasn't too cold- maybe in the 50s, but it was pouring rain, and moderately windy. I wasn't too excited to be going out in the rain, but I was happy I was doing it once we started.

I ran with John for the first three miles, then he turned around (his 10k training program had him doing six total). Once I turned around at five miles (Guy West Bridge), I ran with two other people from the group. Once does ultras, and said he'd be starting very long runs soon if I wanted to join. It is nice to know some people do more than the 13 miles Fleet Feet advertises as the distance of the Sunday run.

I am happy to be training again, but feeling some pain in my knees and hips. I'm hoping it doesn't last.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Race photos

Here are a few photos/videos from the race:

Finish line when John arrived

Waiting for the lead runner

Lead man finishing

Lead man finishing

Finally finished!

Training Summary

After eighteen weeks of training, and one marathon:

I ran 414 miles (training plus race)
I ran 726 miles (in 2010 by Dec. 5)

I ran outside for every training run!
I met a lot of great people.
I am much more confident in my speed ability.
I am ready to try again at the marathon.

So, I signed up for the Napa Marathon, which will be March 6, 2011.

Race Summary Data

After a week, I finally uploaded my Garmin data for the race. Keep in mind, the damn thing stopped working at mile 23. The data shows that I was fine until 12, slowing until 15, really slowing to 17, then walking. That is pretty much how I remember it.

Monday, December 6, 2010

And then, it was done

I finished my first marathon yesterday.

Before I start my detailed race recap, let me say that I am happy that I finished, but also disappointed with how the race went. I'm motivated to train for another marathon, if only to redeem myself and perform as well as I know that I can.

The day started out fine. I got up at 3AM (yes, 3AM), ate my usual pre-run breakfast of oatmeal and coffee, and drank a glass of water. I was dressed and out the door by 4:30, and at the Sheraton boarding the bus around 5:30. I rode the bus with Steve from my group, and we talked through a lot of pre-race jitters, our race plans, etc. It was a bit too warm on the bus, so instead of waiting on the bus until close to the start, we got off the bus once it arrived and walked around. I ate my Gu Chews soon after. There were plenty of porta-potties, and we ended up finding the two other guys from the usual group (Chris and Nick) in line about 20 minutes before the start. We never found Brittani before the start, which was too bad. We went through gear check, and went to the start line.

I lined up a bit in from of the 3:40 pace group, and got really anxious. My heart was racing! I couldn't believe the race was actually here. The race started, and it actually wasn't too packed starting out. I had no trouble getting to the pace I wanted (well, a bit faster since it was downhill- I couldn't help it). The first few miles were uneventful. I got water at the first aid station, had a Gu at about 4 miles in, and water at the next aid station. I alternated between water and sports drink for the aid stations, and I hit all of them since I didn't carry water.

At maybe five miles in, I started to feel fatigued. Nothing hurt, but I had this weird feeling that I hadn't slept in a long time. By them, it was 8AM, and I hadn't had coffee since 3:30. I hadn't had real food since then for that matter either. This fatigue worried me, but I didn't have a solution to it. I hit the 5.9 mile mark at 48:11.

I started looking out for John once we turned onto Fair Oaks Boulevard. I knew the cross-street he would be around (Madison), but not the exact mileage, so I kept looking. Around 7 miles, my joints started hurting, which was unusual for me that early in a run. I don't know if the two week old, slightly different shoes were to blame or not. It wasn't too bad, though, so I just added it to the list of weird things going on early in the race.

I saw John right before Madison and Fair Oaks, and I felt great. I was maybe a minute ahead of my goal overall, and I felt good. It was so nice to see him out on the course.

Around mile 9 or 10, the fatigue got worse. Through Fair Oaks Village and beyond, I kept my pace, but it became progressively harder. This was way too early for the proverbial Wall. I got increasingly more anxious about the prospects for the rest of the race, but kept going.

By mile 12, I wanted to quit. I was fatigued, and starting to feel sick. I think around this time I had my second Gu, and it was hard to eat. I was worried that it was going to make me feel worse, so I think at that point I decided without really thinking to wait until I felt a little better to have any more Gu. I started thinking about my goals, and whether I should change to my secondary goal of finishing at 4:00 at that point. I hit the half marathon mark at 1:50:42, still ahead of my goal pace.

I held on for a while longer, then at some point the pain in one of my joints got worse, and I walked for a few steps. This way maybe around mile 15.5 or so, if I am remembering correctly. When I started to run again, I felt nauseous, so I kept walking. I would give myself a few minutes, then start again. I was still on target to finish in 3:40.

The 3:40 pace group passed me. That was fine, because I still had a 20 minute buffer (quite a few seconds per mile I could add to my pace). Everytime a pace group passed me after that, I would try to keep up with the group and get back on track. But I never held on for long.

After that, it all went downhill. I slowed down, and started walking more. I felt sick everytime I started running. I just couldn't bring myself to run. Ten miles seemed like too long to run and feel like throwing up with every step. I kept trying to run, but wouldn't make it more than about a quarter mile at a time.

Let me tell you, I was so disappointed. I cried, four times. I kept seeing people from my group passing me, who I would always finish before in training runs. People who weren't in shape. It was so frustrating.

I hit the 20 mile mark at 3 hours and 26 minutes, about 14 minutes ahead of the when I thought I would finish. Once again at that point, I seriously considered quitting and riding the sag wagon back to the start. I knew that would be more disappointing, though. I wouldn't get the medal, and that was too much. I decided to keep going, and walk the last 10k. Even if it would take me forever.

One of the girls from my program caught up to me after the H Street bridge, and asked how I was doing. I managed to run with her for maybe a half mile, from Sac State down to the hospital almost, then walked again. I saw Sandra and her boyfriend and roommate short after, which was nice.

I finished in 5 hours and ten minutes. A full hour and a half later than my first goal, and an hour and ten minutes after my second goal. I was very disappointed, but glad to be done. Trough my long walk, (an hour and forth five minutes from 20 mile to finish, I think), I decided that it was important to finish, and it was okay not to do as well as I wanted. I guess I was reconciling the fact that I wasn't going to meet my goal. By the end, I was happy I finished. And I wanted to go home.

I saw John as I neared the finish line. He was smiling and cheering. It was so nice. He found me at the finish, and gave me a hug. I think I cried again. I decided I didn't care about a picture at the finish. I just wanted to get my gear bag and go home. I didn't even have any post-race food, that is how bad I still felt.

All in all, I am disappointed, but glad I finished. I have a few thoughts about what went wrong:
  • I didn't eat enough before the race. I carbloaded for the full week, but had a normal pasta dinner the night before the race. I had my normal oatmeal the morning of, but two hours earlier than usual. My stomach was probably empty by the time I finished four miles (when I first got tired). Gu on an empty stomach made me nauseous, which made it impossible to continue with my fueling plan.
  •  I should have had more Gu instead of less once I felt sick. I felt sick probably because I was hungry. It would have been difficult, but probably better than doing nothing.
  • I should have had more water along the way. I was very thirsty by the half marathon. I probably wasn't taking in enough at the aid stations. I really don't like belts or handhelds, but I might have to revisit this for the next race.
  • New shoes may have contributed to my early onset of joint pain. The shoes were different than the last pair, so it might have been better to stick with the shoes I was wearing for most of the training.
If you haven't guessed, I do plan to run another marathon. During the race, I thought I would never do it again. But then I also thought that I would want to redeem myself, and get a time that verified my abilities, and all my training. Stay tuned for when the next race will be.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

T minus 12 hours...

The race is less than twelve hours away, and I'm super excited, but a little anxious too. I have my gear laid out, my snacks packed, and I'm getting ready to make the final preparations (coffee, etc.).

I can't believe the race is already here. It doesn't seem like it has been 18 weeks, and it sure doesn't seem that I've done all that much to prepare. But I know I have, and I know that I have a lot to be proud about. I've dedicated a lot of time over the past four months to running, I've eaten better, and I've improved a lot. I can't wait to put it all to the test tomorrow morning!

Week Eighteen- Pre Race Summary

Here are my stats for marathon training:

Miles run this week: 6
Total marathon training miles: 388
Total Miles in 2010: 700

The CIM is tomorrow!

Packet Pickup/Race Expo

Packet pickup started at 3 yesterday, and the genius I am, I went at 3. There was a huge line to get in, then a huge line to pick up the bib and chip, then a huge line for goody bags, then a not as huge line for shirts. Once I went through all of that, I walked around the expo looking for anything else I needed. I got a pace tattoo for my goal pace (3:40), and picked up a few flyers for upcoming races. There were a bunch of areas with deals on gear and clothes, but I didn't do any shopping.

The whole zoo of packet pickup was a bit overwhelming, and made me realize more how soon this thing is happening. I got a good night sleep last night (thanks to my new, well-behaved dog for not whining), so I am all set for now.
Entry to the Expo

Friday, December 3, 2010

Expected pace information

I posted this on Facebook this morning in case anyone I know will be spectating. Please also refer to this post for more spectating information.

I will be running my first marathon this Sunday, and I'm super excited. I know many people in Sacramento go out to watch the race (some from bars), and I wanted to share when I expect to be at locations along the course in case anyone I know is out there. Look for me if you are- I'm sure I'll need the support. I will be in pretty much the same outfit as my profile picture (bright yellow shirt), so I should be hard to miss.

I did a rough estimate based on my expected pace, so these times are the earliest I expect to be at each mile marker. I should be within a few minutes if I fall behind.

Mile 1: 7:08
Mile 2: 7:16
Mile 3: 7:25
Mile 4: 7:33
Mile 5: 7:41
Mile 6: 7:50
Mile 7: 7:58
Mile 8: 8:07
Mile 9: 8:15
Mile 10: 8:23 (Old Fair Oaks)
Mile 11: 8:32
Mile 12: 8:40
Mile 13: 8:49 (approx. Fair Oaks & Manzanita)
Mile 14: 8:57
Mile 15: 9:05
Mile 16: 9:14 (right before Fair Oaks & Arden)
Mile 17: 9:22
Mile 18: 9:31
Mile 19: 9:39 (right before Fair Oaks & Watt)
Mile 20: 9:47 (Loehmann's Plaza)
Mile 21: 9:56
Mile 22: 10:04 (H Street Bridge)
Mile 23: 10:12 (along J Street, turn to L at Alhambra)
Mile 24: 10:21 (along L Street)
Mile 25: 10:29 (along L Street)

Maps and road closure information are available at I hope to see you there, and let me know if I should look out for you!

Thursday, December 2, 2010


...Setting myself up for success, or creating a week-long sugar high?

The dutiful direction-follower that I am, I started a week-long carb and protein load on Sunday, one week before my marathon. I need to build up my glycogen stores, and make sure my muscles have the protein they need in the days leading up to the most challenging physical feat thus far in my life. While I do love eating, let me tell you, I do sometimes worry about the efficacy of this eating regimen.

Why, you might ask? This is common wisdom that we should fuel our bodies before such an effort. Well, first there is the fact that eating- especially eating carbs (even good, whole ones) makes me want to eat more. it makes me thirstier. Second, there is the fact that some carbs turn to something similar to sugar, leaving me with a sort of sugar high all week long. I'm jittery. I want more food. And...

I can't sleep.

This is a widely reported precursor to the marathon. Many of the folks in my training group have talked about waking up in the middle of the night over the past week. We are on edge. We have extra energy from the taper. And- we're all carbolaoding.

Whether it is nerves, or carbs, I'll be glad when I can sleep again. Until then, let the gorging continue.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I am attempting to compile information on spectating for John and anyone else who may be out watching the CIM. I'll be updating as I find more information.

Athlete tracking will be available during the race to show 5.9 mile, 13.1 mile, 20 mile, and finish splits. It is available here. My bib number is 978.

Map of start to Mile 19:

 Map of Mile 20 to finish:

Road closure information from the CIM website:

Mile Close Open Note / Intersections
1 5:00 7:24 Oak Ave. Parkway just off Aubum-Folsom Rd
2 7:00 7:38 Amer. River Canyon Dr. & Oak Ave.
3 7:09 7:52 April & Oak Ave.
4 7:12 8:06 Beach & Oak Ave
5 7:15 8:20 Kenneth/Wachtel & Oak Ave
6 7:18 8:34 Fair Oaks Blvd. & Oak Ave
7 7:21 8:48 Fainvays Condo & FOB (3/4 way to Greenback)
8 7:24 9:02 Niessen & FOB (bet. Greenback & Madison)
9 7:27 9:16 Dorian & FOB (almost to Sunset)
10 7:30 9:30 Main & FOB (at Winding Way curve)
11 7:33 9:44 New York Ave. & FOB (just W of Sunrise)
12 7:36 9:58 Hollister & FOB (apartment row)
13 7:39 10:12 California & FOB (before Manzanita)
14 7:42 10:26 Grant & FOB (after Manzanita)
15 7:45 10:40 Kenneth Ave. & FOB (bet. Marconi & El Camino)
16 7:48 10:54 Garfield & FOB (at end of "S" curve)
17 7:51 11:08 Paloma & FOB (immediately after Arden Wy.)
18 7:54 11:22 Saverien & FOB
19 7:57 11:36 Coronado & FOB (just before Watt)
20 8:00 11:50 Hawthorne & FOB (almost to Fulton)
21 8:03 12:04 University & FOB (almost to Howe)
22 8:06 12:18 Carlson/CSUS & J St.
23 8:09 12:32 pm Bear Flag & J St. (48th St.)
24 8:12 12:46 pm 33rd & J St. (just before Alhambra)
25 8:15 1:00 pm 22nd & L St. (just before RR tracks)
26 8:18 1:14 pm 8th & L St. (approx.--almost the end)
The finish line area around 8th, 9th, and 10th Streets and Capitol Mall will be closed from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Week Seventeen Summary

At the end of my last full week of training, here are my stats:

Miles run this week: 19
Total marathon training miles: 382
Total Miles in 2010: 694

The CIM is on Sunday!!!

Last Sunday Long Run

Yesterday we did the last long run of the program. It was an easy 8 to 10 miles, and they told us that only a few people (you know, the really fast ones) should be doing 10.

When I opened the garage to go to the run, fog poured in. I had checked the Weather Channel on my phone while eating my oatmeal, and it was 36 degrees out. Ouch! When I saw the fog, I ran upstairs and grabbed a jacket. I had been intent on trying out my race day outfit for the last long run, but I wasn't so sure. I might be able to do it for the marathon- cold or not- but should I suffer through a training run?

I ended up in my race outfit for the run, and it was perfect. I couldn't feel my fingers (even in gloves) for the first few miles, but overall it is a great choice. I;m very happy that I got my Magic Running Pants (as I'm now calling them), and the shirt John got me last year for Christmas is so soft and warm enough without making me overheat. My race outfit will basically be what I wore in the Clarksburg Half Marathon:

Race Photo from Brightroom

We ran an easy 9 minute per mile pace on average over the eight miles. It was two of my usual group (the other two have been absent recently), and a guy that runs with us sometimes. He told us war stories of the CIM bus getting lost, not being able to find a pace group, etc., and told us about his previous races. It was nice to hear the stories, and I am very glad to say that they didn't scare me.

We also talked race strategy- what pace we would be starting with, our goal finish time, whether or not we would be using a pace group, etc. I am the only one going for my predicted pace from the training group. I think it is an ambitious time goal, but I have to go for it. I think I can do it, and that is all I need.

I am so excited for the race, and can't wait until next Sunday!

Here is my Garmin summary for Sunday's run:

Finally enjoying the taper

Last Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, I had the day off. I went for a run around 9 or 9:30 in the morning. My Garmin was dead- I guess I forgot to charge it- but that didn't bother me. I put on my Timex, and headed out for a cold, cold run.

After a few weeks of being cranky about running, I really enjoyed this run. It was the first time in a while that it felt nice and relaxing to run. I didn't pay attention to my speed, I just ran a nice easy four miles.

It turns out that I was running at a pretty good clip- around 8:30 per mile on average- which is faster than usual for my solo runs. I didn't feel like I was exerting myself or working too hard, which is very good considering how soon the race is. It was very nice to be so relaxed.

With less than a week to go now, I am increasingly getting more excited about CIM. I have been excited all along, but now it seems real- this is happening, and soon! I was panicking a week or so ago- the race was coming up fast, it was real, and I didn't know if I was prepared. Now I feel good. I can do this.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


The night before Thanksgiving, we had about 15 of the 50 people in the training group show up for a very cold run. My hands and feet were freezing... until about a mile in, when I couldn't feel them anymore. We did an easy four miles, and Coach Tina had hot chocolate waiting for us when we finished.

I'm hoping that it isn't 30 degrees outside on the morning of CIM like it was tonight.

Shoe Crisis

Last week I finally decided that I needed new shoes for the CIM. I started wearing my current pair in the beginning of October, and I have about 250 miles on them. They still have life in them, but I thought it might be good to do the race on a fresh pair. So, I went ahead and ordered my trusty Mizunos at Road Runner, and they arrived last night.

This morning, I put my insoles in them and tried them on. They feel different. I compared to my last pair, and they are about a half inch thicker in the sole than my last pair. They look bigger on, and the toe looks different, too. I panicked.

My current pair of shoes is my third of the same model. The first two were the #8, and the current, #9. Nothing seemed to change between these except the color, which was an improvement. Apparently, the #10 is a complete redesign. Not good less than two weeks before the race.

I completely fell into crisis mode. I decided I needed to wear new shoes, but I didn't count on the shoe being different. I can break them in before the race, but a redesigned shoe seems like a gamble. But is it more of a gamble than wearing shoes with less than half their useful life left? Are the new shoes more of a stability shoe? Will they be clunky like the New Balances I tried a few years back? Will they slow me down?

John looked them up, and the update got an award from Runner's world. They are still under 10 ounces, and have additional cushioning to make them not feel stiff (like the New Balances). I'm a little less freaked out, but still trying to decide if I should wear them in the race. If I am, I need to break them in staring today (and I'll have around 30 miles on them for the race). But if I don't like the redesign, I'm out of luck if I've worn them. And stuck wearing my current pair on race day...

Bib # 978

The CIM posted race numbers this morning! Yay! My bib number is 978. Check me out!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Week Sixteen Summary

At the end of the week, here are my totals:

Miles run this week: 19
Total marathon training miles: 363
Total Miles in 2010: 675

Two more weeks until the CIM! Yes!

The Oversell

I want to start this post by saying that I really like my training program. I think the coaches are great, the training has vastly improved my fitness and race times, and I am going to be sad when the program ends.

However, I have been a bit annoyed over the past week at Fleet Feet's thinly-veiled attempt at getting us in to the store, and into their other programs on any and every occasion. Wednesday's easy run (on the schedule) turned into form drills and a speed track workout (200s) so we could try out the Fit training program. Thursday was "Marathon Prep Night" at the store, where we supposedly would get all the info we needed for race day. I didn't go- I didn't want to miss spin- but I also felt that the actual training should cover this information.

Sunday, our 14 mile run (10-12 if still tired) turned into a 90 minute run and then seminar in the store. I liked the Sunday "Fun Run" format, and might do it after training is over to run with a group. But having us at a different Fleet Feet event other than normal training three times in one week seemed a bit much.

I think maybe I am experiencing a bit of the grumpiness they said we would get from the taper. This is taking up my whole life- and I'm excited about the race- but a bit weary from all the training. And now the selling.

Okay, thats all.

Here is my Wednesday workout:

And my Sunday workout:

Monday, November 15, 2010

Easy run

This morning's easy 3 mile run (to recover from the race) turned into an easy 2 mile run. My right knee is bothering me, and in more of a pain than soreness way. So I turned around after a mile, and actually made it to work on time! I am taking this taper seriously. Relaxation time!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Week Fifteen Summary

At the end of week fifteen:

I'm feeling good. The last five weeks have been around 30 miles a week, and I've done spin every Thursday. I have done most of my easy runs on my own (skipped one due to my annual conference), and kept a good pace for all workouts. I'm tired, and feel like I've done a lot of work. Now the fun part if coming up fast.

Miles run this week: 29
Total marathon training miles: 344
Total Miles in 2010: 656

Three weeks until CIM. Time to relax before the real fun starts.

Okay, now the taper is really starting

Today was the last day of the last 30-mile plus week (of 5, with more close to 30 before those). We did the Clarksburg Country Run Half Marathon this morning, and the assignment was to run at marathon pace. Guess what? I got an A + on this assignment!

The reason to run at marathon pace for me is that I have trouble actually running at a goal pace early in a run (I run faster), and maintaining it later in a run (I get tired and go slower). So today, I wanted to run the entire race at marathon pace, a full 30 seconds slower than my half marathon time from the Urban Cow Half in October. I know I can run faster, and I will want to run faster in the race environment. But in order to do well and hit my goals in the marathon, I need to be able to run a pace I can keep for 26.2 miles.

I ran with Brittani from my group, and we actually hit 8:19 per mile overall, finishing in 1:48:54. She was 10th in our age group and I was 11th, which isn't too bad considering that this race is a championship event for this distance, and a part of the Buzz Oats Race Series.

So, mission accomplished during my last hard workout. Also, I wore my new CW-X compression tights, and loved them. They could be more forgiving in the waist area, but I will trade that for excellent support on my legs.

Here is the Garmin report for the race:

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Running is always touted as the sport you can do with little more than a good pair of shoes. The people who say this have obviously not been to a running store, picked up a magazine or ran with a group. There is so much stuff one can buy to feel better, perform better, look better while running. And I have not been immune to this accumulation of gear.

Before starting this program, I had the requisite (and mostly Nike) running apparel, fancy compression socks, gloves, a hat, and shoes that I had been fitted for at Fleet Feet. Since I started marathon training, I have also acquired a hand held water bottle, a waist pack for a larger water bottle, a new hat, Body Glide, a headlamp,  and...

The fanciest, most overpriced pants known to man. After the way I felt during the 20-miler last Sunday, I decided to take the plunge and buy compression pants. They will be warmer, support my muscles, and stave off fatigue (or so the advertising and review say). They are full length, black, and so tight it took about 15 minutes to get them on (no joke). I can't wait to try them out on Sunday!

Here they are. I bought the black, but the blue shows the panels better.

It's Official- the Taper Has Begun

I'm relieved that the taper has started, and ready to rest. At the same time, I wish I was more excited about running right now. I am so tired, and sore. Plus, I just feel like I spend my whole weekend either preparing the run, running, or recovering. I want some time off!

Don't get me wrong, I am still very excited for the marathon. The closer it gets, the more real it seems. Did I really run 20 miles two Sundays in a row? Am I really doing a half marathon this weekend, which I really feel like is no big deal? WTF has happened to me?

I am thinking of entering the lottery for the New York Marathon next year. It opened on Monday. One person in my group entered, and I wish I was confident enough to enter today. But I want to get through this marathon first. I can plan ahead for next year to some extent- I already have 3 half marathons planned in the first four months of the year. But signing up for another marathon can wait until December 6th, or 7th...

Yesterday's speed workout was far from speedy. We did 2 miles of warm up, 2 miles of 1 minute on 1 minute off, and 2 miles of cool down. The "on" portion wasn't very fast- we kept to around or just under marathon pace, around 8:15-8:30. That was enough exertion for me. Everyone seems tired, and ready to get to the goal.

Here is yesterday's workout:

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Week Fourteen Summary

At the end of week fourteen:

Miles run this week: 30
Total marathon training miles: 325
Total Miles in 2010: 627

We did our longest run today (20.5 for me), and we have our marathon pace workout at the Clarksburg Half Marathon next Sunday. 

Four weeks until CIM.

I'm pooped...and ready to taper.

Sunday Longest Run

Today was our longest run. It was supposed to be 22 miles, but I ended up doing 20. It wasn't the pouring rain that got me-around the halfway point I got a sharp pain in my left hip, which made me limp. It felt a bit better after maybe a mile, but I stopped at the aid station and filled up last, then had trouble keeping up with my group. I tried for about a mile, then got another sharp pain and decided to stop and stretch. I did pretty well for the next few miles, then was hurting all over. I walked, ran, walked, and finished 20.5 in around the same time my group did 22- 3 hours and 24 minutes.

Overall, I'm not too disappointed. It was supposed to be our longest training run, and the last long run before we taper. And it was, in fact, my longest workout. I only did 20.25 last Sunday. But I did walk part of this run, which makes me feel disappointed that I couldn't finish.

Twenty miles is a long run. I did it just fine last week, and that is enough to prepare me for the marathon. I did want to get that much closer by doing 22 today, but I did train hard in pouring, soaking rain for 20 miles (okay, maybe 12 before it stopped, but I was soaked to the bone by then). The coach told me that the rain makes muscles tense up more and could have given me pain that wasn't due to injury or overtraining. So there is that. I guess it is just the accomplishment of doing 22 and finishing the last long run strong that I missed. And showing weakness. That is never fun.

Here is the summary from the Garmin, which, by the way, doesn't work well in pouring rain. I ended up stopping it on accident and restarting the workout after 1.2 miles, so it is a little off.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Motivation Issues

I've finally come to the point where my motivation is flagging. After running twenty on Sunday, I really felt done. I ran a long way, now I want to get in bed and stay there. For at least a week.

I usually try to do my Monday easy run on Monday, and in the morning if I'm not hurting from the Sunday run. Work commitments got in the way yesterday, and after work I just didn't feel like running. So I ate a brownie instead. This morning, I snoozed the alarm for 45 minutes before getting up, and went out an hour after I had planned.

This morning's easy four miles was easy, but I still wasn't that into it. I'm hoping that a good speed workout, with my new headlamp, will help tomorrow. And our dreaded twenty-two miler on Sunday will be an accomplishment.

I'm worried that my commitment level is going to hurt me. I want to stop running (well, not really, but I'm not as excited as I was a few weeks ago), and we are going into the taper in two weeks. I hope I shake this soon, and get anxious during the taper because I want to run. That is what I'm supposed to do, I think.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Week Thirteen Summary

Stats at the end of week thirteen:

Miles run this week: 32
Total marathon training miles: 295
Total Miles in 2010: 597

Our longest run of the program is next Sunday: 22 miles.

Five weeks until the CIM...

Easy Week...Hard Weekend

This week's workouts were pretty easy. Three miles on Monday, followed by an easy run from Fleet Feet to McKinley, around four times and back (about six miles), and an easy three on Friday. Spin was not too bad this week either- Chuck just got back from vacation and was too tired to work us too hard, I guess. I guess I needed all the rest, because today's run was pretty tough.

Once again, today's long run was my longest run ever. Twenty miles. Twenty. Two zero. It took three hours and five minutes.

I did pretty well, but I could have done better. I did 9:13 overall pace (including bathroom break and aid station stop). I would have liked it to be an even 9:00. I did miles 16 through 19 closer to 9:45 than 9, and sped back up a bit in the last mile. The good thing is my body handled it relatively well. The bottoms of my feet hurt, and my knees hurt a bit, but not in a way that made me want to stop. I definitely didn't want to do more, but I could have if I had to.

Here is the summary:

Monday, October 25, 2010

Week Twelve Summary

Stats at the end of week twelve:

Miles run this week: 33
Total marathon training miles: 263
Total Miles in 2010: 565

I did all that, plus spin on Thursday. I'm anxiously awaiting our 20 mile run at the end of week 13.

Longest run ever

Our long run this Sunday was 17 miles. Not much longer than 15, but still very, very long. Maybe it was the rain, or the 20 mile an hour winds, or the heartburn I had from spicy pasta sauce, but after about 8 miles, I really wanted this run to be done.

Despite my feeling of being "over it" during this, my longest long run ever, I still helped keep the group on pace at 9:04 overall for the 17 miles. I tried not to whine too much, even when the wind pushed the rain sideways into my ear on the foot bridge. It felt good to finish such a grueling run, in the weather, and have accomplished more miles than I've ever finished before.

Lessons from this week's run include:

1. Shorts and a technical shirt are the most comfortable in 60 degree weather, but won't keep the water from soaking through to my sports bra.

2. Shoes and socks soak through in the rain. I will need to figure out how to keep my feet comfortable when wet.

3. Spicy pasta sauce is bad the night before a long run.

Here is the run:

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Long run tomorrow- 17 miles- oh no!

Tomorrow we are doing 17 miles, and I'm a bit anxious about it. I know that I've done 15, at marathon pace, so 17 should not be a problem. It just seems so much closer to the full marathon than 15 miles, and much more of a challenge than 2 miles more than a half marathon.

On top of the mileage for tomorrow, it will likely be raining. I don't mind the rain, and I'll probably still wear shorts and a t-shirt, but it just feels like I need to prepare more than usual.

Either way, I should be done by 10 or so, and I have waffles waiting in the fridge!

Weeknight workouts- its dark out!

This Wednesday's speed workout was tough. Party because it was 800s, on a curvy, hilly loop. Partly because I ate a burrito for lunch and not healthy food. And partly because by the time the 800s started, it was dark out. I'm glad one person in my group has a headlamp, because at times I couldn't see the ground in front of me!

Goal for this weekend: buy a headlamp, or find one in the garage.

Here is the Garmin summary of the workout:

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Week Eleven Summary

Week eleven is done, and here are my stats for the week:

Miles run this week: 31
Total marathon training miles: 230
Total Miles in 2010: 532

This week, I did spin on Thursday in addition to my four runs. 

Marathon Pace Run

Today was our first of two marathon pace runs. The schedule said 2.5 mile warm up, 10 miles at marathon goal pace (8:19 for me), and 2.5 mile cool down. Pretty straight forward. What I realized on Wednesday was that the workout would be in Folsom. Which is full of hills. Oh no! Marathon pace plus hills equals eek!

The first 2.5 miles were easy, of course. Right around the time we put on the speed, the hills started. Miles 3 through 6 or 7 were all hills, but I managed to keep my average pace slightly above my goal. I was close to 9:00 or 8:40 for a lot of the hills, but faster on the slight downhills. I did my best, and that is what counts. Even after those tough first hills, it didn't really get any better. It was flat for a bit, but overall, still hilly. I managed to stay ahead of my group (which meant I was alone for the run, not as fun), and a lot of the people that are in the faster segment of the program. That was nice. Overall, I maintained about 8:30 or so for the marathon pace miles, which is about ten seconds off per mile of where I want to be. That is disappointing, but it was hilly, so I can't be too discouraged by it. We will just have to see how the next marathon pace run goes (the Clarksburg half on Nov. 14).

Here is the Garmin summary:

Friday, October 15, 2010

American River Parkway

I just saw this awesome map of the American River parkway and its amenities on The Sacramento Bee website.

The full map is available here and includes clickable links for photos and other information. They also have a PDF guide of the parkway here.

Morning Lessons

I learned two things this morning, when I went for a run at 5:45, instead of my usual 6:45 start time.

1. When the streetlights are off at 5:45, you can't see anything, because it is still 100% dark. It isn't like when it is starting to get light at 6:45, and the areas without streetlights are only a tiny bit darker than the lit areas.

2. 13% batter life on the Garmin is good for about 3.75 miles. Not 4 miles. Notes for next time: charge your watch more often!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Seven miles is longer than six

During yesterday's Wednesday speed workout, I learned that seven miles is longer than six. You might wonder, why didn't she already know this- it is obvious! But, let me tell you, seven miles seemed so much longer than six that I had to write about it.

The workout was one and a half mile warm up, then four miles of one minute on (speed) one minute off. We averaged maybe 7:00 to 7:30 for most of the speed sessions. I don't know if it was the heat (about 95 degrees and humid, despite the near dusk), but the extra mile of speed work really made seven miles seem much longer than the usual six.

I don't do well with heat, as evidenced by my performance in this early September workout.But I made it through, and still stayed at the front of the group for most of the run. Okay, I was lagging a little over the last mile of speed. But overall, a good workout for a hot Wednesday.

Here is the Garmin summary:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Crack, in a box

I am addicted to Special K, the Vanilla Almond variety that is sweeter than normal Special K, crunchier, and just tastes like candy. I won't eat candy for the most part during training, but I will eat Special K. And pretend it is part of my diet.

I don't eat it for breakfast (I almost always have Old Fashioned oatmeal), but I do manage to somehow eat almost a box of this cereal a week. When, you might ask? Well, when I get home from work and have a few handfulls while cooking dinner. After the gym. Even if I don't go to the gym. Pretty much anytime I can justify it.

Is this yummy cereal breaking my diet? Making me unable to drop the extra 5 pounds I know I should be able to drop? Maybe, maybe not. All I know is I love it.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Week Ten Summary

We are over halfway done! Here are my stats for this week:

Miles run this week: 27
Total marathon training miles: 199
Total Miles in 2010: 501

This week, I did a weight workout (40 mins.) on Tuesday and spin on Thursday in addition to my four runs. 

Longest Sunday Yet- 12 miles

After the half marathon last weekend, we are really ramping up the Sunday mileage. Today was 12 miles- the longest yet. From there, we do 15, 17, then 20 I think!

Twelve miles doesn't seem like much after doing a fast half marathon last weekend. It is easy to forget that long/easy pace means taking longer to do 12 miles than it does to do 13.1. I did fine though, with only a bit of tiredness in my legs. Stretching was a bit of a challenge, though.

The highlight of the run was jumping over a snake. I was running in the dirt off the bike path (we were three wide today), and I saw a snake early enough to jump over it and screech. The guys thought I was injured. No, just a snake. A snake about the diameter of a pencil, and it may or may not have been alive.

I'm a bit scared about the workout next Sunday- 15 miles, 10 of which will be marathon pace. Since we did today's run around 9 minutes per mile, next Sunday will be at least 40 seconds faster per mile...

Here is our course and my stats for today:

Thursday, October 7, 2010

New and Improved Pace Chart!

This morning I got my revised pace chart, which reflects last weekend's half marathon assessment. My new projected finish time for the marathon is 3:37:47, a 8:19 minute per mile pace. This is an improvement of over six minutes from the previous pace chart, and would qualify me for Boston if I achieve this time.

I am excited to try to qualify for Boston, and to have my pace chart actually tell me they think I should be able to achieve this goal. The fact that the pace for the marathon is about 30 seconds slower than the half seems good, as long as I can stick to the pace and not try to go out faster.

We have a marathon pace workout at the Clarksburg Half Marathon in November, so I will be using that race to test running my goal pace in a race environment. I'm so excited!

Wednesday Speed!

I went to the weekly speed workout excited, and wasn't phased when the workout was announced: 2 minutes on, 30 seconds off, for three miles in the middle of a six mile run.

We finished our warm up mile and a half, and two of my running group asked what our pace was going to be. For the first time, I actually ran in front and paced the group. It was a very strange experience, but a good one. We stayed between 7:20 and 7:40 for the most part during the speed sections, and not above 8:30 or so for the recovery. It was difficult toward the end, but I felt great. I never feel great during the speed workouts, but I did yesterday.

I think my performance on the half marathon is motivating me to do better in my workouts. I am really excited to run!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Recovery run

I never run the day after a race. Or, I never have before this week. My training schedule told me to keep up with my usual Monday-Wednesday-Friday routine, even after the half marathon on Sunday. Since I am in the training program so someone else can tell me how to train, I decided to abandon my no-running-after-a-race habit and run on Monday.

I set out at 6:20 AM for a six mile run, cutting my usual seven mile course short. I ran maybe a mile before my legs really got tired. I guess going all-out for 13.1 miles less than 24 hours before will do that. I got through the first two miles mostly running under 10 minute miles, but walking a bit. I slogged through the two miles back from the end of Stonegate the same way.

So I finished four miles (of a prescribed six mile run) in 45 minutes. Not too bad for the day after a race. Not what I wanted (since I want to do all my miles), but not so bad that I feel I have miles to make up.

Hopefully my legs feel more rested for my group speed workout tomorrow.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Week Nine Summary

Nine weeks complete, and a half marathon PR to boot! Here are my stats for the week:

Miles run this week: 27
Total marathon training miles: 172
Total Miles in 2010: 474

Urban Cow Half Marthon!

Our Sunday long run this morning was assessment number two- the Urban Cow Half Marathon. After we did our initial assessment, the coaches gave us expected finish times and paces for all race distances. Mine was 1:46 for a half marathon, about 8:10 per mile. That would be a five minute PR for me, but I thought I could do a bit better. I've been training faster than my pace sheet they gave me, and I wanted to go for 1:45. So I decided that I would try to beat or at least keep a 8 minute per mile pace.

I set my Garmin "virtual partner" for the 8 minute pace, so I could check how far ahead/behind I was. The Garmin is fantastic. I set two of the training screen to show me the current pace, time elapsed, distance, average pace, last lap time, and lap pace. Lots of useful information to keep me on track!

I started out a but in front of the 1:45 pace group. I did the first two miles around 7:50, and worried that I was going a bit too fast. But I felt great, so I kept going. I sped up a bit for the next two miles, because the 1:45 pace group was next to me. They were going about a minute ahead of the speed they should have been going, and it bugged me, so I sped up. I did 7:40 to 7:45 for the next three miles, and still felt great. Gu around mile 4, and water at the aid stations at mile 2 and 4.

Miles 6 and 7 I kept about a 7:50, then slowed a bit for the next two miles, to about 7:56. Mile 10 was a slow one, and the only one over 8:00- we ran this mile on the levee, and there was a headwind. I had a Gu around this time, and Cytomax at the remaining aid stations (every even mile).

Around mile 11 I started to feel tired, especially in the legs. But I didn't let it get to me because I was doing so well. I have never felt better during a half marathon- or any other distance for that matter. The training is really paying off. I didn't feel really tired until well into the last two miles, and by then I had enough left in the tank to speed up still.

I think without the Garmin I would have slowed down for the last two miles. I was tired, and it is really easy to slow down without noticing. I did a few times, but I checked the Garmin frequently to make sure I was on pace. The last three miles I kept between 7:55 and 7:58, and I really sped up at the half mile from finish sign. My pace for the final segment (0.1) was under 7:00 per mile.

The best part of the race- aside from how great I felt- was seeing John at the finish! It was really nice to have him there. I'm always excited at the end of a race, but it isn't as fun without someone to share it with.

Here is my Garmin summary of the race:

By the way, my time was 1:43:13. This is a PR of over 8 minutes. My overall pace was 7:51 minutes per mile.

My 10k time was 48:13, a PR of 1 minute and 20 seconds. my 10 mile time was 1:18:23, a PR of 5 minutes and 20 seconds. My 5k time was probably a PR also, but the Garmin didn't make a datapoint at 3.1 miles.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Morning Seven

I thought I'd map and post my morning route. I call it seven miles, though it shows as less. Crossing the street and going actually to my front door makes it closer to seven.

View Larger Map

Monday, September 27, 2010

Week Eight Summary

Week eight is done! Here is my weekly summary:

Miles run this week: 27
Total marathon training miles: 145
Total Miles in 2010: 447

And I'm back!

After my ridiculous fall on Friday, and my incredibly sore back on Saturday, I was a bit worried that I wouldn't be able to run on Sunday. Or that I shouldn't run because I might further jar my back or my bruised knee. So I decided to go to training, and be willing to turn around after a mile if I didn't feel like I should run.

When I woke up Sunday, my back felt fine. I went to training, and still felt fine. We started running, and I felt fast, and I even lead the group for a good part of the run. We kept a pace around 9 minutes per mile for the entire 9 miles, and I felt great for the entire run. I was a bit sore in the afternoon, but that always happens after a long run.

So I think I will do great next Sunday in the Urban Cow Half Marathon. I was worried that the fall would set me back. The race is important- they are using it as a second assessment and giving us new pacing charts after the race results are in. I am excited about running it- with my new Garmin- and getting a new PR!

Friday, September 24, 2010


This morning, I almost didn't go running. John woke me up and said I could go tonight if I wanted. I kept thinking that 7 miles was really far to run in the morning, but that after work it would be hot and I wouldn't want to go. So I went. I ran to the end of Stonegate and back, then around the Village Parkway-Linden-Stonegate loop. Seven miles, while it was cool out, before 8 am. I got back into our complex, and thought about walking the rest of the way. But I thought- No, I should finish the run. I got to the building before mine and slipped and fell. Hard.

One of two things happened. Either I stepped too far to the right and landed on wet grass, and slipped, or the ground was wet from the sprinklers and I slipped. Either way, my right leg slipped and I went down hard on my right arm, rolled over in the grass, and walked home. I even rang the doorbell because I didn't want to take my hand-held bottle off my hand to get my key.

I was wearing capris, and I ripped a big hole above the knee. My right knee is very skinned. It is about a quarter plus a nickle, next to each other. I don't want to think how bad it would be if I had been wearing shorts like I usually do.

I landed directly on my handheld, and it is pretty scratched up. But my right wrist feels fine. I could have broken it. My right elbow is skinned bad on the outside and not so bad on the inside. My left palm hurts a bit, but is intact.

Overall, I feel fine. I was worried that it would get worse after a while (like when it took me an hour to realize I broke my wrist when I was 13). But all that feel different a few hours later is that my neck is sore. I did fall pretty hard. I could have sprained a ankle, broken my wrist (or arm), fell on my face, or skinned my hands. I was pretty lucky.

I guess that will teach me to ask myself why I've never fallen running, since I am no clumsy usually.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wednesday Speed Workout- boy are my legs tired!

Yesterday's speed workout was one of the most challenging thus far. I'm not sure if it was because the training is catching up to me- this Sunday's tempo workout was hard and I am still recovering from it! It may also be that as time goes on, the workouts get progressively more difficult. That would also make sense.

We started out at 100 Howe, and did a "bridge loop" down the levee past the Guy West Bridge, down to the H Street bridge, and across. I think. Anyway, the half mile (800) was on the north side of the river, between the two bridges. We ran the 800, jogged for 90 seconds, then ran back to the other bridge. I was a bit behind my group after the first 800, but I was still working very hard. My legs cramped, I was tired, and I didn't think I could do another each time I finished. But only having five to do made it seem more bearable than endless repeats of one minute.

Coach Ryan said that most people went too fast. We weren't supposed to go all out, but I know I did. He said that it won't set us back, but isn't as effective as a more controlled effort. I think what would help is actually being able to time the 800s and compare to the pace sheet (which I didn't do since I had forgotten to bring my pace sheet to know how fast I should be going). I was just going at full effort.

What should help with the upcoming runs is...


I am so excited! I have been debating getting one for a while now. I know I am bad at pacing and need the help of a device to tell me my approximate pace, but they are expensive and part of me feel that I shouldn't need the watch to do well. My runs have been good for the training program in part because most of the time I run with a group led by someone with a Garmin. So I broke down and bought one- at a very good sale price I might add. And it is the 405, one of the fancier ones with more training settings. I was originally going to get the stripped down 110, which basically just does pace, distance and time elapsed. But they were close to the same price, so I went for the better model.

I just hope it gets here in time to test it out before my half marathon the weekend after next.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Week Seven Summary

At the end of the seventh week of training, here are my stats:

Miles run this week: 26
Total marathon training miles: 118
Total Miles in 2010:420

Much better than last week!

Sunday Tempo Run: 10 miles

I have to admit, I was a bit nervous going into my Sunday long run. I took the week off the week prior, and didn't do as well as I'd hoped on my Sunday 11 mile easy run after the time off. I was sore all week, and I was worried that the time off had gotten me off track. Going into this Sunday's run, I was determined that I had to perform well, or I would doubt my abilities for the rest of the training.

This Sunday's run was a 10 mile "Steady State" workout- 2 mile warm up, 6 miles at the Steady State (tempo) pace- around 8:10-8:22 according to my schedule- and a 2 mile cool down.

I started out with the group, and started feeling anxious when we started the speed at mile 2. I felt like I was going fast, and that I wouldn't be able to sustain it. But I knew I had to or I would worry that I wouldn't do well on the half marathon in two weeks, or the marathon. So I stuck with them.

I huffed and I puffed, and I kept up with the group. The farthest behind I got was about 20 feet, and that was in the last speed mile. I kept thinking of the run in mile sections. It made it a little more bearable.

After the six miles of speed were up, I felt tired but fine doing the cool down.

Overall, the group did the 10 miles in about 1:25, at an average of 8:22 per mile (including the warm up and cool down). That is faster than my best half marathon, which I did in 8:30 per mile. I have to do about 8:26 for the marathon to qualify for Boston, so I think I am on the right track.

On the actual splits, we did around 7:50 per mile for each tempo mile. I did 8:00 on the last one, but that is close enough.

Here is our approximate route:

View Larger Map

Friday, September 17, 2010

CIM medal revealed

Today, the CIM posted the design of this year's medal on their Facebook page. Here it is:

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thats more like it!

Yesterday was the weekly Wednesday speed work out. Last week, I skipped the workout since I was on vacation. The week before, it was hot and I ended up not doing much speed. I was happy to actually get a good speed workout in this week.

We did a 1.5 mile warm up, 3 miles of one minute on, one off, and a 1.5 mile cool down. I completed the run in 52 minutes, which isn't too bad. And I actually felt like I was doing my fastest most of the time. Yay!

Today I'll be doing spin after work with Chuck, which I've missed. My legs have mostly recovered from Sunday, and I'm looking forward to getting back to working out.

On another note, I am finished with my third day of eating better after vacation. I had a bite of a cookie last night, but that is all!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I'm on a post-vacation and pre-race diet. I know I shouldn't complain, but I'm a little chubby. No sweets or alcohol, and healthy meals are on the agenda. Well, I can have a drink on Sunday after my run, and I may pick one day for sweets also. But for the most part, nothing bad.

Here is today's lunch:
Quinoa, homemade black beans,
veggies and Tapatio!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Week six summary

The sixth week of training is done, and here is the dismal amount I completed:

Miles run this week: 11
Total marathon training miles: 92
Total Miles in 2010: 394

This week I will do all my miles!

Sunday Long Run- Ouch!

While I was on vacation all week (Monday through Friday), I didn't get a chance to run. I meant to- I brought everything with me- but I just couldn't manage to find a suitable place or time. So I came to the weekly long run having taken a week off.

One the menu for this Sunday? 11 miles, the longest yet. We were scheduled for 27 miles for the week, which of course I wouldn't be completing.

I set off with my group, and felt great through the first six hilly miles. I even led the group for a while at around 8:30 pace. By mile six, my ankles hurt. Then my knees, then my hips. By mile 9, I had trouble keeping up. I lost my group during the ninth or tenth mile, falling behind at a hill. I scooted along, wincing at my joint pain.

We were on the same part of trail as last week, so when I got to the starting point I thought I was done. It was marked 10.5. I decided to be done anyway, and made up for the short cut by doing 6 strides.

Lesson: don't take a week off and expect to feel no consequences!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Week Five Summary

I have finished the fifth week of training!  

Miles run this week: 21
Total marathon training miles: 81
Total Miles in 2010: 383

Next week we increase to 27 miles! 

Sunday long run

This morning we did a long run- 9 miles- starting at an office park in Folsom (90 Blue Ravine Road). I ran with my usual group. Here is our route:

View Larger Map

We got a bit lost around 3.5 miles, following one of the coaches. We ended up on a trail, and had to go out to the street to find the route. We ended up taking the trestle bridge instead of the Greenback bridge, but we didn't add too much distance.

A lot of the route was the same trail as the Four Bridges Half Marathon. I wasn't a big fan of that race, but I appreciate doing the hills on this part of the bike trail during training. I didn't like that race because I didn't expect the hills!

The run took about an hour and twenty minutes, so we went around the pace we should be doing for an easy/long run. I had a Gu and half a package of Clif Blocks, which was nice. I also took sports drink instead of water on accident, because I filled up at the start and not at home. I was afraid it would bother me, but I was fine.

Next weekend we do an 11 miles run, so I hope my runs this week are quality enough to support that!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Workouts this week

This week, I did the following workouts:

Monday: 4 miles in the morning
Wednesday: 4 miles (speedwork-sort of) after work
Thursday: spin with Chuck!
Friday: 4 miles in the morning

I'm looking forward to the 9 miles long group run this Sunday, even if we will be joining with the half marathon group, and will be down two coaches.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Not so fast Wednesday

Though it was only 95 degrees out yesterday evening, I had trouble with our speed workout. I don't know if it was not drinking enough water before the run, drinking accelerade before the run, or the fact that last time it was this hot out, we didn't do the speed part of the workout- but I was hurting.

I did the first few 2 minutes of speed (and 2 minutes of easy) well, but after maybe 8 or 10 minutes of speedwork in the heat, I was done. I alternated slow and a little less slow the rest of the way, slogging through an upset stomach to boot.

Oh well. I hope tomorrow morning's run is better!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Vegan runners

I came across an interesting article this morning about ultramarathoner Scott Jurek, who also happens to be vegan. The article details the extreme amount of (healthy) food he consumes daily to support his 140-mile a week schedule.

I'm especially impressed because I actually stopped being a vegetarian when I started running more regularly. I was up to maybe 15 miles a week (not much, I know), and I just couldn't eat enough. I must admit that I didn't do a very good job of varying my protein sources, and I could have done much better research on how to support my athletic efforts. But the bottom line for me was that, at 110 pounds, I was nearly anorexic from not consuming enough calories to support my running. So I started eating meat.

Four years later, I don't regret this decision. I do enjoy meat. But I know it isn't good for me, and I eat vegetarian or vegan for lunch (and breakfast) most days. I do feel a twinge of regret for giving up so easily on my vegetarian lifestyle, and admire people who can be great athletes and great eaters, making a healthy vegan (or vegetarian) diet for themselves that supports their running.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Week Four Summary

The fourth week is complete! Here are my stats:

Miles run this week: 20
Total marathon training miles: 60
Total Miles in 2010: 362

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday: Tempo Run!

This morning we did our first tempo long run, which the training program calls "Steady State." My pace was listed in my chart as 8:10-8:24 per mile. The workout was 2 miles warm up, 4 miles at the steady state pace, and 2 miles cool down. Here is our approximate route:

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Man was I tired when I finished! My warm up was around 9:15 per mile, and my first two tempo miles averaged 7:50. Oops- too fast! I was trying to keep up with the group I ran with last week, who were about 20 feet ahead of me most of the run. The third tempo mile was 7:51, then 8:15, and my cool down miles were 9:07 and 9:26. I finished with four strides and stretching.

So overall, I did a good job. I went a bit too fast, but I did just fine and didn't feel too stretched during the run. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Feeling the heat

Yesterday it was a record 108 degrees in Sacramento. I was anxious about the Wednesday workout, both because of the heat and because it was supposed to be half mile speed with short breaks. How would I do that in the heat?

About a third of the group showed up to the workout, and we were told to not worry about mileage, and run loops about part of the park for 25 minutes, then stretch and be done. Man was it hot. We stayed mostly in the shade, but even my water was boiling.

I think I did around 3 miles, but it could have been a bit less. I'm calling it 3 though. I have to have something to write down.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Gym disappointment

I have been going to spin at least twice a week for about the past two months. When I started, they were using fill-in instructors since the usual instructor had moved. They got different instructors for the three weekly classes, two of whom I really like.

Connie's class on Tuesdays is great, and Chuck's on Thursday is really challenging and fun. Three weeks ago, Tuesday was canceled. Connie works nights and didn't wake up to drive from Fairfield. Last week, Tuesday was canceled again. I ended up doing the elliptical for 30 minutes, which is not as good.

Yesterday, I called in advance to see if there would be class. They told me they let Connie go because she hadn't shown up several times. Now there is no Tuesday spin class! Boo!

I'm pretty disappointed in the gym, because they really just haven't found permanent instructors since the last person left. Getting someone to drive in from Fairfield doesn't seem like a fantastic solution in the first place- there is always traffic. And now, they have just canceled the class! I was counting on having spin Tuesdays and Thursdays to do my cross training, running M/W/F and Sunday, and having Saturday off. Now, I have to decide how to reorganize my schedule. I really get a lot out of spin, and don't want to move back to weights or rely on the elliptical. I also don't really like the Saturday class, or being at the gym early on the one day I can sleep in all week.

I hope they get a new instructor soon for Tuesdays,  because this really messes me up!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Week Three Summary

The third week is complete! Here are my stats:

Miles run this week: 19
Total marathon training miles: 40
Total Miles in 2010: 342

Third Sunday Workout: 7 miles

This Sunday's workout was in Natomas. We started out at the Natomas Racquet Club, ran down to the American River Trail, out 3.5 miles and back. This is the course:

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Since we got our pace charts, I really wanted to stick to my 9-10 minute per mile easy/long run pace. I fell in behind a group of guys who are usually a bit faster than me, and did all the miles between 9 and 9.5 minutes per mile. After the run, we did two strides, then stretched.

When I finished the run, I wasn't tired at all. I am used to going fast during long runs, totally wearing myself out. I could have run more! Later in the day, I was just as sore as usual, telling me that the distance was challenging. I think I am getting closer to doing workouts how I am supposed to.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Workouts this week

This week has gone pretty well so far. Here are my workouts this week:
Monday: Ran 3 miles, at around 8pm, near home
Tuesday: 30 minutes on the elliptical because spin was cancelled
Wednesday: 5 mile group run (2 miles of speed intervals)
Thursday: spin with Chuck!
Friday: Ran 4 miles in the morning near home.

I really didn't want to get out of bed this morning, but I kept my easy run pace of between 9 and 10 minutes per mile. I'm glad I don't have to go tonight.

Tomorrow is my day off, and Sunday will be a 7 mile group run in Natomas!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Second Wednesday Workout (speed)

Wednesday was the second speed workout day, and we followed the same course as the first: once around the ball fields, once around the golf course, and then once again around the ball fields. This week, we did one minute of speed and one minute off, instead of last week's thirty second intervals. I did a better job of doing an actual warm up, and so the speed intervals were much more productive.

At the end of the speed session, I followed a group during the cooldown. We ended up going twice around the ball fields for cooldown instead of once, so I added close to an extra mile. I followed them mainly because the coaches said last week some folks cut the course short, and I wanted to be sure not to do that.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pace Chart

The pace chart is here! The pace chart is here!

I received the anxiously-awaited pace chart in my email this afternoon, and it was somewhat surprising. According to my two-mile timed assessment, my predicted race times are the following:

1 mile: 6:40
5k: 23:08
10k: 48:04
Half Marathon: 1:46:55
Marathon: 3:45:29

Wow! I knew that my lack of real training was limiting my race speeds, but I was hoping to do the marathon in 4 hours. According to the pace chart, I should be able to do it in 3:45 if I train correctly.

This begs the question, why not 3:40? That would qualify me for the Boston Marathon. I will see how training goes, and if stepping it up even a bit more would be possible. I don't want to be greedy or set unattainable goals, but that sure would be awesome if I qualified for Boston in my first marathon.

I think the Urban Cow Half Marathon is the next assessment, so we may get revised charts after that, or at least be able to track progress by comparing the time estimate to the actual time.

Monday, August 16, 2010

First casualty

My first casualty of the training season is upon me. After my river trail run yesterday, I noticed a red, itchy patch on my left leg. I confirmed today with an outdoorsy colleague- I have my first case of poison oak.

I'm usually not careful about brushing up against bushes when I run, and I guess I should be. The good news is, it is only about the size of a nickel. I won't be able to wear pants or shave that part of my leg for a week or two, which stinks. On the plus side, I'll be forced to wear dresses, which I love but don't do often enough.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Week Two Summary

At the end of my second week of training, here are my stats:

Miles run this week:16
Total marathon training miles: 21
Total Miles in 2010: 323

Assessment Run

This morning started at 6:30AM with an (optional) form clinic. I did pretty well- they said I should move my arms more, which I am pretty sure I do when I'm actually running and not being watched. My posture, foot strike and turnover is pretty good. They said to time footstrike for 30 seconds, and try to get close to 40 to 45 on one side per 30 seconds. That equates to 180 or so per minute overall, which is the ideal rate for any distance.

Today was the first assessment. We started out at the same part of Land Park, running up to the levee and about 1.5 miles total to Le Rivage hotel. They marked a mile back north on the trail (toward Miller Park), and we did a times out and back 2 mile run. I ran with the first group, which was people timing themselves.

As usual, there was one girl and about 10 guys out in front of me. This time, two other women ended up passing me- one who was there last week and probably pacing better than I was, and one who was new. I came in fourth (not that it is a race) in the self-timing group, and then ran the 1.5 miles back to Land Park.

My two mile assessment time was 14:15.

I'm really excited to get my pace chart, and start working on longer runs!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

First Wednesday Workout

Yesterday, I had my first Wednesday evening group workout, and it was a speed workout. We started in the same place at Land Park, and did a warm up mile around the baseball fields:

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We started the speed work at the entrance to the Fairytale Town parking lot, and did 30 seconds speed 30 seconds moderate for two miles, around the golf course:

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Then a mile cool down around the baseball fields, followed (of course) by stretching.

I went out a bit too fast again in the warm up, and struggled with the speed after a few cycles. I may have also struggled because I was working hard and not walking during the 30 seconds of moderate pace (like some were). It was fantastic to have my watch beep at me to speed up- it really kept me honest.

I ran alone again, but having the rest of the group out is motivating. Plus, I am fine with the 10 or so guys and one girl being ahead of me, but I do try to keep ahead of the rest of the group.

So far, training has gone well. Here is a summary of the week so far:
Monday: 3 miles easy in the morining
Tuesday: spin (moderate) after work
Wednesday: 4 miles with the group after work

And today will be a hard spin class with Chuck!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Week One Summary

I plan on doing a weekly summary post for my training, and in the spirit of completeness, I will begin with this first week (even though it included only one day of training).

Miles run this week: 5
Total marathon training miles: 5
Total miles in 2010: 307

I reached 300 for the year on the first mile of a 3 mile 8PM run around McKinley Park with John last Friday. A run that I completed slowly, because we ate pasta with sausage only an hour and a half before the run.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

First day of training

I got up bright and early at 5:45 this morning for the first day of my training program. I had my coffee and cereal, and was to Land Park by 6:50. Everyone was very quiet this morning. After a brief introduction to the program, we began our first training run at about 7:05. From the starting point (around 13th Avenue and Land Park) we headed down 13th Avenue to Riverside, then over the freeway to the river trail. From there, we ran to Miller Park, turned around and came back.

Here is the course we took:

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Ignore the weird loop near Riverside and the freeway. Google added it to get me to the bike trail and wouldn't let me take it off.

From the start, I was close to the front of the group (which seemed to be about 50 people). I ended up about 20 feet behind a group of about 5 guys, and was passed by one girl about half a mile in. I was going a bit faster than normal, which I will have to work on. I have to remember that it isn't a race, it is training!

At the overpass, I fell a little further behind. Throughout the run, I kept the pace, with about 5 or so more guys passing me before the end. Unlike most of the group, I was alone for most of the run.

I ended up finishing the 5 miles in a little over 42 minutes, a bit faster than I usually go for a Sunday run. That was fine for today, but I will have to work on toning that down for future longer runs.

The course was very pretty. I liked it a bit better than the American River Parkway, but that might be because it wasn't a crowded race so I got to look at the river more.

Back at the park, we did stretching for 10 minutes or so, which was great. I need to work on that! All in all, I'm glad I joined the program, and I'm looking forward to the next workout!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Fighting mediocrity

I just read an interesting article mentioned in RW Daily (Runner's World's daily blog) about mediocrity in running. The premise is that today, any ambulatory person can run; to be celebrated, one must only complete a short race. Real accomplishments, such as fast times, are sought by few. The article, Nice Guys (and Girls) Finish Last, can be read here.

I have often noticed this trend in my short time running. Everyone does 5ks and 10ks, and touts themselves as a Runner. Many seem to not care about time, running etiquette, or improvement. Sometimes, I feel that my (small) accomplishments mean nothing when mixed in with this milieu.

This is not to say that I am a fantastic and accomplished runner. I am not. However, I am far from the recreational 5k-er that might walk half the race. I average close to a race per month, and train at least at a moderate level. I've worked to improve my times a lot in the past year, and constantly work to get better.

A few things resonated with me about this article, and made me think of my pet peeves with recreational runners:

1. When I start a race, I expect people to line up at the correct pace markers so that everyone can efficiently (and safely) start the race and get to goal pace. This means that if you plan on walking, DON'T LINE UP AT THE  6 MINUTE PER MILE MARK.

2. During a race, don't make it impossible for faster runners to pass you. (This happened to me a few weeks ago, when a group of about 6 people held hands across a road about 1/4 mile from the finish).

3. If I am talking to someone about doing a marathon, I really don't appreciate my effort being compared to a walk-a-thon fundraiser for cancer. It is not the same thing.