Saturday, December 31, 2011

End of 2011

It is the end of the year, so it is time to look back briefly before moving forward. This year, I accomplished a lot. Here are a few things I'm happy about:

I ran two marathons in under 4 hours.
I ran over 1000 miles, which was my goal.
I ran my first trail race, and placed first in my age group.
I achieved a somewhat respectable PR in the 5k.

There are also a few things I wish I'd done (but didn't):

Set a decent PR in the 10k (would have required running one)
Match my PR in the half marathon (1:43)
Break 1:40 in the half marathon

I think I will have my work set out for me later this weekend setting goals for 2012. I can already think of a few.

Here are my workouts for the last week of 2011:

Monday: 5 from Sutter's Landing, plus cross training
Tuesday: 6 with Buffalo Chips (warm up, 3x mile at 1/2 marathon pace, cool)
Wednesday: 20 minute elliptical and abs
Thursday: 4 on the Parkway from Howe
Friday: 3 easy on Stonegate, after cross training and abs
Saturday: Off

Sunday: doesn't count- it is in 2012!

Miles this week: 18
Miles in 2011: 1042

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Davis Stampede!

John just signed us up for the Davis Stampede Half Marathon, which will be our check-in race before the Rome Marathon. For its' 30th anniversary, the Davis Stampede has added a few nice features.

The half course shares the road a bit less with the 10k this year, and has a new course that circles the golf course. I wasn't a big fan of the course last year, so hopefully the new one will be good. They have also added women's tech shirts! Last year I didn't pay the $5 extra for a tech shirt, since they didn't have women's shirts. I am excited to finally get a shirt from this race that I can wear.

Here is the new course.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve- Done for the Week

This week I took it easy again. My ankle and knee hurt through Tuesday, and I'd rather be lazy now than injured for months. I still haven't forgotten the nagging calf pain that I ran through until it got suddenly sharp- and prevented me from running for months (in 2009). So, I gave myself an out.

The fact that I was able to run three days in a row without significant pain is a good sign. I hope to get back into it next week. Then, also on my new workout program John is supposed to start me on. We'll see how that goes. 

Monday: Off
Tuesday: Off
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: 3 in the morning outside in the cold with John
Friday: 4 in the afternoon outside
Saturday: 7 on the Parkway, easy
Sunday: Christmas+travel=not running

Miles this week: 14
Miles in 2011: 1024

Maybe I can do 26 this week to get to 1050 by the end of the year. I doubt it, but a girl can hope. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Slowly but surely

After giving my ankle a break, I went for a not-so-quick three mile run this morning with John. Cold and windy, but at least I finally got outside. Now it's back to knee pain, but at least my ankle doesn't hurt. Hopefully I can get back to full training by next week!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I'm lazy and don't post as much as I should

It became exceedingly clear to me that I'm lazy on Friday. I mean, I reached 1000 miles for the year (big deal, right?), and I didn't bother to post about it. What is wrong here?

Maybe it is work- I did work until almost 10 Friday night, then again all day Saturday. But I should have posted the instant I got on the computer. I'll do better next time.

Wait, I finally reached 1000 miles! I'm excited about that. I ran 783 last year, so 1000 is a big improvement. Plus, the year isn't over yet!

In other fantastic, but much less consequential, news: I came in third for the year for total miles run at the Fleet Feet Sunday Group! I ran 363 this year with the group. The farthest person went 555, then 510, then me, then 357. John came in fifth at 259 miles. I wonder if they still give out fancy long sleeve shirts for the 300 club. I've seen two guys wearing them, so I know they've done it in the past.

What else did I neglect to write about this week? My left knee still hurts a bit, and my left ankle is pretty bad. I hope it gets better soon, because I won't be able to run much more than ten miles until it does.

Here was my week:

Monday: Off
Tuesday: 3.5 through the Fab 40s with Fleet Feet- to see the Christmas lights
Wednesday: 3 on the treadmill
Thursday: Off
Friday: 2.5 outside in the morning, and boy did my knee hurt
Saturday: Off
Sunday: 10 with the Fleet Feet group/Holiday Classic Race

Miles this week: 19*
Miles in 2011: 1010

Monday, December 12, 2011

This video just might save your life...

This video is thought-provoking, cleverly presented and illustrated, and fascinating. Plus, it just might save your life or the life of someone close to you. Watch it, share it, and live by it.

Thanks, Mark Remy for sharing this!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Weekly Summary

I did manage to get out and do an eight mile run with John at the Fleet Feet Sunday Group. We averaged about ten minute miles, mostly due to my weird left knee pain. I think I slept funny on it last night.

Anyway, obligatory annual mileage tally:

Miles this week: 8
Miles in 2011: 991

With a bit of luck, I'll hit 1000 this week!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Week after CIM- taking it easy

As I mentioned in my race report, I started feeling a bit sick on Saturday before CIM, and felt sick during the race. Normally, I don't get sick. If I feel a bit off, I rest. This has worked for years. Apparently, when you feel a bit sick and run a marathon instead of resting, you get a full-blown cold. Who knew?

I've been sick all week, and have been trudging through a busy work week with important meetings that mean taking half a day off, then working until 8PM. I'm feeling a bit better, but am coughing and having a generally congested time of it. It should pass soon.

On the plus side, I haven't wanted to eat much or drink (alcohol), so I'm not falling into the post-marathon "I can eat whatever I want" phase. Yay for that!

Since I didn't update my annual total for Week 18 after CIM, here is that update:
Miles in 2011: 983

My workouts this week are non-existent at this point. I'm hoping to get out to Fleet Feet on Sunday and do a few good miles.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Race Report: CIM (or, another one bites the dust)

What can I say about the 2011 California International Marathon, my third attempt at the distance? "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." No, that has been used before. How about: "I left it all on the field"? Nope, not that one either. Let us try this one (from my not-so-favorite, Woody Allen): "Eighty percent of success is showing up." Yep, that is a good start.

As I mentioned in my last post, I woke up Saturday with a cold. Or the beginnings of a cold. My throat was tight, but I didn't yet have a fever, headache, cough, etc. So it would still be fine if I ran the marathon, right? On Sunday morning, I was not so sure. I didn't sleep very well, and was near delirium when I got up at 3:30AM. I couldn't decide what to eat, I felt awful, I was tired. But I went anyway. On the bus to the start in Folsom, I wasn't sure how much longer I could stay awake. When we finally arrived at the start, it was so cold I thought I might freeze.

But at 6:55 or so, I took off my jacket, packed it in my gear check bag, and lined up at the start. I felt better, at least a little bit. And ready to run.

The first half went pretty well. I got through Folsom, the outskirts, and Fair Oaks just fine. I kept a stead 8:35-8:50 or so pace, well within my goal of 8:45 overall (for a 3:50 finish). I felt good. At the hour mark, I forgot to take my Day Quill, but I remembered about twenty minutes later. I kept taking my Gu and drinking water about when I should.

My average time for the first 5.9 miles was a too-fast 8:25 per mile, well under my goal pace. I figured this was okay, due to the downhill of the first few miles. I got to the halfway point at 1:53, for 8:37 average to that point, which was well within my goal of finishing in 3:50.

Things went downhill from there, pun intended. By the 20 mile mark, I was at 2:58:14, or 8:54 average pace. At that point, it was still possible to come in within a good range of my second goal, around 3:55.

Well, the last 10k was not my friend, to say the least. I really started to feel the effects of my cold, and just couldn't get back to my goal speed of 8:45, or even the slow end of my speed range, 9:00 per mile. I was checking my watch, seeing my speed slowing, and trying to pull it back in, but I just couldn't seem to maintain. At the H Street Bridge, the 3:55 group came and went, though I did stay with them for a mile or so. I was fine with that. I don't need to PR every race, especially with a cold.

John made a good assessment of my running issues yesterday after the race. I am a bit of a quitter. I can go out a train and get a good time in a race, but usually just when conditions are right. At CIM last year for example, I felt sick, and I just couldn't mentally come to terms with the ten miles I had left to run, so I walked them. I probably could have physically run, but mentally I gave up. Yesterday, this was not the case. I didn't quit, for once.

I haven't looked at my Garmin results, but I know that I did the last half much slower than the first, and I ran the last 10k well below my goal. But I kept running, and I made sure that I kept enough speed up that the 4:00 pace group wouldn't pass me (or that I could hang on to them if they caught me). Once I saw the park, I picked it up, and that really made the difference. I don't know how much faster I ran in that last half mile or so, but I know that it helped me come in twenty seconds under the four hour mark. And that 20 seconds is everything!

The bottom line is, I could have done better, had I not been sick. I actually was pretty well prepared. But I was sick, so I didn't get a PR. But I also didn't quit, which helped me at least finish under four hours. I call that a victory.

For the books, here are my results:
Chip time: 3:59:40
Average Speed: 9:09/mile

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Race Strategy, Race Prep

Race Strategy
Ah, the all important time when I figure out what the *$#@ I'm doing in the race! I have been ignoring the fact that I have a marathon coming up for the most part- I've done my miles, but I've been taking it easy on pre-race strategizing so far. It is time for that to change.

Of course, I would like to PR tomorrow. Who doesn't want to PR in every race, right? To do that, I would need to finish in under 3:56:44. That means better than 9:01 per mile. But I really don't want to have that number in my head. I want a more ambitions number, with 9:01 as the top of my pace range.

The questions is, then, what is a goal that I would like to achieve, that isn't far from  reality for my training and my recent 2:55 finish (8:45/mile) at the Clarksburg 20? If I go with my Clarksburg pace, I would finish in 3:49:24. That would actually be fantastic. I would love to finish in under 3:50. I wasn't completely dead at the end of Clarksburg, so perhaps 8:45 is an achievable pace for CIM.

So here we go with goals:

Goal 1: Finish under 3:50 (8:45/mile pace)
Goal 2: Finish under 3:56:44 (new PR- 9:01/mile)
Goal 3: Finish under 4:00 (9:09/mile pace)

Are those goals ambitious enough? My gut feeling is yes. When I add in the fact that I could hardly swallow when I woke up this morning (which resolved with a full dose of DayQuill), I think those goals are just fine.

Here are splits for Goal 1.

Race Prep
Tomorrow will have a high of 60, low of 39, and it should be sunny. Shorts, short sleeve shirt, hat and sunglasses. I'll still have to figure out how to see in the morning, and have sunglasses with me (too dark to wear before sunrise), but I will manage I think.

The pre-race food plan is to eat when I get up- maybe toast or a waffle. Take a pre-cooked portion of  oatmeal with me, plus a banana. Eat that "real" breakfast around 5:45, when I should be just getting to the start on the bus. I think I'll take coffee with me on the bus, but I will need to find disposable cups to accomplish that.

During the race, I will have Gu at 2 miles, Gu Chomps at 7 miles, Gu at 12, Chomps at 17, and Gu again at 22 miles. I'll keep those in my water belt, which I'll use most of the time. Since it only holds 20 ounces, I'll use the aid stations as well.

Okay, I think I'm ready! Marathon 3, here I come!

Spectator Guide- You Know You Want To!

I compiled and shared this information last year, so I figured I might as well do it again this year. It may be silly, because I doubt anyone reads this blog but me, and John doesn't need spectator information since he is doing the relay tomorrow. Anyway, here goes.

First off, here is a map of the entire course:

Next, a link to road closure information. Very important.

The list of CIM-recommended spectator locations is on this page. On the list, Oak Avenue and Fair Oaks, Old Town Fair Oaks, Fair Oaks and Manzanita, Loehmann's Plaza, and the finish at the Capitol. Plus, of course, anywhere on J Street before Alhambra, or L Street from Alhambra to the Capitol.

Of course, the CIM provides live runner tracking again this year. It is available here. My bib number is 1022.

Friday, December 2, 2011

This Week's Carbs

On Monday, John and I enjoyed extra carbs from Icing on the Cupcake. Here are some mediocre pictures of our sweet treats:
John: Chocolate Snowball
Me: Chocolate Hazelnut

On Tuesday, I enjoyed both extra carbs and Vitamin C! Yes!

On Wednesday, I baked a loaf of Pumpkin Bread, from a recipe in The Joy of Cooking. It was scarfed too quickly to get a picture, but here is what remains:

On Thursday, I had both the Fruit Snacks and Pumpkin bread. Double the cards, double the fun!

On Friday, I made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies!

On Saturday, to top it all off, John got us more cupcakes from Icing on the Cupcake. What a sweetie. Two for Saturday, two for after the race. Yum!
Clockwise from top left: Chocolate Chip, Gingerbread, Egg Nog, Peanut Butter Chocolate.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Last Week of Workouts (Week 18 Summary)

Tuesday, I ran with the trusty Buffalo Chips. Our workout was 15 min easy, 4 x 20 sec strides, 8 x 300 min fast/1 min easy, 15 min slow jog to cooldown.

Thursday, John and I ran 3 miles slow down Stonegate, after a large pasta dinner.

Friday, John and I ran 3 miles slow down Stonegate, before breakfast. Only one person tried to run us over!

Saturday, I'll practice sitting on my butt and watching TV/reading, in anticipation of Sunday afternoon's grueling program of recovery.

Before CIM, here are my totals:
Miles this week: 10
Miles in 2011: 957 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Begin the Carb-Load: Apple Hill

John and I took a trip up to Apple Hill yesterday, and unofficially began my carb-loading for CIM. Now, we didn't plan the trip for this purpose, but it worked out very well.

We started with an 11AM stop at Boeger Winery. Tasty wines created warm holiday cheer, and we even bought some to enjoy after our pre-race alcohol fast ends.

Next, we stopped at Abel's Apple Acres, a huge facility featuring fresh-baked apple treats (pie, turnovers, fritters, etc.), apple products (jams, sauces, butter, etc.), as well as crafty gift shopping and a barbeque stand for lunch. They had pony rides and games for the little ones as well. We started our day of sugar carb-loading with a fritter and a slice of strudel. Delicious!

Next, it was on to the highly-acclaimed Fudge Factory Farm, amidst the many attractions of High Hill: more apple and apple-product vendors, apple wine and beer, crafts, and even a fishing hole! We had some tasty fudge (double chocolate and mocha cappuchino), as well as an apple donut. Yum times two!

Our next stop was for lunch, and a cold brewed beverage at the Jack Russell Brewing Company. We shared a tri-tip sandwich, and each had a pint (IPA for me, Scottish Ale for John) and a 4 ounce sample (Blueberry Ale for me, Belgifornia for John). The Brewery has a nice outdoor seating area and a fresh kettle corn vendor (too bad we ran out of cash before I bought some).

We stopped by Denver Dan's to pet the Alpacas (yes, really), then made our last stop at Grandpa's Cellar for a slice of apple pie to share, and the obligatory purchase of apple-products.

I was so stuffed full of sweets that I had trouble eating dinner (well, almost), and had a bit of a rough time on the first few miles of our run this morning. But the trip was great! Apple Hill was beautiful, and the goods were tasty. I will be glad to go back next year!

My next carb-loading splurge may just be this:
Photo credit:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Week 17 Summary

Monday: off
Tuesday: 6+ with Buffalo Chips (strides, 2x1000 hard, 2 miles MP)
Wednesday: off
Thursday: 4 on Stonegate with John (pre-eating, of course)
Friday: 5 fast on Stonegate
Saturday: off
Sunday: 7 with the Fleet Feet Group

Miles this week: 22
Miles in 2011: 947        

I have one week to go until CIM, and I think I'm getting excited. I bought my race-day Gu and Gu Chomps today, and I think I have my outfit picked out!

I'll miss 1000 miles completed for the year pre-CIM, but I'll get that done by the Sunday after the race.


I'm officially in full-taper-mode, but for some reason, I just feel like I'm taking a break from running. Sure, I went to Buffalo Chips yesterday and did six miles (strides, 2-1000s hard, and 2 miles at Marathon Pace), but with the shorter weekday runs, and very short "long" Sunday runs, I just feel like I'm not training.

I have almost forgotten that CIM is the Sunday after this one. Yikes! I have to remind myself of it constantly. Maybe it is my hectic schedule at work, or the fact that I'm not going for a PR this time, just trying to finish under four hours. I don't know what it is, but I am having trouble thinking of this as a taper- it feel more like a break.

In other news, I'm in full holiday baking mode. Good thing I have a carb-load week coming up!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hilarious Runner's World Cover!

I remember seeing an issue of Runner's World in Bookshop Santa Cruz in college. As a non-runner, I only noticed the magazine because Will Ferrell was on the cover. Looking ridiculous. I figured it must be a joke. I've been telling John about it for years, and finally saw it posted. I had to share:

Photo credit: Runner's World Training Daily Blog (

Week 16 Summary: Begin the Taper

Monday: off
Tuesday: off
Wednesday: 3 on Stonegate with John
Thursday: off
Friday: 6 on Stonegate
Saturday: off
Sunday: 10 with Fleet Feet Group

Miles this week: 19
Miles in 2011: 925

The race is in two weeks!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Congratulations John!

The two of us before the race

My fantastic husband John finished his first half marathon at the Clarksburg Country Run on Sunday. He has been running longer than I have, but just started running regularly late last year. He has been sweet enough to accompany me on a few of my medium long runs this fall (including a 15 miler a month or so back), even though he wasn't training for a race himself.

John and I decided to do the Rome Marathon next March, so he had planned to do the Davis Stampede in February. After a weekend trail race he wanted to do filled up before he signed up, John decided to run Clarksburg on Thursday. Three days before the race!

All smiles before the race.
Of course, John runs a few times a week, placed in his last 5k, and is generally a fantastic athlete. But signing up for a half marathon on a whim is always a gamble. Knowing this, John set his sites low: finish under 2 hours.

I was thinking about John and his race during my 20 mile race, which started 25 minutes before his. I knew he would do well. After I crossed the finish line, I found out that he did better than well.

John, the overachiever, finished his first half marathon, without specifically training, in 1:43:08! That is a full 8 seconds faster than my PR! I'm so happy for him, and happy that now if I want to set a new PR, I just have to ask John to pace me.

Of course, I have to include a photo of what John looked like after the race:

Race Report: Clarksburg Country Run 20 Miler

Yesterday, I did my last 20 mile run of 2011 CIM training, and finished my first 20 mile race. It was the Clarksburg Country Run 20 Miler, and it went very well!

I started out a few days before the race, thinking about what my goals should be. I have been struggling a bit with my training this season, and didn't do as well in the Urban Cow half as I had wanted. My speed training hasn't been as solid as it was last year, and my long runs have been a bit more leisurely than they have been in the past. I decided that I should go for a pace at the Clarksburg run that would get me in at CIM in around my time for Napa: 8:58 per mile, or 3:55 for a full marathon.

I started the race with 8:58 per mile or better in mind. If course, at the start it was difficult to go that slowly. I was being passed left and right by people who started at the same place in the start, then sped up after a half mile or so. But that was fine. I kept my pace between 8:35 to 8:45 for the most part, careful not to go too fast, but not making myself stay to 8:58 exactly.

The first ten miles or so were easy. I enjoyed the scenery, and I was very comfortable. It was easy to keep the pace under 9, despite the fact that I've been trying for that in my 20s in previous weeks, and haven't been able to. I guess a race will do that. It was really nice to have a pace that was really comfortable, and that allowed me to stay solid. I wasn't struggling, or taking it easy.

Around the half marathon mark, I had to check my watch more often to stay on pace. A tailwind made it a bit more difficult to stay on target, but I managed. Around 15, the fun started. I started passing the folks who went out fast and were gradually slowing down. Unlike most of my races, I passed a good number of people, and only got passed by two people in the last few miles.

Adding to my solid last few miles, I had the unique pleasure and confidence booster of passing the back of the pack half-marathoners who were still on the course. Most were run-walking or running at a pretty slow pace. It is always nice to zoom past people.

I didn't keep my goal pace in miles 17 and 18, when my pace crept just above 9 minutes. The headwind was strong, and I think I kept the same level of effort but didn't manage to keep my speed consistent. I sped up in the last mile, and finished very strong.

I was a little sad that I came in 4th in my age group (20-29) by only 40 seconds. I think it was one of the two women who passed me in the last two miles. It is a bit of a consolation that if the age brackets had been in five year increments, I would have been 2nd in 25-29 (to the person who beat me by 40 seconds).

Overall, it was a great race. I ran my fist really consistent race ever, keeping my goal pace throughout. I think 8:58 or faster is a good goal for CIM, and it would put me in around 3:55. I think I have a plan!

Here are my Garmin results:

Detroit: A Surprisingly Beautiful Run

I was in Detroit for a conference last week, and had been apprehensive to run outside. Mostly, I was afraid it would be too cold. I was also worried that there wouldn't be anywhere good to run downtown near the hotel. My fears were unfounded.

Photo credit:
The Detroit Riverwalk is located directly outside the Renaissance Center, where I stayed. It goes about a half mile east, and 3 miles west down the Detroit River, which separates Detroit from Windsor, Canada. The Riverwalk is relatively new, well paved and lighted, and has plenty of amenities like benches, trash cans, and interactive signage. From a planning perspective, it is very well done.

From a running perspective, the Riverwalk is only slightly less spectacular. The Riverwalk doesn't go continuously west; in a few places, you have to go to the next street and back to the river. This is fine, but the first time I ran it is got a bit frustrating to go a quarter mile out to the water and then hit a dead end.

The weather was great- not any colder than it has been in Sacramento (maybe 40 degrees). On Tuesday, it was foggy and I couldn't see more than five feet across the water. I ran all the way to Belle Isle, a huge park in the middle of the river. The fog cleared by the time I got back to the hotel, and it was a nice view. Friday, I went out later, and had a great view the whole time.

Detroit, even in early November, gets an A+ as a running location!

Here is my long run on Garmin:

Week 15 Summary

Monday: travel day
Tuesday: 8 miles on Detroit waterfront
Wednesday: off
Thursday:5 miles on treadmill
Friday: 5 miles on Detroit waterfront
Saturday: off
Sunday: Clarksburg Country Run 20 miler- 2:55:59

Miles this week: 38
Miles in 2011: 906  

Now, time to taper! 3 weeks until CIM!

Time to retire my nasty shoes

After 500 miles, these shoes are toast!
I waited until after Clarksburg to retire my shoes, so I would have well under 100 miles on my new shoes when I run CIM. It was difficult to hold off on wearing the new shoes, because they have been in my closet for well over a month. The time has come, and now I get to break out my new shoes!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Week 14 Summary

Monday: plyometrics
Tuesday: 6 miles speedwork with the Chips
Wednesday: off
Thursday: off
Friday: 7 miles on the Parkway (from H Street Bridge)
Saturday: 20 miles on the Parkway starting at Howe
Sunday: 7 miles with Fleet Feet Group

Miles this week: 40
Miles in 2011: 868 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

So far this week...

...I've only run once!And it is already Thursday!

I did a great job last week of getting all my runs in. This week, I'm not off to a fantastic start, but I hope to make up for it.

I did go to Buffalo Chips on Tuesday, but was late and missed half the warmup (minus one mile from my total goal). I did the workout, and it left me exhausted, which is fantastic (see this post for why).

Here was the workout:  Tuesday Night Speedwork - Warm up 15 min, 3 x 400 hard (200 recovery), 3 min jog, [1 mile @ gmp, 800 @10k pace (2 min recovery)] x 2, cool down. 

I took yesterday off completely due to an early morning meeting and an evening event. This morning's early meeting prevented me from doing my customary Thursday AM run, and I doubt I'll have the energy for 8 after work. But, I have a half day tomorrow, so I should be able to get in a good quality medium long run after lunch!

This weekend, I plan to do my long run (20 miles) on Saturday, then a recovery run of 8 or so miles Sunday. Then I'll prepare for my week of running in Detroit!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Week 13 Summary

Monday: off
Tuesday: 8 miles along Pacific Ocean
Wednesday: off
Thursday: 7 miles before work (in the dark)
Friday: off
Saturday: 16 along Parkway
Sunday: 7 miles with Fleet Feet group

Miles this week: 38
Miles in 2011: 828

I actually did exactly what my training plan said to do this week! Well, I did switch the order of the last two runs, but I did the mileage. That might be a first this fall. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pacific Grove: What a Beautiful Place

Photo credit:
I had the opportunity to run eight miles along the Pacific Ocean in Pacific Grove on Tuesday morning, after the cold fog had mostly cleared. It was beautiful.

I stayed at the Asilomar Conference Grounds for the Rural Housing Summit, and wasn't sure if I'd be able to run while I was there. I didn't know what facilities will be available at this pseudo-camp facility, and I was pleasantly surprised to find a decomposed granite trail along the beach once I left the conference grounds and crossed the road towards the ocean.

Photo credit:
I was scheduled to do eight miles, but had decided that I'd be fine with four if there wasn't a good place to run. I went out, expecting the trail to end and force me onto the windy, oceanside road. But it didn't really (it ended a few time, but picked back up a few yards later). So I kept running, and turned around at about four miles, after running around the curve of the Monterey peninsula.

Photo credit:
Waves crashing, beautiful landscaping, and well-kept trails. I was in vacation running heaven.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Week 12 Summary

Monday: off
Tuesday: 6 miles speedwork with Buffalo Chips
Wednesday: off
Thursday: 4 miles easy before work
Friday: 7 (9min pace)
Saturday: off
Sunday: 10 miles (9min pace) with Fleet Feet group

Miles this week: 27
Miles in 2011: 790

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Need to get faster, be motivated

Again, I went to Buffalo Chips this Tuesday and ran with the C group. I kept up well most of the time, but didn't really feel that I was being challenged to go fast. When I wasn't keeping up, it was because I was tired, I'd had a bad day and didn't care, not because it was too difficult of a pace to maintain.

The challenge is that I don't want to join the B group and not be able to keep up (like, actually be unable to keep up, but ne lazy). I'm not as concerned with looking like a fool, as I am concerned about slowing down or annoying the group. I don't really feel like I'm part of the group yet (and I haven't officially joined), so I'm not comfortable being a nuisance.

The solution seems to be to be motivated and push myself more. I just need to have the willpower to do it (and not be too depressed from my string of bad days).

Here was our workout on Tuesday: 1.5-2 mile warm up/6 x 800′s with 400 recovery/1-2 mile cool down

Monday, October 17, 2011

First Twenty This Fall

Yesterday morning, I was determined to do my first twenty miler of the fall. After being a bit of a slacker about my workouts, I was anxious about how it would go. I got up super early (okay, 5:45, but it felt early) and left for Howe at around 7.

I got out on the Parkway around 7:20, with the sun just up and clouds still covering the sky. I wore my glasses instead of sunglasses, which was a bummer when it was sunny by mile 5 or so. But the air was crisp, and I actually felt great. I started out at a good clip, and only slowed when I ran into someone I knew from the gym and CIM training last year, and ran with her for a few miles.

I was ecstatic throughout the run. I felt great, the miles flew by, and I generllay didn't feel as worn down as I have in previous weeks. It helped to be on a familiar part of the Parkway (after being confused in Folsom last week), and it helped that the weather cooperated.

I started to feel pretty crummy around mile 18. Perhaps it was the fact that I planned my Gu intake wrong: 6 miles, 12 miles, and 18 miles? What was I thinking? I ended up skipping the last Gu, because it seemed pointless by then. Perhaps, it was the fact that I jumped from 16 to 20 without doing 18 in the middle. Or, perhaps it is just that 20 miles is really f###### far! Who knows!

But the bottom line is, I did 20 miles, in 3:15 (or 9:50 average overall), which is a solid start for my high mileage training. I'll set goals for my next set of long runs, but for now I'll take comfort in the fact that I still can run that far without keeling over.

Weekly Summary: Week 11

This week I only got three runs in, but two were great quality. I'm happy that I did my first twenty miler for this fall's training. More on that later.

Monday: off
Tuesday: 7 miles speedwork with Buffalo Chips ( warm, strides, 5x1200 w/200 jogs, jog 5 min., strides, cool)
Wednesday: off
Thursday: 3 miles easy after work
Friday: off
Saturday: off
Sunday: 20 miles on the Parkway

Miles this week: 30
Miles in 2011: 763

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Look what we just signed up for!

Visualizza Maratona di Roma: racecourse 2011 in una mappa di dimensioni maggiori

Hint: it is the Rome Marathon!

1200s are brutal

I dutifully went to the Buffalo Chips Tuesday speed workout this week, and did a set of grueling 1200s. I'm still running with the C group, and continuing to be challenged. Maybe if I keep it up, I'll be faster in time for CIM.

The workout this week was:
Tuesday Night Speedwork - 1.5-2 mile warm up, 4 x 20 sec strides, 5 x 1200 (.75 miles) at goal 10K pace with 200 (2 min) slow jog recovery, 5 min jog, 4 x 20 sec strides, 1-2 mile cool down

I did 7 miles total, and scarfed Chipotle on the way home. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Weekly Summary: Week 10

Monday: off
Tuesday: 5 miles speedwork with Buffalo Chips (5x600, 200 jogs, jog 3 minutes)
Wednesday: elliptical 30 minutes
Thursday: off
Friday: off
Saturday: 16.25 at about 10 minutes per mile (Nimbus to Dam and back)
Sunday: 6 with Fleet Feet Sunday group

Miles this week: 27
Miles in 2011: 733

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Weekly Summary: Week 9

This week, I did three quality workouts and a race.

Monday: off
Tuesday: 5 miles at Fleet Feet McKinley group
Wednesday: weights
Thursday: 7 miles
Friday: 4 miles
Saturday: off
Sunday: Urban Cow Half Marathon +1 mile warm up

Miles this week: 30
Miles in 2011: 706

Race Report: Urban Cow Half Marathon

Well, now I know that if I'm going to skip the speed part of my speed workouts for two months, that I shouldn't be surprised when I can't keep up with the 1:40 pace leader.

As I mentioned in my last post, I had a hard time determining if I am better trained than last year or not. Overall I'm stronger, but I think the lack of real speedwork was a real hindrance today. I also didn't feel fantastic, but I think a majority of my issue  today was my training.

I decided to go out with the 1:40 pace group. Keep in mind, my PR is 1:43, so 1:40 was ambitious on its face. I held on for about two miles, then really felt the kind of cramp coming on that requires walking. So I slowed down gradually. The 1:45 pace group caught me at about mile 6, right before an uphill. At the uphill, I let them go, and figured I'd try to keep them in my sights, but I wouldn't be heartbroken if I matched my time from my most recent two half marathons (in the 1:46-1:49 range). At least that is a good long run, faster than I'd normally go on a long run.

And I did just that. I didn't really worry about my time, and ran at a somewhat comfortable pace. I felt a little crummy, but tried to maintain in the ballpark of 8 minutes per mile. Coming in towards Land Park (mile 11 or so), I started worrying that the 1:50 group might be close behind.I picked it up a bit, and they didn't catch me.

I came in at a somewhat respectable 1:49:12, or 8:20 average per mile. It is actually my slowest time in a half this year, but only by 18 seconds. So it counts as a good tempo long run.

Now, I need to dedicate myself to speedwork if I plan to have a good race in December.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Race prep

On Sunday, I'll be running the Urban Cow Half Marathon. It is supposed to be a race prediction/tune up race for CIM. The problem is, I've been a bit light in my speed training. I did well at Buffalo Chips last week, but was pretty slim in the speedwork department for the month or so of training before.

What does this mean? My first guess is that I won't achieve a PR, or perhaps even match my time from last year's race (my current PR of 1:43). After considering my training last year versus this year, I'm not as certain.

Last year, I took most of the summer off, and started the CIM training in early August at very low mileage. Plus, I had done a few half marathons and no marathons. I'd never done speedwork before.

This year, I've trained consistently (aside from March and April), run two marathons in the past year (December and March), and consistently kept up my weekend long run mileage at at least 10 miles. Plus, in the past two months I've done much more mileage than I had at this point in my training last year.

So am I better prepared, or worse? Only the race will tell.

Race Goal 1: Break 1:40
Race Goal 2: PR (Under 1:43:13)
Race Goal 3: Under 1:45

Bottom Line: Understand where I am in training, and how hard I need to work for the next two months.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

CIM Training Week 8-ish Summary

I did a pretty good job this week! This was one of my easier weeks in my training plan (6 miles easy four time), but I didn't pay attention to that- mostly because taking it easy this week (before the Urban Cow Half) makes more sense. Here is what I did:

Monday: abs
Tuesday: 5.5 speed work with Buffalo Chips (warm, 12x200 at ~6:15/mile pace with 1 minute recovery, jog 5 minutes, 1 mile at marathon pace ~9:15, cool)
Wednesday: weights and legs
Thursday: off
Friday: 8.5 on the Parkway (in 85-90 degree heat)
Saturday: off
Sunday: 10 on the parkway

Miles this week: 24
Miles in 2011: 676

And as for my goal of running 1000 miles in 2011 (before CIM)... That means about 300 miles plus the CIM by the first week of December.Ten weeks, average of 30 miles a week will do it, and my training plan will get me there before CIM! Yes!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Still alive, but my legs hurt!

I went to Buffalo Chips yesterday after work, and I'm glad I did. The workout was tough, and I slacked a bit, but I think it is a huge improvement over the easy runs I've been substituting for my speed workouts.

The 12x200s were not too bad. I was with the C group, so I was with the group most of the time (as opposed to lagging behind). We averaged about 6:15 per mile pace for the 200s. Then I got a bit fatigued at about repeat nine or so. It was about 95 degrees out, and the one minute rest wasn't really enough. I was happy when the five minute recovery jog came, and even the two miles at marathon pace didn't seem too hard.

I decided to stop at about one mile at marathon pace (okay, a bit slower at around 8:45-9:30, but that's okay for my first try), and did the cool down. I did a total of 5.5 miles in 45 minutes, including warm up and cool down. This includes stopping the watch for the rest breaks, of course.

Not too bad. Now I have to decide my strategy between now and the Urban Cow half. Take it easy (my legs were still tired from Sunday when I went yesterday), or do a long run Sunday then Chips speed workout Tuesday, then take it easy. We'll see.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

World of Pain

That is what I fear I will be in for tonight, if I stick to my convictions and start working out with the Buffalo Chips on Tuesday nights. I think the speed workouts I did with them in the spring really helped my Napa race, and I keep thinking that I should join up, and stick with them for at least the Tuesday speed workouts.

I enjoy the Fleet Feet Group on Tuesdays- and running with John- but I'm slacking on speed work. Meaning, I'm not doing it. And that is bad news. So I think I'll go to the Chips workout tonight.

Here is what I'm in for: "15 min warm-up, 12 x 200 fast/1 min easy (if you are not at workout, you can do 12 x 1 min/1 min easy)  5 min jog, 2 miles at goal marathon pace, 10 min cooldown plus 4 x 20 sec strides at end."

Ouch. I'm not sure if I can even manage that, especially if I stick with the B group they assigned me to earlier this year, Those folks are fast!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Weekly Summary: CIM Training Week 4 (?)

Honestly, I've lost count of how many weeks I've been officially "training" for CIM. I started, then felt I wasn't meeting my goals, so I ran a new training plan and "started" again. Either way, I have at least four weeks under my belt (I think).

Last week (Sept. 12-18) I did the following:

Monday: off
Tuesday: 4 miles at Fleet Feet McKinley group
Wednesday: off
Thursday: 4 miles after work
Friday: 5 miles before work
Saturday: off
Sunday: 15 miles with the Fleet Feet Parkway group

John even ran with me the whole way Sunday! Way to go John for completing his longest run by far, ever! He was such a trooper for running with me, even in the heat. I was his water and Gu sherpa.

Miles this week: 28
Miles in 2011: 652

Monday, September 12, 2011

Weekly summary

I had a very productive week, even while on vacation:

Monday: weights and abs
Tuesday: 4 miles in evening
Wednesday: 5 miles in morning
Thursday: "off" but really walked a lot on vacation
Friday: 5 miles on Seattle Watertfront
Saturday: "off"
Sunday: 12 miles on Parkway

Miles this week: 26
Miles in 2011: 624

Our first real vacation run

John and I always talk about how nice it would be to run in a new city, while on vacation. We will see people running when we're out of town, and think that it looks nice. But then the reality sets in: we'd have to pack a whole extra bag to go running. And we usually walk a lot on trips, so we might not get a good run in anyway, or our walk would be tortourous. So we don't run.

Paris is a good example. How nice would it be to run along the Seine? Around the Eiffel Tower? Down the grand boulevards? But alas, we did not run in Paris. We walked miles and miles each day, and didn't have time to run.

For our trip to Seattle for our anniversary (Number Four!), we decided things would be different. We didn't have much we wanted to accomplish (like we did in Paris), and best of all, our hotel would be close to a nice running trail. So we brought the extra bag, and planned the time. And we went running.

We arrived Thursday morning, and walked maybe five or six miles that day.
On Friday, we got up and went running just after seven. We went down the Harbor Steps, to Alaskan Way, and towards the Olympic Sculpture Garden. Along the way, we ran on the waterfront, past the piers with the cruiseship, ferry boats, and the like. Once we got to the Sculpture Garden, we got on the waterfront trail. We took that along the water, on a nice paved trail with waterfountains and lots of other runners. We saw the views across the Sound, the ships and the far away mountains. It was beautiful.

We ran two and a half miles, then sat at a bench for a while to take in the view. I would never do that on a "real" run, but it was the real purpose of the vacation run. To see something new, something beautiful, while running in a new city. Then we turned back, and ran back to the hotel. Had breakfast in our running clothes. Got ready for our day, and started out our sightseeing recharged and accomplished. What a nice feeling.

Harbor Steps Photo:
Olympic Sculpture Garden Photo:
Waterfront Trail Photo: Flickr User Luton
Here is the route we took:

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


I was reading the new issue of Runner's World a few days ago, and happened across an article on overtraining. I read the general criteria they suggested for determining if one is overtrained, and I met all of them! How is that possible?

I'm tired, irritable, sluggish (heavy legs when running, etc.), and a bit crabby. John suggested this had more to do with the whole picture (i.e. work, other life stuff) than just running. But he also pointed out that I did a three day a week plan for the Napa Marathon, and I'm doing four days a wekk now. Maybe I should think about cutting back...

I have been doing a little bit less on each run (except Sundays)- four instead of five for example. I just feel tired when I run, and I'm so busy that I don't feel like I have enough time. My real downfall will be the lack of speed workouts- I did a bit of a speed workout this morning, but it was nothing compared to what I did last fall.

Maybe I should do quality over quantity- do three workouts- a long, a speed, and an easy. But I still want to keep my mileage up. Who knows.

Another week down...

I guess I forgot to do an update last weekend, with all the Labor Day lounging around. The week of August 29th to September 4, I did...

Miles this week:24
Miles in 2011: 598

Now I need to try to update more often...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

New plan?

 Here is the new plan I ran a minute ago on It looks similar to my current plan, but with a shorter timeline. I think I like it, because I have a few more weeks of 10-12 before the 14-16 milers start...

WEEK 1: 26 Mi
Tue Aug 30 Easy Run Dist: 5 Mi @9:18
Thu Sep 1 Tempo Run Dist: 6 Mi, inc Warm; 4 Mi @ 7:52; Cool
Fri Sep 2 Easy Run Dist: 5 Mi @9:18
Sun Sep 4 Long Run Dist: 10 Mi @9:18

WEEK 2: 28 Mi
Tue Sep 6 Easy Run Dist: 5 Mi @9:15
Thu Sep 8 Speedwork Dist: 6 Mi, inc Warm; 3x1600 in 7:19 w/800 jogs; Cool
Fri Sep 9 Easy Run Dist: 5 Mi @9:15
Sun Sep 11 Long Run Dist: 12 Mi @9:15

WEEK 3: 30 Mi
Tue Sep 13 Easy Run Dist: 5 Mi @9:13
Thu Sep 15 Tempo Run Dist: 6 Mi, inc Warm; 4 Mi @ 7:47; Cool
Fri Sep 16 Easy Run Dist: 5 Mi @9:13
Sun Sep 18 Long Run Dist: 14 Mi @9:13

WEEK 4: 24 Mi
Tue Sep 20 Easy Run Dist: 6 Mi @9:10
Thu Sep 22 Easy Run Dist: 6 Mi @9:10
Fri Sep 23 Easy Run Dist: 6 Mi @9:10
Sun Sep 25 Easy Run Dist: 6 Mi @9:10

WEEK 5: 32 Mi
Tue Sep 27 Easy Run Dist: 5 Mi @9:10
Thu Sep 29 Tempo Run Dist: 7 Mi, inc Warm; 5 Mi @ 7:49; Cool
Fri Sep 30 Easy Run Dist: 4 Mi @9:10
Sun Oct 2 Long Run Dist: 16 Mi @9:10

WEEK 6: 34 Mi
Tue Oct 4 Easy Run Dist: 5 Mi @9:07
Thu Oct 6 Speedwork Dist: 6 Mi, inc Warm; 3x1600 in 7:13 w/800 jogs; Cool
Fri Oct 7 Easy Run Dist: 5 Mi @9:07
Sun Oct 9 Long Run Dist: 18 Mi @9:07

WEEK 7: 36 Mi
Tue Oct 11 Easy Run Dist: 5 Mi @9:05
Thu Oct 13 Tempo Run Dist: 7 Mi, inc Warm; 5 Mi @ 7:45; Cool
Fri Oct 14 Easy Run Dist: 4 Mi @9:05
Sun Oct 16 Long Run Dist: 20 Mi @9:05

WEEK 8: 29 Mi
Tue Oct 18 Easy Run Dist: 7 Mi @9:03
Thu Oct 20 Easy Run Dist: 7 Mi @9:03
Fri Oct 21 Easy Run Dist: 7 Mi @9:03
Sun Oct 23 Easy Run Dist: 8 Mi @9:03

WEEK 9: 38 Mi
Tue Oct 25 Easy Run Dist: 8 Mi @9:02
Thu Oct 27 Tempo Run Dist: 7 Mi, inc Warm; 5 Mi @ 7:42; Cool
Fri Oct 28 Easy Run Dist: 7 Mi @9:02
Sun Oct 30 Long Run Dist: 16 Mi @9:02

WEEK 10: 40 Mi
Tue Nov 1 Easy Run Dist: 7 Mi @9:00
Thu Nov 3 Speedwork Dist: 7 Mi, inc Warm; 4x1600 in 7:06 w/800 jogs; Cool
Fri Nov 4 Easy Run Dist: 6 Mi @9:00
Sun Nov 6 Long Run Dist: 20 Mi @9:00

WEEK 11: 42 Mi
Tue Nov 8 Easy Run Dist: 8 Mi @8:58
Thu Nov 10 Tempo Run Dist: 7 Mi, inc Warm; 5 Mi @ 7:38; Cool
Fri Nov 11 Easy Run Dist: 7 Mi @8:58
Sun Nov 13 Long Run Dist: 20 Mi @8:58

WEEK 12: 23 Mi
Tue Nov 15 Easy Run Dist: 2 Mi @8:55
Thu Nov 17 Speedwork Dist: 7 Mi, inc Warm; 4x1600 in 7:02 w/800 jogs; Cool
Fri Nov 18 Easy Run Dist: 2 Mi @8:55
Sun Nov 20 Long Run Dist: 12 Mi @8:55

WEEK 13: 23 Mi
Tue Nov 22 Easy Run Dist: 5 Mi @8:54
Thu Nov 24 Tempo Run Dist: 5 Mi, inc Warm; 3 Mi @ 7:27; Cool
Fri Nov 25 Easy Run Dist: 5 Mi @8:54
Sun Nov 27 Long Run Dist: 8 Mi @8:54

WEEK 14: 36 Mi
Tue Nov 29 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @8:54
Wed Nov 30 Speedwork Dist: 4 Mi, inc Warm; 2x1600 in 7:01 w/800 jogs; Cool
Fri Dec 2 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @8:54
Sun Dec 4 Marathon Race Day 26.2 Mi @7:57 Time: 3:28:19