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.