Monday, April 30, 2012

San Francisco Marathon Training: Kicking Off With a Race!

I just signed up for a race to kick off my San Francisco Marathon training: the Fair Oaks Sun Run. During the hill workout on Saturday, several people talked about this notoriously hilly race, which is supposed to be a very beautiful course, and a very challenging one. I don't expect to set any records, and I'm glad that this race is a non-standard distance (5 miles) so that I don't feel the need to achieve a certain time. I think finishing this race will help mentally prepare me for training for a (somewhat) hilly marathon, and show me that I can actually run hills in a race without dying. Or at least I hope I can, or I wont be running SF after all! As an added benefit, the race is through Old Fair Oaks, which is near where my mom grew up. I love that part of the CIM course, because I feel that in some way, she is watching me. It will be nice to be out there, thinking of her, while doing this race. Marathon training officially begins Monday, but I will call this race my unofficial start!

Weekly Summary

This week, I took a few days off, but made up for it on the weekend. Two Chips workouts this weekend has made me very sore for Monday. It is fantastic, and I can't wait to follow it up with more great workouts this week!

Monday: elliptical and strength circuit
Tuesday: 6 with Chips- warm up, strides, 3x mile at half marathon pace  with 400 jogscool down
Wednesday: 4 easy on Stonegate
Thursday: Off
Friday: Off
Saturday: 8 mile hill repeat workout from Gold River (hills on Pennsylvania)
Sunday: 12 from Panera on Howe

Miles this week: 30
Miles in 2012: 428

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Conquering the Trail

With the end of Fleet Feet's Sunday group run, I've finally switched over to Saturday long runs with the Chips. Chips group long runs will be great for my training, because Chips tend to be pace-conscious, have goals, and are usually training for a specific race. Plus, most of the Chips I run with are faster than me, which I can always benefit from.

I set out for my first official Chips Saturday long run last weekend, and drove out to the Nimbus Hatchery at lake Natoma. Coach Jen encourages us to incorporate trails in these "Lake Loop" runs, and I expected to go off-road a bit next to the bike trail.

We set out in a large group, and almost immediately were off-road on the decomposed granite paths. These gave way to meandering, narrower paths through think trees, often snaking around a short distance from the bike path. I knew I had to keep up, because with my sense of direction there is no telling if I would make it back to the bike path without the group!

We got to the halfway point in Downtown Folsom, and set out for the path back. I heard talk that we would be going up to the top of the bluff, and I was a bit hesitant. Not wanting to bail on my excellent workout with the group, and knowing I would slow if I did run alone, I fell in line to finish our 12 mile run.

Pretty soon, we were in a steep climb to the top of the bluff. I was thinking- "I thought trail runners walked up hills!" I kept up pretty well, and got to catch my breath while it was simultaneously taken away by the view over the lake. Not too long later, we descended, and took back to the meandering trails before heading up to the Hazel overpass and back to the Hatchery parking lot.

Once we stopped, I was so happy that I was able to hang on for the entire run. I was shocked to hear the others in the group say that they didn't know if they'd make it back- I wasn't the only one who was challenged! This run made me want to start trail running for real. I know a bunch of Chips run the trails regularly, and maybe I can tag along. I just need to be sure to leave my "I can't keep up" attitude at home, and go for it!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Weekly Summary

This week, I officially called my recovery from Rome over, and began my base-building phase. I'm still reading up to determine my training plan for San Francisco, so I'm just trying to get back to a steady mileage until I officially begin marathon training again.

Monday: Still my rest day
Tuesday AM: 20 Minute elliptical
Tuesday PM: 7 with Chips- warm up, strides, 4x 1000 at 10k pace (~7/mile) with 400 jogs, 5 minute jog, 4x 200 fast/200 slow, cool down
Wednesday: 5 easy on Stonegate (8:40ish/mile)--Donated blood Wednesday afternoon
Thursday: Off
Friday: Off
Saturday: 12 on trails around Lake Natoma with Chips
Sunday: 4 easy on Stonegate in the heat

Miles this week: 28
Miles in 2012: 398

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Race Report: Zoo Zoom

When I started training for my first marathon, I pretty much threw shorter distance races out the window. Sure, I ran a 5k or two over the past year and a half, but I really focused on the half and full marathon distances. That strategy left me with a pretty old, and pretty dismal, 10k PR from two years ago. On Sunday, I corrected that.

I signed up for the Zoo Zoom 10k a while back, knowing that it would be an easy race about a month after the Rome marathon, and before running a short race on a Sunday would derail my long run plans. I didn't really train for it, but figured that I would PR if I showed up, since my last 10k was the same race in 2010. The good news for me is that I was right!

My old 10k PR, which earned me third place in my age group, was 49:33, or a sad 7:58 per mile. My half marathon PR is faster than that pace now! I did 7:20 per mile overall in the Valentine 4 Miler, so I figured the 7:30 to 7:45 range would be doable. My bottom line, after a PR, was to break 48:00.

I started out too fast as usual, doing my first mile in 7:23. I followed that up with 7:33, 7:43, then hovered in the mid-7:40s for the remainder. I finished strong in 47:42, at 7:42 per mile average. Apparently the field at this race has improved, because this finish only earned my 7th in my division (19-29 for this event), which netted me no hardware.

All told, I'm glad I have a respectable 10k PR, and hope to keep improving. I'm getting more serious about marathon training this time around, so that should help me improve in all distances.

Photo credit: John Blue, Sacramento Running News

Weekly Summary

Last week, I actually did the whole Chips speed workout! Yay! I'm getting back into it, and preparing to start full training again soon.

Monday: Off
Tuesday: 6 with Chips: warm, 10x300 with 300 jogs, cool
Wednesday: strength circuit and 20 minutes elliptical
Thursday: 3 on Stonegate
Friday: 9 on the Parkway
Saturday: Off
Sunday: Zoo Zoom 10k (47:42, a new PR)

Miles this week: 25
Miles in 2012: 370

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Catching Up

After realizing that I did in fact need to take it easy for a few weeks before jumping in to my next training schedule, I've just been trying to keep up. Keep up the miles to a respectable level, keep up with the Chips in the speed workouts on Tuesdays, and keep up the decent eating.

For the past four weeks or so, I've been keeping up, and now its time to catch up with my race planning. I had 18 weeks until the race a few weeks ago, so it is high time to make my training plan. I decided to take my own advice and do some research (after convincing John to read Hal Higdon during his training for Rome). I read Hal Higdon's Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide, and I ordered Pete Pfitzinger's Advanced Marathoning to read next. I hear good reviews of the more science-based programs in that book, which will build on the basics and common sense provided by Higdon's book.

So, the next few days I'll be catching up, and getting ready to train. And seriously, because this next race has hills!

In the spirit of catching up, here is my weekly summary for last week:

Workouts: Tuesday- 6 miles with Chips (5x800 w/400 jog), Wednesday- strength train and elliptical, Thursday- 5 easy, Sunday- 9 with Fleet Feet Group.

Miles last week: 20
Miles in 2012: 345

Monday, April 2, 2012

Weekly Summary: Another Recovery Week

As much as I wanted to sprint back into training, my body really wanted another easy week after the race. I did a weight/conditioning workout Monday, which left me tired for my (attempted) speed workout on Tuesday. I stopped to cooldown after half the workout! I did 2 sets of 400 5k pace, 400 mp, 400 5k, 400 mp, so it wasn't a lost workout. I did a recovery run of 3 miles Wednesday. Thursday, I felt ill all morning (not enough food?), and Saturday, I had a bad headache all day. Okay, I get it- recover instead of jump back in!

I'll start slow and try to get ready to train by 14 weeks out from the SF Marathon, or 2 weeks from now (if my math and memory serve me).

Miles this week: 13
Miles in 2012: 325