Bird Camp

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When I got the email sometime late last year mentioning the possibly of a Oiselle Team running camp in August, I never could have imagined that Bird Camp (as it was coined sometime in the planning process) would be as amazing as it was. To sum it up, 100ish Oiselle Team runners convened in the spectacular outdoor paradise that is Bend, Oregon for five days of trail running, hiking, yoga, clinics & group discussions with every moment in between filled with fellowship and food. I can’t even begin to thank Sally, Lesko, Lauren, Kate, the wonderful women from Jasyoga, and every other person who put together this outstanding experience. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience (that I hope to experience more than once in a lifetime!).

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Oiselle Teammate Sarah & I coordinated our flights so we could make the long trek from Southern California to Bend together and left out of Orange County, using our 3 hour layover to get an early taste of Oregon craft beer. Upon arrival at the airport, we were enthusiastically greeted by some of our teammates and whisked away to Seven Mountain Resort. That evening was spent getting to know our new roommates (the rooms were condos with multiple beds and rooms) and as many fellow teammates as possible. I shared a room with Amy, who I hadn’t met prior to camp and we became fast friends and spent a lot of the weekend together. Cindi, a hilarious Oiselle Rep from the Chicago area, and Sun, a stylish & incredibly sincere woman from Wisconsin.

Roommates in Blue!

Roommates in Blue! Cindi , Sun, me & Amy

At one point we took over the hotel bar, a sea of excited voices wearing matching Bird Camp sweatshirts. Dinner was followed by welcome speeches, a special talk with pro triathlete Linsey Corbin and an icebreaker activity in small groups. It was fun to finally meet teammates whose blogs I read or who I regularly tweet with or follow on Instagram and equally as great to meet completely new teammates, all of us from different places with different reasons for running but brought together thanks to Oiselle.

Bird Camp Schwag!

Bird Camp Schwag!

Thursday’s main activity was the evening 5k at Deschutes Brewery, but the morning was still busy! We started with an optional 15 minute meditation led by the Jas Yoga ladies and then the Oiselle Team professional runners (aka Little Bird) led us through their warm-up activation exercises (which for many of us seemed like a mini-workout!). Despite the impending evening 5k, I still decided to go out with most of the women and do an easy trail run on the river trail right near the resort. The views were spectacular even on our short 3 mile jog – trails just don’t look like this in coastal San Diego!

Trail Near Camp

Trail Near Camp

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After the run we were in for a morning of learning, starting with Jay Dicharry who spoke about physical therapy and led us through exercises we can do on our own to strengthen and stabilize our muscles for running (this also seemed like a workout at times!). Jay’s presentation was followed by Steph Howe, the recent women’s winner of the 2014 Western States 100 mile trail run. Steph is a nutritionist and spoke about nutrition requirements for runners – thinking about what she must eat during a 100 mile race was pretty entertaining!

oiselle team bird camp

That night we all boarded buses and headed down to downtown Bend for the Deschutes 5k. We were all wearing our brand new 2014-2015 season singlets and the air was thick with excitement. The vibe on the bus was pretty incredible and to steal an analogy from Sarah, it felt like we were all high school teammates headed to an out of town game. The race itself probably deserves its own race report but to sum it up – it was tough but rewarding. It was an incredible feeling to finish with so many teammates cheering my name. The post party (free delicious craft beer!) was a great reward for all of our hard work.

oiselle team bird camp

When I woke up Friday I remember thinking that I couldn’t believe we still had 2 1/2 days left of camp! It was all so incredible so far and I didn’t know how Thursday could be topped. The views from the previous days running were easily surpassed when we arrived at Smith Rock. We broke into three groups – a flatter, medium distance run along the river, a 4 mile, steep hike up the mountain and a 7 mile loop called the Burma Trail with a 1.5 mile steep climb with rewarding views. Most headed for the hike but I wanted to take the challenge of the harder loop as well as experience the epic views.

On our way up the Burma Trail!

On our way up the Burma Trail!

I broke off with a group of about 8 girls in total, and 6 of us stayed together for most of the run. The girls I was running with were definitely faster than me but they stayed back and we took long enough breaks that it didn’t seem like I held them back too much! Not to mention, most of us weren’t trying to break any land speed records the day after a 5k on a hilly trail. During the later part of the run I got to know Susie, a Great Britain native who now resides in Hawaii. As often happened on the trip, we only realized after our run while we were eating our picnic lunch that we already followed each other on Instagram and Twitter (despite having our Twitter handles on our name tags).

Top of Burma Trail

Top of Burma Trail

oiselle team bird camp

Shortly after returning to the resort, we had the privilege of a 45 minute restorative yoga session with Jasyoga. The yoga was gentle and focused primarily on stretching and breathing and was the perfect post-race and post-trail run recovery. My roommates Amy and Jun and I headed to the pool with a large group of other women after yoga for an hour of sun-soaking and chatting. I got to spend a bit more time with the women who make it all happen at headquarters and that the highlight for me (plus seeing all the new Oiselle swim suits in person was pretty awesome).

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As if we needed more exercise, we headed out at 4 p.m. to the field for Lesko’s famous “The Dozen” workout which consists of 12 core/strength exercises done in succession. The final move is a descending set of pushups, starting with 10 and working down to 1 with 20 seconds rest between. Brutal! As soon as the Dozen was over, Lauren Fleshman and Kate Grace led us through various form drills. We had the wonderful privilege of witnessing Fast Kate’s gorgeous stride up close!

Kate Grace in Action!

Kate Grace in Action!

That evening we had a make your own burger bar (and later S’mores!) and Q&A with the elite runners – Kate, Lauren Steph and even Kara Groucher via Skype! I absolutely loved hearing things from their perspective. Throughout the weekend I had the chance to talk to each of these incredible athletes in person and I was so happy to learn that they are normal, down to earth women who are *almost* just like us (just a lot faster….). I got the impression from all of the pro athletes as well as from Sally, Lesko, & Kristin that they would love to have real friendships with us – at one point early in the weekend Lauren said, ‘don’t be afraid to say hi!’ and later when I introduced myself she even told me she knew who I was! Another point in the weekend Lesko named off each of the names of a group of 10 of us who were wading in the river with her. These women care about each and every one of the runners on the team and it was extremely evident in their attitude as well as the thought and hard work they put into putting together this weekend for us.

With Lauren!

With Lauren! #Fangirl

Previewing the Fall '14 Line!

Previewing the Fall ’14 Line!

Saturday morning was the grand finale – the long run! We broke up naturally into groups and headed out on the trail that runs along the Deschutes River, just outside our resort. There were two landmarks suggested as turnaround points – a waterfall/water stop about 5 miles in and a waterfall about 7.5/8 miles in. I decided to go for the longer route. For the first 5 miles I ran with a group of about 10ish women who all just fell into place running together. We chatted and stopped for photos and enjoyed each other’s company. I was shocked at how great my legs felt despite the previous days’ mileage and climbing.

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Around mile 5, the large portion of the group turned back and Holly and I continued on. Luckily it was shortly after that we met up with three more ladies (Robyn, Julia and Jenna) who I had previously talked about going the long route with but had gotten separated from. Oddly enough, we were all wearing the same shade of blue top and the “Blue Birds” as we nicknamed ourselves, ran the remaining miles together, alternating who led the 5 bird pack every 10 minutes. The time flew by as we chatted, ran, and took in the gorgeous scenery. It was one of those long runs that completely reconfirms why you’re a runner (and also why I blog – it brought me these people!).

The Blue Birds!

The Blue Birds!

oiselle team birdcamp

Post run we had a little bit of time to eat lunch and shower before our final Jasyoga season – this time only 30 minutes and again, very, very focused on recovery and stretching. It was the perfect way to recover from the last few days of running. Shortly after, we were all boarding buses and heading into downtown Bend for a free afternoon until our final group dinner and event. A group of us headed to 10 Barrel Brewing company for beer, food and more fun.

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The nighttime event was a great event held at Crows Feet Commons, a cycling  & outdoor adventure store that also houses a coffee house, tap room, and wine bar. The river-front outdoor portion of the store regularly hosts events and we were lucky to enjoy tacos, donuts, and beverages at sunset. There were speeches, awards and finally, a live band which quickly prompted a dance party. The dance party then moved to the nearby bar for more shenanigans.

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oiselle team bird camp

Sunday morning wrapped up the weekend with an optional run (I ran just about 4.5 miles with Amy and Kim) and brunch. A lot of the women were already gone or on their way out while we ate brunch. As I reflected on the weekend, the overarching theme of my thoughts was gratitude. I am so thankful to be a part of this amazing group of women and so happy that I was able to make it to Bend for the first (annual?) Bird Camp. My experience far exceeded my expectations and I’ve come out of camp not only more prepared to grow as a runner, but with a group of women I can call my Oiselle Family with certainty.

The Value of Tune Up Races & Long Beach Marathon Free Race Entry Giveaway

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A Tune-Up Race is a shorter race (or in some cases, a race of equal distance) leading up to your goal race. According to Runner’s World, no single workout better prepares us for a goal race than a tune-up race. While we can stimulate the physical demands of racing by running hard intervals or a time trail, that simulation is far removed from the experience of toeing the line.

If you’ve ever raced, you know that there is a lot more to a race than simply running hard. Racing before a big race gives you a chance to practice taper (even if it’s just a mini-one), your pre-race routine and nutrition, race fueling, and pacing. Although you might get a ltitle nervous before a time trial or tempo run, race-day nerves can’t be completely simulated. Tune Up Races also give you a chance to see what you’re made of. They can be huge confidence boosters if they give you do well and great learning experiences if you fall short of expectations.

Regina Joyce, former Olympian and current running coach, recommends the following tune -up race timeline for the marathon: “run a 10k early in your preparation, then a half marathon as far out as you can, maybe five to six weeks, and then after the taper, run a 5k one week to 10 days before the marathon”

Without even realizing it until now, I’m taking Regina’s advice. I’ve scheduled a 10k trail tune-up race for September which is 11 weeks from race day, a half marathon 8 weeks out, and a 5k on Thanksgiving Day which is 10 days before the marathon. The 10k and the 5k fall on Saturday and Thursday, respectively, which means that I can still get in my long run for the weekend. The half marathon will simply be a cut-back week with a very short taper.

The advice I took to heart most from the Runner’s World article is that you should NOT train harder or longer if your tune-up race is dissappointing. If anything, it probably means you needed to rest and recover more. You can take lessons from the race from nutrition or pacing mistakes and work on them, but adding more mileage or speed-work to your routine simply becuase you thought you could run a tune-up race a few minutes faster than you did is not smart. Trust in your plan (assuming you have one – if you didn’t maybe it’s time to get a plan!) and continue training.

Mike and Me After The Long Beach Half Marathon in 2011

Mike and Me After The Long Beach Half Marathon in 2011

The half marathon I’ve decided to run is the half at the Long Beach Marathon. I ran this race in 2011 as a tune-up race for the Surf City Marathon (ultimately I ended up dropping down to the half) and I really enjoyed the race and even scored a 30 second PR. The course is incredibly beautiful, quite flat/fast, and since it’s so close to my hometown of Huntington Beach, I have a place to stay and family to come cheer me on. This year I’ve tried to recruit family members to run the half or the 5k with me (I’ll let you know when they actually sign up as to how successful I’ve been but I’m hopeful my peer-pressure has been annoying enough!). The Long Beach Marathon or Half is one of the three races you must complete consequtively to earn the “Beach Cities Challenge” medal and considering that the other two races in the series (Surf City and OC) are also set on ocean-front property, it’s not a hard decision to register.

With My Massive Beach Cities Challenge Medal after Running the OC Marathon in 2012

With My Massive Beach Cities Challenge Medal after Running the OC Marathon in 2012

The makers of Florastor, a sponsor of the Long Beach Marathon reached out to me with a complimentary entry for any of the Long Beach Marathon events (marathon, half marathon, 5k) for me and a reader. I was not paid or asked to promote Florastor in exchange for the entry. Florastor is an all natural probiotic supplement which helps keep intestinal flora in balance, benefiting intestinal health by facilitating the absorption of nutritions and breaking down undigested carbohydrates. If you’d like to learn more about Florastor, this all natural, vegetarian, gentle, yeast-based priobiotic, visit www.florastor.com.

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Free Long Beach Half Marathon Entry Contest

To enter the contest to win a FREE entry to either the half, full or 5k at the Long Beach Marathon, please complete one or both of the following by this Sunday, August 17th. The winner will be announced early next week on my blog so please check back to see if you have won!

1 Entry For Completion of Each (2 entries maximum):

1) Comment on this blog post with your desire to enter to the contest.

2)  Follow me on Twitter (FitnessFatale) if you don’t already and tweet/re-tweet the link to this blog post and mention my handle (so I know that you did it!)

May the odds ever be in your favor!

What lessons have you learned during a tune-up race?

CIM Pre-Season Week 4

Highlight of the Week - Running the Lusardi Loop!

Highlight of the Week – Running the Lusardi Loop!

If I were running a business, I’d say that last week was the soft launch of marathon training. I keep changing my mind as to when marathon training “officially” starts. Since I’ve been calling the 5 weeks between Cabo and Oiselle Camp (which by the way starts next Wednesday!) my Pre-Season I’ll stick with that but really it felt like last week was the kickoff of marathon training. 
 
I’ve decided going forward to start including two things in each of my weekly recaps to hopefully keep them more interesting and also help me reflect on the week. Similar to Daily Mile, the first thing will be a general summary of how I felt training went this week. Second, I’ll pick one highlight of the week. 

So let’s get started:
 
Overall this week I felt GREAT!
 
The highlight of my week was: Running the Lusardi loop with Mike on Saturday. Being out on the trails felt amazing and it was incredibly peaceful and beautiful out there. I don’t worry about pace or listen to music on the trail and the time always seems to fly by. It was also incredible to see our favorite trail for the first time since the recent San Diego fires. A large section of it was completely torched. Most of it was black but there were parts where life had survived and bright green grass and leaves poked through the devastation. 

Lusardi Loop Devastation

Lusardi Loop Devastation


 
Monday: I slept in and in the evening went for an easy run with Mike. It was the day after the Solana Beach Triathlon so I wanted to keep things easy. We ran about 4.2 miles and I didn’t bring my watch – just kept it easy!

Tuesday: In the morning I got up and did P90X3 “The Challenge.” This is the one where you pick a number of push-ups and pull-ups (assisted) and try to keep the same number throughout. I picked 17 push-ups and 12 pull-ups which was 2 more per set than the last time I did the workout. I made it through! For the final burn-out session I held plank and side plank instead of adding more push-ups and pull-ups. 

After work I met up with Mike and Brooke to run at Torrey Pines. We ran easy up the road portion (which is steep so it’s not really easy) and then snaked our way down through the trails to the beach. We ran back to the start on the beach and then back to our cars for a total of just about 5.5 miles of running. It was absolutely beautiful and with two friends to run with, it barely felt like work! 

Torrey Pines with Brooke and Mike!

Torrey Pines with Brooke and Mike!

Sunset at Torrey Pines

Sunset at Torrey Pines

Torrey

Torrey


Wednesday: Rest Day. I needed to sleep in and I had a late night at work. 

Thursday: In the morning Mike and I set out to do our first Progression Run from the marathon training plan we’re loosely following in Brad Hudson’s “Run Faster” book. The book’s plan actually called for 10 miles with 5 at “moderate” pace but since in general the mileage is higher than I’d like in the plan (and 10 miles before work is typically not easy for me to fit in before work!), we ran to Fletcher Cove and back, for a total of 8.4 miles, with the second half being “moderate” pace. My goal for the moderate section was anywhere between 8:30-8:45 but I found even that pace to be a challenge at times. I just focused on keeping my effort harder than Zone 2 but not a tempo run. I finished the run exhausted! I think it was a combination of not having a big enough dinner, not eating more than a banana before the run and the heat and humidity (up to 90% humidity lately in San Diego). And possibly not being recovered from the triathlon yet. Either way, it wasn’t a great run but I reminded myself that I’ve been in this spot before – at the very beginning of any training cycle some of the workouts kind of really suck, but eventually they get easier. 

Friday: Although my P90X3 schedule actually called for a leg workout, I switched it out for P90X3 Yoga. I didn’t think it would be wise to put my legs through more after the previous days’ run. I was so glad I did. I had worked a 12 hour day the day before and my back and hip flexors were incredibly tight. The yoga was just what I needed! After yoga was over, I put in P90X Ab Ripper and completed it for the first time in months. It was HARD! I forgot how hard that workout was! (and I was incredibly sore the next day as proof!)

Saturday: Mike and I headed out to Rancho Santa Fe for our favorite trail run called the Lusardi loop. It’s just over 10 miles with about 1,800 feet of climbing. There are plenty of steep ascents and descents and that mixed with 90% humidity and over 70 degree weather, it was a challenging run! I didn’t wear my heart rate monitor, knowing I wouldn’t be keeping it in Zone 2.

Lusardi Loop

Lusardi Loop

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Overall I felt pretty good on the run and I really enjoyed being out on the trail. I took it easy on some sections and overall didn’t push the pace too hard but due to the nature of the course, it was a tough run. I was happy that Mike stayed with me for most of the time so we got to spend some quality time out on the trail together. We only saw one other runner the entire time! 

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Sunday: 

Thanks to a 2 hour nap on Saturday and 9 hours of sleep that night, Mike and I felt pretty good on Sunday morning. We took our time getting ready and even went to a local coffee shop for bagels and coffee and relaxed a bit before heading out for our run. We decided we’d play it by ear but we wanted to run at least 6 miles. We were both feeling so good that we ended up running all the way to Fletcher Cove again for a total of 8.4 miles! I ran with my heart rate monitor and kept it all in Zone 2 to make sure I didn’t overdo it. 

Weekly Totals: 

  • Totals Miles Run: 36.75
  • Total Hours Cross-Training: 1.25
  • Total Time: 6 + 1.25 = 7.25 hours

Do you run trails while training for a road marathon? 

Solana Beach Sprint Triathlon Race Report

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Solana Beach always holds a warm place in my heart as it was my first ever triathlon and Mike has raced it every year since we met which means I’ve either raced or spectated the event for 5 years straight. Solana Beach is the beach town just south of mine (Encinitas) and Fletcher Cove, where the race is held, is the turn-around point for one of my most frequented medium distance runs (8.4 miles roundtrip). To top it off, The ACTIVE Network, Mike’s employer of 8+ years, has been the primary sponsor of the race for the last few years. This race is about as close to home as it gets.

ACTIVExers Getting Ready to go!

ACTIVExers Getting Ready to go!

My main goal for this race was to have fun and enjoy the day. I wanted to race hard and enjoy it. It’s an incredibly short race – 1/4 mile swim, 9 mile bike and 3 mile run (although T1 should be added in the distance as its quite a long jog which includes a very steep hill) – and is always a thigh and lung burner. If you aren’t in pain for the majority of the plus or minus 1 hour that you are racing, you’re doing it wrong.

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Swim Course

Swim Course

This was my first time racing Solana Beach in my new age group, 30-34. Instead of starting right before Mike’s wave with all the women under 30 (which includes all the Tri Juniors all the way down to age 13/14 even), I started right after Mike at 7:30 AM. My wave was much smaller since it only included 1 age group instead of 3. The waves take off 10 minutes apart and since the swim is so short, I was actually able to watch Brooke and the other under 30 age groupers get out of the water before I rushed back to watch Mike start his wave. After he started, I did a quick warm-up and still had time to watch him exit the water before my wave started 10 minutes later! It was a pretty exciting 20 minutes.

Before I knew it, it was time for me to go and there was no time for nerves. As soon as they said “go” I made the conscious decision that I was going to swim hard. Thanks to all the open water swim entry practice I’ve been getting lately with the Wednesday night ACTIVEx swims, I quickly found myself very close to the head of the pack after sprinting into the water and dolphin diving my way through the waves. As I started to swim I was surprised that I continued to stay with the front of the pack, and for the majority of the swim I was in third place. It was pretty exciting and gave me the drive to swim as hard as I could.

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As I turned the final buoy to head in, I started to feel a bit tired and a little disoriented as to where the beach was so I did a few breast strokes and then kept going. I think I stood up a little too early because I felt like it took me a long time to get to the beach. Once I crossed the swim finish line and was officially into T1, I immediately took off my cap and googles, started taking my wetsuit and focused on making my way up the steep hill. My co-worker Marc was on the hill cheering me on and yelled at me “You’re in 4th, go get them!!!” I passed one girl in my age group going up the hill – but damn, that hill is steep and I was breathing hard! It’s definitely a rude awakening after coming out of the water.

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solana beach triathlon

1/4 mile swim: 8:17

T1: 3:00 (it’s a long way!)

Transition went smoothly other than the fact that I couldn’t get my race belt clipped on and it kept falling off. It was quite a trek out of transition in my bike shoes to the bike mount line. As soon as I started biking I tried to catch my breath and then just focused on riding hard. The course is 9 miles made up of two loops. Both loops have a very tight u-turn at the end of them as well as a u-turn in the middle, for a total of 6 tight u-turns over the course of 9 miles. As I came out of transition I was neck and neck immediately with the girl I passed in T1. However, after the first U-turn, she quickly passed me. As soon as I caught up, we hit the next u-turn and she passed me again and I didn’t get close again.

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Thanks Opix.net!

I had fun out on the course and looked for Mike, Jeremy, Brooke and all the other friends I knew racing. I got passed by a few more women in my age group but all in all, was actually pleasantly surprised that I didn’t get passed by more! In the end, I found out that I was passed by 5 women in my age group on the bike, as I had the 8th fastest bike split in my age group! I was pretty happy with that!

9 Mile Bike: 29 minutes 16 seconds (18.75 MPH)

T2: 1:12

As always, I was excited to get off the bike and run! Most of the time when people passed me on the bike I had told myself I’d catch them on the run. Coming out of transition, I passed one girl in my age group almost immediately. My legs didn’t feel fantastic at first but I started to warm up quickly. It was really fun being out on the course in my ACTIVEx gear. There were so many fellow ACTIVEx racers out there and I had a great time on the first loop (of two) slapping peoples hands, cheering on teammates and smiling as much as possible.

Once I hit the second loop, it was time to get to work. I picked up the pace and it was no longer comfortable to talk or cheer others on, although I tried to as much as possible! At times I just put my head down and focused on catching someone in my age group. I hadn’t seen any that appeared to be on the same loop as me but I just focused on keeping the effort up. When I made the first u-turn (of two) on the 2nd loop, I saw the girl in my age group who I’d passed in T1 and who passed me back in T2. She was ahead and moving at a good speed but I knew I was moving faster. I had less than 1 mile to catch her but I made it my mission to do so! As soon as we hit the second U-turn, I figured it was time to make my move, as I assumed she had seen me and would pick up the pace. I caught up to her fairly easily and sat behind her for a few strides before deciding to make the pass with less than 1/4 mile to go. Soon after I saw Jeremy and Mike who had already finished and they cheered me on. I sped up and went all out for the finish line.

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3 Mile Run: 23:07, 7:42 pace

Overall Time: 1:04:53, 6th AG/39

After I finished I found Brooke, Mike, Jeremy and the rest of the ACTIVEx crew and we cheered our teammates on until nearly everyone had finished. It was so great to see so many of them finish their first triathlon – something that some of them never thought possible before joining ACTIVE. Toward the end of our cheering it suddenly began to rain and San Diego had one of it’s only rainstorms of the entire year! I grabbed my gear pretty quickly and ran to my car as I had to head out almost immediately to make the drive to Huntington Beach for my good friend Jill’s baby shower.

If you’ve ever considered Solana Beach for your first or next triathlon, I highly recommend it. It’s an amazing course and spectacular race put on by the always organized Koz Events. And now that Mike has a conflict on his 25 years of the AFC Half Marathon goal, he’s decided that the Solana Beach Triathlon will be his 25 consecutive years race. So we’ll see you next year!

Do you have a race that you do every year? Why do you always do it?

CIM Pre-Season Weeks 2 & 3

The last two weeks have flown by! Actually this whole year has but the last month in particular has been crazy between bachelorette & bridal shower planning, the wedding in Cabo, ACTIVEx CAxMP & triathlon training, and increased demands at work. I’ve hardly had time to breathe but it has been a great ride.

As of the end of “Pre-Season,” I was officially 20 weeks out from the marathon. Although I still am saying I have 3 weeks left of this Pre-Season, I feel like marathon training began after Solana Beach Triathlon. These last two weeks were the last two that will involve triathlon training for the rest of the year. The remainder of the year the focus is solely on the marathon.

I won’t go into too much detail but I wanted to at least post my weekly recap update to keep them going!

Preseason Week 2 – July 14th – 20th 

This week was a big one and I felt really good. I had a great track workout and ended it with an intense weekend of training at CAxMP. It felt really good to push hard and have a been training week again. I almost felt like I was training for Ironman again… and I almost missed it!

Monday:

AM: 50 minute spin on the trainer. After not cycling at all since the International Tri, I figured it was smart to at least get one bike ride in before ACTIVEx CAxMP that weekend.

PM: P90X3 Decelerator (full body strength & some plyometrics)

Tuesday:

AM: P90X3 Yoga

PM: Track workout! This time Mike was my buddy, although we didn’t actually run together at all (he’s way too fast!). I ran 6 x 800 with a 1 lap easy jog between with the goal of keeping each one under a 6:40 average pace. Even though my legs felt heavy, I was successful! Average paces: 1 – 6:29, 2- 6:37 , 3 – 6:37 , 4 – 6:39, 5 – 6:35 and the final push – 6 – 6:27 !!!

Wednesday:

AM: Easy 4.5 mile (Zone 1) run with Allison. The cat is now out of the bag – she’s pregnant! So we have been running nice and slow. It has been good because it keeps me in Zone 1, especially since it was a run the day after a track workout.

PM: ACTIVEx Swim at Fletcher Cove. We did quite a few entry/exit drills and dolphin diving.

The ACTIVEx crew post swim!

The ACTIVEx crew post swim!

Thursday:

Rest Day! I was zonked from the previous three days and had after work plans so it was the perfect rest day.

Friday:

AM: P90X3 Double Day – P90X Eccentric Upper & P90X3 Eccentric Lower. I had decided this week to only do 4 out of the 6 P90X3 workouts (I skipped both cardio/plyo workouts) and I really wanted to get them in before camp so I did a double. It wasn’t too bad since the first workout was upper body and the second was lower so they basically just balanced each other out and it felt like a hard 1 hour boot camp session.

Saturday:

ACTIVEx Camp (read more about that in my recap here). 32 mile hilly ride with 2,800 feet of climbing, followed by breakfast and a short break and then a triple brick workout. The Triple Brick was 3 x 300 yards in the pool,  descending distances on the bike (6, 4, 2 miles) and descending laps around the track (6 laps, 4 laps, 2 laps). Although this wasn’t a full out effort for me it, it was a pretty high intensity workout.

Getting Ready to Ride

Getting Ready to Ride

Sunday:

ACTIVEx Camp Day 2 – 7 mile run including 5 miles on very hilly trails followed by 1 hour of yoga.

Trail Running at CAxMP

Trail Running at CAxMP

Weekly Totals:

  • Miles Ran: 20.5
  • Hours of Cycling: 3
  • Hours of Swimming: 1
  • Hours of “Bricking”: ~1.5
  • Hours of Cross Training: 3
  • Total Time: ~11.5 hours

Preseason Week 3 – July 21st – 27th 

I brought down the intensity and the volume this week to recover from CAxMP and also to get ready for Solana Beach Triathlon. While I didn’t necessarily want to back off training too much to taper for a sprint triathlon that was basically just for fun, I was also busy (drove to LA during the week for a training plus up to OC for a baby shower Sunday) and tired last week and let myself rest a bit more.

Monday:

PM: Easy 4.5 mile run (Zone 2)  with Asia

Tuesday:

PM: P90X3 Decelerator

Wednesday:

AM: P90X3 Yoga

PM: 5 mile easy run (Zone 2)

Thursday:

Off. I wouldn’t call this a rest day as it was spent driving to LA for a training and getting home late! I don’t know how people in LA live with all that traffic!

Friday:

AM: Easy 4.2 mile run (Zone 1) with Allison

PM: ½ mile swim (Bubbly to Buoy event with ACTIVEx)

Bubbly to Buoy

Bubbly to Buoy

Saturday:

AM: Easy 3 mile run. I was going to just run 2 as a shake-out run but for the first time in over a week my legs felt light and it felt great to run so I went an extra mile. I was tempted to go even further but I had to get back to get to the expo.

 Sunday:

Solana Beach Triathlon –1/4 mile swim, 9 mile bike, 3 mile run. Race report coming soon!

Coming out of the swim at Solana Beach Triathlon

Coming out of the swim at Solana Beach Triathlon

Weekly Totals:

  • Miles Ran: 19.7
  • Hours of Cycling: ½ hour
  • Minutes of Swimming/Floating: 45 minutes
  • Hours of Cross Training: 1
  • Total Time: 5.5 hours

 

Community

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I’ve been struggling lately with motivation to train for triathlon. When I first discovered the sport every swim, bike and run held a new challenge and therefore a new accomplishment upon it’s successful completion. My first 1 mile swim, my first 50 mile bike, my first long brick workout – they all pushed my limits and made me feel strong and successful. Although inherently I didn’t love to swim or bike as much as to run or strength train, putting all three sports together and moving toward larger and larger goals made it fun and motivating.

Since finishing the Ironman, I’ve gone back to triathlon in the summers in order to try to relive some of the feelings I felt in 2011-2012 as I went from Zero to Ironman.  I’ve struggled to find motivation to swim any more than I need simply to finish and to bike other than the times when it’s convenient or when I can spin on the trainer and watch Orange is the New Black on my iPad.

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Last weekend at ACTIVEx CAxMP a motivation for training that was always present, yet typically secondary, came out. The triathlon community is motivation. They are my inspiration, whether it be the new triathlete who is a natural and has fallen in love with the sport, the parents of two young boys who just finished their first 70.3, the mother who can’t stop smiling over her recent finish at Ironman CDA or the new friend who has faced her fears to train for her first triathlon after a bad breakup. These people inspire me and they are my motivation to train and compete. It’s less about finish times and splits and more about relationships and community. 

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The ACTIVEx community – current & former employees, families, friends and others involved gathered last night at La Jolla Cove to celebrate the accomplishment of another Solana Beach Triathlon training season. The tradition is 6 years in the making and is fittingly called “Bubbly to Buoy.” We swam out to the 1/4 mile buoy as a group, popped two bottles of champagne and passed them around, each taking a swig before passing it to the next person. It didn’t matter who swam to the buoy first, who arrived last or how long the group had to wait in between – despite training for a race, where competition is literally the premise of the entire activity, we were there to celebrate community. We did it together and this is our celebration.

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Arch!

The swim followed up with a group dinner and we were graced with a beautiful sunset to top it all off!

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Rob

 

 

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Me & Brooke

 

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Mike in the blue cap

 

The Seals Were Our Swim Companions!

The Seals Were Our Swim Companions!

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Time to eat!

 

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I want to thank every single one of the people who have inspired me to train this summer. Thank you especially Mike, Arch, Christy, Rob, Blair, Brooke, Juliana, and the entire ACTIVEx crew! Thank you also to Kids in Game for coming out to celebrate with us as well as Michael Brunker from the Jackie Robinson YMCA for his support and all the wonderful photos from the event. Can’t wait for tomorrow!

ACTIVEx Endurance CAxMP

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For the second year in a row, I had the opportunity to swim, bike, run and yoga all weekend with an amazing group of new friends as part of the ACTIVE Network’s employee engagement program ACTIVE’s CAxMP. My husband, Mike, is part of the two-man team (led by Arch who founded the program several years ago) that runs the ACTIVEx program. In addition to year round lunch and after work group boot camps, yoga classes, runs (and more), weekly inspirational “Can Dos” on the back of the bathroom stalls to help inspire employees to better their lives each week, a thriving Toastmaster’s public speaking club (which Mike is President of!), ACTIVEx also puts on a program called Charity Challenge.

From the Lavender Fields at Highland Springs

From the Lavender Fields at Highland Springs

Charity Challenge is a yearly event that challenges employees to push their limits by competing in the Solana Beach Sprint Triathlon while also fundraising for a charity. For the past two years, ACTIVEx has chosen Kids in the Game which is an organization that helps get children access to sport who may not have had the opportunity to do so in the past. For every $30 raise, one kid gets “in the game.” Other than the kickoff of Charity Challenge, the two most monumental events within the program are ACTIVEx CAxMP and the triathlon itself.

Last year was my first year at CAxMP and it was a whirlwind. There were over 120 ACTIVE employees and significant others and it spanned over 3 full days. This year things changed a bit, as the company has recently announced it is moving its headquarters to Dallas, Texas after it was acquired last year by a private equity firm. As a result, the Charity Challenge program was a bit smaller in San Diego (but is also going to happen in Dallas!) and CAxMP this year was 2 days and had about 40 participants, including a mix of current employees and former employees and their significant others. Although CAxMP was smaller in number this year, I personally felt it had a bigger impact on the participants than the prior year. The last year has held a lot of change for everyone at ACTIVE but the group came together this past weekend to make the best of everything that has happened. It was a great reminder that no matter what happens with the company, this group will always be bonded together by their love for endurance sport.

I arrived at Highland Springs Resort (just down the mountain from Idywild) around 9 p.m. Friday night and carpooled with my friend Brooke who I got to know at least year’s CAxMP for the first time. She and I have since become triathlon and running buddies (she was on our team at Ragnar Trail Vail Lake) and is in training for her first Ironman – Arizona 2014! Mike had already been up at CAxMP since Thursday mid-day so I was excited to see him! We headed to bed fairly early because we had a big day at head of us. Although CAxMP was one less day this year, there was only one less workout, which meant both days we had two challenging workouts ahead of us. We all convened for coffee, homemade banana bread and other goodies and the course talk before 7 a.m. on Saturday morning and then strapped on our helmets and set out for the 1st workout of CAxMP – the long ride. There were a few options and of course I chose the harder of the two. The route was not only longer but also contained a very long climb. How long, I had no idea.

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I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep up with any group during this workout due to my lack of serious cycling (particularly hill training), and joked to Brooke (who has become a beast on the bike since deciding to do Ironman Arizona last year)  that she could ride to the top of the mountain and come back down and then try to catch me again. Regardless, I wanted the challenge and gladly followed the group that headed toward the hills. I was happy that most people didn’t seem to be trying to race or push the pace at all on the flats so I was able to keep up just fine. As soon as we started climbing, I told the others I’d see them at the top. I always get dropped on hills and after this weekend I have really realized that I need to focus on my leg strength. My skinny legs just don’t have power for scaling mountains on a bike or with my own two legs.

My View Up the Mountain

My View Up the Mountain

Brooke & Me!

Brooke & Me!

The hill was long. It was relentless – there weren’t any flat sections or declines to rest. The grade  ranged between 6-8% the entire time and I later learned we covered 2,800 feet over the course of the full 32 mile ride and 1,400 of it was within under 6 miles. Ouch. I was huffing and puffing. I wore my heart rate monitor and I was well into Zone 4 for the entire duration of the climb. I had to get out of the saddle quite often to even get up some portions for fear that I may just tip over because I was simply moving too slowly. I had no idea how long the hill was so I had no idea how long I’d be climbing. I knew the ride was over 30 miles so I guessed I would be climbing 8-10 miles. At one point I wondered if I had gotten myself in way over my head but eventually got into a groove. I started working on my Maid of Honor speech for Asia’s wedding in my head and it helped me zone out and forget the pain. I was still in that zone when suddenly I saw the group stopped. I joined them, thinking we were taking a short break before continuing on. Only after we stopped for the photo and then someone mentioned heading back did I realize we were already done! The descent was equally challenging as the ride up but in a different way – my hands were sore and tired from holding my  breaks so hard and it was nerve-wracking to be hitting such high speeds on a road that unfamiliar, windy and not well paved. Once we got to the bottom we continued on the same loop that many of the others has completed which also had some climbs but wasn’t nearly as crazy. By the time we got back to camp, we had been out there for nearly 2 ½ hours.

Jumping in to start the Triple Brick!

Jumping in to start the Triple Brick!

After refueling with eggs, pancakes (with lavender syrup –the resort is immersed in of lavender fields!) and lavender French fries, I rested for about another hour before we packed up our stuff and headed over to Beaumont High School for Arch’s famous Triple Step-Down Brick, a CAxMP favorite. The Triple Brick consists of three sets of swimming, biking and running with descending distances for the bike and run each time. Although it kind of sounded like a short workout based on the distances – Swim 300 yards each time, Bike 6, 4, and 2 miles, and Run 1.5, 1 and ½ mile around the track, in total the workout added up to anywhere between 1-2 hours depending on how fast you completed it. The main focus of the workout was transitions – in total, we transitioned 8 times! That is great transition practice!

Me Swimming! (a rare photo)

Me Swimming! (a rare photo)

I couldn’t help but push hard during this workout because even though it wasn’t a race, it always kind of feels that way.  Similar to the bike portion of my one and only half Ironman, I rode the entire first loop on the bike with my brake rubbing against my front tire (at Oceanside it wasn’t nearly as bad though!). I felt like I was biking through mud! I didn’t stop to try to fix it because I wasn’t’ sure how and luckily Arch fixed it for me in transition (and showed me how easy it is to fix myself for future reference). I pushed hard during the first couple laps of the run and then kind of reminded myself that there wasn’t a point in driving myself into the ground over a silly practice triathlon (x3!) and slowed down a bit. I still pushed it but not as hard. I am definitely not used to riding hard and the morning’s bike ride made my legs heavy (and they were already sore from Friday’s P90X3 leg workout!). the conversation before/during/after the workout heavily revolved around triathlon and even more so Ironman! It was fun chatting with others about Ironman training and racing. It brought back some fun memories (still on the One and Done path though)!

Me & Brooke Running a Lap Together!

Me & Brooke Running a Lap Together! TWINSIES

That evening dinner was one of the highlights of the weekend as Arch made his famous jambalaya (vegetarians got yummy portobello mushroom burgers & sweet potato fries!). Everyone was in a great mood and enjoying beer & wine (and even some Fireball shots later….) and after Arch thanked everyone for coming and gave a great speech he opened it up for others to speak. It was great hearing how ACTIVEx has impacted each person’s life, whether they are a first time CAxMPer, new to ACTIVE, an ACTIVE spouse, or a vendor (a rep from Xterra Wetsuits came out to enjoy as well). It made me so proud of Mike and his contribution to not only the program but to the lives of each of the people there. He is truly making a difference!

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Camp Fire Fun!

Camp Fire Fun!

The party continued by the campfire along with a mini dance party and S’mores. The conversations were great and I got to know some of the girls who I have been seeing at the Wednesday swims even better. Needless to say we weren’t all 100% the next morning for our trail run but luckily we didn’t start til 9 a.m. so we had time to sleep it off.

One of the Many Climbs (Thanks Arch for the great photography!)

One of the Many Climbs (Thanks Arch for the great photography!)

Brooke and I met a little early to get 2 easy warm-up miles in and it was so warm that by the end of them I was drenched in sweat despite a Zone 2 effort. I wasn’t feeling my best and hadn’t eaten anything yet. Right before the trail run I got in a little food and lots of water but it didn’t really help too much. The trail run was extremely challenging (mostly the same course as last year) but I just focused on having fun rather than worrying about how much I had to hike the steep ascents or if I was at the front  of the pack (I wasn’t!). I ran mostly with Arch’s wife Christy and got to know her even better which was a great bonus! There was a small group of us who stuck mostly together and when we reached one of the epic viewpoints there were others there resting and we all took a group photo before heading down. For the group portion of the run, which was just under 5 miles, we climbed over 1,500 feet! Including the warm-up, I ran 7 miles but it took nearly 90 minutes! I had wanted to get in a longer run than 7 miles given I’m building for the marathon but I figured based on time on my feet it could count as a 10 mile run!

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Coming Down from the First Loop

Coming Down from the First Loop (in the Fresh Green Oiselle Shorts)

Mike!

Mike!

After a small snack, we kept the workouts going with 60 minutes of yoga under the trees. The yoga felt absolutely amazing. The class was actually not super easy as I had expected given it was immediately following a hard run – Dina (who works at ACTIVE) threw in some harder moves but mostly focused on stretching. It was nice and cool under the branches of the trees and there was a nice breeze so it was the perfect way to unwind after a tough weekend of workouts. We closed out the weekend with brunch around the pool and some of us stayed back to catch some sun for a bit before heading home (and eating more burritos along the way!).

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CAxMP blew my expectations out of the water this year. The workouts were challenging and the people were great. I can’t thank Mike and Arch enough for putting on such an amazing event. They are truly changing lives through this program and I can’t wait to see all the soon to be triathletes cross the finish line for the first time on Sunday at the Solana Beach Triathlon!

Have you ever been to a triathlon camp? Does your company have a wellness program? If so, are you involved? 

Your Day Job & Running Aren’t Friends

You may have seen a recent article published by Runner’s World which illustrates just how your 9 to 5 desk job is affecting your health. We’ve all heard it before – sitting is killing us. But as a runner, this article really hit home. According to the article, for every hour you sit, the positive health benefits of your 60 minute morning run diminish by 8%. If you don’t believe it, read the Mayo Clinic study results here.

60 minutes of running, considered “vigorous exercise” is 80% gone after a 10 hour work day. Worse, if you engage in exercise considered “moderate” in intensity, the effects are worse – 16% per hour. Kind of depressing, huh? The study focused primarily on increased disease risk, arguing that although running helps prevent heart disease, for example, sitting negates those benefits.  It did not address whether or not your desk job is reducing the hard-earned fitness gains that us runners covet. In fact, most advice regarding recovery from hard training sessions suggests that the more rest post-workout, the better.

View From The Spot I Sit for 8-10 Hours a Day

View From The Spot I Sit for 8-10 Hours a Day

Although I’m thankful the article didn’t also claim that a desk job reduces fitness gains from workouts as well, this article was especially relevant to me as I have been putting in quite a few more hours than normal at my desk these last few weeks. 10-11 hours at work is basically taking away the health benefits I’m getting from my 7-10 hours of exercise a week. It’s pretty insane to think about!

The good news is, I am not exactly a sedentary worker. The combination of my unusually large water consumption, unusually small bladder and massive appetite mean that I’m getting up from my desk more than once an hour to refill said water bottle, empty said bladder or fill my stomach. In addition to that, I’ll hit up the printer, walk over to a co-workers desk or my boss’s office to ask a question and in general am quite active. Despite this, reading this article has encouraged me to use my stand up desk more often! I have a normal desk on one side of my cubicle and a stank up desk on the other. The problem is, I have my 2 monitors hooked up to my lap top on my sitting desk and if I were to switch to work at the standing desk I’d some productivity as I tried to work on a tiny screen. As a compromise, I’m going to try to do anything non-computer related at the standing desk and print out documents to review on on paper more often.

Outside of work and working out, I am also pretty active as I make my lunch every morning and cook dinner every night (Mike makes the breakfast!). I regularly take walks and don’t watch a lot of TV. I’m sure these things all help as well.

In case you aren’t as convinced as I am that it’s time to get off your butt more while at work, here’s a couple sections of an infographic I found that illustrates just how terrible all that sitting is! Worst stat: Sitting 6+ hours a day makes you 40% likelier to die within 15 years than someone who sits less than 3 hours day.

Do you have a desk job? How long do you sit without walking around? 

CIM Pre-Season Week 1

My goal marathon (CIM December 7th) is 22 weeks away – I’m using the next 6 weeks as my “pre-season” for the final 16 weeks of official marathon training. I’ll be using the next 5 weeks to wrap up P90X3 by completing Phase 3 and then spending the final week before official marathon training at the Oiselle Team running camp. I have a sprint triathlon in 2 weeks but the emphasis not on training for that – instead it’s on gaining some strength, running base building as well as a bit of shorter distance speed-work to prepare for the 5k we are running at Oiselle camp.

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Morning Run Selfie in Oiselle Hail Mary Mesh Tank

I won’t bother to recap the week leading up to the San Diego International Tri or the week following, as they were fairly uneventful. Post-triathlon I did get a few workouts in including a trail run up and down Torrey Pines and a 8.5 mile “long run” but I took 5 days off over the holiday weekend for my trip to Cabo so it wasn’t a high mileage or intensity week. I came back to training this week and I definitely could feel the effects of my long weekend of drinking and non-exercise as well as the reduction in strength training in the last months, especially during my P90X3 workouts. I’m not upset about it, as I am well aware that I can’t always be in peak shape and I will definitely need this downtime in order to avoid burn out leading into CIM. 22 weeks is a long time and I need to be able to maintain focus while also avoiding burn out during that time in order to have a great race.

This week was a very busy week, with longer hours at work (and much more stress than usual) as well as final preparations for my best friend Asia’s bridal shower, which I was organizing and planning (luckily with the help of her mom and sister!). In the end, I would still say it was a really successful first week back at training and despite all the madness, I kept a pretty clean diet.

Monday: 

Rest Day. I was fried and seriously still had a hangover from Cabo (does anyone else get these 2 day hangovers now?! What happened to the days in my early 20s when I could go out til 4 a.m. and wake up feeling just fine the next day, let alone TWO DAYS later!?).

Tuesday: 

AM: 5 mile Zone 2 run with Mike. We ran before work and it was already warm. It felt good to run and I was surprised at how easy it felt.

PM: P90X3 Decelerator. This workout kicked my ass! I literally felt nauseous at the end and had to pause between the final two moves. It was a full body workout which included a lot of high intensity push-up, pull-up and squat moves. I take it back if I ever said P90X3 was easier than P90X.

Wednesday: 

AM: 45 minute Zone 1 run with my friend Allison. Allison and I met up and ran super easy. As always, it was great catching up with her. After she took off, I did 4 x 8 sec steep hill sprints. Brad Hudson, who writes the book “Run Faster” which I plan to follow for CIM training, is a big proponent of short, steep hill sprints. I’ll write another blog post on why later. When I got home I did about 5 minutes of planking (2.5 min forearm plank, 45 sec side planking on each side).

Thursday: 

AM: P90X3 Yoga. This was harder than I remember it being before. Definitely a bit out of shape still.

PM: Track workout! I met up with my friend Amy who is faster than me (she was a collegiate runner and used to be WAYYY faster than me when we first joined the Vavi run club together in 2011 and now I’m happy to say she’s just a little faster than me!) to do a track workout. We warmed up for just over a mile and then did 4 x 800 + 2 x 400 with a full loop around the track for recovery. We cooled down and called it a day after that for a total of 5.7 miles of running. The 800s were fast – not as fast and I know I could have done a month and a half ago leading up to RnR, but a good indication that I haven’t lost a lot of speed.

800 paces (listing paces because each split was a little different in terms of distance):

  1. 6:36
  2. 6:28
  3. 6:48
  4. 6:34

I could feel myself losing some energy on that 3rd 800 but picked it up for the final one. For the 400s that followed the 800s, Amy encouraged me to beat my pace. I told her what I had been running pace wise and she challenged me to run a 6 min/mile for the 400s. I told her I couldn’t’ imagine running that fast but I would try. We started together and I tried my HARDEST to keep up with her. I remember glancing down and seeing a pace of 5:45 and thinking there was no way but I just kept going hard.  So hard in fact I felt super nauseous when I finished the lap! But I was HAPPY to see I ran the 400 at a 5:58 pace. I have never run an interval with a pace in the 5s so this was a huge accomplishment! She then challenged me to beat my pace for the final 400 and I did, finishing the 400 at a 5:57 pace. It is pretty incredible how motivating a fast friend can be during a track workout!

Friday: 

AM: P90X3 “The Challenge.” This is definitely one of the hardest P90X3 workouts. It’s 8 sets of pull-ups alternating with 8 sets of push-ups. You’re supposed to pick a number for each and keep to it for the entire workout. I picked 15 push-ups and 10 pull-ups and was able to hold it. At the end there is a 2.5 minute “burn out” session where you are supposed to alternate pull-ups and push-ups but instead I just alternated between holding a forearm plank and side planks because I wasn’t sure I had the strength to do even one more push-up!

Saturday: 

In the morning I ran 10 miles in Zone 2 with Mike and Jeremy. We kept it easy and luckily although it was warm, it was still gloomy at the coast.

As soon as I was finished with the run, I ate a quick breakfast and headed over to Asia’s parents house to start setting up for her bridal shower! Asia’s wedding is black tie and the colors are gold, black and ‘sparkle’ so the theme of the shower followed suit. I decided to throw a cocktail themed showed so we held it from 3-6 p.m. and served cocktails and horderves. Everything went perfectly and it was a beautiful shower and incredibly fun!

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Sunday: 

After an incredibly busy and long week, I was so happy to get 11 solid hours of sleep on Saturday night. I woke up refreshed and feeling great on Sunday. I had 2 more workouts to get in to complete a week of P90X3 (P90X3 is actually 6 workouts a week but I am skipping the primarily cardio/leg based workout each week and replacing it with a speed workout or tempo run).

After coffee, I did P90X3 Triometrics and P90X3 Total Synergistics, back to back. Triometrics is a play on plyometrics – each move is 60 seconds long and is broken into 3 levels of intensity. There is a lot of squatting and lunging in this workout and I was sweating buckets by the end of the 30 minutes. Total Synergistics is a full body workout which rotates between an upper body move, lower body move and abdominal move, all of which really work the entire body but focus on that one part. I felt strong after these workouts!

Weekly Totals: 

  • Total Miles Ran: 25.1
  • Hours Strength: ~2.75
  • Swimming/Biking: 0
  • Total Time: ~7.75 hours

Big Goals & Big Plans

I’m getting settled back in reality after 4 days away in Cabo San Lucas Mexico to celebrate my good friend Lana’s marriage. It was a great long weekend and although the rain changed Lana and Jotham’s plan to be married on the sand, it was still a beautiful ceremony and a really, really fun party. The festivities began on Thursday and we headed home Sunday. Every time I get away for a weekend like this I come back more than ready to get back to my healthy lifestyle. It is pretty crazy how much better my body feels on fruits, veggies, whole foods, exercise and sleep than it does when it’s in party vacation mode. But it’s all about balance right? Time to get back to reality!

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With the Bride to Be at the Rehearsal Dinner

With the Bride to Be at the Rehearsal Dinner

The epic infinity pool!

The epic infinity pool!

So what is next? Well, I don’t think I’ve announced it on the blog yet, but I am officially signed up for the California International Marathon (and so is Mike!). The race is in Sacramento on December 7th and it is known to be a flat (some rollers and a very, very slight net decline) and fast (the cool December weather helps a lot) course. For these reasons as well as timing with training, I’ll be using it for my next Boston Qualifying Time attempt. Although the Phoenix Marathon knocked me on my ass and I honestly wasn’t sure I ever wanted to run another marathon again, let alone train to qualify for Boston again, I am not giving up on my goal to qualify. I know that barring injury (knock on wood!) I will be going into race day at CIM much more prepared and fit than I was going into Phoenix. I had really tried to squeeze a short training cycle after a period of downtime and then adding my ankle injury to the mix didn’t help me feel prepared to run my fastest marathon ever.

LET'S DO THIS!

LET’S DO THIS!

As of this week, there are 22 weeks until CIM. I have the Solana Beach Sprint Triathlon coming up in 3 weeks and I still want to pick up P90X3 where I left off and finish it out. So for the next 5 weeks I’ll be focusing mostly on P90X3 and run base building while also doing some swimming and biking. Although I would like to put a good effort out at the triathlon, it is only a sprint and I’m not sure I can really do much to better my time in the next few weeks (nor do I really care how I finish). So I don’t plan to commit a lot of time to swimming and biking between now and then. I do have the ACTIVEx triathlon camp the week before the triathlon but camp is shorter this year (a bike ride in the morning Saturday and a triple brick Saturday afternoon and then a trail run Sunday), so I will still be able to get in my P90X3 workouts earlier in the week. I also am going to modify P90X3 to take out the cardio based workout (Agility X or MMX, depending on the week), so there will only be five 30 minute P90X3 workouts to get in.

After P90X3 ends I’ll have a half week until I head out to Oiselle Team Running Camp (nicknamed #BirdCamp) for 5 days of blissful running in Bend Oregon. While there, we’re doing a 5k which will be a great test of my speed at the beginning of the training cycle. I want to sign up for a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving which will be about 2 1/2 weeks before race day and use that as both a speed workout and a test of my improved fitness. Once I return from Bird Camp, will officially kick of marathon training with 15 weeks to go. Honestly I’m considering my marathon training starting NOW but since I have a few other goals in the meantime, mid-August is when all focus will return to running. As always, I will cross train during marathon training but I’m not exactly sure what that’ll look like yet – probably 1 day on the bike again, at least two days of strength training (possibly Pilates) and added post-run core workouts.

Since I had so much success self-coaching myself for a PR at the Rock n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon using Brad Hudson’s book, “Run Faster,” I’m going to continue to self-coach using his book as a guide. Brad’s philosophy is that every athlete is different and therefore their training unique to them and no schedule should be set in stone. I’m going to use his Level 2 marathon training plan from his book as the bones for my training plan but I will definitely be modifying. For one thing, Brad is very volume focused and the training plan starts at 5 runs a week and ends up at 6. I plan to run no more than 5 days a week since I will also be cross training. He also has a lot of mid-week volume including runs of up to 12 miles mid-week, and I’ll be scaling those down a bit, just like I did for the half marathon. I don’t plan to run more than 55 miles a week as of now. If, however, I’m feeling very strong and feel like I can take on more mileage, I will add it in slowly and always listen to my body and not be afraid to skip a run. I did skip a few planned hard workouts during training for RnR SD because I was feeling a bit run down and ultimately I think skipping this workouts worked in my favor.

I will also be using the heart rate training that I learned while Maria coached me for all of my easy and long runs. I want to keep my heart rate in Zone 2 for all endurance focused runs. I’ve already noticed that my pace in Zone 2 has improved since Phoenix so I look forward to seeing how it progresses as I continue to use this method for the next 5 months. Brad Hudson’s plans all include a lot of running at or near race pace in order to get the runner very familiar with how race day will feel. A lot of my long runs will include portions at race pace but I want to wear the heart rate monitor to make sure that any portion not at race pace is nice and easy. Also, it’ll be key to keep my easy recovery runs in Zone 1 or 2 as well to ensure I have the energy to complete my tempo and speed workouts.

So that’ll take me through the end of the year! I seriously cannot believe it’s already mid-July. This year is flying by! 5 weeks of P90X3, Bird Camp and then only 3.5 months until the marathon. It’s definitely time to start getting serious about training and I must say I’m EXCITED!

How long do you give yourself to train for a marathon? Have you ever ran CIM? Any tips?