CIM Marathon Training Week 6 – A Solid Long Run & Fun Cross Training

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As of last Sunday, we’re 10 weeks out from CIM! At this point I’m feeling good about where I’m at, especially with a lot of time to make more progress. Last week started off a bit slower due to some leftover fatigue from working hard at the trail 10k race, but ended great with a really solid 16 mile long run.

Monday:

PM: Easy 5 mile run at Torrey Pines with Brooke and Mike. We ran up to the top of Torrey and down one of the trails, and then down the beach and back to the car. We were all dragging a bit on this run. Brooke had a big Ironman training weekend and Mike and I were tired from our tough runs over the weekend. That 10k really took a lot out of me since I pushed it to the max and then also ran the next day. Mike did a time trial run on Saturday so he was tired as well.

Tuesday:

AM: 50 Min Club Pilates Level 2

PM: I had a run planned but I had a busy day at work and was tired from the weekend so I skipped it. I actually came home and took an hour nap after work! Looking back I definitely think it was the right decision! That race took more out of me than I originally thought it would.

Wednesday: 

AM: 7 easy miles with Asia. I am getting so spoiled with all of these runs with friends! soon Asia will be on her honeymoon (her wedding is October 18th) and my pre-work running buddy won’t be around anymore. But for now, I’m loving having someone to chat with before the sun rises.

Thursday: 

AM: Ladder Intervals. 8.4 miles in total – 2 mile warm-up, 1, 2, 3, 2, 1, 2, 3, 2, 1 minute intervals (faster on the shorter intervals, slower on the longer) with the same time for recovery, ~2 mile cool-down. I felt good on this run despite it being early in the morning! The 1 minute segments were at about a 6:35 average, the 2 minute segments 6:50 and the 3 minute segments a 7 min/mile average. This was a fun one because time really went quickly and the intervals were so short it didn’t take a ton of focus to keep up the pace!

Friday: 

AM: 6 easy miles with Asia (again!). I didn’t wear a heart rate monitor but I’m pretty sure this was a Zone1-low Zone 2 effort. Nice and easy.

Lunch: 50 minutes of Pilates Level 2.5. Killer, as always. My instructor looks like she’s somewhere in her 60s but she is super strong and has a killer bod. She knows how to kick serious ass and is my  future-self inspiration!

Saturday: 

Ready for our Anniversary Long Run!

Ready for our Anniversary Long Run!

16 mile long run with Fartlek intervals and fast finish. After a 6 mile warm-up (which Mike ran with me and then he split off and did his own thing for the intervals), 5 miles with 90 seconds at 10k pace, 90 seconds recovery (ended up being 15 intervals + 15 rest segments), 2 miles easy, 3 miles hard. I honestly have no idea what my 10k pace is (despite just running one) so I focused on a hard, but not all out effort for the 90 second segments. In my head I was hoping for a 7:30 average or so and it turned out that I was close – 7:28 average for all 15 segments. The actual averages are all over the place because the majority of the segments were either going uphill or downhill. But it all evens out! I was surprised as how great I felt after I finished this part of the workout – at 11 miles, I was feeling good. I ran the next 2 miles easy and then was excited to see what I had under the hood for the final 3 miles. My plan simply said “hard” effort. I decided I wanted to run the final 3 at an average under 8 minute miles. I succeeded and ran them at an average of 7:55, with the final mile being a 7:38! This was definitely a confidence boosting long run and is one I’ll definitely be remembering during tough moments during the marathon. For me, a strong finish on a long run is more rewarding than any track workout.

View From Our Hotel Room Balcony!

View From Our Hotel Room Balcony!

Pre-Dinner Drinks

Pre-Dinner Drinks

After the run Mike and I headed up to Dana Point for a night in a wonderful bed and breakfast to celebrate our anniversary. Dana Point is a gorgeous coastal town that neither of us had really explored despite it being only 45 minutes away. We had a great time looking back on our wedding day and plotting our next year. We also drank one of the bottles of wine we brought back from Tuscany on our honeymoon during our fancy Italian dinner and got to enjoy the fresh made cake that our wedding cake bakery provided us free of charge!

Sunday: 

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Since it felt like a workout, I’m going to count it! I tried Stand Up Paddle Boarding for the first time and it was hard! We SUPed for 60 minutes and my shoulders, back and core definitely got a workout! I also got a major sunburn because I forgot sunscreen!

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Weekly Totals: 

  •  Miles Run: 42.5
  • Hours Strength (including SUP!): 2.75
  • Total Time: 9.5 hours

Have you ever Stand Up Paddle Boarded? Do you get more of a confidence boost from a good track workout or a solid long run? 

1 Year

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Sunday will be Mike and my 1 year wedding anniversary. I can’t believe how rapidly this year has gone by. It has been the fastest and the best year of my life and I have a feeling the years ahead will only go by more quickly.

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Mike and I have truly had a whirlwind of a year as we have been heavily involved in the weddings and the festivities that precede them of 5 couples as well as taken some fun adventures of our own (Phoenix Marathon weekend, Nashville, ACTIVEx Camp, concerts & baseball games). But between those big events, there have been hundreds of oatmeal breakfasts, so many walks hand in hand down the 101, countless burritos and endless laughs. It has been incredibly fun having Mike as a marathon training buddy in the recent months as well and his support for my seemingly endless quest for the perfect marathon has been greatly appreciated.

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To celebrate, we’re heading up to a small beach town in Orange County for 2 days and 1 night (after our long run on Saturday of course) to reflect on the last year and dream about the future (and eat cake!!!).

Cheers to September 28, 2013, the best day of our lives and to many more of the Best Day Ever.

CIM Marathon Training Weeks 4 & 5

These last two weeks have gone quickly and I meant to get out a recap last week but then it turned into halfway through this week and I gave up. So two weeks in one post it is. I’ll try to keep it brief (which we all know I’m bad at).

In general, these last two weeks have been great. I ran 6 days a week both weeks, which I think is a lifetime first for me, and I came out of them feeling really good. I think the heart rate training is REALLY doing me well, especially since one run a week is in Zone 1 thanks to a standing run date with a friend who is pregnant. It has been CRAZY hot in San Diego – it was literally 90 degrees with heavy humidity for my track workout last week (which I did at 6:30 PM)! Overall my paces are a bit slower than average but I’m focusing on effort, not pace, so I feel like these weeks have been a big success. I’m still in the base building phase with 11 weeks to go until the marathon at the end of Week 5.

Week 4

Monday: 7 miles (Zone 2)  with Mike. I actually felt pretty crappy on this run after some rest over the weekend at the wedding. A good reminder that resting from running doesn’t necessarily mean you’re actually resting. Socializing, traveling and partying is not recovery!

Tuesday: Pilates Level 2 & Hill Repeats – 5.6 miles . These hill repeats were pretty awesome. Again, Brooke, Mike and also my friend Amy and I met at Torrey Pines for hill repeats. Mike and Amy ran ahead on their own but Brooke stayed back and ran with me. I wore my heart rate monitor and made sure each repeat was in Zone 4 – I was really huffing and puffing and my legs were burning. But, on the 3rd and 4th intervals Brooke could sense I was starting to fade and she really encouraged me to go harder and make it farther up the hill for those final 2 repeats. She kept telling me I could make it to this sign at the top. In the final stretch of the last two intervals I kicked it up and sprinted (which equals a 9 min /mile while you’re running up 8-10% grade) to the sign. After looking at my data later, the 1st, 5th and 6th intervals were significantly faster than the 2nd-4th. It was a good reminder that I’ll need to FOCUS during the middle miles of the marathon.

Torrey Pines

Torrey Pines

Wednesday: P90X3 Yoga. 

Thursday: 8.4 Threshold Run (2 x 15 min with 3 min recovery). I saved this run for the evening which usually means I’m fresher but in this case, also meant it was much hotter. After slightly disappointing paces on the same run last week, I was hoping to squeak out something closer to a 7:30 average on the 15 minute segments. When I started the run, my legs felt a bit heavy but as soon as I started the intervals, they felt better. Overall, I felt really good on this run. It felt good to push it and I felt like I was flying. I kept seeing low 7s on my watch and I was feeling optimistic. However, a few times I had to stop dead in my tracks to avoid hitting someone or a car on the 101, which definitely impacted my paces. When I looked back on the  average, I was happy that I had squeaked out a slightly faster pace than the previous week, although not sub 7:30 as I had hoped.

Friday: 4.2 miles easy, Zone 1 with Allison, Pilates Level 2.5 at lunch (hard as usual)

Saturday: 15.3 miles, with 2 x 10 min @ goal pace, Zone 2 for remainder. Fellow Oiselle runner Laurel, who I originally met in Eugene when I was there for the marathon last year and then reunited with at Bird Camp, was in town for a wedding and we made plans to meet up for a run. Laurel didn’t want to run more than 10 and was staying down south, so I arranged for us to meet at 9 a.m. in Mission Bay so that I could run 5 miles beforehand.

My plan called for a mix of fartlek intervals and some hard miles toward the end, but I modified by taking a workout that I used to do with my first coach (who I used for Eugene/OC). The workout includes 2 intervals at tempo pace toward the beginning of the run so that the entire run “feels” longer than it is. Due to the heat (it was already 80 by 8 a.m.) and the fact that I had a pretty intense week with the hill repeats AND the tempo run, I decided for the “tempo” portion, I’d just try to run it at marathon goal pace. So I warmed up with 2 miles and then I ran 2 x 10 minutes between 8-8:10 and then recovered until I met up with Laurel. I was happy when I looked at my averages and they were right on goal pace – 8:06 and 8:07.

15 HOT Miles This Weekend in Mission Bay with Oiselle Teammate Laurel.

I led Laurel through a 10 mile loop through the beautiful Mission Bay and along Mission Beach and we had a great time learning more about each other and talking all things running. After our run (temps creeping toward 90 at this point) we went out to breakfast with her husband at one of my favorite breakfast places in San Diego, the Mission. It was really fun being down in Mission Bay – it was the first time I have been down there since our wedding last year! So many great memories!

View of our wedding venue!

View of our wedding venue!

Sunday: 6 miles easy, Zone 1/Low 2 . Another run with a friend – Asia! I ran 6 times this week and only once alone! This one was also really hot – this was the hottest day of the week. As soon as we finished running I got in my swim suit and went down to the beach to get in the ocea

  • Total Miles: 46.5
  • Total Strengthening/Stretching: 2.25 hours
  • Total Time: 8.5 hours

Week 5

Monday: Moderate 4.2 mile run , Zone 2.Thanks to Mike, I did not skip this run despite a later night at work and I felt better for having done it!

Tuesday: Pilates Level 2 & Track Workout – 2 mile warm-up, 3 x 1 mile repeats with 1 lap recovery, cool-down (total 6.6 miles). I was actually surprised that none of the 4 of us (Brooke, Mike and Amy) canceled this run. It was literally 90 degrees in San Diego at 6:30 PM and a freak thunderstorm had just come through and dumped water all over the track. It literally felt like I was in a hot yoga class. But we all showed up and we all ran our intervals. My goal originally was a 7 minute mile but I reminded myself that due to the heat, that probably wouldn’t happen. Instead, I focused on pace. I was happy that I ended up pretty close – 7:10, 7:16 and 7:09 but I was NOT happy that my Garmin was WAY off the mile markers!

Weather forecast as I headed out for the track workout

Weather forecast as I headed out for the track workout

I learned a valuable lesson about track workouts and Garmins that night – DO NOT trust the Garmin! Due to the way it calculates your pace, it somehow told me that I ran 1.1 mile for every mile I ran (I stayed in Lane 1 so I know it was a mile). My Garmin was telling me I was running 6:40 average (or less!) for the entire mile and then I’d actually run 7:10. Lesson learned: stay in lane 1 and trust the Garmin at the track! (I’ve done other workouts where I run outside of Lane 1 so I just stop my watch at the 1 mile mark but clearly this is not accurate).

Wednesday: 2.75 miles, Zone 1 with Allison. She’s into the third trimester now so she asked to cut back some of the mileage. Since this was my 7th day in a row running and I had a race coming up that weekend, I decided just to run with her and not add on any miles.

Thursday:  Easy/Moderate 7 miles, Zone 1-2 . I ran this one with Asia first thing in the morning and felt pretty good. We ran slow but the miles went by quickly thanks to the company!

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 2 mile warm-up + 10k trail race (which ended up being nearly 6.55 miles) – Recap here! 8.53 miles total.

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Sunday: 8.4 miles moderate – Zone 2. I ran with Brooke and Mike and kept it easy. My calves, shins, glutes and ankles were the most sore from the trail race the day before. Trail running really works different muscles! The race really wiped me out and I took a really deep 2 hour nap on Sunday afternoon. In general, I spent the weekend resting, eating healthy food and keeping it low key. It was SO nice to finally relax after quite a crazy summer of being constantly on the go. I really need to make sure I get more weekends like this in over the next few months as training ramps up! I had wanted to do yoga in the afternoon but when I woke up from the nap so groggy, I just really had no desire!

Finally cooling off in San Diego and I was able to wear my new Oiselle Off the Grid Kickers

Finally cooling off in San Diego and I was able to wear my new Oiselle Off the Grid Kickers

  • Total Miles: 37.5
  • Total Strengthening/Stretching: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: ~7 hours

When you do a track workout, do you stay in lane 1 and count the number of laps, or do you use your Garmin distance? How many days a week do you usually run during marathon training?

The Carmel Valley Trail 10K – My First (Non-Relay) Trail Race!

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Back in the beginning of the year I set some goals for myself and one of them was to run a trail race (thankfully this one was easier than the other 2 which are still TBD…). I got my first taste of trail running last late summer/early fall when I trained and ran the Ragnar Relay Trail Race at Vail Lake. I hadn’t really had much experience running on trails before and training for that event led to a new love of trail running. Although at this point road racing is definitely my first love, trail running is pretty awesome. I love the feeling of being lost on the trail, tucked away in my own little world and I feel like the miles fly by since there is so much to think about and take in.

So when I found out that a new trail race was coming to town and it was a short 15 minute drive from my house, was on a Saturday (meaning I could still get more mileage on Sunday during marathon training), and started at 8 a.m., I was sold! My friends Vicky and Kelly were going to run the 5k as their first race back after having their son earlier this year which was another fun reason to sign up.

Race day came quickly and kind of caught me by surprise. It was a Saturday race and working all day Friday and not having to go an expo kind of erased any nerves I could have had leading up to it. Mike decided to do a longer trail run on a different trail of his own so I headed to the race on my own, arriving just over an hour early and realizing I was one of the first to arrive! I quickly checked in, used the restroom and then hung out for a while before taking off for a 2 mile warm-up.

When I got back, I took one more bathroom trip (no line!), pushed down a Gu and chugged some water, said hi to Vicky and Kelly, and then lined up at the start! People were crowding the start at first but once the announcer told everyone that the first 1.5 miles or so were single track  and asked us to seed ourselves, a lot of the crowd moved back. A small group of us stayed in front and when the race started, we jetted off. I looked down and saw 6:30 average mile pace on my Garmin and knew I had to scale it back especially since I didn’t want to hold people up on the single track so I slowed a bit.

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Despite slowing, I was still with the front pack and I followed them down the road and to the left. We had passed an entrance to the trail and one guy in the group said “I think we were supposed to go that way!” but there was no sign telling us to and there were orange cones ahead, so the group went full force. The entire group of 10k runners followed us. As we turned the corner we really started to realize we had gone the wrong way. We ran into the woods and there was no trail so we finally threw in the towel and turned around. I was just laughing – I had heard that wrong turns happen in trail races but I didn’t expect it to be so soon and for the ENTIRE race to make the wrong turn! As soon as our group turned back, we realized the rest of the 10k runners were also turning back and someone said something about how crappy it would be on the single track now. As soon as I heard that, I started to sprint up past the crowd on the left trying to get to the front. I still wanted a chance to be competitive in this race and I didn’t want to spend the first 1.5 miles trying to pass people on a narrow, steep and potentially dangerous trail.

Once we finally found the trail it was a steep and rocky 1 mile decent into the canyon on single track. Not many people passed and I felt like I was keeping up pretty well with the group of guys I was with. I’m fairly good at running quickly downhill but ONLY if there isn’t a lot of loose gravel and it’s not super steep. There were a few sections that were like this and I slowed way down to ensure my klutzy self wouldn’t eat crap. Once we got the bottom we crossed a cute little bridge and then were on single track for a little while longer before the road widened a bit. We passed the 1 mile marker and my watch said 1.4 or something close, so I already knew that any chance of a PR 10K was out the window (The only 10K I’ve run was immediately following a 10 mile training run. I also had no idea how hard the course would be and even without that extra 0.4 it definitely wouldn’t have been!).

I was breathing hard and working hard already. Although we were lucky that the sun wasn’t out and San Diego’s recent 90 degree weather had gone, it was still in the low 70s and very humid in the canyon. All the excitement over missing the turn and back tracking really got my heart rate up and I used a lot of energy in the first couple of miles. After I passed the official 2 mile marker, I slowed down a bit. I was running in a little pack with some guys and they all seemed to slow a bit too so I didn’t feel so bad about it. Eventually some of the pack split up but I ended up with just one guy who was wearing a red shirt. We played leapfrog and helped pace each other for almost the entire race (we thanked each other afterward for the motivation!).

This part of the trail was a long loop with some small rolling hills and part of the trail was loose sand, which is VERY hard to run on! For some reason I had thought this race was partially on a service road but instead it was on a set of trails that I had never known existed (and are just minutes from my work!). The trails were very beautiful and I couldn’t stop thinking about how incredibly different trail racing is compared to road racing. Once we neared the end of this loop we could see the leaders on the other side of a small riverbed. I saw one girl and not any others, so I knew that despite the whole wrong turn debacle I was still in 2nd!

I had skipped the first aid station but once I saw the next one around mile 3, I grabbed a large cup of water and walked a few steps so I could get it all down. This was the point in the race were the end seemed very far away and I felt like I was working too hard, so again, I slowed the pace a little. I was still keeping up with my red-shirted friend and we soon met up with some of the 5k runners for a short section which also happened to be single track again, and we were having to run around them. I tried to say “good job” or something similar as I passed. A lot of the 5k runners actually stopped and stood to the side and even said “nice work!” Trail runners are so nice!

We turned away from the 5k runners shortly after and started up what seemed at this point to be a beast hill. I happened to glance behind me and saw another woman for the first time all race. For a second as I was climbing I thought that I might not care if she passed me. I was so tired. I rationalized that at least 3rd would be still great. I even slowed to walk a section of the steep incline. Once I got to the top, the lead guys and the fast girls were coming back. Everyone was saying “good job” to me as I ran by and it really gave me a boost!

I cruised down the other side of the hill and felt a little better but then we turned onto a very narrow single track and started to climb again. Some sections were so steep that I had to walk again but I kept moving as quickly as I could. My breathing was really heavy and I was starting to fade. Negative thoughts were creeping in and I tried my best to push them back with positive self-talk. I muscled through it and when I reached the top, I did a quick u-turn around a cone and headed back and saw I’d made a little time on the woman behind me. There were two more women behind her. I decided then that I wasn’t going to give up – I was going to fight for that 2nd place spot!

I kept telling myself “this is your race to lose” and “just hang on!” It helped that I hit the 5 mile marker around here and knowing that there was only about a mile left helped ease the pain. I told myself it was about 8 minutes the finish (knowing this was a lie since the last mile is straight up) which also seemed to help. There was another section of very loose sand through this section and I somehow managed to pass 2 more guys on this part!

Once we crossed the little bridge I knew it was all up from there. I dug seriously deep for the last mile. Now we’d joined up with the 5k again but all the 5k runners were so incredibly supportive and were all cheering for us! A lot of them stopped and moved to the side to let the 10k runners go through. One woman said “there’s the 1st place girl!” and I said “2nd! And thank you!” and kept going, knowing the first place woman was so far ahead she’d missed her.

This last mile was brutal. I dug deep. I kept thinking how this race was one of the hardest efforts  I’d ever put forth! I was in pain. I wasn’t wearing my heart rate monitor but I knew I kept dipping into Zone 5 on the steep inclines. I actually walked 4 more inclines because they were so steep, including the final incline which was literally 0.1 mile from the finish line (there were quite a few slower 5kers clogging it and I was so tired I just walked). Once I got off the trail onto the FLAT concrete, my legs instantly felt lighter. I ran in and Vicky and Kelly were at the finish cheering for me. I did it!

 

I thought she was done taking the photo.... hah.

 

The consensus at the finish line was that it was a tough race! My watch said that I ran 6.53 miles with 1,000 feet of climbing. My time (I don’t know my official time as this was not a chip-timed event and results aren’t posted) according to my Garmin was 55:55 for the 6.53 miles, an 8:34 pace. Considering the difficulty of the terrain, I wasn’t concerned that I’m supposed to run 20 more miles even faster than that in 11 weeks at CIM to get my Boston qualifying time.

2nd Place!

2nd Place!

Vicky and Kelly left quickly after the finish to relieve their baby-sitter, but I wanted to stay for the awards ceremony. I ended up chatting with the red shirt guy, a couple of the lead guys (we all had a laugh about getting off course so quickly), and the fast girl who won (and finished 3rd overall, including guys! Oh yeah and was wearing Oiselle!). Several people congratulated me and told me I did a great job. It was seriously the most friendly finish line I’ve ever been to! The camaraderie and sportsmanship at trail races is really incredible. It was an extremely positive experience and I will definitely be adding more trail races to my race calendar!

Mike finished his trail run in time to make it over to the finish line for the awards ceremony so he was able to see me on the “podium.” I was really excited that there were actual trophies and that I get a free pair of compression socks!

Trails I love you…until we meet again!

If you do trail races, what is your favorite part?

5 Reasons to Embrace Running in the Heat

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77 degrees at 7:30 PM post tempo run

It’s hot here in San Diego. I live at the coast and homes here don’t come with A/C. In fact, most people who have A/C don’t run it (or the heat in the winter). We’re blessed to enjoy wonderful weather for 99.9% of the year. I truly can’t complain. So I won’t. Instead I’ll focus on all the GOOD that surrounds living in 80-90 degree weather streak without reprieve. (if you’re already snarking about me complaining about San Diego heat which I know pales in comparison to a lot of the US- in my defense, they are sending kids home from school early to get out of the heat and Target is SOLD OUT of fans!).

Just like pro-triathletes go to higher altitudes to train in tougher conditions in order to get faster, training in uncomfortable heat can also have benefits. I’m not saying go out and run at high noon in the middle of the desert with no water in order to get more fit. I’m simply saying, that with the proper precautions, training in this crazy heat might actually give me a boost come marathon race day.

Hot Sun Setting in San Diego

Hot Sun Setting in San Diego

A study was done by Santiago Lorenzo at the University of Oregon to prove the effectiveness of heat training on cyclists. He split a group of cyclists and had half of the group perform training in a 55 degree room and the other half in a 100 degree room. He put them through performance tests at the beginning and the end of the study (both in 55 degree rooms) and compared their improvements. The group who trained in the hot room’s performance improved by 6% and their VO2max improved 5%. The group who trained in the 55 degree room showed no improvements at all over the 10 day period.

Just like training in altitude, heat training can:

1) Increase your blood plasma levels.  The result is a greater cardiac output, and higher VO2 at a given effort level.

2) Help you acclimate to dehydration.

3) Change muscle cell enzymes to make an endurance athlete more efficient.

 Source 1 & Source 2

In addition to the takeaways from the study mentioned in 1-3, I think there are two more benefits to heat training:

4) It builds mental toughness. Pushing away excuses to skip a run because of the heat and tackling it (responsibly by taking water, taking it easier if needed, etc) can be a  great mental boost during tough moments in a race or even a future workout.

5) Help prepare you for undesirable race conditions. If you’ve already trained in tough conditions, you are going to be less likely to let a bad weather forecast freak you out.

One thing to keep in mind is that even though heat training might help make improvements in future performance, while you are training in high temperatures, you need to adjust your pace goals. It is totally fine to run a long run a minute or even more per mile slower in the heat and if you have a tempo or track workout planned, it’s smart to base your pace on perceived effort and/or heart rate. Also keep in mind that even if you’ve been training in the heat, you still aren’t going to perform as well at a race that is hot. You’ll still need to adjust your expectations but you will have a leg up on any competition who has not trained in the heat.

15 HOT Miles This Weekend in Mission Bay with Oiselle Teammate Laurel.

15 HOT Miles This Weekend in Mission Bay with Oiselle Teammate Laurel.

I definitely have noticed that I’ve acclimated to the heat over the last month or so of hard training in it. I always remind myself when I’m doing a key workout in the heat that I should not beat myself up about not going quite as fast as I would like, but instead focus on the effort. I’ve found that I’m not as bothered by running in the heat as I was when it first started to get so hot. I just carry extra water, electrolyte tabs and soak up the sweat!

Have you ever found that training in the heat helped you? Do you avoid running in the heat? 

CIM Marathon Training Week 3

Week three of training was a big one! I only ran 4 times but my total mileage was the highest of this training cycle due to the DobyMan 13.1 on Monday and a long run over the weekend. My only speed work this week was a threshold run on Wednesday which, due to the heat, wasn’t quite as fast as I had hoped. However, my long run over the weekend was the fastest I’ve ever done a long run in heart rate Zone 2 so with that and the high mileage, I’m calling the week a win!

On top of lots of workouts, there was plenty of fun too as we headed to Davis for Mike’s best friend’s wedding for a long weekend.

Monday: 

1.2 mile swim (45 minutes) and 13.1 mile run (Zone 2) as part of the DobyMan (we put on a mock 70.3 for our friend Brooke). The run itself took us a long time. We took it slow, took breaks (I actually forgot to bring my watch for this section so I don’t know the actual pace but it took over 2 hours) and enjoyed the scenery. The course itself was hilly and included ascending and descending Torrey Pines. By the end of the run it was very hot and my legs were very tired!

Just about to run up Torrey!

Just about to run up Torrey!

Tuesday: 

I had signed up for a 6 a.m. Club Pilates class in advance not really thinking about the DobyMan lasting until the mid-afternoon the previous day. However, I felt pretty good in class and didn’t push it too hard. Lesson of the morning: I really need to work on my planking!

That evening Mike and I went to the Padres game. Mike got some really good seats for free and even though it wasn’t the most action packed game I really enjoyed watching because I could actually see what was going on!

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Wednesday: 

I waited until after work to do my threshold run because I really wanted to sleep in! I wasn’t feeling like running and Mike was planning to do the workout at the same time as me (at least run the 2 mile warm-up with me) but ended up not feeling well and skipped it. As soon as he said he wasn’t going to run, I had the urge to either cut my workout short or move it to the next day too since my legs felt heavy, but I pushed past those thoughts and got it done. The workout was 2 mile warm-up, 2 x 15 minutes @ half marathon pace with 3 min recovery jog between, cool-down to finish (just over 2 miles). I had wanted to run the 2 15 minute segments at an average pace under 7:30, but due to the heavy legs and the heat, I came in slower (7:48 and 7:39 averages). I compared this to a couple of the times I did this workout leading up to San Diego RnR and my pace was slower this time. I didn’t beat myself up about it – instead I focused on the fact that it was a solid workout.

The sun is setting earlier and earlier these days ...

The sun is setting earlier and earlier these days …

Thursday: 

Luckily I had Asia to do an easy 5 mile run with me in the morning before work. That evening we flew out to Davis, California where Mike went to college to start his best friend’s wedding weekend festivities!

Friday: 

Rest day – I had to work a half day remote in the morning and we had wedding events in the afternoon.

Saturday: 

Mike and I continued our (not really) tradition of running long the morning before a wedding and shocking all non-running wedding guests who would later hear that we ran 16.5 miles. Mike and I ran on the trails through the beautiful UC Davis arboretum and then down a beautiful path through an olive tree grove before making our way onto a very long (and flat!) bike path. We ran the remainder of the run on the path until we hit just over 8 miles and turned around and made out way back into town, taking the path into town and then turning off to find one of Mike’s old houses in Davis. It was fun hearing more college memories and learning more about that campus that he loves so much. I was also happy because I felt pretty good and it was the fastest run (long or short!) that I’ve ever run in Zone 2. Woohoo!

Olive Trees

Olive Trees

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Wedding Fun!

Wedding Fun!

Sunday: 

I discovered a pretty cool website called DoYogaWithMe.com which allows you to search through their hundreds of free yoga videos available to be streamed instantly. I found a 42 minute hip, leg and lower back session for runners. It was super low-intensity and basically all stretching and was absolutely perfect. There is no way that I would have done that much stretching on my own so the videos are perfect! There are a bunch of shorter (20ish minute) videos as well that I want to try.

Weekly Totals: 

  • Miles Run: 43.1
  • Yards Swam: 2,100
  • Hours Strength/Stretching: 1.5
  • Total Time: ~10 hours

Do you continue training during weekends away? Have you ever done a  free yoga video from online? Any other website you recommend? 

A Short Story

It all began with a pair of shorts.

The Fall 2014 Oiselle Line (Previewed at Bird Camp!)

The Fall 2014 Oiselle Line (Previewed at Bird Camp!)

Oiselle founder Sally Bergesen wasn’t happy with the world of women’s running shorts and decided to do the obvious – start her own women’s running apparel company. This happened in 2007 and in the 7 years following, she has taken Oiselle from a dream to a successful and thriving reality.  As with all companies, there have been growing pains and bumps along the road but for every setback there have been many, many steps forward.

Sally Speaking at Bird Camp

Sally Speaking at Bird Camp

Although I’ve been wearing Oiselle for a couple years now and have been a member of the wonderful Oiselle Volee team for over a year, I actually had not yet pulled on a pair of Rogas shorts, the shorts that started it all, until this summer. Let me just leave it at this –the soft and flexible material, perfect length and fashionable design have won me over. They will certainly be my short of choice going forward.

Oiselle Rogas! Not pictured - cute grey patterned waist band!

Oiselle Rogas! Not pictured – cute grey patterned waist band!

But of course, Oiselle is much more than shorts. As I experienced first hand at Bird Camp this summer, Oiselle is not only a company but a community with empowers female runners (and all athletes) to strive for goals of all kinds and never give up. After hearing Sally speak from the heart at Bird Camp about her journey from runner to CEO and founder of Oiselle, I was even more convinced that being a part of the Oiselle family will not only help me get more admiring stares during my runs down the coast or in my Pilates classes, but is a company that I completely believe in and support with pride. Sally’s intentions for everything she has done for Oiselle has been in the name of making women feel better about themselves, inside and out.  

The motto, “Run Fast, Take Chances” embodies the company in more ways than one. Not only does Oiselle encourage runners to push further, it does the same with its business practices as well as its design. Oiselle is a small company but is already very well known in the running community, largely because of its commanding presence on social media and recently added influential teammate Kara Groucher.  But advertising only works if the product backs it up and in Oiselle’s case, it does. Oiselle’s running clothing is functional, yet constantly evolving to keep up with fashion trends.

Pro-Runner Kate Grace Looking Amazing on the Runway. Photo Source.

Pro-Runner Kate Grace Looking Amazing on the Runway. Photo Source.

Case in point, today 10 Oiselle athletes, running shorts tan lines and all, rocked brand new looks down the runway at the Nolcha Fashion Week in New York City for the second year in a row. There is no need to hire models to show off Oiselle gear because the point is to show the clothing on the people it’s designed for – runners. Among others, Oiselle unveiled the new elite racing kit (see Kara Groucher wear it at the NY Marathon this year!), amazing new tights with flattering and curve-popping lines, an adorable new patterned sports bra and a spring jacket. I’ve already put myself on a spending freeze after my recent shopping spree after the recent Fall line launch, but I’m going to be saving up for Spring 2015 NOW!

Kara Groucher Sporting the New Oiselle Pro Racing Kit (source)

Kara Groucher Sporting the New Oiselle Pro Racing Kit (source)]

What do you look for in your running clothes? Have you tried Oiselle?

CIM Marathon Training Week 2

As of the end of Week 2 we are at 14 weeks until race day! It definitely is going to be here before we know it but I’m feeling good about where I’m at right now. I think so far I’m doing a good job of adding a little more volume than I have in the past while also making sure I’m rested for key workouts. This week was a little less mileage but more intensity. 

Monday:
AM: In the morning I ran 6 easy miles (Zone 1-2) with Asia and finished the workout with 4 x 8 second hill sprints. 

Tuesday: 
AM: I could really tell I needed yoga after the previous week’s training and had hoped to get it in Monday night but ended up working too late. So I got up early (but not that early thanks to P90X3’s 30 minute workouts) and did P90X3 yoga. I didn’t regret it for a second because I felt 100% better afterward! 

PM: After work I met up with Mike at Torrey Pines for one of our key workouts for the week. The workout was a 1 mile warm-up followed by 6 x 3 minute hill repeats up the steepest grade of Torrey Pines (about 8% grade). I wore my heart rate monitor and my heart rate was well into Zone 4 for all 6 repeats. My legs AND my lungs were burning. The recovery was just a jog back recovery and then we wrapped it up with a mile recovery jog to the car. The sun was setting during our workout and although it was painful, it was beautiful! Both Mike and I finished the workout with a good case of Runners High. 

Ready to Run Repeats!

Ready to Run Repeats!

Wednesday: 

Rest Day – Girls night happy hour in the evening

Thursday: 

I got up to run in the morning but ended up going back to bed (the previous night’s girls night happy hour was lingering). It worked out better because both Mike and Asia were able to join me for my evening progression run. The workout was not supposed to be intense. It was 8.4 miles with the final 4.2 miles at “moderate” pace. Surprisingly, my legs felt amazing on this run. They felt even better once we turned around and started to pick up the pace. I was easily running low/mid 8 min/miles and it did not even feel close to hard. By the end, i was cruising at a 7:30 pace and Asia and Mike were both telling me that this was no longer “moderate” but I felt great! My legs were light, my breathing was manageable. It was one of the best runs I’ve had in a while and I finished feeling refreshed and energized and ready for more. 

Friday: 

Sunrise Miles

Sunrise Miles

AM: 5 mile easy run. I was proud of myself for getting up for this one! My friend Allison canceled on me last minute and I was SO tempted not to run but got up anyway.

At lunch I headed back to the Club Pilates studio near my office. It was just me and one other girl, as I can only assume most people were either taking the day off or had a short day because of the long holiday weekend. This again was the Level 2.5 pilates class so it was EXTRA hard, especially since there were only two of us. There seemed to be a focus on leg and glute work and I left the class wondering how this would affect my long run the next day!

Saturday: 

This was the big one! The aspect of my training plan that most drew me to it, and also most scares me about it, is that a lot of the long runs contain significant portions at or close to goal marathon pace. I firmly believe that these training runs do more mentally for me than any other run and Brad Hudson also firmly believes that these kinds of runs prepare you for the marathon better than any other. Saturday’s long run was the first of these tests of pace and mental strength.

Ready to RUN!

Ready to RUN!

The workout was a 1 mile warm-up followed by 10 miles at marathon goal pace +10-20 sec/mile, completed with a 1 mile cool-down.Mike also is training hard for CIM so we did our warm-up together by running out and back to our house so we could do a familiar 10 mile out and back route. We had slept in and then eaten a light breakfast and drank our coffee so by the time we got on the road, it was past 9:30 and the sun was blazing and it was hot (mid 70s probably to start). As soon as we started running I knew it would be a rough run but I didn’t want to give up. I gave myself a little mental out from the beginning – it was hot and my legs were tired. Maybe it’d be ok if I didn’t quite run 8:20-8:30 min/miles. Once I started the race pace portion of the run, I knew it’d be a long 10 miles. My legs were tired and it was very hot – I was sweating buckets within minutes. I tried to not pay attention to my watch and just run at a pace that I thought I could hold for 10 miles.

I was surprised when my watch clicked off the first mile at 8:26. Not bad! I kept the effort the same and the next mile was 8:17 and 8:16 the next. However, I wasn’t feeling great. I wore my heart rate monitor and I noticed when my heart rate was in low Zone 4/high zone 3, things were ok, but when it popped into 5 bpm within the top of Zone 4, things weren’t great. Around mile 3.5 there is a hill which heads up into Solana Beach and I started to feel bad. It felt so hot. I kept telling myself that all I had to do was get to the turnaround at mile 5. And then once I got there, I could run back to Fletcher Cove and get more water (it was already more than halfway gone). These little goals really helped. 10 miles is a LONG time to maintain a hard effort.

Another thing that helped was that my training plan had called this a “HARD long run.” So despite it being slower than race pace, mentally I knew it was going to be hard. Instead of wondering how I’d ever run 26.2 miles just faster than my current pace, I focused on the positives. After the turnaround (where I had a Gu) and the water stop (where I poured water all of my head and down by back) I got my 2nd wind (although I was now running into a headwind). Miles 3 and 4 had been in the high 8s but 5 and 6 were ni the low 8s. I kept it going and somehow mustered the energy to finsih strong with a 8 min/mile. I finished 10 miles at an average pace of 8:26 in not ideal conditions on tired legs. It felt good! Mike was waiting for me and I was happy to hear that he also crushed his run. He ran my cool-down lap with me and we continued the runner’s high the rest of the day and into the night at the Jack Johnson Concert!

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Sunday:

Rest day (with plenty of walking for active recovery). I had wanted to get in some yoga but it just didn’t happen. Instead I slept 10 hours, got breakfast with Mike, took a walk around town, took a 2 hour nap and had dinner with friends.

Rest Day Goodness!

Rest Day Goodness!


Weekly Totals

  • Total Miles Run: 37.5
  • Hours Strength Training: 1.5
  • Total Time: ~7.5 hours

What key workouts in marathon or half marathon training do you find the most beneficial mentally and/or physically? 

The 1st Annual DobyMan

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Sometimes you meet people who inspire you to be better. Last year I met Brooke, a cheerful and friendly woman who I would soon come to find out is also wickedly fast and equally humble. She works at The ACTIVE Network with Mike and was in training for her first sprint triathlon. As I got to know her during the ACTIVEx workouts as well as last year’s CAxMP, I had a feeling that she had the drive to become an Ironman someday. After she easily and accidentally won first in her age group at her first sprint triathlon (and it was a competitive one!) despite riding a borrowed aluminum road bike without clip-in pedals and having almost zero formal swim training, I knew it was only a matter of time before she’d be on the quest for Mike Reilly’s voice calling her name.

Luckily, good things do happen to great people and Brooke won a free entry to an Ironman of her choice at least year’s ACTIVEx holiday party. She chose this year’s Ironman Arizona and quickly transformed from an injury-prone former collegiate runner to a triathlete with a cycling addiction. She fell in love with the bike and her enthusiasm for long solo rides is seriously something I wish I possessed. More so than those solo rides, she loves group workouts and since meeting her I have shared my goal of qualifying for Boston and she has been an amazing support system for me. Her kind words and patience with my slower-than-her pace have fueled many runs together. On the flip side, I am able to share my Ironman knowledge with her. We, in turn, have inspired each other to achieve goals that perhaps on our own would seem just a little bit more out of reach.

Sunset at Torrey the day we committed to do DobyMan!

Sunset at Torrey the day we committed to do DobyMan!

On of the aforementioned runs, which also happened to be a day when all of our legs were fresh, the sunset over Torrey Pines was particularly epic and we were taken over by a strong case of Runners High, I was asking Brooke about her racing plans going into the upcoming Ironman and we realized that there was no feasible 70.3 race for her to participate in before the big day. Meanwhile, Mike has had the idea for a DobyMan (a play on our last name) 70.3 for a few years now, which ideally would have taken place on the same day as the La Jolla Half Marathon (which has the reputation as being the most challenging half marathon in San Diego as the course contains the brutal climb over Torrey Pines).

The DobyMan would begin at the La Jolla Cove with a 1.2 mile swim to the La Jolla Shores, continue with a 56 mile bike ride through the rolling hills of Rancho Santa Fe, and finish with the La Jolla Half Marathon (on race day). Of course his plan if executed would required waking up at 2 a.m. to actually get to the start of the race in time to run it, so it has always been kind of a pipe dream. However, on this particular afternoon at Torrey Pines, we decided although the original dream might not happen, we could use Mike’s inspiration to create Brooke an awesome 70.3 race.

Suited up and ready to swim!

Suited up and ready to swim!

And so it happened. This morning Brooke, Mike, another of their co-workers Jinna, met up at the La Jolla Cove around 6:30 so we’d have toes in the water at 7 a.m. I admit, I almost bailed on the swim, as I haven’t swam since the La Jolla Half Marathon and I haven’t swam 1.2 miles since…. possibly the Ironman. Not to mention, my recently discovered fear of sharks was putting bad thoughts in my mind. But, my FOMO took over and I faced my fears and swam 1.2 lovely miles in the ocean with all the little fishies, a few seals (permanent residents of the La Jolla Cove), and three friends. The water was warm and surprisingly it wasn’t too hard to swim for just over 40 minutes in the open water.

La Jolla Cove Seal

La Jolla Cove Seal

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Although the transitions were lightning quick, we got Brooke out of the water and on her bike and then Mike and I headed to a local breakfast place to stuff our faces with pancakes and eggs while Brooke biked 56 miles (she choose a route with a whopping 3,500 feet of climbing). I felt lazy for a second then remembered I was going to have to run a half marathon in a few hours. After breakfast we headed out onto the course and were able to find Brooke out on the course Brooke thanks to a stalkerish iPhone app.

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Due it being horse racing season at the Del Mar fairgrounds, we opted to move the start of the La Jolla Half Marathon to the Solana Beach Train station, which in the end worked out perfectly. Brooke showed up at the car close to noon and she changed and fueled up and we were off. Mike and I had just come off of a hard week of marathon training including a long run with 10 miles at near goal race pace on Saturday, and despite a rest day yesterday, my legs weren’t exactly fresh for our “race.” It was also high noon, close to 80 degrees, high humidity and very sunny with a 10 mph headwind (too bad the course doesn’t go the other way!?). Despite these not-so-ideal race conditions, we had a great time traversing 13.1 miles together. It obviously helped that we were running through some of the most scenic vistas in San Diego, or in our humble opinion, the world.

The the right of that big hill we were about to climb is the finish line in the distance.

The the right of that big hill we were about to climb is the finish line in the distance.

View from the run course

View from the run course

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Along the way we started to fantasize about finishing and decided that four criteria must be met in order for someone to be named a “DobyMan.”

1) Swim 1.2 miles in the cove, bike 56 miles, and run 90% of the La Jolla Half Marathon course

2) Start AND finish the course in the cove. All participants must jump in the ocean at the end of the race to be considered finishers.

Ocean Finish!

Ocean Finish!

3) All participants must swim and run together. No Aquathon participants may start the run without waiting for the triathlon participant to dismount the bike. No triathlon participant may run ahead of other participants. All must finish together.

4) Beer

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I’m happy to say that Brooke is now a DobyMan. Mike and I are the first Aquathon finishers and Jinna is the first swim course finisher. I’m not sure there is a better way to spend a Monday away from work. All are welcome to next year’s 2nd annual event!

Have you ever put on your own event? Would you do the DobyMan or a part of it!? 

CIM Marathon Training Week 1

Marathon training officially kicked off this last week. This last Sunday marked 15 weeks until race day – it sounds far away and so close at the same time. when looking forward to events I like to think back to what I was doing during the same time period in the past ( i.e. what happened 15 weeks ago?!) to put things into perspective. In this case, 15 weeks ago was Mother’s Day weekend, just after my sister in law’s bachelorette party and right before her wedding. That doesn’t seem very long ago at all… CIM will be here before I know it!

Overall, this is the fastest I’ve ever been going into marathon training. I’m also doing more mileage early on than before (although before Eugene I did do quite a bit of mileage early on thinking I might still be racing the Surf City full in February). I feel like I know what works for my body now and I’m focusing on those things rather than following an exact plan. This is all part of the Adaptive Running technique explained in Brad Hudson’s book “Run Faster” which I have been using for my training.

I’m also keeping what I learned from Maria’s coaching with me in terms of keeping my easy runs EASY (i.e. slow, heart rate zone 1 or 2) and not worrying about pace. At times I do second guess that running 10 min miles will somehow allow me to run a marathon at 8 min/miles, but knowing that I used this technique for the half marathon and busted out 7:38 min/miles helps keep me focused. The key workouts are when pace matters, and the only thing that matters on endurance runs is keeping my heart rate in Zone 2. Being rested and ready for the key workouts so that I can make improvements during them is what will get me to my goal.

This week was full of friends and trails! Every run was with a friend and a large portion of the runs were on the trails. The nights and mornings are getting a little darker but it’s still light enough to run without a headlamp before and after work. I know this won’t last forever so I’m cherishing every moment while I can!

Monday:

Rest day – Post Bird Camp, my legs were ready for some R&R.

Tuesday:  

I recently purchased a Groupon for a Club Pilates studio (this is the same pilates franchise that I go to in Encinitas) right near my work. I took my first class at lunch. The class was good (and I was sore the next day) but I’m not sure I loved the teacher. I’ll have to give it another shot before making my final decision. But the convenience of the lunchtime workout is amazing!

That evening I met up with Brooke and Mike for our weekly Torrey Tuesday run. We did the same route as last week but this time my legs weren’t quite as fresh and I didn’t push it as hard. We ran up the road to the top, down the trail, up the trail and down the road, enjoying a beautiful sunset the entire way. In total, 6.4 miles with 1,200 feet of climbing. 

Torrey Pines - No filter

Torrey From Below

Torrey - No Filter!

Torrey From Above

Wednesday:

I started the morning with an easy Zone 1 run with my friend Allison. I ran 1 mile before she arrived and we ran nearly another 4 together, for a total of 4.9 recovery miles.

Thursday:

Progression Run. Mike and I have started to make Thursdays our mid-week long(ish) run day. This is also part of the Run Faster schedule, although the plan has us running 10 miles (I am generally modifying the plan to be slightly lower mileage). We ran 8.4 miles in total, with the last 4.2 miles “moderate.” I progressed in effort, and staying in the mid 8s for the first couple of miles and then completed the final 1.2 miles at goal marathon pace (8-8:10).

That night Mike and I headed downtown for date night, starting with drinks and dinner at a fun restaurant (with great beer and sweet potato fries being the highlight) and the Jason Mraz concert!

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Friday:

I headed back to Club Pilates at lunch, this time for my very first Level 2.5 class. I typically take Level 2 classes as non of the Level 2.5s at the Encinitas location take place at a time I can make it. This class was HARD! I loved it!! I will definitely be heading back. The major difference in the levels seems to be the amount of time you hold each pose. On Tuesday we were getting out of plank and other positions just as it was getting hard, and on Friday my entire body was shaking. Love the shake.

Saturday:

Brooke had told Mike and I that she knew a 14 mile trail run loop somewhat near our house (Cardiff/Rancho Santa Fe) so we met up with her Saturday morning so she could show us the ropes. This run was hard. There wasn’t a lot of climbing, but there was quite a bit of running on loose sand (at times it felt like we were running on a beach) and a few miles on a horse trail that was covered in big bits of loose bark (also feels like running in sand). In the end, I ran 14.6 miles and I was pooped! Mike and I stayed together the whole run, but going forward we won’t be running our long runs together. He needs to go ahead of me and run a bit faster to make his own improvements.

Running Buddies!

Running Buddies! Note the new Oiselle tank!

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Sunday:

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Sunday night’s sunset – they have been amazing lately!

I met up with Asia for a run on Sunday morning and we realized we hadn’t run together in weeks! That’s definitely rare for us. I ran 2 miles before we met up and then she and I ran another 5ish, totaling 7.3 miles (Zone 2). My legs actually felt pretty fresh on this run despite the long run on Saturday, although we did run slow.

Weekly Totals:

  • Miles Ran: 41.6
  • Hours Strength: 1.66
  • Total Time: ~8.5 hours

How many weeks do you usually train for a marathon? Anyone else a Mraz fan?