CIM Marathon Training Week 10 – Big Miles

I can’t believe we’re already at Week 10. This year has flown by and now it’s almost race time! 6 weeks to go as of last Sunday.

Last week was a confidence booster! I came out of this week KNOWING that I have what it takes to BQ at CIM. If only all the other conditions cooperate, it’s going to happen! I also came out of this week, my highest mileage week of this training cycle, and I believe EVER, feeling pretty good. No niggles, twinges (besides some gnarly blisters…), and my legs were surprisingly not too sore or heavy. These are the training weeks that make all the bad runs worth it!

Monday

6 easy miles

Tuesday -

AM: Pilates

PM: 8 mile run with 6 miles at half marathon pace. I left work as early as I could to beat the setting sun and headed out to the 56 bike path which is near my work. I totally forgot how hilly this path is. After my 1 mile warm-up, I was basically running straight up hill for 3 miles. Despite the hill, I tried to keep the effort at what I’d consider half marathon pace. As soon as I turned around, I was greeted with a seriously strong headwind, but at least I was running downhill! My average pace for the 6 miles was 7:48, which is a little slower than half marathon pace but considering the conditions and that there was no rest between miles, I felt good about it.

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Sunset through the trees on the bike path

Wednesday:

PM: 5 mile recovery run with Mike. I’m not digging this darkness! Nighttime runs are now bordering on scary. I’m glad Mike was there but some stretches of the bike path are completely black and my headlamp doesn’t’ seem to help.

Thursday:

AM: 7 miles – first 5 easy (3 with Allison), 2 moderate (mid-low 8s). I ran to Allison’s house and then we ran 3 very slow miles together. I was feeling good after, so I decided to pick it up a bit for the final 2 miles home.

Allison and I rocking our runs. She's killing it at 30 weeks pregnant!

Allison and I rocking our runs. She’s killing it at 30 weeks pregnant!

Friday:

10 miles with 12 x 2 min @ 10k pace. This is when I really started thinking about how much better it is to break runs into smaller pieces. After a 1 mile warm-up, the workout was to do a 2 min interval at 10k pace every 5 minutes. It made the 10 miles (half in the dark) fly by. I averaged 7:30 on the 10k segments.

Morning Sunrise

Morning Sunrise

Friday afternoon we headed out of work early and drove to Temecula for my cousin Jessica’s wedding which was held at a winery which was also a ranch. The reception was in a beautiful barn and Jessica and her husband’s first dance – a country two step with lots of swinging and dipping – was absolutely amazing! That rounded out the wedding circuit of 2014. If you were counting, that was 5 weddings, and Mike was a groomsman/best man in 3 and I was bridesmaid/MOH in 3 as well.

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Saturday:

Rest! 9 hours of sleep plus a 2 hour nap. I had hoped to do yoga but the nap won.

It was also my weekly running buddy Allison’s baby shower on Saturday!

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Sunday:

18 mile long run with 14 miles @ 10-20 sec slower than marathon goal pace. As I wrote about in my last post, this was an absolutely spectacular run and I felt great for pretty much all of it. My average pace was 8:15 on the 14 mile segment and I almost felt like I had to hold myself back from running even faster for a lot of it!

Weekly Totals:

  • Total Miles Run – 54
  • Total Minutes Stretching/Strengthening – 50 (fail)
  • Total Time: 9.1 hours

Focusing and Succeeding

At the end of my last blog post, I asked for tips on focusing during the tough times of a race. Laura responded by saying that she breaks down the course into sections and focused on each part during the race to get her through. I really took this advice to heart, and decided to implement it for my tough long run today. I was a bit nervous going into this run because it was an 18 mile run with 14 miles at 10-20 seconds slower than marathon goal pace. That’s not an easy pace to hold, especially at the tail end of a 54 mile week.

My goal marathon pace is somewhere between 8 – 8:10. An 8 min/mile will get me closer to a 3:30 marathon and a 8:10 will get me just under 3:35. My goal going into this run was to run each mile during the 14 mile segment somewhere between 8:10-8:30. I figured I’d probably end up on the slower end of that spectrum but I wanted to keep the range open. Mentally I knew this would be a tough run, so I implemented Laura’s advice and wrote down my strategy for tackling each of the 18 miles in advance.

  • 2 mile warm-up: keep it super easy, don’t care about pace at all
  • Miles 2-4: Start easing into the goal-pace section, maintain around 8:30 min/miles
  • Miles 5-9: Pick it up a notch, focus on getting to the first water fountain and/or turn-around point
  • Miles 9-14: Maintain steady effort. The pace will probably start to feel harder, but focus on getting to mile 14.
  • Mile 14-16: Final 2 miles of goal-pace section. Turn on the after burners and push it.
  • Miles 17 & 18: Easy recovery, don’t focus on pace at all
Write it out!

Write it out!

I woke up feeling really good this morning. I got 9 hours of sleep for the 2nd night in a row (plus a 1.5 hour nap yesterday) and I had used Saturday as my only rest day of the week since we had a wedding Friday night and we stayed with family overnight. As soon as we started running (Mike and I ran the warm-up together then split off), I could tell my legs felt good. I was somewhat surprised since I had had a pretty high intensity and high volume week, but I figured the sleep must have done me some good.

As soon as I started the race pace segment of the run, I knew it was going to be a good day. My breathing was easy and my legs felt light. I felt great. I was trying to hold back a little on those first couple of miles but I kept finding myself running faster. Before I knew it, the first section was over. I didn’t focus at all on the fact that I still had 12 miles left to run hard, instead I just focused on the next section. I was feeling so good I didn’t want to stop for anything and didn’t end up making any breaks for water until mile 9.5. Somewhere around mile 4 I started to feel really, really good, and at times let my pace dip into the high 7s and very low 8s.

I kept my mind busy by setting goals for each mile and every time I achieved the goal it was a boost. This was a route with a lot of rolling hills (1,200 feet of climbing in total) so I didn’t get down on myself for some of the slower miles – I knew I’d make up for it on the net decline miles. Mentally, this was a  very successful run for me – I stayed present in the moment and never felt overwhelmed with the task ahead.

The final 3 miles of the race-pace portion got hard, especially the final mile which started with a big hill, but I simply focused on getting over it and then picked up the pace to make up the time I lost. By the end, I was running in the low 7s. The cool-down might have been the hardest part of the run since my legs lost all the momentum and I had less to think about while I was trudging down the street on those last 2 miles home.

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Splits for the middle 14 miles

Needless to say, this run was a big confidence booster. When I uploaded my Garmin data and calculated that I ran a 8:15 average for 14 miles, I was ecstatic. With 6 weeks left to go until CIM, I know I still have time to make even more gains, but this run in particular really made me feel ready for the race. Not only that, I think I learned a valuable lesson about how to keep my mind working in the right direction during challenging runs. I am definitely a person who is motivated by achieving goals, so by setting mini-goals for myself throughout the race I think I will be able to maintain a better pace overall while also keeping my mind where it needs to be- thinking about the current mile, not mile 24 or 26.

We celebrated our successful long runs with burritos at our favorite place. I might actually run 18 miles on the day I died if it were as good as today's run!

We celebrated our successful long runs with burritos at our favorite place. I might actually run 18 miles on the day I died if it were as good as today’s run!

 If you knew you were going to die that day, would you go for a run!? 

It’s Time to Focus

With just over 6 weeks to go until my big goal race of the year, it’s
go time. My training thus far has been great – it’s been enjoyable and
fun. I’ve had the chance to run with a lot of friends and not having a
coach has afforded me additional flexibility in my schedule that
allows for more running for simply the sake of running.

Now, as my running buddies are either on their honeymoon (Asia),
tapering for their first Ironman (Brooke) or 30 weeks pregnant
(Allison), I am running alone more and I’m focusing a bit more. And
it’s time.

Several Fall races have come and gone and some of my (virtual or IRL)
friends have achieved goals and some have failed. I’ve allowed some of
their successes to boost me up and some of their failures to create
doubts. Now is the time to push all of that away and focus on myself.
Now is about me. My training is mine and no one else’s and my race day
is all about what I do, not what anyone else has or hasn’t done before
me.

The Long Beach Half Marathon was a wake-up call. Not because I didn’t
PR. I’m very pleased with my time overall, especially compared to my
age group and overall results, considering the heat and that it was in
the middle of heavy marathon training. My race time was fast enough
given the conditions to indicate I have a sub 3:35 marathon in me,
especially on a faster course with much, much cooler weather.

It was a wake-up call because it really made me realize how much you
have to not only WANT a goal and FOCUS on that goal to make it happen.
I can’t simply go out and wish and hope that everything goes right at
CIM and BQ. I have to WANT it so bad that I don’t give up during those
hard miles. Because, there will be hard miles.

If I take my first few steps of the marathon and find that my legs are
heavy, I can’t let that allow me to give up. If I pass the half
marathon mark slower than I had hoped, I can’t throw in the towel. I
need to focus. I didn’t focus at Long Beach. I danced and sung to
Taylor Swift’s Shake it Off at Mile 10 of Long Beach. At Phoenix, I
passed through the half marathon arch 30 seconds behind pace and
mentally gave up. At CIM I need to dance in my head and focus. I’m not
saying I’m not going to engage with the crowd and have fun – that is
part of my race strategy – but what I’m saying is, in those last 6
miles, I will have one thought – get to the finish line. don’t give up
and don’t let this goal slip away again. I need to be on a mission.

With 6.5 weeks to go, I still can make a lot of progress. I can also
focus on the little things – getting enough sleep, reducing stress,
yoga, foam rolling, stretching, drinking less beer and eating healthy.
I also plan to do a lot of reflecting on the WHY. Why do I want to
qualify? What does it mean for me? At Bird Camp, Lauren Fleshman gave
a great talk on goals and I plan to think through everything she said
and do some serious reflecting. Why do I want to run down Boylston
street one day? And what pain am I willing to go through to get there?

More to come….

What tricks do you use to focus during a race, especially when it gets hard?b

CIM Marathon Training Week 9 & Athleta Gift Card Winner Announcement

First, thank you to everyone who participated in my Fit Mob sponsored Athleta gift card giveaway. The winner is Amie from @runandrepeat! Amie, I will be emailing you to get your mailing address so Fit Mob can get you the card.

This past week was tough for training. I was coming off the Long Beach Half Marathon yet also would be unable to run all weekend because of Asia and Jeremy’s wedding festivities, so I had to balance recovery with getting some quality mid-week miles in before the weekend. If you can believe it, as of yesterday we are only 7 weeks out from the big race. This last week probably didn’t increase my fitness too much but I’m hoping that some of the time off provided some recovery so that I can get after it for the next 4 weeks before taper begins!

I basically feel like I have 5.5 weeks left to make gains before the race and I plan to make the most of it. Although I was a bit iffy about my performance at Long Beach, and honestly that, along with hearing about some people’s Chicago marathon experiences (some achieved their goals, some who I thought would did not – a reminder that anything can happen on race day) rocked my confidence a bit. However, after reflecting a bit more on my race, I am at peace with the outcome given the circumstances. I have quite a few solid weeks planned including 3 key long runs which include a lot of miles near race pace, and the result of those runs will give me a better indicator of my potential for CIM.

Monday: 

Rest day to recover from the half marathon. I went for a walk with Mike in the evening but that was about it!

Tuesday: 

AM: easy recovery miles along the coast in the morning. My legs were tired, but sore at least. Just tired. I was happy that Asia wanted to run with me because this was a tough run to get out of bed for. This was the last run with Asia before her wedding!

PM: 25 minutes of yoga – DoYogaWithMe.com Injury Prevention for Runners. Lots of stretching and I added some foam rolling at the end. My IT bad was still really tight and a bit achy at this point.

Wednesday: 

sunrise in encinitas

sunrise in encinitas

AM: 8.4 miles moderate. I kept the effort basically in Zone 2 (my heart rate monitor is on the fritz again….probably needs new batteries but I don’t think my heart rate actually was 220 at any point on this run). At the end of the run I added 6 x 30 seconds of pick-ups, which due to the heavy legs, ended up being in the low 8s.

Thursday: 

AM: 16 mile long run, moderate effort. I was SO happy when Mike said he’d join me for this long run before work. I knew I would not be able to get in a long run on the weekend so I got up early and got in this run before work (I went into work late). Toward the end of the run, my legs definitely weren’t happy with me, but I got it done, no matter how slow it was!

Friday: 

AM: 5 miles, easy effort. These miles were SLOW. The only reason I dragged myself out of bed at 5:30 for the 4th consecutive day is because I told myself I wouldn’t make myself run on Sunday after the wedding, when I’d likely be tired and hungover. Somehow this rationale worked and I ran in the dark by myself for the majority of this run, moving at a snails pace.

Friday afternoon I headed down to the US Grant hotel in downtown San Diego to kick off Asia and Jeremy’s wedding festivities. I stayed with Asia on Friday night in her suite after the rehearsal dinner.

Rehearsal!

Handsome Husbands!

Our Handsome Husbands!

Saturday & Sunday: 

Rest. 

Asia and I kicking our feet up in the suite just before the ceremony

Asia and I kicking our feet up in the suite just before the ceremony

Asia and Jeremy’s wedding was wonderful! It was so much fun and It was such an honor to be Maid (or Matron I suppose) of Honor. I was super anxious about my speech but the nerves disappeared when I started to talk and I’m proud to say I delivered it without the use of notes! Asia looked absolutely gorgeous and there was so much love in the room. The band was a hit and we danced our faces off!

Mike & I Ready to Go!

Mike & I Ready to Go!

Sunday we attended the brunch hosted by the bride and groom and then went over to Mike’s parents house to have lunch, go in the jacuzzi and lounge on the couch while the Chargers lost. I actually napped for half the game on the couch! I was exhausted!

Now I’m just amped up to get to business. Time to put my head down and focus – it’s go time!!! CIM I’m coming for you!

Weekly Totals: 

  • Miles Ran: 35.4
  • Hours of Strengthening/Stretching: 0.5
  • Total Time: 5.3 hours

How do you alter your training if you have to go out of town for the weekend? 

CSA Box Spoils!

I finally signed up for a CSA Box (I chose Eli’s Farms). For those that are unfamiliar, a Community Supported Agriculture Box is a box full of fresh produce (and even eggs and meat if you’d like) from a local farm. Often, as in the case of the CSA farm that I chose, the produce is organic.

My First CSA Delivery

My First CSA Delivery

I had a few motivations for finally signing up for a CSA box after talking about it for so long.

  1. I want to support local organic farms. San Diego County has more small farms than any other county in the US! Yet, I often purchase my produce from Costco or Trader Joes. I try to buy organic, but sometimes at Costco the food we like to purchase in bulk to keep costs down (we eat A LOT!) isn’t organic and definitely isn’t local.
  2. I’m getting bored of my usual fruits and veggies. The contents of your CSA box changes week to week, and even more so, season to season. You won’t be getting butternut squash in the Spring or strawberries in the Fall. Since switching to a mostly plant based diet over 2 years ago, I’ve learned to enjoy a wider variety of veggies, but I find myself buying the same ones over and over (and cooking a lot of the same recipes). Since starting up with the CSA box I’ve experimented with new recipes with ingredients I probably wouldn’t have picked on my own.
  3. It’s convenient. Depending on which farm you use, you either will have to pick your CSA box up from a farmer’s market or designated pick-up area, or you can have it delivered. I chose to have ours delivered for a fee of $5 per box. Every other Wednesday, I come home to a big box of produce! Even better, Eli’s Farms sends an email earlier in the week with the contents of your box so that you can plan meals in advance if you’d like.

I’ve had a lot of fun making new recipes with the ingredients in my CSA. Each of my 3 shipments has been different in some ways, but in general they are fairly similar. I’m sure once we enter a new season they will change again. For now, I’ve been getting a lot of zucchini, fresh basil, fresh parsley, eggplant (a couple different varieties), tomatoes (also different varieties each week), oranges, limes or lemons, avocado (one of the best I’ve ever had), and pomegranates.

Caprese

Caprese

The first night we got the CSA, Mike and I had planned a date night to make pizza. I had purchased mozzarella for the pizza (something we don’t typically have) and we got a big, juicy heirloom tomato in the box as well as fresh basil. I quickly made us a delicious caprese appetizer. I also added some of the zucchini, basil and tomato from our box to our pizza.

Rataouille

Roasting the Veggies for Ratatouille

Finished Product!

Finished Product!

I wasn’t sure at first what to do with the eggplant. I’d only cooked eggplant once before and it wasn’t that great. I also knew you have to salt them in advance to get rid of the bitterness. The little eggplants we got were different than the one I cooked in the past. I googled some vegan eggplant recipes and found this amazing recipe for a Chickpea Ratatouille with eggplant. It also happened to call for basil and zucchini, which were also in our box! This was one of my favorite new meals and I actually made it again tonight for dinner!

Green Beans with Black Bean Spaghetti Squash

Green Beans with Black Bean Spaghetti Squash

My favorite surprise of the CSA box was our last shipment – we received green beans. I’ve always hated green beans. They are soggy and gross and taste like feet! I don’t even like them in that green bean casserole everyone raves about at holiday parties. But we got fresh, organic green beans and I boiled them and then sautéed them in olive oil and garlic and they were DELICIOUS! Seriously amazing! I’m a green bean convert!

Have you heard of CSA boxes? Do you have one? What is the best thing you’ve found in your CSA that you never would have known you like? 

CIM Marathon Training Week 8 – Resting, Resetting & Racing

After week 7, I was tired. I noticed my easy pace was getting even slower and the heat had taken a lot out of me during my 18 mile run. I knew I had just 1 week to at attempt a short taper going into the Long Beach Half so I took the opportunity to make Week 8 and rest and reset week. I’ve been loving using short free yoga videos from online as a way to incorporate yoga into my schedule without paying for a membership or making the commitment to sign up for a class, drive to a studio, and dedicate 60 minutes.

I had some IT band tightness,  general low back pain (also a long week at work with some long, long hours sitting at a desk all day which probably didn’t help), and tight hips and the yoga definitely helped. After the race, I noticed my IT band was a little more sore and for the first time ever I took advantage of the free 10 minute post-race massages. I actually got 2 massages because I first stumbled upon a smaller massage station offering 3 minute long massages on chairs. I seriously wish I could afford a weekly massage!

Massage #1

Massage #1

Massage #2

Massage #2

Monday:

25 minutes yoga – Injury Prevention for Runners on DoYogaWithMe.com

Tuesday:

 50 minutes Pilates

Wednesday:

7.4 mile run with 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 minute intervals at goal half marathon pace with rest period equaling work period. After two days of off of running, my legs started to get some of their speed back. The first 5 minute segment felt easy, the 4 minute segment I lost some focus, and the final 3 I was easily able to maintain my goal pace of 7:35-7:40. Overall, I felt good on this run and came home optimistic about Sunday’s race despite the fatigue I had felt earlier in the week.

Thursday

AM: 3.2 mile run with Allison, Zone 1

PM: 25 minutes of Yoga (stretching on my own while watching Orange is the New Black)

Friday:

 25 minutes yoga –  Injury Prevention for Runners on DoYogaWithMe.com

Saturday: 

2 mile shakeout run, 15 minutes yoga for runners (from a Oiselle teammate Susie from Long Run Energy).

The race was in Long Beach so I drove up to Huntington Beach, where I grew up and my mom still lives, to spend most of the weekend. Mike was out of town on business so it was just me this weekend. I got to spend some quality time with my mom. She went to the expo with me- her first ever! It was kind of fun to see a race expo from her eyes – we kind of all look like a bunch of crazies!!!

Long Beach Expo!

Long Beach Expo!

Sunday:

1 mile warm-up, 13.1 mile race Long Beach Half Marathon 1:43:10

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Weekly Summary:

  • Miles Run: 26.7
  • Stretch/Strengthen: 2.3 hours
  • Total Time: 6 hours

What tends to be your go-to recovery tool when you can tell your body needs a break (yoga, massage, complete rest, etc.)? 

2014 Long Beach Half Marathon Race Report

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The Long Beach Half Marathon confirmed one thing for me – if you don’t convince yourself you will PR, you won’t PR. Going into this race, I had low expectations. I had just come off a 50 mile training week including a hot and hilly 18 mile run and the weather forecast was expected to be in the 70s and sunny. However, a part of me hoped/expected to just magically pull out a PR and sub 1:40 and have an amazing confidence boosting race despite aforementioned tired legs and hot day.

Well, that magical PR didn’t happen. And I’m sure the hot day and the tired legs had something to do with it, but I also think that I just didn’t COMMIT to the race. I didn’t really make a race plan, write a blog about the race, or really even think about what I’d do. At one point I thought I’d go out with the 1:40 pace group and try to hold on, another time I thought I’d do the same system I worked with at RnR SD (run by feel, not pace, don’t rely on the watch), and then I kind of just turned my watch on and run. The night before as I was lying in bed trying to fall asleep, I told myself that I should go for the PR and that I could do it, but when it came down to it I didn’t really commit.

That being said, overall I am pretty happy with my performance at Long Beach. I don’t think I left everything I had out on the race course, but I executed a smart race with a negative split and I finished strong. It was a warm day (but thankfully NOT sunny in the morning!) and my legs were tired, and I ran a pace 22 seconds faster than my Boston qualifying pace. My breathing was always under control (until the very end) and I could feel my underlying endurance. I almost felt like the pace I felt for most of the race I could have maintained for much longer… which probably means I didn’t quite run hard enough! But mentally, I don’t think my mind wanted to go into the zone of suffering it needed to in order to pull out the PR today.

New Friends from Oiselle Flock!

New Friends from Oiselle Flock!

I arrived early to the race and got the chance to meet up with Oiselle flock member Wendy. I did a 1 mile warm-up and some stretching and hopped in the corral. The first mile was really crowded and it was hard to go move around for the first 1/2 mile or so. I just kept with the crowd and didn’t waste any energy passing anyone. I had ended up deciding to use my Garmin. I wanted to test myself because I am starting to think I do want to use it for CIM (was thinking about using it just for overall time). I also wanted to negative split like at RnR so I started out easy and focused on being able to speak in sentences (which again, I would sometimes talk to myself to make sure I could).

My first two miles were both around 7:50 which was about 12 sec/mile under my 1:40 goal pace of 7:38. At RnR SD, I had a major negative split (partially to do with the first portion being uphill and the last few miles having a lot of downhill) so I didn’t worry too much when the 1:40 pacer took off ahead. When the 1:45 pacer approached around mile 3 I did get a little worried, even though at RnR SD I ran the first 4-5 miles with the 1:45 pacer right around me. This time I didn’t have the big declines at the end to help so I wasn’t so sure that I’d be able to make up that much time. I kept telling myself that I was still warming up and that I’d get my 2nd wind just like at RnR and at the SD Holiday Half and that kept me positive.

The first few miles of the course are pretty lonely without crowd support, but there a lot of turns which kept my mind working since I was constantly trying to find the best tangent to run! Miles 3-5 were all between 7:56-7:58 and I felt like my legs were a bit heavy. I didn’t feel like I was redlining or working too hard, but I definitely didn’t feel light. Around Mile 5 I knew I had to pick up the pace if I was going to even get under 1:45 so I did. I brought back the memory of the really tough 10 mile pace run I did a month or so ago and reminded myself that I could push it for the next 8 miles just like I did then.

Once we looped back toward the start there was a lot more crowd support and I stated using the trick my friend Brooke taught me where I’d raise my arms up and cheer and interact with the crowd in order to get more energy. It definitely helped and I got a bit of a boost and miles 6-7 were both in the 7:40s. Also around this time I ran by a guy with a sign that said “touch here for power” (just like Asia and Jeremy’s sign at RnR) and I ran over and touched it! Give me the power!

 

Best race sign ever!

Best race sign ever! RNR SD

I decided to stop looking at my watch so much at this point and moved it to the screen that showed overall time only. After 7 miles I only had 6 to go which is definitely a tempo workout and I told my brain to let myself suffer, knowing I could do it. However, I don’t think my brain was down for the challenge because the next mile was 7:59. We ran for what seemed like forever on a long sidewalk through the sand with a nice headwind. It tried to draft off of a guy in front of me but his clothes were completely soaked and his sweat kept flinging on me so I gave up. It was hot! Mile 10 was slower, 8 minute mile. On this stretch I also saw my cousins Jaclyn and David who are students at Cal State Long Beach who came out to cheer for me!

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Thanks Jaclyn for the awesome photo!

Mile 11 is around the time we finally exited the boardwalk and got back onto the street and headed home. WE ran under a huge arch of balloons and Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” was playing and I start dancing to the music and the some of the volunteers danced back. It gave me more energy! This mile was one of my fastest – 7:45. I stated to feel better. I still wouldn’t say I got a 2nd wind (that never came sadly), but I knew the end was in sight and I didn’t feel completely out of gas. I started to pick up the pace and pass people. Somewhere in these miles I also told a girl that she had an awesome sign and I realized then that I probably wasn’t running hard enough if I could still talk in full sentences. My green-yellow-red race plan wasn’t being executed well – but my legs were protesting, not my lungs. I picked it up as much as I could and was getting a boost by passing people left and right. That’s one great thing about negative splitting! The final mile was 7:33 and the final 0.15 was a 6:14 average.

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Final Time: 1:43:10 (7:53/mile)

I was proud of my negative split and my strong finish. A part of me wishes I had put it all on the line to see what I was made of out there but another part of me thinks it’s better to save that for the big race day on December 7th. Hopefully I can recover from this race faster and move on to my final 8 weeks of CIM training. One thing I’m definitely looking forward to in my training is seeing how I perform on my key long runs which will have a significant portion close to race pace. Those are the training runs that will give me the confidence boost I need going into the big race.

After looking at the race results online, I was super thrilled to discovered that I was 19th in my age group out of 1,129 and in the top 1% of women finishers! That is the best placement I’ve had at a half marathon! Even though I was slightly disappointed with my time I was much happier with it knowing how well I placed in the field. It’s all relative!

IMG_5401Long Beach Half Marathon is a great race and I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a well-organized, FLAT and coastal race. Thanks again to Florastor, one of the sponsors of the Long Beach Marathon, for the sponsored entry to the race as well!

Have you ever NOT PRed at a half marathon while training for a marathon and still achieved your goal? Do you put a lot of weight on tune-up races in predicting your goal race outcome? 

CIM Marathon Training Week 7 – Lots of Miles & HR Training Reflections

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The heat is back in San Diego (not that it really left, it just stayed in the 70s for about a week). It’s safe to say that Fall has not arrived and has no intention of doing so. Girls across San Diego are shaking their fists and crying in their bikinis about the lack of boots, scarves and desire to drink Pumpkin Spice lattes. How all of this will affect my training …I’m not sure. Since I’m anticipating race day temps between 40-50 degrees, I’m certainly not training how I’ll be racing, but I’m hopeful that the heat is making me faster and that at some point San Diego will cool off enough to warrant the use of my Lesley Tights.

This week was all about building mileage. I had one key workout but other than that, the rest of the week was miles, miles and miles. I have rarely run more than 50 miles a week in a training cycle, so for me, hitting 50 this week was a big accomplishment! And my legs definitely felt it by the end of the week. My paces in general were slow – all in Zone 2 and “easy” besides the key track workout.

Monday:
6 easy miles with Asia first thing in the morning.

Tuesday:
AM: 50 minutes Club Pilates Level 2
PM: This was supposed to be a track workout. I met up with Mike, Brooke and Amy at UCSD but when we got to the track it was closed due to an event at the school. The sidewalks were full of students so we quickly realized that finding a 1 mile loop on the sidewalk was out. We end up just running 5 miles easy and calling it a night.

Wednesday:
PM: Back to the track for a repeat! The workout was 1.5 mile warm-up and 4 x 1 mile repeats with 1/4 mile jog recovery. I only did one extra 1/4 mile jog cool-down but also walked back to the car for an extra 5-7 minute recovery. I aimed to do the mile repeats between 7-7:15. It wasn’t as hot as when I did the 3 x 1 mile repeats 2 weeks ago, although it was still in the low 70s (it was in the 90s then!) so I figured I could beat my previous mile repeat times. Again, I counted the miles based on the track distance, NOT my Garmin. I did, however, wear my garmin on the left hand this time and it helped with the gap between my watch distance and the track distance (although it was still off). Mile repeats: 7:05, 7:07, 7:07, 7:01 (I really wanted that last one to be in the 6s but barely missed it!). Overall I felt strong on these! The average pace was almost 7 seconds/mile faster than the 3 repeats from 2 weeks ago.

Thursday:
AM: 7 mile run, 3 miles with Allison, Zone 1. I was tired when I woke up. I didn’t finish my track workout til past 7 p.m. and I woke up at 5;20 a.m. for this run. I ran slowly to my friend Allison’s house and then we ran about 3 miles together even more slowly (she’s pregnant) together and then I ran home. My legs felt like bricks on this run. It was probably too soon to run after the track workout but since I ran so slow I figured it didn’t do any damage.

Friday:
Lunchtime Club Pilates Level 2.5 . Tough as always!

Saturday:
18 mile long run. Saturday was supposed to be the hottest day of the week, yet we still didn’t start our run til nearly 8 a.m. Mike and I drove one of the cars to La Jolla and parked it 18 miles away from our house in Encinitas. We then ran all the way home! We’ve done this a few times in the past and it’s definitely a cool way to do a long run. The only part that sucks is the fact that you have to drive 18 miles twice! Plus the fact that you have to climb up the backside of Torrey Pines and back over.

Seals & Birds at La Jolla Cove

Seals & Birds at La Jolla Cove

View of Encinitas (waaaay out there) from 1 mile into our run in La Jolla

View of Encinitas (waaaay out there) from 1 mile into our run in La Jolla

Brooke met up with us around mile 6 and she and I ran 12 miles together. Mike stayed with us for about 2 miles before taking off ahead. My legs felt heavy as soon as I started to run. I knew it’d be a long 18 miles and it was. It took me 3 hours (not including breaks!) which is exactly a 10 minute mile. It was sunny and in the 80s and the course had 1,800 feet of climbing, so I’m not beating myself up too much about the pace. I kept it slow on purpose and the point of the run was to get in the distance, not break land speed records. The good part about this run was that my legs were fatigued but toward the end of the run they weren’t much worse off than at the beginning. I think I’ll take that as a good sign! We literally finished the run in the ocean which was nice. Brooke and I even mustered enough energy for a corny photo.

Woohoo we did it!

Woohoo we did it!

Sunday:
I wanted to hit 50 miles for the week (I was supposed to run more this week but the track workout mix up took some miles off weekday mileage) so I made my run on Sunday an even 7 miles. I ran with Asia and my legs weren’t as heavy as I would have expected. It was another slow one though.

A Note on Self Coaching Using the Heart Rate Method

The one thing about self-coaching is that sometimes you aren’t exactly sure what is best. Last week I had 2 key workouts – the ladder intervals and the 16 mile long run with fartlek intervals and fast finish. This week, I was tired, but had a good key workout with the 4 x 1 mile repeats. However, the rest of my runs were all pretty slow – part of me wonders if they were too slow!? It’s so hard to know. I haven’t been wearing my HR monitor as much lately since I feel like I can gauge my HR easily for Zone 2 (I know all of these runs were Zone 1-2 and not Zone 3), but I do know when I was wearing it, usually my Zone 2 runs were more toward the bottom/middle of Zone 2 as compared to the top. I think it’s because I’ve been running with friends so much lately that I don’t focus on the pace. I just run easy – maybe too easy? I’ve also heard you can never run your easy runs too easy! So I’m pretty sure I’m doing just fine.

Without a coach, I look toward others training to validate my own and not many people out there are trying to BQ and running easy runs in the 10 min/mile range. But I also know a lot of people don’t use the HR method. I think what I need to do is start wearing my HR monitor more and do some solo Zone 2 runs and see what pace I can do at the top of Zone 2. I can compare that to what I used to run in Zone 2 and figure out if I’m improving by doing so much slow running! More on that to come!

Weekly Totals:

  • Total Miles Run: 50
  • Total Hours Strength Training: 1.66
  • Total Time: 10 hours

Are you enjoying Fall weather? How fast do you run your “easy” runs compared to goal pace? 

A New Way to CrossTrain & Athleta Gift Card Giveaway

Although running is my true love, running and I rarely are exclusive. I am always incorporating some sort of cross training into my marathon or half marathon training. One of my favorite ways to keep motivated to do strength training during marathon training is group fitness classes. Signing up for a class and knowing that people there will be expecting me to show up is all the motivation I need to get my butt to class. Once I’m there, the camaraderie of the group (plus let’s be honest some friendly competition) really helps me push myself to get a great workout in.

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I’m also not one to stick to one studio or even type of strength training class – I’ve tried it all – barre classes, Pilates, yoga, boot camps and more. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out which studio or class I want to try next. That’s where FitMob comes in. San Francisco, and soon many more cities across America, are luckily enough to have FitMob to help them find ways to get stronger and feel the burn while also making new friends.

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FitMob was invented by the co-founder of Snapfish, a martial arts champion and Tony Horton, the creator of P90X, the program that inspired this very blog! The mission of the company is all about community. The founders believe that going to the gym and slogging through a weight routine on your own isn’t going to get your motivated to get in shape – instead, it’s all about being inspired. And inspiration often comes from community not from the workout itself (as us runners can attest to!).

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To find the class that will motivate you, simply go to FitMob.com or download the app, sign up (no payment required) and simply put in your zip code for work and home. You can then search for classes based on neighborhoods and workout type (strength, cardio, yoga, social, dance and other). With FitMob’s free 7 day pass, you can attend as many classes as you want in a week and there are over 200 in San Francisco to chose from. Once your pass is up, you can buy credits and attend classes as often as you want instead of paying for a costly gym membership. I really hope FitMob starts up in San Diego soon because this is right up my alley.

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Even better, FitMob is offering one of my readers a $25 Athleta gift card! Please use the rafflecopter app below to enter if you like free stuff. The contest ends on October 17th at midnight and I’ll announce the winner on the blog shortly after.

What is your favorite way to cross-train? Would you try something like FitMob?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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?