Saturday, April 19, 2014

Day 96 & 98: I am terrible at running in NYC

I try. My intentions are good. But! I am weak willed. 

I flew on Tuesday and it was hellish. The flight was at 6:45am. A kid threw up and yes, it smelled. There was "weather" at JFK, which wasn't accepting flights. After circling for a while, we had to go to DC to re-fuel and then come back. Ultimately, instead of getting in at 3pm, we got in at 8pm.

I had intended to run when I landed but clearly that wasn't happening. 

I ended up out too late (again) and worked late Wednesday so didn't run then. 

I finally made it out Thursday for my usual 4.2, didn't make it out Friday - sooo tired!- but made it out this morning before taking the train to CT and picking up a car to drive here to Massachusetts to see my grandmother. 

And then I realized I forgot my power gels in NYC so my plans for running 10 miles tomorrow can't happen - I'll run 6 tomorrow and that will be fine. But can't help feeling this week is chalking up to just another fail as far as running is concerned. 

thurday's mileage: 4.2 miles
today's mileage: 4.2 miles 
season mileage to date: 225.0 miles

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Day 92: Slaughtered that 16

16.3 in fact!

If you read any recent posts, you'll know I haven't been having the best few weeks ever. And, if you're into the whole astrology thing, Susan Miller's horoscope for us Cancers makes me want to just hide under the bed. But today was a welcome respite from the challenges of late.

I did my usual get-up-at-4:30am-to-eat-oatmeal routine, then slept until 6.  Practice started at 7am sharp and today we had a special Mission Moment.

Virginia told us her story, and thanked us for helping fund the very research that saved her life.

Virginia and her husband Van have been married for over 45 years and each have fought their own battles with blood cancers. In 1997, Virginia was diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenus Leukemia (CML). At the time, the doctors told her she had only 3-5 years to live. Her husband took care of her through a barrage of painful and debilitating treatments and researched day and night until he found a clinical trial for the drug Gleevec. Gleevec is a cancer-treatment that targets the cancerous cells while leaving the heathy cells intact, and a good part of the research around this drug was funded by the Leukemia & Lymphoma society. The treatment was a success and not long after, Virgina and Van found Team in Training.

Since then, the couple has raised over $300,000 for the LLS and run / walked over 27,000 miles.

When you hear stories like that, and you see the dedication of someone who has come through a battle with Leukemia and not only won, but continues to contribute so that the people after her have a similar chance - it puts things in perspective. I shed my cranky pants and got ready to run.

With Virginia's story ringing in my ears, and Bouv's grin in my heart, I attacked the 16-mile run with 27 other brave souls on this beautiful Sunday morning.

The first 7 miles headed east into Santa Monica / Brentwood, round the golf course and back to the starting point where there was water, snacks and Gatorade. My calves were super tight today, and I knew it was going to be a few miles before they loosened up. We had a few folks in our group who are training for the 1/2, and were pushing the pace a bit, so we probably took the first 7 a little too fast. We knew this to be true when we passed one of the groups running longer intervals than us. From San Vincente & Ocean, we headed south until we got to the pier and joined the crowds at the boardwalk. From there we were running down to the Venice Pier (yeah, right past my house :/) and then back up to SV.

We continued along at a healthy pace, and the boardwalk wasn't too dreadfully crowded. We hit the pier and took an obligatory photo, then, we told ourselves, it's just the run home.

Probably around mile 12 or so, I started to feel the results of our speedy pace set in. My hips and calves started to "misbehave" as my old coach Ramon would have said. But our mighty little crew kept it super strong until the very end. My cardio was feeling great, even if my legs hated me.

I said goodbye to my awesome teammates and headed back to my place where I had the best tasting grinder (yeah, I'm from Massachusetts, it's a grinder) from my local and then, since I don't have a tub for the old ice bath, I put on some bathing suit bottoms and a sweatshirt and stood in the surf for 10 minutes or so.
Not a bad way to end the morning after another run of awe-inspiring lengths with my crazy Team in Training friends.

today's mileage: 16.3 miles
season mileage to date: 217.6 miles

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Day 90: Slogging through

This week has probably been the most meh as far as training has been concerned. Which isn't terrible considering we're 90+ days in. One bad week is not going to make or break me or my training, but being a bit Type-A about Team in Training, I still feel bad about it.

I was supposed to run Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

I ended up running Tuesday and yesterday (Friday).  I don't have any super good excuses, like being sick or traveling - it could be the overall stress, but in my mind that's not really an acceptable excuse.

And yesterday's run just felt heavy and crunchy. Wah waaaah.

Then I slept in today instead of running. It was only supposed to be a short one - at least that was my rational when I turned off the alarm, shoved my head under the pillow and went back to sleep.

Tomorrow we run 16.  It is not a pleasant distance, although I will say I don't remember exactly my last 16 mile run, I just remember it is HARD. So I am laying low today, going to watch some bad TV, eat some pasta and play some Rocksmith - Saturday night's around here are *hot* let me tell you.

Friday's mileage: 4.1 miles
season mileage to date: 201.3 miles

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Day 87: short + sweet

Yesterday was an off day, and today I dragged myself out of bed for my usual 45 minute run.


Honestly, I'm just not feeling the writing today so I'm going to keep it simple.

I got up, I ran, I had coffee.

The end.

today's mileage: 4.2 miles
season mileage to date: 197.2 miles

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Day 85: Half marathon +

I wasn't sure how my body was going to be for this run, between the travel, stress and jet lag but I'll take anything that doesn't break my legs.

We had to meet at 7am about 30/40 minutes south which is pretty brutal for a Sunday morning.

Our coach explained the route which sounded very hilly, apparently just like the marathon I signed up for which has a hill at mile 18. Gross.  Anyway - it was a beautiful morning, although you could tell it was going to be warm. Our course was a down and back along the coast, past the light house and the turn around spot was a golf course my neighbor frequents - then back.

The first uphill we took was awful - long and windy and steep. But then the course was more rolling hills and the views were really spectacular.

As we were huffing up the last hill, Wendy noted the mileage and I remembered that this run wasn't just serious mileage, but also the first 1/2 marathon I've run since my broken legs. It brought the first real smile to my face in the last few days. I guess after this insanely emotional week, turns out 14 miles by the sea was just what I needed.

today's mileage: 14.1 miles
season mileage to date: 193.0 miles

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Day 84: Long days

Yesterday was all about Nonna so I didn't get out for a little run like I thought I would.

This morning for both my training and my sanity I knew it would be a good thing to head out for at least a little run. I decided to go to end of the road and back to a little boat dock near my house - my road is pretty hilly, and we have 14 hilly miles ahead of us tomorrow.

It was misty and grey, not quite raining, and very much aligned to my mood.

I headed to the rehab / nursing home to see my grandmother, and spent every possible second there up until the time I was going to really jeopardize catching my flight.  I jumped in the car and drove from Massachusetts to JFK, and made my 5pm flight. I was pretty dead tired on the plane but didn't want to nap for fear of not being able to sleep later tonight.

I just got in, and made my overnight oatmeal, and now I am off to bed...need to get up at 4:30 to eat, then a little nap before heading down to Palos Verdes for tomorrow's long run.

today's mileage: 3.3 miles
season mileage to date: 178.9 miles

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Day 81 & 82: East river mornings

Spring has sprung in New York which was a nice change of pace.

So my mornings are spent running the east river. I remembered my watch this time, although, my running has gotten fairly consistent enough that I could probably just plot out miles and go for the shorter runs.

Both Wednesday and Thursday morning were equally gorgeous. I was out a little too late Wednesday so Thursdays run didn't *feel* quite as good but I made it out.

I was supposed to head back to Cali tomorrow, but we got some unfortunately news about my grandmother's health so I'm dashing home tomorrow to see her, then back to LA Saturday afternoon so that I can still run 14 miles on Sunday morning. It's going to be a rough few days...

wednesday's mileage: 4.2 miles
thursday's mileage: 4.2 miles
season mileage to date: 175.9 miles

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Day 77: Double digits!

I decided to run with a friend late afternoon Saturday instead of super early Sunday since my sister and her friends were staying with me and it was a great one!

I was jumping from 8 to 12 miles, and I was a little nervous but all turned out rather perfectly! I met Ratana at her apartment, and she had plotted out a 12-ish mile course with a few hills for good measure. I wasn't sure how it was going to go, but my legs - which had not been behaving for the most of the week - got with the program.

It was the perfect temp with a lovely little breeze to keep us cool. We chatted up and down the hills, eventually making our way up a solid hill back to the path that runs along the Santa Monica coast, dodged a million tourists, and then made our way back inland.

I felt surprisingly great after the run, picked up the girls who had gotten some delicious cheese and we celebrated my successful run with a glass of wine - success!

Off to NY again Monday...see you soon east coast.

today's mileage: 12.3 miles
season mileage to date: 167.5 miles

Friday, March 28, 2014

Day 76: Lead legs

This week has been a extremely stressful one and I've decided it's manifesting in my legs.

I took the day off to hang with my sister and her peeps today, but they were heading to Pop Physique later so I ran on my own, although later than I usually head out.

Our weekday runs are now 45 minutes, and I took off on my usual route down the pier then north on the bike path. It was a sunny, pretty morning and should have been the perfect morning for a run but my legs were NOT having it.

I can't blame the wine because I drank early and in moderation. Maybe I didn't have enough water before bed. I did have plenty of sleep - over 8 hours! But my legs felt like there were lead anvils strapped to them. Usually this gets better a mile or so in but not today. Today my legs were in a terrible mood and it made for the most unpleasant of runs, my cardio having to work harder (it seemed!) to keep my poorly behaving legs in line.

Maybe it was this article I read on California hippie energy work blah blah blah, but I suspect the stress surrounding me is weighing down my usually light and airy countenance. This weekend I've got to run 10-12 miles in a canyon so my mind and body better get with the program in the next 36 hours or so, or this is going to be brutal.

today's mileage: 4.2 miles
season mileage to date: 155.2 miles

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Day 75: Too much vino does not a good run make

I was supposed to go to practice last night but instead ended up switching the Friday day off to Wednesday.

Kristin's friends are arriving this morning, so we headed to Whole Foods to stock up on a few things, and then headed to my favorite local Barnyard for a little dinner.

It was paaaaacked and there was one stool left at the bar which I graciously gave to my sister ;) That sort of thing doesn't happen often so it was fine and I ended up eating at least part of the meal standing at the bar - clearly, I am low maintenance. For my chillness, I ended up with more wine than I intended on drinking, which made for some slow legs this morning.

We should have done intervals - about a 1/2 mile at tempo pace, then 2 minutes recovery but it was not happening. First we started to fast. Then my quad started to hurt. And I was fuzzy. We didn't quit but we did end up opting for a "normal" run instead of the tempo run.

I've got to say...I'm seriously thinking of giving up alcohol between now and the marathon. I don't actually drink too much out here, especially compared to NYC, but - I have been thinking that I should be aiming for my best self while training, and my hungover self (even slightly) is definitely not my optimal self.

today's mileage:
 3.8 miles
season mileage to date: 151.0 miles

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Day 73: Just me and my sis

My little sister Kristin arrived last night so she joined me on this morning's run.

She runs sometimes, and when she does is generally much faster than me - more like a 9:30 minute mile vs. my 11-ish so before we went out I set the rules of no speeding and no making fun of me for being pokily slow.

Kristin has the speed but I have the distance so my slowing her down was probably not a bad idea as the longest she's run in a little while was more around 3 miles. It was a lovely morning and the run was pretty uneventful - we chatted a bit but really I am not used to talking much before I've had coffee so for the most part it was a sleepy, quiet run.

today's mileage: 4.2 miles
season mileage to date: 147.2 miles

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Day 71: Sunday Sixer

I got back from NYC yesterday and was totally and utterly beat.

Maybe I've grown soft from living away from the grind. Maybe it was just a rough week. Maybe it was all the fine wine. But whatever it was, by the time I got back to my lovely little apt, all I could do was...more or less nothing.

Within 5 minutes of arrival I was in my bathing suit and headed out to the beach. However, it was a bit too windy and chilly so I only lasted a little less than an hour. I came back, looked in the fridge and knew I was going to have to hit the grocery store. I wandered around Whole Foods, making a concerted effort not to buy too many random things since I didn't have a list and then enjoyed my ride home, beach traffic and all - who cares when the sun is shining down?

I proceeded to catch up on bad TV, eat a lazy dinner of bread, triple cream cheese, grapes and gelato and passed out by 10:30pm.

There was no way I was going to make practice at 7:30 all the way across town so I planned to run on my own.

I got up around 7:30 and suited up, grabbed a bottle of water for my fuel belt and headed out.
I started with intervals but it kind of backfired - I was running way too hard during my running times and the run was feeling not awesome. So on the way back I took the pace down, ditched the intervals and finished in a good way - slow and steady.

Damn, it's good to be back in Cali.

day 71 mileage: 6.1 miles
season mileage to date: 143.0 miles

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Day 67 & 68: N.Y.C (again)

Getting out for a run here is sooooo much harder.

Out every night.

Too much rich food and good wine.

On Monday night after I arrived, I had dinner with my dear pal Lucas. After delicious burgers and an old fashioned (or two), I met one of my oldest friends and...the night extended with fun and bubbly for a bit too long, and there was no run on Tuesday.

After another evening out, I did rally on Wednesday and headed out to the usual route along the east river. It was a bit chilly for me at 33 degrees but I got over it quickly.

Thursday morning was better - it the mid 40's! And it was a lovely little run. I left my phone at home - I had left my watch in Cali, which was annoying, but carrying the phone and pausing the timer at the lights (yes I am that precise) was even more annoying. So Thursday I just ran - I knew roughly what 40 minutes should be so just ran and ran and it was pretty lovely.

day 67 mileage: 3.6 miles
day 68 mileage: 3.8 miles
season mileage to date: 136.9 miles

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Day 64: The amazing world of intervals

My alarm went off for the first time at the lovely hour of 5am. I stumbled to the kitchen and opened my little mason jar of overnight oatmeal (used hazelnut milk instead of regular, left out the lemon, added a pinch or two of salt, cinnamon & some dried cranberries) and scarfed that down along side a big glass of water and was back in bed by 5:06.

By the time I fell back asleep my alarm went off again at 6:30. Practice was at 7 a 5-10 minute drive away so I had opted for more sleep, less time to putter around. I thought about snoozing but that would take 9 of my precious 20 minutes to get ready so talked myself out of bed. Contacts in. More water. Clothes on. Find matching socks. Where are my shoes? Retrieve water bottles from the fridge. Where's my watch? Drink more water. Get in car and try to pay attention to the road.

We met at the Santa Monica Civic center and had both a nutrition clinic (short version: you need to hydrate, eat, and make sure you have enough salt in your body) and an injury prevention clinic (short version: follow the schedule, rest when you're supposed to rest, stretch and use a torture device on the regular) before we ran.

I may have mentioned but when I had my alumni one-on-one with one of the coaches this week he explained that the team out here is an interval based team. I had heard of / seen some marathoners doing this method, and had read a bit about one of the more famous interval programs - Jeff Galloway's - in the past. Essentially you run for a certain number of minutes, then walk one minute, during the duration of your runs.  Many people advocate for this method although from my initial research there's a lot of mixed opinions about this methodology.

Everyone on the team runs in intervals like this, and the difference between the groups is how many minutes "on" i.e. running you are going. Oh also, when you are in your "walk" minute, it is not supposed to be a time to stroll. You're supposed to be fast-walking granny-mall-walker style, arms pumping and the whole bit. Group 1 - the most advanced - was doing 6 minutes on, 1 minute off today. My group was running 4:1.

Because I missed last week, I was off schedule. The rest of the group was doing 10, so I was to run with my peeps until the water stop which was at the 4-mile mark and then turn around and head back.

Because of the clinics we probably didn't get going until about 8. Groups 2 and 3 ended up combining since everyone was running 4:1s. I really need to do my pacing run at some point to validate what tempo I should be running at. I decided to try the intervals for the day and see how it went - since the last really long run was 6 miles about oh, 3 weeks ago, I wasn't feeling to bad about not running the whole 8 miles.

We set out and at first I thought I was running way to fast for my pace - it was hard to tell. I could talk, but it wasn't easy talking. There was also a giant hill semi-early in the run and I feel like that set our pace to something more reasonable. We had a good little posse and by the time we got to the turn around spot, I could barely believe we had been running for 4 miles already, where I was going to turn around.

At the water stop I had my first sports gel of the season. For those new to the world of sports gels, as your time run goes over an hour you need to start thinking about fueling as you run. Some people like real food - pretzles, trail mix, oranges, a banana.  I tend to go for the synthetic stuff because I don't like chewing things when I'm running and that stuff goes right to your bloodstream because there is less to breakdown. I don't know that its better for you, but I do know I do not want to be eating pretzels my whole marathon.

Anyway, I got a few from the running store near my house and the first one was Gu's Espresso Love. I usually am a Power Gel person and love the "triple latte" so tried this one. It was okay. At first my stomach was all "Oh, this stuff? Not sure about this stuff!" but it settled down and then I was supercharged! I was zipping along happily by myself, keeping an eye on my watch to maintain the intervals. Since they were five minutes total (4 on, 1 off) it was easy to keep track of where I was.

And I have to say - I might be a convert. I think the intervals allowed me to push harder during the minutes on. And I totally channeled those little old lady mall walkers during my walk minutes. I felt really great at the end of the run, and I ran just below an 11 minute mile, which is pretty speedy for me for that distance.

The run ended near the pier and I took a cool-down walk to the end and back. It is a pretty nice spot to end a run.

So, I'm thinking I will rotate between intervals and not intervals in my training in some way and just see how it goes. If I can get over my own ego i.e. that I need to run every step of the way, this might be a good way to approach the race, especially considering the old injuries.

today's mileage: 8 miles
season mileage to date: 129.5 miles

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Day 63: Easy Saturday run

I really didn't want to get up this morning.

With a long run tomorrow, and coming off the pinched nerve, I wanted to give myself permission to skip the little run. To sleep in. To laze about.

Buuuuuut I didn't. I dragged my sleepy butt out of bed and headed out into a beautiful morning.

The run was uneventful for the most part. My legs felt a bit heavy but that was the only thing of note as far as the run is concerned. I usually bring a few dollars and grab a coffee at the end of my run and today was no different. On one of my rainy runs a few weeks ago, one of the guys commented on the craziness of running in the rain and I said something like "marathon training waits for no storm".

So now when I get coffee and I've run (which is pretty obvious because my bed-head is usually pulled into a pony tail, my contacts are in and I may have "red exercise face"), they ask how the training is going, how many miles I ran that morning. A little support and encouragement with your post-run coffee is pretty awesome.

Tonight I am "behaving" as one of my NYC coaches Ramon - staying in, eating pasta, drinking a lot of water and going to bed really early. I have to run 8 miles tomorrow and I'm a little nervous since it was three weeks since I ran 6 even but...I know I can do it. Just might be a bit painful.

Practice starts at the brutal time of 7am. SEVEN AM. ON A SUNDAY. Wah. I really wish we had practice on Saturday's as we did in NY - it is way easier to behave on a Friday when I am already beat. But no use whining about that. Anyway. I'll have to get up...I'm going to guess...around 5 and eat some oatmeal and then nap again until 6:30.

7am. Gah.

today's mileage: 3.0 miles
season mileage to date: 121.5 miles

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Day 61: Baby it's dark outside

Set my alarm for 6:15 to try to get out for my run at 6:30 but man it's hard to get up when its so dark.

I was slow to the start and got out around 6:45. I also got a fancy new fuel belt this week. I didn't need the bottles for a short run but it also has a little pack on it so I can bring my camera on runs now which means you'll get beauties like this more often!

Run was great again - although in the middle I got a little hungry and it was probably a little faster than I should have been running. I powered all the way to the coffee shop and while I waited in line felt a touch woozy.  I chalked it up to a veggie-ful dinner last night, walked back to my street, had a good stretch with lovely ocean views.

Tomorrow is an off day and I'm getting acupuncture for my neck again. Saturday will be a shorty and and then Sunday...the 8 miles I was supposed to do last week. Eeeeeeeee!

today's mileage: 3.8 miles
season mileage to date: 118.5 miles

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Day 60: Back in the game

Woke up at 6:30am...and it's dark. As much as I love springing forward for the sunsets, it does not make getting up early for morning runs any easier.

My neck was feeling ok this morning so headed out to see how a little 40 minute run was.

It felt greeeeat. I forgot how when you start running and have to take a few days off, your body actually wants to get back out there again. And the dark gave way to a misty morning, clouds hovering over the pier and mountains - a perfect brisk morning for a run.

Everything, from my neck to my shins, was feeling good and it was a pretty speedy run (for me ;) clocking just over 10m30s miles.

today's mileage: 3.8 miles
season mileage to date: 114.7 miles

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Day 57: Pain in the neck


Today I was supposed to run 8 miles.

I decided to sleep in and run on my own for maximum rest to my neck, but I still got up at 7:00 to eat some oatmeal to be ready to run at 9 / 9:30.

By the time I got up around 9, it was already seemed warm. I felt for the folks running the LA marathon today! My neck felt meh and I was definitely dragging as I got ready. I headed out around 10 it was downright hot.

I filled up my camelbak thinking it would be a good water container...however I made the mistake of putting ice in it and the way it was shaking around was bugging me. So I left it and decided to make due with water fountains.

Bad idea - too hot! But the bigger problem was the neck. 35-40 minutes in my neck pain started creeping up and I decided to call it so as not to take the risk of making that pinched nerve even more angry.

I came home cranky and emailed the coaches, who advised resting until Wed when I could try an easy 40 minute run instead of hill training. Meh.

Come on neck, loosen up.

today's mileage: 3.8 miles
season mileage to date: 110.9 miles

Day 56: Aches and Pains

I woke up yesterday with a pinched nerve.

I know it is a pinched nerve from a slightly bulged disc because last year when I moved here, I had the same thing, except I had never had it before so it took me a solid month of pain in my neck and shooting down my right arm and acupuncture to finally get to a doctor.

He chalked it up to stress and told me I needed to relax...and I thought to myself "Welcome to California."

I had been feeling my shoulder getting stiff after hill training and chalked it up to having slept funny, but by the middle of the night Thursday when I would roll over and felt shooting pains if I was in the "wrong" position, I knew it was back.

Ah the pleasures of getting old.

I wanted to go for a run, but opted to be smarter, working from home, getting some acupuncture from the good folks at Acutonix who were ever so kind as to fit me in right away, and taking a steady stream of muscle relaxers and ibuprofin. I was advised to pretend like I was in a neck brace, to not turn from the neck but the torso to give the disc a rest.

Last night I got myself situated on my back which seems to be the recommended way to sleep with a pinched nerve, and hoped for all the resting to do its thing.

I woke up feeling better / in less pain, but still twinge-y. I had read that some exercise is good for this sort of thing because it gets blood to the affected area, but too much jostling can be bad because it can make the already enflamed disc even more angry. I decided to go for a very slow run, giving myself permission before I even started to bail if my neck at all felt pressure from the run.

It was probably my least fun run since I started this whole thing again. My neck in particular didn't hurt, but all of me felt stiff and off in a way. My inner monologue was incredibly whiny, and went something like:

this is terrible. i feel gross. i don't have time for this neck thing right now. will i be able to attempt 8 miles tomorrow? my legs feel heavy. my shins feel tight. ugh - get away seagulls! don't look at the watch yet. no really don't loo--- oh man you looked! still 25 more minutes. meh. my shins feel tight still. why aren't i loosening up? is this going to irritate my neck more? i'm thirsty. why didn't i drink more water yesterday? 

At the end of the run, I sprinted the last little bit to the light, stopped and crossed the street. An old gent waiting on the other side nodded and said "Good job." And it was.

Day 56: 3.5 miles
season mileage to date: 107.1 miles

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Day 53: Culver City hills

Tonight was my first Wednesday practice, and we tackled hills.

Hill training is annoying and painful BUT I can speak from experience when I say it makes a huge difference in strength over the course of training.

We met at Culver City park and worked out in four segments:

1) Warm up - about a mile down and back, with four 10-second pick ups on the return leg. Pick ups are, as you might expect when you pick up the pace for whatever the duration of the pick up.

2) "Triple Crown" - Run to the top of the hill with a strong effort, recover on the way down - x3

3) "Three Minute Monster" - Run uphill 30 seconds, recover downhill, run 60 seconds uphill,  recover downhill, run 90 seconds uphill - try not to keel over - recover downhill...All without stopping and at 80% max effort.

4) Cool down run / walk / stretch.

I made the back of the pack the whole way, but that's okay. I'm working on taming my speed envy. Shins felt good which is important after all the downhills where you can really bang them up. I focused a lot on keep my stride short and quick and light. No clunking down the hill for me.

Tomorrow is a rest day. I barely know what to do when I get to sleep in these day - feels a little weird.

Day 53: 3.6 miles
season mileage to date: 103.6 miles

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Day 52: Race pace

I will sound like a big jerk when I say this, but I am getting a little bored of my running route.

This morning we were running 40 minutes again, but this time at "race pace". I still haven't done that two-mile timed run to give more guidance to mypace, so, not exactly sure what my race or tempo pace is supposed to be, but here's a general overview for reference from the coaches:

Your WARM UP / RECV (recovery) should be easier than your conversational pace.
Your CONVERSATIONAL pace should be easier than your race pace.
Your RACE pace should be easier than your TEMPO effort.
Your TEMPO effort should be easier than your SPRINT/AET (anaerobic threshold) pace.

 I realized I hadn't run down the pier yet so started by heading that way, down to the sea and back, then north on my usual route. Starting at the pier broke things up a bit, and I was back to the start before I knew it.  I was running an average of 10:30 minute miles, which is fast for me, but I guess that's my race pace...if you're talking about a 5k race, unlikely a marathon tho!

What is a tiny bit depressing is that even if I could run a marathon at 10:30 - that is still a 4 hour and 34 minute marathon...I have dreams of a 4 hour and 30 minute marathon! But they fade a bit when faced with having to run at that pace for that long...

Have to keep my eye on the achievable goals -  no broken legs and raising $10k!

Day 52: 3.8 miles
season mileage to date: 100 miles!

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Day 50: Rain dance

No one that lives in LA really has the right to complain about the rain.

First and most obviously - drought. We need rain! We need it for the peaches! And the avocados! And for many other things obviously but stone fruit has a special place in my heart. Secondly, I think its rained maybe 4 times since I moved here last year (hence, point 1). Finally, when it does rain its warm! Not that horrible Feb / March rain that we get in the Northeast that chills you to the bone. This is balmy, windy, tropical rain and it is nice. Go out there and play Southern Cali!

I headed down to Manhattan beach for our 8am start - even with the risk of rain, we had a big turnout for our run yesterday morning. We were running on a trail down to Manhattan Beach avenue, down to the pier, back up that damn hill, then out a little ways farther before heading back.

All the groups seem to be doing intervals, and the main difference is how many minutes on (running) or off (walking "with purpose"). Based on my general speed, I had the choice between group 3 and group 4 based on my time and I decided to start with the slower group to see how it was going. I stuck with group 4 until I got down to the pier, then as we headed up the hill, I found myself feeling more on pace with the group ahead so I motored on up to group 3.  As we got to the top of the hill the rain began and it was pretty refreshing for the 2nd 1/2 or so of the run - I've always liked running in the rain, and running in the rain out here where its balmy is pretty fantastic.

East coast or west coast, the team spirit of Team in Training is consistent. The coaches are floating, keeping an eye on you, answering questions, watching your form. Your teammates are there toughing it out themselves but always cheering each other on. Everyone is friendly and supportive and positive - well, maybe that's because our runs are still on the shorter side ;).

The run on the trails felt really nice on my shins and with the intervals of walking, the 5 miles felt like a breeze.

Day 50: 5.0 miles
season mileage to date: 96.2 miles

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Days 47 - 49 Waking up with the sun in my eyes

Lovely to be back here even with the rainy weather this weekend.

I intended to go to practice Wednesday but jet lag got me and I decided to listen to my body. I ate dinner and passed out at the very late hour of 9:30.

But that left me ready to go Thursday morning - it had rained the night before so there were some giant puddles as obstacles on my route but otherwise was excellent to be back in the land where people actually make eye-contact, smile and say good morning!

I took the day off Friday, and started my day with a run in the rain. I timed it rather poorly - about 12 minutes into my 40 minute run the rain stopped leaving me soggy for the rest of my run. It was warm and quite fun in the rain while it lasted tho - one feels pretty tough when running in the pouring rain.

And today, the giant waves kept me occupied as I ran down the beach. The sky has been amazing, clouds alternating with crazy beams of sun, and the surfing was super fun to watch. I took my post-run-coffee over to the pier and stretched while watching the guys have at it. I'm not sure how tall the waves were feet-wise but they looked GIANT and there were some crazy guys out killing it at the pier.

My love affair with California continues...and this song pretty much sums it up - enjoy!

Day 47: 3.6 miles
Day 48: 3.4 miles
Day 49: 3.7 miles
season mileage to date: 91.2 miles

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Days 39 - 45: Home away from home

Despite the whirlwind trip of work and visiting with pals and generally not being as well behaved as I am in Cali, I managed to get all my runs in, which I was pretty proud of myself for.

Wednesday morning after our decadent dinner I managed to make it out for a run along the east river. It wasn't too cold, and the sun was shining. The city is *filthy* at the moment - I forgot how dirty it is between snow melts. No one picks up their dog poop in the snow for some reason, and as the snow melts it reveals little poopy landmines to be avoided. The garbage hasn't been picked up on a regular schedule and piles of it crowd the street. It's gross!

I ran again Friday & Saturday mornings on the East River. Since I've been gone the promenade was finished and it is lovely! Saturday morning there were so many runners out it felt like there was a race on.

Saturday my best friend from college surprised me and we had brunch in the city, then Saturday night the Park Slope crew got together for dinner. When I come into town, we gather at Giuseppina's for a delicious dinner of too much pizza and reasonably priced vino!

This was good fuel for my 6 mile run in prospect park.  We were out a little late so it took me a little while to get on the road after eating breakfast and waking up - about 2pm in fact. But once I was out there it went really well. I had a great run despite the hills that I am no longer very accustomed to.

Monday was an off day but I had a terrible night's sleep last night (woke up at 3am and so skipped this morning in exchange for some catch up zzzzzz. And now I'm flying west, very excited to be going back home.

Day 39: 3.5 miles
Day 41: 3.4 miles
Day 42: 3.1 miles
Day 43: 6.0 miles
season mileage to date: 80.5 miles

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Day 38 - New York, New York

The idea of an early flight is always a good one - leave early, wake up on NYC time so in theory you can combat jet lag, arrive early, have a little bit of the day when you land, etc.

But then the reality sets in the night before that you need to wake up at 4:30am and the sadness begins. 

K I'll stop whining about being sleepy. I should have run yesterday, but went on a little hike instead and, continuing the meh week I've been having, broke my phone face so needed to go get it fixed during the time I might have been running. 

So after a day on the plane, and before a dinner at my friend's restaurant, I had to get a run in. It is actually not terribly cold compared to what everyone says it's been like here so I really really haven't a right to complain. I suited up and headed east. The sidewalk was slick and full of people, so pretty annoying until I got to the river. 

Once I got out there though it was pretty nice to be back in the old stomping ground. It was a tiny bit sketchy (don't worry mom! i'm fine!) running over there at night, but there were a few other runners out so I wasn't the only crazy person out there.

The assignment was to run 40 minutes with warm up - I went slightly faster on the way back so shorted myself a minute or two, but felt good especially given how tired I was. Now, for dinner with the ladies at Corkbuzz - an awesome little wine bar with awesome food and really great classes like pairings with take-out! Perhaps I will carbo-load with some delicious pasta for tomorrow's run...which is definitely going to be hard tomorrow morning since I just ran this evening.

today's run:  3.4 miles
season mileage to date: 64.5 miles

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Day 36: a snotty Sunday solo

I intended to get to practice today but this sickness is really annoying the hell out of me.

I was a good girl last night, didn't go out, took medicine, drank tea, and ate this awesome pasta for dinner in preparation for the 5 mile run this morning (recipe via Smitten Kitchen - make it once and you have it memorized its so easy and delicious.)
But when I woke up this morning my chest was so congested I needed to take a good long hot shower to cough some of the grossness up before I went for a run. So I took my time, figured out where I needed to turn around to hit five miles, then headed out into the sunshine.

Lots of activity on the beach this morning - a million surfers were out, a lot of running groups and the usual characters you find in Venice. I took it very easy the first half which wasn't hard given the little coughs that kept occasionally plaguing me.  I felt very stiff at first, but chalked it up to my cold and worked through it.

I don't run with music - I do usually have a marathon mix for the actual race, but I use it as a sort of...power boost that I'm not used to so that for the difficult times of the race I have something fun to fall back on. So when I run on my own without anyone to chat with, the scenery and people watching are the distractions that get me through the run. We have a very large homeless population here by the beach, and many of them get pretty creative in terms of asking for money or setting up their little homes. This morning, one gent was making his own living room carved out of sand, down to lamps mounted in strategic spots. Another had left his or her camp all set up on a grassy knoll unsupervised with a sign that read "testing the kindness of humanity".

The run itself was good, pain-free and I even got a few moments of runner's-high in the middle. Unfortunately it didn't last long because someone started feeding the sea gulls nearby which gets them into a horrifying frenzy and I got a little traumatized having to run under the hovering flock squawking and diving for bread crumbs all around me. Don't. Feed. The. Birds. People!! Gross.

I accidentally turned around a touch too early so didn't make it a full five miles but I'll take it.

today's run:  4.9 miles
season mileage to date: 61.1 miles

Friday, February 14, 2014

Day 34: Fighting the good fight

After my run yesterday, my cold got the better of me again and I went to bed early feeling stuffed up, coughing and sniffling my way to sleep.

I could sort of breathe when I got up and the sun was too inviting so after getting a few things out of the way I headed out for a :30.

I started off nice and easy trying to keep my pace back for both my legs and lungs sake. I was trucking along not thinking much about my pace because I was feeling good, and breathing easy even with the cold. I think the sunshine supercharged my legs, because I both got to my turn around spot 30 seconds faster than yesterday and also ran the 2nd 1/2 faster than the first, managing to tack on another .2 miles.

I know I know I've got to slow down but I am not feeling crazy at the end of these runs. I'm going to talk to my coach more about it this weekend, but I'll actually make it to practice as long as I continue to fight this cold / beat it by the time Sunday rolls around.

today's run:  2.9 miles
season mileage to date: 56.2 miles

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Day 33: At dusk

I left Portland yesterday and brought a relapse or new breed of sickness back with me. I'm blaming my run in the rain - smart move given that I was just getting over the cold. Also what is with this winter? Everyone I know that has gotten sick just can't kick it - me included. And being sick makes me soooo whiny. I was extra so yesterday with the fever I had forcing me to miss practice.

Today I was feeling better tho so decided to head out for a run around sunset.

It was lovely and aside from the tickle in my throat the whole time, felt pretty good. It's really mild here and it was a very pretty sunset this evening.

Before I started my calf was still a bit sore from Tuesday but it actually loosened up as I ran and felt better than it did all day. I took a good long time stretching, watching the sun drop into the sea, glad I made it out.
I better kick this damn cold (again) fast.

today's run:  2.7 miles
season mileage to date: 53.3 miles

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Day 31: Braving the elements

The sidewalks were still a slushy-mess, but the roads looked reasonable so I through I should stop being "soft" and head out for a run.  The cold has dissipated and its probably about 45 degrees, which is actually around my favorite running temps because I hate running when its hot and/or sticky out. And while it was raining, it was that spitty, misty rain which is way more bearable than a down pour.

I geared up and decided on a general direction. Today I used the Run Keeper app to track my time and distance because I figured I was not going to be able to keep track of where the hell I was running.

In addition to it being slippery and wet, it was also hilly - what a lovely combination!

My pace was tres slow as I dogged puddles of un-identifiable depth and patches of snow and slowly attacked the hills. My running route is pretty much flat right now, so a little hill training probably did me some good.

Since I was going soooooo slow and I had missed Sunday's run, I decided to extend the run by 15 minutes to make up some of the miles.  I definitely could have run for longer and it was nice to be reminded that when going slow, I can run for a long time.

When I got back I did my strengthening exercises which, after a run, definitely aren't as easy as they probably should be - especially that heel walking stuff.

I head back to LA tomorrow and will make it to my first practice! We are doing my *least* favorite practice which is more or less running as fast as you can without killing yourself for two miles. It promises to be good times!

today's run:  3.4 miles
season mileage to date: 50.6 miles

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Day 30: Portland on ice

Portland is a crystalized chilly mess at the moment. The snow from the last three days turned to frozen rain and ice, leaving everything crunchy and slippery. There was no way I was going to be able to run today so took the opportunity to start the strength-training routine one of the coaches gave me.

I'll be doing these bad boys three times a week and in 5-6 weeks time the coaches say I should feel a noticeable difference, and in the meantime working my way towards being stronger, more stable and less injury-prone.

Here's my little routine complete with some quality demonstration videos:

Body Weight Squats - 2 sets of 10 reps

Step Ups - 2 sets of 15 reps for each leg

Heel walking - 3 sets of 45 seconds

IT Band Strengthening - 2 sets of 12 reps for each leg

The step ups and the heel walking were hardest - the step ups I started on a chair that was definitely way too tall and did the second set on some steps. The heel walking is awkward and gets painful towards the end so can totally see how that is going to get my calves in shape.

Hopefully things will melt enough for me to try out running over here on the other side of Portland tomorrow.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Day 29: A mile leap

I'm headed to Portland later where all are experiencing a lovely snow storm. Given that, as my boss likes to say, California has made me "soft", I decided to do my long run today, then tomorrow I'll only have to run 30 minutes in the ice and slush.

As I always am when there is a mileage leap - yeah yeah I know its just one lousy mile! - I was a little nervous because I just hate getting to the end of a run and feeling like I'm going to keel over. I kept that in mind as I tried to keep my pace nice and easy. I deliberately held back, even when I was feeling good enough to go faster. I left my phone at home (I still haven't found my damn watch) and just enjoyed the clear morning.

I did a down and back route and was pleasantly surprised when I got to the turn around point - I was there before I had two long to think about it, and I was feeling like I definitely had another "half" in me without a problem.

From there it was pretty enjoyable, each landmark bringing me closer to the finish (aka my apartment) AND I felt like if push came to shove, I could run another mile. Which is how you're supposed to end one of those runs - yay for me!

And now...PDX, take two.

today's run:  4 miles
season mileage to date: 47.2 miles

Friday, February 07, 2014

Day 28: Simmer down

I finally got the sickness everyone's been coping with across both coasts, and being sick makes me real whiny. I was down for two days despite drowning the cold with multiple doses of juice and spicy ramen. (sad face)

But! I woke up this morning not completely recovered, but well enough to try for a little not but trot this morning. I was still a bit snotty but had tons more energy this morning. I also figured not being able to breathe at 100% would help me slow down - orders from my coach.

One trick she gave was to sing while running to keep the right pace. Between that and the congestion, it seemed to work. She said I should aim for 2.5 miles in 30 minutes instead of the 2.8 I ran Tuesday. I sang at a few times during my run which I had already started at what felt like a very conservative pace and it seemed to keep me more or less at the right speed.

today's run:  2.6 miles
season mileage to date: 43.2 miles

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Day 26: A Monday in disguise

This morning was meh.

I've finally got the cold everyone's had or has. I'm still fighting the good fight but I woke up flemmy a bit congested. Gross. Then I didn't lay out my running stuff AND I can't find my stop watch anywhere. I spent an extra 10 minutes looking for it before I gave up and decided to carry my phone.  Annoying. 

The run was neither great nor bad - except for the part that I spit on myself instead of the ground. Was a pretty morning if a little chilly. 

I did 2.8 miles and emailed my coaches the distance and got an email back later today. Coach Emily thanked me for telling me about the stress fractures, and her email at least made me realize I'm not totally paranoid ;) Here's an excerpt:

"Stress fractures (though healed) are a very important thing for us to keep an on eye as you work toward Seattle. As I'm sure you know or have been told as you've dealt with them, they are an overuse injury. There are things that we can do to minimize the risk, and then there are things we just can't control - ie ... women are more prone to them than men. And people who have had them are more likely to get them again than people who never have had them. So, let's plan on controlling the things we can control (your training) to the best of our ability. The first thing I want to emphasize to you is that the first six weeks of the program are focused on injury prevention. This means very slowly building our mileage base. And, based on your comment about working on mastering your conversational pace, for you these first six weeks are going to be about SLOWING DOWN! :) For the next three weeks at least, I want you to run much slower than you have been. "

 So, yeah. Need to slow down a bit and I'm going to chat with her after tomorrow's practice about some daily leg strengthening exercises.

today's run:  2.8 miles
season mileage to date: 40.6 miles

Monday, February 03, 2014

Our 11-week schedule

Today is an off-day which is great considering Superbowl madness (Sorry Denver...well, not really.)

I've been meaning to share the training schedule with you - the one I've been freaking out about.  It takes us to 16 miles in 11 weeks! So our weekday runs are mainly by time and then Sunday long runs by mileage. I'm trying to compartmentalize and not look at the 16 just sitting towards the end of that calendar. I don't remember it going that fast! But that is probably wishful thinking...after all, my first marathon season was over six months, and not to mention 7 (WHAT!?) ago so I probably just have nostalgic memories of it.

I'm kind of intrigued, because there is a full 7 weeks after this schedule before the marathon. And if we're running 16 - 20s for 7 weeks before the race...which is I guess where this schedule will go...assuming I don't break my legs, my time should be pretty sweet.

I think I'll talk to the coaches as we get going and see if they think I should go a little more slowly or if I should go for it. We shall see!

Week 1 - 11

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Day 24: Solo long run

I kept my plan to skip practice and run my own. Practice was going to start at 8, and I knew it would be at least 9:30 before I got out of there and that was not going to work since I was behind schedule before I even got up. Peeps were coming over at 2, and I had to clean...pretty much everything as well as hit the farmers market and get some cookin' on.

I had mapped out my three miles the night before and headed out. The cloud was full of puffy clouds and the sun was breaking through. I made a concerted effort to run at a slower pace although I confess I'm having a hard time telling the difference between a 10:30 and an 11 minute mile at the moment. In truth I should probably be taking my long runs even slower, more like an 11:30. A three mile "long" run is whatever - when we get to 8 and 10 and more, a mile a minute is going to make a big difference.

The run was a touch wheezy but other than that felt pretty good. about two and a half miles in I thought about if I felt like I could run 4 and that seemed...a stretch. But by the time I got close to finishing my legs got a second wind and another mile didn't seem as impossible.

today's run:  3.0 miles
season mileage to date: 37.8 miles

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Day 23: Against the wind

This week is kiiiiiilling me. Travel. Lots of meetings. Peeps from NYC in town.

Then Thursday we had an event downtown that was a bit on the late side so I decided to leave my car at the Standard and ride home with friends.  Half way home, I swore vehemently out loud. I had left my house keys with the car keys...with the Valet.

So luckily my friend Casey took me in for the night and even luckier we're similar sizes in clothing and feet so I didn't have to have a total walk of shame look going in to the office Friday morning. But I was still thrown a bit and yesterday was one of the longest days in a long while. I was beat.

Since I missed a day or two of running I dragged myself out of bed not too early, but early enough for a Saturday to hit the beach path.

My pacing was all over the place. I started off too fast, so tried to steady it. Then it was super windy and that wind was coming from the North so for the first half of my run it was in my face, and I felt like it was very slow going. But by the time I turned around I fell into what felt like a good pace, and the second half went easy enough. I was running by time again, and I knew by the time I got to the path I was running faster than normal because I still had a minute to go.  I grabbed coffee and when I got home noticed I had what I call "red exercise face" - and found I had been running 10:20s. Too. Speedy.

Practice starts tomorrow but I think I need to run on my own - I'm having a little superbowl gathering and I have to cook and my house is kind of a disaster. Yay. So a three mile solo it is then.

today's run:  2.9 miles
season mileage to date: 34.8 miles

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Day 20: Back to the beach

I was soooooo exhausted this morning when I got up. Our flight was delayed last night due to LAX being fogged in and

I guess it was all the travel and Portland fun but man was I dragging. It definitely took me twice as long to get ready to run this morning - I was bumbling and stumbling round the house, digging out my gear from my bag, chugging some water and trying to get a move on. We had a busy day of work ahead and I was losing time.

The schedule (post to follow) has us mainly running by time during the week then by mile for our long runs. So today's run was to be 30 minutes.  I knew roughly where to turn around to approximate 30 minutes and then just kept an eye on my watch.

I was slow and steady compared to the last time I ran the route but that was fine. I took it easy, a zen-like approach to my run and conjured up a flash of Bouv's famous grin when I started to get a little too cranky.

today's run:  2.8 miles
season mileage to date: 31.9 miles

Monday, January 27, 2014

Day 17: Portlandia

As expected Portlandia was a grey. It was not, however, as freezing as I expected so that was a bonus.

We had meetings all day then I made it into my running gear and out the door before my boss tempted me with Pok Pok chicken wings and a beer. 

I headed from the Ace to the river and it was actually pretty pleasant. I forgot that its really lovely to run when there is a little chill in the air. I mean sometimes I get that in Venice if it is really fogged in but its not a real chill. I used the bridges as my landmarks and quickly completed a 2.5 mile more or less down and back route.  It took me 29 minutes but I'm going to chalk that one up to lights and traffic.

By the time I got back, I had my first email of the season from the coaches, along with the schedule. I'm freaking out a little but that's for another post...practice starts Sunday!

today's run:  2.5 miles
season mileage to date: 29.1 miles

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Day 16: A "long" run

I laid low last night knowing I needed to run in the morning because I'm flying to Portland (OR) at noon.  And I knew I had to run today because its a work trip and who knows what will happen with work or the weather up there.

I wanted to do a longer run, mentally prepping for the future weekends when we will be doing our distance runs on the weekends. I thought about going for three full miles then more or less said meh and planned on between 2.7 and 2.8 miles, staying in the 10% idea.

My legs felt heavy again this morning but I trudged on through and by the time I got to the turn around point I had loosened up. The waves are "going off" as all the surfer friends say and it was good scenery between the waves crashing and the surfers trying to catch them.

When I got to where I planned on stopping, I found I had a little extra energy and kept on straight to the coffee shop...just shy of three miles. Should have just given myself that little kick in the ass but ah well - three...and four...and five miles will be here soon enough.

today's run:  2.9 miles
season mileage to date: 26.6 miles

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Day 14: Steely morning run

TFIG people!

Given Wednesday night's bad sleep I was exhausted last night and passed out at 10:30.

Despite a good, pretty long night's sleep, I woke up feeling sooooo damn tired. I stumbled around sleepily getting ready in the half-light, it taking me twice as long as normal.

When I finally started, running my legs felt like lead weights. Meh.

It was chilly and fogged in. Even though my legs were sluggish, throughout the run I noticed that my cardio is definitely getting better, I don't feel as wheezy as I have been. It's been two weeks since I started running again and I do think it's been the most gradual re-entry into running I've had, even as compared to the first marathon. Granted, for Phoenix we had a long-long training season - I think at least 6 full months between start and race. This season will only be 5 months, so I think will prove a bit more challenging, but with all the other health improvements since I moved, I also feel like I'm starting ahead.

Tomorrow is a rest day - see you on Sunday!

today's run:  2.5 miles
season mileage to date: 23.7 miles

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Day 13: A good pace

Despite having Monday off, this week is feeling LONG. Work's a little crazy right now and I made the mistake of having not one but two cups of coffee yesterday afternoon. I just needed a little pick-me-up.

But apparently I am an old lady now and can't have real coffee after noon if I want to have a decent night's sleep. It took me forever to fall asleep, and after what seemed like ages and I did, something woke me up and as I rolled over...I saw the light was starting to creep in. I hissed to myself "...and that damn alarm is about to go off." And sure enough it did. Unsurprisingly, my little sleep app gave me a "46% sleep quality" rating confirming what I already knew - that it was a crap night's sleep.

I hit the road expecting for the run to go poorly but to my surprise it was a good day. My legs loosened up quickly and I settled into what felt like a comfortable pace in short order. I stayed to the beach path completely, with a little down and back that ended at the coffee shop per the usual and my pace was right where it should be - 11:04m miles.

today's run:  2.5 miles
season mileage to date: 21.2 miles