Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!!

Saturday 8.5 miles/1:19:12/9:19 average pace

Went up to Walnut Creek with Zach on Saturday for a long run. It was cold and drizzly- about 44 degrees but it felt really chilly. He was doing 12, so we ran about 7 together at an easy pace (well easy for him, normal for me at this point). Then he picked it up a bit and I finished out my run at that pace. It felt GREAT to get in a "real" run! My legs felt good but I had an odd knee twinge about halfway through. I'm keeping my eye on that, of course. I had a great time though. I'm actually feeling a lot more comfortable on my runs than I did before my marathon. My body feels relaxed and my stride natural.

Yesterday, Sunday, we went for a beautiful hike in the Tennessee Valley in Marin. We hiked the 2 miles down to the beach and back up. It's not too steep or anything though- in fact I saw a lot of runners and made a note to go there sometime for a run!

So that's it for 2007! It was another interesting year- some good and some bad. I got a PR in both the half and full marathon distance, which is sweet. But I also dealt with a real pain-in-the ass injury back in January/February. But that lead me to cross training which led to my first triathlon, so that's good! Just shows how it all balances out.

In 2008 I have a few goals. First, I am running the Boston Marathon again. In fact, I am going to register today! After that, I am doing a triathlon - the Showdown at Sundown on June 7th.

After that, I think I am going to train for an Olympic Distance Triathlon this fall. I haven't picked one yet. This is the first step in my long-term goal of completing an Ironman in 2009. I have thought about that for a long time, it really appeals to me. I want to do some kind of crazy endurance event and I don't yet want to run an ultramarathon. I know it's a huge goal and I want to train properly so I'm starting now (with the sprint tri in June). I could easily ignore this goal of mine but I am a little burnt out on marathon racing and need a change of pace. Plus I had this whole "I'm going to be 30 soon" (well, in a couple years but still) realization and decided I need to get my ass in gear if I want to achieve some of my big goals. Don't worry, I have many more big goals for the rest of my life, but there are some things I have always seen myself accomplishing before I have kids and what not. And I guess I just thought they would all just magically happen to me. Turns out, that's not how it works. Well, I better finish what little work I have today and then I'm going to start planning our big trip to Europe. :)


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Run and getting back on track

Monday 4.5 miles/42:10/9:22 average pace

Christmas Eve Zach and I went on a tough but beautiful trail run in the Sunol Regional Wilderness. It was basically 2 miles of climbing, which kicked my ass, then two miles of Weeeeee! :) I had to stop several times on the climb but ran non-stop back down. It was fun! We went for a dip in the apartment complex hot tub then spend the evening at my brother's house.

We had a wonderful Christmas Day at home. We received so many great gifts and talked with all our family members and friends on the phone. Zach got me a beautiful necklace and some running socks, and my mother-in-law got me a pair of running capri tights. Plus lots of bath stuff, candles, and candy! I got Zach a Garmin 305, which is just like my GPS watch but also has a Heart Rate Monitor. I also got him a book about HR Training, and some other stuff. In the afternoon we went for a 2 mile walk and tried out his GPS. Then, I made a big dinner including a pumpkin pie. What a day.

Now it's back to the real world of work and working out! I am actually really looking forward to it. The whole month of December (actually since Thanksgiving) has been made up of too much eating and drinking, and far too little running. The obvious result is I am up a few pounds. But it's good because now I am motivated to start eating better and working out to lose it. :) So far this week I've done good:

Wednesday 6.0 miles/56:30/9:25 average pace

Ran last night with Zach and we included a big hill. I was slow but strong! I'm not stressing my pace at all because I am so glad just to be out there. Last year at this time I was injured and depressed about it, so I'm counting my blessings.

Thursday swim 550 meters. The pool was cold because one of the heaters was broken. I was also short on time so I did 10 laps (500 m) in 10:25. Then I did one lap of breaststroke for the heck of it.

I'm planning on going to the gym for a cross-training workout tomorrow morning and then running again Saturday.

Last but not least:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARITZA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Central Park, NYC!

Thursday 6.5 miles/1:05:00/10:00 average pace (estimate)

Ran in Central Park in NYC on our last day there. It wasn't too cold- about 40- and the skies were clear. There were so many runners including a group of elite African runners who flew by us like we were standing still. It was so amazing to get to run there!

Check out more pictures here LINK

We had a wonderful trip! We saw so many sights including Rockefeller Center, Empire State Building, Natural History Museum, NYC Public Library, Bryant Park, Wall Street, and the World Trade Center site. We shopped on 5th Avenue, in SOHO, and at a few touristy gift shops. We went to pubs on the Upper West Side and in Greenwich Village, and we ate delicious pizza, hot dogs, and halal food from street vendors. We went to a jazz show in the Village after having dinner in Little Italy. The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel was gorgeous and super convenient to everything. We walked all over the city, only taking the subway once and a cab once. The city is insanely Christmas-y and I saw tons of huge beautiful Christmas trees everywhere, not just in Rockefeller Center! I am sure I'm forgetting tons of stuff, it was a whirlwind. One of my favorite things was definitely running in the park though- how awesome. I even managed to run for over an hour even though my legs were so tired from all the walking! And that park has got some hills! We were in a rush to get back to the hotel and off to the airport, so we actually took a cab from the park! Ha ha. Only in NY!

Allright, back home I am getting some workouts in:

Friday Swim 1000 m: 500 freestyle, 250 backstroke, 250 pull

Saturday 3.5 miles/37:14/9:05 average pace

Zach was doing a 10 miler so I did the first bit with him. I am feeling better these days but my right calf was a bit tight after. I'm easing back into running with lots of cross training to avoid injury. I don't have to start training for Boston for a few more weeks so no rush.

Merry Christmas everyone!!! Hope you all have a fantastic holiday. :)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Recovery Run!

Friday 3.1 miles/28:55/9:20 average pace

First run since the marathon felt great! It was VERY cold out this morning- like 29 degrees or so. I bundled up and was comfortable in my tights and many top layers and gloves. I listened to Phedippidations and enjoyed the frosty quiet morning. I paid close attention to my left shin, which bothered me before the marathon, and my right knee, which bothered me after last year's CIM. Both were fine!

Earlier this week I did some cross training too which I will report here:

Tuesday: At the gym in Phoenix, where I was for work

35 minutes elliptical machine

10 minutes recumbent bike machine

Weight lifting- upper body


1000 m swimming in about 22:30

(500 m crawl, 250 backstroke, 250 pull)

- the backstroke was pretty tough since I've never done more than a lap or two of that, but it felt good! I think it is my favorite stroke for some reason.

Well tonight I am going to clean and pack. My office holiday dinner is tomorrow and the festivities actually start in the afternoon, so I won't have any time. Also, Zach has an 8 miler tomorrow morning and I will ride my bike with him again. He is training for a half marathon in February which I haven't decided if I'm doing or not.

I am really looking forward to our trip to New York! One of the things I am most excited about is going for a run in Central Park. I've always wanted to do that! We are going to have a blast and I will take a ton of pictures to post when I get back next weekend.

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tagged myself

I saw this on a couple blogs and since I love Christmas so much (and I'm bored) I felt like answering it. :P

1. Wrapping paper or gift bag?

wrapping paper for sure. I am all about the ribbons and bows.

2. Real tree or artificial?

I like a real tree, but this year we got a small fake one since we'll be out of town for a week right before Christmas. I like picking out my tree in the tree lot, but even better is picking my tree from the forest like we did in MT. The best part was it only cost $3.00- for the permit.

3. When do you put up your tree?

as soon as Zach will let me- usually the first week of December.

4. When do you take down your tree?

right away- within a couple days. I get sick of the mess pretty fast after the holiday is over.

5. Do you like eggnog?

very much.

6. Favorite gift received as a child?

just told Zach this story this weekend- it was the Star Stage that Santa brought me circa 5th grade. It was just a microphone on a stand and I think it lit up, but I thought I was such a diva.
also, any gift that my uncle gave us because it was always in treasure-hunt format. I once dug a $50 bill out of a jar of peanut butter! (it was wrapped in plastic)

7. Do you have a nativity scene?


8. Hardest person to buy for?
my brother. He is a pain in the ass in most respects. :) (hi jon!)

9. Easiest person to buy for?

any little kids

10. Worst Christmas gift ever received?

ummm, can't think of anything that was too bad. Actually when we were first dating Zach bought me this kind of funky outfit - it was allright but I never wore it... and he still gives me shit about that. So maybe that, since I'm still dealing with it.

11. Mail or email Christmas cards?

mail. Crap I have to do that.

12. Favorite Christmas movie?

hmm- a three way tie: Christmas Story, National Lampoons Christmas Vacation, and Elf.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?

black Friday, and I get probably 90% of the shopping done that day.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?

I'm sure, can't think of anything specific.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?

Candy out of my stocking early on Christmas morning. Gotta love chocolate at 8 am.

16. White or colored lights?

both, in copious amounts

17. Favorite Christmas song?

Oh holy night

18. Traveling for Christmas or stay home?

stay home.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's?

dasher, dancer, praner, vixen, comet, cupid, donner, blitzen, rudoulph.

20. Angel or Star on top of tree?

21. Open presents Christmas Eve or Morning?

One on Christmas eve, the rest in the morning.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
getting fat

23. What I love most about Christmas?

the warm feeling I get when I hear certain songs and see certain movies or smell a certain smell- it reminds me of Christmas growing up and how magical my parents and family made the holidays for my brother and me.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Recovery Update and Christmas in New York

I'm starting to feel normal again- my legs are recovered and in fact feel better than the days before the marathon. I am also finally getting over a cold that started last week. I was off work Monday and Tuesday so I'm also getting back into the work routine. The plan is to take at least two weeks off from running- it seems like a lot but I've had injuries pop up after races so I'm being very cautious. Plus, I have no interest in running at all right now. Zach has started training for a half marathon (which I haven't decided if I'm doing or not) so tomorrow I'll ride my bike along with him on his run. :) I did make it to the pool on Wednesday where I swam 500 m very easy and then sat in the steam room and hot tub. I also rode my bike to work this week so my legs are definitely working. I'm really just enjoying being lazy though and I'm going to let my motivation find its way back to me in its own time. Meanwhile, I have Christmas cookies to bake, parties to attend, and zzzz's to catch.

Also, in just over a week we are going to NEW YORK CITY! Yay! Neither Zach or I have ever been and I cannot wait. We are staying at the Waldorf Astoria and there are a million wonderful things to see right within a mile of our hotel. I'm just starting to look at travel books and stuff, but we're going to stick to a non-schedule for the most part and just soak it all in. I absolutely love Christmas time and I can only imagine how magical NYC is this time of year. I'm so excited! We leave next Sunday and return Thursday, then we'll spend Christmas at home and with my brother and sister-in-law.

Tonight we are going to see A Christmas Carol in Walnut Creek and next weekend we have my office holiday party. I'm pretty much done shopping so besides a few events I will be cozy at home baking cookies and watching hockey. :)

Monday, December 03, 2007

CIM Photos

Thanks everyone for all the comments! :)

I have been fantastically sore all over but it's starting to get better. I'm in no rush to run again and will take my time recovering. I went to the gym today and sat in the steam room for a million hours. And I've been eating like a horse. Regular post-marathon stuff!

Here are my pictures from the weekend. Sacramento is a really pretty town, especially this time of year. The course wasn't especially scenic but still nice. Enjoy!


American RiverHotel - view of Sacramento

Race morning
Just past the halfway mark

Around Mile 20
Approaching the finish (I'm in the center in the background)

Talking to Pace Leader Tim Twietmeyer (in red)

Smiling through the pain of post-marathon soreness. That's my mom and dad.

Mom, Dad, me and Zach

Texting Maritza

Big ol' medal!

Hobbling to get some food. My mom and dad having a laugh.
Victory beer! (brunch is a fantastic excuse to drink before noon!)

2007 CIM Race Report


The 2007 CIM was my fifth marathon since I started running in 2004. I ran this race last year where I qualified for Boston with a time of 3:39:22. Last year I achieved that goal using Pfitzinger’s 55 miles per week plan and decided to use it again this time. Training went really well – my training times were consistently faster than last time and I ran a PR half marathon in mid-October (1:43:40). Everything was going great until about three weeks before the race. That week I developed pretty sore shins and calves but I pushed through it. Two weeks out from the race, the pain was worse, especially in my left leg. I skipped a 10 miler and iced my leg a ton. I ran a Thanksgiving Day 5k that week which probably didn’t help... but I had a good race and finished in 22:12, only 5 seconds off my PR. Finally, last week, after a lot more ice and skipping another run, my legs were improving. I’d say that on a scale of 1-10 the pain went from like a 7 down to a 2.

Physically, I knew the injury and the extra rest wouldn’t hurt my race- it was during my taper so my training had been 100%, I’d really only missed 2 runs, and the pain never bothered me during a run, only after. Mentally, it sank me. I was somewhat burnt out by the end of my training and did not have the energy to deal with an injury. I was very negative but I tried not to vocalize it because I hoped my spirits would perk back up. I had a lot of anxiety about the whole thing. Honestly, I didn’t want to run the race. The last few days before the race I was mainly motivated by the fact that it was going to be over soon! But finally the day before the race, I rallied. I gave myself a big pep talk and dug up as much confidence as I could. I actually got excited! I packed my bags, did all my little pre-race rituals, and headed up to Sacramento with Zach.


Saturday we hit up the mall to waste some time, and then went to the expo. I got my number and then went to the Clif pace group clinic at 4:00. I knew from the website that the 3:35 pace group would be lead by ultra-marathon superstar Tim Twietmeyer! Unfortunately, he wasn’t there. Last year I used the clinic to meet the 3:40 pace leader and he was very friendly and talked to us for awhile. Oh well. Took all my stuff and went back to the hotel to relax. We ordered Olive Garden to-go and watched Ratatouille (very cute!) in the hotel room. I dozed off early but woke up at about 10:30 and had a bit of a meltdown- kind of that confused feeling you sometimes get when you first wake up, then remembering that my race was only hours away… all my tricks to build confidence were MIA and I kind of freaked out. After a few minutes and some tears Zach made me some tea and I relaxed and finally fell back to sleep. Whew.

Sunday morning I got up a few minutes before 5:00 and got ready. I made myself an English muffin (yes, I brought my toaster) with peanut butter, had part of a packet of oatmeal, and some of a banana. Zach drove me to the busses downtown and dropped me off about 5:30. By 5:50 my bus was driving. I sat next to an older gentleman who was running his 23rd straight CIM! This was the 25th anniversary event so they were making a big deal of all the “streakers” and this guy was right up there! Very cool.

The bus dropped us off at about 6:30 and I immediately got in the long line for the porto potty. It was still dark but the sky was starting to lighten. I talked with a guy from Vancouver for a while in line. After 15 minutes the line had barely moved and I decided I would have to hit up a bathroom later if I really needed to. I made my way to the starting line and checked my sweats bag along the way. I was wearing shorts and a tank top with a long sleeve tech shirt and gloves. I had a garbage bag on until right before the start too. At the starting line I scanned the crowd for the 3:35 pace group and couldn’t find the sign. I saw every other pace sign, but no 3:35. As I was thinking about what I was going to do, I noticed a girl coming out from the bushes and decided to follow her example and used nature’s porto potty. I was a little embarrassed but what the hell. I stood up and walked out of the bushes and, in an amazing coincidence, Tim Twietmeyer and the 3:35 pace group walked right by me! I hopped in line behind him and we all crammed into the starting crowd.


I had such a successful run last year with the 3:40 pace group that I really wanted to do the pace group thing again. Of course, that meant my goal had to be at least 5 minutes faster to run with the next group. I figured I could do it but it seemed ambitious. Realistically, I hoped to hang on to the group as long as possible and finish close to 3:35 as possible. Officially, goals were: A) 3:35 (8:12 pace) B) PR – sub 3:39:22 C) BQ – sub 3:40:59.

A couple cute little kids sang the national anthem, I shed my garbage bag layer, and we were off.

The Race

The course starts off in Folsom, a suburb northeast of Sacramento. The first few miles are mostly downhill and the weather was cool. It was pretty rural at first so there were no spectators, but I did see some ponies. :) The course was pretty crowded for a while and the road was in rough shape, so I spent most of my time watching the ground in front of me while keeping an eye on that 3:35 sign. I felt great. I had a lot of energy and so did everyone around me. We were running fast but it felt good. I shed my gloves and long sleeve shirt right away.

Mile 1- 8:02
Mile 2- 8:04
Mile 3 – 8:03
Mile 4 – 8:01

I was hoping the pace leader would settle into a pace closer to the 8:12 goal pace. But the downhills really did justify a faster start, so I just went with it. I was carrying a water bottle in my hand in addition to one in my fuel belt, so I drank on that instead of stopping at aid stations. The course starts to get more rolling around mile 5. Last year I hardly noticed the uphills but this year I did. They are short, while the downhill stretches are long, but I still noticed them. I was pushing up them though and stayed with the pace group. We finally settled into a more conservative pace. I ate 3 Clif Blocks.

Mile 5- 8:13
Mile 6- 8:13
Mile 7- 8:13
Mile 8- 8:11

There started to be more crowds out on the street at this point. I was starting to feel a little tired but not bad. Mentally, I was hanging in there, trying not to think “18 miles left.” Still cruising along, but I noticed the pace group was gaining some distance ahead of me. I didn’t feel like I was slowing down though. I tried to close the gap.

Mile 9- 8:05
Mile 10- 7:59

Once I saw that 7:xx split I started re-evaluating my strategy of running with the pace group. I was not prepared to run 7:anything in this marathon. That might not be too fast for some of the others in the pace group, but it was a stretch for me. I realized finally that they were running ahead of goal pace and it would probably be a mistake to stay with them. I let the group slip away a little, but they were still only 100 feet or so ahead of me. There were a lot of spectators out now. I ate 3 Luna Moons.

Mile 11- 8:04
Mile 12- 8:16
Mile 13- 8:01
(half marathon 1:46:13 – 8:06 average pace)

I saw Zach right past the halfway mark for the first time. He took a few pictures and then hopped in and ran with me for a minute. As I explained to him that the pace group was running a little fast, I solidified my plan to run my own race. I made him confirm the math on my half split “Isn’t that like a 3:32:30 projected finish time?!?” and he confirmed my decision to let them go. He gave me a new water bottle and some more encouragement and let me go.

The pace group was still in sight, but I knew I was slowing now. I no longer had a group to stick with and it felt very “no man’s land”-y. Blah. It was great to be halfway but I was getting tired, and still had a long way to run. Around mile 15 I started talking with a nice British woman named Pauline, who had also been dropped by the 3:35 group. We chatted for a few minutes then just ran side by side in silence for a few miles. I can’t even explain how helpful that was to have someone to hang on to. We shared the significance of passing the 16 mile mark- only 10 to go! -and pointed out the other mile markers to each other, but besides that we just ran. I saw Zach at mile 17 and was feeling rough. He asked how I was feeling and I couldn’t lie. “Meh,” I said. I told him I was tired and kind of had to use the bathroom but not urgently. He encouraged me and said I looked strong, then I continued on with Pauline. I hadn’t walked at all at this point and that was really encouraging. Pauline would stop for water and then catch up. I was tired and wanted to walk but just kept running. There were a lot of crowds including bands, dj’s, and cheerleading groups rooting us along, which helped. I ate 3 more Luna Moons.

Mile 14- 8:18
Mile 15- 8:29
Mile 16- 8:27
Mile 17- 8:14
Mile 18- 8:21

Pauline finally dropped me but I kept her in my sights for several more miles. I was really looking forward to hitting the 20 mile mark. My motto became “just keep running.” I wasn’t even thinking about my pace, in fact it was kind of a surprise every time I hit a mile marker. I did some math somewhere in here and figured if I could run 8:30’s I could finish in 3:37, which was completely acceptable at this point. I still hadn’t walked and it became my goal to never take a walk break. I saw Zach at mile 20 and was actually feeling a lot better than last time I’d seen him. I am sure it showed. I came up with a good mental trick at the 20 mile marker too- I visualized my usual 6 mile route and imagined that’s all I had to do. It really helped! There’s a bridge crossing at mile 21 but it wasn’t bad. There were more people, bands, kids, and some people were playing Christmas music.

Mile 19- 8:23
Mile 20- 8:30
Mile 21- 8:41
Mile 22- 8:41
Mile 23- 8:34

I was getting close and started shifting my strategy from “just keep running” to “finish strong.” I didn’t want to surge (if you can call it that) too early… I was worried I might cramp up or have to walk, and I was passing many examples cramping and walking as I ran in the final miles. I did some math and figured I could make it under 3:37 if I pushed. With three miles to go I focused on running strong, then a bit stronger with two miles to go, and finally just went for it at the 25 mile mark. I was definitely tired, but actually feeling really good! There were tons of people along the course cheering, and I was really soaking it up. I even high-fived Santa!

Mile 24- 8:31
Mile 25- 8:24
Mile 26- 8:06
Last 0.2- 1:40

Unofficial Watch time: 3:36:49
(8:16 average pace)

OFFICIAL finish time 3:36:47

(second half: 1:50:36- 8:27 average pace)
4 minutes 23 seconds positive split

Yay! I was happy with my finish time, but mostly I was so extremely glad to be done! My husband saw me in the final stretch, and my mom and dad were right at the finish to watch me cross the line. I got my medal and then gave bunch of sweaty hugs. :) I did it!

I didn’t quite get my “A” goal but I got a big PR. I am sure that I paid for my fast start but I don’t regret going out with the pace group. I may have ran below goal pace if I’d run alone, but we’ll never know. I saw Tim Tweitmeyer at the finish and thanked him. Zach said they were at least 3 or 4 minutes ahead of me so they definitely came in a bit fast. That is the risk you take when you run with a pace group though! I pulled it off on my own though and I’m very proud of that. I’m proud of my smart thinking when I decided not to stay with the group. Obviously I would have lost them eventually, but I was smart for doing it while I still felt good and not when I was completely toast. I may have been able to run 3:35 or so if I hadn’t started out too fast- I really am more of a negative split runner so this was far from a perfect race. In fact, there were several points in the race where I knew I could be running faster, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. It’s hard to explain, but it was definitely a mental/physical battle and my weak confidence going into the race certainly cost me some time. But, I finished. I would say I am a tiny bit disappointed, mostly satisfied, and a little amazed. I thought it would take me years to achieve such a fast marathon time.

I am also very proud that I ran the entire marathon! I did it last year too, but I never thought it would happen again.

I am looking forward to a break from running. I’m taking a few weeks off and doing a lot of cross training. I did my first triathlon this summer and I’ve got a few more planned this coming year. I am going back to Boston, but I am not going for a PR or anything, just to enjoy it and improve my time from last year (which was a PW so should be easy!). I feel like I put a lot of pressure on myself this time around and I need a break from that. I need to get my enthusiasm back before I train hard again.

Thanks everyone for all your support! :) I’ll post some pictures in a bit, and even the short video Zach took if I can figure it out. Happy Holidays! :)