Monday, March 31, 2008

San Francisco 20

First, Friday's run:

Friday 8.0 miles/1:12:32/9:04 average pace

I was down at my brother and sister-in-law's on Friday so I finally got to check out the trail near their house- the Stevens Creek Trail in Mountain View. That website is great- it has a virtual tour and a mileage tool. I ran the length of the trail and enjoyed every minute of it.

Now onto the really good stuff:

Saturday 20.0 miles/2:49:51/8:30 average pace

This was the perfect run. I drove into San Francisco and ran my favorite 20 mile loop: 8 ish miles through the gentle hills of Golden Gate Park, 3 miles down the coast, 5 miles around Lake Merced, and back up the coast to the parking lot at Great Highway/Lincoln. I felt great, I was so focused, and I was just effortlessly cruising along. Ok, maybe effortless is a stretch, but it never felt hard. I was a little worried when my first few miles were coming in well under my usual 9:00 pace. I thought "this is either going to be the best run ever, or a total disaster" and guess what? Best run ever. Here's a summary of my pace:

First 5 miles in 43:39 (8:44 average pace)

Second 5 miles in 42:04 (8:25 average pace)

Next 5 miles in 43:13 (8:39 average pace)

Last 5 miles in 40:55 (8:11 average pace) including my last mile in 7:49


I did the same 20 miler at this point in my training last time (link here) and seems I felt great then too. However, this time I ran about 6 minutes faster!

I didn't feel sore at all after the run, but on Sunday I was feeling a little achy in my shins (specifically my right shin/calf) and super tired overall. I took a long nap in the afternoon and iced my leg off and on. No swimming or anything. This is where I was so sore last time around, except it was in both legs and really a lot worse. I'm going to play it really safe and skip today's scheduled easy run. It feels fine today but still going to rest. Actually I think I'll cross train- maybe a bike ride after work. I have three more big runs this week that I'd like to complete so hopefully a few days off will do the trick.

TOTAL miles last week: 43
PLUS 1000 m swimming (tuesday and thursday, don't know if I logged that)
AND 2 times strength training at home :)

Here's my schedule for this week (first week of the taper!)

Monday: cross train/rest
Tuesday: xt
Wednesday: 8 miles (2 miles VO2 Intervals)
Thursday: xt
Friday: 10 miles General Aerobic
Saturday: 16 miles Long Run
Sunday: rest/xt

Total scheduled: 34

Three weeks from today is the Boston Marathon!

Thursday, March 27, 2008


First, an easy run

Monday 5.0 miles/45:16/9:04 average pace

Got to run with Zach which was nice. :) The run felt nice and easy.

Tuesday I we went swimming in the morning- I did 500 m (250 crawl, 250 pull).

Wednesday 10.0/1:26:58/8:42 average pace

I drove over to the Pleasanton SportPark after work for my intervals. It's a big collection of baseball and soccer fields with a paved path around the perimiter. It's about 2 miles around, so long enough to not get completely sick of looping around. There's always some games going on and some people to watch, plus there's water and restrooms galore. I like that it's called the SportPark (one word) and over time I've Germanized it and call it Der Sportenpark. I'm so international.

So my workout was a basic 4 x 800 (1/2 mile) with 1/4 mile recoveries.

2 miles warm up in 18:04 (9:02 average)

4 x 800 in 3:25, 3:27, 3:29, 3:23 =average 3:36 (6:52 pace)

Then I still had 5 miles to run. I was kinda tired and it was windy and COLD! I wished I had a long sleeve shirt to throw on. But I just sucked it up and froze. I did one more loop around der Sportenpark then decided enough of that, and ran the last few miles on a dirt canal trail in Pleasanton. It was extra windy there, so not the best choice. I was really glad to be done finally! :) It was a good mental toughness practice, as well as a speed workout. Amazingly, the speed intervals weren't that bad! That's two speed workouts now without cramping, heaving, or crying! Go me!!

This morning I was a little sore, but I got up and went to the gym with Zach for another 500 m. This time I just swam freestyle the whole time.

Tomorrow I'm going to do some easy miles and then Saturday 20 miles. Then I guess it's taper time! It's weird that I"m not burnt out- usually the taper comes just in time. Let's hope I can carry this mojo right on to Boston!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Long Run at Hayward Shoreline

Saturday 17.0 miles/2:34:55/9:07 average pace

I explored a new long run route this weekend and it worked out beautifully. I parked at the Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center and ran north along the Bay Trail to the San Leandro Marina. The path was mostly a wide dirt path, but towards San Leandro it was paved with a dirt shoulder. The only water/bathroom was at my turn around at the Marina, but I knew that and came prepared. The route is pretty easy to follow- there were a couple intersections, but I headed toward the bay, not inland, and that kept me on track. There were very few people until I got closer to San Leandro, but I did see several bunnies, squirrels, and a ton of cool shore birds.

It was fun and interesting, and the weather was so nice. I didn't run very fast but that's ok. It was my peak week and I was a little sore at first. I also didn't have any snacks (The only things I've been handling lately are Sharkies, and I was out). I brought a Razzberry Clif Shot but knew I would hate it. Boy was I right, it literally tasted like ketchup. Ewwwwww. So I was a little low on energy toward the end, and getting very low on water, but I finished. I drank a ton of gatorade and felt better immediately.

Here's my pictures, take from my cell phone (I was all about the breaks as you can see):

Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center:
Bay Trail Sign:
Mud flats at low tide:

Northernmost point/turn-around:

Sunday Zach and I went for a little hike and a short swim. My shoulder was sore so I only did kicking drills- 400 m total.
TOTAL miles for the week: 46.15
PLUS: 1000 m swimming
Here's my schedule for this week. Last week before the taper!
Monday: 5 miles Easy
Tuesday: xt
Wednesday: 10 miles w/ Intervals (may do Hill Repeats instead of speedwork)
Thursday: xt
Friday: 5 miles Easy + Strides
Saturday: 20 miles Long
Sunday: rest/xt
TOTAL: 40 miles
So far, my training has been great... I'm on the home stretch, and this is when I'm mostly likely to become injured. This is the key week to not over-do it. I know I will be ok if I'm careful. I'm keeping to my soft dirt trail, going to ice and stretch, and just think positive. :)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Interval Training

Wednesday 8.0 miles/1:10:02/8:45 average pace

Since I ran 11 miles on Monday, I had to do my VO2 Intervals workout on Wednesday. I was actually kind of excited- it's been a long time since I did this kind of thing so I guess I forgot how hard it is. Well, it actually wasn't that bad! I think I found a good effort level- pushing hard without killing myself. I never felt like I was going to puke or pass out, which has been pretty standard for speedwork in the past. I didn't feel excessively tired at the end either.

I don't even know what Pfitzinger has specified in his marathon training program for this workout- I don't put that kind of detail on my printed-out schedule and I don't really care. Therefore, I chose to do the workout that super-speedster GB did last week: 4 x 800 followed by 4 x 400. I figured I would get the 800s (half-miles) out of the way and if I had it in me, do the 400s (quarter-miles).

My goal pace was at or under 7:00 per mile, so 3:30 for the 800s and 1:45 for the 400s. Obviously, I should be able to run faster for the 400s since it's shorter.

I did quarter-mile recoveries between every repeat because I'm a wimp and like even numbers (I don't have a track available so I just run on the trail and go according to my Garmin, and it's easier to start and end on the even numbers (2.25, 2.75, 3.0, etc)). I know shorter recoveries are more effective but that's ok.

Zach came along on his bicycle to help pace me and encourage me. I know it was probably boring for him but it really helped me. He would say "looking good, keep pushing, up to the bridge there" stuff like that. He's a good coach. :)

So I did 2.0 miles warm up in 19:04 (9:32 pace). Then,

4 x 800 in: 3:31, 3:27, 3:37, 3:24 (3:29 average- 6:58 pace) Yay!

Then I was feeling good so I finished the workout with:

4 x 400 in: 1:39, 1:41, 1:42, 1:36 (1:38 average- 6:32 pace) Double yay!

Then 1 mile cool down in 9:49. Done and done!

Moving on,

Friday 10.15 miles/1:35:07/9:23 average pace

I got up at 5:45 this morning and got right out the door. It was freezing cold- 30's- so I ran in capri length tights, long sleeve shirt, and gloves. My skin was actually bright red after the run from being cold- guess I coulda used an extra layer! Anyway, I took it really slow and listened to This American Life and just zoned out. I have a huge backlog of podcasts since I haven't used my iPod that much lately. The run seemed to take forever but I got through it.

I found a couple new long run routes to try out this weekend, I just have to decide which one. It occurred to me as I was flying in this week that I should run along that shoreline trail that goes along the east side of the bay (Oakland Airport is right there, I could see runners from the plane). It will be fun to explore a new area.

Have a good weekend everyone! And welcome home to Maritza who just returned from a trip to Ireland. I missed her! We are due for a run soon.. maybe next week? She'll have pictures on her blog soon.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Seattle, Washington

Monday 11.0 miles/1:31:33/8:19 average pace
I was staying near the airport, but I drove up into Seattle to run around Green Lake. It was a beautiful day, maybe a little chilly with the wind, but no rain. I couldn't believe how many people were out running, walking, bicycling, and just hanging out at the park! I was dodging people the whole time but it was cool. There were many runners and most everyone was wearing a little green for St. Patrick's Day.
I decided to switch my Monday and Wednesday workouts, so I did my medium-long run instead of speed intervals. It would have been hard to run the intervals on the busy path, plus I prefer to wheeze/heave/cry in the comfort of my own local running path. I measured the first loop around the lake at 2.75 miles, so I figured I would run 4 loops for a total of 11 miles. I had a strong pace from the beginning and the miles just flew by. I didn't have to stop for any drinks, to tie my shoes, anything. I was definitely on "cruise control." I picked it up in the last mile and was sorry the run was over! I took a few pictures with my camera (not cell phone) so I could show you how nice it was there. But first, my splits:
8:33, 8:30, 8:30, 8:29, 8:23, 8:25, 8:28, 8:22, 8:15, 8:13, 7:23

I took this last picture looking East as my flight approached Oakland Int'l Airport yesterday evening- super green hills of the east bay and Mount Diablo in the distance. Home sweet home!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Another 20

Friday 6.0 miles/56:42/9:21 average pace

My first morning run since the time change, so it was back to my pre-dawn route. I took it really easy with my first mile over 10:00 and then a gradual speed up. I was pretty sleepy.

Saturday 20.0 miles/2:58:01/8:54 average pace

Another 20 miler in the books. This one was easier in terms of hills (there were none) and pace. I kept a comfortable pace and felt good until the final few miles when I sped up a little and pushed through to the end. I ran my go-to 20 mile course: Los Gatos Creek Trail from San Jose to just near the Lexington Reservoir in Los Gatos. It's 10 miles out, then turn around and head back. My first 10 took me 1:31:40- an easy 9:10 pace. My return trip took 1:26:21- 8:38 average. The last three miles were 8:11 average pace. Once again I ran without my headphones! That's three long runs in a row- 58 miles of entertaining myself. It's kind of a cool streak- we'll see if I can keep it going. The run was scenic and there were tons of people out, so it wasn't hard. It was pretty cool here in the Bay Area this weekend - 50's with some wind and drizzle. I actually had a few minutes of hail hit me about 5 miles to go. It was crazy! It was wee little hail, but it stung. We have such mild weather here- I don't think I've ever seen hail in the 5 1/2 years I've lived here. Pretty neat. Zach was out on the trail walking while I ran, he actually walked 7 miles! Then we went out to the best breakfast ever- giant cinnamon rolls and huge omelets. Yummers.

I didn't take any cell phone pictures but there's a ton of Los Gatos Creek Trail in a previous post HERE. Wow.. just looked at that post and last time I ran this same course in almost the exact same time- just 5 seconds faster. That's amazing!

I slept like a rock last night, and woke up just in time this morning to see the Dublin St. Patrick's Day 5k Fun Run go by our house. I stood on the porch and cheered for all the runners and they waved and said "good morning!" right back. It was fun. They were doing a great job, but based on my observations I thought I could probably place pretty well in the race... ha ha. Shoulda coulda woulda.

Zach and I went up to the pool this afternoon for a short swim. I was going to try to swim a mile but I was feeling pretty wore out and decided against it. In fact, I would have bagged it entirely but Zach was persistent. He'd been looking forward to his first swim post-surgery and I didn't want to just sit home. I did 1000 yards in 22:40: 250 crawl, 250 backstroke, 250 pull, 250 crawl.

Tonight we drove down to San Jose again with our friends and went to see the Sharks go for their 12th straight win. Unfortunately they lost but it was a great game. Got to see my first-ever live shoot-out. We're leading the division so no complaints.

Anyway, TOTAL miles for the week: 43
PLUS 1000 m swimming (weak!)

I'm going to Seattle for work tomorrow - should be fun. I have a couple runs picked out and will decide when I get there. Here's my schedule for the week, only 5 weeks to Boston. :)

Monday: 8 miles (2 VO2 Intervals... planning on 4x 800)
Tuesday: xt or rest
Wednesday: 11 miles Medium Long
Thursday: xt
Friday: 10 miles GA
Saturday: 17 miles Long
Sunday: xt

TOTAL miles planned: 46

Despite the shorter long run, this will be my biggest week. Yeehaw!

Oh ya! On Saturday we purchased a new toy, a Trainer- the CycleOps Fluid 2. Zach got it all set up today and rode on it for a few minutes. It is pretty cool. I think it will come in really handy for both of us as we ramp up our bike training for Tri season. Once again, going to the bike shop got me really excited to get a bike. They had the WSD Trek Madone (Zach has the Trek Madone 5.0) and it's super snazzy... we'll see though. I think we're going to start shopping after Boston.

I'm off to bed, got to catch an early flight. Happy St. Patty's day!! :)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Get it right

Monday 5.0 miles/44:18/8:52 average pace

Easy run after work, with 8 ish Strides thrown in toward the end. I'm loving DST- It's been rough getting up for work in the mornings, but super nice to be finishing my after-work runs in the light of day! I'm more of an afternoon runner anyway, so this suits me. :)

Wednesday 12.0 miles/1:39:52/8:19 average pace

The schedule said 12 miles with 7 at Tempo Pace. Ugh- I always screw this up, but this time I intended to get it right.

I told myself "I can do this" and created a strategy. You see, I have mentioned that I tend to run Tempo runs all wrong. That is, I run them much faster than I should, and defeat the purpose of the run. Speed intervals have a place in my training program, but not today. Mile repeats are NOT the goal here. The goal is to run at or a smidge slower than your Lactate Threshold Pace for an extended period of time. This should be roughly equal to or slightly faster than Half Marathon Pace. It's an endurance thing, not necessarily a speed thing. I should NOT need recovery breaks, I should be able to hammer the entire 7 miles out non-stop. My Tempo (Lactate Threshold) Pace is like 7:45-7:55 ish (Half Marathon PR Pace is 7:55). That's not that fast. It's a hard pace to hit though... sometimes I think I only have two speeds: cruising along and sprinting like an animal. I needed to find that middle ground.

Well, I did it!! Hooray! Here's the breakdown:

2 miles warm up in 17:50 (8:55 average)

7 miles Tempo in 54:50 (7:50 average)

Yes!! I started off conservatively- first 4 miles were right about 8:00 pace. Then mile 5 was 7:46, mile 6 was 7:29, and mile 7 was 7:27. Happy dance! I listened to some of Zach's favorite techno music which was pretty awful but I admit it helped energize me and keep me going. Not all runs call for Wilco. :)

3 miles cool down in 27:11 (9:04 average) Listening to a very funny Pheddipidations Intervals episode.

I'm actually a little sore today! I haven't really been sore at all this whole time, including after my long runs. Good to know I'm pushing out of my comfort zone a little. I'm a little worried about getting injured but on 4 days a week I think it's pretty unlikely.

Here's the schedule for the rest of the week:

Thursday: xt (maybe, we are going out tonight so it we'll see)
Friday: 6 miles Easy
Saturday: 20 miles Long
Sunday: xt (I think I'll swim a mile again!)

total planned for the week: 43

Monday, March 10, 2008

20 miles in Paradise

Saturday 20.0 miles/2:56:05/8:48 average pace

This is one of my favorite runs and one of the tougher ones also. The Paradise Drive loop around the Tiburon Peninsula is about 8.5 miles with rolling hills (and a couple more serious hills). We parked at Blackie's Pasture and I started my run while Zach went for a 5 mile walk. It was 17 miles back to the start, but I continued on the path back to Main Street where Zach was reading at a cafe. I took these pictures on the final stretch and right after I finished. I had such an awesome run! I was strong on the hills, and I kept it together toward the end when I was tiring. And mentally I was focused the entire time. I ran without headphones since it's not safe on this route, so I had nothing to distract me but my thoughts and the scenery. It's a gorgeous area and very, very popular with cyclists. I was about the only runner on the loop, but I saw tons of cyclists. There is no sidewalk or even much of a shoulder, but luckily there is very little auto traffic. The miles flew by and I was just cruising.

This is what most of the actual loop looks like- the road traces the perimeter of the peninsula, but for the most part the trees obscure the view of the bay (this was one of the short stretches with a shoulder):
This is just past Blackie's Pasture heading toward Main St:

I took this picture right after I finished- Golden Gate Bridge:

Tiburon shoreline near ferry landing/Main St:


And working backwards:
Friday 6.0 miles/57:20/9:33 average pace
Just an easy run before work on Friday.
Sunday (yesterday) I went up to the pool for a swim: 1250 m in about 27:30.
TOTAL miles for the week: 43
PLUS 2250 m swimming
It was a great weekend overall- Zach is glad to be more active (walking a few miles a day!), we had a fun day up in Tiburon, enjoyed the beautiful sunny weather, and dusted off the ol' bbq yesterday and grilled some chicken kabobs. Yum! Oh and the Sharks are on a franchise-record 9 game winning streak... life is good. Thanks for reading!! :)

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Update and Pictures of Spring

Monday 5.0 miles/40:39/8:08 average pace

I ran after work on Monday and ended up running my fastest mile EVER in training. My splits were 8:46, 8:24, 8:52, 7:38, 6:58. !!! 6:58 !!! I have never ran a sub 7:00 mile besides in a 5k race. I was in the zone.

Tuesday after work I went swimming: 1000 m in about 22 minutes. I did 5 laps freestyle, 5 laps backstroke, 5 laps breaststroke, and more 5 laps freestyle. After Sunday's 1 mile swim and this workout, my upper body is a little sore today.

Wednesday 12.0 miles/1:47:06/8:56 average pace

It wasn't too bad. I got up at 5:00 am and ran before work. I was very excited to have Steve Runner's latest Phedippidations on my iPod! I've really missed his show the last couple weeks. I can understand his wanting to cut back a little, but he's not easily replaced (believe me, I've spent hours on iTunes looking. For running, nothing compares.) It was an extra long show which was great.

So check out the cool pictures I took over the last few days- this tree is right off our balcony and has bloomed and looks beautiful. I took these pictures on different days with very different-looking skies. Yay spring!

Also, I think I mentioned that I've picked up crochet as a new timer-killer/hobby since Zach's surgery. Check out the craftiness I finished last night:

Speaking of Zach's surgery: He continues to improve and has returned to work as of today. We went in for a follow-up with the surgeon this morning and she said everything looks normal and healthy. She told him to be his own judge regarding activity. He's been walking (2 miles yesterday!) and will probably stick with that for another week at least. He posted a full surgery report on his blog, if you are interested you should read. It's a lot of detail, but I know that's exactly what we were looking for when he first found out about his condition. Hopefully his summary will be helpful to people who search online for such a thing (he's posted it on Slowtwitch Forum as well and there's several people who have responded already). He will continue to update as his recovery progresses.

Peace out!

Monday, March 03, 2008

18 + 1

Saturday 18.0 miles/2:37:20/8:45 average pace

I ran on the Iron Horse Trail so that I wouldn't be away from home for too many hours, so I wasn't too excited about the route. It's nice enough but I'm getting a little sick of it. I drove up to Danville and started my run there, heading north for 9 miles to Walnut Creek and then returned. Surprisingly, I had a fantastic run!! I was feeling energetic and focused. I kept a very consistent, strong pace the entire run, and did not even listen to my iPod! It pretty much flew by and I never felt too tired until the last couple of miles. I picked up some bagels and returned home.

Zach is improving a lot and can get around the house by himself. Saturday evening my brother and sister in law came over- she had back surgery done a few weeks ago and can definitely relate to Zach. They brought up a ton of movies and some treats, then we made pizza and compared pain. Unfortunately, she wins hands-down, but we're hoping the doctors can get her back issues figured out soon.

Sunday I wasn't even sore from my long run! After breakfast I decided to get up to the pool to make my first attempt at swimming a mile. A MILE! Holy moly. Well, I DID IT! :)

I am 90% sure my pool is a 25 Yard size, so I looked up that a mile is about 1750 yards, or 35 laps. I wore my watch so I could count laps and off I went. Splish, splash, yadda, yadda, yadda, I swam a freaking mile!! It took me 37:41, not bad! I swam very consistent laps of 1:05 and only took two short breaks to adjust my goggles and swim cap. It was really fun- I can't wait to go even longer. I'm such an endurance junkie.

TOTAL miles for last week (week 5 of my 12 week program): 40 Miles
Plus: ONE mile swimming!

Here is my schedule for this week:

Monday: 5 miles Easy
Tuesday: xt
Wednesday: 12 miles Medium Long
Thursday: xt
Friday: 6 miles Easy + Strides
Saturday: 15 miles (12 @ Goal Pace)
Sunday: rest/xt

total scheduled 38

However, I think I will run another 18 or so on Saturday instead of a shorter Goal Pace run. I don't really have a hard goal for Boston anyway, so I'd rather just work on my endurance. I may run a hilly route and I might run a few miles faster than my usual long run pace, but we'll see. I am not married to the schedule this time around, so I'm just going to do what I want. *crosses arms defiantly* So there.