Wednesday, July 9, 2014

St. George Marathon Training - Weeks #7 & 8 and a Race!

So the good thing about having a lot of time to train for marathon is you can build up a pretty good base and work your way up to a 50+ miles per week. The bad thing about having a lot of time to train for a marathon is you get to week 8 and you still have 13 weeks of training and five 20-milers left. Ugh.

But for the most part, the 8 weeks have been relatively uneventful and have gone by quickly. The shitty thing about the rest of this plan is that starting in week 10, the shortest midweek runs are 9-10 miles. This makes it nearly impossible to do at lunch and still be able to get home to feed the baby. So I'll probably be splitting one of the days into a two-a-day scenario (run part at lunch and the rest at night on the treadmill or outside). The other one, well, I am going to be taking PTO so I can run them during the workday while Elise is being watched my parents. 

Yes, this is how serious I am about making the BQ happen. I'm using PTO for training.

SmartCoach: Week 7 & 8

Week 7: 39 miles


8 miles @ 8:51

Lunch run which means that I regularly sweat my ass off and do lots of rolling hill climbing, usually 900-1000 feet. I had to run a smidge into a trail to get to 4 miles, but then I sort of freaked a bit that I would get attacked or something and turned around .15 miles into the bike trail. Then I saw a runner and two coworkers on mountain bikes on my way out! Later when I asked them about the trail, they said it was usually empty. So my instincts were probably accurate and that was the last time I got on that trail.

Thursday: Tempo

7 miles @ 8:19

Tempo on the treadmill at work - fairly uneventful. I no longer bother with the incline because I find that my achilles and calves get cranky when I run at even .5% for longer than a couple minutes. So I usually end up running a bit faster to make up for the fact that the treadmill on 0% is easier than road. And, really, for me speedwork is like extra bonus. I ran my fastest times at all distances when I was just piling on long slow mileage for 50K training.


8 miles @ 8:43

I was blessed with good weather. Humid, but the temps were in the low 70s and it was overcast. And that is clearly reflected in the pace of this run. It actually felt really easy to run 8 miles at that pace - my indicator on if I am pushing to hard is if I am getting close to the point where I need to start breathing through my mouth to maintain pace. This holds true even on hill climbs. If I am getting the the point where I start mouth breathing, then I take it back a notch until my breathing slows down.

Sunday: Long Run

16 miles @ 8:53

My main running squeeze met me down in my hood early (6:45am) and we knocked out 16 miles. In mile 1 a gazelle-like creature floated towards us on the grass in Mission Bay park and we realized it was Meb! Nicole then tweeted him later if that was him and he replied yes! 

Sometimes I really do love my new neighborhood for more than the improved commute.

Week 8: 30-ish miles

Back down week which coincided with a company holiday week wherein we were shutdown and paid anyway. It was awesome. It also meant I was running miles with the stroller. 

Elise is 6.5 months now and I figured she was ready to go in the BOB without the car seat. I bought a u-shaped padded headrest from Target for $11 since the stroller doesn't come with that part and really doesn't need to. I'm not even sure she needs it to get honest, I just figured if fell asleep it might be nice for her to have a place to rest her head.

As it turns out, I think she was ready to be without the car seat for a while. Probably since 4 months. She's been standing upright with very good head control since well before 3 months. I actually don't even remember when. I just know that at her baptism, The Husband was holding her arms and she was standing on the counter blabbing and screeching away at 3 months. And this wasn't anything new.

Running without the carseat attachment is like night and day. So much easier to maneuver. So much lighter. It was a pleasure! The only part that was worse was running into wind. It was like pushing a parachute and I was literally huffing and puffing to finish my five miler on flat ground.


8 miles @ 9:00 pace

Pushed Elise around Mission Bay - temps were great and very little wind!


5 miles @ 9:01

Pushed Elise again around the bay but the second half was into the wind and by the end I was pretty miserable and out of breath! Damn you, Wind!

I cut this run short and ran a day early because I was registered to run Scripps Ranch Old Pros 10K on the 4th and I wanted a rest day and fresher legs.

Friday: 10k Race

Racing has become quite infrequent just because it's a major hassle. If it's not right down the street, I have to take the pump with me, and then pump in the car. Super awkward, more so physically than socially at this point. I've gotten over people seeing me with the cover, pumping away. Or nursing away if baby is with me.

This one was 20 minutes away and big enough that parking is a bit of a pain so I had to leave early. I still got screwed with the parking because effing JROTC dude kicked me out of the spot at Vons (I wonder if they paid him or if it was volunteer work. Anyway.) though there was nothing blocking it when I parked in the first place (and others had too). I just got screwed because I had to pump and was still sitting there when the "rent an officer" showed up. Fun times. Had to find another spot ASAP on the street because the valid spots in the lot were full. I was pissed and vowed not to shop at that specific Vons.


I jogged half mile or so to the start. I used the portajohns and had about 4 minutes to get behind the start line. No corrals so I was weaving like crazy.

This race is the home of my current 10K PR of 45:41 (7:19 pace). Two years back I had a much stronger base and it was also overcast and cooler. 2014's conditions were around 75 degrees with some humidity and sun.

First mile was 7:53. After that, the miles went 7:36,  7:32, 7:40, 7:41, 7:24, and 1:28 to finish (6:50 pace). I was afraid to start pushing the pace to early, but I think I probably waited a bit too long. I didn't really try picking it up until I was into the 6th mile. As you can see, my pace at the end was significatly faster than the rest of the race. I finished 47:16, average pace 7:37

Overall I'm pleased because I am not very far off from my previous PR. Given the conditions, I think I would have run somewhere around 46:00 in 2012 shape. So I'm somewhere around 1 minute and change off. I'll take it.


10 miles @ 9:19 pace

I tacked on 2 miles to make up for the 3 miles I cut out on Wednesday. I ran the pain in the ass hill - the 270 feet of climbing in .75 miles. I hate that hill. It was also hot and humid (like 70%+ humidity which is very uncharacteristic of San Diego). It was one of the most disgusting runs I've ever done from a sweat perspective, and it's reflected in my pace - the slowest long run of the cycle even though it was the shortest.

Other Stuff

I'm going to attempt another race on August 3rd. It's a ridiculously hilly course in Balboa Park with quite a bit of trail running, but it's cheap and it'll be good training. I ran it once in 2011 or 2010 - can't remember which year. I'm not looking forward to the ass kicking but at least I'll get to wear my trail shoes.

Monday, June 30, 2014

St George Marathon Training Week #6 - First 20 Miler

This week marked my first 20 miler of my training plan. We came back from Baltimore the Monday and I was on leave until Wednesday. Though I had to work from home part of Wednesday due to the Breakmilk Spoliage Crisis of 2014.

Week #6 plan:

My sidekick, while I write this today, is working on her pushups:


5.5 @ 8:54 around Mission Bay park, pushing stroller with carseat.

Because I had failed to do 7 miles in the ridiculous Baltimore heat, I added a half mile the to scheduled 5 miles. I would have done more except my back got totally jacked up from all the flying and the driving (600 miles in 5 days) and I was afraid was going to make it worse, so I just did that little bit of extra.

I also hit up Road Runner Sports because my Brooks Ghost 5's were done. I don't even know how many miles I put on them since February but they felt dead. I tried the Ghost 7's which felt great, but I also tried the Ravennas. I used to run in the Ravenna 1 and 2, religiously. The third version they changed it and, in my opinion, it was for the worse. I tried the fourth on at RRS with quick jaunt on the treadmill and they also felt wrong. But I loved the first and second versions so I felt compelled try the fifth. And, I'm not entirely sure what they did, but they feel similar to the first version. I had a hard time deciding between the Ghost 7 and Ravenna 5 but I ended up going with the Ravenna's because they were a hair light (.1 ounce) and I have had great success with them in the past.


7 miles @ average 8:30.
Mile 1: 7:30, Mile 2 and 3: 7:23, Mile 4: 7:19

I was back to work, so I ran my speedwork on the treadmill. I figured it could be stupid try the Ravennas on a 20 miler as the first run, I did the first run/test run with them for this workout.

Shoes were fine, but mile repeats always feel hard to me. I never thought I'd say this but the I'm liking the tempo days better than the mile repeat days. The only kind of speedwork that I don't mind is fartleks. All other forms, for me, are painful. This is especially true for track workouts.


5 miles @ 8:59

I don't remember exactly what was going on but I think I had a pain in the butt day at work and had to run the 5 miles after work. I was able to nurse the baby as soon as I got home and then go down to the bay to tackle the 5. I didn't want to run them on Saturday and then run 20 on Sunday - that rest day in between felt important to me.


First 20 miler of training. In new shoes! The shoes were great. But, boy, did the last 3 miles or so hurt. It was the toughest 20 miles in recent memory (i.e. last 3 years or so). I went up to North County to run with Nicole - we ran from Leucadia to Oceanside and back. We then decided a Slurpee was absolutely required after such an effort. It is really the best post-recovery drink, in my mind. Super cold, icy, sugary drink!

On the Stroller

This weekend, we tried Elise in the BOB without the car seat for a walk and it looks like she is ready for runs without it. I bought a head support thingy from Target for her to rest her head to the side if she decides to pass out during a run, though I'm not even sure it's necessary. I'm going to try it out tomorrow for 8 miles since I am home (company holiday week!).

Saturday, June 21, 2014

St George Marathon Training - Week #4 & 5 Review

I'm telling you, now while I think that lots of folks exaggerate how much time or how much harder your life is with kids, I do have to agree that it's tough finding time just to write up weekly training updates! Maybe if I didn't have a full-time job but even then, I don't know. Then I'd probably have to clean the house while I was home, so there goes the free time.

Anyway, so, this week has been a roller coaster that began with our return back from the East Coast (we had a wedding to attend) wherein I found that someone (either my parents or grandmother) had bumped the finicky chest freezer plug in the garage. I lost 400oz of frozen breast milk, as well as a shit load of food (mahi mahi, chicken, beef, bread, ice cream, etc). The breast milk, though. Man, I ugly cried for 20 minutes. I then had to try to pump anything left over out of my body because I didn't have enough for Elise when I went back to work. It was a fucking disaster. Thankfully, I am a dairy cow and I have caught up and even froze 5 ounces this morning. But I am still heartbroken over the loss - someone could have used it and instead it's sitting in a landfill, spoiled.

With the trip back east, I knew that I wouldn't be able to run the scheduled 18 miles. So I swapped the back down week with the 18 miler. A bit hesitantly, I must say, because it meant I had 4 consecutive hard weeks rather than 3.

Week 5 became Week 4.

I was on leave part of for week 4 (I had 4 weeks left over of paid leave, so I took 2 weeks to hang out with Elise, my Italian grandmother who came to see the baby, and then head back east).

Week 4

Tuesday: 6 miles, 10:30 pace, work neighborhood

Thursday: 7 miles @ 8:25 pace
I decided to run this tempo workout around the bay. I forgot my shuffle which wasn't ideal, and holy shit, is running tempos on the road much harder than on the treadmill. The training plan said 5 @ 8:04. I ended up with: 8:00, 8:02, 8:03, 8:10, 7:54. And then I let myself walk for a minute in the cool down mile. Good God, that hurt.

Saturday: 5 miles, 9:08.
Ran down the giant hill and back up. I miss living where I get a nice downhill finish. Instead I get my ass handed to me for .75 miles of 270 ft of climbing in the last mile.

Sunday: 18 miles @ 9:05
I ran with my old training partner, Nicole, and she made the miles tick by so fast! I missed her! But, boy, is running and talking harder than I remembered. That's gotta make me faster. Anyway, I was hurting a bit at the end (temps had crept up to the mid 70s and the breezes were hard to come by), and required a walk break in the last mile. Nicole hadn't run much since Boston to Big Sur, but considering my pace is slower than hers, she got through the 18, no problemo.

Week 5 - Back down!

In her party dress! $11 on clearance at Target ;-)

Tuesday: 7 miles @ 8:57
I was pretty damn happy with this run because I did the hill and managed under 9 pace.

Wednesday: 7 miles @ 9:01

Mission Bay. Not complaining about living in San Diego
Again with the pain in the ass hill. I squeezed this run in before we left for Baltimore. We were delayed 90 minutes at the airport because of huge thunderstorms and tornado watches out there. We get in the air, and then we are delayed IN THE AIR because of said storms. We did like 30-45 minutes of circles over Indiana. It was weird. And tiring. It was 1am Eastern by the time we got to the hotel and all that was open was McDonald's drive through. So I ate a double hamburger meal at 1am because Southwest doesn't even have food for purchase on flights. Lesson learned on that one.

Friday: 6 miles @ 9:05

I was determined to get as much of the scheduled miles in as possible so I ran at noon, in the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania. Holy humidity. I was the sweatiest mofo when I finished. I demolished the 20 ounces of Nuun I had with me. I also felt like I was dancing with death thanks to no good running routes in the area with shoulders or sidewalks. I was running down a country road with about half of a bike lane of shoulder.

So much for running in the shoulder. I guess you just deal with this if you live out in the country and have to train for a marathon.

Monday: 4.27 @ 9:18
I was supposed to run 7 miles on Sunday, but, seriously, I was lucky I got in the four and a quarter. I walked outside the hotel in Baltimore (Admiral Fell Inn, which is supposedly haunted, but we saw no funky spirits!) at 8am and practically melted right there on the spot. What time do you have to go out and run in Baltimore?!?! It was probably 80 degrees at that point with a shit ton of humidity and sunny. I ran up to Patternson Park, around, and then back where I added more miles running around the harbor. I pretty much finished 20 ounces running just 4 miles. I was muttering at stoplights about how I didn't understand how people trained here and how I didn't want to live in Baltimore (this was after saying, the previous night, that I liked the area and the brownstones townhouses, and that I could in fact live there. Yeah).

Sunday, June 8, 2014

St George Marathon Training - Week #3 Review

I'm always so damn late with these reviews!

Anyway. I got through this week, didn't seem especially easy. Not super hard, but certainly not easy.

SmartCoach's plan:

Tuesday: 6 miles @ 8:54
I had planned to run on the treadmill because I thought it was going to be hot. Then I left my phone convince me it wasn't THAT hot (it said it was 72*. Lies). So I went out on my new work run route - hilly like anything else around that area, 713 ft elevation gain. Turned out to be closer to 80* so it was a smidge miserable but I managed. I sucked down 20oz of Nuun.

Thursday: 7 miles @ 8:25 (2 mi of warm and 5 mile tempo)
Done on the treadmill, nothing interesting to note.

Saturday: 16.01 @ 9:03
I had to run long a day early thank to the Rock 'n Roll Marathon course coming through my neighborhood and usual running route. Around mile 11 in Mission Beach, I ran in Sarah (SkinnyRunner) who I haven't seen in a really long time. We chatted for 5 minutes or so and I told her I'd look for her on the course Sunday.

The last two miles of this long run were fairly brutal. It starts getting hot on the way to De Anza Cove and Crown Pointe Shores, so I was battling. And I was caked in salt at the end of it. I went through 40 ounces of Nuun. And I probably should have still taken salt tabs.

Sunday: Spectated SD RnR!
I live about a half mile from the course so we went down with baby E to check out the race! We thought we missed most of the leads including the women but as it turned out, none of the super fast runners showed up. So we saw the lead females. They just didn't look like your usual elite marathoner at a big city race. The winning time for the women (or even the men for that matter) wasn't all that fast.

Papa and E. spectating the race!

This was the #2 female. I didn't know at the time I took the pic.

Monday (following week): 5 mi @ 8:56
I had to make up for my missed easy run and I did not manage to get it done Sunday, so I squeezed it in Monday on the treadmill at work.

Friday, May 30, 2014

St George Marathon Training Week #2 Review

And just like that, week 2 was done, and now I'm in the middle/end of week 3.

Because I had already been running close to 40 mpw, the first two weeks felt kind of easy, with the exception of the 14 miler. I have not been running long, so whenever I get past 12 miles, I can feel the shallow base I have from taking a 7 month running hiatus.

The same little aches and pains exist that I had before I was pregnant. My left leg/hip continues to be an asshole. It's like all that time off did shit shinola. Clearly, whatever irks my leg is biomechanical.

Also, this week I decided to start taking calcium supplements because the monthly witch has yet to show her face (lactational amenorrhea). Better safe than sorry (really don't want to be sidelined with an sfx).


In case you care to see it, here is my training log


Plan: 7 miles @ 9:30
Actual: 7 miles @ 8:54
I ran around my work neighborhood which is hilly (goes down then up, which is not as fun as up then down). Because I'm nursing, anything more than 4 miles requires carrying hydration. I got through an entire 20 ounce bottle.


Plan: 6 miles, with 3x1mi at 7:32
Actual: Probably something similar to the above. I don't remember all the details because I was on the treadmill messing around with inclines and speeds a bit so I didn't bore myself to death. Total, 6 miles @ 8:26.

Rest (swapped with Sat)

Plan: 6 mi @ 9:30
Actual: 6 @ 9:16
I swapped Friday for Saturday so I didn't have to run at work. Not sure how long I'll be able to do this as the midweek runs get longer.

Plan: 14 @ 9:30
Actual: 14 @ 9:09
Went OK, but, man, am I ever going through water. Sure, it got a little toasty (like 72 at the end) but normally (meaning pre-baby, pre-food truck status) all I need is about 20 ounces of fluid. I drank 40. Luckily my routes have plenty of water fountains but I'm thinking when I get to 18 I might try on the big guns - my Nathan hydration vest that holds 70 ounces.

Total miles: 33.03

Another cool thing to note about the Garmin 220, it has some snazzy technology to determine your cadence! Now, I suspected I had a really high cadence, mostly because my legs are short and the only way I can get faster is if I speed up my turn over. My average cadence has been around 185. I am digging this new feature, and the bluetooth upload to the mobile app.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

St George Marathon Training Week #1 Review

I knew it was possible I'd get picked so, obviously, I didn't think it was that crazy to attempt 26.2 10 months post-baby. Maybe I'm delusional, but as of mid March, when I ran a 1:56 half under hot and hilly conditions, I figured it was possible I could BQ on the St George course. So I tossed my name into the hat.

Plus, I love Zion and we haven't gone to Bryce Canyon yet, so I figured worst case it was going to be a good trip to some very beautiful places.

As soon as I got that email, I did a quick Googling of marathon training plans and decided I'd stick with Runners World SmartCoach. I like the marathon plans it spits out - the half plans I don't like as much, but I'm usually in agreement with what it recommends for 26.2. And it doesn't have fixed weeks like 12 or 18. It's whenever you want to start, which means it's a 21 week training for me.

Also, I despise plans with lots of speed work. I've seen that I make really good progress with just running more miles. One day of speed work per week is plenty for me.

The day I got the email. I had already run 5 miles at lunch which was not on the training plan, so bonus miles. 5 miles easy @ 8:56 pace.

Training plan: 6 miles @ 9:32
Actual: 5 miles @ 9:10.

Since I had run 5 the day before, I cut it down to 5.

Training plan: Rest

Training plan: 7 miles with 5 miles at 8:10 pace.
Actual: 7 @ 8:30

I like to do speed work on the treadmill (lately I do a lot of runs on the 'mill because of time) because of the control over the pace, but I know it's easier to run on it, so I ran the 5 tempo miles at from 0-1%, varying the slope as I ran, and I also kicked up the speed a bit in the last 1.5 miles to 7.4 ending at 7.7. I know, tempo is the same speed, but it felt pretty easy and finishing a bit faster didn't feel that much harder.

Training plan: 6 miles @ 9:32.
Actual: Rest.

Since it was only 6 and it's easier to run on the weekends with the baby, I decided to shift it to Saturday morning.

Training plan: Rest
Actual: 6.27 miles @ 9:06

I ran down and then up the massive hill by my house (it's like 200+ feet gain in less than a mile - it's pretty steep. Not the steepest, though. There's another hill about a mile away that some cars would definitely scrape the front bottom bumper. Part of me wants to try to charge up it and see just how horrific it surely will feel).

Training plan: 12 @ 9:32
Actual: 12 @ 9:08

Decided not to run The Hill again, and started at Mission Bay, ran around Fiesta Island, and then added some more miles, running around Sea World.

Total miles: 35.28

Other things to note, my Garmin Forerunner 110 went mammaries up yesterday, so I had to use Map My Run on my phone for Saturday's run. I picked up the Garmin 220 from Road Runner Sports on Saturday because I have no retail patience, and after quickly researching, it was the best price, anyway, with my VIP discount.

I've only done one run with it, but so far it's pretty sweet. It's much lighter feeling than the 110. It vibrates on the mile splits, it locked on a satellite very fast (less than 30 seconds) and I apparently it can sync via Bluetooth? I don't care that much about the sync'ing though maybe I should try it. I need to do more research on all its nifty, snazzy features.

[In case anyone is wondering about the whole breast feeding thing.. During the week, if it's an hour or less, I run on the treadmill at work, or outside. It's usually about 90 minutes after I last pumped to empty, so it's totally comfortable. On weekends, for a shorter run, I will pump enough that I am comfortable (because normally in the morning, it's like a milk bonanza going on). For longer runs, I try to pump close to empty since I know I'll be gone longer. The Husband has the baby while I'm gone and feeds her if she gets hungry, otherwise, I feed her when I get home.]

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Running Update: Half Marathon #2 Post Baby

It's serious business moving monkeys around.

Also. She has more hair, and two teeth. She's definitely an Advanced Teether - the range to get the first bottom teeth 5-8 months. She's all: "I'm gonna get that shit done at 4.5!"

Anyway, so, running. It's been happening. I've been squeezing runs in at lunch during the work day, ranging from 4-6 miles, with one rest day. The longest I've run is 13.1 miles, 3 times. Two of them were races, St Patrick's Day Half Marathon, and then this past weekend I ran the Girls on the Go Half Marathon at Mission Bay, so, flat as a pancake. Though you have to run around Fiesta Island 1.5 times which is kinda boring. We were just lucky it wasn't a million degrees (like it is today! 96 degrees by the bay - WTF?!).

I was figuring I could go under 1:50 but I also had super shitty sleep during the week thanks to Tooth Number Two cutting through. I haven't looked at my splits, but I was averaging 8:20-8:30 the first 7 or so miles. Around mile 8 I just started picking it up. I remember seeing 8:11, 8:16, the last 4 or 5 miles were 7:50-8:10. I was getting side stitchy feelings that I had to push through towards the end, but I was getting pumped by the fact that I was running a healthy negative split and I picked off 3 people in the second half in a relatively small race. Official time was 1:47:56. 8:14 pace. 

Just under 7 minutes off my PR from January 2013.

Back in April, I decided to throw my name into the St George Marathon hat because I figured if I were going to take advantage of the Third Time's a Charm rule, I'd need to start entering. Well, surprise, surprise, I got picked.

So, in 21 weeks, while likely still breastfeeding, I will be running St George with the purpose of getting a BQ. Should be interesting.