Thursday, November 29, 2012

Race Week To Do List

Race Week #18 (4 days of running)

• Mon: Yoga 30 min + 2.5 mi w/ 6x8-sec hill sprints REST  Massage
• Tues: Pilates 10 min gentle REST
• Wed: 5 w/ 2 @MP REST
• Thurs: 2.5 mi w/ 6x8-sec hill sprints 4 miles EZ
• Fri: REST
• Sat: 2-4 mi @ 11:00 pace
(Total 6-8 miles)

The list below is my to do list for race week. Hopefully this will help me do all the right things to increase my chances of performing my best come race day.
1. Drink more water – I will start hydrating on Monday rather than the day before a race. I'm going to keep my bottle of water handy at work and remember to drink throughout the day. Experts say keep urine light yellow in color. Otherwise if your pee is colorless, then you're drinking too much. 

2. Eat carbohydrate rich foods – Start increasing the amount of carbohydrates at the beginning of the week, but not overheat. I'm going to avoid sweets and fatty food. 

3. Limit my caffeine intake – In the days before the race, I will limit my coffee to one cup a day. No more afternoon and after dinner mugs of coffee. 

4. Get more beauty rest – I will retire an hour early every night in the last week to rest up. I'm typically very restless the night before the race, so this way, I can offset that imbalance. 

5. I may get a foot massage – A foot massage on the Wednesday or Thursday might be due. That will relax me and loosen me up. Time to pamper the feet, because they will be working hard soon. 
6. Focus on pace work and short speed – No big miles this week, just keep the workouts short and sweet. 
7. Take rest days – Rest means rest! Not going to be lifting any heavy boxes at work. (Sorry Tina, I hope you don't have any files shipping in this week.) 

8. Try to relax – Focus on all of the preparations that made me get ready for my race by reading my running log which shows how far I've come in 18 weeks. That usually relaxes me and makes me confident and believe in my training. 

9. Have all of my gear prepared a week before the race – I don’t have to worry about it at the last minute. I put all of my gear in a laundry basket. As I remember them, I throw it in the basket. 

10. Chillax – The bottom-line is to chill and relax both mentally and physically in the week before the race.

11. No rushing allowed on race morning – Get up at 3 am, to allow plenty of time  to wake-up, eat, and get my pre-race bathroom trips (#2) out of the way.

What does your race week comprise of?

Happy running!

CIM Training 2012: Thanksgiving Taper

Week #17 (4 days of running)

• Mon: Yoga 1 hr

• Tues: 6 mi (3x1600@5K effort 50-90% interval rest) w/10x100m strides

• Wed: Pilates 10 min gentle REST

• Thurs: Hunger Race: 8 mi REST (2 mile walk in the evening) 
• Fri: REST 3 mi EZ w/6x hill sprints 
• Sat: 3 mi EZ 5 mi (2x2.5 MP)
• Sun: 5 mi MP 8 mi EZ
(Total 22 miles)

This week is coming at me very fast.  Tuesday was a fast workout. I joined my fella CIM'ers at the track to run some 10 x 100m after some two mile warm up. It took some getting used to, to run a speed workout first thing in the morning when the body is still cold. I ran the 100s faster than normal. As the day wore on, I realized this was the case. I was lucky I didn't injure myself. Especially having done no drills to start off the fast running.  Luckily the next day was a rest day. 

Thursday was The Hunger Run for 8 miles.  I was prepared to run it. I even got dressed for it, but after discussing it with my Mom, it became clear to me that I shouldn't run it. I am much too close to race day, and if I know myself, I would race this and would not be able to hold myself back. Mothers know best!  (Thank you Mom for steering me right!) Case in point last year, I PR'ed on the course and fell consequently flat for the marathon at CIM. I'm not going to make that same mistake two years in a  row. I cheered my friends on and was happy to be on the sidelines helping out my running club, the San Luis Distance Club. We had 412 participants, raised $4,585 and 1,624 pounds of food for the local food bank. Awesome work!  
Friday I got back to work to clear my desk, my computer and wrap up stuff I'm in the middle of. After I come back from the marathon, I will only have two days left before I start my new job. It will be here before I know it. It was a quiet Friday as I anticipated and a perfect day to clean house. The best part is, I got my run out of the way first thing in the morning. I had four easy miles with 3 hill sprints. Had to remember to take it easy. I kept reminding myself, 'Not too hard, it's too close to be injured right now.' The sprints felt great, even though I was holding back my effort felt effortless. Compared the same pace I ran earlier in the training, that felt like a challenge. This is a definite sign that I am ready and peaking at the right time. 

Saturday was also another easy day of running 5.5 miles with 2 miles of tempoish/MP pace run. Well okay, you got me. I planned on doing an easier goal pace run, but went a little faster which ended up as tempo. I slept in and headed out at 9 am. It was sunny and I immediately felt hot. I don't like hot weather running. But it turned out okay since it was a short run.  I should really be more positive and not carry on this kind of negative thinking. It can carry on to the marathon. It's not allowed.

So Sunday, I planned to run with Linda and Myrna. Nothing fast, we just want to get our legs moving for 8 miles. This is it.  The final week is upon us. I still have to figure out what I'm going to wear. Look at me, I sound like I'm going to a party or something! 

Here's to a healthy week ahead! Thanks for reading.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

CIM Traning 2012: Week #16

Whoa! I'm here already? I can hardly believe it. In the beginning of the training cycle as I read through 18 weeks of workouts that I've laid out, I wonderered if I would survive it. And now here I am still standing and without any injuries. I must say that I credit the cross training combination to a healthy training. Yoga, Power and Pilates certainly strengthened my running. 

This week marks the beginning of my 3-week taper period. Mileage is cut back from my high of 40 miles a week to 20-45-65% (weeks 16, 17, and 18).  I am looking forward to the restful 3 weeks.  The gameplan  is to keep runs short while keeping the intensity at the same time.

Week #16 (4 days of running)
• Mon: Yoga 1 hr
• Tues: Power 1 hr + 2 mi (w/ hill sprints)
• Wed: Pilates 10 min + 6 mi (5x600 with 50-90% of interval for rest)
• Thurs: REST
• Fri: REST
• Sat: 8 mi w/6@MP   10 mi MP+30-sec
• Sun: 14 mi EZ
(Total 32 miles)

Week #17 (3 days of running)
• Mon: Yoga 1 hr
• Tues: 6 mi (3x1600@5K effort 50-90% interval rest)
• Wed: Pilates 10 min gentle
• Thurs: Hunger Race: 8 mi (2 mi @ 9:30; 4 mi @8:50; 2 mi @ 8:40-8:45 pace: 1:11 finish)
• Fri: REST
• Sat: 3 mi @ 11:00 pace 3-4 pick ups
• Sun: 5 mi MP
(Total 22 miles)

Race Week #18 (4 days of running)
• Mon: Yoga 30 min + 2.5 mi (hill sprints)
• Tues: Pilates 10 min gentle
• Wed: 5 mi (2 @MP)
• Thurs: 2.5 mi (hill sprints)
• Fri: REST
• Sat: 4 mi @ 11:00 pace 3-4 pick ups
(Total 14 miles)

• Sun: CIM-26.2 mi

Week #16 
Wednesday was all about keeping the intensity at the same time reducing the volume of the workout. With that, I opted to run 5x600s with 90% of the interval for recovery. The group ran 3x1600s with 100m recovery.  This very workout is on  my schedule for next Tuesday. Tonight I needed something much shorter since I was sore from Power. 

The 600s tonight were short and tiring. Because I did my power routine late in the day on Tuesday, instead of the usual 7 am time. Consequently, I had shortened my recovery leading to the Wednesday night speed work.  Hence my quads were a bit sore. It worked out that I was sore otherwise I would have pushed it on the 1600s and I could have hurt myself.  It crossed my mind to swap this week to next week since the group was doing the 1600s. Things have a way of working itself out. 

On  Saturday I originally planned to do pace work. However since it was raining, my muscles took  a long  time to  warm up. In fact,  it was  close to the end before I got in the groove.  I already had the mileage in and didn't want to add anymore.  I ended up running 8 miles at MP +20 seconds after my 2 mile warm up. I couldn't hit my pace so I didn't sweat it. I was not worried since I have next week to work on it some more.

Sunday was pretty much like the day before: rainy.  I ran with fellow CIMer buddies and completed about 14 miles on Turri Road. It was a leisurely pace of 10:45 and we paid attention to the hills and how it compares to the CIM course. I was glad the girls were with me. Last year  around  this time, I was running this mileage at a faster pace two weeks out from race day.  I was glad Linda and Myrna were with me to watch my pace. I have to remember the plan is to stray relaxed. I think we achieved that.  After shivering in the rain, we stopped by Starbucks for some much needed hot coffee.  Brrrr!

The hard work is done. I have a final long run of 8 miles next Thursday on Thanksgiving Day.  Originally I planned to run this sort of a relaxed pace. But since I am cutting out the 10-mile long run for next Sunday, this 8-mile race will take its place instead. Then on Sunday I will run a 5-mile pace run.
I think it's going to work and I'll be tapered and ready to go. Here's to a fabulous Week  #16!
Happy running! 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

CIM Training 2012: Week #15

CIM 2012: Week #15
Monday - Yoga
Tuesday - Power
Wednesday - Pilates / Speedwork (6.56 miles)
Thursday - Rest
Friday - Hills 8x (2.40 miles)
Saturday - Tempo (12.34 miles)
Sunday - Long Run (19.90 miles)
Total Mileage for Week =41.20  miles

The highlight of this week was the Saturday pace run.  I ran a comfortable 12 miler which included 8 miles at 8:45 pace. It was better than my MP.  With this, I was willing to run the next day's long run at an easier pace. 

My favorite part of the training cycle hands down is right after finishing the last 20 miles. Why? Because it signals the taper period. All the hard work is done, the proverbial "the hay is in the barn" rings true. Now I didn't say the taper period is easy. Actually it is hard. Because now I have to make sure that I don't do too much.

I say that because, I tend to fall victim to the taper madness. Since the mileage is cut back way down, there's an over supply of energy. I start reading up on the marathon training and sometimes I get overzealous with what I can add. Not falling for that one this time. I've learned that trying to attain a new level of fitness or squeeze in that last magical workout in the taper period could only lead to a flat performance come race day.

I learned today, which happened to be my last long run, that easy does it. All week I've been pondering about what intensity my final 20 miler should be. I thought about inserting a goal paced run in the last third of the run to simulate the marathon. This would have been good if I were five weeks out from race day where there would be cushion to recover. With three weeks out, it's much too close for comfort. (This idea was further enforced by my fellow CIM running buddy, Linda.) This final long run should signal the taper period, not a last ditch effort to crank out a fast paced finish long run.  There's a place for that in the marathon training puzzle; certainly does not fit in the taper phase. Man, can you say, I almost sabotaged my 4-month training? 

For my last long run, I said I was going to only run 18 miles. I went back on that and ended up with 20. I thought since I was not adding a fast paced-portion to this run, I could just go the distance. If I were adding a pace run it would be a different story.  For the 20 I ran an easy 10:12 pace using the hilly SLO course. 

Here's to the three week taper period! Happy running!

CIM Training 2012: Week #14

CIM 2012: Week #14

Monday - Yoga
Tuesday - Power
Wednesday - Pilates / Speedwork (6.77 miles)
Thursday - Rest
Friday - Hills 5x (6.18 miles)
Saturday - Tempo (9.96 miles)
Sunday - Long Run (16.01 miles)
Total Mileage for Week =38.92 miles

On Wednesday, since it was Halloween, I thought I was going to have to take my kid out for trick or treating. Instead, she decided to go out with our neighbor and her family. That meant I was free to do my workout. I decided to run to LOMS track and do some speedwork in the dark. I ran 4x 800s with just my head lamp on. It takes a lot of getting used to running in the dark. I was trying to run as fast as I could, but at the same time was very careful on where I landed. It seemed pretty easy to twist a foot. So yes, my paces for these 800s (4:01/3:59/4:00/4:04) are a bit slow compared to three weeks ago. However, these paces are pretty consistent than in my previous sets, so this can't be all that bad.

Friday was my last sets of long hill repeats. My paces were pretty consistent  (7:39/7:48/7:54/7:36/7:55/7:55). I was glad that I was able to get to this point without injuries.

Saturday was my Hammer workout. I ran 2mi @MP/1mi @5k/1mi @MP/800 for a total workout of 10 miles including warm up and cool down.  My paces were: 8:41/7:47/8:23/7:53. My 800 should have been the fastest, but I was tired and this was a very challenging workout. I was glad it was over. I will definitely keep this for future training plans I do.  I made sure I ate breakfast for this workout. You can run on a depleted state and expect great times.

What weird weather we're having here locally and across the nation.   I can't help but feel so sad for the people of NYC. I cannot imagine the ruins and the magnitude of what folks have lost.  At the aftermath of the storm, a run/race seems so inconsequential to what others have lost: lives, homes, loved ones. The whole NYC marathon that wasn't, have left a lot of emotions stirring on both sides. I hope that NYRR can find some resolution to this mess. We all knew that no matter what decision was made, there would always be unhappy folks on either side.

Sunday was incredibly hot for a long run. It was also daylight savings time, so I opted to take advantage of the extra hour and slept it. Big mistake. It was already warm when I got out. To make things worse, I ran with no breakfast. There was a little part of me that said be smart and bring some gels "just in case".  That 'just in case' time came at about mile four.  I had 12 to go. I kept thinking that I should just bag the run and try again next week. But I played mind games, telling myself, "just two more miles, then if you still feel bad, call hubby." It went on like that until I was within steps to home. Thank God! It was done and I didn't give up. 

Those bad runs still happens to me. It's not always easy. I'm just glad I came on top and Week #14 is in the books!  Happy Running!

CIM Training 2012: Week #13

CIM 2012: Week #13

Monday - Yoga
Tuesday - Power
Wednesday - Pilates / Speedwork (3.95 miles)
Thursday - Rest
Friday - Rest
Saturday - Tempo ( 8.69 miles)
Sunday - Long Run (17.95 miles including 4 mile race 34:01 at 8:30 pace)
Total Mileage for Week = 30.59 miles

I have been without my Garmin and I am anxiously waiting for the pre-order to begin. Everyday I check the RW website, hoping that red warning sign would turn into blue! So the waiting goes on...For now I have to be satisfied with looking at the picture, turning it sideways, backwards and forwards, zooming it so large I can see the screws on the band. Hah! It's a well made Garmin! I can't wait to get my hands on it.

Speedwork on Wednesday was about 3x 1600s with lap rest. My splits went well with 7:46/7:56/7:50. Surprisingly it went as well as it did, because I got to the track rather late. I was so late that I had no time to even get a lap of warm up. I usually do 2 miles of warm up or 8 laps around the track. I ran my miles without my iPod.

On Thursday I got a bit of good news.  RW emailed me with a response that I could go ahead an pre order the Garmin even though the website said it's not ready yet. They took my information down and was reassured that they would call me as soon as the watch came in. (Not so, as I would find out the next on.)

Friday was a rest day.  I got back on the RW site to do my usual twirling and spinning of this Garmin. I just wanted to see how it looks for the umpteenth time. Obssessed much?  Well, imagine my surprise when the warning about the preorder was removed. My head was spinning so fast, I immediately thought that it could only mean one thing: that the watch must be here. I got on the phone and told them that I would be down there in 5 minutes! I was so  excited!

Saturday was my maiden run with my Garmin 610! I was so impressed with my new watch. I love the color, the feminine appeal of it and best yet all the features. Watch out for my future post on the review.  Back to my run. I ran 2x2 miles which essentially fell into my training tempo pace of 8:18. I love the way it vibrates for every lap. That's just one of the features I was looking forward to try. Sometimes in a race, it is so loud, you can't hear the watch beep especially if you have your iPod turned on. So the vibration helps quite a bit. Anyway, I can't wait to write the review on it. I just need a couple of more weeks to put it to use before I can sit down and give it an honest and thorough review. But let me tell you right now, it had me at "hello".

Sunday was my maiden race with my Forerunner 610.  I had a 4 miler race scheduled after my 12-mile long run. After the race, I ran a 2 mile cool down which rounded out my 18 miles for today.
Pace for the 12 mile run was 10:02. The pace for the race was 8:38 and the cool down was 10:13. Overall my pace was 9:44.

Week 13 was done! I was happy that the watch came early and that I was able to use it on a race. I love my gadgets, can't you tell?

Happy running! I am!

CIM Training 2012: Week #12

CIM 2012: Week #12. (Trying to catch you up on my training. This was from the week of  10/15)

Monday - Yoga
Tuesday - Power
Wednesday - Pilates / Speedwork (5.13 miles)
Thursday - Rest
Friday - Pace (8.56 miles) in the dark
Saturday - Rest
Sunday - Long Run (20.01 miles)
Total Mileage for Week = 33.70 miles

OnWednesday because of the heat, Coach Nancy modified our Yasso workout by doing 3 x (400-200 recov-800-200 recov) instead.  It turned out well because it gave me more chance to rest and not push it so fast since City to the Sea 1/2 Marathon.  Tonight was the first night also for me to be without my Garmin for a while, until the new one arrives. I had an old Timex Iron man watch that had 30 laps. I ended up just replacing the battery and I had to go the old school way.  No pace, just time. It was easy on the track since it is measured. It will be a problem when I run on the roads. I'll have to figure out the distance, the old way I used to do it: drive the route and use my odometer. It should work.   

On Thursday I took a rest day.  Even with the modified speedwork plan, I felt my body could use this day to recover.

Friday was a glorious day.  A lovely running buddy of mine let me borrow her Garmin 405CX until I get my new watch. There is a God. I love you Myrna! Thank you! Incidentally she is training for her 3rd Marathon which is also CIM.  She's poised to earn her BQ at CIM.

I had a pace run scheduled this weekend and I was a little worried about how I was going to be able to hit my paces without the Garmin. Since Myrna allowed me to use hers, I was so excited that I decided to move the pace run to Friday and rest Saturday instead. After work I hurried home as the light was getting shorter nowadays.  I decided to use my Turri course again since I was happy with my previous results. This weather has been erratic this past few days.  Tonight was very cold and windy--not complaining. This is my ideal kind of weather. 

Half a mile into my warm-up, I was chased by 8 turkeys.  Out of nowhere they chased me with their gobbling noises.  I tried to out run them but they were relentless. It dawned on me that if i continued running, I could possibly outpace them but I still had to pass this way again to go home. If I didn't turn around soon I would be on tired legs. If they were still here, possibly I wouldn't be able to outrun them on fatigued legs. So I sucked it up and yelled to startle them so that I could make my getaway. The leader kept chasing me.  Only when I feigned kicking him did he back off, while yelling at him to go home. Then I thought, "Do turkeys even have ears?" 

After this scary episode, I decided, the rush hour LOVR would have to do--I was running out of light but I persevered.   I was wishing I had my headlamp with me, but then again the  only one I had is busted. so I really need to get a new one soon.  This run made me realize that I need one badly for safety reasons.  It was hard to run fast in the dark. I was relying on the headlights of oncoming cars to light my path. 

My run was cut short by 1/2 mile, due to the darkness.  I wanted to do 9 miles of pace, but I ended up with 8.56 miles at 8:54 pace. It was windy on the way back and I was fighting to keep my form.  My eyeglasses were fogging up and I had to do frequent stops to wipe it dry because I couldn't see. Yes, there were a host of issues that should have kept me from running but this is the kind of effort I live for. I'll say this was a successful effort.  

Considering I had such a good run on Friday night, Saturday was a rest day. I took this day to make sure I was recovered from my 1/2 marathon race 6 days ago.  Afterall, Sunday is going to be a big day.  My first 20 miler of the training cycle.

I met my fellow CIM runnng buddies, Myrna, Linda and Dave for the Sunday long run. We decided to run the San Luis Obispo Marathon course.  It has some hills that would be good practice for CIM.  We started out close to 6:45am. It was still dark. I had somewhat of a restless night, as we experienced a little earthquake in the middle of the night. Nothing big, but enough to rattle my cages. I woke up at 4:30 and had my usual breakfast of oatmeal with banana with raisin and coffee. I took my 20 oz of water and 2 water flasks of 8 oz each.  So about 36 oz of water, which turned out to be not enough.  Note for next time, bring more.

I was intending to do 18 miles as my longest mileage for this training cycle.  However, I wavered and gave into adding 2 more to make 20 since I was running with others. Upon finishing, I was reminded of why I wanted to run just 18. It seems adding two last miles should be easy. What's 2 more miles, right? The body starts to fatigue after 3 hours of running. I've read that the risk for injury becomes exponential after the 3rd hour and that running beyond the 3rd hour offers little benefit--the law of diminishing returns comes into play. Also, the fatigue you feel after the run can linger on for 2 days,so you are forced to recover and sacrifice quality runs for the rest of the week. With 18, you can bounce back by Tuesday and go for speed workouts by Wednesday.  So for the next 2 long runs, I will stick to my 18 that I have originally planned. I don't regret doing the 20. In fact, I'm glad I did. It was a good reminder why I wont want to do it for next time.  I have 6 weeks left so there's plenty of recovery time.
Can you see him?

Don't move buddy, I'm just going to take your picture...

Okay, is it a llama or what?

In the end, I completed 20 miles at 9:36 pace with 18 miles at 9:31 pace.  Not a shabby effort. I like the fact that we started at 11:00 pace for the first mile and gradually picked it up until we were averaging 9:44 pace by the halfway mark.  Closer to the end, I whittled the pace down some more with a  negative split long run.

It was a great week of training.  Happy Running!

CIM Training 2012: Week #11

CIM 2012: Week #11
Monday - Yoga
Tuesday - Power
Wednesday - Pilates / Speedwork (5.5miles)
Thursday - Rest
Friday - Rest  (Good bye Garmin 405)
Saturday - Yoga 90 mins (1.5 miles)
Sunday - City to the Sea 1/2 ( 13.1 miles)
Total Mileage for Week =  20miles

Anne and I at the start of City to the Sea 1/2 Marathon

Oh my! It has been a while since I posted my training results. Life has been busy and full of surprises which I won't bore you with, but let me catch you up on the five weeks of training that has gone by.

Monday was my Yoga day. My right shoulder was bothering me in the previous week. I know it must have been due to my poor form of "up-dog".  I'll have to remember to drop my knees instead of straight up planking prior to getting into the up dog position. That should relieve the pressure from my shoulders. That seemed to help.

Tuesday was another day of cross training where I did Power. However, my right shoulder was still mad so I lightened up the load on the weights a little. I managed to complete the full hour.  

Wednesday was Pilates.  My shoulder was starting to feel better. I am trying to be careful with some of the moves. I found this great Pilates instructor on You Tube and she posts her routine regularly. It's great because you can pick and choose how much you want to do or how so inclined you would be to work hard. She focuses on different muscles, not just the core.  The variety keeps me motivated to follow her moves. Check it out: enter Pop Pilates on the You Tube search channel. (I would have linked it here but my iPad won't allow me.) This may not be for everyone. At times, she's a little too chirpy for me, but you just have to get past that and you'll get an awesome workout. Heck, even with one of her 10minute routine, I felt it the next day!

Wednesday night at the track was uneventful. I ran pyramid of 800/1200/800. There was supposed to be another 1200 in there, but I knocked it to one since I had a 1/2 marathon coming up towards the end of the week and I didn't want to push it.  Instead I added some 4x  20 sec strides in the end of my workout.

Thursday was a rest day. Oh yes! Thank you!

Friday was the day I decided to let my Garmin 405 go. I've had my eyes on the 610 ever since the touchscreen model  came out in 2011. And since I have all kinds of gift cards for my birthday, all I would really need is to sell my current watch to shore up my shortfall with my gifcards.  Luckily, my fellow CIM'er, Linda was in the market for a Garmin. She was interested and therefore we made the exchange. It was a win-win!   The only caveat was, I won't be able to have my new one until I can pre-order it which may be end of October.  Then  there would be another week of waiting for it to be shipped. I only hoped it would arrive before CIM!

Well, let me back up a bit. Just before I were to pull the trigger on the Garmin Forerunner 610, I ran into a picture of a white version of the watch. There was no description whatsoever, I thought " hmm, that's odd, could this be an old picture?  Where's the black one?"

So I waited one day! The next day, Garmin announced the multi color version, marketed especially for women.  It's about time Garmin! I was saved by the bell! I was so glad I waited. I had no idea. Again,  the only caveat was,  it was only available by pre-order through Garmin. All my gift cards  were from the Running  Warehouse, so I had to wait until the RW could order them. In the meantime, I hunted down my old Timex Ironman watch and replaced the battery.  It was a big change. I cant calculate my paces while on the run, I had to wait until I got home to figure it out. Oh how I missed my Garmin! 

Saturday was 90 minutes of Yoga. I decided not to run since the race was  tomorrow. I could benefit more  from stretching than a run.

Sunday race day!  This was the only 1/2 marathon I have planned for the year. It was crucial to my training plan as this would indicate my fitness level at this juncture. The only things was, I had to borrow a watch with a GPS so that I can monitor my pace. Thankfully Jenifer at work,  had the same model Garmin as the one I sold. I was able to arrange the fields as I had on  my previous one.  

Onto the race. The race started in downtown San Luis Obispo and wound its way to Pismo Beach any the Dinosaur Caves.  Even though we had an early start of 7am, it soon got  hot as we got only  into the 3rd mile. I kept a good pace until mile 8 when my overall pace was 8:39.  I can't explain it other than the heat got to me. I slowed down dramatically because between mile 8-13, my pace increased to 9:27! Cramps  came on mile 10 and 11. They were a different kind of cramps from before. These were sharp shooting pains in my calves. someone told me I may be in need of electrolytes. Salt was not  enough. In the end, I was happy with my finish of 
1:58:26.  One of the changes that I was happy about was that I forgot to put my iPod on. I ran without music the entire time. I was surprised. That I didn't even miss it. 

Well there goes my week of training. Overall it went well but I still have a ways to go. My half marathon finish  reminded me that I need to pay attention to my electrolyte consumption. I can't have cramps foiling my plans at CIM.  This race offered a good lesson to remember.  Until next time, happy running! 

The first and only downhill I remember...

The heat taking its toll; me panting near the finish line.
My hard earned medal.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Good-Bye My Garmin 405

Good-bye my dear friend. You and I had our ups and downs.  We've had our share of laughter and tears, through triumphs and disappointments.  We traveled to NYC together and twice you accompanied me to two PRs.  I cannot forget that.  Sometimes you came up short, but I still relied on you. There had been times at the track when you blinked out, like you ran out of juice or something. I ran my fastest splits only to find out, you weren't even recording it.  But I forgave you for that--It was probably my fault not yours. I took a risk in hoping you had one power for one more night; let's face it you can't go on ticking forever. But each time I gave you rest, you recharge like new. I will always be grateful for our times together.  I can't stay with you forever. I have to move on, if I am going to progress. I have to make room for someone new. But I am not abandoning you just like that. Linda promised to take good care of you. However, you also have to take good care of her. She wants you. So I bid you good-bye. I will see you from time to time.   

Good-Bye my dear friend, you're going to a good home. Linda will take care of you. I promise.

Boxed up like new again...

Oh hello there...What's your number? 610?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

CIM 2012: Week #10

Monday - Yoga 
Tuesday - Power
Wednesday - Pilates / Speedwork (7.05 miles)
Thursday - Rest
Friday - Hills 5x (5.84 miles)
Saturday - Tempo (11.91 miles)
Sunday - Long Run (14.74 miles)
Total Mileage for Week = 39.54 miles

Week #10 marks the beginning of the second half of my training. I can feel this is going to go by so quickly and before I know it, race day will be upon me. The first half of my training went well. I can feel that the incorporation of the yoga, pilates and the power classes boosted my overall strength.  With the gym closing in the last week of September, that was the wrench that put a crinkle in my plans.  However, I'm not going to dwell on it. I have moved on and adapted to the change. It's just one of those things life throws at us. It's up to us to go with it and find the positive in it. We can't let something like that ruin the plan, right?  As runners we have to be tough and keep on going.

Monday -Yoga
Somehow, I tweaked my neck/shoulder region by doing the 'up-dog' from my yoga video. It hurts to raise my arms above my head to do down-dog, overhead presses or do triceps dips.  I have to be careful with Yoga now. I didn't realize that as gentle as it is, I can still hurt myself. So, I will probably take a week break from doing the x-training next week to let this heal a bit.

Wednesday - 6x Yassos (3:33/3:37/3:38/3:41/3:44/3:42)
Coach Nancy announced that every other Wednesday from here to December will be devoted to Yasso 800s.  This will help tremendously for those doing marathons this fall, especially me. I love Yassos. This is the kind of workout that may predict my marathon time. The goal is to be able to run ten 800s, each in a minute-and-second time that matches your expected hour-and-minute marathon time. So, if you want to run a marathon in 4 hours and 15 minutes, you start with four or five 800-meter repeats and gradually work up to 10, running each in 4 minutes and 15 seconds.
The recovery time has to also match the goal minutes and seconds as in 4:15.
This is our first Yasso workout for this training and it went above and beyond my expectations.  Before we got started, I had it drilled in my head that I would be happy with a 3:48 and ecstatic with a 3:45 if I can even achieve it. Well, to my surprise, slowest one was the 2nd to the last one (never fails, it always is that third lap) with a 3:44.   I felt comfortable with each one of them. Of course it would have been even sweeter if I had the repeats reversed: where the slowest ones were in the front and the fastest laps at the end. That's what I'll strive for next time.

Friday - Hill Repeats 5x (7:35/8:06/7:49/7:35/7:59)
I took a full day of rest on Thursday to prepare for Friday night's 5x hill repeats. This was to be my second to the last hill repeat before CIM. I went used my trusted Bay Oaks Hill and it was another great effort night. I started with 2 mile warm up and performed my stretches along with lunge matrix stretching I learned from Coach Jay Johnson. After this, I ran my repeats and cooled down with a 2 mile run home.  I did a silly little experiment on the side here. As you can tell from second repeat, my pace was off.  That was due to the fact that instead of walking down the hill for the recovery, I jogged down slashing the recovery time to half.  I was not ready to go for the next repeat but I ran it anyway. The results were telling. For this kind of workout, a full recovery is a must. I knew that, but I just wanted to see how much it would affect my performance. So the next few repeats, I rested and recovered until I was ready. Now I know.

Saturday Pace (8:51)
I was a little worried that my legs would be too tired for a pace run effort today.  I only had 7 miles to run at pace plus 5 miles of warm up and cool down. It turned out all right. I was right on pace and everything went as planned.

Sunday Trail Run - (Long Slow Distance 11:54 pace)
I ran with two friends who are also signed up for the Cal Int'l Marathon in December. This was also their recovery week, so we decided to run together along the Bluffs trail and Point Buchon in Montana De Oro State Park. It was a beautiful and clear day.  The Pacific Ocean had its beautiful hues of blue green and all shades of blue in between. Our run was truly a recovery run.  I expected my legs to be particularly fatigue from yesterday's pace effort but I was okay. I would have been in trouble if we pushed the pace, thankfully, we adhered to our goal today. Another good week: until next time, happy running.

My friends Myrna & Linda

Me with my tall friend Linda

Me with my other tall friend Myrna...
Didn't know there were goats up at Point Buchon.

...Hello friends...

Monday, October 8, 2012

CIM 2012: Week 9

Monday – Yoga
Tuesday – Power
Wednesday – Pilates, Speed work 7.19 miles
Thursday – Rest
Friday – 4.42 miles (hill repeats+pace+tempo)
Saturday – 2 miles strides
Sunday – Heritage Oaks Fun Run 10K  – 7.34 miles
Total Miles – 20 Miles drop back week

Sunday's Heritage Oak's Bank Family Fun Run
This was a huge week in terms of my dropping back a few miles in an effort to do my best with the upcoming 10K. The race will serve to be my time trial for the 2nd half of my marathon training. I always read about applying my "10k pace" for such and such workout. Well it's good to know exactly what that is. Up until now, I've been using a rough pace – a recent 10K race, which was hilly, and the course not accurately measured. This weekend's 10k race fit perfectly well into my schedule. It was in the middle of the 18 weeks, which meant it gave me a chance to work on some speed development prior to race day.  This course was accurately measured (it was once used as the USA T&F championship course) so I feel good about using this as my benchmark for the next 9 weeks of training where I can base all my future training paces. So now I am confident that my 10K pace is 8:25.

I felt good coming into this race. I was rested and my legs were surprisingly not fatigue from the training, even with the abbreviated hill repeats two days prior to race day. I did some strides the day before with my daughter on the track. She was so concerned that her race was just half a mile and thought that she didn't need to warm up.  I showed her the importance of a proper warm up. We ran around the track twice, after much belly-aching. After she eased into the middle of her first stride, I prompted her when she could let the dogs out. "You mean like this?" She took off like a bullet. I was impressed! She didn't fully realized that what little warm up she did primed her body to run even faster. I know she didn't want to admit it, but I think that warm up made an impression on her.

My plan for Sunday's race was to hold back at least for the first mile. I hung back until the first hill rolled around, then went for my pace and held it strong. This was the first 10K where I was not gasping for air and gone into oxygen debt in the first mile. I rounded the corner for the second loop and I was still reeling people slowly – mainly those who ran too fast in the first go around – by the way, that was me last year. However, the last three people I was able to catch, caught back up to me and they would not relent. I was in a happy "pace" and I didn't want to go into the "uncomfortable" place until I needed to.  It was easy to give into that slower pace.  Near the last turn, I noticed the last lady who tried to overtake me looked like she was fading. Her partner left her and took off.  She was hanging her head too far back which gave me an indication that I can take her at the last turn.  I picked it up but she turned and saw me gaining up on her. She reacted with a second gear. I tried to match her stride.  At the mat, I thought she beat me. However, it was chip timed, so I got her by 3 seconds. That was fun. Anytime, I can sprint for the last quarter of a mile or so (my Garmin read 7:32 min/pace for 0.20), is a great racing day!  I can't tell you the number of ugly finishes I've had looking like death at the end.  This one is for the books.  I only shaved 16 seconds from last year, but the way I ran this race is the way I want to race from here on out: finish strong. By the way, my daughter finished her half mile race strongly too.

Doing my warm up drill...

Pictures taken by Elena
Photo by Elena Cota...between mile 1 and 2

On to the 2nd loop...

Final turn to the finish...sensing the lady's tiredness, I try to pass one last time...
darn, she hears my footsteps...and she widens her gait...

...I tried to match her stride for the end, I nipped her by 3 seconds...great photos taken by my 12YO!

Photo courtesy of Brian Lawler: Elena waiting for her 1/2 mile race along with eager kids under 12 years old...

Photo by Brian Lawler: Elena's 3:46 half mile finish. Looking Strong!

Week #9 is done and another successful training week gone by. Until next time, happy running!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

CIM 2012: Week 8

(Sorry folks, I'm still catching up...this is a week late.)

Monday – A.M.Yoga
Tuesday – Power
Wednesday – Pilates, speed work  (6 miles)
Thursday – REST
Friday – Cardio + hill sprints (2 miles)
Saturday – Alternating tempo 9 miles + (3 mi) walk
Sunday – Long run – 18 miles @ 9:18 pace
Total Miles Week 8 – 38 Miles

Coach Nancy said that we're going to move more into longer intervals. Last week was the last week of short repeats.  I am excited and at the same time, I feel "rusty" about anything longer than 800m. I have to gain a bit more confidence in maintaining that speed for longer intervals.

The workout assigned tonight was: 1600/1200/800/600/400. (4-3-2-1 1/2, 1 laps) with 400m lap recovery.

On the 1600m, for some reason, (and I do this all the time), I miscounted the laps. I was trying to avoid looking at my Garmin as much as possible and go by effort. I thought I was wrapping up the last lap, but when I saw the people ahead of me and, not stopping where they should be–that was my first clue. I finally glanced at my watch and the distance read, "0.77". Son of  #$#@%7!!!  I've gotten into the habit of sprinting the last 200 meters of whatever repeat I'm in. It was no different tonight. What I thought was my last 200 meters, I pressed on the gas. Reality sunk in when I still have to go around 1 more lap and maintain that speed.  For a split moment, I had a 10 second tantrum. Screw this!!! I'm only going to do 3 laps, that's good enough! I started walking and was disgusted at myself for ruining a what could have been my fastest mile. At 0.77, I was on 7:20 pace! I kissed my fast mile goodbye.  But after catching my breath for 10 seconds, now my watch is showing 8:49 min/mile pace (because of the walk break), I gathered myself up and started running again. By this time the people I was hoping to be right behind of, were now half a lap away. I managed to pick up the pace a bit more and I was surprised that I was not as far back as I thought I would be because of the mistake I made. In the end, my pace for the mile was 7:40. It wasn't all that bad.

What I learned from this is: when things go awry, it's not as bad as I think. When unexpected things go wrong, next time, I wont think of the worse. It's best to move forward and not dwell on the previous lap.  I should keep going because it is still salvageable!  The other thing I learned, pay attention to the mile I'm in. I didn't have any music on and I still screwed up.  

With the exception of the 1600m, the rest of the workout went well.  Three positive things came out of the workout tonight. I'm getting consistent with longer warm-ups and getting the body gradually primed for  the speedier workouts. I dedicated about 50 lunges before the actual workouts to fire my leg muscles to move. Lastly, I only walked 50m on the intervals then jogged for the rest of the way.  This is progress: the shorter the "off" interval is, the less colder and stiffer the body gets for the next "on" interval.

Friday was a sad, sad day. I was in mourning for my gym announced that they are closing their doors next Wednesday. I can't even begin to tell you how much this affects my schedule for the whole training cycle.  As you may know, I have cut down my running tremendously to capitalize on yoga, power and Pilates and the cardio machines in an effort to become a much more well-rounded runner.  In the past three months that I have diligently gone to cross training workouts, I can tell you that it has made huge impact in my performance. My overall flexibility has increased, my core is a lot stronger, and my legs can generate more power than I can ever hope for. Now with the gym gone, I have to figure out a way to continue doing my cross training. I've come too far to give up something good. Anyhow enough of my soapbox. Today's schedule called for 25 minutes of cardio then off to my hill sprints.  I performed 7 repeats and I was off to yoga to catch the end of the stretching routine.

Saturday was a great day for Tempo. I wanted to be on the dirt track today so that I can really hone in on the paces I assigned myself. Trouble is I had to get there relatively early so that I wouldn't be in the way of the soccer games.  I was kind of wistful when I got there. This day was picture day and I saw kids getting ready for their pictures and games. My 12YO didn't want to do soccer this year anymore. It's too bad because she's got her daddy's quickness and if I say so myself, she is an excellent forward who could use both her left and right foot when necessary.  Oh well, on to newer interests.  I hope she finds running in Jr. High exciting.

So I got to the track just as the hustle and bustle were about to begin.  I got plenty of warm-up as the track sits about 2.25 miles from my house. I got there and got right down to business. 4 miles of  9:10 pace alternated 8:20 paces. Once I was done, I jogged backed home with 2.25 miles.  Odd thing is, I dread this one hill going back. I don't know why, but it always is on my mind every time I pass it, there goes that tough hill again! It's not steep, but it is enough to give the quads the lactic acid burn. This time, I stayed relaxed and reassured my paranoid self that it's just a cool down, there's no pacing involved. So off I went.  To my surprise, I was running the hill about 5 seconds slower than my goal pace. As I neared my house, I realized that my pace was not my typical cool-down pace. The hill didn't take no more than 5 seconds. The entire work-out turned out to be a pace run for 9 miles. This was a good day at the office. Now my only worry was the workout tomorrow. Hopefully the legs won't be too fatigue to do the biggest workout ever yet.   I keep vacillating back and forth whether I should keep it less intense for the 10K race next week or keep it hard. In the end, my head said the big picture is the marathon, not the 10K, so everything should be geared towards the marathon.

First thing I checked upon waking up on Sunday was my resting heart rate which will give me an indication if was too fatigue. The kind of workout I was going to do hinged upon my HR this morning. If it was 5 beats too high, I would do a long run with a pace run inserted in the end. If it was just a couple beats faster than my normal HR, then the harder workout awaited me.  My HR was 57, only two beats higher! It's was a green light for my progression long run.  
Cloudy and misty for my Sunday long run...perfect.

56 degrees  with 98% to 100% relative humidity

Did a quick 4 miler jaunt to Baywood while my ipod recharged...

...went back home to pick it up, but didn't need to use it after my warm up. 

The finish winds up here for the Baywood Oktoberfest and June Fest 4 miler.

Quite a tranquil scene.

On Turri Road: What Mr. Turkey vulture? You gonna let me take your picture?

Or not. He flew away. Within yards, a sad, sad scene of a dog, that was the object of Mr. Turkey Vulture's desire...

I've been dabbing at trying out different paces for my long runs. In the past few weeks, I've used the 3-1 method and the fast finish long runs.  Today was no different. I had a good warm up of 4 miles then I slowly and gradually picked up my pace. Once I reached the 10th mile, I picked it up some more until to my pleasant surprise, I was down to 8:33 pace (for 8 miles).  I was drenched in sweat by the time I finished.  It was no wonder because posted the relative humidity was 100% by 9:30am. I was not sure at first how this would affect my run, how it might slow me down. It didn't seem to bother me this time.

Week 8 has been a very good confidence builder kind of week with the tempo run that turned into a pace run on Saturday behind the wonderful progressive 18-miler on Sunday. It was a back to back hard days and (I'm knocking on wood): no injuries so far.
I'm off to face week 9 which will place me in the halfway point of my training plan.  I've got a time trial scheduled on Sunday which is the Heritage Oaks Family Fun Run 10K race. Daughter is interested in doing the 1/2 mile race so we'll nourish that interest.  Until then, happy running!