Sunday, January 29, 2012

Napa Valley Marathon Training Week #6

Week #6 Schedule
Monday Rest Power
Tuesday 6 5.93 miles
Wednesday 7xhill 6xhill
Thursday 5 5.93 miles
Friday Rest
Saturday 10 pace
Sunday 20 miles

Week's Mileage: 48 miles
% Change from Previous Week: 61%

Week #6 shaped up to be one of the turning points of my training for Napa. I had a great week, I can feel something good is happening. My speed is coming along and my lactate threshold is increasing. Most importantly, the point where I can push that uncomfortable feeling aside for just a few seconds more has definitely increased. I hope I can keep this momentum going.

Monday was Power, my cross-training, and I know it is definitely helping my running.

Tuesday was an early morning run through Baywood and various Los Osos neighborhood for 5.93 miles at 54:40 at 09:03 pace with the Running Divas. I was able to stay with them longer this time.  I didn't fade until past mile 4! This is progress indeed.

Wednesday evening was reserved for my 6xhill repeats.
I was supposed to do 7 repeats but, the cars' headlights got to me near the end, as it got darker.  It was even more blinding since I was trying to get uphill and cars were coming from the opposite direction.  My average pace for each of the repeats was 8:05/min/mile.  This was a 10 seconds of improvement per repeat over Week #16 when I trained for the NYC marathon.  After the 6th repeat, I thought my legs were shot.  I felt them get heavy and I knew that the run home would be slow.  Funny thing happened.  As the lactic acid flushed out, I regained some kind of speed.  I was surprised to hit an 8:35 pace for my "supposed" cool down.

Overall: 1:04:27 / 5.93 mi / 10:53 pace
Time: 1:39/1:35/1:36/1:38/1:40/1:39
Pace: 7:50/7:55/8:00/8:10/8:20/8:15 (average hill pace 8:05)
4:20 recovery walks; downhill 21:40 pace
W/U: 1.97 mi @ 9:08 pace
C/D: 1.75 mi @ 8:35 pace

I had another surprised performance on Thursday when I ran Cal Poly . I ran with my buddies, Liz and Ingrid at lunchtime. I was not expecting to run a tempo pace today, but a recovery run.  However, the legs felt great even after the hill repeats from the night before.  I took advantage of that to see how far I could push the pace.  We went up Cal Poly through the campus in 27:36 for 3.00 mi @ 9:12 pace. Then we turned around back to the gym in  22:29 for 2.72 mi @ 8:16 pace.  Our cool-down was only two minutes for 0.21 mile @ 9:24 pace. The overall distance for this lunchtime run was 5.93 miles in 52:05 at 08:46 pace.   

Friday was my scheduled rest day.  I anticipated some soreness for having run three straight days of quality workouts. The legs felt great. This was a definite sign that my body is adapting to the training. I feel like I could run today if I wanted, but I had to be smart and remember that I do have a tough 10 mile pace run the next and a 20 miler on Sunday.

For the pace run on Saturday I  ran LOVR for 10.01 miles.  I was worried somewhat because I haven't hit my pace runs yet this training cycle.  It seems that every workout this week has been lining up nicely. So today's effort in 1:31 and at 09:07 pace was no different.  I even completed it with a negative split: the first five miles was at 9:25 pace and the next five was 8:51 pace.  I did some poor planning though.  I thought I wouldn't need a gel since this was just a 10 miler. However, at mile 6, I felt the effects of almost bonking. I also didn't bring enough hydration and underestimated the heat. I only had 2 water flasks that holds 8 ounces of Gu Brew. It was only 56 degrees, but it felt a little too warm. At any rate, I could not complain with my effort of 9:08 pace.

Must have coffee!
Oh Sunday, bloody Sunday! I knew I would be out for at least 3 hours and I anticipated the heat might get to me. So I made sure I was up by 6:15 and be out the door by 7:30ish.  Before I could get the coffee started, at 6:30, there was a power outage.  No toast, no oatmeal, no coffee! Yikes, a recipe for bonking! I was so desperate for coffee that even if there was old coffee from the pot last night, I would have drank it cold. I was that crazed!

Do you feel me? This was how crazed I was.
I ate a banana and some Juice Plus Mix that my friend Irma sent me to try.   I had a PB on a heal of a bread, packed 4 Gus and I was good to go. I prayed that the 65% charge on my Garmin will be enough for the distance today.

It was a gorgeous morning in the mid 40's at the start of my run the climbed to  upper 50's degrees by the end.  I started at a conservative pace knowing that I have a long way to go. I started in the 10's and by mile 4, I noticed my pacing dropped to 9:55.  I had a few climbs up and down Turri and my pacing yo-yoed between 9:55s to 10:04s.  The climbs were beginning to get comfortable.  I used to have to take a deep breath at the bottom of the hill as the ascent began.  Today I was not even paying no mind to the grade.  At one point I even thought, "Wow,  I crested already." The middle became a blurr.  I am so grateful to whatever minuscule progress I am making.

After one loop of Turri Road and at mile 13, my ipod lost its charge completely.  I thought okay, I can do 7 more miles in silence. I wasn't really listening to it anyway. Then at mile 14, my Garmin alert came on and said, "low battery".  Son of a b-t-h! What else is going to go wrong today? I haven't had coffee yet either! Instead of taking a second loop back to Turri, my imagination got the best of me. I thought of all the things that could go wrong while so far away from the house, that was when I decided to do the rest of mileage closer to home. I ran around my daughter's old elementary school nine times to complete the 20 miles.  The looping like that was mentally challenging. It makes you tough and I was glad I did it.  However, the Garmin died with only 0.35 miles left to finish the run. Using the clock on my phone, I added a few more minutes to complete 20. But alas! I was still short by 0.13 miles.  All in all, today's work was 19.87 miles at 9:47 pace, decaffeinated and unplugged for the latter tougher part of the day.  I handled it well I thought.  
First half pace was 10:02 and the second half was done at 9:32 pace.  That's a negative split.
Happy Trails!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Napa Valley Marathon Training Week #7

Week #7

Mon Power
Tues 6 mi  5.48 mi
Wed 7x800 Yassos
Thu 5 recovery 6 miles
Fri Rest
Sat 6 miles Rest
Sun 12 miles

Total Mileage: 29.56
% Change from previous week: -29%

Monday was Power night. It was uneventful, although I am feeling much stronger already.  The lunges and squats are helping quite a bit.

Tuesday was supposed to be a morning run, but the cold weather defeated me.  I postponed it to lunchtime where I ran with my running buddy Heidi.  We ran up to Cal Poly and around the campus for a sweet 9:30 pace. My legs were surprisingly not sore at all.  I am loving what Power is doing to my leg strength.

Wednesday was a Yasso day. It was a very cold evening at the track.  I almost bailed. It was a good thing I stuffed several layers in my gym bag to keep warm.  I was a bit worried because I only completed 5 last week and now I was jumping to 7 repeats.  But it turned out positive.  My splits were: 3:47/3:48/3:57/3:54/3:55/3:55/4:00.  I can explain the last one.  I stood completely still on the recovery for 5 minutes, contemplating calling it a night after 6 Yassos.  But I shook off the negativity and managed to eek out the last one.  But by then, my muscles have already gotten cold.  My perceived effort was off.  I thought I was running super fast, when in reality, I had the worst split. I blame it on the cold.  I feel a slight improvement over my Yassos from last week. The effort seem easier this time around.

Thursday was a recovery day at 9:35 pace done at Cal Poly, my usual lunchtime loop, with my friend, Ingrid. I was not sore, but my legs were definitely fatigue.  It was hard to explain, but my pace definitely pointed to the fact that my muscles were tired from the workout the night before.

I rested both on Friday and Saturday. The wind and storm set up the day for me to cancel the run on Saturday. I had no motivation to brave the elements.  I was a wimp. Seeing the trees and leaves whipped back and forth made me realize how hard was to run and fight 22 mph wind.  I decided to give in.  Highly unusual for me to do this.  Buy, hey, sometimes you got to do this.  I was feeling guilty for the rest of the day and tried to console myself with an epic run on Sunday to make up for my laziness.

Sunday's run was awesome. One thing I was not proud about was running out without stretching.  I was lazy and I couldn't wait to get out there.   In the middle of the run, I felt my hips squawk a bit.  A friendly little reminder that I needed to stretch and cannot toy with the body anymore.  This will be the last time I won't stretch. I have to remember to stretch. I ain't getting any younger.

I completed the run with a negative split.  The first half was done at 9:43 pace and the second half at 9:28 pace. My overall pace was 9:35. I am stoked about that since I ran Turri Road, and it is a hilly course.  This route used to intimidate me and it would take an effort for me to come to grips about running it. I had to get into the mindset.  But now, the hills have become my friend.  So was this an epic run? Yes it was.  For one thing, this is my fastest long run so far this training cycle.  (But then again I cheated.  I didn't run the day before, so naturally, I had fresher legs.)

In the middle of my run, I was greeted by a blue heron on Turri Road. It was a nice surprise.  But he was scared of me.  As I pulled out my camera he moved away. We played this game twice.  I inched closer, he would move three feet.  I was surprised to see how big he was.  Such a magnificent bird.  It was surely sight for sore eyes.  And that's how Week #7 ended for me: Superb!
Whoa! I swear he was much closer than this.

Can you see Mr. Blue?

He is right there!

May you run long and happy!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Napa Valley Marathon Training Week #8

Week #8

Mon Rest Power
Tues. 6 easy 5.69
Wed. 45 tempo 4.63 Yassos 5x
Thurs 5 recovery 5.99
Fri Rest
Sat 8 pace 8.2 Castle
Sun. 16 long run 17.40

Total Mileage 41.91
% Change from Week #7: 30% increase

The training week started off with a Power for Monday.  I felt pretty good with no lingering soreness from Sunday’s long run. This was good news. It meant my body is adapting to the stress once again.  This was only my third attempt at Power and my legs were getting stronger from the lunges and squats. It was hard to believe I used to do these twice a week with heavier weights and would go out for a mountain run and feel no soreness.  It just goes to show how the body will adapt given the time and gradual process. I am remaining patient with lower weights.  I know I can get there in due time.

Tuesday was my typical Baywood morning run at 9:21 pace.  My legs were surprisingly not sore at all from last night’s strength workout. This was progress indeed.

Wednesday  was supposed to be Tempo but I have decided that I would do Yassos instead. I thought the Yassos was the easier of the two. With my cough, I wanted to still do some kind of speed training but not push too hard and run it just under my threshold. I completed 5 sets of repeats which averaged to about 3:53 per 800.  I was surprised that my results were 3:48/3:58/3:55/3:47/3:56 on top of my terrible dry-hacking cough.   I can remember the all-out hard effort to produce the same kinds of numbers not too long ago--on a healthy day.  The training is paying dividends.

On Thursday, I planned to run in the morning, but didn’t turn out that way. I could not bring myself rise out of the warm covers and somehow even half-asleep, I managed to negotiate with myself that I had a window at lunchtime to run anyway. Yes!
I ran from the office to Cal Poly and back for a quick 6 at 9:25 pace.

So glad for Fridays, my rest day.  I’ve had been thinking about the Castle Run all week.  Should I do it or should I not? I was on the fence.  I was worried about my cough. Did  I have enough lung power to do the race? The good news was the coughing only started as soon as I stop running.  So as long as I was running the coughing was under control.  That was the deal maker.

I woke up early to eat my breakfast, prepare my hydration and nutrients for the race. It was a cold morning, low 40’s but felt like upper 30’s in San Simeon.  I got there in the nick of time. I didn’t even get a chance to warm up or do any stretching.  I even forgot my Garmin charging at home! Rats! This was the first time that I have forgotten my watch for a race. It was unsettling. How was I going to keep pace?   I didn’t fret too much about this race. I got over missing my watch quickly, and thought that I was just going to run it as relaxed as I could. No more stress about the pace. Since I had the cold and the missing watch, it’s just going to have to be a pace run at worst or a tempo run at best.  Turned out better than both! The results showed that I was only 9 seconds shy off my final time from last year. What a difference a year made! Last year, I put out an all out effort to achieve that almost identical 1:10:28 course PR. My time this year of 1:10:37 was done at a relaxed pace on top of my minute walk breaks.  I must say, without the Garmin I did better pacing myself.

With the 8.2 mile race the day before, Sunday’s long run was supposed to be an easy effort. I was glad for that. I picked Turri Road  with the addition of my Baywood 5 miler route to make the 17 miles. The first 12 miles I ran without the Garmin.  Not by choice, but because it drained the juice all night when I unplugged it, assuming that it was fully charged.  Not two days in a row! But had go without it.  By the time I was done with Turri Road, I swung back to the house to pick up the watch which was fully charged by then for my last assault on the 5 miler.  Average pace was 10:04 for the 17 miles. Good enough for today.  I am just glad that I was able to run today to finish the long run with the race behind me.  Any other training day, I would have to cancel the next day’s run after a race. I am feeling stronger so I am thankful I can run.

Week 8 was a success.  Happy running!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Napa Valley Marathon Training Week #9

Week #9

Monday Rest X-train Power
Tuesday 6 mi
Wednesday 6xhill  Rest
Thursday  4 mi 2 mi
Friday  Rest
Saturday 8 mi
Sunday 17 mi 16 mi

What I wanted to do for this training period is incorporate weight training back into the program. I'm quite aware that it is going to feel like starting over again because I've dropped the weight training for more than a year, specifically in my last five marathons. Monday works out to be the day for weights. It's a non-running day and it works out perfectly that it can function as a active recovery. Squats, dynamic lunges, bent over rows, triceps kickbacks, biceps curls, shoulder and back exercises all wreaked havoc with my muscles on the very first day. I knew I was going to be in bad shape when that very same afternoon I felt the soreness come on. Geez, not even a day passed and I already felt it.  Little did I know that it was going to take me down straight through Friday this week.

On Tuesday, I woke up with a bad sore throat.  The minute I felt my throat was scratchy, I usually ran for my Emergen - C.  However, this time I didn't and would pay for it.  I've managed to dodge getting a cold, but not this time. On top of this sore throat, my legs were sore and my hammies were screaming. I couldn't tell whether the soreness was from the weights or if I had the flu. I didn't let the soreness get the better of me and miss running with the Divas.  I dragged myself out of bed at at 4:50 am for our 5:30 am Tuesday run. I managed to stay with the girls for a mile and a half. Then after I reached my threshold, I let them go and I ran the rest of the six miles easy, in the dark all by my lonesome. Well, me and Pepe Lepooh that is! My headlamp's battery was running out of juice and it was hard to see 50 feet in front of me. I thought it was odd the way this white feathery thing was waving back and forth.  Then the stench overtook me.  I was quickly overcome with fear what if this skunk decide to spray me?  Would Miner's Hardware store have something to get rid of the stink? I shuddered at the thought.  I was lucky, he didn't bother me.

By that afternoon, the soreness was the worst: DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) came on strong. I was glad that I pulled a 9:36 pace even with timber legs. I thought my time was going to be worse, but I'll take what I can get.

Wednesday came around and I felt like my evening track workout would have to be scrubbed. My cold gripped me like a wet shirt. I was feeling congested and all fogged up.  My eyes were watery and I couldn't imagine running a tempo workout in this condition.  There was no way I could run. My legs felt like timber.The simple act of sitting down on the thrown felt like the day after running a first marathon. I was worried about missing my workout, but there was nothing I could do.

By Thursday I thought I was going to be ready to run. I was still sore. I thought I might as well a rest rather than push it. However I didn't know what got into my daughter. She woke up at 6 am and asked me to run with her.  She was so cute, how could I say no? I let her borrow my running clothes, tights and tech tee.  It was about 36 degrees or so, cold enough for mitts and earwarmers.  We ran/walked together for 2 miles.  I was glad that she was taking it slowly, since I couldn't move any faster. I hope with Power next week, my recovery would not be anywhere this slow. 

On Friday I was feeling a lot better, but still coughing like crazy.  I could have run, but I was reserving my legs for Saturday's pace run. I felt that if I rested one more day, that would give me better chances of hitting my pace and reserve my effort for this quality run.

I woke up Saturday still hacking up a storm.  My cough is problematic because it is not productive.  I can't bring anything up and it's the annoying dry hacking cough.  I can feel the itch on my throat  and soon the coughing would follow that would last anywhere between 30-45 seconds of continuous coughing attack. I missed 2-3 days of quality runs and it seemed that it took faster to lose the fitness than to gain it.  I could not hit my pace.  The first few miles were easy, but by the 3rd mile, it was evident that hitting the pace was not going to happen this day.  I lowered my expectations and settled for a medium long run, at a conservative pace. I might as well make this one count somehow. With 8 miles, I managed to eek out a 9:43 pace.  Good enough for today, since I had to stop many times to get my coughing fits out. Drivers along the road must have thought I was in trouble or something.

My last salvation was Sunday.  I know that it would take a very slow run to finish the distance.  The goal today was to get it done. I was nowhere near 100% with my cold and cough, I had to be happy with a 10:14 pace. Turri Road and LOVR was the course I picked to finish the 16 miles.  I was short by one mile, by my miscalculation.  Stopping to answer a biker's question and I forgot to hit the restart on my watch once I got going again.  I was proud of myself for not taking the easy way out and turning away from the hills of Turri Road most especially with my cough. That was my consolation today.  With that, I ended up with 32 miles for Week #9.   I hope next week would be better than this!     (By the way, I took my UltraAspire Spry vest with me today for my 3rd run, and still loving it.)

Happy running!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Napa Valley Marathon Training Week #10

It has been one busy holiday schedule for our household! Glad it is over. Why are holidays so stressful? It never used to be this way...

Week 10 for Napa was smack in the middle of my Christmas vacation. I took a couple of days off sandwiched between the Christmas Day and New Year's Eve. We were visiting my Mom-in-law in Arizona. I had to adjust the running schedule and be flexible with the program.  It was good call that I moved up my 14 miler to Saturday because Sunday turned out to be super windy. Sunday became a rest day. After running the 14 miler, I was anticipating sore legs from sitting in the car for the 8 hour trip, but I was fine.  My mother in law lives by a super long hill so I took advantage of that long grade for a series of hill repeats.  TheYasso workout was the quality workout for week 10, but there was no track or flat land available near where we were to complete it. But then again, there's the wonderful hill! I was okay with the switch-up.

My week #10 schedule is below.  Red indicates what was actually completed with the switcheroos.

Monday Rest  4.05 mi hill repeats 5x
Tuesday 6 easy  4.20 mi recovery walk
Wednesday 6x800 Yasso  Rest
Thursday 4 easy  Rest
Friday Rest  6.17 Tempo-ish
Saturday 5 pace run 5.5 pace
Sunday 10 mi long run 12 miles

Monday Rest 4.05 mi hill repeats 5x
I must admit when we first drove up to this hill, I thought it would be a challenge to run it.  It was a long gradual incline of more than 2 miles long. I thought it would be perfect to run repeats. For recovery I took 2 minutes of walking. Each repeat was 0.20 miles long.  The first one, I forgot to hit start.  I kept going and going.  I thought boy this is taking so long as I waited for my watch to beep but it never came.  Finally I looked and it was still on pause. I was bummed because I felt like I was going at a fast clip.  Now I will never know how good my effort was. I only have record for the next four repeats: 10:05/9:48/9:31/8:37. I made a conscious effort to try and beat the previous effort, so I ran as hard as I could at each repeat. I am happy with the results.

Tuesday 6 easy 4.20 mi recovery walk
I've never really taken the time to appreciate walking as recovery. I should do this more often.  My mother in law and I walked a gradual hill which took us 1 hour and 22 minutes to complete. It was windy and cold, but we got it done.  I was thinking my Achilles would be sore from the hill repeats the day before.  Pleasantly it was not the case. I must be doing something right.

Friday Rest 6.17 Tempo-ish
Did a fabulous effort today.  I need to do more of these kinds of workouts where I push myself just a little bit. I ran 3.42 miles at a 8:46 pace.  Today felt easy and at the same time I was careful not to go overboard as it is after all my first run in two days from vacation.

Saturday 5 pace run 5.5 pace run
Today's workout took a lot more effort.  I was more in tune with the watch keeping an eye on my pace since it is so easy to fall off.  For one thing, the temperature was a lot warmer than I wanted.  It was my fault, I got up too late. The longer I waited, the higher the temps got. I knew it and I paid for it. I got it done with a 9:15 pace.  I was slower 6 seconds per mile. Also I have been thinking more about my 1 minute walk breaks and how I should incorporate it not only on the long runs, but the short runs as well. This way I can figure out my pacing on both slow and fast runs. I knew that if I dropped the walk breaks I could have easily hit the 9:09 pace.  I know I can get there, there's plenty of time to practice this.

Sunday 10 mi long run 12 miles
Just me and the road...

Since today marks the start of the New Year, I thought what better way to start it with 12 miles. I knew my legs were a bit tired from Friday's tempo run and the Saturday's pace run. I did the best I could to stay as close as I could to a 9:45 pace from two weeks ago. My Turri Road route is a bit peppered with rolling hills so I anticipated an even more slower pace. I took my new pack/vest for a second spin. This time for a longer run. I even took my smart phone and Gu gels to practice running with a loaded pack. My smart phone is a tad more substantial than my dumb phone. It felt like I have a bit of weight on one pocket. I have to remember to bring something to pad inside the pocket to alleviate the jostling. Here are some pictures of my friends along my route. They were eyeing something that my nose didn't agree with.

Say Hello to my little friends: the buzzards

My mistake: turkey vultures

All in all, Week #10 went well, even with all the switching up.  Sometimes we have to be flexible and just go with it. Running doesn't have to be so stressful. If it becomes stressful then, you lose the enjoyment. If there is no enjoyment then it becomes work. And who wants to work?

Happy running!

I don't know why some of the text are in black print.  I've tried to figure it out and I gave up.