Sunday, February 26, 2012

Napa Valley Marathon Training Week #2

Week # 2 The Taper Period

Monday Rest
Tuesday 6 mi Rest
Wednesday 30 tempo 5.02 mi
Thursday 4 mi Rest
Friday Rest 4.01
Saturday 4 mi 2.55
Sunday 8 mi

Total Mileage for Week #3: 19.58 miles
% Change from Prior Week:-42%

Last week, at the end of my long run, the top of my left foot hurt. Thinking the worst, I cut the run short and decided to take Monday and Tuesday off as rest days. Whatever pain it was, it disappeared completely after the rest. I was glad that I had the sensibility to be vigilant about taking care of my body this close to the marathon. Truly, I have matured into a different kind of runner from what I was a year ago--where I would have pushed through anything just to complete the miles I set out to do.

Wednesday night was my tempo night at the track. I was to do 30 minutes, but I forgot that included 10 minutes of warm up and 5 minutes of cool down. That leaves me with 15 minutes of pure tempo work. Instead I worked for 30 minutes. I didn't mind the extra work, however.

Just like last time, I chunked up the effort into 3 x 2000 meters (five laps around the track or 1.25 miles) with 1 minute of recovery in between. The outcome was:
Pace: 7:38 / 7:54 / 7:57
Time: 9:32 / 9:52 / 9:17

The last 2000 meters I was short 26 meters. A fellow runner decided to engage me in a conversation and I didn't have the heart to tell him that I was in the middle of a repeat. It was my last repeat anyway, so I just stopped my watch, slowed down to mirror his pace and answered his question. It was no big deal since prior to this last repeat, I had a terrible side stitch that came out of nowhere. For some reason, last week and this week, I've been victim to this issue. I don't know why, how or what triggered it. All I know was that I had to slow down to a pedestrian pace for it to subside. I have to remember to exhale when my left foot hits the ground, maybe that will help. That and in addition to what Coach Nancy says to practice diaphragmatic breathing--its like the opposite of breathing in. It's breathing out as if you're trying to look pregnant. I hope I don't experience this in Napa.
I decided to take a rest on Thursday since Dean Karnazes was going to be in town to give a motivational talk. I took advantage of an early lunch to sneak out to hear him speak. Not only was he funny, he is a great story teller. He talked about his experience at the David Letterman Show and the night he was almost hit by an insane woman who merely wanted his autograph at 2 am in the morning. He revealed that his Alma Mater was Cal Poly. Few people knew that, however I did. He told me so when I met home in NY. I had a picture taken with him then, but It was blurry. This time, the picture is sharp (Thanks Heidi for bringing a camera!) Not only did we get a clear picture with Dean, he signed my book.

Check out the incredible running machine: Dean Karnazes with Liz, Heidi and me.
In NYC 2011...

Dean only sleeps four hours a night, and hardly sits down. When he writes his books, he writes them standing up. His desk level is built chest high. He is running his 10th Badwater Ultramarathon in July. Did I say he is a machine?

Friday was my typical Cal Poly run. I had some fresh legs since I rested the day before. I dropped the pace down to 8:59, after telling myself I was only going for a slow run of 10 minute pace. I was a liar. It felt good to run fast.

On Saturday, Hubs and I hiked Bishop's Peak after dropping the little one to a sleepover. I promised him I would stay with him and not leave him to hike by himself like other times. I was good, although he did let me run to the top of one little hill. It was a nice day to do this hike; lots of other people had the same idea. We even saw a climber scaling the boulder.


...Hubs with his thumb on the lens...priceless...

Sunday was my last long run for 8 miles. I wanted to wake up early so that I could run at the same time as the marathon next week. I got out 40 minutes later than what I wanted. I put on the shorts and shimmel tank that I'm thinking of wearing for Napa. It was 42 degrees today, but the adrenaline somehow made it feel just right and not too cold. I guess you can say I'm getting excited. Napa will be my 24th marathon and no matter what , I still get the butterflies. Back to the run. I finished at 1:15:20 for an average 9:25 pace. I hit a negative split: first four miles at 9:45 pace and the last four at 9:05 pace. I shaved off 40 seconds per mile in the last four miles. It was a great run. After this, I ran over to our annual distance club breakfast. It was a great day to be amongst my runner friends. Life is good.

Here's my schedule for this coming week:

Week # 1 Final Taper Period
Monday Rest
Tuesday 4x400 (3 miles)
Wednesday 2 miles
Thursday Rest
Friday Rest
Saturday 2 miles
Sunday NAPA VALLEY MARATHON 26.2 miles

Total Miles 33.2

This is it folks. I've done everything I could within my means to stay healthy and go for it. I only had 12 weeks to prepare for this race and in a sense I did feel like I crammed for a big test. Anyhow, I am going to give it my all on March 4th. My next post would probably be about my race recap for Napa. Hopefully it will be about my triumph rather than the agony. Thank you all for being great supporters and thank you for reading. I hope that from my experiences in training and racing, you pick up something valuable. I am not an expert by no means. However, I am the experiment, a work in progress chugging along. 'Til then, may you run long and happy!

Have you ever been debilitated by a side stitch in any of your races or long runs? How did you deal with it?


  1. Aileen: It's been so cool watching your training and fitness unfold over the last 15 months. You've grown a bunch over the time period. You look ready to uncork one and with your experience on the Napa course, this could be the time!!!

    Sorry I'm going to miss you this time, but I'll be rooting for you! Good luck, run fast, have fun!!!

    BTW, you met Dean????? How cool is that????


  2. Hi Rich! thank you for your support and kind words. I can't wait to see how the day unfolds tomorrow. If you ever get a chance to see Dean Karnazes, or the incredible running machine, go see him. He is so funny and full of great stories.