Wednesday, August 29, 2012

CIM 2012: Week 4 & My 2 Cents about NYC Marathon's 'No Bag' Policy

No more drop bags for 2012 NYC Marathon..Good-bye my bag...
Before I dive into my work out summary, I wanted to mention the news that unfolded this past week regarding the no bag policy that NYRR club decided for the NYC Marathon this fall.  As you may know, NYC marathon is my favorite marathon ever. Probably because I prepared well for it and earned my PR's, both times I ran it in 2010 and 2011. Unfortunately, I am not running it this year, but this marathon has been dear and close to my heart that I can't help but put my two cents in. Here it goes.

You've been nice to me New York! I'll be back!

The whole organization has been top notch and the volunteers and spectators have been supportive. It's a like the whole city got up one morning just to celebrate running. Anyway, this week, it was decided that to alleviate the traffic leading out of the Central Park, NYRR decided that no bag will be dropped off at the finish line to help ease the congestion.  I have to say, they dropped the ball on this one.  My opinion is they are going to have a lot of sick people after the marathon. Here's why? 

It's a known fact that after running a marathon, a runner is most vulnerable to picking up germs and viruses. The body's immunity is so low that it won't take long before someone sneezes and inevitably transfers the cold. From my own experience, after a marathon, the first thing I want off me are my wet clothes, bra, underwear, shorts, shirt, hat--everything is water logged. It's not long after I stop running completely that I start to get cold and  if  I delay getting into my dry clothes, it's hypothermia time!  Compound the situation with the nippy New York air at 3 or 4 pm in November, which is also the most popular finishing time, (around 4 to 4.5 hours), you've got a recipe for a major illness. Airports, bus depots, restaurants, will all have people who will be sick after November 4th.  Is this what NYRR want? Did they think this through?

They've said that runners will all be supplied with a waterproof poncho? They said the poncho cost NYRR about $500,000. Estimate about 50K runners, that comes to about $10 poncho for each runner. I don't know about you, but if I have wet clothes underneath this poncho, $10 or $50--however much or hi tech the fabric is, I know I will still be shivering in the cold.  I need my dry clothes! 

On another note, imagine all the runners in Staten Island who have to wait at least 3 hours. You're by the water, so it's inconceivable not to bring anything warm. Everything you bring to Staten Island must be left behind before the start. I can't imagine the amount of clothes left behind for clean up and collection to charity.

Maybe the solution is to stash some dry clothes somewhere  in the park the night before as suggested by one FB subscriber. Or maybe they need to move the finishing stage to a ball park where  it won't clog Central Park if that's what NYRR is worried about. But Fred Lebow would probably turn in his grave if they move the venue.

Why am I getting too hot about this subject, you ask? I'm not running it. But I will next year! The bag is a necessity. Bring it back, please.

Okay, so we got that out of the way...Week #4 went just as planned. I didnt' have to tweak any workouts. The week ended with 32 miles.  The quality workouts are coming along great.

Monday--yoga at noon
Tuesday-- power
Wednesday--pilates, speed 6.54M
Friday--  tempo-6.10M
Sunday--long run - progression thirds-14.68M
Total Miles--31.87M

On Wednesday, the assigned workout was my favorite interval workout again. We ran two sets of: 800s, 1/2 lap recovery, 400 fast, 400 rest, followed by 3 sets of 400, 1/2 lap recovery, 400 fast, full lap recovery.  I used the advance workout on my Garmin. The results:  800m (7:11, 7:34) 400m (6:35, 7:06, 7:17, 6:58 7:05, 6:56, 7:06, 6:55).

Oh hey, how did this get here?  Looks heavenly doesn't it?

Friday's tempo work consisted of running 3 miles at 8:11.  I broke the tempo work to 3 segments and rested 1:00 in between the 2nd and the third set. It included a 1.5 mile warm up and 1.5 cool down.

Saturday was devoted to short hill repeats and I ran 7 of them with paces (8:03, 7:47, 7:51, 6:45, 6:25, 6:41 and 6:30).  I was thrilled with my effort.

Heck, while we're at it...this was awesome too, Ramen Kalbi!

Sunday was my first progression long run.   I had scheduled a total of 14 miles that included 4 miles easy, 4 miles moderate, 4 miles marathon pace and lastly, 2 miles cooldown. The first 4 was run at 10:24 pace, the next 4 at 9:23 pace and the last at 8:43.  Again I was thrilled with the outcome. I went faster in the end, I was afraid I was not going to hit 9:00 because I struggled to keep up the 9:30s. But for some reason my body can't hone in on the easier pace, but was able to do 8:43. I can't figure this out. I am not complaining, I'll take the 8:43s anytime of day.  Yet another successful week of training.  I have a benchmark race coming up next Saturday,a 5K race in Cambria. That will be the highlight next week.  Until then, happy running!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

CIM 2012: Week 3

(Almost caught up...this was from a week ago.)

Week 3

Monday--yoga at noon + 5.56M
Tuesday--cross train + hill 1.65M
Wednesday--pilates, speed 5.69M
Thursday--lite power
Friday-- mp for 4.57M
Saturday- time trial 4.31M
Sunday--long run 10M trail run
Total Miles--31.78M

On Monday, I decided to do a 5.5 mile recovery run since I didn't run the day before. Legs were still a little tired from Saturday's Cal Poly trail run.  This effort was necessary to shake out the toxins in my leg.

Tuesday  was my cross-training day. I worked on the elliptical for 12 minutes, the bike for 13 minutes and five minutes on the StairMaster for a grand total of 30 minutes. I will say it again, boring. I watched the numbers flipped and it seemed like an eternity to stay on these machines. But I have to do this and I know it's doing something good. After this, I headed out for a short 1.65 run. Yes. Short. 

Track work Wednesday: We did my favorite workout tonight and that was 2 sets of (1200m, 1/2 lap recovery, 400 fast, full lap rest).   Next set was the same as the previous, except 800m instead of 1200. The last set is 400.  In the stress of the workout, sometimes I would fumble over my watch and accidentally hit stop instead of reset.  So I missed the first set with 1200m and 400m.  Luckily that was all that was not recorded.  My paces were 1200m ( 7:45), 800m (7:39) 400m (7:18, 7:10, 6:35).
All in all a good night. 
Thursday I headed over to the gym for some, solo lunchtime Power routine. I took my own computer and DVD since class was canceled.  I felt silly at first, but it wore off fast. I just did my thing and crossed it off my schedule. Strength training for week 3? Done!

Friday was my pacework. I got up early and ran 3.5 mi at 9:01. of course I warm-up thoroughly. This is also the first time I put my Garmin's Advance workouts to the test.   For two year's now, I've had this incredible watch and it wasn't until now that I decided to take the time to learn how to set up Advance Workouts.  I've always used the Interval mode training, but that's only useful if I have the same distances that I need to repeat over and over. Once I vary the distance, I'm screwed. Workouts like we did on Wed, where we ran 3 laps, rest 1/2 lap,  run 1 lap then rest again and repeated the set twice then add another set with 2 laps, rest 1/2 lap, run 1 lap, then full lap rest--that's the kind of workout I can program in my Garmin.  I'll show you how on a future post. This is incredibly exciting for me as now I can pre-program my Yasso workouts, progression runs, tempo workouts, goal pace runs--the possibility is endless. I can have time and distance variables as well as HR zones.  It gets to be too much and a little overwhelming at first, so I plan to keep it simple as I learn to maneuver the variables. As I progress I can really tweak it like crazy! For now I am a happy camper.

Saturday was my mile PR day!  I've never raced a mile in my life and this perfectly fits in my schedule as I have a mile time trial for this week. This was my benchmark. I came in third overall and 1st woman. Don't get too excited: there were only 10 folks running the mile!  It felt good however. Just the night before, I asked Hubby: how do you run a mile? (He was a sprinter in high school.) I don't remember him giving me a solid answer. It was an inside joke between us. So when I came home with a medal, we both busted out laughing. It was really unexpected. Well you had to be there.

Aint' she pretty?
When that gun went off (I kinda kidded the director, Is there really a need for a gun?) I took off. That's what you're supposed to do right? There was a little kid who took off like a bullet.   He was fast.  I never would have imagined I would catch up to him. Usually kids lap me.  I thought either I was warmed up and got faster or he was slowing down. It was both.  I told him he was doing a great job.  After the quarter of a mile, I realized, I was in second place.  I could hear  shoes shuffling behind me. I knew it was John Tiffin and he was hot on my heels. I tried to stay on pace but the hills came fast and just before the halfway mark, he reeled me in and passed me. He said he was going to use this as a warm up for the 5K coming up shortly. He was going for it.  He got second in the mile (10th in the 5k and 4th in the 400m dash) and I maintained my 3rd position to the finish. It was fun. Even though the start wasn't as smooth as it went, ( I registered just in the nick of time and didn't know the start was one mile up. After having ran from my house to the registry point, I really didn't want to run  a third mile fast to the start.) It worked out that the RD gave me a lift. So barely two strides on, I made it to the start.

For Sunday's long run--I decided to go with some friends to do a trail run at MDO. It's been a while since I've gone up with folks up there. They were going to run Horse Camp to East Boundary Trails. I wanted to go with them because they are doing this trail backwards (from what I am used to). I usually go the other way around and for some reason, I am a little unsure about exploring it backwards on my own.   These folks are like deers prancing up the mountain. Before too long, I told them not to worry about me,  as I was a lot slower than they are and the fact that my ankles were a little tweaky from the mile race yesterday. I'll be right behind them and there would be no need for them to wait for me. I didn't want to hold them back.  I feel more confident knowing they are ahead of me. After a few instructions on directions, they were gone and I was on my own. For a while there I could make out their shoe prints, then it disappeared. I was not worried.

I love going early in the morning, I can feel the mist against my cheeks. It was very humid today, but with the mist, I didn't mind it. I was chugging along the trail and I realized, I hadn't been listening to my ipod. It was calming. I was enjoying the run and the trail and at the same time concentrating on not falling. There were only two parts that I had to stop and think about which directions to go and in so doing, I accidentally hit my watch to stop and forget to reset. (This was twice this week!) To complicated matters even more, I had my Garmin set on 'Auto Pause'--which meant really there was no need for me to hit stop because when it senses there's no movement it would stop automatically. Long story short, my distance is technically longer that what it recorded.  For today's work I ran about 10 miles. In reality, it's probably closer to 11. I was supposed to end back where we started at Horse Camp. Instead, I ended up on Barranca/Islay Trail. The one trail that is not my favorite because it is an endless 3 miles of fire trails and nothing but. I must have missed a turn or got confused with the trail sign-whatever or whichever it was pointing at. The other thing I wanted to avoid the Islay trail is that it comes out on Pecho Road. To get back down home, I had to contend with sharp turns and curves with sometimes crazy drivers. Anyway, it was hard work but worth the effort.
On the climb up, lots of fun switchbacks...

Going up some more...

Up more...I was told, there was a great view from above...

This must be it! It was warmer up here. I need to come back down to the fog.

It's amazing to see the fog...

My thoughts were: Really that's were I need to go to exit the park? It seems far.

I'm at the top I guess. It is indeed beautiful!

Week 3 is done and looking forward to Week! Happy Trails!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

CIM 2012: Week 2

(Still trying to catch you up. This was from two weeks ago.)

Week 2

Monday--yoga at noon
Wednesday--pilates, speed 4.88M
Friday-- hills 3x  5.05M
Saturday--long run 10.12M (poly trail loop)
Sunday--rest (no time to run; back-to-school shopping)
Total Miles--20.05M

I haven't missed any of my noontime yoga on Mondays. I'd like to keep this going.  I feel like my down dog is getting better.  My heels still don't touch the mat completely yet, but flexibility is coming. I can feel it.

Tuesday was power and I was alert about my sore ankle  which I developed from my long run this weekend.  Doing lunges (and we do a lot) can aggravate and otherwise already sore ankle. I wanted to increase the weights this week, but the smart thing to do was to hold off.

Noontime Pilates on Wednesdays  is always a treat. I am not disciplined enough to do this at home, but I am in class. Go figure!  The only thing is sometimes we do so much with the legs that when I do go on the track several hours later, I could feel that Pilates did some damage to my legs. But it's a good sore.  So at track today the the goal was to run 1600's, 1/2 lap recovery, 400, full lap recovery. The rest of the set is the same except it goes dowm from 1600s to 1200 then finally to 800.
This is one of my favorite workouts because it teaches the body to deal with running fast then having a brief rest period, then haul ass again. I hope we do  more of these. One thing I can improve upon during the next few weeks is shortening the amount of time I walk during the recovery period. Once I can jog or run slowly during the recover phase, then I'll know I am improving.  My splits were: 1600 (7:41); 1200 ( 7:47); 800 (7:40) and the 400s (7:06; 7:03, 7:05). Very, happy with these paces--there's room for improvement and it's still very early in the training.

I decided to take a rest day on Thursday. I was feeling tired--more so than usual.  I needed some fresh legs for the next day's hill work-out which I was a little nervous about. I haven't done them in a long time, since training for NY last fall. It's very easy to get injured if my posterior chain is not ready. So the past 7 weeks, hopefully my power workout will serve to strengthen them.

Friday was my first hill workout. I've had tremendous results with my hill spot from last year, so I decided that I will use this same hill and will serve as the benchmark for all subsequent my hill workouts. This hill is about a fifth of a mile long,  the exact grade I still have to figure out. It works out great that I am forced to have a 2 mile warm up before I get to my hill spot and conversely, a 2 mile cooldown for my way home. The only problem would be: later in the fall, when it gets darker earlier, this place will be a problem with all the blinding headlights coming at me. I'll worry about that later.  My hill repeats tonight were 7:49, 7:25 and 8:05.  I was very happy with these. When I compared these to my NY training, it wasn't until near the end of the training when I've reached these paces. I am very optimistic. I was definitely surprised.

San Luis Distance Club during Brian Waterbury Memorial Run
Saturday was dedicated to Brian Waterbury. He was the founder of our distance club who passed away in May 2003. Every year, San Luis Distance Club celebrates his birthday by running his favorite run at Cal Poly. It is an 8-mile hilly trail loop that he ran hundreds of times. Instead of running my long run on Sunday, this memorial run took its place.  We had a group of ten show up and then we had breakfast after. It was hot and humid, but bearable. It was a good running day.

SLDC Club member, Neil Silvers

That's my training partner Heidi and the fast Dave Dunbar

No running on Sunday. It worked out well, since my ankle got worked from the trail yesterday. I took my daughter for back-to-school shopping at the outlets in Gilroy. How times have changed.  I used to look forward to shopping all day. I must be getting old. And why are 12 year-old girls so darn picky? Well, we got shopping out of the way and I think she's ready for junior high. I'm hanging on to my hat!

Happy Running!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

CIM 2012: Week 1

(I'm trying to get caught up with my blogging. This was from three weeks ago.)

Week 1

Monday--yoga at noon
Tuesday--cardio--bike, elliptical, stairmaster: 25 minutes
Wednesday--pilates, speed 4.85M
Friday-- strides 1.5M
Saturday-tempo 6M
Sunday--long run 12M
Total Miles--26M

The StairMaster and me: we used to be buddies
Great first week. Nothing hurts. Monday was a yoga day and it boggles my mind, why I waited so long to incorporate this into my running. I've been at it for 7 weeks now, and I feel a huge difference in my running already. I never realized how stiff I am until I started back up.

I spent a half hour on the machines on Tuesday. It was tough. I don't know how I was able to stay on these machines before: I used to spend 60 minutes on the stairmaster back in the day. Today I can only stomach five! I was able to do ten minutes each on the elliptical and the bike.  It just takes so long and sooo boring.   But I am sticking to my plan and  I have to do this.

Speed on Wednesday night was challenging having to do 2400m x 2.  The first set I ran too hard, I was forced to stop at the fifth lap so I took it as a rest period, then hauled ass on the 6th lap.  The next set I paced myself better and was able to complete the full 6 lappers. I averaged 8:11 for the last 2400.  It's all good with lots of room for improvement.

Thursday was power. I'm glad I'm back at this. I used to do this twice a week, but fell of the wagon. Getting back was a little rough since the body forgot the pain. Now, thanks to the 7 weeks of repetitive bout, I can't feel any more soreness the next day. That means we're getting stronger!

I was feeling Cardio again so Friday I was determined to slay the beasts. Elliptical and Bike for 10 minutes each and another steps machine, not stairmaster (instead it looks like an escalator) for five minutes.

I ran a six miler on Saturday for a tempo. I needed to do about 2.5 miles at 8:21 pace. Got it done.

Sunday was a long run for 12.42 miles. Average pace was 10:06. I planned on 10:25 pace but I went a little faster as you can see. With this long run, I threw in a tempo pace near the end at 8:39 pace for 2 miles. I was worried about it because I've always been afraid that I might hurt something going from moderate to fast like that. So yes, it happened, somewhere near my ankle bone there was a mad spot. It was quite sore as I finished. So instead of pushing it by running 2 more miles to get home, I called Hubby and he picked me up. It's a good thing I am more alert now to little twinges. If I ignored this, I would have for sure had 3-4 days of training setback--way too early to be going through this in week 1. Foam rolling and icing did the trick and no days missed in training from Week 2.

Week 1 was great!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

My training plan for CIM Marathon 2012

I did it! I finally bit the bullet and signed up for CAL International Marathon a few days before the registration fees were to increase. I'm happy to say that it's a done deal and I'm going for broke!

First day of Training for CIM. See my $2.99 soccer socks?
Beats having to pay $40 for running compression socks and it works!

So for the past few weeks I've been trying to decide on which marathon training plan to use for CIM.
As you may already know, there's a plethora out there. My personal experience with Hal Higdon's program has given me great success in New York. To be fair, I should give it another whirl, but there are so many aspects of other training plans I've read that I decided to come up with my own cornucopia of workouts. I know-I know, it seems scary, making up my own. Why reinvent the wheel when it's already been proven and tested, right? Honestly, there is not one single perfect plan out there.  ALL of the training plan works. It's just a matter of buying into it and believing. I am confident that my hodge-podge of a plan is going to work. I already feel a huge difference 3 weeks into it. I'll share you a list of what I love about my plan.  First, I want to give credit to the fine coaches who came up with these marvelous plans who are the inspiration behind my training plan among them are Hal Higdon, Greg McMillan, Runner's World. I know there's a few more that I'm forgetting.

Gosh where to begin?

I chose 18 weeks for my plan. I had 6 weeks to build my base. I didn't carry a huge volume, but what sets it apart from my previous training cycle is that I incorporated cross training throughout the week. Yoga (for flexibility), Pilates (for core), and power (for strength) are embedded early in the week while quality workouts closes the week.

The meat of the program is the long run, of course. I have decided that the most I will go is 18 miles or 3 hours, whichever comes first. I have about five of these babies lined up and three 16-milers. I'll explain my reasoning behind scrapping 20-mile runs on another post. It's a long one, no pun intended.

Tempo, pace, hill, and speed development workouts are interspersed throughout the week.

I have four scheduled tune-up races during the 18-week period: 1-miler (week 3), 5K (week 5), 10K (week 9) and 1/2 marathon (week 11). It works out that they are all spaced out nicely so that recovery won't be a bear.  I'm most excited about the fact that the 1/2 marathon is 7 weeks out from the marathon. That will give me plenty of time to recover, especially if I decide to go all out and see what this new training will allow me to do, barring any injury of course.

I've borrowed from 'Runner's World Break 4-Hour' plan the mile time trials done every month to chart my progress. This will prove invaluable in determining and adjusting my goal pace as the time progresses.

Because I consider yoga a 'light' day, or an active recovery day, I gave myself one full rest day every 14 days. On this special day, I don't do a single form of exercise.  Woo Hoo!

The most important part of this training is the cross-training combined with the lower volume of running (26-43). I still get the good quality workouts from all the short runs. There are truly no junk miles. Each quality run has a definite purpose and goal for each day.  The long runs are my favorite as I have each one planned with a different finish each time (fast finish, super fast finish,  steady state, long slow distance, Dusa or Discovery USA--I'll explain at a later post). These type of long runs keeps it exciting. I can't wait.

The theme this training cycle is treating the body with a different stimulus each time, building strength and stamina for those last crucial miles and at the same time teaching the body to use fat as fuel. I know, we've all heard that before. But what does that really mean?  Ah, yes, you have to tune in for that...

I'm well into my third week of training and all is well. I'll give a short summary of what I've done on weeks 1 to 3 on the next post. Until then..keep running happy.